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Future of School: The Podcast

Future of School: The Podcast

By Future of School
Hosted by Future of School CEO Amy Valentine, this show presents compelling conversations around innovative online and blended learning. Hear from all stakeholder voices in education―students, teachers, parents, policy influencers, and entrepreneurs―in a variety of segment types. From featured interviews presenting industry leaders’ insights to students’ and parents’ personal reflections on the impact of flexible learning options, fast-paced Q&A sessions with teachers, and commentary on emerging trends, diverse voices will highlight the power and promise of innovative, equitable education.
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One Big Idea: Rudy Flores on National Certification for Teachers (S2E15)

Future of School: The Podcast

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One Big Idea: Rudy Flores on National Certification for Teachers (S2E15)
If you could share One Big Idea to change the future of education, what would it be? In the 15th episode of Future of School’s One Big Idea series, our guest is Rudy Flores, who has 30+ years of experience in education as a teacher, principal and superintendent. Rudy is now Executive VP & Chief Development Officer for ChanceLight Education. Rudy shares his big idea of a portable national credential for teachers. He describes how the national teacher shortage makes this an urgent priority. With his idea, teachers’ certifications and licensures can be transferred across states. This would help address areas of need in different states who are short on teachers with certain specializations or other areas of expertise. Even in the absence of specific shortages, it would allow teachers with adequate experience and expertise more options in their careers and, as a whole, benefit students by expanding access to highly qualified teachers. What’s your One Big Idea to transform education? Connect with us on social media or on our website, www.futureof.school, to share! Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school.
10:55
August 4, 2021
One Big Idea: Carolyn Gill on a Mandatory Gap Year for High School Grads (S2E14)
If you could share One Big Idea to change the future of education, what would it be? In the 14th episode of Future of School’s One Big Idea series, our guest is Carolyn Gill, International and New Markets Specialist for Vista Higher Learning. Vista is a foreign language publisher and digital content provider, and Carolyn has a background in languages with a specialization in foreign language teaching. Carolyn shares her big idea for a national program for all students to spend 6-9 months abroad after high school graduation. During this time, students would participate in service work, be immersed in another culture, and develop new language skills. When it’s not possible to go to another country, the program could also apply domestically, for students to travel to a different part of the country, spend time in a different regional culture, and develop life skills. “Gap years” of this type are common in countries like Australia and could provide many of the same benefits to American students. Carolyn explains how the idea would increase cultural competence, help students gain maturity by living outside their comfort zone, and even look at their own community in different ways. These skills can be applied to an academic setting in higher education or the workforce. What’s your One Big Idea to transform education? Connect with us on social media or on our website, www.futureof.school, to share! Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school.
12:45
July 28, 2021
One Big Idea: Student Haley Casten on Eliminating the SAT (S2E13)
If you could share One Big Idea to change the future of education, what would it be? In the 13th episode of Future of School’s One Big Idea series, our guest is Haley Casten, a rising senior at Castle View High School in Castle Rock, Colorado. Haley shares her big idea of eliminating the SAT and other high-stakes college admissions exams, or at least reducing their importance to the admissions process. She explains how for many students, like herself, who are good students but have anxiety around test-taking, they may not perform on the test in a way that demonstrates their actual ability. From Haley’s point of view, it’s much better to look at the student holistically, including their grades, character, extracurricular activities, and other well-rounded factors that are a truer representation of who they are as a learner. “My grades are all A’s and B’s, and I feel that my SAT score doesn’t really show how hard I work in those classes, and how smart I actually am,” Haley explains. What’s your One Big Idea to transform education? Connect with us on social media or on our website, www.futureof.school, to share! Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school.
11:01
July 21, 2021
One Big Idea: Terry Farris on IEPs for Every Student (S2E12)
If you could share One Big Idea to change the future of education, what would it be? In the 12th episode of Future of School’s One Big Idea series, our guest is Dr. Terry Farris, Chief Academic Officer at American Heritage College. Dr. Farris shares his big idea of individualized education plans (IEPs) for all students. Especially after the pandemic, we’re seeing more and more that kids (and adults) have different interests, and they deserve the opportunity to explore those interests productively. This also involves prioritizing critical thinking instead of over-testing, to keep students engaged and avoid the risk of “losing them.” He proposes that we truly explore the possibility of IEPs for all. Often, according to Dr. Farris, most attention is either focused on designing education around the top 10% of students. Additionally, students in special education programs will have an IEP. What’s left is the students in “the middle” who aren’t provided with a personalized or engaging learning plan according to their needs or interests. As a result, many students will feel as though they don’t like school, or at least will fail to get the most out of their educational experience. What’s your One Big Idea to transform education? Connect with us on social media or on our website, www.futureof.school, to share! Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school.
