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C3 Project Updates

Posted on December 15, 2013

Colorado Turnaround Leadership Program

The Central Comprehensive Center at the University of Oklahoma, in partnership with the West Comprehensive Center at WestEd, is supporting the Colorado Department of Education in building state leadership capacity, increasing academic performance, and expanding high quality learning options for all its students, districts, and schools, with a focus on turning around the lowest-performing districts and schools. Colorado joined the University of Virginia (UVA) Darden School of Business/Curry School of Education Partnership for Leaders in Education (PLE) in 2011 as a member of the Southwest Turnaround Leadership Consortium.  In addition to Colorado, four other states (Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico) are members of this consortium started by the former Southwest Comprehensive Center at WestEd in 2010.  Three cohorts of school, district, and state leaders have worked in this program with a fourth cohort in the planning stages for Summer 2014.  Oklahoma also recently joined the consortium.  Oklahoma, as well as consortium member New Mexico, is supported by the South Central Comprehensive Center at the University of Oklahoma.

The UVA PLE Turnaround Specialist Program uses a systemic approach by working with school-, district-, and state-level leadership teams to help them build the internal capacity necessary to support and sustain effective school turnarounds.  The program uses innovative thinking from business and education to address the challenges and needs of education leaders that are in charge of turning around our nation’s lowest-performing schools.  Participants in the program commit to completing an intense two-year program that focuses on two components: high-impact school leaders and district capacity/conditions that support change.  Positive results have been shown already; schools in this program have experienced substantial improvements in performance on standardized tests.  This past year, the program was expanded to include a strand specifically designed for SEA executive teams to strengthen their organizational capacity to lead statewide improvement and reform initiatives.

The Central Comprehensive Center at the University of Oklahoma and its partner WestEd will continue to support Colorado's state-level leadership who attend this program alongside district and school leader participants.  The intermediate outcomes will be an improvement of instructional practices and highly effective turnaround leadership for all Colorado districts and schools.  The long-term outcome will be improved student learning.

For more information regarding the UVA Darden-Curry PLE program, please visit www.darden.virginia.edu/web/darden-curry-ple.
Young diverse students learning

Kansas Handwriting Curricular Standards

Is there a relationship between handwriting technique and neural development?  The Kansas State Board of Education believes that cursive handwriting as a student skill still holds an important place in the instructional practice of every school’s curriculum and can be integrated in multiple content areas.  Research supports the role handwriting instruction plays in the cognitive development of children, and this activity is even more important in an increasingly digital environment.

The Kansas State Board of Education requested Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) to develop handwriting standards to include in the Kansas College and Career Read Standards that will provide guidelines for teaching handwriting skills.  KSDE developed these standards with help from the Central Comprehensive Center (C3) at the University of Oklahoma and Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO).  C3 and CEELO collaborated with KSDE to build human capacity by increasing knowledge and skills for developing and aligning handwriting standards with current state-level Kindergarten through Grade 12 core academic standards.  The Kansas Handwriting Standards Committee provided periodic input at multiple levels and included consultants from Language Arts and Literacy, Special Education, English Language Learner (ELL), and Early Childhood as well as teachers, occupational therapists, and higher education faculty. 
The Kansas State Board of Education unanimously approved the Kansas Handwriting Curricular Standards on December 10, 2013.  KSDE Language Arts and Literacy Consultant Kris Shaw expressed her appreciation of the committee members for their hard work and expertise in the development of these standards.  Ultimately, statewide handwriting instruction will facilitate effective written composition and communication for all students and improve educational practices.