One of our team’s favorite features of the fall season is spending time with friends and colleagues at America Succeeds’ annual EDventure Summit. Then, 2020 happened. And since we couldn’t gather in Boise, we’re delivering a little bit of EDventure goodness in a virtual format. Base Camp 2020 builds on one of the conference’s most popular sessions with quick 30-minute webinars designed to get your brain thinking and ideas flowing.
We know that states are confronting an unprecedented level of challenge and disruption right now. People are searching for good solutions to address common issues. At the same time, America Succeeds observes a number of promising practices, innovative projects, and trailblazing organizations that we think are worth exploring. The Base Camp 2020 series offers a chance to learn from experts and peers about how they are reinventing themselves and their work during this challenging time.
Base Camp 2020 Schedule
Session #1: My Journey by PAIRIN
Base Camp 2020 kicked off with Alli Phillips and Michael Simpson from PAIRIN, highlighting the My Journey platform. Think about the millions of workers newly-unemployed from the COVID-19 pandemic or students moving beyond high school into a postsecondary pathway. Navigating assistance and opportunities – unemployment benefits, reskilling and upskilling programs, two- and four-year college applications – is an incredible challenge with numerous redundancies. My Journey is an innovative technology solution helping to connect the “messy spaghetti” of disparate government data systems with a user-friendly content interface. Learn more in the video below.
Session #2: Bouncing Back 2021
Base Camp 2020 continued with the America Succeeds team sharing insights from the “Bouncing Back: Student-Centered Policy Priorities 2021” report. Upcoming legislative sessions are not going to be about ambitious, sweeping reforms; they are about getting back to basics and in many cases, simply playing block-and-tackle on previous progress made. We recommend focusing efforts on four key areas: social-emotional learning, teachers and leaders, assessments and accountability, and finally, school finance. Zahava Stadler, formerly of EdBuild, joined the conversation to dig deeper into the nuance of improving both the revenue and allocation sides of a state funding formula, to ensure every student is given the resources they need to succeed. Learn more in the video below.
Session #3: Edmentum Exact Path
This week’s Base Camp session featured Marcus Lingenfelter, SVP of Strategic Initiatives & Partnerships at Edmentum. He shared the story of their latest mission in Oklahoma: helping school districts transition to a remote learning platform in the face of COVID-19. In partnership with State Superintendent Hofmeister and Secretary of Education, Ryan Walters, they were able to launch Exact Path in a matter of weeks across the entire state. The platform offers personalized K-12 learning pathways in core subjects that adapt to meet each student’s unique academic needs. Whether pushing a student towards advanced mastery or remediating a critical skill, this program is helping both educators and districts ensure learning continues during this challenging time. Learn more in the video below.
Session #4: Gooru GPS for Learning
Our next Base Camp session features Prasad Ram, Founder & CEO of Gooru, which is an open-source “GPS for Learning.” The platform guides students along a personalized learning journey, rerouting them toward the helpful projects and study resources needed for mastery in core academic subjects. Even more impressively, the platform offers actionable insights to all stakeholders involved in supporting that growth – teachers, parents, and administrators. In a time when assessment data is limited and the country is facing incredible learning loss due to COVID-19, this tool can provide the real-time information needed to support all learners well. Learn more and preview the platform in the video below.
Session #5: Microsoft Day of Data
America Succeeds was excited to welcome back Microsoft for Base Camp 2020. During the session, Ankur Anand shared more about how the Hacking STEM team has pivoted student projects and teacher supports online during the pandemic. The Day of Data campaign, in partnership with NASA, is designed to introduce 8-15-year-old students to data science. Why? Because data science and data literacy are the foundations for not only every other science field but for success in a future of work continually reshaped by artificial intelligence and automation. Importantly, this program is designed with educator supports at the center – as many teachers lack the skills to offer this critical learning in a classroom today. Learn more in the video below.
Session #6: Blueprint Education
Base Camp 2020 continued this week with Blueprint Education. During the session, Krissyn Sumare shared the story of how Scrum and Agile business practices helped to transform this network of Arizona charter schools in the face of a 2015 shutdown. Over the course of five years, this school system has moved from a “meltdown” mindset to a place of greater student achievement, financial strength, staff empowerment, transparency, and servant leadership. While these practices offer value in any context, they have been an even greater strength in the face of COVID-19 – the crisis helped to spur even greater innovation. Learn more about the story of Hope High School in America Succeeds’ upcoming Agility Thriving report and in the video below.
Session #6: Blueprint Education
Our final Base Camp 2020 session featured Steve Colón, Chief Executive Officer of Bottom Line and the winner of this year’s Evergreen National Education Prize. For the past two decades, Bottom Line has been helping first-generation college students successfully get to and through college and has demonstrated impressive results in improving the economic mobility of their graduates. Programs like Bottom Line play a critical role in ensuring that low-income students of color do not simply fall through the cracks, however, they should only be a compliment to larger systemic change efforts. Learn more about how Bottom Line and leaders like Steve Colón are working to improve college success on both fronts.