this initiative right for my school?
A: The Convergence Academy model is best suited for a school that is ready for a strategic change in pedagogy and focus, but that would be able to use this initiative to build on the existing foundation in technology, arts or digital media. Convergence is ideal for a staff excited to take their practice to the next level, regardless of their level of expertise in technology and digital media, who value collaboration and trying new things. See eligibility requirements for specific guidelines for participation.
How will this affect my teachers?
A: Please see the teachers' page here.
What additional resources will this provide for my school?
A: Convergence would provide many additional resources for your school:
- Additional staff (full time and part time) dedicated to supporting teachers
- Development of an instructional vision and corresponding tools (curriculum maps, vertical alignment)
- Development of a professional learning community who’s work is driven by instruction and student achievement
- Strategic support in revising the daily instructional schedule and courses
- Development of media and communication tools (website, blog, marketing, PR, etc) to support work within your school and also to communicate outside of your school
- Enhancement of existing technology infrastructure (equipment, software, etc)
- Assistance in nurturing partnerships with community agencies to support students and families
- Connections to Columbia resources for college readiness
Q: What additional staff will my school receive?
A: The grant provides several forms of support for your school to do this work and develop your classroom teachers' skills and capacity.
- Media Specialist: Each school will have on staff one full time media specialist, whose job it will be to work as a partner in integrating digital media into your teachers' lessons and to help develop digital media projects that support student learning. The media specialist will ensure that your classrooms will have the resources and training needed to feel confident to try new things. This person will also guest teach in teachers' classes or connect teachers with artists who could help them strengthen their projects.
- Curriculum Specialist: A full time curriculum specialist will be hired and shared by both schools to help develop curriculum that is anchored in the Common Core and the academic standards your teachers and students are held accountable for. This person will focus on helping your teachers strengthen their curriculum academically and will provide drive the development of the professional learning communities where teachers are developing, implementing and assessing their instruction through the lens of student work.
- Teaching Artist/ Digital Media Coach: Faculty and artists from Columbia College will work alongside your teachers in their classroom in multi-week residencies to embed digital media projects into their curriculum in meaningful ways. They will bring professional practices into teachers' classrooms and coach them in how to support their students in taking their work to the next level. These artists will also provide tool-based training for teachers to learn the software, equipment, and platforms they'll use in their classrooms.
- Professional Learning Communities: A cornerstone of this model is collaboration, which applies to teachers as much as it does students. Weekly team meetings will be dedicated to a practice called Lesson Study, where teachers will have a chance to reflect on a shared lesson, debrief and dig deep into what worked and why and analyze its success by analyzing student work products.
- Teacher Professional Development: We will provide training not only in media and technology tools, but also project development, curriculum design, and other needs as they arise in teachers' classrooms. Our grant supports stipends to compensate teachers for extra time spent in training or planning meetings, beyond what’s covered in the teachers’ contract.
- Administration Professional Development: We will provide models, instructional supports and coaching to administration teams on the process of leading a school through a change in focus. Project Directors from both CCAP and CPS will be available to support the administration in the process of change.
What will be required of me as a leader?
A: As principal, your support of this initiative, your willingness to partner with us and include us as part of the school community, and how you model that for teachers is all critical to the success of Convergence at your school. Beyond that, we will work with you to think through scheduling, use of space, and redesigning professional development.
What does an ideal candidate school look like?
A: In addition to the Federal guidelines listed below for potential candidates, an ideal school would have an active community arts/technology network and existing partnership with community-based arts/technology organizations. An ideal candidate school would also have a strong community support network with a robust backing of parents who are committed to the learning success of their child(ren).
What criteria must my school meet in order to apply for consideration?
A: Under the i3 grant guidelines and our proposal, the Convergence Academies schools need to qualify as "Low Performance Schools", or priority school, as described in the Department of Education's definition. In order to be considered a "priority school" school, you must meet the following criteria;
- the lowest 5% of Title I schools based on achievement and progress on statewide assessments;
- a Title I-participating or a Title I-eligible high school with a graduation less than 60%;
- any Title I school in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring that
- is among the lowest-achieving five percent of Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring or the lowest-achieving five Title I schools in improvement, corrective action, or restructuring in the State, whichever number of schools is greater; or
- is a high school that has had a graduation rate as defined in 34 CFR 200.19(b) that is less than 60 percent over a number of years; and
- any secondary school that is eligible for, but does not receive, Title I funds that
- is among the lowest-achieving five percent of secondary schools or the lowest-achieving five secondary schools in the State that are eligible for, but do not receive, Title I funds, whichever number of schools is greater; or
- is a high school that has had a graduation rate as defined in 34 CFR 200.19(b) that is less than 60 percent over a number of years. See http://www2.ed.gov/programs/sif/faq.html or
- a Tier I/II SIG-awarded school
- is eligible to receive Title I, Part A funds (including schools that receive Title I, Part A funds and those that do not);
- either has not made AYP for at least two consecutive years or is in the State’s lowest quintile of performance based on proficiency rates on the State’s assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA in reading/language arts and mathematics combined;
- is no higher achieving on the State’s assessments combined than the highest-achieving Tier I school that the SEA has identified under paragraph (a)(1)(i) of the definition of "persistently lowest-achieving schools;" and
- Is in the State’s lowest quintile of performance based on proficiency rates on the State’s assessments under section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA in reading/language arts and mathematics combined.
If your school fits the above criteria, you could be an excellent candidate for this new and exciting opportuinity for your students. Please click below for your next steps in applying.