Great Progress at Miami-Dade County Public Schools

It is critical that our nation has schools and districts that provide our students and communities access to a high-quality education through their learning models, school and district leaders, and outstanding teachers, instructional personnel and staff. Therefore, as we approach the 2018 elections, we are reminded of the importance of K-12 education in the U.S. today.

Recently, Alberto M. Carvalho, Superintendent of Schools at Miami-Dade County Public Schools, shared a letter to the community regarding an opportunity on the upcoming ballet on November 6. blur-child-classroom-256468The opportunity will improve compensation for teachers and instructional personnel, as well as increases in school safety and security personnel. Please take a look at the attached letter to learn more.

Miami-Dade Public Schools: Letter to the Community

Miami-Dade Public Schools has made great progress in the district, and I am inspired by Superintendent Carvalho’s commitment and dedication to all the staff, teachers and schools part of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Additionally, on behalf of Acceleration Academies, I am honored that we are one of Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ partners in our Acceleration Academies work.

As we are a few weeks away from November, let this letter serve as a reminder to continue positively impacting K-12 education today.

To learn more about Acceleration Academies, visit:





Gallup superintendent survey finds growing concerns around civics preparation

In a recent article shared in Education Dive, a recent Gallup superintendent survey found growing concerns around civics preparation. blur-door-factory-451

According to the article,”Leadership Perspectives on Public Education: The Gallup 2018 Survey of K-12 School District Superintendents” shows significant concern among district leaders in regard to preparing students to be engaged citizens, with 74% agreeing or strongly agreeing that doing so presents a challenge, compared to 50% last year.”

For more information, read the full article at:

CICS Prairie Awarded Wired to Learn Grant to Support Technology Innovation

Many schools and districts across the U.S. are finishing up their first week of school, and this past week has been filled with excitement, ambition, and joy.

Likewise, as we are all looking forward to have an amazing 2018-19 school year, one with much student engagement and growth, I could not be more enthusiastic to what this year will bring to Chicago International Charter School (CICS) Prairie.

CICS_Relativity 1CICS Prairie, managed by Distinctive Schools, has been awarded a Wired to Learn grant from Relativity, a Chicago-based technology company.  The Wired to Learn grant will directly support the school, and its students, by providing funding for 1:1 devices for students, a Smart STEAM Lab, and additional professional development opportunities for teachers and staff.

CICS Prairie is a K-8 public charter school nestled in the Roseland neighborhood on the Chicago’s South Side. The school’s mission, in partnership with families and school community, is to develop 21st century learners by providing authentic STEM education experiences through effective implementation of innovative and interactive learning programs. This grant will positively impact the students, staff, families, and school community.

To learn more about this wonderful opportunity for CICS Prairie, visit




NWEA releases Gallup study

NWEA released the latest study they’ve commissioned from Gallup, Assessing Soft Skills: Are We Preparing Students for Successful Futures? The report is the fourth in NWEA’s Assessment Perception Study series, and includes findings from more than 4,000 parents, teachers, principals, and superintendents. Screen Shot 2018-08-21 at 10.44.27 AM.png

Additionally, according to a recent press release, Chris Minnich, CEO at NWEA stated, “This year’s report addresses the important question of whether we are adequately preparing our students for the future, and it has revealed a number of areas of opportunity. Where I see the most potential is in truly measuring what matters for student success and ensuring that every assessment that exists today or is being created for tomorrow is relevant to student learning. NWEA is exploring pathways to making this a reality. We must continue our dialogue on this to create a future for assessment in which all students are able to fully realize their potential.”

The full report is available at

Real Change or the Next Illusion: Coding, Robotics and Makerspaces – CTAC

Re-blogging Bill Slotnik’s piece. Just to double-down on Bill’s perspective: we have the chance to get this stuff right. But, will we?

Real Change or the Next Illusion: Coding, Robotics and Makerspaces – CTAC
— Read on

School shootings: Should parents be charged for failing to lock up guns used by their kids? – The Washington Post

Come on. How is this even a question. It’s basic parenting. Of course there should be charges.

