Virtual School Meanderings

November 16, 2019

Aurora Institute Symposium Save The Date: October 25-28, 2020

An early reminder of this neo-liberal conference next year.

To view this email as a web page, go here.
Aurora Institute - A New Dawn for Every Learner | Stay Connected

Dear Colleagues:

Thank you for attending the Aurora Institute (formerly iNACOL) Symposium in Palm Springs, California. We hope you engaged in deep discussions around personalized, competency-based learning in an effort to foster equity, access and high-quality educational opportunities for all students.

Please save the date for next year’s Symposium, to be held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center on October 25-28, 2020. Registration will open in spring 2020.

To reflect on this year’s Symposium and continue learning, here are some links to look forward to:

Aurora Institute would like to thank all of our Symposium sponsors for their support of our event, and our philanthropic Diamond-level supporters, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Walton Family Foundation,whose support makes our Symposium possible.

About Aurora Institute 

The mission of Aurora Institute is to drive the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all. Visit our websitelike us on Facebook, connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Twitter.

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This email was sent by: Aurora Institute
1934 Old Gallows Road, Suite 350, Vienna, VA, 22182-4040 United States

November 15, 2019

Plugged In | 11.15.19 – CompetencyWorks Releases New Definition Of Competency-Based Education

A final word from the neo-liberals for the week.

Aurora Institute -formerly iNACOL
Plugged In
Nov. 15, 2019
INACOL IS NOW AURORA INSTITUTE
CompetencyWorks Releases Report Updating Definition of Competency-Based Education
Eight years after releasing the field’s first working definition of competency-based education, CompetencyWorks (at the Aurora Institute, formerly iNACOL) has expanded the definition to reflect deepened understanding in the field and address the challenges of implementing student-centered learning models in K-12 education.

Competency-based education, as defined by the field’s leading experts, now has seven elements. The working definition developed in 2011 had five components. The revised and updated components express the field’s greater understanding of the essential nature of student agency in building student motivation, engagement, lifelong learning skills, and depth of knowledge.

The new definition of competency-based education is:

  • Students are empowered daily to make important decisions about their learning experiences, how they will create and apply knowledge, and how they will demonstrate their learning.
  • Assessment is a meaningful, positive, and empowering learning experience for students that yields timely, relevant, and actionable evidence.
  • Students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs.
  • Students progress based on evidence of mastery, not seat time.
  • Students learn actively using different pathways and varied pacing.
  • Strategies to ensure equity for all students are embedded in the culture, structure, and pedagogy of schools and education systems.
  • Rigorous, common expectations for learning (knowledge, skills, and dispositions) are explicit, transparent, measurable, and transferable.

Read on to learn more and to download a full copy of What Is Competency-Based Education? An Updated Definition.

DOWNLOAD
Eliot Levine Shares News on the Definition of Competency-Based Education in the Latest Innovation Spotlight Podcast
Eliot Levine Discusses the Updated Definition of Competency-Based Education in the Latest Innovation Spotlight Podcast
Aurora Institute Research Director, Eliot Levine recently sat down to talk with Matthew Shea and Courtney Belolan about the developments that prompted the recent update to the definition of competency-based education. Their conversation is the latest episode of our Innovation Spotlight podcast series.

“We have the privilege of working with many leaders in the field, who have deep insights from coming at this work from many different angles,” Levine said. “We all agreed that we needed to expand and improve on the definition to reflect new developments in the field, and new knowledge that had been developed over the past 10 years or so doing the work and also important challenges that the field still needs to address.”

Levine shared that other features in the new definition report include a set of “belief statements,” as well as answers to some frequently asked questions and responses to some common misconceptions about competency-based education. The belief statements expound on the definition and offer context. For example, the first belief statement is, “Competency-based education is a replacement of the systems, structures, and pedagogies of the traditional system.” This is to make clear that our aim as a field is K-12 systems transformation, rather than “tinkering at the margins.”

They also discussed some of the most frequently asked questions about competency-based education, such as what we mean by educational equity and that “assessments are meaningful.” The full 38-minute conversation is up on the Education Domain blog.

