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College and Career Readiness through Blended Learning

- Authored by: Gary Kaplan

The Origins of Blended Learning

by Gary Kaplan

Clayton Christensen’s contribution to education

The term Blended Learning has its origin in work done by Clayton Christensen and his colleagues at the Harvard Business School in the 1990s and early 2000s. They coined the term Disruptive Innovation, a coinage that has seeped into the nooks and crannies of discourse in many fields. One of those fields is education.

Inland Steel Revisited. Is education keeping pace with automation?

Is education keeping pace with automation?

by Gary Kaplan
photo by Matthew Kaplan

Skills and the Workplace: The Lesson of Inland Steel was our Labor Day post in 2016. Its two main themes are even more relevant five years later: technology is transforming the skill content of work; and post-secondary education or training is necessary to be competitive in the labor market.

Roadmap to Recovery II

by Gary Kaplan

Helping Teachers Implement Acceleration

We all know that the coming year will be the most challenging in memory because of the effects of the covid shutdown. Learning loss, or unfinished learning, has disrupted attainment of grade-level skills, aggravated achievement gaps and delayed college plans. Commissioner Riley has said that the pandemic has made the challenge of serving students with varied academic needs “significantly more pronounced and widespread.”

Roadmap to Recovery, How to rebound from the pandemic

by Gary Kaplan

How to rebound from the pandemic

“How much did the pandemic affect students?” asked the lede of a July 28 New York Times story. The answer came in the next line: “Dramatically.”

The Times story is one of many reports on a McKinsey & Company study released July 27 with the title “COVID-19 and education: The lingering effects of unfinished learning.” This study is being received as the first authoritative statement on the question that preoccupies the education world.

Rising to the Challenge - How JFY’s dedicated staff helped teachers and students beat the shutdown

by Gary Kaplan

How JFY’s dedicated staff helped teachers and students beat the shutdown

When schools closed in March of last year, it was unclear whether or how classes could continue. No one had anticipated the need for a transition to full-time online instruction. (Why would they?) But teachers in our partner schools were able to continue their classes remotely using the same JFYNet resources they had been using all year in the classroom. Students were able to access their software curricula without interruption during the spring and summer. The transition from in-person to remote was not without its rough spots, but teachers and students were able to continue their classes. Our staff maintained their practice of working closely with teachers via email, text and video conference to track and support students’ learning throughout the shutdown. Working together, we kept school in session.

Independence Day-- or Equality Day? What are we celebrating?

by Gary Kaplan

What are we celebrating?

The Declaration of Independence is a curious document. Much of it consists of grievances against the actions of King George III which are summarized as “the establishment of an absolute Tyranny.” There are 27 discrete articles in the catalogue of complaints.

The themes are familiar: arbitrary governance and legislation; usurpation of justice and the rule of law; military occupation; economic imperialism in taxes and trade; overt military aggression and incitement of domestic insurrection. All tourists on the Freedom Trail and fans of the Boston Tea Party have heard these complaints recited since childhood.

The Healing Fountain, What poetry does

by Gary Kaplan

What poetry does

“Poetry is typically the touchstone that we go back to when we have to remind ourselves of the
history that we stand on, and the future that we stand for.”  –Amanda Gorman

“Poetry makes nothing happen,” wrote W.H. Auden in his tribute to W.B. Yeats. The line was a typically irreverent Auden quip. He loved to shock and subvert, but under his surface flippancy ran a deep current of humanistic faith. Yeats died on January 28, 1939. Germany invaded Poland on September 1, igniting the Second World War. Auden’s In Memory of W.B. Yeats was written in 1940, as was his September 1, 1939. Both poems attempted to find a way out of the “negation and despair” of a world collapsing.

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In Praise of Teachers Teachers are first responders too

Teachers are essential workers too

by Gary Kaplan

The end of the year is a traditional time for reflection. This year, the cup of reflection runneth over to the point of tsunami. Even in the delimited field of education, we could go on for volumes. But let’s pick a subject. Let’s focus on teachers.

Kevin McCaskill of Madison ParkTech Voc

Pandemic exposed a lack of access to technology for some Boston families.

DECEMBER 2020 PODCAST – This month’s podcast is the second part of the conversation between Executive Director Gary Kaplan and Kevin McCaskill, the Executive Director of Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, the only Vocational High School in the Boston Public School system. Mr. McCaskill has been working in education for over 30 years and between them, Gary and Mr. McCaskill have close to 75 years of experience advocating for public education. In this episode, they discuss how the current pandemic exposed a lack of access to technology for some Boston families, how progress and change continues to work its way across the country, and the most important types of leadership needed in our schools to ensure they provide the best possible education to our students.