IALA – International Association of Learning Alternatives Blog

IALA – International Association of Learning Alternatives Blog

Some interesting items on the IALA blog

Blueprint School by Wayne Jennings
I’ve waited for years for this marvelous book, Lives of Passion, School of Hope: How One Public School Ignites a Lifelong Love of Learning. It tells a story of a K-12 progressive school (Jefferson County Open School, Colorado) that combined the best features from research and practice such as: strong advisory system, personal learning plan, learner centered environment, world as classroom, service learning, travel study and competency based graduation. I began such a school in 1971 but it did not have sustained progressive leadership after my first seven years as principal. Nor has it documented its successes, both immediate and long term in the graduates’ lives. This book does all that with statistics and a rich assortment of anecdotes. If ever we needed a blueprint about schooling, one could hardly do better than this book. Every student is expected to become an effective communicator, a complex thinker, a responsible citizen, an ethical person, and a quality worker. How’s that for a set of outcomes? This is one of the most important books I have read and I highly recommend it. The author, Rick Posner worked in the school and has produced a most readable and essential book for educators and the public.

National and State Alternative Education Conferences by Wayne Jennings
 Mark your calendar for any of the following conferences about alternatives of interest to you or colleagues.

The Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) will hold its 7th annual conference June 24-27, 2010 in Albany, NY.

The National Charter Schools conference will be June 28-July 1 in Chicago.

The Tennessee Alternative Educators’ Association will hold its summer insitute July 8-9, 2010 in Clarksville.

The Arkansas Association of Alternative Educators will hold its annual conference July 11-13, 2010 in Rogers, AR.

The Iowa Association for Alternative Education will hold its 23rd Risky Business conference September 27, 2010 in Des Moines.

The Green Schools Across America will hold its first annual conference Oct. 24-26, 2010 in Minneapolis.

The National Dropout Prevention Center/Network will hold its 22st annual conference Nov. 14-17, 2010 in Philadelphia.

The National At-Risk Education Network will hold its 8th annual conference February 22-25, 2011 in Panama City, Florida.

The Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs will hold its annual conference February 23-25, 2011 in Duluth, MN.

The Iowa Association of Alternative Education will hold its annual conference April 7-8, 2011 in Des Moines.

High School Graduation in Four Years – Why Not Two Years or Even Six? by Peter Wieczorek
High Schoolers have many more options today then they did even a decade ago.  There are Alternative, Charter, Private and On-Line options, and now there are options in many states to graduate early or if necessaryto stay one, two or even three additional years.  Recently both the New York Times and U.S. Today had articles reflecting these new options.



Education Without Walls by Peter Wieczorek
The technology revolution has entered into every part of our lives, and now it seems that the implications for education are about to bring major changes to the way students and indeed all of us learn and gain information.   There are a multitude of options for students of all ages to gather and disseminate information on multiple platforms.  Many people have already discovered the multitude of useful websites providing information regarding distance learning.  The Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning http://mediasite.ics.uwex.edu/mediasite5/Viewer/?peid=a863be1f5bc348bbb1c875366dafe581#  has a great presentation with many thought provoking ideas for educators.  Another intriguing site is ted.com TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.  TED’s world class presenters on video stretch users with valuable information on a wide variety of topics.

School Choice Expanding Worldwide by Wayne Jennings
Since the early 1990s when the nation’s first charter school was opened in St. Paul, MN, the scope and availability of school-based options to parents has steadily expanded in the U.S. and abroad. No longer can traditional education be a public monopoly. Sponsored by the National Center on School Choice (NCSC), this 648 page ($115) Handbook of Research on School Choice  studies K-12 school choice. Coverage includes charters, vouchers, home schooling, magnet schools, cyber schools, and other forms of choice, with the ultimate goal of defining the current state of this evolving field of research, policy, and practice.

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