January 23, 2018
For the past five years, as part of our Condition of Education in the Commonwealth report, we have been tracking progress on 25 state-level indicators of school performance. We thoughtfully selected these indicators, which span the education pipeline, to provide a snapshot of where our education system is and an indication of where it’s going. We hope our data dashboard can act as a tripwire, alerting education leaders to problems that could otherwise fall through the cracks.
January 10, 2018
Our Change Management Framework lays out six essential elements to guide improvement in districts, schools, and classrooms. This winter, we're digging into the second step in the process: Establishing Projected Outcomes. The path to lasting improvements must include setting realistic goals and meeting benchmarks along the way. This means constantly asking, "How do we know if it’s working?” and collecting data to find out.
December 13, 2017
Schools where students feel safe, supported, connected, and engaged are vital to their overall development and ability to learn. A positive climate is linked to increased academic achievement, higher attendance, better psychological health, and lower rates of aggression. Fostering positive school culture starts with understanding how students feel about their learning environment.
November 21, 2017
If Amazon chooses to make Massachusetts the home of its second headquarters, will our workforce be ready? The majority of local employers report having trouble finding qualified candidates. What will happen if we add 50,000 more jobs? More must be done to prepare students for success after graduation and the education field knows how to do this. The problem is that many schools and districts don’t have the capacity or resources to put effective practices in place.
October 23, 2017
There’s no shortage of innovative ideas in our education system. When it comes to the success of our students, everyone from educators to state policy makers is working tirelessly on new ways to improve our schools. But why do some new ideas stick and others don’t? Too often, well-intended policies unravel as they hit the ground. We want to change that. We know making large-scale improvements that are effective and sustainable is hard. It requires a thoughtful and structured process. So we've developed a step-by-step process that lays out six essential elements to manage improvement efforts.
October 17, 2017
Before any school improvement effort gets underway, those leading the process need to identify the problem they're looking to address. At the surface level, this is as simple as defining who is involved, who will be impacted, and why there is a need to fix or improve the system. But the process can be far more complex. Failing to include teachers' voices or look at the underlying reasons for this problem can lead to an ineffective effort.
September 13, 2017
Momentum is building around the need to address social-emotional learning (SEL) in Massachusetts. School districts eager to reduce achievement gaps, increase college and career readiness, and help students cope with anxiety, substance abuse, and bullying are looking for ways to make SEL part of every class. What’s next on the path toward widespread implementation? We’re teaming up with Excellence through Social Emotional Learning, Transforming Education, and Teachers 21 to launch the exSEL Network, a group of districts committed to expanding SEL.
September 12, 2017
Urban high school teacher and Rennie Center Summer Fellow Stephanie Vinal weighs in on the importance of social-emotional learning and looks at evidence-based methods for making classrooms more student-centered.
June 21, 2017
In our ever-changing global economy, earning a sustainable wage with only a high school diploma or GED has become nearly impossible. Ninety-nine percent of new jobs created since the recession have gone to workers with some level of postsecondary education. This climate is putting our most vulnerable students at an even greater disadvantage.
May 24, 2017
Workforce readiness remains a critical challenge in our state. A recent survey found that 75 percent of employers have trouble finding qualified job applicants. Meanwhile, 30 percent of Massachusetts public school graduates require developmental—or remedial—courses when enrolling the state’s public colleges and universities. These numbers illustrate a clear disconnect between the lessons taught in schools and the skills needed for success in college and in the workforce. This issue needs to be addressed, and schools can’t do it alone.