The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII), is seeking individuals to serve as peer reviewers for the FY 2012 Promise Neighborhoods planning and implementation grant competitions. Promise Neighborhoods is a competitive grant program that supports cradle-to-career services designed to improve educational and developmental outcomes for students in distressed urban and rural neighborhoods.
April 2012 marks the celebration of the 11th annual Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM). The U.S. Department of Education is joining forces once again with the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History as well as more than 25 governmental, cultural, and community organizations to support this important cultural and educational initiative.
Feature: What Role Can Online COPs – Communities of Practice – Play in Achieving Teacher Excellence?
As 2012 unfolds, the Department of Education continues to pursue an important question for closing the achievement gap: How can online communities of practice (COPs) best address some of the most pressing challenges in P-12 education? For the past year, a multi-pronged effort by the Department's Offices of Innovation and Improvement (OII) and Educational Technology (OET) has pursued several critical issues associated with that question.
Following the 2010 release of the National Education Technology Plan, "Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology," the OET outlined best practices for managing online communities of practice in a report entitled "Connect and Inspire." The report employed both research literature and observations of mature communities of practice to describe ways that online COPs can help educators access, share, and create knowledge, as well as build a professional identity that goes beyond what is possible face-to-face.
The five communities receiving 2011 Promise Neighborhoods (PN) implementation grants represent well America's geographic diversity, stretching from the hills of Appalachia to the shores of the San Francisco Bay. Among the core elements they have in common is a strong commitment to early learning as a key ingredient for achieving their cradle-to-career goals.
In addition, 14 of the 15 PN planning grants announced by OII's Assistant Deputy Secretary Jim Shelton on behalf of the Obama Administration are also embracing the focused commitment to early learning. "Education is the one true path to opportunity and the American Dream," Shelton noted following the December 19th announcement in Minneapolis, and "the tremendous interest in early learning among Promise Neighborhoods is a testament to the recognition that the path begins in a student's earliest years."
(December 19, 2011) Senior officials from the Obama Administration announced today that five organizations will receive the first round of Promise Neighborhoods implementation grants, and another 15 organizations will receive a second round of planning grants. Grantees, comprised of nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education and an Indian tribe, will put school improvement at the center of local efforts to revitalize underserved neighborhoods.