Celebrating a Champion of Competency-Based Education
We are entering a new year and a new season at iNACOL. We have bid a fond farewell to Chris Sturgis, a titan of competency-based education, whose mark on our work, and our lives, will be felt for many years to come. We celebrate her tremendous body of work as co-founder and project manager of CompetencyWorks, and we congratulate her on her new journey as founder of LearningEdge.
When Chris and I started collaborating 10 years ago, we challenged ourselves to find the leading innovators across the United States who were building education systems based on mastery. Together, we were envisioning a new dawn and a path forward. By learning from the field, we wanted to share knowledge for building a bridge to transport thinking and doing in reimagining our nation’s education system for what it could be. We hosted the first National Summit on Competency-Based Education in 2011. We spoke in an entirely different language than other “reforms,” and much of our work was stoking the imagination of school leaders and policymakers around the country to understand that our schools weren’t appropriately centered around student learning or youth development or true transparency that drives toward continuous improvement, quality, depth of learning and equity strategies every day.
Last month, iNACOL welcomed Helayne Jones to our Board of Directors. Helayne is an education consultant specializing in education innovation and personalized learning, as well as in scaling and sustaining nonprofits and leadership. She currently serves as Education Strategy Advisor to New Profit, a national venture philanthropy fund.
Before joining New Profit, Helayne was a Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation developing and implementing its Innovation & Personalized Learning strategy. She was the President and CEO of the Colorado Education Initiative, formerly known as the Colorado Legacy Foundation, for six years prior, and her career includes years as a college professor, marketing executive, school board member, and philanthropist.
“I've been an admirer and user of the work of iNACOL for a very long time, and so I am thrilled to be a part of it,” Jones said. “I also have tremendous respect for Susan Patrick (iNACOL President and CEO) and look forward to working with her.”
Helayne and iNACOL have crossed paths before. During her leadership at CEI, iNACOL served as a partner to its Next Generation Learning project, providing policy analysis and strategic counsel. Now as a leader at iNACOL, Helayne wants to focus on capacity-building and sustainability.
“We are at an interesting point in innovation in education,” she said, “and iNACOL remains the place where school leaders seek information as they explore shifting the way they educate children. Demand is growing, and few organizations have the purview that iNACOL has.
Helayne is also a past trustee of the Rose Community Foundation, Boulder Community Health Foundation, and the Colorado Commission for High School Reform. In addition, she served on former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s Education Leadership Council and on Governor Bill Ritter’s P-20 Education Council.
She received her doctorate in educational administration from the Teachers College, Columbia University, with an emphasis on school reform. Her initial term on the iNACOL board is slated for three years.
We seek a policy associate who is responsive, organized, highly motivated and mission-driven and who is an excellent writer and self-starter. Our ideal candidate has a thorough and up-to-date understanding of the major policy issues facing K-12 education, is an adept project manager, and has interacted with high-level officials. Click below for more details.
Learning and development science explains that social, emotional and cognitive domains are deeply intertwined in the learning process. Supporting the full integration of these dimensions within a positive school climate can dramatically improve K-12 student learning outcomes. To explore the learning sciences’ potential in K-12 education systems, iNACOL hosted a webinar in conjunction with the Learning Policy Institute, discussing how K-12 education systems can create personalized learning environments that better support student learning and development. This archived webinar is designed to help school leaders understand how trustful relationships, positive school climate and restorative approaches to discipline can enhance learning. Both the recording and slides used in the webinar are available on demand.
The iNACOL Center for Policy Advocacy leads the multi-stage evolution of policy necessary for the growth of effective personalized learning models toward the goals of high quality, equity, access and dramatically improving student learning to close the achievement gap and ensure every student has access to high-quality, world-class learning opportunities.
CompetencyWorks is an online resource dedicated to competency education in K-12 education. CompetencyWorks shares original research, knowledge and a variety of perspectives through an informative blog with practitioner knowledge, policy advancements, papers on emerging issues and a wiki with resources curated from across the field. Bookmark this resource and check often for frequent updates.
Working collaboratively with diverse experts in the field, iNACOL produces reports, books, policy briefs, blog posts, webinars and related resources on key topics and tough issues that equip and empower educators and leaders to catalyze and scale personalized, next generation learning models. Use our web-based library to freely access and share materials.