New “Promising and Practical Strategies to Increase College Completion” Link on the ED Website

How can we share on a broader level the best practices being implemented across our campuses that are demonstrating positive results in advancing college completion?  At a symposium of researchers, policy analysts and postsecondary education practitioners on January 30, 2012,

Secretary Duncan announced the publication of the Federal Register  “Request for Information” (RFI) seeking submissions of promising and practical strategies to increase postsecondary success.  “All the good ideas are out there with you guys,” Duncan said.  The Department wants to assure that the successful strategies occurring on our campuses have the opportunity to inspire, inform and be replicated on other campuses.

Over 100 strategies were submitted in the first round of the RFI and are now available for viewing on the Department’s website (  Some examples of submissions include:

  • California Northridge University’s Super Senior Project is designed to decrease the large numbers of seniors who continue to amass baccalaureate units, but never seem to move toward earning a degree and graduation.
  • Southern Vermont College’s Pipelines into Partnership targets low-income, first-generation students for recruitment and retention through a changed admissions paradigm that entrusts the sending high schools who know the students better and are able to determine their potential for success with the admissions and acceptance process to SVC.
  • DeVry University’s Advantage Academy is a dual-enrollment, dual-credit program providing students the opportunity to earn an associate degree in selective, high-demand fields from an accredited university (at no cost to the students) while they finish high school.
  • Coconino Community College (CCC) and Northern Arizona University (NAU) CCC2NAU program sets a clear pipeline and trajectory for students who begin in a community college and intend to earn a baccalaureate degree by incorporating significant features that allow the student to be directly connected to both institutions from the very beginning, as well as to transition seamlessly.

We encourage you to browse the website and send us your comments in response to this blog.  We also encourage you to submit the promising and practical strategies to increase college completion that your institution, system or state is implementing or your organization has identified as successful.  The Federal Register second notice Request for Information announced that second round submissions are due by November 30, 2012.  To learn more visit:

Results Driven Accountability Effort—Question Four

OSERS‘ Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) appreciates the comments and suggestions posted in response to the RDA questions one, two, and three. OSEP will accept comments on question 4 until October 19, 2012.

RDA Question #4:

OSEP is committed to developing a results-driven accountability (RDA) system that leads to increased state and local capacity to improve academic results and functional outcomes for children with disabilities. As part of this effort, OSEP asked the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) to work with a small group of stakeholders and assessment experts to provide input on measures that could be used to review states’ performance results of their students with disabilities who receive special education services. The group’s recommendations are contained in a report, Using Assessment Data as Part of a Results-Driven Accountability System: Input from the NCEO Core Team (Word | PDF). In addition, OSEP asked NCEO to develop sample approaches for how measures included in the report could be used by OSEP, which are included in the companion report: Sample Approaches for Using Assessment Data as Part of a Results-Driven Accountability System (Word | PDF). What is your feedback on these reports? What other data sources may be useful as we move forward in the development of a RDA system?

Watch the Education Drives America Bus Tour Live

Visit to read more about the tour and to see all the stops. Below are our events scheduled to be streamed live online. Times are listed in the time zone of the event and please not that events and times are subject to change.

Wed, Sept 12, 2012 – 9:00 AM PT
Silicon Valley, Calif. – Sequoia High School

Click here to watch

Secretary Arne Duncan will kick off the back-to-school bus tour with a panel discussion with founder of Khan Academy Sal Khan, English teacher Catlin Tucker and Coursera founder Andrew Ng. Duncan will take questions via Twitter from students, parents, teachers and education stakeholders for an event focusing on equity and expanding opportunities to learn with emerging digital technologies. Ask questions using #EdTour12

Wed, Sept 12, 2012 – 5:40 PM PT
Reno, Nev. – University of Nevada Reno

Click here to watch

Secretary Duncan will host a town hall with 700 stakeholders to discuss education issues impacting Hispanic Americans, college access and affordability, and the connection between education and jobs. Univision’s Anya Arechiga, will moderate the discussion and Hispanic community leaders, educators, parents, and students will also engage in the discussion.

Mon, Sept 17, 2012 – 3:25 PM MT
Limon, Colo. – Limon Public School

Click here to watch 

Secretary Duncan will address some 200 students, parents, teachers and community members at the school’s Constitution Day celebration.