LISTEN
Reminders
iNACOL to Aurora Institute logo morph
iNACOL Is Now the Aurora Institute
On October 28, 2019, we proudly announced that iNACOL is now the Aurora Institute.

Why did we decide to change our name? First and foremost, because every learner deserves a clear path to future success, and we believe that a clearer brand identity will better position us to prepare those pathways.

It will take time to fully transition the brand. In the coming months, we’ll share more about this change and what it means for you. Please watch our rebrand video and learn more through this letter to stakeholders about the journey of becoming the Aurora Institute.

LEARN MORE
Save the Date for the 2020 Aurora Institute Symposium
Save the Date for the 2020 Symposium
Special thanks to the attendees of the 2019 Aurora Institute Symposium in Palm Springs, California.

We hope you engaged in deep discussions around personalized, competency-based learning in an effort to foster equity, access, and high-quality educational opportunities for the whole child.

Please save the date for next year’s Symposium, to be held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas, October 25-28, 2020. Registration will open in spring 2020. Stay tuned for more details.

LEARN MORE
New from Education Domain Blog
A California Educator and a Leading Advocate for Personalized, Competency-Based Education Earn Top Honors at the Aurora Institute Symposium
The Aurora Institute recognized two outstanding leaders as recipients of the 2019 Innovator Awards at its annual Symposium. The Teacher of the Year Award went to Carissa Duran, an educator at Del Lago Academy Campus of Applied Science, Escondido Union High School District (CA). The award honors a K-12 educator whose efforts as a personalized learning teacher exemplify a commitment to student success, knowledge, and skill as a professional educator and dedication to his or her students. David Ruff, executive director of Great Schools Partnership, received the Outstanding Individual Contribution to Personalized Learning Award, which recognizes an individual whose insight and innovation has significantly increased the credibility and advancement of K-12 personalized, competency-based education.
LEARN MORE
The U.S. Department of Education Is Inviting New Applications for Round 3 of the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority
The Every Student Succeeds Act created the IADA, which allows participating states to pilot innovative new systems of assessments in a subset of school districts before scaling state-wide. States may apply on their own or as part of a consortium of up to four states.
GET DETAILS
Bringing Education Policy and the Learning Sciences into Alignment
Research on how students learn and develop is providing teachers, practitioners, and policymakers with insights on how to help students learn and grow academically and develop holistically to achieve successful outcomes in their education and in life. With advancements in neuroscience, psychology, brain science, and other disciplines, there is greater evidence of just how dynamic and individualized learning is and what we need to do to support positive youth outcomes. We recently published a paper to respond to the question: How can education policy help guide teaching and learning in each state with better alignment to the research on youth development?
READ MORE
2019 Symposium Highlights
Featured Web Page

2019 Symposium Highlights

Access resources and highlights from the 2019 Symposium held in Palm Springs, California. Here, we showcase videos from various esteemed keynote speakers, images, and other highlights from this year. Browse these resources to revisit discussions and see what you missed during our time in Palm Springs.
VIEW
BONUS:
Past Symposium Highlights
Plugged In Headlines: News about Education Transformation
What Does It Really Mean to be Competency-Based?
Chelsea Waite, eSchool News

How to Be an Antiracist Educator
Dena Simmons, ASCD Education Update

Aurora Middle School Recognized For Its Individualized Learning Plans
Byron Reed, 9News.com

‘Genius Hour’ Lets Kids Take Charge: Would Einstein Have Liked This?
Madeline Will, EdWeek

Students Should Not Believe a Grade ‘Defines Who They Currently Are’
Larry Ferlazzo, EdWeek

How Vocational Education Got a 21st Century Reboot
Erick Trickey, Politico Magazine

Funding Announcement – Supporting Visionary Educators Opening the Schools of the Future
Walton Family Foundation

Share Your Teaching Story – In No More Than 100 Words
Education Week


Aurora Institute in the News
It’s Time for Learning Science to Drive Education Policy
The report offers 10 recommendations for synchronizing K-12 education policy with the science of learning and development. Among them is placing an emphasis on “student success for the whole child.” Read More.

