Common Core and Expanded Learning

Just last month, the Forum For Youth Investment published a commentary entitled “The Common Core Standards:  What Do They Mean For Out-Of-School Time?”  This article best describes the great work happening nationally to connect the Common Core with expanded learning movements.  While it will take years until the Common Core is fully integrated into all schools and districts (currently adopted in 46 states), the potential in this project to connect with the expanded learning world (afterschool, out-of-school-time, summer programming, vacation camps, extended learning days, expanded learning opportunities in the form of credit-recovery, badges, etc) is huge.  Many high-quality programs have already started this work, training staff in the seemless connections between inquiry-based experiential learning opportunities and “habits of the mind.”

At Highlander Charter School (our lab school in Providence, RI), the Common Core has been an important part of afterschool and AmeriCorps staff training for over a year.  Staff members, often hired with limited skill sets, are able to grasp the Common Core ideals and how they can focus lesson planning and implementation efforts accordingly.  In order to best connect to the school-day learning, staff connect with classroom teachers around which standards should be reinforced through exciting learning opportunities each afternoon until 5pm.  This work has led to academic gains, better learning habits, and a passion for learning in participating students.

Check out the FYI full commentary here:

Common Core and Expanded Learning


Startup Snapshot: Metryx Mobile Tracker

(re-posted from

After you check out our Startup Snapshot, be sure to take a look at our Q&A with CEO of Metryx, Shawn Rubin, here.

What is the Metryx Mobile Tracker? 

The Metryx Mobile Tracker is a web application that allows teachers to conduct thorough formative assessment on-the-go via smartphone, tablet or CPU.

The tool, which aligns with Common Core standards, has four different modes through which teachers can take in data: Binary, qualitative, rubrik and data entry mode.

Then, multiple report modes give teachers a variety of ways in which to analyze that data.

With the Mobile Metryx Tracker, teachers can:

  • Evaluate the whole class, which could be useful in determining the lowest 5 percent of students in a particular subject, for example. Conversely, it could be used to show the top of the class or to paint a picture of the overall comprehension of the class relative to the subject matter at hand.
  • View trends over time. For example, is little Johnny steadily improving, or is his comprehension wavering?
  • View side-by-side comparisons. Metryx co-founder Shawn Rubin says this report is helpful with time allocation. For example: If an educator has only five minutes with a particular student, what subject should s/he put it toward?
  • Group students into sections to show total scores or scores over time.

Who is behind Metryx?

Highlander Charter School founding faculty member Shawn Rubin and interaction designer Stephanie Castilla co-founded Metryx during the 2010-2011 school year in Providence, R.I. Highlander Institute has provided initial funding for the formative assessment web app, but Metryx will be seeking seed funding in the fall to aid in developing premium features for the Metryx Mobile Tracker.

Meanwhile, Brown University has been studying the app testing from the beginning and is in the process of crunching those numbers.

When will Metryx Mobile Tracker be available?

Rubin and Castilla alpha tested the app with Highlander Institude from October 2011 to February 2012, and then performed closed beta testing between February and June. Metryx has been in open beta testing since June and has received 400 inquiries, but has only provided a little more than 200 invites.

Rubin says he hopes to have the first version of Metryx in app stores by September, at which point it will be free to the public.