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Aurora Institute

How to Participate in the Meeting Students Where They Are Technical Advisory Group

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Chris Sturgis

Issue(s): Issues in Practice, Learn Lessons from the Field

Meeting Kids TAGCompetencyWorks will be holding a National Summit on Competency-Based Education in June to convene 100 leaders representing a range of perspectives, geography, expertise, and racial/ethnic diversity. Yet, there are thousands of leaders and educators across the country who have expertise in competency education who could make valuable contributions to these conversations. Thus, we have designed Technical Advisory Groups that will create a participatory process leading up to the Summit to draw on your knowledge and ideas.

The third Technical Advisory Group (TAG) is coming up soon: We will be focusing on Meeting Students Where They Are between February 27 and March 3, 2017. The Meeting Students Where They Are TAG is an opportunity to think about how students learn academic skills and content as well as how it varies by age, stages of development, and across domains. We know that any academic learning is also dependent on students developing a growth mindset, student agency, and social-emotional learning. We are delighted to announce that this Technical Advisory Group will be facilitated by Antonia Rudenstine, Dixie Bacallao, and Sydney Schaef from reDesign, an organization specifically committed to developing strategies, practices, and designs that help practitioners meet the needs of our most vulnerable students.

Our focusing question:

As we shift from the traditional system with its focus on delivery of grade-level curriculum within a time-based model designed to sort students, to one that uses a learner-centered approach to ensure every student is reaching proficiency, what do we need to do differently to ensure that we are meeting the needs of students based on where they are?

We want to tap into your creativity and expertise to think about what needs to be in place to ensure we meet the needs of students so that they can learn, thrive, and grow.

Please note: We are asking that only people involved with district or school-wide competency education for at least one year participate in TAGs. These are not designed to support people just learning about competency education. (We suggest that those of you who are new to the topic start by reading the case studies of districts and schools.) You will have opportunity to learn from these conversations as the papers on each TAG prepared for the Summit will be made available in early June as well as the final reports post-Summit.

REGISTER for the Meeting Students Where They Are Technical Advisory Group here. (You can also sign up for the remaining TAG on quality. We ask for contact information and a sense of your expertise, and, at the bottom, you can sign up for the TAGs.)

How the TAG Works: The basics: On February 27th at 1 pm ET we will have a webinar to introduce you to the scope of our work together and initial ideas. Don’t worry if you can’t make the webinar – you can still participate. We will then open a virtual conversation using a Google Doc. You can visit the document anytime during the week of the TAG to leave suggestions and comments. We will do our best to incorporate your ideas in real time. At the end of the week, we will do final revisions to produce a briefing paper in advance of the National Summit on K-12 Competency-Based Education and will help gather input from a variety of perspectives to guide conversations at the Summit. During the Summit, participants will work collaboratively to further refine the papers and produce a set of materials that will be released publicly after the Summit. The pre-Summit paper, based on your input, will be shared publicly on the Summit web page so that everyone can engage in strengthening our efforts to ensure that competency education is designed to increase equity.

Getting Started: The first thing you should do is register. On February 24th, we will send an email with links to the Meeting Students Where They Are TAG document and information about the Meeting Students Where They Are TAG introductory webinar. The webinar is scheduled for Monday, February 27th at 1-2 PM ET and is designed to clarify the process for the TAG and the structure of the paper we are providing as a starting point. Throughout the week, you can stop by the TAG document to see how it is developing, share your thoughts, and offer alternative ideas and phrasing. The reDesign team or Chris Sturgis will be in the document daily to respond to your ideas.

Take Advantage of This Opportunity: Please consider taking advantage of the Meeting Students Where They Are TAG to engage your organization, professional learning community, and network in exploring which designs, policies, processes, and practices will lead to greater equity as well as identify those that create opportunity for inequitable practices to take hold. You can use the ideas in the paper to catalyze conversation and bring your collective ideas to the TAG.