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March 25, 2015

New from ECS

ECS and experts examine state-level ELL policy
As English language learner (ELL) populations multiply, state policy leaders search for best practices to provide these students with solid academic foundations. ECS convened a group of national experts to reflect on available research, practice and state policy concerning ELLs and to make recommendations in areas where potential impact at the state level is the greatest. This report summarizes those recommendations and is accompanied by a 50-state database.

ECS Blueprint: Discussion on transfer policy
Listen to the first installment of the ECS Blueprint webinar series — Transfer Policies: Students on the Move. This webinar reviews the findings of the ECS Blueprint for College Readiness Transfer Policy report and 50-state analysis. It features two state policy leaders who share the latest in transfer and articulation from Colorado and Florida.

What States Are Doing

Personalized learning initiative
Twenty New England schools in the League of Innovative Schools have been selected to participate in a new initiative to help them develop personalized learning experiences that address the distinct learning needs, interests and aspirations of individual students, according to a release by the New Hampshire Department of Education. Twelve of the schools will begin implementation in 2015-16; eight will launch in 2016-17.

Sudden cardiac death
Silent cardiac abnormalities can lead to the rare, sudden death of a student athlete. New Jersey has a law that mandated creation of a professional development module that will be used to supplement the cardiac assessment skills of physicians, advanced practice nurses and physician assistants. Health care providers may access the newly available module on the Department of Education’s website.

Enhancing teacher leadership
Hope Street Group will select a cadre of Tennessee teachers this spring to participate in a 12-month fellowship to improve teacher leadership opportunities, the Tennessee Department of Education announced. Fellows will attend professional development trainings, engage with colleagues and collect feedback from teachers, ultimately influencing positive change at local, state and national levels.

Good Reads

Fascinating facts and trends
The NEA’s state rankings book is out and it really is a good read. For example, states with the greatest growth in enrollment from fall 2012 to fall 2013 are Nevada, Utah, Idaho and Colorado. Fifteen states experienced declines, and the greatest declines were in Michigan, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont. Over the decade from 2003-04 to 2013-14, in constant dollars, average public school teacher salaries declined by 3.5 percent.  (NEA)

Technology in rural areas
To tap the potential of technology, policymakers will need to rethink the idea of education delivered within classrooms of 20 to 30 students led by a single teacher. In this paper on technology's use in rural areas, the authors recommend expanding broadband to schools lacking it, including out-of-school access; creating a corps of teachers who can digitally teach students across the state and providing districts and schools with the flexibility to develop new staffing and use of technology models. (Rural Opportunities Consortium of Idaho)

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