Last week we wrote about attending the Council of the Great City Schools conference, and about listening to Van Jones speak about equity.
Jones wasn't the only a-list speaker at the conference; Bill Gates was also there.
Bill isn't Van; not when he's at the podium. We laughed out loud at Van Jones, and several people leapt to their feet at his words, and more than once; we never had either reaction to anything Bill said.
That's despite Bill Gates' words conveying real impact. For example, he announced at the conference that his foundation would invest a new $1.7 billion in education, starting with a new commitment to school networks. We were particularly happy to hear him voice support for California's CORE districts.
But if we were happy to hear about the commitment to CORE, we were thrilled to learn of his support for Fresno Unified's work in providing students with guidance towards college, including a specific reference to the Digital College Counselor that Spotlight produces for FUSD.
Truth be told, Fresno has been providing "CRGs" of some nature for a couple of years. But the Spotlight version delivers clearer, more personalized guidance - and in a student's home language, including Hmong (which wasn't even a written language 50 years ago!).
Bill Gates has had a few good ideas over the years, but he's mostly known for identifying a promising concept, and then exerting resources to scale it. So we're pretty excited to have found ourselves somewhere on his radar screen.