Where to Go for More: Resources for Educational Transformation

CES National Affiliate Centers
The central presence of several Coalition of Essential Schools National Affiliate Centers – the Center for Collaborative Education, the Los Angeles Small Schools Collective, the Bay Area Coalition for Equitable Schools, CES Northwest, and the Michigan Coalition of Essential Schools – in this issue of Horace emphasizes the crucial role that intermediary organizations play in transforming the educational experiences and lives of our nation’s young people.

CES affiliate centers provide technical assistance to schools that have embraced the Common Principles. Each CES center is an independent organization with the autonomy to create services appropriate for the schools it serves. Directors and staff from CES centers meet regularly to exchange ideas and share resources. CES centers intentionally describe themselves as affiliate centers rather than regional centers, reflecting the capacities that they have not only to focus within a region but also to provide technical support to schools and school systems elsewhere. The cross-regional work of CCE and CES Northwest described in these pages exemplifies the CES affiliate center approach.

Many Horace readers are already working with one or more CES affiliate centers to strengthen the capacities of schools and school districts to provide personalized, equitable, academically challenging school experiences to all young people. CES National is committed to working with all existing affiliate centers to build their strength and capabilities and to foster the development of additional affiliate centers to address as-yet unmet geographic and technical assistance needs.

Links to more information about the 26 CES National affiliate centers are available online at http://www.essentialschools.org/cs/schools/query/q/556?x-r=runnew

CES EssentialVisions DVDs
The three-disc CES EssentialVisions DVD set, funded by the Annenberg Foundation, captures the process of transformation within CES schools. Drawing from the diverse group of schools participating in the CES Small Schools Project, the DVDs depict CES practice in action through each of the 10 CES Common Principles. The EssentialVisions DVDs, along with their accompanying toolkits, are proving to be essential tools in the process of school transformation happening within schools and districts.

For more on the EssentialVisions DVDs, including links to video clips from each and information on how to purchase the set, visit www.essentialschools.org/pub/ces_docs/resources/essentialvisions.html.

And More . . .
Many resources outside the CES network exist to promote CES-aligned educational transformation. Horace spotlights one such project here.

Alternative High School Initiative
In 2003, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Big Picture Company launched the Alternative High School Initiative (AHSI) as a response to declining graduation rates affecting the country’s low-income African American and Latino youth. The initiative enables a network of 10 youth development organizations, including CES National affiliate center EdVisions Cooperative, to expand alternative educational programs nationwide and engage municipal leaders through the Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, part of the National League of Cities (NLC). This NLC component signifies the need not only to create connections among networks of alternative high schools but to bring stakeholders and decision-makers to the table to make such efforts more widely influential in our urban areas.

The AHSI “distinguishers,” or key design elements, are:

  • Authentic learning, teaching, and performance assessment;
  • Personalized school culture;
  • Shared leadership and responsibility;
  • Supportive partnerships; and
  • A focus on the future for students.

These distinguishers fit satisfyingly with the characteristic of CES schools and networks, and several ASHI schools are also Essential schools. The AHSI website includes a section on the distinguishers that includes video depictions of each – an excellent resource for further exploration of what transformed schools can look, feel, and sound like.

Alternative High School Initiative c/o The Big Picture Company 325 Public Street Providence, RI 02905 telephone: 401.752.3442 email:ahsi@bigpicture.org