15:13
July 14, 2021
One Big Idea: Nicole Biscotti on Special Education Training for All Teachers (S2E11)
If you could share One Big Idea to change the future of education, what would it be? In the 11th episode of Future of School’s One Big Idea series, our guest is Nicole Biscotti, a proud educator who believes that everyone should have access to a quality education that connects them with their purpose.  She seeks to bridge understanding, spark conversations, and inspire through her writing. Nicole wrote her book, I Can Learn When I'm Moving: Going to School with ADHD, with her 9 year old son about ADHD from the unique perspectives of a child and a mother who is also a teacher. Nicole shares her big idea that all teachers should have education and practicum in the area of special education so they’re prepared to teach all learners. As a general education teacher whose own child was diagnosed with ADHD, Nicole realized she’d never received training in special education, and got a firsthand perspective of why it would be so beneficial. Her dual roles of educator and parent informed one another as she developed her big idea. Follow Nicole on Twitter @BiscottiNicole and using the hashtag #ADHDGlobalConvo What’s your One Big Idea to transform education? Connect with us on social media or on our website, www.futureof.school, to share! Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school.
12:47
July 7, 2021
One Big Idea: Kyair Butts on Small Group Wednesdays (S2E10)
If you could share One Big Idea to change the future of education, what would it be? In the 10th episode of Future of School’s One Big Idea series, our guest is Kyair Butts, a sixth grade teacher from Baltimore City Public Schools in Maryland. Kyair was Teacher of the Year in 2019 and 2020 largely because of his passion for adopting technology in his classes, his stellar mentorship of his students, and the facilitation of great minds and wisdom. Kyair shares his big idea of Small Group Wednesday. This was an idea developed by the BCPS teacher advisory council along with the district’s CEO, and it proposes that Wednesday should be a half day of school in which, rather than teaching new content, the teacher will bring together small groups of students to focus on a particular skill based on what the teacher observed Monday or Tuesday, or based on data from recent assessments. It’s an opportunity to be more responsive to students’ personalized needs. In the afternoons, teachers would collaborate across grade levels for vertical planning, making sure that students in every grade are being equipped with the right standards-aligned skills. Kyair presents his idea in response to the sentiment, common in some places, to get back to “the way it was” in schools following the pandemic. He explains that the traditional way of doing things didn’t work for all students, and now is when we must seize the opportunity to do not what was, but what could be. "Why not us, and why not now, to perfect education as something that it could be?," he asks. What’s your One Big Idea to transform education? Connect with us on social media or on our website, www.futureof.school, to share! Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school.
16:13
July 2, 2021
One Big Idea: Tillie Elvrum on Funding Students Over Systems (S2E9)
If you could share One Big Idea to change the future of education, what would it be? In the ninth episode of Future of School’s One Big Idea series, our guest is Tillie Elvrum, an education advocacy pioneer with experience at the state and national level. With a background in communications, early childhood education, and personal experience as a parent advocate, Tillie specializes in grassroots organizing, parent engagement, school choice policy, and innovative education models. She is co-founder and administrator of Parent Support for Online Learning. Tillie shares her big idea about changing the way K-12 education is funded in the U.S. She proposes funding students rather than systems, meaning that the funding for education would be put into the hands of parents, enabling them to make the decision they feel is best regarding the learning environment that suits their child. As Tillie describes it, this idea would empower students and parents, and may also lead to a new level of personalization in learning. What’s your One Big Idea to transform education? Connect with us on social media or on our website, www.futureof.school, to share! Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school. Follow today’s guest on Twitter: @TillieElvrum
09:09
June 30, 2021
One Big Idea: Shaun McAlmont on True Workforce Readiness from the Earliest Ages (S2E8)
If you could share One Big Idea to change the future of education, what would it be? In the eighth episode of Future of School’s One Big Idea series, our guest is Dr. Shaun McAlmont, President of Career Learning Solutions at Stride, Inc. In this role, Dr. McAlmont manages all aspects of Stride's growing career readiness programs including the Destinations Career Academies. He is responsible for providing career readiness and workforce development solutions for students around the country that go beyond jobs traditionally aligned with vocational education to emerging new collar jobs of the future. Dr. McAlmont shares his big idea of moving best practices from adult career learning to students at the youngest of ages. Every child has the right to explore and attain great careers, he shares, and it’s up to us as a society and an education system to help them get there. This idea includes rethinking credentialing, certifications, and more to better prepare students for jobs, careers, and life. What’s your One Big Idea to transform education? Connect with us on social media or on our website, www.futureof.school, to share! Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school. Follow today’s guest on Twitter: @shaunmcalmont
