Author: Laurie Motyka

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 14, 2014 Registration Open for Unique Leadership Program for California Educators Generation Ready partners with one of the nation's leading education experts for professional development program in Long Beach NEW YORK, NY – The biggest challenge for school and district leaders across the country right now revolves around raising student achievement while simultaneously implementing a large number of initiatives ranging from Common Core State Standards to Local Control Accountability Plans (LCAP). This November, Generation Ready, one of the largest providers of professional development and school improvement services in the country, will offer an intense, three-day Leading Learning Institute in Long Beach with a rare opportunity for school leaders to learn from one of the biggest thought leaders in education today. Designed for district and school teams, Dr. Richard Elmore, Gregory R. Anrig Professor of Educational Leadership, Administration, Planning and Social Policy, Harvard Graduate School of Education, will combine theory, real data from participating schools and collaboration to help school leaders leave with a clear focus. Participants will be asked to develop a bold vision for instruction and identify the learning that would be required to make this vision a reality. “One of the real challenges is getting that vision of what real effective practice looks like and what really makes a difference to students learning,” said Dr. Erick Witherspoon, Director of Professional Development Services for Generation Ready. “Having a chance to partner with principals who are working through that gives us an opportunity to bring our expertise to the table about what is possible with their students.” Dr. Devin Dillon, Chief Academic...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 25, 2014 Head Start Program in Mississippi Offers Teachers Instructional Support Generation Ready to Provide On-Site Professional Development to Eight Head Start Centers JACKSON, MISS – In an effort to improve instructional scores within its Head Start programs, the Gulf Coast Community Action Agency hired national professional development provider Generation Ready to deliver training and instructional support to teachers. This fall, Generation Ready, a leading provider of leader and teacher professional learning services, will begin working with teachers at eight Mississippi Head Start centers serving more than 1,400 children. Dr. Barbara Coatney, executive director of the Gulf Coast Community Action Agency, said her eight centers received composite instructional scores totaling 2.7. The lowest score is a 2.5 for Head Start centers. “Instead of waiting until I'm caught in that lower 10th percentile, I decided to get our teachers some additional help to make sure they are ready,” said Dr. Coatney. “In order for the poorest children in America to make it, they need a strong foundation. That is why I want them to really learn before they leave our Head Start program.” John Buchanan, Generation Ready’s general manager for the South Region, praised the agency for taking concrete steps to improve instruction. “This is the first time to my knowledge that a Head Start program took the initiative to train its teachers in order to better provide the instructional foundation that will prepare students for success throughout their school careers,” said Buchanan. Generation Ready’s education consultants will provide 47 days of on-site support and one-on-one consultation with an emphasis on literacy. Workshops and classroom-embedded professional development will...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 4, 2014 Generation Ready Strengthens School Leadership Services Generation Ready also announces addition of Josh Klaris to Leadership Team NEW YORK, N.Y. – The principal who can simply walk the halls and dole out discipline in schools is a thing of the past. Now more than ever, the role of principals is multifaceted as they transition into instructional leaders while balancing the inordinate responsibilities that are embedded into the position. Principals must learn to constantly focus their schools on the thoroughness of classroom learning while at the same time distribute responsibility for improvement to teams within the school. In July, dozens of school leadership teams from New York City attended a three-day intensive leadership institute to learn how to do just this. Hosted by Generation Ready, one of the largest providers of professional development and school improvement services in the country, the institute was based on the pioneering work of Dr. Richard Elmore, Gregory R. Anrig Professor of Educational Leadership, Administration, Planning and Social Policy, Harvard Graduate School of Education. The institute was designed to help school leadership teams make meaningful enhancements in student achievement using Dr. Elmore’s innovative “internal coherence” framework. Dr. Elmore, who led the conference, also serves as advisory board chair for Generation Ready. Principals and their teams collaborated with fellow educators and consultants on the importance of creating conditions that drive and sustain improved instructional practice in every school. Participants were also asked to develop a bold vision for instruction and identify the learning that would be required to make this vision a reality. “One of the real...

