Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Common Core Implementation: BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

GREAT NEWS for teachers and for Laying the Foundation / National Math + Science! We have been chosen to lead the formation of the Educator Leader Cadres for PARCC.  The Education Leader Cadres (ELC) are 24 educators from the 24 PARCC states that will provide the leadership, support, tools and training to teachers in their states to ensure a highly effective and efficient implementation of Common Core State Standards. We are creating a special ELC Moodle LMS for these educators to help spread great open source teacher training and content and using Big Blue Button as an open source webinar program for all PARCC states to use.

We will have our first meetings towards the end of July with over 600 amazing educators from around the country. Our task is to increase their expertise so that they can develop open source tools that all teachers can use to improve college readiness in their classrooms.

Standards are a piece of paper - it takes teacher to bring them to life to create a rigorous classroom experience that ensures more students are college ready!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Online STEM Resources

Our team at Laying the Foundation put together a great list of STEM resources for educators.  Had to share with you all - let me know what you think!

LTF YouTube channel
LTF Open Lessons


PhET Interactive Simulations


MIT Blossoms (Math and Science Video Lessons)
National Curve Bank
National Repository of Online Courses
NCTM Illuminations
SAS Curriculum Pathways
Power Up (AAAS Science NetLinks—elementary students)
Invention at Play (for elementary students)

MATH Applets

Visual Calculus
Mathematics Education Applets
Mathlets for Students and Instructors
WolframApha demos
Football Physics
Sampling Reese’s Pieces
The logic of significance tests
This applet lets you estimate the regression line and to guess the value of Pearson's correlation
This applet the relationship between the mean and the median and illustrates several aspects of these measures of central tendency
Molecular Workbench – Visual Interactive Simulations for Teaching and Learning Science
NSF sponsored - Molecular Level Laboratory Experiments (MoLE)
General Chemistry Interactive Simulation
Animated Tutorials and Models
National Science Digital Library (NSDL)
comPADRE – Physics and Astronomy Education Communities
HippoCampus (teaching physics)
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Virtual Bacterial ID Lab
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Virtual Transgenic Fly Lab
RSC Advancing the Chemical Sciences – Learn Chemistry

College Board goes Common Core

Math problem of the day:  if CEO=CB and CEO=CCSS then CB=CCSS.

David Coleman is the new CEO of the College Board which is tremendous for those of us that are working hard to ensure that Common Core State Standards truly impact instruction.  There is a lot written on him recently but think this is tremendous for students!

Now, will he still do a close reading like he did at New Schools Venture at one of our Educator Leader Cadre trainings........we can only hope!

Leading the Educator Leader Cadres!

Who will lead the leaders?  A great questions and we are point two thumbs back at us since the Florida DOE posted and intent to award the contract for organizing the Educator Leader Cadres to the National Math + Science Initiative!  See the notice on Florida's contracting site. (down on the agency decision)


Let's get Common Core State Standards rolling at the classroom level. We are so excited to be a part of the making CCSS a reality! With our CCSS classroom lessons ready and amazing academic and logistics team primed, this will move the needle for students in PARCC states.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Oklahoma College Readiness Leaps Forward

Great day in Midwest City Oklahoma yesterday for the kick off of the National Math + Science Pre-AP and AP programs in two more high schools - for a total of all three high schools in that district. It was a high energy event lead off by Dr. Barresi, superintendent of schools in Oklahoma and a rousing speech by Colonel Cedric George.  He got the students ready with cheers and the simple phrase:

You are the talent
You are the innovation  
You are the future

I wish more students could hear this challenge and get the support from the NMSI program in their schools.  I know if Dr. Barresi has her way many more Oklahoma high school students will get the support and instruction they need for true college readiness.

It was a great day to be a part of National Math + Science and a great day to be in Oklahoma!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Educator Leader Cadres!

Love the name - sort of - but what are Educator Leader Cadres (ELC) and why should we care?  Educator Leader Cadres are the groups that are going to ensure that many more educators are ready for Common Core State Standards and PARCC assessments - from the PARCC website:

1. What is an educator leader cadre?
An educator leader cadre is a team of 24 educators from each PARCC state. Together, these teams
make up a network of K-16 educators that will provide leadership on state implementation of the
Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and PARCC.