12:37
June 25, 2021
One Big Idea: Judy Perez on Empowering Students to Learn What They Want, How They Want (S2E7)
If you could share One Big Idea to change the future of education, what would it be? In the seventh episode of Future of School’s One Big Idea series, our guest is Judy Perez, CEO and Founder of iLearn Collaborative. Judy has been identified as a national level expert in K-12 online and blended learning by the U.S. Department of Education. Prior to founding the iLearn Collaborative, she directed district-wide blended learning at Jeffco Public Schools and led their online school from turnaround status to Performance accreditation. Judy shares her big idea of empowering students by giving them access to the learning environment they prefer for the courses they are taking, anywhere and any time. This means providing flexible, fluid learning options for students that might change depending on the subject area and the courses they desire to take. With personalized learning realized to this extent, students may take certain courses in a blended setting, others fully in-person, and others online, depending on what works best for them. What’s your One Big Idea to transform education? Connect with us on social media or on our website, www.futureof.school, to share! Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school. Follow today’s guest on Twitter: @judyperez612
12:58
June 23, 2021
One Big Idea: Ray McNulty on Replacing Standardized Testing with a Growth Model (S2E6)
If you could share One Big Idea to change the future of education, what would it be? In the sixth episode of our One Big Idea series, we hear from Ray McNulty, President of the Successful Practices Network. In his career, McNulty has served at the school, district, and state levels – as a teacher, principal, superintendent, and commissioner of education of Vermont; is a past president of the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE); was senior fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and was previously the dean at the School of Education at Southern New Hampshire University, which was named the 12th most innovative organization in the world by FAST Company Magazine. Ray’s One Big Idea proposes that we must dramatically rethink the way assessment is used, as he describes the shortcomings of the high-stakes standardized testing environment that is used to measure students and teachers. “I don’t hear parents coming up to me and saying ‘I want my child to be an incredibly good test-taker,’” he says, later adding, “We’ve made assessment an incredibly dangerous thing to learning.” Ray talks about the importance of well-rounded development, including how students are developing their character, and how schools should be promoting continuous growth in all areas. When testing is presented with such high stakes that it will mark students as a “success” or “failure,” it is counterproductive to learning. “We have to move to a growth model. We have to move to a growth perspective. We have to move to multiple measures, and not this one assessment,” he says. What’s your One Big Idea to transform education? Connect with us on social media or on our website, www.futureof.school, to share! Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school.
18:54
June 18, 2021
One Big Idea: Phil Dituri on Integrating Math and Personal Finance Education (S2E5)
If you could share One Big Idea to change the future of education, what would it be? In the fifth episode of our One Big Idea series, we hear from Phil Dituri, Director of Education for FiCycle. Phil previously served as a Visiting Professor at Fordham University, and was a teacher, instructional coach, and chairperson of the mathematics department at New Design HS in lower Manhattan. While in public school, he was a three-time Math for America Master Teacher. Phil has a B.A. in Mathematics from NYU and a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from Columbia University. Phil describes the big idea of integrating mathematics with financial education, specifically that personal finance should be the context through which algebra is taught. These are “gatekeeper” topics in our society, meaning that people need to have a good understanding of them in order to be successful, and compelling research shows that students learn each of these subjects better when they are taught together―math scores increase when it is taught in the context of personal finance, and financial principles are retained much better when taught with the underlying math. Further, students report higher interest and engagement when their math course is structured in this fashion. This idea has significant promise for various aspects of equity. Learn more about the research behind integrating mathematics and personal finance: https://ficycle.org/ What’s your One Big Idea to transform education? Connect with us on social media or on our website, www.futureof.school, to share! Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school.
