March 4, 2013
The News Journal
Mentors sought to fill vital role for young students
The parents struggling to support their families often must work extra shifts to pay bills and put food on the table. Classrooms are crowded, so the extra support a child needs to improve in areas such as reading is often difficult to come by. That’s where Creative Mentoring steps in. The organization works with more than 80 schools as well as community and faith-based groups throughout Delaware to match volunteers with children for an hour a week throughout the school year.
The Dover Post
State receives award for educational advancements
Delaware has won a national award for innovative education policy that is making systematic changes to improve student outcomes across the state. The Education Commission of the States will honor Delaware in May for winning the 2013 Frank Newman award for State Innovation, which recognizes “states and territories for enacting innovative education reforms or implementing innovative programs that go beyond marginal or incremental changes to improve student outcomes on a large scale.”
Delaware governor nominates two for Cabinet posts
Now in his second term, Delaware Governor Jack Markell announced nominations for two Cabinet posts in his administration today, Markell named Jennifer Ranji to head up the state’s Dept. of Services for Children, Youth and Families. DSCYF provides services to abandoned, neglected and abused children, among other things. Ranji served as an educational policy advisor to the governor for three years, leading the way in the state’s Race to the Top and Early Childhood Race to the Top initiatives. An attorney, she also worked closely with DSCYF and represented domestic violence and child abuse victims, pro bono, when she was in private practice. “Jennifer has been engaged with family, child protection and education issues, as an advocate and policy expert,” said Gov. Markell. “Her work ethic is unparalleled. Jennifer carries the credentials as well as the compassion needed to lead an agency that cares for some of the most vulnerable among us.”
Delaware State News
Extended-day programs give students head start
At Booker T. Washington Elementary School in Dover this year, more students are getting their homework done. Their grades, principal Dale K. Brown said, have shot up. The reason, he suspects, is the school’s new extended-day program. “It’s going to be a good game-changer,” Mr. Brown said. Booker T. Washington and Fairview elementary schools, both in the Capital School District, launched extended-day programs late last semester. To pay for the program, they received a competitive grant offered to Focus schools. In July, 13 schools were named Focus institutions statewide as part of the state’s new school classification system. The schools were chosen because they have a significant achievement gap between low-income and higher income students.
Teacher-evaluation plans bedevil waiver states
Even though 34 states and the District of Columbia have No Child Left Behind Act waivers in hand, many of them are still negotiating with the U.S. Department of Education over their teacher-evaluation systems—a crucial component if they want to keep their newfound flexibility. More than six months after waiver recipients turned in their guidelines to the department, only 12 waiver states have gotten the green light for their evaluation systems. Education Department officials expect to start sending more approval letters soon, along with notices on which plans need more work.
Virtual courses feature gaming to raise interactivity
Middle school students using Connections Academy online curricula analyze parts of speech and build sentences to complete grammar “missions” in an interactive game. Students taking classes through K12 Inc.’s online curricula access mobile apps to play games as a way to reinforce what they’re learning in class. And students in the Pender County school district in North Carolina are learning language arts and leadership skills through video games such as Minecraft and World of Warcraft, thanks to a new learning-management system specifically designed for game-based learning.
The New York Times
Keeping an eye on online test-takers
Millions of students worldwide have signed up in the last year for MOOCs, short for massive open online courses — those free, Web-based classes available to one and all and taught by professors at Harvard, Duke, M.I.T. and other universities. But when those students take the final exam in calculus or genetics, how will their professors know that the test-takers on their distant laptops are doing their own work, and not asking Mr. Google for help?
National attention and cash in Los Angeles school vote
On Tuesday, voters in Los Angeles will go to the polls for a mayoral primary. But much of the attention will also be on the three races for the school board, a battle that involves the mayor, the teachers’ union and a host of advocates from across the country — including New York City’s billionaire mayor — who have poured millions of dollars into the races. The outcome of the political fight for the school board seats will have a profound impact on the direction of the nation’s second-largest school district. But the clash has also become a sort of test case for those who want to overhaul public education, weakening the power of the teachers’ union, pushing for more charter schools and changing the way teachers are hired and fired.