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Tools, strategies, methods, resources for changing culture and practice to implement the CCSS at the building level.
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Rescooped by Ronda Schuler Scott from Literacy Education in the Middle School!

Seven More Ways to Go From On-Task to Engaged

Last June, I wrote Seven Ways to Go From On-Task to Engaged, which turned out to be one of the most popular topics of the year. In it I spoke about the possibility that students could technically be on-task but cognitively and emotionally unengaged in the actual learning. For decades, much discussion and research in education circles focused on the role of time on-task and its relationship to attention and learning (Karweit, 1983; Prater, 1992). While time on task is important, as is focus and attention, true engagement in learning involves more than external behaviors as measured by time on-task. True engagement involves the mind, the body, and the soul. As educators, we realize that not all on-task time is productive time. John Hattie, in his research synthesis Visible Learning points out that increasing time on task is pointless if the tasks themselves are not productive. Those who call for longer school days and longer school years might be wise to increase the focus on getting students engaged and productive. After all, asking students to spend more time being bored or disengaged isn't likely going to have a positive effect. Because not all tasks or assignments are equal in their ability to effectively engage students, educators should have a variety of strategies and approaches available when they work with students. So, here are seven more ways to go from on-task to engaged: Ask questions that don't have right or wrong answers. Seek student opinions, allow argumentation, encourage persuasion, and teach students how to disagree and debate in a positive way. Strike a balance between praise and feedback. Grant Wiggins, co-author of Understanding by Design points out that praise, "Keeps me in the game, but doesn't help me get any better." While praise may encourage effort, specific feedback is necessary in order to truly learn and grow. Encourage self reflection and the creation of personalized goals. Teach students to track and evaluate their own learning. Some of the most valuable and long-lasting learning comes from the personal insights and "ah-hahs" we discover when learning about ourselves. Increase physical movement. Movement has a positive effect on learning and student achievement. Physical movement wakes up the brain by increasing blood flow, increasing certain neurotransmitters that have an impact on memory, and generally helps students be more alert. Increase the use of celebrations. Bobbi DePorter and her co-authors of Quantum Teaching point out that, "If it's worth learning, it's worth celebrating." Classrooms should be places where there is joy, celebration, and happiness because learning is fun. Stress process over product. Some of our most disengaged and bored students care little about grades, points, or other "motivators" we tend to use in school. Instead of focusing on the outcome of the work (which is typically a grade), focus on the process of learning, the experiences students will have, and the personal connections they can make to ideas and content. Take a risk. Every day, we ask students to stretch themselves to be better, smarter, or more insightful. In essence, we ask them to take a risk and try things that may not be comfortable. Likewise, as educators, we should also be taking risks, trying out new approaches, and stretching ourselves beyond our comfort zone. When students see us modeling those same behaviors and attitudes, it can have a tremendous impact. How do you know if students are not only on-task but engaged? What strategies to you recommend? Post submitted by Bryan Harris, director of professional development for the Casa Grande Elementary School District in Arizona. He is the author of Battling Boredom, published by Eye On Education. More information can be found at

Via Kim Perschmann
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Rescooped by Ronda Schuler Scott from Dropout re-engagement!

Income Inequality and High School Dropout Rates - Washington ...

Income Inequality and High School Dropout Rates - Washington ... | ImplementingCCSS |
Salim Furth: A new paper finds a correlation between high school dropout rates and the local gap between the middle class and the lower class -- and that the effect predominantly influences boys.

Via Dr Gutierrez
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Rescooped by Ronda Schuler Scott from high school dropout!

high school math, science linked to more dropouts - Washington ...

high school math, science linked to more dropouts - Washington ... | ImplementingCCSS |
As math and science requirements for high school graduation have become more rigorous, dropout rates across the United States have risen, according to research at Washington University in St. Louis. The tougher ...

Via Dr Gutierrez
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Rescooped by Ronda Schuler Scott from Digital-News on today!

