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Flexibility in exchange for accountability at Kent’s iGrad Academy

iGrad Academy Principal Carol Cleveland

iGrad Academy Principal Carol Cleveland

Kent School District’s iGrad Academy is a program unlike any other in the district. Comprised of six pathways, students choose from a range of opportunities.  They can earn a high school diploma or two-year AA degree as iGrad fosters unique plans for individual students that did not find educational success at their previous school. iGrad offers what Principal Carol Cleveland calls a 1418 program, which follows a nontraditional calendar year, nontraditional instructional hours, a lower teacher-to-student ratio, a lower counselor-to-student ratio, and commits to addressing the needs of the whole child.  These unique elements are what make iGrad one of a kind.

As a young girl, Principal Cleveland dreamed of becoming a doctor but education ran in the family. After substitute teaching in Georgia, she witnessed a lack of adequate attention given to students with special learning needs. These students were being directed down a path that would ultimately create a larger achievement gap. It was this experience that made her realize the education system needed her help.

Determined to influence educational policy, decision making, and progress for students like those with special needs, Cleveland began working tirelessly. In 2012, such determination brought her to her position today as the leader and principal of iGrad Academy.

As an advocate for specialized education systems, Cleveland is passionate about the iGrad program and curriculum. The basic principle of the program, she says, is to grant young learners and educators the flexibility to think and operate outside of the box to ensure that students are college, career, and life ready. Such a foundation enables all those who attend, and teach, to have more freedom. The teachers at iGrad all believe that students can learn and experience academic, social, and personal success. Common belief in individual potential creates a strong bond between educator and student and contributes to the success of the program.

At iGrad, relationships are everything. Principal Cleveland goes out of her way to get to know every single student. By setting up monthly meetings with students, Cleveland takes a hands-on approach as school leader. She hears directly from participants in the program about what is and is not working. For students to reach their goals, Cleveland values listening to what they want and what they need. As a result, iGrad has seen exponential educational growth.

After several years at iGrad and tracking the progress of the program and its students, Principal Cleveland is thinking about the future. By working to strengthen relationships between middle schools and high schools, businesses and colleges, Cleveland hopes to expand opportunities to teach students how to apply what they are learning in the classroom to the real world. Students gain greater insight and create more options for themselves when they learn from business professionals which skills and abilities are desirable in employees.

Unfortunately, funding remains a challenge for the program. In addition to statewide inadequacies in support for public education, Open Door programs have different accountability measures and that can directly impact funding.   Even though students don’t always show academic progress in accordance with state timelines, Principal Cleveland and her staff believe that every student can learn. Many students have been given the tools needed to move forward in their educational pursuit by attending iGrad and Cleveland hopes the community will continue to support her efforts to increase the number of success stories.

Carol Cleveland’s medical career never took flight but she is healing broken dreams and changes hundreds of lives every day. Through her dedication to closing the opportunity gap and her success as the leader of iGrad Academy, she has created a pathway to success for many young adults who have struggled to find their own way. The League of Education Voters celebrates this amazing woman and her stellar program.

Caring, innovative, supportive, flexible, and successful – shouldn’t Carol Cleveland’s approach be basic education?

iGrad Academy is grateful for the support students receive from community members.  If you are interested in making a donation, iGrad is always in need of the following items:

School Supplies:  paper, pencils, pens, pee-chee style folders, spiral single-subject notebooks

Metro Bus tickets / Orca Cards: Help students get to and from school

Graduation Items: Gowns, Caps, Tassels

Toiletry items: for males and females, all ethnicities

New undergarments: for males and females

Gift Cards for achievement prizes: Starbucks, Fred Meyer, Target, etc…

One time need:

Female and Male mannequin (to dress in caps and gowns for inspiration)

Young Adult Books:

Many iGrad students love to read and the Academy is working to build a library of young adult books for them. If you’re interested in making a donation, there are lists of suggested titles and authors below:

King County Library System Teen Booklist:

http://www.kcls.org/teens/booklists/bibliocommonsBookList.cfm?booklist_id=209620665

Alex Award for Young Adult Fiction:

http://www.ala.org/yalsa/alex-awards

Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers:

http://www.ala.org/yalsa/quick-picks-reluctant-young-adult-readers

Other Specific Publishers:

Orca

Saddleback

Other Specific Authors:

Ellen Hopkins

Allison Van Diepen’s urban fiction

Other Specific Title:

Nickel Plated

If you prefer to donate cash:

If you prefer to donate cash, iGrad Academy has established a trust fund which is used to purchase items that will allow students to focus on their learning. In addition to the above items, the Trust Fund may purchase online access for a student without internet, required materials for a college class, or a change of clothing for a homeless student.  Please call 253.373.4723 to express interest.

Posted in: Blog, Career and College Ready Diploma, Closing the Gaps

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Every Student Succeeds Act Regional Forums

FB Kids Cover PhotoThe Office of the Superintendent of Public instruction will host forums across the state to provide an overview of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) implementation in Washington. Join Dr. Gil Mendoza, Deputy Superintendent of K–12 Education, and Gayle Pauley, Assistant Superintendent of Special Programs and Federal Accountability in an open discussion on ESSA and implementation considerations.

Each forum is open to the public and will cover:

  • Opportunities and challenges that lie ahead
  • How ESSA is similar to and different from the No Child Left Behind Act
  • Open discussion for the community to provide feedback

Except for the webinar, there is no registration required. For questions about the forum in your area, contact Jami.Peterson@k12.wa.us

Date Location Time Address
8/01/2016 Webinar 6:00 – 8:00 pm Registration required – Register HERE
8/02/2016 Bremerton 6:00 – 8:00 pm Olympic ESD 114 at 105 National Ave N Bremerton WA 98312

Posted in: Blog, Closing the Gaps, ESSA, School Discipline

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Conditional support for the revised Achievement Index

The wheels of progress moved forward yesterday for Washington state, no thanks to the state legislature.

While the legislature convened for its second special session to pass a 2013-15 budget, a working group of the State Board of Education (SBE) advanced a significant piece of work to enhance our state’s K-12 accountability system.

Last spring Washington state applied for a waiver from the No Child Left Behind requirements and received a one-year conditional waiver. This waiver can be renewed for a second year if the state meets certain interim benchmarks.

One of those benchmarks is updating our Achievement Index.  As part of its work to update the Index, the SBE convened an advisory Achievement and Accountability Workgroup (AAW) to collect stakeholder input as it develops the revised Index.  LEV has participated in the AAW since its inception last fall.

The AAW voted yesterday to support the draft Index.  LEV was among a handful of conditional support votes.

The current draft of the Index is a substantial step up from what we have now.  The proposal incorporates student growth, includes measures to try and close achievement gaps, and includes a college and career readiness indicator.

Despite the good work that has been done, LEV still has significant concerns about how English Language Learner (ELL) students are or are not incorporated into the Index:

1) Though student growth and proficiency data of current ELL students are included as part of the Limited English subgroup in the Index, English language acquisition data of ELL students is not incorporated in the Index.

2) We support the recommendations of the Quality Education Council (“QEC”), in their 2010 study, that long term outcome goals for ELL students who have exited TBIP should be included in the state accountability system.

As a recent Seattle Times editorial stated, it is critical that we get this right.

We look forward to working with our partners both on the AAW and elsewhere to continue to tackle the issue of how best to hold our education system accountable for the outcomes of ELL students, special education students, and all groups who have had persistent and unacceptable opportunity and achievement gaps in our state.

 

 

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