2. What will be the makeup of each state’s cadre?
Each PARCC state is responsible for identifying its cadre members and developing a process for selecting
participants.  The makeup of each team will vary by state, but the cadres will include recognized leaders
that have a broad professional network that can be leveraged to reach an ever expanding number of

3. What will the educator leader cadres do?
The ultimate goal of the state educator leader cadres is to develop a network of K-16 educators that can
help lead implementation of PARCC and the CCSS and that can lay the groundwork for sharing best
practices and quality resources. In order to develop these networks, cadre members will engage in
focused activities around the CCSS and PARCC as they work towards the two goals outlined below. The
activities will be structured to enable cadre members to facilitate similar activities in their respective

  1. Cadre members will strengthen their content expertise in the CCSS and PARCC. They will focus on  three specific areas: conducting a close study of the CCSS, PARCC Model Content Frameworks, and PARCC prototype tasks; reviewing and providing feedback on PARCC-developed assessment and instructional tools, materials, and rubrics to ensure quality and alignment, and suggesting additional tools where necessary; and engaging in discussions with colleagues about the use and dissemination of those tools, which will be made available for use in states, districts, and schools. 
  2. Cadre members will become leaders in their state by supporting and engaging in professional development with other educators.  This work will be aligned with state implementation plans and is expected to continue and grow through 2014-15 and beyond.  Through the ELCs, PARCC states will provide educators with the tools they need to lead and facilitate ongoing discussions with their peers.  The cadre’s leadership will help prepare states, districts and schools for sustained implementation by working to build deep expertise in the CCSS and PARCC.  

4. How does the work of the educator leader cadres align with state implementation plans?
The cadres are intended to be an integral part of each state’s strategy for engaging educators in the
CCSS and PARCC. Therefore, the work of the cadres will be connected to—and placed in context of—the implementation work already underway in PARCC states.  Through the PARCC Transition and
Implementation Institutes, states have been working to refine their implementation plans and timelines
to reflect the various resources that will be developed by PARCC, including the ELCs. PARCC is
encouraging each state to include a member of its Transition and Implementation team in its educator
leader cadre to ensure coherence and connectivity.  In addition, cadre members will have an
opportunity to discuss local implementation plans and the role that the cadres can and should play to
build capacity at the state, district, and school level to prepare for implementation and long-term
success.   Implementation timelines and plans will vary, but the work of the cadres will be anchored in a
focused set of outcomes that will help strengthen current implementation plans.

5. When will the first meeting be and how frequently will the cadres meet?
PARCC will use both face-to-face and online meetings to provide ongoing support to cadre members.
PARCC is expecting to hold the first face-to-face meeting in Summer 2012.

6. Who will cover costs of participating in the Educator Leader Cadres?
PARCC will cover travel and lodging costs for all participants.  This includes airfare, meals, ground
transportation and hotel room costs

GET INVOLVED - find out how to join your state's ELC and apply today.


I love Oklahoma. It is where I really learned how a bill becomes law as we passed legislation to increase options for potential teachers. I worked with some amazing legislators who really cared about increasing student performance here. So it is great to be back wandering the halls talking to those same legislators about our National Math and Science programs that are launching here in Oklahoma schools. In the muck of politics it is easy to think that there aren't really smart people who do care about their state. But I was always pleasantly surprised here and look forward to once again working with people like Senator Clark Jolley on helping more Oklahoma students succeed. It is good to be back.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Educator Leader Cadres

We have a great post over at LTF training on Educator Leader Cadres - Common Core State Standards goes nowhere without great teaching in the classroom.

We need great teachers to be a part of the Educator Leader Cadres - get involved and let's get it done!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Georgia Begins Education Tranformation!

We just launched our first LTF training in Georgia and judging by the response, we are going to be doing a lot more.  What an incredible response!  GO LTF!!!

From Dee Cook:
I just spent four wonderful days in LTF training with Reuben Rodriguez! I have to say that this was the most immediately helpful training I have been to in the past 16 years! I can't wait to try out the new strategies that I learned, and I will definitely use what I learned to help my students reach their greatest potential! Thanks to LTF and Reuben for making my job easier!

