Encouraging Rigor and Excellence in the Classroom


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An important shift

Implementation of Common Core calls for increasing rigor and excellence in the classroom.  Towards this end, a paradigm shift from teacher-centric to learning-centered models of teaching and learning is essential.  It truly is about cultivating a culture of learning where students are empowered to achieve beyond any perceived limitations to their potential. Learning becomes the ultimate goal and transcends the false dichotomy of teacher-centric vs. student-centric instructional models.  Within a culture of learning, your students become architects of their own learning, as your classroom presents robust opportunities for students to be immersed in the teaching and learning process.

To achieve rigor and excellence, students must be highly engaged in the learning process; as they attain high levels of involvement in the classroom, they are positioned to be the architects of their own learning.

What does this look like in a classroom setting?  Achieving rigor and excellence in the classroom involves many aspects of the classroom including curriculum (what you teach), instruction (how you teach it), and classroom management (the overall organization and structure of your classroom) all of which influence your students’ mindsets (beliefs about themselves as learners and about the content they are exploring).  It is these mindsets students hold that have a powerful influence over their ability to be successful within a culture of rigor and excellence.  In essence, students’ mindsets steer students’ learning and growth.  The “Little Engine that Could” story illustrates this well.  When students believe they can and that effort and persistence make a difference, they are more likely to put forth the effort it takes to be successful as learners.


Students are more likely to engage in a classroom culture of rigor and excellence if they are able to make meaningful and personalized connections with the content you are teaching.  Brain-based learning theory supports the importance of making connections between prior knowledge (student schemas) and new knowledge for learning to be sustained (long-term vs. short term).  Creating authentic learning tasks that call for students to make connections with their prior knowledge and experiences will prompt this important process of meaning-making, because they establish relevance; the question, “why is this important to me?” does not go unanswered.  Instead, students explore subject matter in ways that help them discover meaning and practicality in their own lives.  We might be tempted to think that we need to cover more material in a shorter amount of time and to assign more work.  However, in a culture of rigor and excellence, depth is more important than breadth.  When students have the opportunity to examine subject matter at a deeper level, they have more opportunities to make personal connections with it and in turn establish the meaning and relevance that will lead to long-term learning.  Think back to your time as a student in a classroom and what you still remember.  Many times it is those learning activities that required you to delve in, be creative, and be in charge of your own learning that stand out the most.


As teachers, we know that how we teach is just as important as what we teach.  Your students’ success rests on how you engage them in the teaching and learning process.  For students to be empowered in a culture of rigor and excellence, they must have a deep sense of their learning pathways and have some sense of control over their direction and progress.  Allowing student choice is essential.  While students all have to achieve the same standards, how they arrive at mastery of these standards may vary.  Learning pathways may be personalized and allow for some decision-making on the part of your students.  Within this paradigm, instruction is shared and the teacher acts as a facilitator, guide and co-learner with students.  Students are able to pursue topics of interest as they work towards mastery of standards.  The roadmap for one student may vary somewhat from that of other students, but their destination is the same—mastery of standards.  These roadmaps are co-constructed; as a teacher, you are skilled at instructional design and play an essential role in designing students’ personalized roadmaps, but the students themselves also play an essential role in envisioning and creating their own roadmaps.  This process calls on their prior knowledge, experiences and interests thus serving as a powerful driver and motivational tool for learning.  When students have a voice and decision-making power in their own learning, they are more likely to be invested in their success.

In a rigorous classroom, students and teacher are co-learners co-creating personalized learning pathways.


Assessment is commonly viewed as the teacher’s work.  However, in a culture of rigor and excellence, students must also be consumers of assessment data if they are to be empowered learners.  Assessment 101 tells us that we have to begin with the end in mind (know where we are headed so that we can more effectively plan to arrive at that destination).  To be empowered, students must also know where they are going.  Learning targets (AKA instructional objectives or learning outcomes) need to be front and center for your students if they are to serve as a guide for their learning.  The results of assessments (assessment data) also need to be front and center for students.  Empowered learners can use assessment data to guide their learning just as teachers use it to guide their instruction.   Students who have opportunities to monitor and track their growth are better positioned to use assessment data to their advantage as learners.  In essence, they become informed learners.  The question, “why did I get the grade I did?” is no longer a mystery for students who are involved in their own assessment and can articulate well their learning and growth to others.

