The Public School Insights Blog
Each generation has a personality, characteristics and preferences that define their behavior and their views of the world. Millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000, are no different. Their arrival in the professional world has significant implications for the workplace, across sectors but including – and perhaps especially – education.
The October issue of Learning Forward’s JSD features “Boomers and Millennials: Vive La Difference,” an article by Suzette Lovely that examines ways to blend different generational styles in the learning environment. The article poses five suggestions for creating a generationally friendly culture. They pay homage to the distinct differences between generations in the same workplace. What’s more, they aim to foster a more collaborative learning environment, helping ensure that an older, more experienced generation of teachers can pass on their knowledge to a new energetic teaching force. This new generation of professionals, in turn, must feel embraced by their older colleagues and respected for their ideas, innovation and energy. ...
We’ve all heard about summer learning loss. Students lose between one and two months' worth of academic knowledge each summer. Low-income students are particularly sensitive to this phenomenon – some research suggests that more than half of the achievement gap seen in reading between these students and their wealthier peers can be attributed to summer loss.
So across the nation, schools, districts and states are trying to address the issue. One seemingly obvious solution: A move to year-round schooling. Given that the most popular school calendar in the nation is a relic from our agrarian days, when children were needed in the fields at specific times during the year, it certainly makes sense to revisit it. And many schools and communities have adopted a year-round calendar, replacing a long summer break with shorter breaks throughout the year.
But I was interested to read an article out of Grand Rapids, MI, that indicated a possible move in the opposite direction. Because of chronic absences at some district elementary schools that run on a year-round calendar (at one school, 41% of ...
Parent and family engagement is a critical component in ensuring student achievement and success in school. However, traditional models of parent-teacher interaction (for example, conventional parent-teacher conferences) do not necessarily have a substantial effect on student performance.
Dr. Maria C. Paredes, a Senior Program Associate at WestEd, noticed that although parents in the Creighton Elementary School District did have high levels of engagement, student performance levels were static. Through the help of surveys of both parents and teachers, Dr. Paredes redesigned the district's parent-teacher engagement model to better serve both parties. The result - Academic Parent-Teacher Teams (APTT*) - is proving effective, and the model is spreading across classrooms and districts. Dr. Paredes recently took time to discuss the model with Public School Insights.
Public School Insights (PSI): Tell us a little about the program at Creighton and the APTT Model. What are some of the key components?
Dr. Paredes: Academic Parent-Teacher Teams (APTT) is an intentional, systematic means of increasing student academic learning and performance by enhancing the quality of parent-teacher communication and collaboration. APTT was designed using the lessons learned from research and those learned by doing the work. APTT gives purpose, structure, and direction to school leaders and teachers on how to engage families in student learning. By providing parent education and creating a two-way system of regular communication, teachers can ensure that parents have knowledge and understanding of their children’s grade level learning goals, and that parents are engaged in helping their children meet or ...
Candidly, and not surprisingly, I’m delighted that Barack Obama was elected to a second term as President of the United States. As someone whose entire professional career has been devoted to public education and life-long learning, I believe that President Obama’s values and priorities are closer to mine than his opponent’s are.
Having stated my delight in the President’s re-election, I also want to enumerate my hopes for his administration’s leadership in strengthening and improving public K-12 education over the next four years. I fervently hope that:
- The President, Secretary of Education, and administration leaders will STOP saying that our public school system is failing. We all know that there are serious inequities in the current system that need to be addressed and that a collective effort needs to be made to increase the rigor of instruction in many of our schools. But, most public schools in this country do a good job; indeed, a better job than has ever been done before.
- The President, Secretary of Education and their spokespersons will STOP saying that the current teaching force is largely recruited from the weakest students in any ...
Public K-12 schooling is a popular subject in all forms of media these days, with the majority of coverage highly critical of both the professionals who work within the system and the performance of the students with whom they work. Prominent national leaders from government, corporations, and philanthropic organizations, having positioned themselves as "reformers," hold the bully pulpit in not only proclaiming education professionals as inadequate in ability and practice, but also in controlling access to significant resources to define and support reform efforts.