12:59
June 16, 2021
One Big Idea: Simmie Raiford on “Build a Child, Build a Nation” (S2E4)
If you could share One Big Idea to change the future of education, what would it be? In the fourth episode of our One Big Idea series, we hear from Dr. Simmie Raiford, Vice President of Education Transformation for MGT Consulting Group. Dr. Raiford has more than 30 years experience as an educator with roles at the elementary school, district, and state levels, and in her consulting work is nationally recognized for leading school district efficiency, management, and performance reviews. Dr. Raiford describes her big idea, “Build a Child, Build a Nation.” She explains how this can be achieved when every teacher at every grade level enters their work with a true passion to pour themselves into their children. This creates successively stronger generations whose skills include academics and a variety of well-rounded skills, and with individuals who have the ideas and drive to shape the nation. Reflecting on her decades of experience as an educator, Dr. Raiford gives a number of compelling examples of “building children” with success. What’s your One Big Idea to transform education? Connect with us on social media or on our website, www.futureof.school, to share! Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school.
16:02
June 11, 2021
One Big Idea: Karen Reiss Medwed on Learning Hubs in Wal-Mart (S2E3)
If you could share One Big Idea to change the future of education, what would it be? In the third episode of our One Big Idea series, we hear from Dr. Karen Reiss Medwed, Associate Teaching Professor in the Graduate School of Education and the Assistant Dean of Academic and Faculty Affairs in the Graduate School of Education at Northeastern University. Dr. Reiss Medwed shares her big idea for big business to step up in support of education by offering community learning hubs at heavily-trafficked retail locations. Inspired by the efforts of companies to set up accessible vaccination centers for Covid-19, this idea builds on that concept and addresses the problem of many learning centers that are located out of the way for families. Listen to the episode to hear much more and find out how this idea can transform educational opportunities and enhance equity in communities. What’s your One Big Idea to transform education? Connect with us on social media or on our website, www.futureof.school, to share! Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school. Follow today’s guest on Twitter: @DrKGRM
12:15
June 9, 2021
One Big Idea: Kevin P. Chavous on Professionalizing the Teaching Corps (S2E2)
If you could share One Big Idea to change the future of education, what would it be? In the second episode of our One Big Idea series, we hear from Kevin P. Chavous, President of Academic Policy & External Affairs at Stride, Inc. Kevin describes his idea for professionalizing the teaching corps by ensuring teachers attain a professional certification similar to the medical, legal, and accounting professions. Listen to the episode to hear his explanation of this big idea, and how it could lead to improvements in the profession and better compensation for teachers. What’s your One Big Idea to transform education? Connect with us on social media or on our website, www.futureof.school, to share! Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school. Follow these Twitter accounts to connect with today’s guest: @kevinpchavous @StrideLearn
13:00
June 4, 2021
One Big Idea: Dan Domenech on Overhauling K-12 Education (S2E1)
If you could share One Big Idea to change the future of education, what would it be? For this season of Future of School: The Podcast, we’ll hear from a diverse array of education stakeholders, from parents and educators to long-time industry leaders, who will share their bold proposals to transform teaching and learning in the United States. Everyone involved with education has a big idea they’d like to share. This is a platform where we can hear many of these exciting, innovative ways to change our K-12 system for the better. In the first episode of this series, we’ll hear from Dan Domenech, Executive Director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association. Dan’s idea? It’s a big one: Completely revamping teaching and learning as we know it, to usher in new models of innovation. It’s not enough to tweak around the edges, he explains. The time has come for an overhaul. Tune in to hear his proposal to make transformative change happen. What’s your One Big Idea to transform education? Connect with us on social media or on our website, www.futureof.school, to share! Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school. Follow these Twitter accounts to connect with today’s guest: @AASAHQ @AASADan
14:03
June 2, 2021
S1E8 - How Performing Arts and Mindfulness Are Central to Learning
In this special episode, Jemar Lee, a Future of School student scholarship winner who is currently a student at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, interviews Melissa Dobbs, founder of the Metropolitan School of the Arts. Melissa discusses her school’s evolution from a for-profit afterschool extracurricular program in 2001 into a non-profit, full-time academic and arts conservatory today. She initially pursued a career in the performing arts, and after 12 years of running a performing arts school, she realized the burnout rate of students. She wanted to do something to help students who weren’t reaching their full potential as artists, academics, or citizens. Melissa goes on to share her recommendations for more student-centered schools. She discusses mindfulness practices such as breathing, meditation, and learning how to reprogram our brains to deregulate their nervous systems to avoid burnout. She also touches on a few specific student success stories. Jemar asks Melissa to share one big idea for learners to take away and she shares a couple of important thoughts. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard” is one idea that students of all interests and abilities can learn from. Subscribe to Future of School: The Podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or your other preferred app to stay up-to-date on all new episodes. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school. Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555 to keep up-to-date on exciting initiatives and opportunities.
