1. Set a high bar
of college/career ready knowledge, skills, and dispositions.
Insist on evidence of real college and career ready standards.
Showcase examples of student work at board meetings.
2. Start a conversation about next generation learning
Hold a work study on Innosight’s report on blended learning.
Hold a work study on OpportunityCulture: strategies to extend the reach of
Read the profiles of Next Generation Learning Models.
Ask teachers and community members what they are excited about and what they are concerned about (here’s an example of a Rhode Island conversation).
3. Take a field trip to a next generation schools
Visit a school in the Innosight or NGLC reports.
Elementary: KIPP Empower, Rocketship.
High school: Carpe Diem, Nexus, Silicon Valley Flex, Summit Prep.
Districts: Mooresville, Riverside, NYC iZone.
4. Model tech-based learning and management
Use social media to gather input and communicate.
Run transparent digital meetings.
Post policy proposals and ask for comment.
Support district community communications.
5. Ask for a plan to provide universal access to digital learning
Read and discuss
Funding the Shift: Three Strategies for Funding Sustainable High-Access Environments
Adopt a Bring-Your-Own-Device policy ( here are 6 reasons).
Support partnerships for improved broadband access.
6. Ask for an online learning plan
As recommended by Digital Learning Now!, states and districts should expand
access to full and part time online learning.
The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (where I’m a director) offers great policy advice on online learning.
There’s no reason that every high school student in the U.S. shouldn’t have access to every AP course, every foreign language, and every high level
STEM course taught by an expert.
7. Ask for a blended learning plan
Every school should receive support in adopting or developing a blended learning model that extends the reach of great teachers and personalizes
learning for every student (watch for a January SmartSeries paper on this topic).
8. Ask for a one room schoolhouse plan
It is now quite possible to run a great school for 50 or 100 students. Flex model secondary
There are at least
10 Reasons Every District Should Open a Flex School
District can also issue an NGLC-like RFI for new models.
9. Ask for a zero base the budget
Shift to digital materials by 2015.
Reallocate $250 per student for universal access by 2015.
Fund new school/program development.
Apply for waivers (innovation/charter status).
10. Ask your state for a new funding model
Districts/networks should receive equalized and weighted funding.
Funding should be portable for students.
Funding to districts/providers should have a small performance-based component to incentivize completion and achievement (watch for a February SmartSeries paper on this topic).
The opinions expressed in Vander Ark on Innovation are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.