Student cybersecurity competition aims to fill California workforce pipeline

Community colleges across California are working together to fill the workforce pipeline for cybersecurity – one of the most rapidly growing and changing fields in the country – through the CyberPatriot program, a nationwide competition and education program.

By introducing students to cybersecurity before they reach high school graduation, the colleges are aiming to foster interest in the growing field, developing the requisite skills and inspiring young people to work toward a career with incredible financial potential. For the students, the CyberPatriot program is fun.

“This is like a real life video game with you against a bad guy,” explained Steve Linthicum, Deputy Sector Navigator, Information and Communications Technologies/Digital Media in the Greater Sacramento Region.

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100Kin10 Renews Call to Support STEM Teachers

100Kin10, a national nonprofit focused on recruiting, preparing, and supporting teachers in science, technology, engineering, and math, published an open letter on Monday that reiterated the importance of their mission in a new political climate.

“To produce big ideas, solve our biggest challenges, and keep America competitive on a global scale, students need excellent educations — in STEM especially,” the letter, which was signed by about 90 organizations, business leaders, and education advocates, reads. “…Yet many STEM teachers aren’t receiving the essential preparation, resources, and encouragement to do their jobs effectively. In fact, we face a great shortage of qualified STEM teachers.

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In the news: The Value of Student Led Conferences

I hope people have seen or read Emily Richmond’s article on Student Led Parent Teacher Conferences in the Hechinger Report and then a shorter summary in The Atlantic Monthly. Emily talks about the use of Student Led Conferences as part of a student centered approach as a foundation to improve a school that had not been performing well. Her article wonderfully describes and identifies the process, purpose and outcomes of student lead conferences – from how students learn to organize their work, engage in long term planning, develop deeper learning outcomes and even how this practice indirectly increases family engagement.  I feel in love with the concept of Student Led Conferences when I visited Wheels Academy in the Bronx, a signature practice of EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning. And then I learned how this was a common practice across all 8 of the schools in my book, though they might be some slight variations on the process.  Student Led Conferences contribute to everything Emily captured but I particularly like how they provide an opportunity for students to reflect on their work to significant adults in their life.  How many times does any student engage in an in depth conversation about their performance beyond identifying what grade they got on a test, quiz, or paper with their family members at home?  Not only does presenting out to family members motivate students to prepare but it helps them own their learning –  take responsibility for the time and effort they did or did not put into their work and empowers them to advocate form themselves. One time, a student told her parents how much she wanted to go out of state to college despite the fact her parents were focused on having her attend a local college. Another time a student told his parents how having his newborn brothers, and twins at that, sleep in his bedroom was limiting his ability to study.  The teacher helps the students frame these issues so they are supported in their own advocacy and therefore, are empowered to identify and communicate what kind of resources or support they need from their families to be successful, or express their interests and share the hopes they have for their education which their parents may or may not share.  If Emily’s reasons or my reasons are not compelling enough for why we need to transition to student led conferences, how about this reason. Do you like to be talked about in the third person (and not absent) about your performance? Is that how you improve best and accept ownership for your success and/or challenges? If not, then why do we talk about students in the third person and at a venue where they are not even present suggesting they do not know themselves. At the end of the day, it is hard for any of us to grow if we are not provided with a structure and opportunity in a supportive environment to reflect on our work and then to share what we are learning about ourselves.

Nation’s Largest Producer of Teachers Meets to Discuss Common Core, Data, Clinical Preparation

Fullerton, CA – Teacher preparation programs from across the California State University (CSU) system, California’s and the nation’s largest producer of teachers, met this week at CSU-Fullerton as part of the New Generation of Educators Initiative (NGEI). Funded by the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, this learning community’s objective is to transform educator preparation in order to ensure California teachers are classroom ready to make the necessary instructional shifts to address the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. Read more about their work here.

ConsultEd Strategists, an education consulting group for mission-driven organizations and philanthropists, managed the design, logistics, and facilitation of 2016 NGEI convening.

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How Deeper Learning Can Create a New Vision for Teaching

School reform has come a long way….we are finally thinking about what students need to know and do but also, how we support teachers to develop these broader outcomes and are transforming from a focus on schooling to learning.  Some call these broader outcomes 21st century skills, some call them work-based skills, college and career readiness skills,  social emotional learning, and XQ reminds us that we need students who have an agile and flexible intelligence. I along with many, feel that deeper learning is a great umbrella term to capture the social emotional and learning competencies.  I was pleased as a Commissioner of National Commission and Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF) and as the author of the book, Deeper Learning: How Eight Innovative Public Schools are Transforming Education in the 21st Century, I was able to write a paper, How Deeper Learning Can Create a New Vision for Teaching This paper is a lead up to NCTAF’s Great Teaching Initiative Report that will be released later this year.  In addition, you can watch the webcast to explore the conditions needed to support great teaching for deeper learning. Panelist include Elizabeth Foster from NCTAF, Laura McBain from High Tech High and myself.  Elizabeth and I will present this paper again at the Teaching and Learning Conference March 11, 2016, if you are attending.

Start with the End if Mind to Innovate

This week I was honored to be the keynote speaker at the A+ Houston’s Speakers Series on the Future of Education sponsored by the Chevron Foundation.  It was a great opportunity to be able to talk with business leaders, community leaders, higher education representatives, and K12 educators and leaders – including superintendents and principals. In preparing for the talk, it gave me cause to think about what it took for the schools in my book to make the shift to the six practices.  One thing I did not get to discuss in the book was the role of creating a shared vision for what we want our students to know and do in order for there to be true transformation. A shared vision brings commitment and direction and permeates throughout the school – the work, decisions, and behavior of everyone.  I was thrilled how well received then show this by contrast what we say we want our students to know and do (aka, deeper learning outcomes) but what we do daily to not develop those skills and could use examples from the school to show others how these schools walked the talk of their vision. HoustonAPlus