By Dennis Pierce
During a first-ever White House Summit on Next Generation High Schools held earlier this month, the Obama Administration called for a national effort to redesign high schools to support more personalized, real-world, and active learning experiences for students—and federal officials announced more than $375 million in new public and private investments to support these efforts.
Here are some of the highlights:
- The Education Department (ED) will award more than $20 million in federal grants through its Investing in Innovation (i3) program to support the reform and redesign of high schools serving a high percentage of low-income students. More details will be available on the i3 website soon.
- School districts also will have access to new 3D simulations and other cutting-edge technologies to help with career and technical education (CTE), thanks to a competition that ED is sponsoring among edtech providers called the EdSim Challenge. In addition, ED is launching a program called the CTE Makeover Challenge in 2016 to inspire high schools to transform their existing spaces or create mobile maker spaces in conjunction with their CTE programs. To register for updates about these challenges, go to EdPrizes.com.
- ED will also be releasing two more resources in the coming weeks: A Playbook for High School Redesign is expected early next year, and a series of recommendations to help schools transition to personalized learning will be available soon as well.
- Private companies and organizations have committed to launching more than 100 new next-generation high schools serving more than 50,000 students over the next five years. For instance, IBM plans to support an additional 25 P-TECH schools, which stands for “Pathways in Technology Early College High School.” These are innovative public schools for grades 9-14 that create clear pathways from high school to college and careers, allowing students to graduate from high school with an associate’s degree in a high-growth field. What’s more, the New Tech Network is expanding to an additional 50 schools, the Silicon Schools Fund is investing $40 million to launch 40 more schools, and the Institute for Student Achievement is tripling the number of high school students it serves from 25,000 to 75,000.
- Private education foundations are pledging more than $225 million to support high school redesign, including up to $200 million from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation to accelerate student-centered approaches to learning in New England, as well as $25 million from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
- A collaborative effort led by the Hewlett Foundation aims to support 1,000 local school leaders in high school redesign. Through this effort, the School Retool project will offer a massive open online course (MOOC) that introduces school leaders to the process of high school redesign focused on deeper learning. School Retool will use the results of this course to map interest from school leaders and build regional cohorts across the country to provide deeper support.
- The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh will partner with museums and libraries to bring high-quality maker education to 75 schools across the country. With the help of Kickstarter, the museum plans to launch a web- and print-based Kickstarting Making in Schools toolkit in spring 2016 that will help K-12 leaders design and fund maker spaces in their schools.
More information about these and other efforts is available in this White House fact sheet.