It's time to double down on middle school reading By: Cal Hastings, Senior Director for Middle School Literacy, Generation Ready Robert Balfanz, the preeminent national scholar on the high school dropout crisis, hits the nail on the head in his June New York Times opinion piece entitled Stop Holding Us Back. Although we should collectively celebrate a national graduation rate that has hit an all-time high of 80 percent, far too many youth–anestimated one third of all African American and Hispanic males – arenot making it. The economic, societal and personal consequences of this outcome are simply unacceptable. As Balfanz points out, the research is clear, youth begin to show the undeniable warning signs as early as sixth grade of dropping out in high school. I had the privilege to work with Dr. Balfanz in New York City while supporting several middle schools with the implementation of a comprehensive approach to identify and respond to the early warning signs that far too many of our young adolescents in low income communities demonstrate. In one Bronx middle schoolthat had exceptional leadership, the school implemented, deepened and sustained this system over a period of years. This particular school ended up ranking as one of the top performing middle schools in the city, despite serving an unscreened population of students. More importantly are the countless number of youth that the school's principal, teachers and counselors nudged and nurtured back onto the pathway to academic success. As the Balfanz research indicates, critical...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 16, 2014 Generation Ready Names Cal Hastings to Leadership Team Veteran educator led New York City's middle school literacy efforts New York, N.Y. – Cal Hastings, a longtime educator who has led the New York City Department of Education Middle School Quality Initiative (MSQI) for the past three years, has joined Generation Ready as senior director of middle school literacy. The MSQI is one of the largest research-based middle school reading initiatives in the United States, impacting an estimated 49,000 New York City students. Generation Ready has been a close partner with Hastings and the New York City Department of Education on the project, which has resulted in significant gains for at-risk readers, said Generation Ready’s CEO Justin Serrano. “What we have learned in partnering with the MSQI schools is that literacy, and specifically reading, is the critical challenge our young people face in the path toward high school graduation and beyond,” Serrano said. “Cal is uniquely suited to lead our efforts as we share the successful approach of Generation Ready’s own Middle School Literacy Initiative with schools around the country.” Hastings said that the research is pretty clear that a student graduating eighth grade and reading at the sixth- grade level or below has a poor chance of succeeding in high school. He noted national data indicating that less than a third of adolescents from low-income communities graduate from middle school reading at grade level. “The time is now to double down on middle school reading,” Hastings said, adding...

Personalized learning: Not just for students Data can, and should, help K-12 leaders offer personalized professional development as well By: Justin Serrano, CEO, Generation Ready Published on: eSchoolNews May 7, 2014 For more than 20 years, educators and ed-tech companies have pursued the promise that technology and personalized instruction can raise student achievement. Sophisticated educational software now can adapt to students’ content knowledge, language skills, and engagement preferences to provide truly unique learning experiences. So why has so little work been done, similarly, in professional development for adults? Personalized instruction—often technology-enabled or supported—is a proven approach for students that builds competencies by allowing kids to work on the things they need to work on first, then build on those successes by setting ever higher goals. But when it comes to teachers, so much of what passes as professional development is not even tailored to the school, let alone each educator. There are a plethora of pre-packaged workshops, content libraries, free online resources, and reams of materials to be used. And while the quality of the content is sometimes high, the tools are too often provided as “one-offs” rather than as part of a system to address teachers’ initial or ongoing development needs. One thing that all high-performing schools have in common is a culture of high expectations—not only for students, but also for teachers and school leaders. In these schools, principals are instructional leaders who foster a collaborative environment. They believe in, and invest in, sustained, job-embedded professional development. Schools that have made this cultural...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 2, 2014 White paper documents keys to effective teaching of literacy Ability to integrate a range of instructional approaches and resources is critical New York, N.Y. – For more than 50 years, experts have debated the best way to teach all students to read and write successfully. Now, a white paper by Generation Ready Chief Academic Officer Sheena Hervey concludes that the most successful teachers are able to skillfully integrate a range of instructional approaches and resources to meet the diverse learning needs of their students. As the only national provider of leader and teacher professional learning services that uniquely combines deep instructional job-embedded expertise and innovative technology tools, Generation Ready’s roots are in literacy instruction. Hervey comes from New Zealand where she worked as a teacher, administrator and literacy advisor and also played a role in implementing national standards. “Today’s classrooms are complex and dynamic learning environments,” said Hervey. “Identifying the factors that affect student achievement has been an object of study for some time, but now there is documented evidence of the most effective features of teaching that lead to positive outcomes.” Titled “What is Effective Teaching of Literacy,” the paper documents that effective teachers: Know the literacy processes and the teaching practices that determine how their students learn Know what their students need to understand and to do to meet higher standards Know their students as individual learners Have high expectations for students and encourage them to take risks Have flexibly to use a range of instructional practices Engage students in...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE via Truenorthlogic April 7, 2014 Weld North Acquires Truenorthlogic Paving the Way for Educators to Excel and Students to Succeed Sandy, Utah – Weld North Holdings LLC, an investment company led by former Kaplan, Inc. CEO Jonathan Grayer, announced today that it has acquired a 100% interest in Truenorthlogic. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The acquisition of Truenorthlogic allows Weld North to continue to solidify its leadership in the K-12 digital education market and provide Truenorthlogic with the capital required to continue to advance its market-leading products and services. Sandy, Utah-based Truenorthlogic is the market-leading provider of SaaS-based K-12 talent management solutions. Since its founding in 2000, Truenorthlogic has grown to become the leader in the K-12 talent management solutions segment, providing its technology and services to more than 1,500 U.S. districts including eight of the largest 20 districts such as the New York City Department of Education, Chicago Public Schools and the Los Angeles Unified School District. The Company has achieved significant growth and has been ranked on the Inc. 5000 list six times as one of the fastest growing companies in America. Weld North’s investment will additionally bring industry expertise, resources and strategic direction to help accelerate Truenorthlogic’s growth. The partnership will allow the Company to operate more effectively and further build out its award-winning software platform. Weld North’s extensive experience in the digital education marketplace will help ensure Truenorthlogic’s sustained market leadership and product innovation. Truenorthlogic will operate as an independent entity within Weld North’s...