10:01
April 15, 2021
S1E7 - Increasing Access & Equity with Technology
In this episode, you’ll hear student, educator, and edtech industry perspectives on the role of technology in increasing educational access. The episode begins with Amy’s Thoughts, presented by host Amy Valentine, addressing the topic of technology and access (0:37). Universal access to education means all people, regardless of geography, gender, race or any other factor, receive access to a high-quality education. Technology is an equalizer that can advance access. Then, in the featured interview (2:47), Amy speaks with Stuart Udell, CEO of Achieve3000, about the role technology plays in making school more relevant for students. Stuart cites research from the National Dropout Prevention Center, which showed that 46% of kids who dropped out of school stated the reason as being “bored,” which relates to both engagement and relevance. He discusses many different factors that can either increase or decrease how relevant school feels to students, and then describes some of the ways in which technology can support increased relevance. Amy and Stuart also discuss a variety of other angles, including the innovation schools have pursued in the years leading up to, and through, the pandemic. This episode’s Research Insight (17:10) addresses the digital divide, and specifically the statistic that nearly half of all rural schools have zero students enrolled in AP classes. This is a clear example of a divide that can be bridged through thoughtful implementation of online courses. Next, Glen Stahl shares a student’s thoughts about the impact of online learning (17:40). While in high school, Glen took several online classes to allow for a more flexible schedule, which helped with his participation on the crew team. Glen explains that the top skill for students to develop is time management, which is essential for succeeding in online classes that work on a different schedule from the typical school week. The final segment is an interview with teachers Tracy and Maren Kelly (19:39). Tracy, who has been involved in online instruction for many years, and Maren, who was first introduced in 2020, share their perspectives on what’s misunderstood about online learning, strategies every educator should try, their biggest dreams for education, and more. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school. Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555 to keep up-to-date on exciting initiatives and opportunities.
37:14
March 2, 2021
Special Episode - Reflections on the Future of School Choice
We’ve recently observed National School Choice Week in the U.S., leading Future of School and educators nationwide to ask a number of relevant questions: What should school choice really mean in 2021? How is it defined by most Americans and how should it be defined? What work are we doing to enhance options in learning that go far beyond the physical school building? And, looking ahead, what is the future of school choice? In this special episode, Future of School CEO and Education Evangelist Amy Valentine reflects on some of the recent conversations about school choice. We then share Amy’s recent interview on the Building the Bridge podcast, hosted by Dr. Wendy Oliver, which allowed for an in-depth, layered discussion of the future of school choice. In the interview you’ll hear Amy’s insights on the history of the traditional school choice discussion, and the ways in which that conversation is expanding and evolving, both as a result of the pandemic but also dating back over multiple decades of online and blended learning. Among other perspectives, Amy shares that “COVID-19 made it undeniable to everybody in our country [that] parents should have the right, and they should be empowered, to choose the best learning environment for their children.” For more content about the future of school choice, listen to S1E6 of Future of School: The Podcast and read Amy’s latest column on edCircuit. To hear more conversations about the topics that connect educators and parents around online learning, you can subscribe to Building the Bridge. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school. Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555 to keep up-to-date on exciting initiatives and opportunities. About Amy Valentine: Amy Valentine is the Chief Executive Officer and Education Evangelist of Future of School, an education intermediary organization designed to support the growth of innovative school models integrating blended and online learning. Prior to guiding Future of School’s incubation and launch, Amy managed a portfolio of Colorado schools where she led academic and operational turnaround strategy. She also previously served as executive director for a network of Nobel Learning Communities schools in California. About Dr. Wendy Oliver: Dr. Wendy Oliver is a highly qualified Tennessee teacher and administrator who has pioneered digital learning across multiple states and school districts. She has authored digital teaching standards and developed software that allows teachers to self-assess their knowledge of digital instruction. Dr. Oliver is currently the Chief Learning Officer for EdisonLearning. Follow her on Twitter @oliver_dr
18:35
February 10, 2021
S1E6 - Understanding the Future of School Choice
