The Rearview Mirror: The NGLC Blog in January

One of the big ideas that NGLC’s Holly Morris took away from the Big Ideas Fest was that, “Any team can create an innovative idea with the frame of a plan…in three days” (see Three Big Ideas from ISKME’s Big Ideas Fest). Well, a team of higher education change agents who participated in last year’s Breakthrough Models Academy did something along those lines with their design for “Succeed You.” In Succeed You and Avenue Scholars Partnership: A Breakthrough Models Academy Design Meets the Real World, one of the team’s members, Christine Pharr of the College of Saint Mary, recounts how they are partnering with Avenue Scholars on a planning grant application to create a mobile app based on their design.  

The Succeed You team is likely now considering the business model to go along with their innovation. A report from the Center for American Progress reviewed the business and financial models of three higher education reforms—structured pathways, stackable credentials, and competency-based education (see my take in this month’s Trending Now: Postsecondary, where I also share examples of these reforms drawn from the NGLC breakthrough model grant recipients).

And guest blogger, Rick Staisloff of rpkGROUP, a strategic consulting firm, walks through the need for innovative business models in Where Mission, Market, and Margin Meet is the Sweet Spot for Innovative Business Models. His post is based on the work he has done supporting institutions participating in the Breakthrough Models Incubator.

Of course, business models are critical to successful innovation in K-12 as well. And in Resource Allocation at NGLC Schools: A Progress Report, Scott Milam of Afton Partners summarizes the early findings after the first year of operation of eight of the NGLC breakthrough model schools.

Two other posts dig into the K-12 breakthrough models in NGLC’s portfolio. I explore the range and trends among blended learning approaches used by the schools in Blended Learning Model Types of NGLC Breakthrough Schools. (Did you know, for example, that the Flex model and the Station Rotation model are the most popular of blended learning approaches among NGLC schools?) In No Better Choice for the Scholars We Serve, Carina Sitkus of Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy describes the new high school model that BVP is building because “we don’t believe ‘good enough’ is enough for our students.”

Returning to Three Big Ideas from ISKME’s Big Ideas Fest, another big idea that Holly Morris wrote about was that, “We can expose students to intellectually stimulating material and give them practical preparation for life and work at the same time.” ASSISTments, a "Wave II" K-12 tech innovation grant recipient, is trying to identify the right level of that practicing middle school math skills, an approach and a research study that ASSISTments’ Cristina Heffernan writes about in Getting the Most Out of Skill Practice.

Next week, NGLC travels to the Big Easy for the ELI Annual Meeting. With this conference, Digital Learning Day, and EDUCAUSE Connect: Portland, February begins a season of professional learning. And we look forward to sharing what we learn from these events with you.

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