One Big Barrier to Personalized Learning: Time
Nothing governs the school day quite as strictly as time. This is especially true in middle and high schools, where subject-specific blocks break up the day…Read More.

How States Can Jumpstart The Future Of Learning
The #FutureofWork is here-exponential technology has reshaped the employment landscape-but the #FutureofLearning seems to be taking its time…Read More.

6 Big Mistakes That Can Undermine Personalized Learning Efforts
Thomas Arnett is a senior research fellow for the Clayton Christensen Institute, a think tank that advocates “disruptive innovation”…Read More.

Personalized Learning: An Interview with National Thought Leaders and Practitioners
In November of 2018, at Education Reform Now’s annual Camp Philos conference in Boulder, Colorado, a distinguished panel of national personalized learning experts and practitioners…Read More.

Aurora Institute Symposium -formerly iNACOL
SAVE THE DATE
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Policy
The Center for Policy Advocacy leads the multi-stage evolution of policy necessary for the growth of effective personalized learning models toward the goals of high quality, equity, access and dramatically improving student learning to close the achievement gap and ensure every student has access to high-quality, world-class learning opportunities.
READ MORE
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CompetencyWorks
CompetencyWorks is an online resource dedicated to competency education in K-12 education. CompetencyWorks shares original research, knowledge and a variety of perspectives through an informative blog with practitioner knowledge, policy advancements, papers on emerging issues and a wiki with resources curated from across the field. Bookmark this resource and check often for frequent updates.
READ MORE
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Resources
Working collaboratively with diverse experts in the field, the Aurora Institute produces reports, books, policy briefs, blog posts, webinars and related resources on key topics and tough issues that equip and empower educators and leaders to catalyze and scale personalized, next generation learning models. Use our web-based library to freely access and share materials.
READ MORE
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Visit the Aurora Institute   |   Contact
The Aurora Institute drives the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all.
This email was sent by: Aurora Institute 1934 Old Gallows Road, Suite 350 Vienna, VA, 22182-4040, United States

November 2, 2019

Announcing iNACOL Symposium 2019 Innovator Award Winners

More from the neo-liberals…

To view this email as a web page, go here.
Dear Colleagues,

Aurora Institute, formerly known as iNACOL, recognized two outstanding leaders as recipients of the 2019 iNACOL Innovator Awards this morning as part of the 2019 iNACOL Symposium in Palm Springs, California. The annual iNACOL Innovator Awards distinguish individuals for innovative learning practices, and outstanding contributions in personalized learning.

Susan Patrick, Aurora Institute’s President and CEO, said, “It is an honor to introduce the recipients of the 2019 iNACOL Innovator Awards. Each individual has practiced dedication to challenging the current state of education and driving systems change that continues to focus on the future of learning for each and every student.”

2019 recipients include:

Jason Vest - Teacher - Hungary Creek Middle School in Henrico County, Virginia.
Personalized Learning Teacher of the Year Award:
Carissa Duran
Del Lago Academy Campus of Applied Science
Escondido Union High School District (CA)
Outstanding Contribution to Personalized Learning Award: 
David Ruff
Great Schools Partnership
Learn more about the iNACOL Innovator Awards here.

About Aurora Institute Symposium

On October 28-31, 2019, Aurora Institute’s annual Symposium will bring together 2,500 experts and educational leaders exploring the leading edge of personalized, competency-based learning in K-12 education from across the United States and around the world, including leading practitioners and educators, policymakers, researchers and innovators from throughout the field.

Attendees will find invaluable networking opportunities; access to expertise, analysis, the latest trends and research; and thought-provoking interactive sessions for leaders shaping the future of education. The Symposium includes hundreds of engaging interactive sessions, with tags to guide attendees toward highly relevant professional learning opportunities. Learn more on the iNACOL Symposium website.

About Aurora Institute  

The mission of Aurora Institute is to drive the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all. Visit our websitelike us on Facebook, connect with us on Linkedin and follow us on Twitter.

