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As the academic year gets into full swing, there are several key initiatives that MTC is advancing with its network of nearly 300 member schools. In particular, this is the year when MTC turns theory into practice. With a few pilot schools leading the way, the first set of students will apply to college with MTC Mastery Transcripts. Following are excerpts from CEO Stacy Caldwell’s recent opening letter to member schools and friends of MTC.
It was wonderful to see many of our member school colleagues at the University of Maryland site director meeting and to share in many great moments, from sticky notes in the hallways to creating lesson plans and workshops reinforcing good teaching. I was also grateful for a Tom Guskey quote that was shared by Emily Rinkema and Stan Williams from Champlain Valley High School: “Our work is to develop talent, not select it.” If we do our work well, we will show why this matters.
This is the year when MTC turns theory into practice. With a few pilot schools leading the way, we will have our first students applying to college with MTC Mastery Transcripts. Thanks to our pioneering membership and the leadership of our product team, we have certainly come a long way in the past two years. We now have a transcript capable of changing how students prepare for college, career, and life. Read and share our Blog post about these efforts.
While we are thrilled to support our pilot schools through the college admissions process, we are equally excited to support all of our members at every stage of their journeys—from those just beginning to reconsider learning and assessment to those already beta testing the transcript (and every stage in between). We remain committed to iterating upon our design to meet the needs of our member schools and putting in place the tools and underlying technology to ensure we are ready to scale with our membership’s needs in 2020-2021 and beyond. While last year was our Co-Design Year, this is our Learning Year—with the goal of turning next year into our Scaling Year.
This is a significant time for MTC—and, as we prepare for the messiness, setbacks, and triumph that will emerge from our learning, I’ll pause on the words of our founder Scott Looney: “You’re trying to shift a paradigm, and paradigms fight back. Now is the time to pick this fight.”
With that in mind, we have a number of key initiatives that I am excited to highlight as we kick off our Learning Year:
During 2019-2020, member schools will be involved in using and testing the Mastery Transcript in a number of different ways. In addition to the several pilot schools whose students will use the Mastery Transcript to apply to college this year, we will have a second group of pilot schools who are working with students graduating in 2021 and beyond. There are also more than 40 “beta testing” schools who will dig into the transcript with their students this year to explore features and get a sense for the experience. We are launching a Student Voices series on our Blog to showcase the full range of student interactions with the new transcript—from those applying to college to those just learning about it. Read a Gibson Ek student’s early experiences with the transcript. If you are a member school and want to pilot or beta test the Mastery Transcript in 2020-2021, there will be an informational webinar in early December and more information forthcoming.
Along with member school colleagues we are already reaching out to colleges and universities that are likely to receive MTC Mastery Transcripts this fall. We will continue to work with them to ensure both a successful process for applicants and deep learning for MTC.
We are also conducting our testing of the Mastery Transcript with a diverse range of Admissions Officers and continue to welcome your suggestions. Connect us with contacts who may be interested or even with those who may seem hesitant. We are ready for it all—as it will all support our Learning Year!
In partnership with Chris Sturgis and her coauthor Katherine Casey, MTC is developing a series of publications for members and schools considering membership. The first volume is our theory of action paper and is now available online: “Getting Our Signals Straight for Students.” Next up is a publication that proposes a five-stage framework to help meet member school faculty where they are and move forward along their unique journeys to the Mastery Transcript. We look forward to sharing this piece with you in the coming weeks, as well as other tools and enhancements we are making on our public and community web sites.
Our annual member survey provides us with invaluable feedback on your MTC experiences. We gathered up your helpful insights from last year’s survey into key takeaways, such as how we can provide more support and guidance, and are integrating related enhancements into member engagement this year. Our 2019-2020 survey is getting underway; if you were unable to attend the September site director symposium, look out for this year’s survey in your Inbox soon!
We had a great turnout at our NACAC session and enjoyed seeing some of you on site. MTC will also be presenting at iNACOL in October and attending NAIS and a variety of other regional conferences this year. We would love to know which events you are attending and if you are presenting on topics related to mastery learning or the Mastery Transcript. If there are events you want to put on our radar as a fit for MTC, feel free to do that too. Please contact Ben Rein, senior director of outreach and partnerships at MTC, about upcoming events; he would love to hear from you and make plans to connect in the field.
Our MTC team is ready to support your work as you get deeper into the school year. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you soon!
Stacy Caldwell, CEO
Mastery Transcript Consortium