Big news in the nationwide transition to the Common Core , as California Governor Jerry Brown proposed a $1 Billion initiative to help implement the Common Core Standards in California. This comes as a windfall of $2.8 billion in income tax revenue is being redirected towards K-12 schools and community colleges.
The new proposal (titled Proposition 98 for the Common Core) will be a boon to small school districts and those with a high population of low income students and English Language Learners. Districts will only have two years to spend the money, (which amounts to roughly $167 per student) but will be able to use their discretion in deciding how to best support the transition to the Common Core.
This decision came after lobbying from state senators, to earmark a portion of the excess revenue towards the Common Core initiative. In his announcement, Brown called the adoption of the Common Core standards by the State Board of Education “a great intellectual move” but recognized that the process to adopt the standards will be challenging.
Meanwhile, the move is receiving high praise from those who have pushed for the new standards. Michael Kirst, president of the State Board of Education, lauded the proposal as “a positive shot in the arm for the national movement” for the Common Core standards, adopted by 45 states. “When many states and the news media are playing up states having second thoughts, California is moving ahead in a dramatic way, really putting an effort behind this.”
California Teachers Association President Dean Vogel applauded the decision calling it, “great and welcome news for California’s students,” and adding that “educators must have the support and resources they need in order for the new standards to be implemented effectively.”
We here at BetterLesson remain committed to supporting teacher learning, especially in this time of transition to the Common Core. We look forward to serving California teachers as they search for great CCSS aligned content and resources.
BetterLesson Summer Training Program:
BetterLesson seeks a recent college graduate or a current graduate school student (preferably interested in or pursuing a degree in education) to participate in a summer training program. We continue to grow the Master Teacher Project and enhance our current site offerings, and seek curious, high-energy, individuals to aid us as we undertake this adventure! As a small start-up, we will accept applications from recent graduates and current graduate students who want to work hard and get their hands dirty assisting in a wide variety of projects. Candidates should be interested in learning about educational technology and should have a desire to support teachers. They will work closely with the Master Teacher Project staff but will interface with the wider BetterLesson team. This is a fantastic opportunity for a motivated, thoughtful individuals looking to learn and grow this summer.
BetterLesson Master Teacher Project Overview:
The Master Teacher Project is a natural outgrowth of BetterLesson’s mission to connect teachers in order to measurably improve instruction. Generously funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Project aims to make quality Common Core aligned, year-long courses, units and lessons freely available to teachers everywhere beginning with Math, Grades 6-12. Even more, this project hopes to provide real recognition and professional opportunities to exceptional teachers around the country. During this initial pilot program, 42 math Master Teachers will create and share lessons on BetterLesson. These fully articulated courses will be freely available and easily remixable. Master Teachers will also share complementary material in the form of hints, tips and reflections, which will endow their lessons with even greater usability. These reflections will provide a window into their classrooms and exemplary teaching practices. In doing so, BetterLesson will create a vehicle for the online lesson study through virtual observation. The Master Teacher Project will create a living, breathing, body of knowledge around what exceptional instruction looks like in this country.
Vist the Master Teacher Page to learn more: http://betterlesson.com/public/master_teachers
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief but compelling note, your schedule and availability this summer, and a resume.
A new regular feature of the BetterLesson Blog will be dive into our current archive of over a million lessons and resources. Today’s “treasure hunt” was inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.
There are only a handful of books that appear on virtually every American high school reading list. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s colorful, dramatic novel, The Great Gatsby, is one of them. In honor of the upcoming (and widely anticipated) release of Baz Luhrman’s adaptation of the roaring twenties classic, I took a dive into BetterLesson to see what Gatsby-inspired lessons and resources teachers have shared. BetterLesson currently houses over 1 million teacher-created documents, and there are thousands of lessons and resources relating to Fitzgerald’s masterpiece. A teacher searching for Great Gatsby related resources would find 3,411 Resources, 559 Lessons and 27 Units relating to the novel. That’s hundreds of cool, new ideas to enliven and enrich the teaching of this canonical text!
Hopefully, this latest movie version of Gatsby will live up to its classic source material (early reviews are sadly quite mixed). Should it fail to capture the spirit of Fitzgerald’s novel, we can rest easy knowing that somewhere, an awesome teacher is making his words come to life for her students!
BetterLesson has a strong social mission, we believe teaching is the hardest job in the world, and we are committed to supporting teachers and making their lives ( and by extension the lives of their students) better! We are also proud citizens of the beautiful city of Cambridge, MA, and we are equally committed to giving back to the community that nurtures and supports us. To that end, BetterLesson regularly takes time out of our schedule to volunteer. In February we traveled to The Helping Hand Food Pantry and helped to organize and distribute food. In April we hopped on the red line and helped out at the Salvation Army in Central Square. After touring the facility, and hearing from Captain Armida Harper about the tremendous work the center does for a wide variety of Cambridge residents, we rolled up our sleeves and pitched in to cook and serve dinner. The tech team scrubbed dishes, our CEO Alex Grodd cleaned the stove, and the Master Teacher Project Team helped prep and serve the evening meal. It was a rewarding experience for all involved, and everyone left impressed by the tremendous amount of good Captain Armida and her small, but dedicated team is able to do. BetterLesson is a scrappy group, so we respect and admire the impact that a few optimistic, ambitious, and driven people can have.