Facebook Facebook
Twitter Twitter
Linkedin Linkedin
YouTube YouTube
This email was sent by: iNACOL
1934 Old Gallows Road, Suite 350, Vienna, VA, 22182-4040 United States

November 1, 2019

Plugged In | 11.1.19 – Announcing – iNACOL Is Now the Aurora Institute, New Paper on Education Policy and the Learning Sciences

A newsletter from the neo-liberals.

Aurora Institute -formerly iNACOL
Plugged In
Nov. 1, 2019
INACOL IS NOW AURORA INSTITUTE
Announcing: iNACOL Is Now the Aurora Institute
For 17 years, iNACOL has been a leading voice advocating for expanding high-quality K-12 educational opportunities. Over time, our work has evolved to an expanded view of the need for breakthroughs in policy and practices for systems change required to ensure all students are prepared for success in our rapidly changing world.

We’ve just marked another important milestone in our journey. We are proud to announce that iNACOL has become the Aurora Institute

Why did we decide to change our name? First and foremost, because every learner deserves a clear path to future success, and we believe that a clearer brand identity will better position us to prepare those pathways.

However, changing our name also creates three other important solutions for us.

  • We get a name that defines us as an organization committed to systems change in K-12 education.
  • The change in name responds to a shift in our mission, vision, and values.
  • The name change illuminates our role as a convener of networks.

As thrilled as we are about the exciting new changes that Aurora Institute will bring, we want to underscore that much will remain unchanged.  The change in name does not signal a change in passion. The legacy embedded in the iNACOL name will continue under the Aurora Institute.

It will take time to fully transition the brand. In the coming months, we’ll share more about this change and what it means for you. Please watch our rebrand video and learn more through this letter to stakeholders about the journey of becoming the Aurora Institute.

LEARN MORE
Aligning Education Policy with the Science of Learning and Development
Nine Recommendations to Bring Education Policy into Alignment with What We Know about How Kids Learn and Develop
We know more than ever about the science of learning and development, but education policy hasn’t kept pace with these advancements. In a new report, the Aurora Institute explores the emerging research and offers a set of recommendations to align policy with how students learn best.

Aligning Education Policy with the Science of Learning and Development analyzes recent learning sciences research, and provides recommendations to address a critical need: how can education policy support and align with the science of learning and development?

This report intends to bridge a knowledge gap in the field  and can be used by education leaders to create a vision and framework for how to best support student learning and development. Policy plays a structural role in setting conditions and framing the expectations for teaching and learning in each state.

To get there, the report makes nine recommendations:

  1. Redefine student success for the whole child.
  2. Focus on supporting inclusive and safe learning environments.
  3. Create meaningful credentials that certify student mastery of the knowledge and skills necessary for students to succeed and thrive in college, career, and civil society.
  4. Provide diverse learning opportunities through multiple pathways allowing students to customize their learning according to their unique needs and interests.
  5. Meet students where they are.
  6. Build educator capacity and professional judgment to support whole-child learning.
  7. Build balanced systems of assessments that better align with student-centered learning.
  8. Rethink accountability systems for continuous improvement.
  9. Support innovative student-centered learning environments.

Download a full copy of Aligning Education Policy with the Science of Learning and Development.

DOWNLOAD
Reminders
iNACOL Symposium Evaluation Survey
Thank you for attending the Aurora Institute (formerly iNACOL) Symposium in Palm Springs this week.

Please take a few minutes to complete our post-conference survey. Your feedback is vital to the continued success of the Symposium. Please let us know what we did well, and where we can improve.

If you complete the survey by Friday, November 15, you will have the option of being entered into a drawing for a free registration to the 2020 Symposium in San Antonio, Texas.

Thank you, again, for attending this year’s Symposium! We look forward to seeing you next year in San Antonio on October 25-28, 2020.

COMPLETE SURVEY
Save the Date for the 2020 Aurora Institute Symposium
Save the Date for the 2020 Aurora Institute Symposium
Thank you for attending the Aurora Institute (formerly iNACOL) Symposium in Palm Springs, California.

