Office of Innovation and Improvement
Welcome to the Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII), headed by Assistant Deputy Secretary Jim Shelton. OII makes strategic investments in innovative educational programs and practices, and administers more than 25 discretionary grant programs managed by five program offices: Charter Schools Program, Improvement Programs, Parental Options and Information, Teacher Quality Programs, and the Office of Investing in Innovation. OII also serves as the Department’s liaison and resource to the nonpublic education community through the Office of Non-Public Education.
The U.S. Department of Education was proud to host the Flint Institute of Arts, Flint School of Performing Arts, Flint Youth Theatre, and Tapology for the Flint Arts on the Road student art exhibit, which opened on April 22. Flint Arts on the Road is the first initiative of Flint Cultural Center institutions to produce cross-disciplinary collaborative programming showcasing the special talents of exceptional students in the visual and performing arts. The visit to D.C. for the opening also provided them a once-in-a-lifetime educational experience as they met and performed with their peers at several D.C.-area arts education institutions.
"Writing today," say the authors of the book Because Digital Writing Matters, "is pervasively and generally digital; composed with digital tools; created out of word, image, sound, and motion; circulated in digital environments; and consumed across a wide range of digital platforms."
Teachers today face a number of challenges as they design writing instruction for their students in our new digital world. Not only must educators address the ever-present challenges in writing per se, including adapting the writing process to an increasingly diverse population of students, they must first adopt the best methods to employ the new technological tools and integrate this knowledge into a complex learning environment. Inadequate training, an array of student technological skills, shifting notions of texts, as well as the ever-changing definition of a "literate" citizenship, are just some of the realities of today’s classroom. Add to these challenges the importance of privacy and personal safety, public scrutiny, and a fluid paradigm of standards and autonomy in the digital writing world, and it becomes quite evident that teaching writing in today’s classroom is starkly different from what it was just 20 years ago. At the same time that technologies have made drafting, editing, and modifying documents quicker and easier, the Because Digital Writing Matters authors note that the technologies have simultaneously "expanded options for writers and have probably made writing, and learning to write, more complex."
The more than 85,000 participants in OII’s Teaching American History Program are winners of the 2013 Friend of History Award from the Organization of American Historians (OAH). The award, which is given in recognition of outstanding support for historical research or the public presentation of American history, was presented to two representatives of the TAH program at OAH’s 106th annual conference on April 13.
22 Charter, Magnet, and Private Schools Among 2013 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Awardees
The second-annual U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees were announced on April 22nd by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Mundo Verde is one of the 64 schools being recognized for their exemplary efforts to create healthier learning spaces and educate students on the importance of environmental protection. The secretary was joined by the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley and Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Bob Persiacepe.
Arts Advocacy Day brought thousands of arts education advocates from across America to the Nation’s Capital on April 9th. Armed with an ever-increasing body of research-based evidence about the contributions that arts education makes to a well-rounded education for all students, the advocates reminded members of Congress that supporting arts education is a smart, pay-forward investment in every child’s education and future.