Classroom Management

In a culture of rigor and excellence, ownership and accountability of the classroom and all of its operations are shared between teacher and learners.  Because students have voice and a sense of ownership of their classroom, they are more invested in its success. A spirit of collaboration and interconnectedness shapes the classroom environment and interactions within it.  Students not only have a sense of individual responsibility for learning, but also a responsibility for the success of the class as a whole.  When learning becomes a collective and collaborative endeavor there is a higher likelihood of success.  In such a classroom, the motto, “we sink or swim together” shapes the actions and interactions within a classroom environment.   This type of classroom environment is often described as a democratic classroom where students have a voice and are invested in the outcomes of the classroom as a whole. They take pride in their individual and collective efforts and are not spurred by individual competition.  Rather the success of the classroom as a team becomes a common goal that students are challenged by and motivated to achieve. Such a culture is necessary for achieving rigor and excellence in the classroom.

In a rigorous classroom environment success is achieved through the a spirit of collaboration; students are invested in their collective success and take responsibility for their own and each others’ learning.


We know some things about learning and how it occurs yet as teachers, we never lose sight of learning as a phenomenon that has a magical quality to it.  This leads to our awe of learning as a complex and dynamic process over which we have some control, but not entirely.  When that light bulb goes off in a student’s mind, we may not be able to trace what triggered it, but indeed somehow it lit up.  One of the things we know about learning is that motivation is essential.  When we believe that all students can learn and be successful, we have to believe that effort matters.  When we encourage effort in our students and value progress and growth on the learning continuum just as much as achievement (grades, benchmarks, products, etc.) our students are more apt to embrace effort as a pathway to their success as well.  Failure is viewed as a part of learning and as an opportunity to learn.

What we believe about our students is transferred to them in various ways but the most powerful way is through the expectations we set.  In communicating expectations, we also communicate our belief in their potential.  Students will not always come to the classroom with a belief in themselves and their potential making it essential that we cultivate this in the classroom.  They may come to school with what Dweck (2007) refers to as a fixed mindset, whereby they perceive intelligence as fixed and unalterable.  As teachers, cultivating a growth mindset, whereby we view intelligence as developed through powerful learning experiences, can offer students opportunities to embrace effort as essential to learning. Getting them past any perceived limitations is key.  Language is important to cultivating a growth mindset; we have to do away with words like, “I can’t” and replace them with “I will try my best and see what happens.”  Operating from growth mindset, students believe that that through their persistent efforts, they will progress in their learning and achieve success.  They become the little engine that could; empowered, persistent and resilient.  Our approach to curriculum, instruction, assessment and classroom management should be geared to cultivating a growth mindset in our students; this by far will be the most powerful way to empower them and ensure their success in the culture of rigor and excellence we have created in our classrooms.

 The realization that effort makes all the difference in achievement and success in the classroom can serve as a powerful motivator for students; essentially this realization serves as the intrinsic fuel for learning.


Meaningful Learning: Teacher Presence & Learner Engagement in the Online Classroom

