Blogs on Massachusetts

Blogs on MassachusettsRSS
Craig HaasMay 23, 2013

In assembling the plan for expanded learning time (ELT) at the Edwards Middle School, we drew inspiration from our own special education department. Too often, special education is viewed as a place or a static state, when the truth is that special education is a series of interventions, modifications, and accommodations afforded to students who are unable to access a curriculum under routine circumstances. ELT, too, is a series of interventions, and so, in applying some special education principles, we gained some valuable insights.

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Hassan MansarayMay 22, 2013

Not satisfied with students' progress on district- and state-mandated tests -- and after careful deliberation by administration and staff -- the Edwards Middle School implemented the Massachusetts Expanded Learning Time (ELT) Initiative in the 2006/07 school year. ELT has since become an integral part of the school day, where students receive an additional 60 minutes of support instruction in some core academic classes like English and math, and 90 minutes of electives in arts, sports and music, and other enrichment activities.

In order to maximize the benefits of ELT for students, I looked for ways to fine tune my approach to teaching individualized learning in my English language arts classroom. One of the instructional models that informs my approach to teaching individualized learning is the Readers and Writers Workshop. This approach proved very helpful in optimizing ELT. Read More
Amrita SahniMay 21, 2013

In the fall of 2006, Clarence R. Edwards Middle School ("the Edwards" as it is known locally within Boston Public Schools) became one of the first schools in the state of Massachusetts to implement the Expanded Learning Time (ELT) Initiative. The reasons why were simple: we were not making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) and we wanted to make significant academic gains with our students. As it turned out, making our school day longer was one of the best things we could have done to help reform our school model and improve student outcomes. Our statewide exam scores, student enrollment, daily student attendance rate, community and family engagement, and time for team teaching/collaboration all improved as a result of ELT.

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The video series A Year at Mission Hill has continued to encourage discussion, gather support, and inspire offshoots of wonderful new content, like "Line One, Page One," a compelling and poetic video produced by UK Filmmakers Veez Nixon and Christian Britten for Ashoka's Start Empathy Initiative, as part of a video series to complement Mission Hill. And if you haven't seen it yet, it's also worth a visit to the excellent Prezi on Mission Hill, which continues to expand as more chapters are released.

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The most recent video releases in the A Year at Mission Hill series have generated lots of attention; in part because of the controversial topics of full-inclusion classrooms and how to get students engaged in the curriculum. If you're new to the series, start with Mark Phillips' blog post about the ongoing documentary project, and you can see chapters two and three in this post. New videos are released every two weeks, and the series website offers theme-based resources of all kinds to sync up with the topic in each. I'm pleased to share chapters four and five here.

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You may have read Mark Phillips' blog post about the ongoing documentary project A Year at Mission Hill. A month after the launch of the video series, the buzz has only grown. With a fantastic and artful Prezi about the series, new videos released every two weeks, and resources tailored to each episode from orgs around the world including Ashoka's Start Empathy project, What Kids Can Do, Responsive Classroom, Learning Matters, and more, this is shaping up to be a new kind of Web resource for those interested in education reform on a grassroots level. I'm excited to share episodes two and three here.

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Andrew MarcinekSeptember 20, 2011

This fall, my high school is transitioning to digital textbooks through a 1:1 program. In this five-part series, I am describing the process we went through to to make this transition.

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Andrew MarcinekAugust 23, 2011

This fall, my high school is transitioning to digital textbooks through a 1:1 program. In this 5-part series, I am describing the process we went through to to make this transition.

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Andrew MarcinekAugust 4, 2011

Overview: The Role of iPads

There is no denying iPads are becoming a dynamic tool for education. However, with the integration of new tools into the classroom, there is a learning curve. The evolution of the iPad has created more than just a learning curve, but a cultural shift in the way we access information and connect with the outside world.

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Anne OBrienDecember 8, 2010

Over the last few months, it has become painfully clear that state and local budgets are suffering. Given that they provide the vast majority of funding for public education, we can expect that public schools and districts will have to do more with less for the foreseeable future.

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