A close-up look at NYC education policy, politics,and the people who have been, are now, or will be affected by acts of corruption and fraud. ATR CONNECT assists individuals who suddenly find themselves in the ATR ("Absent Teacher Reserve") pool and are the "new" rubber roomers, and re-assigned. The terms "rubber room" and "ATR" mean that you or any person has been targeted for removal from your job. A "Rubber Room" is not a place, but a process.
On Tuesday, Facebook andSummit Public Schools, a nonprofit charter
headquarters in Silicon Valley, announced that nearly 120 schools planned this
fall to introduce a free student-directed learning system developed jointly by
the social network and the charter schools.
A screen image of the Personalized Learning Plan platform.
Rather than have teachers
hand out class assignments, the Facebook-Summit learning management system puts
students in charge of selecting their projects and setting their pace. The idea
is to encourage students to develop skills, like resourcefulness and time
management, that might help them succeed in college.
“As parents and kids and
teachers get access to this type of learning, I think more and more will want
it,” Diane Tavenner, the co-founder and chief executive of Summit Public
Schools, said in a telephone interview.
June, Google said more than 60 million students and teachers worldwide used
Google Apps for Education, a suite of free products that includes Gmail and
Google Drive for document-sharing. Many other schools use Microsoft
productivity tools and Skype, the videoconferencing tool, in classrooms. Amazon
also plans to soonintroduce Amazon Inspire, a site where
teachers can share free instructional materials.
But the Summit-Facebook
system, called the “Summit Personalized Learning Platform,” is different.
The software gives students a full view of their academic
responsibilities for the year in each class and breaks them down into
customizable lesson modules they can tackle at their own pace. A student
working on a science assignment, for example, may choose to create a project
using video, text or audio files. Students may also work asynchronously,
tackling different sections of the year’s work at the same time.
The system inverts the
traditional teacher-led classroom hierarchy, requiring schools to provide
intensive one-on-one mentoring and coaching to help each student adapt.
This summer, more than
1,500 educators and leaders of public, private and charter schools
participating in the program, called Summit Basecamp, attended sessions to
learn how to use the system. Among the 19 schools that introduced the new
learning approach last year, at least a few educators and administrators
reported a steep learning curve.
“There were many points
where we weren’t sure the Summit Basecamp model was what our students needed,”
said Claire Fisher, the principal of Urban Promise Academy, a public middle
school in Oakland, Calif., which introduced the platform in its sixth-grade
By the end of the school
year, however, 31 percent of the school’s sixth graders were reading at or
above their grade level, compared with just 9 percent in the fall. That was a
larger improvement in reading than students in seventh and eighth grades, which
did not use the platform, Ms. Fisher said.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s
chief executive, and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, were the catalysts for the
partnership. It is the couple’s most public education effort since 2010 when
they provided $100 million to help overhaul public schools in Newark, a top-down
effortthat ran into a local opposition.
partnership, by contrast, is more of a ground-up effort to create a national
demand for student-driven learning in schools. Facebookannounced its supportfor the system last September; the
company declined to comment on how much it is spending on it. Early this month,
Summit and Facebookopened the
platform up to individual teacherswho
have not participated in Summit’s extensive on-site training program.