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While there is much to quality online teaching and learning, it is well known that a lack of teacher presence and interaction, i.e., teacher-learner, learner-learner, learner-content (Moore, 1989) can make or break an online course.  The power of interaction between teacher and student heavily impacts student success and  has shown to have even a  larger effect on satisfaction and perceived learning than interaction with peers (Swan, 2001). In this article, I will define teacher presence, discuss its implications, and offer suggestions for tools and strategies that promote teacher presence and meaningful learner engagement. Within this discussion of teacher presence, learning is defined as the cognitive growth and development of learners and emphasis will be placed on the importance of cognitive conflict to learning (Berlyne, 1965; Dewey, 1910; Festinger, 1957; Nussbaum & Novick, 1982).  When teachers create communities of inquiry that trigger the emergence of cognitive conflict in learners, their existing preconceptions, which can serve as barriers for learning are challenged (Hewson & Hewson, 1984), resulting in growth in perception and understanding, otherwise known as cognitive or conceptual shifts.  I believe that there is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone—Steve Jobs.  These shifts in thinking cannot occur without challenging the learner and causing some struggle, discomfort and even emotion.

It is not uncommon for K-12 teachers and higher education faculty who are new to online learning to voice the concerns about what they perceive as the depersonalized nature of the online environment and lack of physical presence.  Questions such as, “How will I know they are learning?” or “How will I establish an academic relationship with my students if I can’t see them?” are common. In a recent training I conducted, one of the teachers stated “I’m just not sure how I’m going to create the Mr. Silva show online” referring to his personality and pizzazz as a teacher, which is a big part of how he connects with and engages his students in his classroom. This is an important question for all teachers making the transition from face-to-face to online who care about teacher presence and learner engagement. The fundamental question then, is how do we create teacher presence in the online environment?

What is teacher presence?  

One important aspect of teacher presence is how a teacher establishes his/her identity (i.e., personality, character, and style) in the online environment. As with the face-to-face environment, there is an array of ways to establish teacher presence, which serves to forge authentic relationships with students and to make that connection that is essential to learning. Teacher presence is about how we communicate who we are, what we believe about teaching and learning, how we operate, and of course that we believe in our students and are committed to their success.  Most importantly, it’s how we communicate our passion, excitement, and enthusiasm for teaching and the content we teach, which can be contagious.

Another aspect of teacher presence is tied to creating a “community of inquiry where interaction and reflection are sustained; where ideas can be explored and critiqued; and where the process of inquiry can be scaffolded and modeled” (Garrison & Cleveland-Innes, 2005). This transcends social interaction and basic sharing of information.  The goal of establishing an interactive community of inquiry is to engage students in meaningful ways that stimulate their cognitive growth and development. In order to truly integrate cognitive, social and instructional elements into our instruction and the learning we create in classrooms, we have to establish communities of inquiry, which go beyond mere social interactions and lower level thinking and learning (Garrison & Anderson, 2003).

So, how do we create teacher presence in the online classroom? 

First off, there are powerful tools that are built into many learning management systems to help teachers create and cultivate a rich learning environment built on communication, collaboration, and rich interaction at all levels (teacher-learner, learner-learner, and learner-content). Additionally, there are many web 2.0 tools at our fingertips to assist in the creation of these powerful online learning environments.

Here are few of the tools that can be used to establish teacher presence and learner engagement:

Course Announcements:

An essential tool that exists in most learning management systems[1] is course announcements. I like to think of this tool as the equivalent to greeting your students at the door as they enter your classroom. There are a variety of ways to use announcements to make the connection with students. Regular announcements are essential as they communicate, “I’m here and you’re not alone.” This alleviates the “alone in cyberspace” feeling students can experience when a course is lacking in teacher presence. Some teachers post daily or weekly challenges or problems for students while others share inspirational quotes that coincide with discussions or course topics.  Announcements can also be used to remind students of upcoming events or to reinforce concepts. One way that I use announcements is to share syntheses of discussions, identifying themes, hot topics, key questions that are emerging and to share resources for students who are interested in extending their learning. Used in this manner, announcements can serve as a powerful integration tool to synthesize and expand upon learning as observed by the teacher.

