As usual, AC's President and CEO Judy Codding, kicked off the conference by addressing attendees and introducing our guest speaker. I never tire of hearing her speak as she reminds us all of the philosophical principles on which the the America' Choice School Design reform efforts were built. ALL children deserve a world class education that guarantees them opportunities to continue into post secondary education ready for success. Their future depends on our answer to the moral calling demanding that the hard work it takes to ensure students meet success is done. She also shared results of a 13 year independent study of three school reform initiatives conducted by CPRE that showed AC students outperforming students in all other schools studied. I'm not surprised - the design implemented with fidelity changes lives. I've seen it firsthand.
Our guest speaker for the afternoon, Vicki Phillips is the Director of Education College Ready in the United States Program for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation shared the foundation's vision that all lives have equal value and that having a healthy and productive life shouldn't be a privilege. She described a two year study that is beginning in which thousands of classrooms will be studied in an effort to determine what the best qualities of teaching are in effecting success for students. She stressed the need for common world class standards, next generation assessments, course and teacher tool redesign, and innovative models of professional development. Intensive partnerships in education need to work to recruit, develop, assign, retain and compensate teachers and design career paths for them that point towards performance. There is a, "gap currently between where high school ends and dreams begin" that must be addressed by "powering up" our schools so that students are prepared to meet the demands of the ever changing global workplace and leave our high schools college ready, because, "everyone has a right to their dream".