How Can We Prevent High School Seniors from Dropping Out? - Getting Smart by Guest Author - dropout prevention, edreform, graduation rates, High school

How Can We Prevent High School Seniors from Dropping Out? - Getting Smart by Guest Author - dropout prevention, edreform, graduation rates, High school | ImplementingCCSS |
Although the numbers indicate that these students leave during senior year, studies show that dropping out of school is often the result of a long, cumulative process and is not a decision students make overnight.

Via Thomas Faltin
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Rescooped by Ronda Schuler Scott from Middle Level Leadership!

Life of an Educator: 10 things I'd like to see in every classroom

Life of an Educator: 10 things I'd like to see in every classroom | ImplementingCCSS |

the learning process. We say we want to see students cognitively engaged and not just simply compliant.  Here's the problem... these things we all want to see are pretty subjective at best and are pretty difficult to see in a quick 5-10 minute classroom observation without speaking with students and possibly even speaking with the teacher. I'm fortunate in my position to have the opportunity to visit classrooms at all levels in my district K-12, and with all these visits I've come up with a more tangible list of 10 things I'd like to see in every classroom:

Via Patti Kinney
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Rescooped by Ronda Schuler Scott from Exploring Life!

Unintended consequences of raising state math, science graduation requirements

Raising state-mandated math and science course graduation requirements (CGRs) may increase high school dropout rates without a meaningful effect on college enrollment or degree attainment, according to new research. To examine the effects of state-mandated CGRs on educational attainment, researchers looked at student outcomes in 44 states where CGRs were mandated in the 1980s and 1990s.

Via Cindy Seiwert
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Rescooped by Ronda Schuler Scott from Leading Schools!

Stop Holding Us Ninth Grade

Stop Holding Us Ninth Grade | ImplementingCCSS |

By Bob Balfanz


"There are smarter, more effective ways to lower high school dropout rates" and improve graduation rates.

Via Mel Riddile
Mel Riddile's curator insight, June 9, 2014 11:35 AM

Key Points for School Leaders from “Stop Holding Us Back” by Bob Balfanz


"Asking struggling students to repeat a grade under the same circumstances almost guarantees the same result.”

The failure to successfully complete the ninth grade virtually guarantees that the student will drop out.

  • Boys are significantly over-represented in dropouts and in those failing to complete the ninth grade.
  • There is virtually no legal work for dropouts.

Half of the African-American boys who veer off the path to high school graduation do so in just 660 of more than 12,600 regular and vocational high schools

In the high schools where most of the young men are derailed, the number of ninth-grade boys who desperately need better schooling and extra support is typically between 50 and 100.

  • up to half the students to miss a month or more of school
  • more students are suspended in a year than graduate. 

In a 22-school sample Balfanz observed the following:

nearly all ninth-grade students were either too old for their grades

  • had repeated ninth grade
  • needed special education
  • were chronically absent or had academic skills at the seventh grade level or below
  • The norm in this environment is to fail classes and then repeat ninth grade.

Most students do no better the second time around. 

  • Either they drop out then or they may briefly transfer to another school before dropping out later. 
  • This is a highly predictable, almost mechanical course, which is why we call those schools dropout factories.

Most students who eventually drop out can be identified as early as the sixth grade by their attendance, behavior and course performance.

It is possible to identify by the middle of ninth grade virtually everyone who will drop out. 

A recent study of public schools in Chicago shows that getting students back on track in the ninth grade leads to higher graduation rates and that African-American males in particular experience the greatest benefits when schools are reorganized to focus on ninth grade.

What do we need to do on a national scale?  

  • Redesign secondary schools with a focus on freshman year.
  • Pay attention to “early warning indicators”
  • Employ additional adults to support students who need daily nagging and nurturing to succeed, especially during the key transitional years in sixth and ninth grades.
  • Mentor students by showing them how to set goals, apply to college and acquire workplace skills.