Teacher Bio:

Including your bio and a picture of yourself in your online course can go a long way to establish teacher presence.  I always recommend that teachers write their bio in the first person to make it more personalized.  In addition to sharing who you are personally, an extra step that makes all the difference is sharing some things about you that communicate who you are (i.e., hobbies, passions, things that are important to you, where you are from, etc…)  To give an extra blast of teacher presence, talk about the course subject area (i.e., what you like about it, what fascinates you about it, why you think it’s important and burning questions you have).  If you can also include a video of yourself introducing yourself to the class vs. a written bio, this can be powerful as well.  Additionally, you might think about including links to your website, blogs, or share your research and publications with students. This also gives them a sense of who you are as an educator and what you are passionate about.  At the end of a blended class I taught, I shared an article I wrote with my students.  I had never done this before and the response was powerful.  They shared how this really helped them see me in a different light and gave them insights into what I believed as a teacher.  Additionally, it helped them make sense of why I approach teaching in the way that I do.  In a section of the article, I stated,

Even after 23 years in education, I still maintain a deep sense of awe of the act of teaching.  With each teaching encounter, I am humbled.  On good days, when dialogue is rich, my students are engaged and responsive, and the dynamics of the classroom seem to play out like an orchestra and I am the conductor, I feel like, “Yes!  I can do this!” On other days, I think, “Wow!  That didn’t go like I planned.  I was definitely not at the top of my game. I could’ve done much better if I had…Next time, I will…”  It is common for teachers to take a brief moment to celebrate their successes, yet the process of critique can be a long and drawn out process–teachers can be their own most difficult critics (https://vpadillavigil.wordpress.com/returning-to-the-heart-of-teaching-what-really-matters/).

This excerpt really stood out for them because it revealed my struggle in striving to be a better teacher and that even the most experienced teachers still haven’t figured it all out.  No matter what age, students tend to think of their teachers as infallible. Sharing my writing with my students debunked that myth.

Think of the announcement tool as your connection with students and communicate it as such to students in your syllabus.  I always include a section in my syllabus about the tools we will be using and the purpose they will serve.  My students know that when they log in each time, they need to check announcements.


I have come to realize that discussions are a powerful and essential part of learning in the online environment.  Dialogue or student-student-teacher interaction has shown to be a crucial variable in the online learning environment (Moore, 1989).  Crafting discussion forums includes strategically creating discussion questions/prompts, establishing guidelines and expectations for discussion participation and facilitating meaningful discussion.  While discussions can be an entirely different topic of exploration, I’ll focus on the overall benefits and some general guidelines.

The major benefit of discussions is that it allows for the sharing perspectives and ideas and the questioning and critique of  such perspectives and ideas that generates the cognitive conflict and “stepping out of comfort zones” that leads to deeper more meaningful learning.  As such, teaching students how to question and critique in ways that illicit critical thinking and reflection and stimulate further meaningful and engaging dialogue is of the essence.  Again, the goal is to establish a community of inquiry where deep and meaningful learning vs. surface learning can occur.  This can be challenging because not all students are prepared to engage in critical discourse in the online environment (Angeli et al., 2003).  This is where rubrics come in that establish clear criteria for responses and participation.

Additionally, the role that the teacher plays in the discussion is critical.  The leadership role that teachers play in the online environment is “powerful in triggering discussion and facilitating high levels of thinking and knowledge construction” (Garrison & Cleveland-Innes, 2005, p. 137). Without the teacher to facilitate the discussion, the dialogue will not take students out of their comfort zones where meaningful learning can occur.  Keeping up with the dialogue, posing thoughtful questions, posting syntheses and identifying themes, and sharing additional resources with individual learners and groups of learners are all important to meaningful and engaging discussions and for triggering the cognitive conflict that leads to needed conceptual shifts. When students pose questions or communicate misconceptions about concept or theory that is the best time to facilitate growth in understanding by posing targeted questions or sharing additional resources for them to examine.  I refer to this as a “teachable moment” where you can capitalize on a student’s curiosity.  All participants in a discussion are essential players, and when they understand their roles and expectations, they are better positioned to contribute to a more critical dialogue.

