No Such Thing: K12 Education in the Digital Age


If Grades Were Hyperlinks, Live Update

Ep. 71

Our conversation here takes place at the National Summit for Excel In Ed - from their website, Launched by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in 2008, the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) supports state leaders in transforming education to unlock opportunity and lifelong success for each and every child.

I was grateful to join my colleagues from NAF (known widely as the National Academy Foundation) in hosting a roundtable discussion at the conference aimed at illuminating new practices in credentialing, in this case one that is local to where we gathered in San Diego, CA. My guests, Alec and Carissa, represent Del Lago academy, only 30 minutes north of where we sat together in a windowless ballroom only a hundred yards or so from the harbor. My first episode with Alec - number 28 - was titled "If Grades Were Hyperlinks" and is one of the most downloaded episodes of the show. When I found out that we'd be in San Diego to discuss credentialing, I had to reach out and see if we could get an update and hear - more than a year after the initial episode - how Del Lago is fairing with this project, which even in the most forward-thinking school district would be a scuffle to reframe the purpose and tactics with which we recognize learners' acquisition of skills.

Carissa Duran is an Aurora Institute, Personalized Learning, Teacher of the Year and Guest Teacher at Del Lago Academy

Carissa Duran is a teacher and instructional coach for literacy, language development, and educational technology at Del Lago Academy in California. She is committed to educational justice and uses innovative pedagogy and assessment practices to improve the engagement, empowerment, and success of historically marginalized students.

Alec Barron is the founding Principal Investigator for Competency X, and is a curriculum and professional learning specialist in the Escondido (California) Union High School District. He completed a social justice-based Education Doctorate in Leadership for Educational Equity with the University of Colorado Denver. Dr. Barron leads Competency X, an assessment practice for workforce-informed performance tasks that was developed to broaden access to college and career opportunities. The “X” is how learners choose to curate evidence of their learning and reflect on how it represents success with competencies. The idea was developed at Del Lago Academy in Escondido, California, to help students access the life science workforce. Currently, the project is using a Phase 2 award, with funding by the Bill & Melinda Gates and Hewlett foundations to pilot a competency-based articulation approach to broaden access to college credit and paid internships for high school students.

Notes from this Episode:

Competency X:

Excel In Ed:

More Episodes


Boys and Girls Clubs of America During Covid

Ep. 80
You may be having a similar experience to my own where, when I ask my kids about what they miss from their non-Covid schedule, they talk a lot about afterschool. Sometimes I make the mistake of thinking that it goes without saying at this point, but it doesn't, that out of school time, and the professionals who support learners beyond the school bell are absolutely critical in the special sauce of your kids. If you haven't yet, reach out and find out how you can support your local programs - give a high five to the education professionals, many of whom, are spending a lot more time with your kids than their teachers are.Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA for short) is an iconic brand, and for good reason - it serves more than 4mm students through its federated network of clubs all over the country, and my guest is the national organization's Sr. Director of Product:Dave Crusoe is an education technology researcher, architect and producer. He loves to dream big and make big happen–especially by bringing together astute and eager teams. He is Senior Director – Youth Digital Engagement for Boys & Girls Clubs of America, a role that enables infinite imagination about how to construct youth digital visitor experience, provides focus on youth learning and life outcomes and requires engaging a curious set of resources. He holds an EdM degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, enjoys writing, plays the banjo poorly, explores caves and writes children’s stories.Links from the episode:Visit

Decoding Tech & Race through Racial Literacy

Ep. 79
Christy Crawford ChristyCrawfordserves as the Director of Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education for New York City’sComputer Science forAllInitiative.For more than a decade she taught K-8 classes in Harlem and the Bronx.She was also a curriculum fellow for theNew York City Computer Science forAllBlueprintand an adjunct lecturer for the City College of New York.She was an education consultant for companies such as Scholastic, BrainPOP, and Nickelodeon.Prior to teaching,Crawfordwas a television producer for severalnetworks.She uses her experience in education and media to foster equity byallmeansnecessary.Crawfordis an advocate for communities of color in computer science.Dr. Lloyd Talley is a mixed-methods developmental psychologist and interdisciplinary social policy researcher. He focuses on the intersections of social and life course identity development as a lens for meaning-making and in the prediction of educational, behavioral, and mental health outcomes. He received his PhD in applied psychology and human development and Master of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania and his BA in communication and culture from Howard University. Overall, he seeks to develop complex models of human behavior which highlight the central role of identity development and socialization processes in behavioral patterns and social outcomes. Recently, Talley has focused on exploring the within-group diversity of Black populations by developing profiles of identity (racial, gender, religious) and examining their relationship to patterns in social and health outcomes.Notes from this episode:Howard C.StevensenJames Banks is the Kerry and Linda Killinger Endowed Chair in Diversity Studies Emeritus and is the founding director of the Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Washington,, which is now the Banks Center for Educational Justice.Zaretta HammondTranslanguagingAkbar Cooke’s Instagram A Pathway to Racial Literacy: Using the LETS ACT Framework to Teach Controversial Issues