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Aurora Institute

How to Participate in the Policy Technical Advisory Group

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Susan Patrick and Maria Worthen

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

policy TAGAs announced last week, CompetencyWorks will be holding a National Summit on Competency-Based Education in June to convene 100 leaders representing a range of perspective, geography, expertise, and racial/ethnic diversity. Yet, across the country there are thousands of leaders and educators 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 second Technical Advisory Group (TAG) is coming up soon: We will be focusing on Developing Policy for the Long-Term from February 6 1-10, 2017. In the Policy TAG, we will be exploring the question:

What are the long-term policies and structures needed to support personalized, competency-based districts and schools?

The Policy TAG is an opportunity to think beyond the current policies and structures that shape education. We want to tap into your creativity and expertise to think about what needs to be in place to ensure consistency, reliability, and effectiveness so that we can be confident that personalized, competency-based systems will be of high quality and produce greater equity.

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 Policy Technical Advisory Group here. (You can actually sign up for any of the TAGs. We ask for contact information and a sense of your expertise, and, at the bottom, you can sign up for the TAGs.)

How the Policy TAG Works: The basics: We are setting up 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 and 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 3rd, we will send an email with links to the Policy TAG document and information about the Policy TAG introductory webinar. The webinar is scheduled for Monday, February 3rdth at 1 – 2 PM ET and is designed to clarify the process for the Policy TAG and the structure of the paper we are providing as a starting point. Throughout the week, you can stop by the Policy TAG document to see how it is developing, share your thoughts, and offer alternative ideas and phrasing. iNACOL policy team members will be in the document daily to respond to your ideas.

We are particularly interested in gathering examples – think of them as mini case studies – of policy and processes in your district and state that might be replicated in other regions.

Take Advantage of This Opportunity: Please consider taking advantage of the Policy 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 identifying those that create opportunity for inequitable practices to take hold. You can use the ideas in the Policy TAG paper to catalyze conversation and bring your collective ideas to the Policy TAG.

Schedule for Technical Advisory Groups: There are other TAGs coming up over the next three months. You can participate in one, some, or all.

  1. Meeting Students Where They Are: February 27-March 3, 2017 (facilitated by reDesign) – 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?
  2. The Systems and Structures Necessary for Quality Implementation: April 3-7, 2017 – How should we think about quality that can guide implementation while still allowing for variation of models and innovation?

See you online!

Susan Patrick is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL).

Maria Worthen is Vice President for Federal and State Policy at iNACOL.