Tues, Sept 18, 2012 – 12:00 PM CT
Topeka, Kan. – Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site

Click here to watch

Secretary Duncan and guests will honor the legacy of hope and courage represented by the U.S. Supreme Court case that ended legal segregation in the nation’s public schools.

Tues, Sept 18, 2012 – 2:45 PM CT
Emporia, Kan. – Emporia State University

Click here to watch

Secretary Duncan will join NEA President Dennis Van Roekel for a tour of the National Teacher Hall of Fame and to hold a discussion with students, prospective teachers and community members.

Tues, Sept 18, 2012 – 6:00 PM CT
Kansas City, Mo. – Metropolitan Community College

Click here to watch

Secretary Duncan and other senior ED officials will host a town hall on education and the Hispanic community at the Penn Valley campus of Metropolitan Community College.

Thurs, Sept 20, 2012 – 7:00 PM ET
McDowell County, W.Va. – Mount View High School

Click here to watch

Secretary Duncan and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, will engage in a panel discussion with community members and stakeholders on how to build public-private partnerships to support educational improvement as the path to a brighter economic future.

Fri, Sept 21, 2012 – 10:40 ET
Roanoke, Va. – Virginia Western Community College

Click here to watch

Secretary Duncan will lead a town hall discussion that will explore indicators of college and career readiness. Also participating in the town hall will be Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education Brenda Dann-Messier, VWCC faculty, students, regional employers, and local community members.

Results Driven Accountability Effort – Question Three

OSEP appreciates the comments and suggestions posted in response to the RDA questions one and two. OSEP will accept comments on question 3 until September 14.

RDA Question #3:

“The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires the U.S. Department of Education and states to focus on improving educational results and functional outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities, as well as to ensure that programs meet IDEA requirements. As the department refocuses its accountability efforts, which IDEA requirements do you see as being most closely related to improved educational results and functional outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities?”

ED-Green Ribbon Schools Preparing Graduates for Green Careers

Many ED-Green Ribbon Schools use an inquiry-based approach that allows students to engage with the environment, sustainability, and their community through real life application.  This week, we look at how high schools are preparing their graduates for future careers in natural resource conservation, clean energy generation, and medical and biological sciences.

At Wyoming County Career and Technical Center in Pineville, W. Va., the school is offering the following classes: Building Construction designs energy efficient modular homes; Diesel Technology manufactures biodiesel; Electrical Technology retrofits golf carts; Automotive Technology recycles used oil; Welding developed an electronics recycling program; and Industrial Equipment Technology designed and installed a 42-panel solar power system atop their school building.

At Clarkston High School in Clarkston, Mich., students reuse a local refrigeration design company’s scrap and waste insulation in their prototyping, modeling and aerodynamic analyses.  They also refurbish 55 gallon drums into rain barrels, design commercial structures and homes using Habitat for Humanity guidelines, and design, build, and test circuits to power electrical devices from donated solar panels.

At A.W. Beattie Career and Technical Center in Allison Park, Pa. science students grow herbs and vegetable seedlings to supply the culinary program, cosmetology students study chemical usage and disposal, automotive students study environmental regulations, and the carpentry program designed a pavilion for a local elementary school and bird and bat houses for the campus.

At Gladstone High School in Gladstone, Ore., Environmental Leadership, Ecology and Renewable Energy courses focus on reducing the environmental footprint of the school and community through project based learning on sustainability topics.  Culinary Arts covers sustainable and local food; Drafting explores energy efficiency in buildings; Computer Technology teaches electronics recycling; Environmental Science examines native habitat restoration; and Biology follows how resource management affects food chain sustainability.

At Des Moines Central High School, in Des Moines Iowa, Home Building students use recycled materials to turn old bleachers into hardwood flooring; Aviation salvages old jets and helicopters; Welding recycled over 43,000 pounds of scrap metal in 2011; Design students study sustainability principles and devise constructions that incorporate LEED criteria; and  Horticulture students offer their landscaping services throughout the campus.

At The Athenian School in Danville, Calif, students produce school bus biodiesel in their science labs, learn permaculture garden techniques, harvest and press olives, construct an aircraft, design robotics, and previously converted a car to electric power.

