June 2014 Monthly Newsletter
Oakland, California


Education Achievement Authority of Michigan (EAA) -  Next Generation Ready Portfolio Defenses


The month of May saw the launch of the
Education Achievement Authority of Michigan's first ever Next Generation Ready Portfolio Defenses as more than 700 high school seniors from across Detroit defended their readiness for college and career through a portfolio of artifacts aligned to the EAA Graduate Profile.  Over the course of two weeks, students, advisors, and community members came together across the EAA's six high schools to experience what many have described as a "transformative" event for the community.  According to Central Collegiate Academy's Assessment Coordinator Evege James, "These defenses have totally shifted the culture of our Senior class." Students and teachers alike have witnessed the empowering results of asking students to Know, Do, and Reflect upon their learning over the past four years.  

Educators from each school have been working with ELP consultants since the summer of 2012 to adapt Envision's deeper learning assessment system, developing performance tasks and creating the systems and culture needed to sustain a school and district-wide shift toward performance assessment and public exhibitions of learning.  The defenses in May represented a unique opportunity to celebrate and honor the work of students and teachers, marking their progress and identifying the next level of work for the 2014-15 school year.  

In just a few short weeks, the EAA's six K-8 schools will embark on a similar journey of their own, as they'll work with ELP to build a performance assessment system that the district calls "next generation readiness" (NGR).  One of these schools, the Brenda Scott Academy for Theater Arts, has been selected as a "demonstration school", and will participate in extensive monthly professional development and coaching with ELP staff throughout the coming school year.  This work is funded through the generosity of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and will support the team at Brenda Scott in developing expertise and capacity in performance assessment with the ultimate goal of hosting its own Defense Design Studio for 8th graders in May of 2015.

What's Happening in Envision Learning Partners?    
Defense Design Studios

In May all 10th and 12th grade students at the three Envision Schools defend their learning through Benchmark (10 grade) and College Success Portfolio (12th grade) defenses.  Envision Learning Partners provided professional development at each of the school sites to a total of 100 participants to learn more deeply about the systems and structures that support students in this deeper learning process and observe a live defense.  Students from each of the schools co-facilitated the events demonstrating leadership skills and their ability to clearly articulate their own learning.

Tajee proudly passes his defense at Impact Academy. 

Bay Area Performance Assessment Network (BAPAN) Teacher Exhibition
As part of a grant funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Envision Learning Partners (ELP) has provided professional development to 10 schools over the past 2 years as part of the Bay Area Performance Assessment Network (BAPAN).  BAPAN is a collaborative initiative between ELP and the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) culminating with teachers demonstrating what they learned through a Teacher Exhibition. At this year's exhibition, teachers showcased projects, student work and student voice while reflecting on their strengths and next steps.

ACOE Associate Superintendent of Education Karen Monroe introduces BAPAN teachers at this year's Teacher Exhibition held at the David Brower Center in Berkeley. 
Learning Opportunities 
Envision Learning Partners is participating in the Sonoma County Office of Education  eduIMPACT Summit on August 4-6, 2014. 
Check out the description below to find out more. Envision Learning Partners will facilitate some of the workshops. 

This three-day summit will give attendees the

opportunity to experience what a Common Core aligned classroom looks, sounds, and feels like. It will feature hands-on workshops, panel discussions, keynote presentations, quick talks, and satellite conversations with experts around the country. Six strands will be featured:

  • Kicking Off the School Year Right
  • Project-Based Learning (PBL)
  • Creating Lessons Aligned to the 4Cs
  • Leadership
  • Shared and Open Resources
  • Assessment

On each day of the Summit, participants may choose the sessions and strands that best fit their needs. Presentations and activities will be in a variety of formats, so there will be many options to choose from. All sessions will be designed to help teachers and administrators start the school year with a focus on the Common Core.


More information: For a description of the strands and schedule of activities, see the eduIMPACT Summit website at


Click on the images below to access these defense videos: watch Envision students demonstrate what they know and are able to do:

Student Profile - Portfolio Defense
Student Profile - Portfolio Defense, 12th Grade, Envision Schools

Gibran Intro.Artifact I
Benchmark Portfolio - 10th Grade -  Intro & Artifact I, Envision Schools

Tarshea Intro.Artifact I
College Success Portfolio - 12th Grade - Workplace Learning Experience (WLE) , Envision Schools

Envision in the News

Recently, senior Stazanea's *College Success Portfolio Defense at Envision Academy (Envision Education's Oakland high school) provided a shining example of why it is so important to give young people the tools they need to succeed in college, career, and life.
KQED Radio reporter Katrina Schwartz was in attendance who filed this report for the morning local news segment that aired on May 27: listen and share! 
KQED Radio News
KQED Radio News, featuring an Envision Academy senior

Later that week, Katrina also posted a much longer article at KQED's education blog, MindShift: read the story here  (and again, please share!).

The *College Success Portfolio Defense is a requirement for Envision Schools  seniors to graduate from high school.  Students give a presentation before a panel of teachers, peers, family and community members defending how and why they are ready for college. They present academic work and reflect on the leadership skills they acquired while mastering the content knowledge. They spend four years preparing for this culminating moment, and when they graduate, they know they are ready for college and the larger world.


Want to learn more about 
Envision's schools and programs? Click the links below.

Please join us in our 
social media communities!

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Partnering for Success 
INSPIRE: Capture and share student and teacher success! Email your stories, photos and videos and we will
share them in a future newsletter.  Email Rachel Maida, program manager,
INFORM: Learn more about Envision Learning Partners (ELP) and partnership opportunities. Contact Rachel Maida, program manager,
INVOLVE: Participate in Envision Learning Partners (ELP) events. To be on ELP's mailing list, contact Rachel Maida, program manager,
INFLUENCE: Spread the word about Envision Learning Partners. Forward this newsletter to colleagues and friends. Encourage them to sign up at
INVEST: Interested in investing in Envision Education? Contact Kate Schwass, director of development,    

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Oakland, CA 94607


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