August 22, 2013

August 22nd, 2013

Category: News, Policy and Practice, Postsecondary Success, Student-Centered Learning

Local News

The Newark Post
Newark Charter opens high school
Patrick Delaney knows he got lucky that Newark Charter School added a high school just as he was finishing eighth grade. Now, rather than head off to a different high school this year, he can finish out his school career at the place where he’s been since third grade. “It was that close of a margin,” he said, referring to the school opening just in time for him. “I’m ecstatic.” Delaney and his classmates got their first chance to check out the new school building Tuesday night, two days before the scheduled start of classes. After a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the cafeteria, students and their parents took self-guided tours of the building, stopping to meet teachers and find their lockers, something they did not have in middle school. The opening of the high school completes a 12-year growth process for Newark Charter, which opened as a middle school in 2001. An elementary school was added in 2006.

The Sussex Countian
Educator Q&A: Meet John Sell
John Sell, the standing Delaware State Teacher of the Year, has been named an assistant principal at Sussex Technical High School. Sell, an English teacher at Sussex Tech for the past 12 years, will supervise students with last names beginning with letters P through Z. He will supervise the English and Special Education departments and oversee classroom technology, as well as take responsibility for student clubs and organizations.

National News

The New York Times
Learning to read, with the help of a tablet
One of the most comprehensive apps for teaching reading is a free iPad app called Learn With Homer (not the Greek one or Mr. Simpson, you’ll be pleased to hear). It’s a set of lessons and games presented with bright cartoon graphics and amusing sounds. Using animations and spoken guidance, the app leads children to sound letters that appear on the screen and shows how letters make words, using examples like “alligator” and “ant.” The app’s learning sections are interspersed with game sections, and there is a listening section where children read and hear stories. Completing a lesson or story is rewarded with the chance to draw something on the screen or to record an answer to a question about the story. The app’s best feature is that it keeps these pictures and recordings, because it is fun to look back on them.

The Common Core and the common good
An opinion by Charles M. Blow
Our educational system is not keeping up with that of many other industrialized countries, even as the job market becomes more global and international competition for jobs becomes steeper. We have gone from the leader to a laggard. According to the Broad Foundation, an educational reform group, “American students rank 25th in math, 17th in science and 14th in reading compared to students in 27 industrialized countries.” And we have gone from No. 1 in high school graduation to 22nd among industrialized countries, according to a report last year by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The Washington Post
D.C. traditional public school teacher pay is higher than charters
Teachers in the District’s traditional public schools earn more than their counterparts at nearly every D.C. charter school, according to a Washington Post review of teacher salaries across the city, with many city teachers earning salaries that are thousands of dollars higher. School officials say high pay is a key part of the city’s strategy for attracting talented people to teach in some of the nation’s most challenging schools. For charters, however, it creates an additional challenge. Unable to match the school system’s salaries, many charters instead rely on other factors to recruit and retain candidates, including small class sizes, professional development opportunities and strongly defined missions and cultures.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
U.S. Dept. of Education Grants Pennsylvania waiver from NCLB law’s AYP requirement
In the new Pennsylvania system, there are four “annual measurable objectives” that make up the profile: • A 95% participation rate on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessments in grades 3-8 and the end-of-course Keystone exams for Algebra 1, biology, and literature, which in spring 2013 for the first time replaced the 11th-grade PSSAs. • A graduation rate of 85% or higher or an improvement over the previous year. If a graduation rate doesn’t apply, then there is an attendance rate target of 90% or improvement over the previous year. • Closing the achievement gap of all students by 50% within six years. The gap is to be based on a comparison percentage of students who are proficient and advanced on 2012-13 state tests with 100% proficiency. The tests covered are the PSSA, Keystone Exams, and PASA, a test for severely mentally handicapped or physically limited children. • Closing the achievement gap of historically underperforming students, also by 50% within six years in a similar manner. This would be an unduplicated count of students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged, and English language learners enrolled for a full year and taking the state tests.

Philly.com
ACT: Third of high school grads not college ready
Almost a third of this year’s high school graduates who took the ACT tests are not prepared for college-level writing, biology, algebra or social science classes, according to data the testing company released Wednesday. The company’s annual report also found a gap between students’ interests now and projected job opportunities when they graduate, adding to the dire outlook for the class of 2013. “The readiness of students leaves a lot to be desired,” said Jon Erickson, president of the Iowa-based company’s education division. The ACT reported that 31 percent of all high school graduates tested were not ready for any college coursework requiring English, science, math or reading skills. The other 69 percent of test takers met at least one of the four subject-area standards.




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