October 16, 2017
The News Journal
Taking risks for success at Olive B. Loss Elementary School in Bear
Olive B. Loss Elementary School teacher Katie Russell knew she was taking a risk asking a class full of fourth-graders to build Rube Goldberg machines. The contraptions are, by definition, needlessly complex. They’re composed of an entire series of devices that are linked together to produce a domino effect and complete some kind of simple goal or task.
Declining enrollment leads to unused space at Christina
As part of an ambitious plan to turn around academic performance in the Christina School District, administrators plan to review unused or underutilized space in schools. The district has been accused of operating under capacity for years. Most recently, state Sen. David Sokola, D-Newark, claimed Christina has several underutilized buildings, causing the state and district to pay more than it should to maintain them.
Gov. Carney signs into law three bills for juvenile justice reform
Governor John Carney has signed into law three bills aimed at helping the youth of Delaware affected by the criminal justice system. Passed unanimously in the House this session, the new laws clarify a juvenile’s waiver of counsel rights, expand Delaware’s civil citation program and give the Courts more latitude to assess judicial transfers. Studies show that young people in contact with the judicial system are vulnerable, and each interaction impacts how they approach typical milestones, such as finishing school, finding their first job and even securing stable housing.
Delaware State News
One in 8 Del. students suspended in 2015-16
Nearly 17,300 students in Delaware public schools were suspended or expelled in the 2015-2016 school year, about 12.7 percent of the state’s 136,000 students. In other words, one in eight pupils received serious discipline, ranging from a one-day in-school suspension to expulsion. Of course, not all schools are created equal. At Polytech High School, for instance, 55 pupils, or 4.6 percent of the student body, were suspended.
School districts explain policies on student fights
For more than 10 seconds on Oct. 3, a Caesar Rodney High student landed a flurry of punches on a special needs schoolmate who tried to deflect them. Just as another student’s recorded cell phone video ended, a staff member appeared to arrive. According to his family, the injured 14-year-old boy was evaluated by a school nurse afterward and advised to see a doctor.
Delaware’s public high schools ranked among top ten nationally
Over the weekend I read that U.S. News released its annual collection of high school rankings—and, lo and behold—Delaware’s public high schools landed as eighth-best in the country. Before we pop the champagne, we should note that the website’s methodology examines the highest performing high schools in each state. We realize that some of Delaware’s highest performers select their students, at least in part, on some entrance criteria, and do not always reflect the full diversity of the state’s overall student body.
Help poor students scale the ivory tower
America’s elite colleges are more selective than ever before. They also remain disproportionately populated by the wealthy — in part because many qualified students from poor backgrounds don’t even apply. The good news is that there are proven strategies for ensuring that promising students get the opportunities they deserve. What it takes is a concerted effort to reduce barriers and strengthen programs that give low-income kids more guidance about their college options.
When the focus is on the student, not the class
Not that long ago, the high school in Pittsfield, N.H., had some of the lowest standardized tests scores in the state and was known as a dropout factory. But over the past six years, the school district has overhauled its approach to education. Now in most classes, grades aren’t used to measure progress. And that is a relief to Jenny Wellington, an English teacher at Pittsfield High School, who says grades never really told her whether her students were actually learning.
Eli Broad steps down, will his influence on K-12 education last?
High-profile education philanthropist Eli Broad has announced he’s stepping away from day-to-day duties at the foundation that he and his wife founded—as well as public life in general—but his legacy in reshaping how private money can influence policy and the politics around those ideas will extend into the foreseeable future, experts say.
The New York Times
Caught sleeping or worse, troubled teachers will return to New York classrooms
Francis Blake has not held a permanent position in a New York City public school in at least five years. At his last job, in a Bronx elementary school, records show he was disciplined for incompetence, insubordination and neglect of duties — he had been caught sleeping in a classroom when he was supposed to be helping with dismissal. Felicia Alterescu, a special-education teacher, has been without a permanent post since 2010, despite high demand for special education teachers.
Maine high school requires seniors to take internships
Students from Old Orchard Beach High School will have some real-world experience under their belt before graduating, which hopefully will give them an edge in the job market. After launching a pilot program last year, the school is now requiring all students not in a vocational program to do an internship in their senior year.