Generation Schools Network™ hosted its first Generating Momentum school tour and white paper presentation in New York last week. On February 25th, 2014, more than 50 funders, policy makers, educators, union leaders and community partners gathered to learn about Brooklyn Generation School, visit classrooms, and talk with teachers and students.
March 04, 2014
Generation Schools Network™, the nationally-recognized, award-winning nonprofit whose innovative education model offers students up to 30% more and better learning time and teachers considerable collaborative time to prepare effective instruction without increasing their work year, hosted its first Generating Momentum school tour in New York last week. On February 25th, 2014, more than 50 funders, policy makers, educators, union leaders and community partners gathered to learn about Brooklyn Generation School, visit classrooms, and talk with teachers and students. During the tour, Jonathan Spear, Co-Founder and Chief Learning Officer of Generation Schools Network™ (GSN), provided a high level overview of a white paper released in February, entitled Cost-Effective Strategies for Extending Learning Time and Expanding Opportunity in K-12 Education.
This school tour and latest white paper were created to provide a first-hand look at the innovative Generation Schools Model, including the benefits, tradeoffs and lessons learned during model implementation at the organization’s two urban turnaround schools, Brooklyn Generation School (BGS) in Brooklyn, NY and West Generation Academy in Denver, Colorado. With support from the Ford Foundation, Sanjiv Rao, Program Officer at the Ford Foundation introduced the paper remarking that, “Generation Schools Network is trying to create a new normal so that there is no gap between what students deserve in education with what they actually experience.” He went on to say that the model “focuses on what we all want for kids and then provides the time, structures, and practices to schedule, staff, and fund that vision.”
The need for GSN’s groundbreaking education model has never been greater due, in large part, to education reform efforts stymied by flat budgets and institutional resistance. Reformers struggle with how to reduce student-teacher ratios, present more diverse and relevant curricula, and add learning time – all without requiring more funding and asking for more hours from teachers. In this zero-sum situation, the answer may lie in reinventing the entire K-12 experience – creating a new format, not just making changes to the existing one.
Generation Schools Network™ not only embraced this difficult challenge, but also found a way to address it head-on by creating a model that offers a cost-effective approach, which accounts for all components of the education experience. It is predicated on Generation Schools Network proprietary and breakthrough education model being the first in the nation to implement public school solutions that expand learning time, reduce core class size, transform college and career guidance, integrate blended learning, and increase common planning and training time for all teachers. Generation Schools Network™ accomplishes this, and more, through cost-effective strategies while seeking to operate within key parameters of teacher contracts.
Brooklyn Generation School’s Principal, Lydia Colón Bomani, remarked, “We are incredibly proud of the level of achievement and success demonstrated by our students at Brooklyn Generation School, and believe in no uncertain terms, that it is a result of the successful implementation of our innovative education model.” Colón Bomani continued, “Without the commitment and dedication of all those who made it happen, including the teachers, staff, parents, administrators, students, and other partners in the community, we would not have seen the same high level of success and positive results. As a teaching and learning community, we are growing as we apply our model, which uses time differently to provide resources and opportunities to students that connect them to college and career planning from the first day they attend our school.”
Guests at the school were excited and inspired by what they saw at the Generating Momentum school tour. Tanya Johnson from Turnaround for Children said “I saw teachers and leaders taking cool and thoughtful risks to reimagine school – students seem responsive to it.” She also remarked she saw teachers, students and leaders “learning at every level.” Many remarked that they recognized Brooklyn Generation School as a reflective community with ongoing analysis of student outcomes and needs. One guest noted that she saw “student engagement, pleasure in the learning process, and less emphasis on students behaving in a certain way.” She reflected that “teachers at Brooklyn Generation School seem satisfied and there was strong evidence of collaboration.”
Of the event Jonathan Spear, Co-Founder and Chief Learning Officer of Generation Schools Network, said “Generation Schools Network is pleased to share thinking, experience and results to date from the successful implementation of the GSN Model.” Spear continued, “Our model, as implemented at Brooklyn Generation School and West Generation Academy, provides more and better learning time, including a revolutionary college and career transition program for low-income and minority students that is unlike anything else we have seen in the education sector. It is a privilege to share this white paper and we hope it will contribute to the movement and pay significant dividends for students and teachers.”
ABOUT GENERATION SCHOOLS NETWORK™
Generation Schools Network™ (GSN) is a nationally recognized, award-winning nonprofit organization whose innovative education model offers students and teachers up to 30% more and better learning time. Recognized by Bridgespan and the Center for High-Impact Philanthropy as one of the most cost-effective and promising school-redesign models in the country, GSN is dedicated to re-thinking the basic structures of a public school to ensure that all students – regardless of life circumstances – have access to a great education. Ultimately, their mission is to fundamentally transform schools to better prepare students for life’s responsibilities, challenges, and opportunities.
To learn more about Generation Schools Network™ contact Jonathan Spear, Co-Founder, Generation Schools Network™ at (347) 410-5322.