We hope you engaged in deep discussions around personalized learning in an effort to foster equity, access, and high-quality educational opportunities for all students.

Please save the date for next year’s Symposium, to be held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center on October 25-28, 2020. Registration will open in spring 2020.

Look forward to upcoming announcements for the 2020 Symposium on our website.

LEARN MORE
New from Education Domain Blog
The U.S. Department of Education Is Inviting New Applications for Round 3 of the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) released a Notice Inviting Applications (NIA) for the third round of the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority (IADA) on Monday, October 28. The NIA is now available for public inspection on the Federal Register at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/10/28/2019-23477/applications-for-new-authorities-innovative-assessment-demonstration-authority.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) created the IADA, which allows participating states to pilot innovative new systems of assessments in a subset of school districts before scaling state-wide. States may apply on their own or as part of a consortium of up to four states…

– Maria Worthen & Alexis Chambers

READ MORE
New Innovation Spotlight Episode – Education Policy and the Learning Sciences with Natalie Truong
“Policy can play a supportive role in framing the expectations for teaching and learning. Through policy, we can work to create the conditions that are conducive to how students learn best. For example, we can create the conditions that enable schools and districts to design a vision for student success that is grounded in how learning and development happens. But unfortunately, our education systems are built on outdated models of teaching and learning.”

Natalie Truong

LISTEN
Quality Principles for Competency-Based Education
Featured Report

Quality Principles for Competency-Based Education

This book, developed with input involving practitioners as part of the National Summit on K-12 Competency-Based Education, offers 16 Quality Design Principles to guide the development of competency-based learning with the goal of creating a system in which every student succeeds. While producing high-quality schools certainly requires attention to the structure, policy and operations, it also requires replacing the underlying beliefs and culture of the traditional system with an inclusive culture of learning. As states, districts and schools re-design education systems, the 16 Quality Design Principles provide a cohesive framework that offers a set of guideposts for schools and districts. While all principles are essential, districts and schools are using different entry points to begin transforming their systems and make different design choices. No matter the entry point, the depth of implementation or the model, the Quality Design Principles are composed to spark discussion that will accelerate the shift from the paradigm of the traditional system to one that seeks to have every student succeed.
READ
BONUS:
Webinar: Quality Principles for Competency-Based Education
Plugged In Headlines: News about Education Transformation
Exploring K-12 Competency-Based Education Implementation in the Northeast States
Carla M. Evans, Suzanne E. Graham, Melissa L. Lefebvre, NASSP Bulletin

Thinking About How Kids Will Think in the Future
The Jefferson Exchange Team

Get Schooled by Fourth and Fifth Graders at Reagan Elementary
Keri Mitchell, Advocate Oak Cliff

‘Micro-Schools’ Punch Above Their Weight by Offering Personalized Education
Jude Schwalbach, The Daily Signal

St. Albert the Great Growing Through Personalized Learning
Jennifer Franco, Patch

Moving Away From Timed Tests
Brian Stack, MultiBriefs


Aurora Institute in the News
Online Learning Group iNACOL Rebrands, Says Focus is Less on Tech, More on Transformation
iNACOL, a group formed to promote online learning, is rebranding – and trying to shed its association with education technology…Read More.

Shining a Light on Next Gen Learning at iNACOL
Innovative educators are heading to Palm Springs in California for the annual iNACOL Symposium next week, October 28-31, 2019…Read More.