Writing effective discussion questions or prompts is a craft in itself.  Questions should be open ended, yet targeted.  Additionally, because students also play a critical role in discussions, they too have to learn to ask good questions that promote critical dialogue.  I recommend the book: Thinking through quality questioning: Deepening learner engagement as a great resource of questioning strategies.  As the teacher facilitates dialogue and poses questions, this also serves as modeling effective questions for students.


I consider teaching a privilege.  As a teacher, I not only get to witness learning in my students and be a part of their learning journeys, but I also get to learn from them.  A lack of interaction between teacher and student hinders the potential learning that can occur in a classroom.  I spend a considerable amount of time reading and responding to student work.  Part of the time is spent on assessing whether the student met the criteria for the assignment, but more importantly, time is spent providing feedback that helps students to increase self-awareness and to question their own ideas and perspectives (identify biases, assumptions, misconceptions and pre-conceived notions that have the potential to inhibit learning).  The goal again, is to stimulate the cognitive conflict necessary for meaningful learning.  I pose questions, share my own thoughts and perspectives, recommend resources, and challenge my students’ philosophical and cognitive schemas.  Always guiding my feedback is modeling the importance of “seeking first to understand than to be understood” and openness to learning and, I encourage these in my students.

Deep and meaningful learning that leads to more authentic understandings of self, the world and others requires one to transcend one’s certainty to entertain possibilities that may be conflicting with one’s schema.   This requires taking students out of their comfort zones in compassionate, kind, respectful and encouraging ways.  In general, as teachers we tend to approach teaching and learning from a liberal framework, whereby we attempt to avoid conflict and stirring up emotions.  In doing so, we again, hinder potential learning. As educators, we know that emotions are important to learning.

Emotion impels what we attend to, and attention drives learning. So, one of the important things we have to do is to ensure that learners become emotionally involved in whatever we’re teaching them. If they don’t get emotionally hooked on some level, they don’t pay attention; if they don’t pay attention, they don’t learn. In fact, the more emotionally engaged a learner is, the more likely he or she is to learn (Palombo Weiss, 2000, p. 47).

In response to the feedback I provide, my students have shared statements such as, “Thank you for your feedback.  No professor has ever said much more about my work than ‘great job’ or ‘well done’.”  While I understand that teaching is demanding, I view it as privilege and believe I have a professional, ethical and moral responsibility to push my students beyond their perceived limits and to stimulate their growth.  Feedback that takes students out of their comfort zones is essential to this.

Synchronous Activities:

Interacting primarily through asynchronous tools of course has limits to the level of interaction that is essential to learning.  Whenever possible, it is powerful to offer synchronous interaction opportunities to students.  While this may seem counter intuitive to the concept of online learning that allows for individual pace and transcends time and space, when offered as an option, many students will take advantage.  I have used Skype and other web conferencing tools to meet “real time” with students to engage in dialogue above and beyond the discourse that occurs in the online classroom.  I offer this as a time to provide opportunities to discuss hot topics, emerging themes and to expand learning beyond the topics being explored.  Students always appreciate extra credit assignments, so offering these webinars for extra credit also entices the students that may not otherwise participate.  Chat and whiteboards can also be used to facilitate real time learning interactions.   And, let’s not forget the more traditional modes of communication such as phone conferencing, email and text.  I’ve learned that we need to meet students where they are at, meaning the communication tools that they are most comfortable with.

Emails/Course Messages: 

We engage in email correspondence all the time.  It has become a primary mode of communication and for some like me email is the preferred mode of communication.  I have significantly less phone conversations than I have text and email correspondence.  I prefer the text mode because it allows me to think about what I’m going to say and craft it more thoughtfully than I could verbally in real time.  However, there is power in words, how we say things, the tone we use, etc… The fact that we have to be conscientious of our text correspondence cannot be overlooked.  Simple things like addressing students by their name before crafting a response are critical. Additionally, making messages more personalized by using emoticons can help students feel more comfortable with you as a person vs. a robot somewhere out in cyberspace.   Avoiding the use of all caps or bold to make a point is also important as this can be perceived as shouting or scolding. Including an inspirational quote underneath your signature and changing it occasionally communicates more about you and what you believe in and again, further personalizes and establishes your presence.  Because I teach a course that engages students in difficult and controversial topics that stir up emotions, my ability to create and cultivate a safe environment for discourse to occur around these topics and to communicate who I am as a person (caring, compassion, passion for learning, equity and justice) is absolutely essential.