BetterLesson Seeks In-House Instructional Gurus
This opening is for a math or ELA coach who is a bona fide Common Core guru and loves working closely with teachers! This position will be working full or part time from our Cambridge, MA offices as a critical part of BetterLesson’s Master Teacher Project (MTP).
BL’s Master Teacher Project:
In partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, BetterLesson has recently begun the Master Teacher Project. The MTP aims to provide: 1) A body of knowledge for teachers attempting to make the transition to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and 2) Real recognition and professional opportunities to exceptional teachers around the country. The Project centers around the development of Common Core focused, Master Teacher (MT) created courses that will be cloud-based, freely available, “re-mixable,” and always accessible.
The success of the Instructional Guru is, in part, defined by the the success of the Master Teachers (MTs) with whom they will be virtually interacting. We’ve recruited and selected MTs to post high quality, classroom-ready, Common Core-aligned lessons, units & courses while being supported virtually by a rock star instructional coach. This coach will also curate MT content with the goal of generating high consumption and engagement by the BL community. Working within a start-up environment, the expectations of this role range from creating high-contact relationships with Math Master Teachers, to the various, team-player responsibilities involved in scaling the Master Teacher Project to include math, ELA, History and Science Common Core alignment.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
- Provide comprehensive, virtual instructional coaching in math or ELA as related to the Common Core. Strong content knowledge is a must!
- Collaborate virtually with Master Teachers by providing weekly coach feedback (both through the online platform and on calls) on lesson plans, implementation, alignment to the Common Core and specific strategies to improve instruction
- Curate lessons uploaded by Master Teachers
- Serve as resource for identifying Common Core related support materials for teachers, especially with regard to differentiating Common Core lesson plans (particularly with regard to ELL’s, struggling learners, and those with special needs)
- Support a standards-based, data-driven attitude towards lesson planning
- Implement and adapt Betterlesson’s existing teacher-support resources — such as lesson evaluation criteria, lesson templates, teaching framework, professional development protocols, data interpretation tools
- Desire to stay abreast of current trends in education, utilizing appropriate research to drive coaching. Willingness/desire to attend national conferences and be a leader in national dialogue about education
- Help stimulate dialogue around curriculum and best practices on the BL site.
Knowledge Experience and Training
- Strong conceptual knowledge of math or ELA content area
- High familiarity with Common Core, knowledge of current research, publications, authors and key decision-makers
- Experience facilitating online relationships and teams, curating content
- High comfort level with technology and ability to perform basic troubleshooting
- Experience working with and/or developing materials related to the Common Core
- Experience and knowledge of digital media with instruction and professional development
- Extensive experience with formative assessment, demonstrated success in teaching as evidenced by student assessment data and other evidence.
- Strong communication skills and ability to effectively share information regarding data, curriculum, instruction, and assessment using a variety of coaching processes, e.g., verbal explanation, modeling, lesson editing, virtual lesson observation, conducting study groups, and other forms of professional development.
- Minimum of five years elementary, middle, and/or high school classroom teaching/expertise
- Minimum of three-five years experience with facilitating teacher learning in K-12, e.g. leading professional development, developing AND implementing curriculum
- Possess entrepreneurial spirit – the desire and ability to go above and beyond, pro-actively search out new opportunities to apply current skill set or build new skills, assist in other and related tasks as needed
- Relocation to the Greater Boston area necessary
Reports to: Elizabeth Johnson, BL Senior Program Director.
Please send a brief but compelling note and your resume to: email@example.com
BetterLesson is the best place for educators to discover and share high quality lessons. Over 250,000 teachers from across the globe visit BL each month to connect with colleagues and access innovative content. We just received an exciting grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to work with the best teachers in the country building out a body of knowledge around effective teaching practices.
We’re currently working on a new product focused on curated, high-quality lessons from master teachers. We’re looking for a creative front-end developer to join our team of teachers and hackers focused on transforming K-12 education.
An ideal candidate would have:
- Knowledge of related front-end frameworks, templating engines and extensions like jQuery, Mustache, Bootstrap, and Sass.
- The desire to stay current with the continually evolving web development ecosystem and work with best-of-breed technologies.
- Experience working with Ajax-heavy applications, communicating with RESTful interfaces, and manipulating JSON objects.
- The ability to cut detailed pixel-level comps into HTML/CSS. Advanced Photoshop knowledge is a plus.
- Understanding of the back end application layer is helpful but not required. Familiarity with MVC design patterns, languages like PHP/Python/Ruby, and MySQL is a plus.
- Familiarity with Lean software development methodologies is a plus.
- Excitement around our goal of making a substantial and enduring difference to teaching and learning.
This position offers a competitive compensation package including an equity stake in the company. We’re looking for candidates who can work full-time out of our Cambridge office near Davis Square.
Please send a statement of interest and work samples to techjobs[AT]betterlesson.com.
In September, the EducationSuperHighway launched its School Speed Test in an effort to assess the quality of internet access for K-12 schools across the USA. Their goal? Ensure that every school has a broadband connection of at least 100 Mbps.
Taking the test is easy — it takes one minute and the click of a button — and it will help Education Superhighway collect the appropriate data they need to provide direct expertise to the at-need schools identified and to advocate for better allocaton of funding for broadband access.
Take the test today: http://www.schoolspeedtest.org. If the EducationSuperHighway can get 10 samples from each school, then they can advocate for a more thoughtful allocation of over $2.5 billion in annual funding for Internet access upgrades.