These are just a few examples of how 2012 ED-Green Ribbon Schools are using environment and sustainability to prepare students for the green careers of the future. To learn more about their innovative practices, see highlights from their applications.  Also register for any of several Green Strides Webinar Series green career-focused sessions featuring U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, NASA and Department of the Interior experts and programs!

Kyle Flood is a confidential assistant in ED’s Office of the General Counsel and a member of the ED Green Team

Results Driven Accountability Effort – Question Two

OSEP appreciates the comments and suggestions posted in response to the most recent RDA blog question.  After reviewing those comments (click here to read them), it is clear that stakeholders believe that RDA must include both an analysis of student outcomes data and an analysis of a State’s oversight of the provisions of IDEA.

Question 2

OSEP provides oversight of States’ administration of the IDEA, while States provide oversight of IDEA implementation for local early intervention services programs and school districts.  Given that, how can OSEP work with States to impact improved educational results and functional outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youth, while continuing to ensure that States properly implement IDEA requirements?

For ED-Green Ribbon Schools, It’s Quite Organic to Teach Civics!

“A foundation in civics is not a luxury but a necessity,” Secretary Duncan said earlier this year. “Students today absolutely need a sense of citizenship…they need to know their rights–and their responsibilities. Civics cannot be pushed to the sidelines in schools.”

Earlier this year, ED released a Road Map and Call to Action to ensure that today’s youth are educated to become informed, engaged, and effective citizens. At many of the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS), integrated civic education begins early; it lies at the core of robust environmental, STEM and green technology education. The 2012 ED-GRS honorees are using experiential service learning on sustainability topics to hone students’ core subject knowledge and to cultivate deep ties with their communities:

  • In St. Louis, Crossroads College Preparatory School students contributed over 4,000 hours of community service in the local area, partnering with 16 nonprofits that focus on environmental issues. Activities included growing organic food, recycling and reusing bikes, restoring native habitats, removing invasive species, and constructing rain gardens.
  • In Allison Park, Pa., the A.W. Beattie Career Center Carpentry program designed, constructed and donated an energy efficient model home to the Pennsylvania gaming commission.
  • Students at the Learning Gate Community School in Lutz, Fla., send the produce from their garden to a community organization that feeds the homeless, donating over 2200 pounds in the 2009-2010 school year.
  • Fishburn Elementary School in Roanoke, Va., collects gently worn clothing and goods and holds an annual environmental fashion show and resale to showcase the items, raising money for future environmental activities.
  • At Environmental Charter High School, in Lawndale, Calif., students research and present their findings to elected officials, helping authorities to adopt environmentally and cost effective policies.

You see, for ED-Green Ribbon Schools it’s quite organic that students use environment and sustainability concepts to engage with their community.  Honorees have long understood what ED’s 2012 civic road map highlights – that civic learning not only promotes civic skills and attitudes, but also builds twenty-first century competencies and increases student and community engagement.  The civics projects of 2012 ED-Green Ribbon Schools can be implemented by any school to improve student outcomes.

De’Rell Bonner works in ED’s Office of Communications and Outreach

Results Driven Accountability Effort

Thank you for your interest in the Office of Special Education Program’s (OSEP’s) Results Driven Accountability (RDA).  Please go to our RDA Website for further information on this initiative.

We invite you to help us re-conceptualize our accountability system.  Over the next several months we will use this blog to solicit input from the field regarding key questions as we move forward in developing a new framework for our accountability system.  Each question will be posted for a two-week period during which time you will have the opportunity to provide your ideas.  At the conclusion of a two-week period, previous questions and comments will be visible, but no further comments will be accepted for that question. OSEP plans to post new questions every two weeks so that stakeholders can comment on various aspects of this effort to move to a Results-Driven Accountability system.

Comments are invited in response to the following question:

Question 1:

We are interested in knowing what results you believe to be most important.  How would you know if a local early intervention services program or a school was successful in educating children with disabilities?

PROMISE Initiative

Thank you for your interest in the PROMISE initiative. This program is a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Social Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Labor. Please go to our PROMISE Web page for further information on this initiative.

We want your input on how we implement the major elements of this program. We encourage all interested parties to share their comments with us. In commenting on these documents, we encourage potential applicants to identify barriers in current federal programs that may impede implementation of an ambitious, high-quality PROMISE plan.

Again, thank you for your interest in this opportunity to support youth receiving SSI and their families. We look forward to hearing from you.