This week, 3 students and 2 staff members from Kingsthorpe College – an EdisonLearning UK partnership school – are visiting Theodore Roosevelt College and Career Academy in Gary, Indiana; and Bridgescape Learning Academies in Chicago.
The tour offers a unique and exceptional opportunity for both UK and American students to experience and learn about the different countries’ culture, education system, and politics; as well as allowing them to share their own cultural and educational backgrounds and experiences.
It is the result of EdisonLearning’s International Pilot Program Committee, which seeks to establish links between the educators and students in partnership schools in the U.S. and U.K. Kingsthorpe College is involved in the Collaborative Academies Trust, for which EdisonLearning UK is the prime sponsor.
Lailah Wesby of Gary is a champion track star at a young age, earning gold and bronze medals at the recent AAU 14-Under Youth National Indoor Championship in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Her biggest supporter is her older brother, Brandon Wesby, who is a successful track coach, and a staff member at Theodore Roosevelt College and Career Academy.
For both Lailah and Brandon, this competition held at the Bowen Fieldhouse on the campus of Eastern Michigan University brought mixed emotions, for it was at this facility that their late mother, Lisa Wesby, last saw her daughter compete.
"Eastern Michigan is my favorite place to run. It's the last place my mom saw me run so I try to do really good there," said Lailah. A strong supporter of Lailah's academics and athletics, their mother "never missed a beat," said Brandon, the girls track coach at East Chicago Central.
This week, Lailah Wesby received a special visit from three female Olympians on Monday's episode of "Steve Harvey" -- https://youtu.be/TSdiMzrBS-M. Harvey introduced her to Brianna Rollins, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin, who each won a medal in the 100-meter hurdles at the Rio Olympics. The women made history by giving the United States its first sweep in that event.
In addition, Harvey surprised Branden with a $5,000 gift on behalf of Green Dot, the issuer of prepaid debit cards, to help with Lailah’s training and travel expenses.
Similar to school accountability measures and standards implemented in the United States, the work of our colleagues in the UK comes under the review of the government agency – Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills. Ofsted inspects and regulates services that care for children and young people, and services providing education and skills for learners of all ages.
In the recent “Primary Education Report to Parliament” one of the schools participating in EdisonLearning UK’s Aspire program – Jane Duke Junior School in Basildon, Essex, England, was highlighted. Below is the report:
In 2015 OFSTED graded the Jane Duke Junior School as “Requires Improvement”. Nonetheless with good leadership highlighted and good behaviour and safety. We were commended for our systems of safeguarding children’s welfare practice – ‘The school’s work to keep pupils safe and secure is outstanding’.
Amongst our successes in 2015 we saw a Good Level of Development for Early Years Foundation Stage rise from 44% to 64%, the Year 1 phonics check rose from 56% to 71%, our Infant Average Points Score improved and the Year 6 results increased by more than 10% at level 4 combined and increased outcomes in all three progress measures. How did we achieve this?
In 2013 we were approached by a cluster of schools which were working with National Association of Head-teachers and the DfE to develop an improvement programme with EdisonLearning – delivering the Aspire programme. We joined this school improvement partnership known as Aspire and have seen a number of benefits as a result.
We have embedded quality teaching and learning by developing goals to achieve the OFSTED schedule and national expectations. We have identified what adults do to ensure learners are effective and improving their results. The project has also allowed us to develop distributed leadership more effectively.
Key leadership roles for five strands were allocated to staff and have focused on the school’s desired outcomes and the vehicles to get us there. Leadership has focused on asking staff to take on responsibility across the school with teachers in charge playing a vital role on school improvement with year group leaders and subject leaders taking ownership and accountability of improved outcomes for pupils.
The assessment for learning strand has developed our systems in order to access, track and plan for pupil learning. We use achievement team meetings to focus on the outcomes and barriers to success for the pupils. The staff then worked together to find solutions and report back and develop further as the needs of the pupils dictate.
The Aspire pilot has allowed us to embed further what we do well and explore other opportunities to improve the outcomes for all our pupils. We are now developing this further through the Basildon Excellence Panel, working in clusters with other Basildon schools for the good of all the pupils within Basildon. Our aim is to have every school in Basildon with good and outstanding OFSTED ratings.
The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network founded October as “National Dropout Prevention Month” and actively promotes solutions to increase graduation rates. The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network is the most accessed resource in the world for dropout prevention, recovery, and reentry resources.
EdisonLearning is a proud supporter of NDPC, and Thom Jackson serves on its Board of Directors. EdisonLearning will also sponsor NDPC’s new www.dropoutprevetion.org website, which will be the premier clearinghouse for research, best practices, model programs, and networking opportunities for practitioners, policymakers, administrators, researchers and others who work with at-risk youth.
This week, EdisonLearning is playing an active role this week in raising awareness of the dropout crisis with the “Don’t Let Them Drop” art installation at NDPC’s national conference in Detroit.
In addition, EdisonLearning, CAOLA, and Global Learning Models held a session on Monday entitled: “Engaging Non-Traditional Students Through Project-Based Learning.” This session outlined how teaching and learning strategies, enhanced by interactive Project-Based Curriculum, are transforming the non-traditional learner experience.
Attendees had the opportunity to create their own mini-mastery project to better comprehend the non-traditional student’s attainment of critical thinking and analytical skills that lead to sustained success; by utilizing the project-based curriculum developed by EdisonLearning, Global Learning Models, and the Capital Area Immediate Unit’s online program - CAOLA.
As educators, we have all come to understand the benefits of virtual learning; how it can increase student engagement and better match a student’s learning style and needs.
Yet, knowing how to solve problems, work collaboratively, and think innovatively are becoming essential real-world skills for today’s students.
In our session at the National Dropout Prevention Conference, on Monday, October 3, at 3:15 to 4:30 pm; we will outline how teaching and learning strategies, enhanced by interactive Project-Based Curriculum, are transforming the non-traditional learner experience.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to create their own mini-mastery project to better comprehend the non-traditional student’s attainment of critical thinking and analytical skills that lead to sustained success.
During the session, we will utilize the project-based curriculum developed by EdisonLearning, Global Learning Models, and the Capital Area Immediate Unit’s online program - CAOLA.
Engaging Non-Traditional Students Through Project-Based Learning will provide education administrators with essential solutions to meet the needs of students at-risk, and all student populations. Therefore, we hope to see you on Monday.
Natalie Williams, EdisonLearning
Eric Davis, Global Learning Models
Holly Brzycki, Capital Area Intermediate Unit