Virtual School Meanderings

October 26, 2016

iNACOL Releases New Report: Meeting The Every Student Succeeds Act’s Promise: State Policy to Support Personalized Learning

Finally, from a completely neo-liberal outfit – and this report would be  better titled Meeting The Every Student Succeeds Act’s Promise: State Policy to Used Personalized Learning to Privatize Public Education

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iNACOL Releases New Report: Meeting The Every Student Succeeds Act’s Promise: State Policy to Support Personalized Learning.

Today, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) released a new report: Meeting The Every Student Succeeds Act’s Promise: State Policy to Support Personalized Learning.

Under the new federal K-12 education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states have a historic opportunity to transform K-12 education toward personalized, student-centered learning. This law represents a marked shift in federal control to states, presenting state and local stakeholders with important opportunities and flexibilities to redefine student success and the goals of the United States education system.

Maria Worthen, iNACOL Vice President for Federal and State Policy, said, “For the first time in decades, states have the opportunity to engage communities in redefining student success and reimagining the future of K-12 education under ESSA.”

Susan Patrick, iNACOL President and CEO, said, “The recommendations in this report provide a roadmap for state policymakers to support innovative educators and leaders to close achievement gaps and take advantage of opportunities and flexibilities under ESSA through personalized, competency-based education.”

This report provides recommendations for state policymakers to support local and statewide efforts to transform student learning in K-12 education through personalized, competency-based learning. Taken as a whole, the recommendations in this report present a comprehensive state policy approach to support student-centered learning.

Download a full copy of Meeting The Every Student Succeeds Act’s Promise: State Policy to Support Personalized Learning here.
About iNACOL

The mission of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) is to catalyze the transformation of K-12 education policy and practice to advance powerful, personalized, learner-centered experiences through competency-based, blended and online learning. iNACOL is a non-profit organization focusing on research, developing policy for student-centered education to ensure equity and access, developing quality standards for emerging learning models using online, blended, and competency-based education, and supporting the ongoing professional development of school and district leaders for new learning models. Visit our website, like us on Facebook, connect with us on LinkedIn andfollow us on twitter.


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Purdue Polytechnic H.S. Chooses Near Eastside Indy Location

From a more neo-liberal outfit…

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The Mind Trust

Purdue Polytechnic H.S. chooses near eastside Indy location

The Mind Trust recently awarded Innovation School Fellowships to Shatoya Jordan and Scott Bess to help launch Purdue Polytechnic High School , a new STEM-focused school that will open in Indianapolis in Fall 2017.

Through the fellowship, Shatoya, who will be principal of the new school, and Scott, the future head of school, are spending the current school year designing and launching the high school.  Now, the new school has a new home.

Earlier this month, Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, along with Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee and Mayor Joe Hogsett, announced that Purdue Polytechnic High School will be located in the former PR Mallory building, 3029 E. Washington St., in the heart of near eastside Indianapolis.  During building renovations, which are expected to be complete before the start of the 2018-19 school year, the school will have temporary residence during the 2017-18 year at nearby 201 S. Rural St. 

Applications are now open for the school’s first students, those who will be ninth-graders in Fall 2017.  Students who live within IPS boundaries will have priority status for spaces.  Click here for more information on Purdue Polytechnic High School.

Fellow Spotlight:  Shy-Quon Ely II & Brooke Beavers

Shy-Quon Ely II & Brooke Beavers were selected for The Mind Trust’s Innovation School Fellowship in July 2016.  As such, the two are spending a year designing and launching Ignite Achievement Academy, a new Innovation Network School in IPS set to open in Fall 2017.


Ignite will be an elementary school that propels scholars academically through an accelerated curriculum that focuses on neuro-scientific instruction and learning, staff and community collaboration, as well as a holistic emphasis that incorporates physical, nutritional and mental wellness.


Shy and Brooke bring to the fellowship their experience launching and leading Tindley Summit Academy, a successful  Indianapolis charter school that has produced exceptional results for its students.  In 2015, it was the second highest performing elementary school among Mayor-sponsored charter schools on the state reading exam with a pass rate of 88%.  Even with a new, more rigorous state standardized test, the school surpassed the state average for English proficiency and outperformed other schools with similar student populations.

Click here for more information on Shy & Brooke and their new school. 



TMT partners with national education school to help Indy principals excel

The Mind Trust is partnering with the Relay Graduate School of Education, a nationally recognized, nonprofit graduate school of education, to sponsor an instructional leadership program for Indianapolis principals to help them excel as educators and school leaders.

Through this partnership, The Mind Trust will sponsor and fund school leaders to enroll in Relay’s National Principals Academy Fellowship, an intensive, one-year program focused on instructional school leadership.

The Mind Trust will sponsor and fund up to 12 participants per year for three years, beginning in Summer 2017.  To apply for the program, participants must hold full-time leadership positions with a school or school system.  The final application deadline is January 31, 2017, and final participants will be announced by the end of March 2017.  

Click here for a recent article about our new partnership.



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Next TMT-UNCF Community Conversation:  November 2

The Mind Trust and UNCF will host another in a series of “Community Conversations,” which foster discussions about improving public education in Indianapolis.  The event will take place Wednesday, November 2, 5:30-7 p.m., at Global Prep Academy @ Riverside 44, 2033 Sugar Grove Ave.


The topic of November’s panel discussion will be “Who’s Running Our Schools?” and will feature the leaders of three IPS Innovation Network Schools:  Mariama Carson, founding principal & CEO, Global Prep Academy @ Riverside 44; Nicole Fama , principal, PLA@93, George H. Fisher School (A Project Restore School); and Shanae Staples, founding principal, Kindezi Academy @ Joyce Kilmer 69.

