MACo Features Innovations in Education at Winter Conference


Photo: Senator Mac Middleton and Betty Weller, President, Maryland State Education Association (MSEA), Chris Parts, US Green Building Council, Maryland Chapter

At the 2013 Winter Conference, MACo featured new programs and initiatives that may create possibilities for more unconventional educational options in Maryland. Panelists engaged in a broad-based discussion of topics that challenge some traditional notions of schooling.  Senator Mac Middleton facilitated the discussion.

Val Emrich, Director of Instructional Technology, Maryland State Department of Education introduced the state’s new digital learning regulations and described the need to incorporate alternate ways of learning to improve the ability of US students to compete in the global marketplace.

Betty Weller, President, Maryland State Education Association discussed the Common Core and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments would affect our state’s education infrastructure.  Both of these initiatives drive for higher level learning, such as interaction with complex texts in elementary school English and modeling real-world concepts in Math courses.

Chris Parts, US Green Building Council, Maryland Schools Committee spoke about new types of school design and how sustainable school design elements can be incorporated into environmental lessons for our children.  Mr. Parts described the high costs of heating and cooling schools with traditional construction methods, and described innovative lighting projects, such as light shelves, and teaching children about “vampire loads” of appliances that suck energy even when turned off. For more information, see Chris Parts’ powerpoint presentation.

Andy Smarick, Partner, Bellwether Education Partner shared the benefits of alternative education choices including charter schools and topics in his new book.  Mr. Smarick envisioned a system in which governments can accelerate recovery and achievement of school districts through closing failing schools and re-opening them under new management.

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