Tony Simmons, High School for Recording Arts, is a frequent presenter and advocate for alternative accountability policies and practices that his school embraces. Last year, he described how HSRA uses recording albums, student workshops, group study advisories and other methods to demonstrate mastery of state standards without being limited by seat time. This year, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton kicked off the statewide “GEAR UP” week at Tony’s school in recognition of the urgent need to help low-income and underrepresented students prepare for a postsecondary education. Read about his school’s impact on state policy in the article below.
The 2015 Alternative Accountability Policy Forum is pleased to welcome presenters from Education Northwest and Portland Public Schools. They will present a session with the working title, "Telling the Whole Story: Using Qualitative and Quantitative Metrics to Measure Multiple Facets of Alternative Programs." This inspiring presentation will highlight ways to effectively measure student progress, student achievement, school climate, and more.
Read more about this AAPF15 collaborative effort from Education Northwest and Portland Public Schools.
One session at the Alternative Accountability Policy Forum focused on dropout prevention and recovery from the vantage point of County Offices of Education. It was entitled "The County Office View: What a Difference Commitment Makes," and included Tom Changnon, Matthew LaPlante, Kenn Young. The conversation among the panel and attendees of that session was featured on NoDropouts.org.
Read "No one-size-fits-all solution to dropout prevention and recovery" here.
NoDropouts.org published an article this week entitled "Why we can't measure dropout recovery students the same way as we measure others." The post was in response to data presented to the Duval County School Board in Florida. The school board responded to district data on credit completion of the district's dropout retrieval programs. The programs were criticized for the low number of credits earned by its students. The NoDropouts.org article illuminates issues when it comes to evaluating dropout retrieval.
From the article: "Dropout recovery programs serve students who have already left school once before. Often these students have come and gone multiple times. Research tells us these students are commonly years behind in credit attainment, and even further behind in actual educational attainment.
"In most cases, they’re still facing the issues that pushed them out of school in the first place — and in many cases those obstacles have only increased in the time they’ve been away from school."
The presentation of such skewed data in Duval County is further evidence of the relevance of alternative accountability and the need to create more appropriate methodologies to evaluate the success of schools focused on serving overage and undercredited students.
Read "Why we can't measure dropout recovery students the same way as we measure others."
Connected by 25 highlighted the 3rd Annual Alternative Accountability Policy Forum.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
"We’ve made incredible progress in the past decade in recognizing the graduation crisis, stepping up investments in dropout prevention, high school reform and re-engagement (which we used to call multiple pathways to graduation). However, states are still the biggest player in developing an aligned system that is designed to re-engage vulnerable youth in completing high school and moving on to further post-secondary education and training. And we still don’t have the infrastructure to support it. That’s why the policies to raise the age students can leave school to 17 and 18 have not been balanced with policies to raise the age that students can receive an education in the K12 system, with its significantly higher funding than adult education, to 20, or higher."
The practitioners and advocates that gather at the Third Annual Accountability Policy Forum are doing the work that we failed to invest in two decades ago. They started meeting because it was important, not because there was foundation support. They are forming alliances with other groups, such as the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, that share the concerns that accountability systems are inadequate to respond to over-age, undercredited students."
Read the article here.
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has published a new report featuring best practices utilized by successful dropout recovery high schools.
The report, Over-Age, Under-Credited Students and Public Charter Schools describes the role of charter schools in dropout recovery efforts across the Country. The NAPCS study utilizes an extensive research base to describe the challenges of serving dropouts in terms of limited school options and economic burdens. The report provides case studies to highlight five successful strategies for dropout recovery: competency-based progression; project-based learning; real-world application; flexible calendars and holistic student supports.
The NAPCS report recommends four policies at the state and national level to support re-engaging America’s most underserved students:
1. Understanding the population and what works by collecting relevant data;
2. Facilitating partnerships for providing comprehensive wrap around services;
3. Providing equitable funding; and
4. Allowing alternative accountability measures.
These policies are consistent with those contained in the 2012 Alternative Accountability Policy Forum Recommendations. Representatives of the featured schools will be in attendance at this year’s Alternative Accountability Policy Forum in San Diego, California on November 14th and 15th.
Download the report, Over-Age, Under-Credited Students and Public Charter Schools.
In honor of students who work to re-engage in high school and the staff who support them, California has passed legislation (ACR 166) to establish a “Dropout Recovery Week” for the week of August 4.
This year many groups came together with SIATech to support the Resolution including the NAACP, MALDEF, LAUSD, SDUSD, the California Charter Schools Association, and several other organizations. ACR 166 is "in honor of the pupils who overcome significantly personal challenges to reengage in high school and become transformed learners in preparation for college and a future career."
The Resolution was covered in NoDropouts - "SIATech and other school leaders sponsor Dropout Recovery Week legislation in California," on July 8, 2014.
If you’d like to talk about ways to get involved with Dropout Recovery Week, contact Ernie Silva.
The "Connected by 25" blog posted a terrific summary of the 2013 event. Click here to read what they had to say about the policy forum and the alternative accountability movement. "2013 Alternative Accountability Policy Forum Draws From 18 States"
Also, NoDropouts.org focused on the work being done by RAPSA and Jim Griffin / Jody Ernst. You can check it out here: "Education leaders asked to help craft a new policy to better assess at-risk students"
This section provides up-to-date information about the conference