The Tip of the Iceberg

This can only scratch the surface of how we establish teacher presence, entice learner engagement, and promote the cognitive development of learners in the online environment.  Much of what I’ve learned about quality online learning has been through my experiences in an academic leadership role in the implementation of a statewide eLearning program that encompassed a supplemental virtual school and training, technical assistance and support for schools implementing online and blended learning programs.  I learned many valuable lessons in my experiences with the teachers I worked with in the design and implementation of this successful program. Additionally, through my own experience as an online teacher in higher education, I also gained some valuable insights into the importance of teacher presence. I believe teacher presence and learner engagement and interaction go hand in hand.  As we build our individual presence (identity) and establish communities of inquiry that promote deep and meaningful learning, we in turn, engage learners in our classroom. Like with anything in teaching, we discover our own ways to accomplish our goals in our classrooms that are authentic (stay true to our identity as teachers).  There are so many ways to build teacher presence in the online classroom, but this article is meant to provide teachers with some ideas and hopefully will prompt further inquiry on the topic.


Angeli, C., Valanides, N., & Bonk, C. (2003). Communication in a Web-based conferencing system: The quality of computer-mediated interactions. British Journal of Educational Technology, 34(1), 31-43.

Berlyne, D. E. (Ed.). (1965). Curiosity and education. Chicago: Rand, McNally & Co.

Dewey, J. (1910). How we think. Boston: Heath.

Festinger, L. (1957). A theory of cognitive dissonance. New York: Harper and Row.

Garrison, D. R., & Anderson, T. (2003). E-Learning in the 21st century: A farmework for research and practice. London: Routledge Falmer.

Garrison, D. R., & Cleveland-Innes, M. (2005). Facilitating cognitive presence in online learning: Interaction is not enough. The American Journal of Distance Education, 19(3), 133-148.

Hewson, P., & Hewson, A. B., M.G. (1984). The role of conceptual conflict in conceptual change and the design of science instruction. Instructional Science, 13(1984), 1-13.

Moore, M. G. (1989). The types of interaction. The American Journal of Distance Education, 3(2), 1-6.

Nussbaum, J., & Novick, S. (1982). Alternative frameworks, conceptual conflicts and accommodation: Toward a principled teaching strategy. Instructional Science, 11, 183-200.

Palombo Weiss, R. (2000). Emotion and Learning. Training & Development, 54(11), 44.

Swan, K. (2001). Virtual interaction: Design factors affecting student satisfaction and perceived learning in asynchronous online courses. Distance Education, 22(2), 306-331.


[1] The technology platform through which students’ access online courses. A LMS generally includes software for creating and editing course content, communication tools, assessment tools, and other features for managing the course. (Northwest Educational Technology Consortium, 2005).

IDEAL-NM Leveraging Technology to Promote Equity, Access & Opportunity


Equity Picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cascade_of_rant/5893302541

The New Mexico Public Education Department’s Innovative Digital Education and Learning New Mexico (IDEAL-NM) program http://www.idealnewmexico.org is entering its sixth year offering a statewide supplemental virtual school in partnership with NM schools and districts. Over 70 public and 30 charter schools have participated and the program has maintained a pass rate of 85% and 7,636 course completions.  Experience has shown that strong site support models are critical to student success in the IDEAL-NM environment.  While IDEAL-NM provides the online courses taught by licensed New Mexico teachers, the enrolling school provides the space, technology and support including a site coordinator and/or learning coach who monitors and supports students at the school site.

