Creating fireworks: Sparking student imagination through company connections

The foundation invested in Nepris because the company provides a way for teachers in every classroom to connect students with industry professionals to make instruction relevant to the real world and connect academic concepts with real-world examples. I had the pleasure of seeing Nepris in action in several classrooms. It was fantastic to see a group of bi-lingual elementary school students engage with a financial consultant in Argentina who taught the class about markets and trade.

Using behavioral science to help college students graduate

The American higher education system is facing a completion crisis. While most U.S. high school graduates now enroll in college, many don’t complete their degree. The latest data shows that less than 60 percent of full time students finish four-year degrees within six years. This figure drops to 30 percent for two-year degree completion within three years. Students who begin but don’t finish college are in the worst position of all, bearing the costs of tuition and time without reaping the many rewards a degree offers, including the potential for nearly double lifetime earnings and halved unemployment.

There is more than one way to grow great schools

Far too often, we run into situations where stakeholders believe a portfolio strategy is nothing more than a charter school growth strategy. We encourage city leaders to think beyond the obvious. While we ultimately aim for a system of autonomous and accountable schools, we know there may be more than one path to get there.

Learning lessons from charter school restarts

School districts across the country are asking high-quality charter school operators to restart failing public schools. In New Orleans, nearly every public school has been relaunched as a charter school. In Tennessee, the new Achievement School District is focusing its attention on a range of school improvement options, including charters, to boost the state’s lowest performers.

Using data to run great schools

This is part of a blog series that focuses on how the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation approaches impact investing. In this series, you will read about the foundation’s investment strategy in a particular ed tech solution, and each company’s mission to solve an existing problem in education. You can find the full series here. … Continued

Making impact core to education companies’ business strategy

In previous blog posts, I’ve repeated the challenge that perplexes India’s education sector: even after expenditures totalling more than USD $100 billion in the state and private sectors, student learning outcomes fail to improve. Furthermore, the business of K-12 education—and the products and services that can improve it—have not seen significant growth rates.

Spoiler alert: The answer is in the appendix

A case in point is this recent report on formative assessment practice published by Education First. Since this project is part of my portfolio at the foundation, I had the great fortune to work directly with the Education First team, reviewing drafts of the report in its entirety, and learning a tremendous amount about how hard teachers work every day to understand their students’ learning needs.

How I use data in my classroom

Formative assessment is a critical skill for teachers to truly drive their students’ learning, but it is not always easy for teachers to adopt. Effective questioning and formative assessment need to be intentionally planned and thoughtfully constructed to target the data that might be useful to their day to day classroom instruction. And this is not always as simple as it sounds. As a math teacher, the concepts I teach are complex, so I need my formative assessments to point me to the precise obstacle of learning. I need to know which students do not understand a problem and why. This needs to be done in real time so immediate feedback or adjustments to instruction can be made.

Done well, school restarts make a difference for students

Over the past year, we’ve shared our experiences with school restart. As we discussed in our restart blog series, we describe school restart as matching high-quality operators with the highest needs schools in cities and districts across the country to restart them for better results. Our series served to answer the below question first asked by Joe Siedlecki in his blog Restarted schools: A necessary victory for kids.