New Site Highlights State and Local Innovative Ideas from Educators’ Perspectives

Maryland Teacher Mandy Tang

Mandy Tang teaches first graders a math lesson in Chinese. Photo credit: Nancy Zuckerbrod

The U.S. Department of Education has launched a new online resource, PROGRESS, to highlight state and local innovative ideas, promising practices, lessons learned, and resources informed by the implementation of K-12 education reforms.

These stories will showcase the exciting transformations taking place in classrooms, schools, and systems across the country through the leadership of teachers, school, district and state leaders and their partners.

The Department launched PROGRESS to emphasize the voices and perspectives of educators, students, and administrators to better understand how policy changes are spurring education improvement and to draw out what can be learned from areas of progress occurring at the state and local levels.

Read about:

  • Delaware and Hawaii teachers and coaches using data to identify student needs and inform instructional improvement strategies;
  • Maryland elementary school students learning science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through new foreign language courses;
  • Hundreds of students from rural communities in Florida gaining access to incredible STEM learning opportunities through a state Race to the Top initiative to expand STEM education in rural schools;
  • Tennessee’s 700 teacher-coaches providing 30,000 of their colleagues with intensive summer training on new college- and career-ready standards through an ambitious and comprehensive statewide program;
  • Kentucky’s 100-percent increase in total Advanced Placement (AP) qualifying scores over the last five years, largely driven by the success of the AdvanceKentucky program in expanding access to AP classes for low-income students.

The PROGRESS blog will spotlight partnerships among the U.S. Department of Education, states, districts, educators, and families that are helping to build a better education for children.  Of particular focus is:

  • How students are being prepared to succeed in college and careers;
  • How educators are receiving higher quality support and opportunities; and
  • How innovative leaders and educators are transforming school systems to meet new, higher expectations.

PROGRESS does not recommend or endorse any particular approach. It is intended to share information that can be of use to educators, parents, learners, leaders, and other stakeholders in their efforts to ensure that every student is provided with the highest quality education and expanded opportunities to succeed.

We’re always looking to learn from the field. Have an idea for content? Please let us know via email at


  1. I appreciate your comments, and I share similar experiences as well. Yet, I have always envisioned this simple way of giving teachers more time to ‘put their best food forward’ vs. feeling overwhelmed to present their best. My idea is to bring in a Early Education Physical Activity Specialist. This is not to say that children would not engage in movement and physical activities during their school day, however, this individual would come in for one hour a day and engage the children in specific areas of physical activity. By doing this, your program would be recognized for ‘highly’ valuing movement and physical activity, as well as valuing you by giving you the time to prepare in order to meet the high quality standards you strive for.


  2. I have been in the field since 1970 … I saw the vision for children to have early childhood experience many hers ago. I started as a volunteer, moved up to Assistant Teacher, to Teacher with Site Supervisor Permit. Within my years I saw the need for High Quality Standards which I chose to do in my classroom . In order for a staff to do so they must be trained and educated to meet those needs. I saw how some Directors did not even know what it is to be in a early childhood class… Some did joy communicate with parents due to lack of being bilingual! Budget information is public information … So why keep that information from staff & parents!!! Also I saw misuse of funds within the program … I spend my own money to have quality materials in my classroom to meet those needs in each learning areas in the classroom. Children’s learning materials must be rotated when you see children getting bored …they need to be challenged and set a fun learning environment! Photos are also important … But not even enough funds are available for the amount of children in class .. I always paid for the photos which reflected on the children’s learning processes. Please do t be misunderstood by my remarks… I loved my job! But I saw at my last job how the Director … Had her pet staff … She would tell us they were her eyes and ears for her … How unprofessional ! If we had a concern she would tell us Teacher … That we are allergic to one another and we need to take Clarontin. Instead of dealing with the problems with in the Childcare program. I asked for more time to complete my DRDP’S this school year and she told me I could come early or stay after work to complete them so I can meet the deadline … I was tried of taking the home to complete year after year ! I even wonder how many of you early childhood professionals have really got involved with the process of begin to end …time involved in presenting a most informed protoflio that reflect the Desire Results – Preschool … I challenge you to please look into time involved vs knowing what the child needs with High Quality checklist … Time needs to be provide for the Teacher’s to meet those important deadlines at work NOT at home! Let’s focus on build better a better future for our young children by providing training for staff and implementing high quality standards for Director’s! Let make learning for these young children and really focus on the learning environment and provide time for Teacher’s to complete their required work!

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