Aurora Institute Symposium -formerly iNACOL
SAVE THE DATE
Image
Policy
The Center for Policy Advocacy leads the multi-stage evolution of policy necessary for the growth of effective personalized learning models toward the goals of high quality, equity, access and dramatically improving student learning to close the achievement gap and ensure every student has access to high-quality, world-class learning opportunities.
READ MORE
Image
CompetencyWorks
CompetencyWorks is an online resource dedicated to competency education in K-12 education. CompetencyWorks shares original research, knowledge and a variety of perspectives through an informative blog with practitioner knowledge, policy advancements, papers on emerging issues and a wiki with resources curated from across the field. Bookmark this resource and check often for frequent updates.
READ MORE
Image
Resources
Working collaboratively with diverse experts in the field, the Aurora Institute produces reports, books, policy briefs, blog posts, webinars and related resources on key topics and tough issues that equip and empower educators and leaders to catalyze and scale personalized, next generation learning models. Use our web-based library to freely access and share materials.
READ MORE
Image Image Image
Visit the Aurora Institute   |   Contact
The Aurora Institute drives the transformation of education systems and accelerate the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all.
This email was sent by: iNACOL 1934 Old Gallows Road, Suite 350 Vienna, VA, 22182-4040, United States

October 31, 2019

iNACOL Announces Name Change

And an announcement from the neo-liberals…

iNACOL Announces Name Change

National Nonprofit Committed to Systems Change in K-12 Education Will Now Be Known as the Aurora Institute


Oct 28, 2019, 20:01 ET


PALM SPRINGS, Calif.Oct. 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — iNACOL is changing its name to the Aurora Institute. The change is a result of broadening its narrow focus from online learning as a delivery method to a broader narrative about education innovation in the context of human development. The change is also a reflection of the organization’s deepening commitment to the transformation of education systems and the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all.

The announcement was made Monday evening at the 2019 iNACOL Symposium in Palm Springs, California, an annual event drawing nearly 3,000 education innovators advocating the move away from the traditional, time-bound K-12 model toward new, student-centered approaches to teaching and learning.

“Over the past 17 years, we have grown and evolved, with a new mission, vision, and values. We sought a name that created space for the conceptual work we do in transforming learning for a brighter future and shining a light on innovations across the field,” said Susan Patrick, president and CEO of the Aurora Institute.

The rebrand has been in development for nearly three years. iNACOL was founded in 2002 as an online learning association — then a response to the lack of access many students had to rigorous high-quality courses. Technology-enabled learning has been an incredible innovation for K-12; it is, however, one of many ways to deliver high-quality learning. Over the past decade, the work of the organization has evolved to more closely examine the root cause of issues surrounding access and opportunity in education, along with the fundamental shifts required for all students to be prepared for success in our rapidly changing world. This required a change in focus from delivery method to the intent, purpose, and possibilities of education more broadly.

The board of directors formalized this shift in focus by adopting a new mission, vision, and value set for the organization in late 2017. Since then, the organization has consulted partners in the field of next-generation learning, schools, and other stakeholders to conceive of and bring its new identity to life.

“Aurora means dawn. We think it’s a powerful metaphor about the potential and promise embedded in K-12 education,” said Patrick. “An Aurora signals a fresh start, a new beginning, and hope for the future. That’s what our nation’s education systems can do for each and every learner, and that’s what it can do for the nature of teaching and learning too.”

The change in name does not signal a change in passion. All of the work and legacy embedded in the iNACOL name will continue under the Aurora Institute, including conducting research, issuing publications, hosting webinars, visiting schools, analyzing and developing policy, facilitating learning communities, tracking legislation and offering technical assistance, and advocating for personalized, competency-based education. The annual Symposium, the field’s flagship convening for systems change allies, will also continue.

“We are widening our tent and elongating our table to be of service to education systems and to the democratic ideals underpinning them,” said Patrick. “We make room for all forms of next-generation learning methods aimed at equalizing opportunity. Our new identity helps our name to better match our mission, the breadth and depth of our work, and the urgency of change.”

The rebrand announcement came with an unveiling of a new logo and tagline, “A New Dawn for Every Learner,” along with a special video message explaining why the change is necessary.

A full website redesign is expected in Spring 2020.  For more information visit: https://www.inacol.org/inacol-is-now-the-aurora-institute/

The Aurora Institute (formerly iNACOL) drives the transformation of education systems and accelerates the advancement of breakthrough policies and practices to ensure high-quality learning for all.  Visit our website, like us on Facebook, connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Twitter.

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