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Contributing Author

Quality of Education: CLASSY Awards Top 5

Quality of Education programs are primarily focused on keeping students in school and ensuring a high quality of education. These programs address, among others, problems pertaining to the achievement gap, high dropout rates, lack of individual education plans, low test scores, poor college readiness, a shortage of qualified teachers and uneven access to information and communication technologies. View the key indicators of this subcategory here.


Sharing Lesson Plans
UClass
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING Teachers don’t have an efficient way to share their high quality Common Core resources. It is estimated that teachers spend more than two hours each day planning a lesson that has been planned before, isolated from the rest of the other educators. Without access to collaboration with educators, students don’t get the best content in the classroom. As a result, student achievement suffers and adaptation to the Common Core is slow.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Sharing Lesson Plans
Program Name

United States
Location

2012
Start date

Chris Yim
Program Director

@uclassDOTorg[/su_pullquote]

UClass solves this issue of curriculum isolation by bringing the power of crowdsourcing to the forefront of education. Through the UClass software, expert lessons created in one part of the world can now find their way into classrooms everywhere on the global exchange. All content is digitized and vetted for Common Core alignment by the organizations 50-person Teacher Board, supporting teachers in the creation of formatted content. UClass is now working in partnership with Teach For America, which advocates for the use of UClass in their US classrooms. Beyond the US, teachers in 5,000 schools in 10 countries can now exchange their resources and use the collective knowledge of their school district to effectively plan their instruction. Through the UClass software, 50,000 educational resources were exchanged in 100 countries, saving teachers an estimated 100,000 planning hours in 2013. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Gary Waddell, Deputy Superintendent of San Mateo Office of Ed.” class=”top5″]We stand at a pivotal point of change in teaching and learning in our schools with the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and a new generation of deeper forms of assessment. We need new tools, such as UClass, that leverage the creativity and collaboration of teachers in ways that inform, excite, and inspire a new generation of students. [/su_quote]
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Kenya Project
Team4Tech
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING With the introduction of free primary education in Kenya in 2003, student enrollment has increased dramatically. However, given the lack of educational resources, students still experience poor learning outcomes. At the end of second grade, 85% of children cannot read a paragraph in English, 81% of children cannot read a paragraph in Swahili, and 79% of children cannot do simple subtraction.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Kenya Project
Program Name

Thika, Kenya
Location

2012
Start date

Noel Durrant
Program Director

@Team4Tech[/su_pullquote]

Team4Tech expands opportunities for children in developing countries by mobilizing technology volunteers, solutions and resources in support of local education projects. Acting as the middle man, they match talented professionals from high-tech companies with nonprofit projects to rapidly implement customized education technology solutions, resulting in better educational outcomes, better employees, and better technology. In Kenya, Team4Tech partners with Orphans Overseas, a local nonprofit, Waterford Early Learning, Mustek, Intel as education technology providers, and technology volunteers from VMware, to deploy purpose-built laptops with an adaptive learning software program that supports computer skills, early literacy and numeracy education for ECD, first and second graders in four of Thika’s primary schools. In the first 4 months following the deployment of the Waterford Early Learning solution in 2 primary schools in Thika, Kenya, student usage exceeded the Waterford recommendation (of at least 1 hour per week) for all 1st and 2nd graders. Student scores on the accepted English literacy assessment (DIBELS) increased by an average of over 100% for the 1st graders and over 70% for the 2nd graders. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Noel Durrant, Program Director” class=”top5″]Our core team has deep connections and extensive experience across the technology, venture capital, economic development and the NGO sector, allowing us to form innovative and sustainable partnerships to address education challenges with technology. [/su_quote]
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Blue Engine Teaching Assistants
Blue Engine
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING While 41% of low-income students enroll in college, just 8.3% finish. Over the last decade, research has shown that the single strongest predictor of degree completion is academic preparation in high school. In NYC, 79% of students that did not achieve college ready scores on New York State Regents Exams in Math and English after four years of high school. Without a strong academic foundation, students end up in expensive remedial classes, for no credit, making it difficult to stay on track. These students are behind before they even start.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Blue Engine Teaching Assistants
Program Name

New York City, New York
Location

2009
Start date

Courtney Goldner
Program Director

@theBlueEngine[/su_pullquote]

