As the new year begins, Collaborative heads into our 15th year of service.
Looking back as well as forward, our reason for being remains the same: to provide not only expert communications and engagement supports but also a level of quality and care----something truly special----that serves to extend, expand and accelerate the ambitious goals of those within our network. We are grateful to continue to work with those who believe that learning is the key to success in school, career and life and thus should not be limited by lack of innovation, expertise, time or income.
As Collaborative's network grows, we are particularly pleased by the number of our partners who have chosen again and again to work with us over multiple years----a fair number of whom have been with us since the beginning.
Because we exist to serve the community, we tip our New Year's hats to a few ways we were able to support our partners in shaping the course of learning and public education in 2012:
- To the Office of the State Superintendent of Education of the District of Columbia, whose LearnDC.org website builds understanding of the Common Core State Standards and their implementation not only for teachers and other internal district audiences but for families and community-based organizations as well. LearnDC is setting the bar for other states not only for excellent web design but for the engagement that will be essential for effective implementation of the Common Core.
- To the C.S. Mott Foundation, which funded the launch of the Expanded Learning and Afterschool Project this past year. Through a series of webinars featuring experts and practitioners from across the country and convenings of stakeholders organized by statewide afterschool networks, more than 600 individuals and more than 450 organizations have signed on in support of the project. Schools and communities are using these engagement opportunities, along with an online toolkit of resources, to build afterschool systems that leverage the time beyond school to accelerate student achievement.
- To the Baltimore City Public Schools, which, with the Baltimore Teachers Union, has created a national model of district-union collaboration in its third year of a teacher contract that provides historic salary and professional growth opportunities. BCPS is expanding that collaboration, along with seven other Maryland districts, in the pilot and field testing of a landmark teacher evaluation process.
- To the National Association of Elementary School Principals and National Association of Secondary School Principals, which teamed up in the past year to create their Rethinking Principal Evaluation guidelines. This represented a significant collaboration to create a common voice of principals and is proving to be a useful support for states and districts that are leading the nation in creating meaningful definitions of principal effectiveness.
- To the Urban Teacher Center, which stands alone among teacher preparation programs in this country in guaranteeing that it will certify only teachers who can demonstrate improved student achievement.
- To the Northwest Evaluation Association, which, with Grunwald Associates, released For Every Child, Multiple Measures: What Parents and Educators Want From K-12 Assessments, a first-ever look at how those with the most practical and personal experience view the day-to-day impact of assessments and accountability.
- To the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, which holds the largest gathering of public charter schools. Last year, more than 4,000 participants came to learn, connect, share ideas and hear from Bill Cosby.
Building on our efforts and accomplishments----and looking forward to 2013 and two or three years ahead----the Collaborative team is expanding our capacities to support trends in education reform as well as adult learning, how people get information and how they form networks.
Here are just a few things you can expect to hear more about in the coming year:
- Collaborative will continue to build our digital media offerings, launched in the past year. We define digital media as a combination of traditional, new and social media. We expect to release our online nonprofit guide to social media in 2013. And, of course, we will continue our media outreach efforts, development of web and online professional development and trainings for nonprofits in social media strategy. We are also exploring ways to bring transmedia concepts to the utilization of education ideas and advocacy for education issues.
- In February, Collaborative will publish Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success, a compendium of essays by more than 100 thought leaders that will help to grow and strengthen the national conversation on supporting student success through community action.
- Collaborative will continue to strengthen our services to convene groups, both large and small. Our work with the C.S. Mott Foundation's Statewide Afterschool Networks, NAF Next, the NEA Foundation's Closing the Achievement Gap Initiative, the James Irvine Foundation's Youth Program Grantees (Linked Learning) and others set the stage for us to continue to be a national leader in structuring premier adult professional learning opportunities. Ask us about the new conference scheduling app Collaborative has developed, which allows you to access an agenda book on your mobile phone.
We were more than saddened by the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, as well as the story of the violent shooting death of a colleague's grandson. We are motivated to help make schools a sanctuary for learning. In December, we did some pro bono writing of organizational statements and blog posts on this issue. We are now looking for ways to bring the education community into the national discussions on gun violence and mental health. We may be reaching out to you as we develop ideas to include education leaders, particularly in regard to Vice President Biden's task force. If you have ideas, please reach out to us.