To get a better idea of the value of the CURATE (CUrriculum RAtings by TEachers) experience for participating teachers—and for teachers and schools across the state—we asked three current CURATE panelists to answer a series of questions about their experience.

On January 23, the Rennie Center released our annual status report to an audience of nearly 300 state leaders, legislators, students, and educators. This year’s Condition of Education in the Commonwealth report examines the need for new ways of measuring student success, with a focus on three key areas: supporting the whole child, serving all students, and building multiple pathways to college and career.

Talk to students participating in Rhode Coders 2.0, an after-school program run out of the Providence Public Library, and you learn quickly that coding is just one of many skills they’re building. As a student reported, “I’ve learned that perseverance is important. If something is wrong with the code you have to test things.” Another added, “Creativity is a big part of the program.” Rhode Coders 2.0, along with a number of other programs from Boston and Providence, has been part of a two-year pilot to issue credentials known as digital badges to students who demonstrate critical competencies such as perseverance, creativity, leadership, and communication.
On Monday, December 9th, more than 100 state and local leaders, community representatives, parents, and students gathered at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury to share their view on the future of education at a forum hosted by the Rennie Center. Through lively small-group conversations, participants discussed how best to support the success of all Massachusetts students. They then had the opportunity to identify what they see as the most critical priorities for improving the education system.
The choice of curriculum plays a critical role in what students learn and how they process information about the world around them, but students often lack input into the curriculum materials that they experience in school. Rarer still are opportunities for students to develop their own curriculum that builds essential knowledge and mindsets among their peers. Yet this is what a group of students has done in partnership with Boston Public Schools over the past two years. Their process and the curriculum that has resulted from it offers a promising example of student voice and leadership in action.
Engaging in hands-on learning, building real-world understanding, and supporting workplace-ready skills are critical for preparing students to succeed in their future careers. And while many educators integrate these approaches every day in their schools and classrooms, there’s no substitute for the real thing: giving students the opportunity to learn while on the job. Our recent forum on the Condition of Education in Western Massachusetts highlighted the incredible work taking place across the region to get students out of the classroom and into the workplace.
The Rennie Center recently welcomed two members to its inaugural cohort of Research Fellows. This fellowship is a unique opportunity for graduate-level researchers to partner with the Rennie Center as they produce original research examining the status of the education system in Massachusetts and beyond. The Research Fellows, Christopher Cleveland and Wendy Wei, were chosen through a competitive selection process, and they will spend the coming months creating and refining a research product to be released in early 2020.
Though Massachusetts schools lead the nation in many areas, we're falling behind other states when it comes to Early College programs that allow high school students to take college courses and earn credit for both. To help more schools launch Early College programs, we took a look at successful examples from across the state and nation and developed a hands-on guide to getting started.
The Rennie Center and Transforming Education have won a $30,000 grant from America’s Promise Alliance, a national organization, to support a community convening to advance young people’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. We are partnering with the Boston Public Schools to align the district’s social and emotional learning (SEL) work with its Culturally and Linguistically Sustaining Practices (CLSP) Framework. They will focus on convening students and families to bring their voices into the conversation and drive these efforts forward.
In the United States, one in nine young people is neither in school nor working. That’s 4.5 million Americans between the ages of 16 and 24. This population, known as Opportunity Youth (OY), is disconnected in a way that leads to lower lifetime earnings and a higher likelihood of social isolation. To solve this national challenge, we have to start locally. OY are, by definition, disconnected from major public and private institutions, and often turn to smaller community providers for help. What can communities and employers do to engage this group of young people and unlock their potential? To answer that question, we spoke with young people, community organizations, schools, and employers. Our two recent reports, Career Pathways for Opportunity Youth and Building Local: Lessons from Massachusetts Communities on Reengaging Opportunity Youth, take a look at what’s currently being done to support OY and what can be done better.