National P'ship for Student Success, HILL for Literacy in Bridgeport, Fed Charter Schools Program


NEW: National Partnership for Student Success

Yesterday, the US Department of Education (USEd) announced the National Partnership for Student Success (NPSS)—a three-year public-private partnership to help connect students with "people-powered supports.” It's a collaboration between USEd, AmeriCorp, and the Johns Hopkins Everyone Graduates Center that seeks to:

  1. Work with school districts and communities to increase the number of students receiving people-powered supports;

  2. Recruit, train, and engage academic tutors and mentors for students; and

  3. Connect school districts with evidence-based support.

According to a fact sheet from the White House, the NPSS will place 250,000 screened adults as tutors, mentors, and coaches to expand high-impact tutoring and build the pipeline of educators. In a press statement, US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona explained that, “now — more than ever — students need to feel supported, seen, heard, and understood by adults in their schools and communities… [The NPSS] will mean more students have a trusted adult in their corner, and more adults are prepared to address students’ academic, emotional, social, and mental health needs. Together, we can help all children make up for unfinished learning, recover from the pandemic, and prepare for future success – both inside and outside the classroom."

Spotlight: Bridgeport Partners with HILL for Literacy on Reading

Last week, HILL for Literacy and Bridgeport Public Schools released a must-watch video that both explains and exemplifies the life-changing work of Connecticut's K-3 Literacy Model.

Over the past school year, the HILL for Literacy has been providing training and support in the district around leadership, multi-tiered instruction, professional development, and data implementation, in order to advance a structured literacy model. This is precisely the work that will be expanding in Alliance Districts with significantly increased funding over the next few years under Connecticut's new Right to Read legislation, led by the Connecticut State Department of Education. Watch Bridgeport's own Superintendent Michael Testani, Chief Academic Officer Dr. Melissa Jenkins, and other district educators describe the work that is allowing them to see improvements in student literacy here. Very impressive!

Final Rules on Federal Charter Schools Program

On Friday, the US Department of Education released a preview of the final rules for the administration of the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP). This release follows a controversy surrounding earlier proposed rules from March, which restricted access to CSP start-up grants, empowered public school districts to veto the opening of new charters, and made it hard for charters to open in high-need areas if the districts have declining enrollment. Families, educators, advocates, and the media responded quickly, amassing more than 26,000 public comments on the proposed rules.

According to Education Week, the final rules heavily emphasize public engagement in an effort to gauge community need and prevent investments in charters that could close prematurely. However, whereas the initially proposed rules said that charter applicants could point to district over-enrollment as an indicator of need—the final rules outline a more flexible set of options for proving a new charter is needed. The previous iteration of the rules also required charter school applicants to partner with traditional public schools in order to foster community relationships; but while the final version encourages such partnerships—it falls short of requiring them. The final rules additionally require charter applicants to take steps to avoid increasing racial or socioeconomic isolation; nevertheless, if new charters will serve in already-isolated communities without furthering segregation, they will still remain eligible for funding. Ultimately, the CSP rules seek to make it harder for for-profit institutions to receive federal funding without sufficient accountability.

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