In this episode, you’ll hear about many of the components that are contributing to an expanded, enhanced definition of school choice. When students and families have options and information, they can pursue the choices that are personalized to their needs and provide the greatest flexibility to achieve each of their goals. The episode begins with the segment “Parent’s Thoughts,” presented by education advocacy pioneer Tillie Elvrum (0:39). Tillie, who co-founded Parent Support for Online Learning, a group of thousands of parents providing resources and mentorship, speaks about the positive impact of online learning in her own life. She discusses her son’s experience in a full-time online public school and then shares her hope that students everywhere will have choice over the  time, pace and place of their learning because “students work best when they’re masters of their own education.” Then, in the featured interview (2:25), host Amy Valentine welcomes Kareem Farah, an award-winning former HS math teacher who is co-founder and CEO of the Modern Classrooms Project. Kareem shares his thoughts on the role of the teacher in modern learning environments, sharing that the teacher is largely the facilitator who can ensure learning is student-driven. He describes how he learned as a teacher to “eliminate the lecture,” a component of instruction he found ineffective and disengaging, and applied himself to more innovative practices. Kareem also talks about the effects of the pandemic on the work he’s doing with the Modern Classrooms Project. The Project’s research-backed instructional model promotes teacher-created videos, self-paced student learning, and mastery-based grading, and demand has increased during the remote learning period. The approach speaks to the power of innovative thinking for educators, and giving students autonomy and choice in learning. This episode’s Research Insight (18:53) highlights that flexibility is the top reason students choose online or blended learning, including flexibility related to their schedule, expanded course offerings, the ability to compete in an elite sports program, and more. Flexibility has never been more possible and is an essential component in the future of school choice. Next, Christian Rodriguez shares a student’s thoughts about the impact of online learning (19:25). Currently a college student, Christian was involved in online learning throughout middle and high school. He found that it allowed him to maximize his time, by providing flexibility over when he completed his school work. He had a busy schedule working on a farm and participating in numerous organizations, and online schooling made sure he could do it all. The episode concludes with an interview conducted by Jorgie Ingram, a Future of School Student Scholarship winner (21:32). Jorgie chats with Amy Valentine to dive into a vision of the future of school. What can it look like? Jorgie and Amy also discuss one of the most important ways technology can make an impact, which is to increase communication among stakeholders. Learn more about Future of School at www.futureof.school. Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555 to keep up-to-date on exciting initiatives and opportunities. Follow these Twitter accounts to connect with today’s guests: @KareemFarah23 @TillieElvrum
29:54
January 28, 2021
S1E5 - The Future of Learning and School in America
In this episode of Future of School: The Podcast, you’ll hear perspectives on the future of learning and school in America, informed by educators' experience working at all levels, from the classroom up to state-level leadership. The interviewees both broadcast and forecast the trends taking place across K-12. The episode begins with “Amy’s Thoughts,” presented by host Amy Valentine (0:40), in which she articulates a forecast for the future of U.S. schools. “What the future looks like for our K-12 education system is more than a question. It’s a concept. It’s a belief. And we see it evolving into a movement,” Amy shares. She goes on to explain how flexibility, personalized learning, and the smart use of technology will transform educational opportunity for all students. Then, in the featured interview (2:50), Amy welcomes Ray McNulty, President of the Successful Practices Network to the show. In his career, McNulty has served at the school, district, and state levels – as a teacher, principal, superintendent, and commissioner of education of Vermont; is a past president of the International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE); was senior fellow at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and was previously the dean at the School of Education at Southern New Hampshire University, which was named the 12th most innovative organization in the world by FAST Company Magazine. McNulty shares stories from his long and varied career across education, and also looks ahead to innovative ideas on the horizon. He describes district-level successes in moving from the “factory model” of education to more personalized approaches, along with the impact these approaches made on individual students. He also refers to missed opportunities that led to important lessons, talks about different ways to get students connected to their passion pursuits, and much more. The episode concludes with the “5-in-5” interview with Kyair Butts (21:20), a sixth grade teacher from Baltimore City Public Schools. Kyair was Teacher of the Year in 2019 and 2020 largely because of his passion for adopting technology in his classes, his stellar mentorship of his students, and the facilitation of great minds and wisdom. Kyair discusses some of the common misperceptions around online learning, the importance of getting to the “heart work” of education by focusing on the social-emotional aspect, why every teacher should make sure content comes alive for students, his “big dream” for education, and more. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school. Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555 to keep up-to-date on exciting initiatives and opportunities. Follow these Twitter accounts to connect with today’s guests: @Ray_McNulty @SPNConnect 