Professional Development of Teachers is Absolutely Key By: Dr. Michael Ward Generation Ready Advisory Board Member; Associate Member of the Graduate Faculty in Educational Leadership, University of Southern Mississippi March 14, 2014 In Mississippi, as elsewhere, educators and business leaders are asking “How can we better prepare our children to be college and career ready?” This is not a new question. It has been asked, in one way or another, ever since there have been jobs to fill and colleges to enter. Yet today, the stakes are higher. Almost all of our nation’s fastest-growing jobs require either a college education or specialized skills. And too many young people leave high school prepared for neither. Though we often struggle with how best to prepare students for what’s next, it all starts with giving our kids three fundamental gifts: capable, caring teachers; academic content that prepares them for life; and the confidence that there will be affordable postsecondary education and jobs where they can apply their education. While all three are important, I worry most about the first one — making sure our teachers have the experience and professional skills to help our students. There is no doubt that caring teachers can be found in every Mississippi school. But we’re fighting an uphill battle to keep teachers where they are needed most: in the classroom. The rate of teacher attrition, following a recession lull, is increasing. About 14 percent of teachers nationwide leave the profession after only one year. Between 30 and 50 percent leave during...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 10, 2014 Professional Development Will Be Crucial for Common Core Implementation Investing in our teachers is necessary for student success and achievement NEW YORK – Requests for Common Core-specific assistance from districts and schools across the country are on the rise, and for good reason; the standards demand more from students and far more from teachers. That’s according to Generation Ready, one of the largest providers of professional development and school improvement services in the country. The Common Core State Standards are the latest standards aimed at preparing students to be college and career ready in a global society. In spite of various opinions on the standards, they take effect this fall, and many school districts are unprepared. Sheena Hervey, Chief Academic Officer for Generation Ready, says regardless of what standards happen to be in place, their classroom embedded education consultants have worked side by side with teachers to help plan and teach more rigorous content, develop performance tasks, and collaboratively analyze student work in English Language Arts and Literacy and math. “Meeting the raised expectations of the standards will require teachers to teach in profoundly different ways,” says Hervey. “We believe that teachers need substantially more professional development around the Common Core, not just in understanding what the new standards include and how they differ from states’ old standards, but also to fill the gaps in instructional strategies that will be needed for students to succeed.” New York and Common Core Generation Ready has been working with more than...

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