Expanding Options:  Through the IDEAL-NM, NM students are not limited to the educational offerings of their local schools.  This has been significant for NM’s small and rural schools.  After losing a science teacher this past spring semester, Eunice High School was able to provide science courses to students using IDEAL-NM online curriculum and teachers.  This was a great success with close to 60 course completions and there are many more success stories like this one to tell.

Not Just For Rural Schools: IDEAL-NM has also been a strong partner to NM’s largest school districts.  Albuquerque Public Schools has had close to 600 course completions and Las Cruces Public Schools close to 500 course completions, both with exceptionally high pass rates.

IDEAL-NM Courses: Students now have access to over 126 semester-long online courses including core high school and middle school courses, Advanced Placement, credit recovery, honors, and many electives.  These courses are asynchronous and students may access their coursework wherever they have Internet access.  The courses are rigorous, interactive, engaging and aligned with standards (i.e., New Mexico Content Standards, State Common Core Standards, and iNACOL quality standards).

What makes this program different from other full-time online providers?  Funded through annual legislative special appropriations, IDEAL-NM works in partnership with schools versus in competition.  Within a statewide teacher-sharing structure, IDEAL-NM charges enrollment fees that cover the cost of instruction provided by the licensed NM IDEAL-NM teacher.  All other services provided by IDEAL-NM come at no cost to partner schools.  These fees are significantly lower than most for-profit online course providers.

Building Capacity:  In the past two years the program has focused on supporting schools in the meaningful integration of technology and the implementation of online and blended learning programs.  This has proven to be a great success with Las Cruces Public Schools (second largest school district in the state of NM) taking a leadership role in the state.  IDEAL-NM provides (at no cost) access to the statewide Learning Management System, which serves as a platform for the delivery of online courses and programs.

New Mexico Teachers Taking a Leadership Role: Close to 300 teachers have been trained as online teachers statewide and many have taken leadership roles in their schools in the implementation of online and blending learning programs. This school year, IDEAL-NM will ramp up its training this year to include blended learning instruction and models.

Leadership for the 21st Century:  IDEAL-NM in partnership with Innovate Educate New Mexico will be offering a training for New Mexico leaders on Educational Leadership for the 21st Century through a grant from Intel Teach.

Also Supporting State Agencies:  IDEAL-NM also supports New Mexico state agencies in online training and professional development for state employees.  The Human Services Department (HSD), State Personnel Office (SPO) and Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) have taken on a leadership role.  This past fiscal year, all state employees were required to complete a Civil Rights training online through the State Personnel Office and will be required to take an online Ethics training this fiscal year.  These courses were developed and delivered within the State Personnel Office web portal. Thus state employees were able to complete the training from their desktops, saving the state significant travel costs.

Kudos to the IDEAL-NM team and partners for the innovative work you are doing to provide equity, access and opportunity to all NM K-12 learners!!!

If you are an IDEAL-NM student, teacher, partner or advocate and want to voice your support for IDEAL-NM, please comment on this blog with your personal testimonials!

Do you want to learn more about what’s happening with K-12 online learning at the national level?  Visit:  http://kpk12.com/.  Also visit: http://www.digitallearningnow.com/ to read about the 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning.

IDEAL-NM Vision: 

We envision robust educational options for students in New Mexico that ensure all students have access to the full continuum of student-centric online and blended learning opportunities regardless of zip code or socio-economic status. Further, we envision that:

  • All public and charter schools are positioned to offer personalized learning opportunities to students through the entire continuum of student-centric online and blended learning (i.e. traditional, online, and blended learning).
  • As digital learners, students have options for creating personalized and meaningful learning experiences inside and outside of the physical classroom and school day/structure.
  • All teachers embrace a student-centric vision of education, are proficient in 21st century teaching and are able to leverage technology to support 21st century learning for students.
  • All school leaders understand the importance of digital education and inspire the technology innovations necessary to that modernize our education system and support personalized learning for students.  Source: http://idealnewmexico.org/about-us/