September 13, 2013
The News Journal
Progress made on Delaware’s education standards, but more needed
An opinion by Mark Murphy, Delaware Secretary of Education
As students return to the classroom, educators across the state are creating new and stronger opportunities to help them succeed. Fourteen grants were just awarded to schools around our state to drive innovative practices. Dozens of students from the Christina School District spent two weeks this summer at the University of Delaware preparing them for future success in college. And this year, Delaware will more than quadruple the number of high schools participating in College Application Week, as our educators break down the barriers that might exist for our children seeking to take that next step in their education. These examples are just a few among many efforts underway in our schools to better serve and prepare our children.
Delaware families encouraged to take advantage of online education resources
As students get settled in their schools this month, the Delaware Office of Early Learning is calling on parents of preschool age children to go online and check out some of the education resources available to them. Delaware families with infants, toddlers and preschoolers can log onto the website, www.greatstartsdelaware.com, to find a collection of resources and tips to help parents locate early learning programs statewide. According to officials, connecting families to a searchable database of nearly 400 early learning programs will also raise awareness about the importance of such information like the Delaware Stars rating system parents can use as their guide to quality educational tools. “With the information available to us about the importance of early learning, we want to ensure that families have access to as many great resources as possible,” said Harriet Dichter, Executive Director, Delaware Office of Early Learning.
Ky. to implement science standards despite legislative opposition
Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear signaled yesterday that Kentucky would move forward with implementation of a new set of common science standards despite opposition from a legislative review panel. By a vote of 5-1, the state’s Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee yesterday rejected the standards as crafted, according to an article in the Courier-Journal newspaper of Louisville. The Next Generation Science Standards, developed by a coalition of 26 states (including Kentucky) and several national organizations, had previously won unanimous support from the Kentucky state board of education.
The New York Times
Kindergarten applications going digital
They line up in the predawn chill, clutching original birth certificates and passports, utility bills and lease agreements, all for the chance to enter their children into one of New York City’s most agonizing lotteries: the kindergarten application process. For these parents, who are required to fill out forms in person at each school they want their young children to be considered for, the kindergarten application period each winter means long lines and stacks of paperwork. Starting next year, however, parents will be able to apply online through a Department of Education Web site, ranking their school choices and submitting a single application. The online application, called Kindergarten Connect, was tested in 2012 in three districts — one each in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan — and “significantly more” parents applied early for kindergarten spots as a result, the city said.
No child left untableted
Sally Hurd Smith, a veteran teacher, held up her brand-new tablet computer and shook it as she said, “I don’t want this thing to take over my classroom.” It was late June, a month before the first day of school. In a sixth-grade classroom in Greensboro, N.C., a dozen middle-school social-studies teachers were getting their second of three days of training on tablets that had been presented to them as a transformative educational tool. Every student and teacher in 18 of Guilford County’s 24 middle schools would receive one, 15,450 in all, to be used for class work, homework, educational games — just about everything, eventually.
The Washington Post
What it’s like in school to have principal after principal
An opinion by Valerie Strauss
The great push by school reformers to improve the quality of teachers, principals and school leadership have been ignored — and that’s an unhealthy oversight. There is research suggesting that school leadership is every bit as important as quality teaching. Yet principal turnover is high and increasing, with important consequences for schools. A 2012 RAND Corp. report said, for example, that about 20 percent of principals new to a school in urban districts leave that posting within one or two years, and the result can negatively impact achievement by individual students as well as the overall school.
Tennessee schools update music classes with technology
Discussions about technology in the classroom are happening virtually everywhere, but the arts struggle for attention in the digital world. But in Tennessee, school districts are embracing state-of-the-art technology to update their music classes. Quaver Music, a technology-based curriculum that incorporates multimedia resources like interactive whiteboards and mobile devices to spark students’ interest in music, is finding followers in Tennessee, according to Alyssa Rabun of The Tennessean.