Seating is limited, so those wishing to attend should register by clicking here by October 31.


For the past several years, The Mind Trust has partnered with UNCF, the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization, to engage key Indianapolis stakeholders in conversations about the best ways to improve educational opportunities in Indianapolis.   Indianapolis is one of four cities selected by UNCF as a focus of its community engagement work in K-12 education.


Next Educational Bus Tour:  November 9 

The Mind Trust will host its 12th “Educational Bus Tour,” which highlights high-performing public schools in Indianapolis for local families, educators and community members, on Wednesday, November 9 from 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m.  November’s tour will visitPLA@103, Indiana’s first Innovation Network School, and the Irvington Community Elementary School.

Each bus tour visits successful public schools and programs to demonstrate innovative and effective techniques and practices in action. The tours are co-sponsored by the Indianapolis Public Schools, UNCF, 100 Black Men of Indianapolis, La Plaza and The Expectations Project.

For more information on the November tour, or to register to attend, please visit, email Holly Merchant at or call 317-803-7082.


The Mind Trust adds to community engagement team

The Mind Trust today is pleased to welcome Marquisha Bridgeman to our team as senior director of community engagement.  Most recently, she was director of marketing and communications for Goodwill Education Initiatives (GEI).

As senior director, Marquisha will work with The Mind Trust’s community engagement team to involve families and neighborhoods in the work of education innovation and foster community conversations about supporting and transforming public education.  She also will provide support to The Mind Trust’s education fellows tasked with designing and launching new schools in Indianapolis.

At GEI, Marquisha led marketing and communication efforts for Goodwill’s existing education initiatives and the expansion of new opportunities.  As such, she developed outreach strategies to support the opening of 11 sites in central Indiana for The Excel Center, a network of high schools for adults who had previously dropped out.  

Marquisha previously served as community and faith-based outreach coordinator for former Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson.  Before serving in that role, she worked on the staff of Mayor Peterson’s award-winning charter school office.

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PTDEA 2016 – Provincial & Territorial Presentation: British Columbia

ptdea-2016The eighth and final session for today that I am blogging at Provincial and Territorial Distance Education Association 2016 annual meeting is the fourth of the provincial updates.

One of the main developments in British Columbia is the development of a new curriculum – with the K-9 curriculum being fully implemented this Fall and the grades 10-12 curriculum is planned to be implemented in Fall 2017.

In the province, distributed learning is funded at an FTE of $6030 (which represents eight courses).  In comparison, the FTE for face-to-face is $7156.  The funding for the adult distance education rate is $571.  The requirements for funding eligibility will remain the same with the new curriculum.

In 2015-16, there were 48 of the 60 school districts that had agreements with the Ministry.  The number of public distance education schools were 59 and the number of independent distance education schools were 15, and these programs accounted for 69,735 unique students enrolled in distance education.

PTDEA 2016 – Provincial & Territorial Presentation: Northwest Territories

ptdea-2016The seventh session that I am blogging at Provincial and Territorial Distance Education Association 2016 annual meeting is the third of the provincial updates.

This one came from Blake and Karen in the Northwest Territories.  Within the territory, they have 10+ years of asynchronous distance education experience with programs from southern jurisdictions.  For the past 3-4 years they have been working through a more synchronous approach.

In terms of their pilot, the Department is providing the majority of support and resources, but individual communities do have to contribute in order to participate.  One of the greatest benefits of the pilot thus far is the ability to prevent multi-class classrooms (often with a basic course and an academic course being offered at the same time) in the face-to-face classroom, to allow the academic students to learn online (which also provides the face-to-face teachers more time and focus on the basic students who remain in the classroom).  Further, it also allows students to remain in their communities longer, as they can continue their studies online and not have to leave home to attend boarding schools just to continue their K-12 schooling.

Right now there are four quarter time teachers (ranging from science, math, English, and social studies), who each provide four synchronous sessions daily (one session per subject area).  Relationships are key to the delivery model that they are establishing, and the synchronous communications help in this regard.

Interestingly, the experience and expertise that is being developed through their internal pilot is actually spilling over into some of the classroom instruction occurring in the territory.  For example, there are increased numbers of teachers (including elementary school teachers) that are using a learning management system to blend their instruction.

The biggest challenges that the territory is currently facing include network affordability, understanding their learners, and centralized coordination and government or a more decentralized model.

If you’re interest in more information about what is happening in the territory, check out:

PTDEA 2016 – Provincial & Territorial Presentation: Saskatchewan

ptdea-2016The sixth session that I am blogging at Provincial and Territorial Distance Education Association 2016 annual meeting is the second of the provincial updates.

Joanna provided an update from the Ministry’s perspective.  At present, there are 16 different entities within the province that are offering some form of distance or online learning.  These programs accounted for 5,235 unique students representing 9,784 enrollments (6,418 of which were completed successfully).  This represents an increase of approximately 2,000 students and almost 5,000 enrollments from the previous school year.

The province is involved in coordination of course offerings through the Saskatchewan Distance Learning Course Repository.  Most of these courses are delivered asynchronously, but more are including higher levels of synchronous instruction.  The learning management systems that we see in the province include Moodle and Blackboard.

Distance and online learning are regulated in minimal ways through language in the Education Act, 1995, and moreso through the Saskatchewan Technology in Education Policy Framework, 2013.


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