Blue Engine recruits, trains, and supports Blue Engine Teaching Assistants (BETAs), recent college graduates who devote 1-2 years of service in high schools in low-income communities as an entry point into careers in teaching and social change leadership. BETAs work on teams alongside teachers in daily math and literacy classes, dramatically reducing instructor-to-student ratios from 1:30 to 1:6. The overarching principle behind Blue Engine is that innovative uses of human capital accelerate learning when students are supported with a combination of personalized instruction in gateway skills (math and literacy), social-emotional encouragement, repeated opportunities to become intrinsically motivated, and resources required to connect motivation to big goals and measurable academic outcomes. To more effectively measure impact, Blue Engine developed an innovative model that uses academic and demographic student data to predict student performance “without Blue Engine.” They then compare how students performed “with Blue Engine” to how they would have performed in Blue Engine’s absence. Across 3 partner schools and 44 classrooms in 2013, Blue Engine increased college readiness on NY State Regents Exams (Algebra, Geometry and ELA) by 61% and reduced the amount of students failing by 28%. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Brett Kimmel, NY Principal” class=”top5″]Levels of engagement in schools with Blue Engine classrooms are higher for those kids than they have ever been before. [/su_quote]

Blue Engine: A Path to College Readiness from Blue Engine on Vimeo.
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Achieving the Dream
Achieving the Dream
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING For the first time in US history, the current generation of college-age Americans will be less educated than their parents. Yet, American workplaces require higher-level skills. Community colleges are vital to returning the US to a global leader in higher education, however less than 50% of these students complete a degree or credential in 6 years.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Achieving the Dream
Program Name

United States
Location

2004
Start date

William E. Trueheart
Program Director

@AchieveTheDream[/su_pullquote]

ATD leads a network focused on institutional reform and student success at community colleges. Through expert coaching and peer learning events, ATD builds the capacity of colleges to apply best practices that lead to increased attainment of college credentials. ATD has documented 463 interventions in place at 107 colleges and promotes research, information sharing, and engagement activities. Their most successful colleges have cut in half the time it takes for students to earn credentials and doubled the number of students attaining degrees. The program has reduced the need for remediation among first-generation, college-going students and increased transfer rates to four-year institutions. Seventy-two colleges have earned Leader College distinction, meaning they can show substantive improvement in student outcomes on one or more measures of student success such as retention or completion over at least a three-year period. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Dr. Robert Templin, President, Northern Virginia Community College” class=”top5″]ATD has the [necessary] kind of thought leaders within it and successful practitioners who really have breakthrough ideas, and it is because of that network we are able to look at promising practices, try them out at home, and share results with our colleagues. I think it is the very best way to learn. [/su_quote]
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Diplomas Now
Diplomas Now
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING Of the 26,033 regular and vocational high schools in the U.S., about 1,359 (or 5.2%) high schools produce half of the nation’s dropouts.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Diplomas Now
Program Name

United States
Location

2008
Start date

Robert Balfanz
Program Director

@DiplomasNow[/su_pullquote]

A comprehensive study from Johns Hopkins University found that students who are most at risk of dropping out of school can be identified as early as middle school through key indicators: poor attendance, unsatisfactory behavior and course failure in math and English. Diplomas Now brings together three national nonprofits: Talent Development Secondary to focus on academics and teaching at those schools. City Year young adult volunteers welcome students every morning with a rousing cheer, mentor them, help them with homework and engage them in service projects. Communities In Schools places social workers in each school to help kids with the greatest needs. Based on the John Hopkins study, the program developed an Early Warning Indicator Systems and EWI tracker tool to identify students off track in attendance, behavior and course performance. Recently, Diplomas Now won a competitive $30 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to conduct the largest-ever randomized control study of secondary school transformation and integrated school supports. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Robert Balfanz, Program Director” class=”top5″]We have shown through our unique approach that Diplomas Now can project between 10 and 20 percentage point gains in graduation rates in schools with the greatest challenges. This is transformational change, the likes of which has never been witnessed at this scale. [/su_quote]


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The Education Experts

The Leadership Council is an honorary board comprised of a diverse group of experts that will collectively determine the winners of the CLASSY Awards in this cause sector. Their unique perspective and valuable insight establishes this recognition as one of the highest honors in the social sector.

LC_education

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Photo credit: Team4Tech

  • As a Communities In Schools Site Coordinator at a Diplomas Now school, I am beyond thrilled to see Diplomas Now on this list. I see the hard work and dedication each and every day of those within the Diplomas Now collaboration and truly blessed to see the changes it makes in students. Thank you CLASSY Awards for the recognition and honor to be in the running!

  • Pingback: Diplomas Now Nominated For CLASSY Award - Talent Development Secondary()

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