September 30, 2013
The News Journal
A chance to challenge Delaware’s most advanced students
An opinion by Lt. Governor Matt Denn and Dr. Terri Hodges the Delaware PTA’s federal legislative chair
Our public school students come to us with many different talents and challenges. Our responsibility is to help all of them fulfill their potential. Many elementary and middle school students who are capable of doing very accelerated schoolwork are not being sufficiently challenged. Thanks to a new state grant designed to help schools create accelerated academic programs, our public schools can expand the types of very challenging programs that will help these students thrive.
NASCAR camp gives teachers creative math, science lessons
Don Schlater and Colin Crandell sat in the “Monster Bridge” that extends over the track at Dover International Speedway, race cars thundering below them. “Well you can’t beat this venue,” said Schlater, a technology teacher at Beacon Middle School in Lewes. “It’s certainly the most exciting place I’ve ever had professional development.” When you think about it, Schlater says, NASCAR venues are basically a field laboratory for science, technology, engineering and math, or “STEM” concepts.
University of Delaware
Teacher quality versus teacher practices focus of fall speaker series
A panel of University of Delaware faculty members in the School of Education met on Sept. 18 to introduce a fall colloquium series that will focus on the importance of teacher quality versus teacher practices in regards to student performance. The series will feature five speakers, whose topics range from how to evaluate teacher quality to the history of teachers’ roles in the classroom. “The purpose of the series is to identify which holds greater significance toward student prosperity — teacher quality or teacher practices — and then to work together to use that in the classroom, said Ralph Ferretti, professor and director of the School of Education. “Anyone with an interest in student education, whether it be political or educational, is welcome to attend the presentations.”
State approves program for academically advanced students
The Delaware State Board of Education gave final approval recently to a new state program that will make new funds available for programs targeted toward academically advanced students. The program, created through legislation proposed last year by Lt. Gov. Matt Denn and the chairs of the General Assembly’s education committees, allows school districts to design programs targeted at students who are ahead of grade level in reading, writing, math, or science. Under the new program, local school districts and schools are permitted to apply through Oct. 25 for start-up grants for new programs targeted at students who are at least a half year ahead of grade level based upon current state standards. Most of the new programs are expected to be offered beginning in the 2014-15 school year. “There is a tremendous demand among parents for programs in our public schools that will really challenge their kids who are capable of doing advanced work,” said Denn. “This program will make it possible for many of our schools to set up new programs that will give kids a chance to move ahead much more quickly in reading, writing, math, and science.”
MOT Charter School nominated for 7 IDEA Awards
Six teachers and a parent at MOT Charter School have been nominated to receive an IDEA Award from the Delaware Charter School Network. Now in its second year, the award program recognizes exemplary dedication and hard work of teachers, parents, school leaders, legislators and community members Delaware’s 21 public charter schools. The name of the award stands for Innovation, Dedication, Education and Admiration, and bestows honors in 11 categories.
Delaware Charter Schools: weighing the educational and taxpayer pros and cons
Advocates say charter schools give students an alternative to the traditional learning model found in district schools. “Charter schools aren’t changing the education landscape in Delaware; they are contributing to it by providing choice,” says Kendall Massett, executive director of the nonprofit Delaware Charter Schools Network. “District schools aren’t leaving a gap; they are providing one kind of learning environment, and charters are providing another. It’s not a matter of which is more effective. It’s about what school works best for each child.” But critics argue that academic performance at some of the state’s charter schools is the same or worse than district schools. They also claim the charter system encourages segregation, lacks accountability to taxpayers and bleeds money and the best students from district schools.
‘1:X Computing’ aims to tailor digital tools to learning tasks
In Cindy Nguyen’s first-period psychology class at Lewisville High School in north-central Texas, digital devices are everywhere: During a recent lesson, 28 students were using 17 school-issued iPads, two student-owned tablets, seven smartphones, and one of the classroom’s five MacBook Air laptops. It’s the new face of learning in the rapidly changing Lewisville Independent School District, which is in the process of giving all 53,000 of its students access to “the right device at the right time,” part of a so-called “1:X” initiative that began last spring. District officials are currently seeking to trademark the “1:X” name, which is also referred to as “1-to-many.”
Looking for school improvement ideas beyond our borders
A commentary by Helen Janc Malone
As we move forward with the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and preparations for celebrating the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, it is imperative that we stop for a moment and think critically about what kind of educational system we want for our children in the 21st century. And, of equal importance, how do we get from here to there? One way to approach this complex task is to look outside ourselves, beyond the United States’ borders, and consider what other nations have done or are doing to transform their educational systems.
The New York Times
Gaps in graduates’ skills confound Morocco
Morocco spends about a quarter of its state budget on education, a high proportion by any standards. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the average in developed industrial nations is about 13 percent. Yet the results have not saved the country from some serious soul searching. “It’s sad to note that the state of education is worse now than it was 20 years ago,” King Mohammed VI said in a televised speech on Aug. 20. “How is it that a segment of our youth cannot realize their legitimate aspirations at professional, physical and social levels?”
Los Angeles Times
California truancy is at ‘crisis’ level, says attorney general
One out of every four California elementary school students — nearly 1 million total — are truant each year, an “attendance crisis” that is jeopardizing their academic futures and depriving schools of needed dollars, the state attorney general said in a report. Districts lost $1.4 billion in 2010-11 in state education dollars, which are distributed based on student attendance.
Teacher-training schools under pressure to prepare for Common Core
A National Council on Teacher Quality report found that only 11% of elementary teacher preparation programs and about one-third of high school programs appear to prepare candidates who can successfully teach the Common Core standards. In Louisiana, leaders of both traditional teacher-preparation and alternative programs say they are making changes to align with the Common Core.
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