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Race to the Top – Integrity and Transparency Drive the Process

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On January 19th, 40 states and the District of Columbia submitted applications to the Department of Education to compete in our Race to the Top grant program. Because this historic $4 billion program is unlike anything we have ever done, we enhanced our discretionary grant process to ensure maximum integrity and transparency.

Here’s how the process works.

As with any federal program, Congress spells out the overall goals, but the Department establishes regulations and guidance. We developed a competitive system for applicants showing exactly how many points each applicant will receive for every measure of progress a state has achieved, every reform implemented, and every commitment made. For example, states get five points for identifying their lowest-achieving schools and 35 points for turning them around.

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Smarter Balanced States Approve Achievement Level Recommendations

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Members of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium have voted to approve initial achievement levels for the mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA) assessments that will be administered in 17 states and one territory this school year. The vote marks an important milestone in the development of the assessment system. READ THE PRESS RELEASE

LEARN MORE ABOUT ACHIEVEMENT LEVELS

Smarter Balanced Hires Deputy Executive Director

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) has appointed Luci Willits as its deputy executive director. Willits joins the state-led consortium December 8. As deputy executive director, Willits will focus on strategy and state services, overseeing communications, policy, and partnerships with higher education. LEARN MORE

Field Test Report Now Available

A report on the Smarter Balanced Field Test is now available. This report presents results from state surveys given to students and adults in 13 Smarter Balanced member states. The Field Test or “test of the test” was administered in the spring of 2014 to more than 4.2 million students across the Consortium, and provided teachers and schools an opportunity to gauge their readiness in advance of the operational assessments in spring 2015. LEARN MORE

New Resources Available on the Support for Under-Represented Students Page

To prepare states across the Consortium for successful implementation of the Smarter Balanced Assessment System, a variety of updates have been made to the Support for Under-Represented Students page. Updated versions of the Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines, Accessibility and Accommodations Factsheet, and Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations FAQs are now available.

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Google Apps for Education: Deployment Guide

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Steps to transition your medium-sized business, educational institution, or government agency to Google Apps. Includes topics such as email configuration, account provisioning, data migration, mobile device management, and more.

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Best High Schools

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The 2015 U.S. News Best High Schools rankings, released today, feature information on more than 19,000 eligible schools. High school performance has been under the spotlight recently, as the Obama administration announced awards earlier this month totaling more than $100 million to help schools prepare students for in-demand careers in fields including health care, technology and engineering.

The data show that receiving a gold medal is truly a rarity among the public high schools that U.S. News evaluated for this ranking. Only 2.8 percent of eligible schools ​received a gold medal. That number represents the top 500 schools and is calculated using a combination of state assessments and college readiness scores. Silver medals were awarded to just 8.6 percent of eligible schools.

The School for the Talented and Gifted in Dallas ​excelled, earning a gold medal along with top honors in the overall national rankings as well as the Best Magnet Schools rankings. ​

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Applications are now open for Google’s Computer Science Summer Institute and the Generation Google Scholarship!

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Posted: Thursday, January 8, 2015

Are you a current senior in high school interested in studying computer science at university?

if (highSchoolStudent && interestedInCS && graduationYear == 2015) {
applyToCSSI();
}

We are now accepting applications for the 2015 Generation Google Scholarship for First Years and Computer Science Summer Institute. Read more about both programs below and apply today!

What’s the difference?:

Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) is a three-week introduction to computer science for graduating high school seniors with a passion for technology—especially students from historically underrepresented groups in the field.

The Generation Google Scholarship for high school seniors helps aspiring computer scientists excel in technology and become leaders in the field. Selected students will receive 10,000 USD (for those studying in the US) or 5,000 CAD (for those studying in Canada) for the 2015-2016 school year. as part of the scholarship, current high school seniors who are entering their first year of university in 2015-2016 will be required to attend CSSI in the summer of 2015.

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Black Girls Code Adds Color to Tech Scene – Q&A with Kimberly Bryant

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Volunteer teachers work help young students with computer progra

The lack of diversity in Silicon Valley’s mostly white, mostly male workforce has attracted a lot of scrutiny and criticism in recent months. But even if criticism is warranted, the problem originates elsewhere – in early education. That realization has driven several tech companies to action.

Black Girls Code founder, Kimberly Bryant. (Curtis Jermany)

(Black Girls Code founder, Kimberly Bryant. photo: Curtis Jermany)

Among them is Google, whose $50 million Made with Code initiative seeks to challenge cultural stereotypes and teach girls coding at an early age. California-based startup Play-i, uses toy robots teach kids to code, and Black Girls Code, a non-profit organization, is working to bring minorities into the technology space.

Chatting with TECHtonics, Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant says she launched the non-profit organization in 2010 after she noticed a distinct absence of minorities in technology.

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Future Ready Schools: Empowering Educators through Professional Learning toolkit

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This toolkit provides leaders with a multi-step decision-making process, practical tools, and numerous examples for setting a trajectory of positive change, moving assertively toward achievement of student learning and improvement goals. The toolkit recognizes that improvements in student learning are related to improvements in educator practice and that strengthened practice is supported by research- and standards-based professional learning.

Navigate through the toolkit using the orange buttons below. You may choose to move linearly from one step to the next, or skip directly to a particular step. You may also access each tool directly from the sidebar.

Determine District Readiness
Go to Step 1

Assess Current Professional Learning
Go to Step 2

Refine Professional Learning
Go to Step 3

Implement Professional Learning
Go to Step 4

Measure Refined Professional Learning
Go to Step 5

Read more About this toolkit

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