29:29
January 13, 2021
S1E4 - The Future of Teachers & Redesigning K-12
In this episode, you’ll hear about the future of the role of teachers in schools across America, insights on dramatically redesigning the learning experience around the key stakeholders―the students―and some strategies all teachers should use. The episode begins with “Amy’s Thoughts,” presented by host Amy Valentine (0:37). She shares insights on the future of teachers―what can American educators expect as the profession evolves along with the K-12 system? The importance of teachers has never been more visible than during this period of widespread remote learning. Then, in the featured interview (2:59), Amy welcomes Nancy Conrad, founding chair of the Conrad Foundation. The Foundation has run the annual Conrad Challenge―an innovation and entrepreneurship competition for 13-18 year old students―for the past 15 years. Nancy explains that we need to accept what we don’t know about the future, but at the same time seize the opportunity to create a new, better system for students. She explains how the “consumer” of education―the students―are the stakeholders who are never invited to the table and why we need to change this dynamic, and shares a number of key ideas about redesigning schools. Following the interview, this episode’s Research Insight (17:46) indicates that most teachers don’t yet feel comfortable integrating high-touch technology into instruction, but would like to receive training on how to do so. It’s important to close this gap. Then, Jackson Caves, an Oklahoma State University student and Future of School scholarship winner, describes what online learning has meant to him (18:28). Even though he grew up in a small town and graduated in a high school class of fewer than 50 students, online courses gave Jackson the opportunity to get a head start on college coursework. The episode concludes with the “5-in-5” interview with Alejandro De La Peña (20:17), a rapid-fire session in which Alejandro gives a teacher’s perspective on some of today’s most important topics. Alejandro is a middle school special education teacher in El Paso, Texas. He talks about the way iPads have become the “staple of sped,” how surprisingly natural it can feel to teach and learn in an online environment, why his one big dream in education would be to better compensate teachers, and more. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school. Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555 to keep up-to-date on exciting initiatives and opportunities. Follow these Twitter accounts to connect with today’s guests: @inventioneer @MaestroDeLaPena
27:17
December 3, 2020
Special Episode - Commentary on Parents’ Desire to See Education Reimagined
In this three-minute special episode, Amy Valentine, Future of School CEO and Education Evangelist, gives commentary on a newly released survey from the National Parents Union that received coverage from The 74. In the survey, 6 in 10 parents indicated they’d like to see schools offer expanded remote learning options, even once pandemic-related restrictions have ended. Online learning has been present in America for 25 years, but is still very new to most Americans, with the past several months being the first exposure most students and parents have received. However, we’ve already come a long way, with parents becoming aware of the promise of flexible learning options to best meet comprehensive student needs.  To learn more about the National Parents Union survey, read this article from The 74: https://www.the74million.org/article/new-poll-finds-parents-want-better-distance-learning-now-online-options-even-after-covid-more-family-engagement/ Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school. Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555 to keep up-to-date on exciting initiatives and opportunities.
03:07
November 23, 2020
S1E3 - School in 2025 & The Future of Work
In this episode, you’ll hear predictions regarding the outlook for U.S. schools five years from now, the skills required to succeed in the future of work, why K-12 needs to innovate, and more. The episode begins with “Amy’s Thoughts,” presented by host Amy Valentine (0:34). She gives a forecast for American schools, looking ahead to the year 2025. As Amy says, we’re currently “building the train while we’re building the tracks” for the future of school, but there are some key, simple truths we can all understand. Next is the featured interview (2:51) with Nasir Qadree, Founding Managing Partner of Zeal Capital Partners, a new Washington, D.C.-based inclusive investment vehicle focused on partnering with exceptional management teams with diverse backgrounds and skillsets bridging America's Wealth and Skills gap. Nasir describes how, societally, the way we think about resources and equity is frequently not evenly distributed across the population. Therefore, it takes a “collective village” to ensure that resources get into the hands of those who need them. He also describes the events that motivated him to pursue a career that would impact issues of equity and gives perspective on the skills that will be essential to the future of work. Following the interview, this episode’s Research Insight describes the range of reasons students have chosen to diversify their educational pathways (19:13). Then, Jazy Manoukian, a Wyoming native and current college student in Virginia, explains how a Future of School scholarship has supported her educational journey. Jazy also shares her perspective on the benefits of blended learning. In the episode’s final segment (24:36), FoS Student Scholarship winner Satara Enes interviews Amy Valentine. Satara, originally from Colorado, is a freshman at Nebraska Wesleyan University. In the interview, Amy discusses how she came to pursue a career in education, why there are many different ways to be a teacher, and why the K-12 education system needs to focus on innovation. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school. Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555 to keep up-to-date on exciting initiatives and opportunities. Connect with today’s guest Nasir Qadree on Twitter @NasirQadree