From Debbie Paine
Just finished LTF year one training with Ruben Rodriguez- WOW (for trainer and information provided). This was my first experience with LTF, and I find myself excited about what this level of depth and rigor can bring to student learning. I hope to visit the forums regularly to continue learning. 

A Great Disturbance in the Force

I sit in Tallahassee today to see the final deliberations on the vendor for the Educator Leader Cadres and found out something interesting - apparently the management of the PARCC vendor process has shifted from the Florida DOE to the Indiana DOE under Tony Bennett.  I don't know how they made this shift since Florida is the fiscal agent for the Race to the Top funds from USDOE for the PARCC group but they did.

The first Indiana PARCC RFP is out on field testing items.  Very interesting.

Think good thoughts today for National Math + Science's LTF training program to be the vendor of choice for PARCC Educator Leader Cadres to start in July!!

Great PD for teachers = top High Schools

I cannot be more proud of the LTF team this week.  I am still in awe of our teachers of the year and now the US News and World Report on America's top high schools comes out and here we are again from LTF's Teaching Community blog -

TWO of the top 3 schools have had teachers attend LTF Training:

• School for the Talented and Gifted, Dallas, Texas (#1)
• School of Science and Engineering Magnet, Dallas, Texas (#3)

An additional FOUR schools in the top 50 have had teachers attend LTF Training:

• Loveless Academic Magnet Program High School, Montgomery, Alabama (#32)
• Carnegie Vanguard High School, Houston, Texas (#33)
• Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions, Houston, Texas (#36)
• The Science Academy of South Texas, Mercedes, Texas (#48)
These are great results - but that is what happens when you give teachers the training and resources they need to succeed!  Congrats to all our schools!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I got to preside over the LTF Teacher and Trainer of the Year on Saturday in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week - so amazing.  But I will let the video do the talking!

Monday, May 7, 2012

David Coleman on Close Reading

We have a great post over at the LTF training blog on David Coleman and his great way to demonstrate the impact that Common Core State Standards can have on teaching through close reading.  It was very cool to watch education leaders and entrepreneurs go through an actual lesson.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Favorties from New Schools Venture Fund Summit!

I was able to attend the New Schools Venture Fund Summit 2012 in San Francisco this week and it was phenomenal. The content is just the best of any education meeting and the networking with the best of the best in education entrepreneurs just opens up so many possibilities for the National Math and Science Initiative and Laying the Foundation!

So here are my favorite quotes that I tweeted about during the conference:
"We have stop talking to ourselves and bring others into this movement" - Ted Mitchell .
"We should tell no lies and claim no easy victories with our kids" - Howard Fuller
"We are in a street fight and we are approaching it like a college debate" - Howard Fuller
"Instead of running from parent choice we need districts to be running to parent choice" - Howard Fuller
"We have to radically change the way we train, prepare, on ramp and keep teachers to change education"- Norm Atkins
"With Common Core State Standards students have to read complex texts with care & have to ask students to read something worth reading" - David Coleman
"Leveled versions of texts are no version at all. Don't bring texts down to student, bring students up the level of the text" - David Coleman
"Without heart ravaging texts you are nowhere in teaching complex texts" - David Coleman
"All may not agree with Race to the Top but most agree that competitive grants where we constantly evolve and learn every year is a great method for improving education" - Mike Petrilli

There were many more. This is a great conference to learn, energize and ensure that we all work even harder to move the needle for all students. 

Thank you New Schools!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cracks in the TFA Armor

Interesting article in the Florida Times Union, "Low Teach For America retention rate but Duval embraces program", about the issues the are having with teacher retention.  Of the original 55 teachers in 2008, 47 completed their 2 year commitment but only 6 still teach in the district schools. In 2009 42 of 54 completed the 2 years but only 12 stayed - improvement but still a lot to invest to have to continually replace every year.  

"We're not anti-TFA ...," said James Goode, who oversees teacher recruitment for Hillsborough County Public Schools. "It's just not in the best interest of our district to spend money like that in these lean times.

When there were server teacher shortages TFA and other alt cert programs were a great way to ensure that more students had a chance at great teaching.  Now the shortage is gone, money is tight, the cost of TFA continues to rise and it may be time to look at investing those dollars in recruiting teachers into great teaching programs and creating a great environment so they will stay.