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Newswire: July 24, 2012

Vol.14, No. 30

WORLD SCHOOL. Avenues: The World School, is opening its doors this fall in New York City, the flagship in a planned global network of schools with a unique mission to promote and nurture global preparedness. Pledging to “set an example as an effective, diverse, and accountable school,” Avenues’ rigorous curriculum and forward thinking operational philosophy is designed to prepare kids to be successful, responsible, well rounded, and ethical citizens of the global community, who will have access to any international campus in the Avenues family. The faculty and administrative leaders are virtually a who’s who in rigorous education programs – including founder and entrepreneur Chris Whittle. Avenues shows what big thinking, entrepreneurship and hard work can accomplish.

EMPOWERED ONLINE. Speaking of entrepreneurship and forward thinking philosophies…Silicon Valley technology guru Steve Poizner has partnered with UCLA Extension to create Empowered Careers– an online continuing education certificate program taken entirely via a groundbreaking iPad app. Adult learners can take professional development courses from the comfort and convenience of their iPad, completing a certificate program to enhance or redirect their careers. The College Admissions Counseling course, for instance, might help a teacher who wants to transition from the classroom to the counselor’s office in order to focus on helping students make the jump from high school to college. To see some of the program’s high profile cheerleaders including Pierce Bronsan, James Franco, Sally Field and more, check out the video on their homepage. Looks like online learning is not only good for the gander (K-12 kids), but the goose (adult learners), too.

VIRTUAL VILLAGES…New Jersey just gave the thumbs up to two blended learning charter schools, set to open their doors in Newark, while closing the door to others. The Merit Preparatory Charter School and the Newark Preparatory School are just two of a growing cadre of hundreds of schools nationally demonstrating how new models can transform the learning process and accelerate progress among multi-needs communities. As Ben Rayer, CEO of Touchstone Education (operating Merit Prep) says, “it’s [still] very much a school, just one working with modern tools and not teaching like we did 100 years ago.” Let’s hope policymakers in New Jersey and beyond recognize that rather than limiting new opportunities throughout the state to new kinds of learning, they should be limiting bad education from being peddled to millions of children day after day.

…Online learning goes for the gold in South Dakota. Virtual School, which offers both part-time and full-time online learning, got a golden review at the state’s Board of Education meeting. “Especially in many of the smaller districts in the state, schools may not be able to pay a full-time teacher in advanced or highly specialized subjects,” curriculum specialist Erin Larsen told the Press & Dakotan. “The South Dakota Virtual School gives students those same opportunities, increasing the rigor and relevance of their high school education.”

…South Dakota MYLife is another online resource for students, in this case providing an online career development tool. And, who uses online learning? Students seeking credit recovery, AP and other classes not available at their school, as well as those pursing the arts and Olympians. That’s right. As we tune in this week to the London Olympics, keep in mind that some athletes vying for prestigious competitions, like thirteen-year old diver Jordan Windle, who participated in the Olympic Trials, use online options (in his case, Indiana Connections Academy).

MODELS FOR DIGITAL LEARNING. If you still aren’t sure what it is or how it works, check out Digital Learning Now where you can review how your state measures up in digital learning and find out about the most important elements for getting our kids into the 21st century and how technology can transform education.