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HIGH EXPECTATIONS

Charter schools like KIPP have created a culture where students are expected to meet a high bar. They also provide high levels of support, working extensively with parents and caretakers, and embedding deeply into their communities. Prenda will apply these concepts by establishing high standards for both academics and behavior, drawing adult facilitators directly from the families and communities of the students, and providing frequent support to the facilitators, and obsessively focusing on culture. (NYT Article)

CHOICE

The rapid growth of charter schools in recent years has led to many more options for school. In Arizona, 20% of K12 students attend charter schools, each one attracting families with a unique focus and approach. While not every charter school is a success, the increase in options drives competition for student enrollment, leading all schools to focus on improvement. (MIT Press)

 
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BLENDED LEARNING

While computer technology has long been considered a transformative force in the classroom, research in the last decade has shown that computers alone will not help kids learn. A blended learning approach combines technology with in-person interactions to empower lasting learning. Note: blended learning is distinct from technology-enriched classroom instruction. (Summary from BLU)

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MASTERY

Instead of attaching a fixed amount of material to a set time period (e.g. unit test every 6 weeks), mastery learning allows each student to fully master each topic before moving on to the next one. Not only does mastery learning help future learning by reducing holes in foundational knowledge, but it also removes the psychological damage of bad grades, self-labeling, and peer comparison. (Khan TED talk)

 
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PERSONALIZATION

With learners moving through the material at different paces and no lectures, the adult can play a different role, supporting individual students with specific needs. Sometimes needs are cognitive (e.g. how to find a common denominator for two fractions), but more often they are fundamentally human issues, like feeling discouraged, unmotivated, or distracted. (OET)

SMALL GROUPS

Interacting with peers has been shown to reinforce understanding of the concepts and bring subjects to life. More important, human interactions are profoundly motivating and lead to high levels of engagement and student ownership. (IgnitED)

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PROJECT-BASED LEARNING

Schools like High-Tech High have demonstrated the power of group projects to motivate learning and drive high-level thinking and effort. When designed to cross multiple subject areas and connected to the real world, project-based learning is a powerful way to cement the concepts and information absorbed in other learning modes. (BIE)

REAL WORLD CONNECTIONS

In countries like Finland and Germany, exposure to career options is a normal part of school. Cutting edge schools in the U.S. are catching on, connecting students at every level of interest and aptitude to people engaged in the modern economy. Students can benefit from learning about technology, business, medicine, law, manufacturing, trades, and other real world careers. (NYT)