34:39
November 12, 2020
S1E2 - Tech-Enabled Learning & Navigating a Pandemic
In this episode of Future of School: The Podcast, you’ll hear about the power of education associations and stakeholders working together and gain a new perspective on the benefits of technology-enabled teaching and learning. The episode begins with “Amy’s Thoughts,” presented by host Amy Valentine (0:37). She discusses the benefits of tech-enabled learning by presenting stories of two students―Elizabeth and Jemar―whose successes were shaped by blended and online learning options. Next is the featured interview (2:40) with Dan Domenech, Executive Director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association. AASA is the premier association for school system leaders and serves as the national voice for public education and district leadership on Capitol Hill. Dan and Amy discuss the steps districts have taken to navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the journey from a starting point of “wishful thinking” all the way to meaningful action. Dan shares what schools are doing to deliver effective hybrid learning, how the role of the teacher has changed from “sage on the sage” to “director of learning,” how personalized learning is improving outcomes for students, and more. Following the interview, this episode’s Research Insight demonstrates how most teachers felt that meaningful technology integration left them prepared to succeed in their instruction during the remote learning period caused by COVID-19 (19:13). Then, Kylie Gardner, a college senior and former FoS Student Scholarship winner, shares the ways in which online learning gave her better access to high-quality schooling. As a former elite cyclist, she was able to access instruction online at a time when she was unable to attend a brick-and-mortar school. The episode concludes with the “5-in-5” interview with Theresa Bruce (21:50), a rapid-fire session in which Theresa gives a teacher’s perspective on some of today’s most important topics. Theresa is a social studies teacher at a KIPP charter school campus in Baltimore, Maryland. In this conversation, she discusses how many people misunderstand the critical role of the teacher in online instruction, shares one strategy―the feedback loop―that she believes every teacher should use, and gives her vision for the future of school. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school. Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555 to keep up-to-date on exciting initiatives and opportunities. Follow these Twitter accounts to connect with today’s guests: @AASADan @aasahq @MsBruceEdu7
26:05
November 5, 2020
S1E1 - Crisis Schooling vs. Online Education
In the debut episode of Future of School: The Podcast, you’ll hear compelling perspectives and personal stories from a variety of participants in the U.S. education ecosystem. The episode begins with “Amy’s Thoughts,” presented by Future of School CEO―and the host of this podcast―Amy Valentine. Amy defines and describes the important differences between crisis schooling and effective online education (0:37). Next is the featured interview (2:57) with John Watson, founder of Evergreen Education Group, which manages the Digital Learning Collaborative―a membership group dedicated to exploring, producing, and disseminating data, information, news, and best practices in digital learning. John and Amy discuss the evolution of distance learning over the years, before and now through the pandemic. The conversation touches on the role of edtech early adopters, the factors that prepare schools to be flexible and resilient in the face of challenges, and more. Following the interview, this episode’s Research Insight describes the profound transformation leading to effective remote education (21:04). Then, Ethan Rich, a Future of School Student Scholarship winner and recent college graduate, gives his insights on the importance of online education. Ethan reflects on how his experience over several years prepared him for success. The episode concludes with the “5-in-5” rapid-fire teacher interview with Chuck Poole (23:54). Chuck is a middle school teacher in New Jersey with 20+ years of experience, as well as the founder of Teachonomy and organizer of the Teacher Success Summit. He talks about the experience that first opened his eyes to the power and potential of blended and online learning, one strategy (the “Emoji Box”) every teacher can use in the classroom, and more. Learn more about Future of School and its mission to mobilize change in American K-12 education from a one-size-fits-all system to one that ensures all students reach their unbounded potential no matter where their learning takes place at www.futureof.school. Follow Future of School on Twitter @futureof_school and follow Amy Valentine @amyvalentine555 to keep up-to-date on exciting initiatives and opportunities. Follow these Twitter accounts to connect with today’s guests: @theDLC @cpoole27
33:17
October 29, 2020