After a deadly Kentucky school shooting, should the parent who failed to lock up his weapon be charged?
— Read on

Are students’ constitutional rights being violated when they can’t read at grade level? | Education Dive

I believe the answer to this is a definitive YES! Through effective pedagogy, neuroscience, and constructive school improvement and instructional coaching we have the research-base to know what to do. What we lack is sufficient will in the case of almost every child in America. Other than with some severe cognitive, emotional, and medical history exceptions, we must solve this. Poverty-background is not a credible exception. Maybe more civil rights activism could help us develop the sufficient will.
— Read on

A Necessary Look at Summer Learning Loss Research

Education Week’s recent article, Summer Learning Gaps Worsen in Higher Grades, Just Not the Way You Think, takes a look at the lasting results on students as they experience the so-called “summer slide.”

The summer slide happens as one school year ends, usually in June, and students are no longer in the classroom until the start of the next school year, usually in August or September. Immediately, the article states “students may lose a third to half of what they learn during the year to the so-called summer slide.”

alone-beach-boy-375802The article further states that studies have shared that low-income and minority students may lose more of what they learn during the summer than other students. Furthermore, Dr. Megan Kuhfeld, a research scientist at NWEA, the Northwest Evaluation Association, has been analyzing MAP Growth data and tracked the achievement of students in more than 500 schools that participated in the MAP Growth test in reading and math.

Kuhfeld stated in a blog post on NWEA’s site, “In NWEA’s research, summer learning loss was observed in math and reading across third to eighth grade, with students losing a greater proportion of their school year gains each year as they grow older – anywhere from 20 to 50 percent.”

Read more about NWEA’s research on summer learning loss in Education Week’s article,  Summer Learning Gaps Worsen in Higher Grades, Just Not the Way You Think,  at

Additionally, take a look at NWEA’s blog post, Summer Learning Loss: What we Know and What We’re Learning, to find out more about Kuhfeld’s research with NWEA:





Jodi Peters Named Atlantic Research Partners Chief Engagement Officer

To prepare Atlantic Research Partners (Atlantic) to advance to the next level of maturity and sustained growth, education industry veteran, Jodi Peters has joined the Atlantic team as Chief Engagement Officer.

Jodi will oversee product and consulting services, sales and marketing, and customer engagement. Jodi headshot (1)We are all thrilled to see Jodi join Atlantic Research Partners and, alongside an incredible team, she will lead Atlantic’s work into the future.

Jodi was Director of Strategic Partnerships at the New Teacher Center, focused on the organization’s regional, statewide, and district level strategies. Past roles also include Senior Manager of Delivery Services and Professional Development Coach at NWEA.

She received her Masters of Educational Leadership and Administration from Saginaw Valley State University, following receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education.

To read the full article:

Further Impacting K-12 Education through the Growth of Distinctive Schools


Growth is never accidental, but instead, by the success of innovation in an organization and all the individuals and departments working together. With that said, I am proud and excited of the growth of Distinctive Schools.

First, Distinctive Schools is growing in Michigan with the opening of its newest school, Distinctive College Prep (DCP): Redford, located in metro-Detroit. DCP: Redford will join DCP: Harper Woods, which opened for the 2017-18 school year. Watching the increased engagement and student growth at DCP: Harper Woods this past year, we knew that, at Distinctive Schools, we wanted to impact more students and families in metro-Detroit by opening another excellent K-8 school.

Distinctive College Prep: Redford will be located at 17175 Olympia, Redford, Michigan 48240, and is currently enrolling students in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade for the 2018-19 school year, with plans to add a grade level each year and serve students in grades kindergarten to eighth grade. Distinctive Schools has also selected Michigan-native, Ms. Camille Hibbler, to be the school principal for the campus.

Along with the opening of DCP: Redford, Distinctive Schools’ has further developed its executive leadership team in order to position Distinctive Schools for the future. Through this development, we will be able to continue to grow student achievement and positively impact our school communities. The additions to the executive leadership team include the appointment of Brianna Terrell as Chief Strategy Officer and Erin Lanoue as Chief Operations Officer.

To learn more about Distinctive Schools’ growth, take a look at the following two articles:

Now Announcing: Distinctive College Prep: Redford!

Distinctive Leadership | Executive Team:


As the 2017-18 School Year Comes to an End. . .

As schools and districts across the U.S. are closing out another school year, many of us can look back and celebrate the joy and pride we have experienced at our school campuses and classrooms. Screen Shot 2018-06-15 at 11.33.45 AM.png

I am proud of the celebrations I have experienced and seen at each one of the Distinctive Schools campuses this year, and look forward to what the 2018-2019 school year will bring, as well as the growing opportunities Distinctive Schools (DS) will provide students, families, and school communities. With that said, I would like to share and recognize the great work of DS with this end-of-year blog post and photo gallery.


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