Those of us who have spent our careers in public education have always welcomed interest and enthusiasm from those outside the profession when that involvement focuses on unique perspectives and skill sets they can bring to the learning environment, including financial support, assistance with new technologies, participation in career days, and internship opportunities for students. We also welcome open discussion and the sharing of experience that can contribute to new ways of thinking about the challenges we face in our daily work with students. ...
There are few things as complicated as funding when it comes to our nation’s public schools. But a basic understanding on the part of policy-makers and voters can be a significant contributor to the vitality of public schools and our democratic society. This week, as much of mainstream media zeros in on the Presidential race and key competitive Congressional races, it’s worth remembering that on November 7th, governance will continue with policy decisions and consequences playing out on the local level, especially for education. As we continue our pre-election examination of school finance policies, we focus on the second half of the Center for American Progress (CAP) report, The Stealth Inequities of School Funding: How State and Local School Finance Systems Perpetuate Inequitable Student Spending. ...
Election Day is just around the corner, and as voters go to the polls to cast their ballots, in many states, they vote on more than just candidates. Most voters will have several ballot referendums to vote ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ on, and the consequences of those decisions influence policy. Take as one example the recent vote on gay marriage in the state of North Carolina. It is no different with ballot referendums on public school funding. This fall, five states have some such type of ballot initiative, the largest number in two decades: Arizona, Missouri, South Dakota, Oregon and California. Whether extra revenue is approved or not will have a tremendous effect on each state’s public schools. In this respect, voter turnout and participation is crucial. ...
Who can you trust about educational technology?
So asked Richard Rose in September’s issue of School Administrator. He argues that research on educational technology should be approached with skepticism for a number of reasons. For example, the role that money plays in this research: Interested parties, including technology providers, nonprofits and even unions, often directly or indirectly benefit from research showing results for a particular product. There is also a lack of consensus within the research – you can find research that supports almost any position. In addition, there is bias introduced by the “publication strainer” (publications prefer research that supports their platform of doctrines) and author timidity and pragmatism (not wanting to waste time on research that isn’t published, busy authors submit what they know publications want).
In reading this piece, it struck me that it could have been written about any aspect of education. While the motivation of technology companies may be different than the motivation of those pushing vouchers, charter schools, alternative certification programs, particular reading programs or any other educational products or policies, it is widely acknowledged that much education research – for the reasons Rose cites and others – is substandard. But as Rose acknowledges, not all educational technology research (which I would change to, not all education research) is “tainted by vested interest or too insipid to bother with.” There is good research out there – you (whether you are a practitioner, parent, policymaker or ...
By Nora L. Howley, Manager of Programs, NEA Health Information Network
The fourth-grade class at Shadyside Elementary is having a birthday party. Selena just ate a cookie brought into the class by parent of one of her classmates. All of a sudden she notices a rash and gives on her arms. She begins to feel short of breath, so she lets Pam the Paraeducator know that something is wrong
Next week is Halloween. For many classrooms, it is the first celebration of the year. But for approximately six million children in the United States who have one or more food allergies, this party could be a life-threatening experience. Is your school ready?
Food allergies are abnormal immune responses. In a person with a food allergy, the immune system mistakenly responds to a food as if it were harmful. Sometimes these reactions are life-threatening. While many foods can trigger an allergic reaction, eight foods are responsible for 90% of reactions.
So what should school leaders and staff do to be prepared for food allergy reactions?
First, managing and preventing food allergies requires a team approach. It involves all school staff, parents/guardians, health care providers, and students themselves. It involves ...
The October 10, 2012, edition of Education Week features a commentary titled “Public Schools: Glass Half Full or Half Empty?” with both disturbing and hopeful statistics on public education in the United States. The most disturbing part of the article describes the results of a recent Gallup poll showing that public confidence in public K-12 education has fallen to 29 percent – a drop of 29 percentage points from 1973, when Gallup first began including public schools in its survey and public confidence in schools measured 58 percent. The irony in this dismal lack of confidence in such a crucial public institution is that an analysis of performance data on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP—the “nation’s report card”) and high school dropout rates shows that results have actually improved over the past two decades.
NAEP scores for both 4th and 8th graders have been trending upward since the 1970s. Compared with an average scale score of 219 in 1973 for 4th graders, 2008’s average scale score of 243 represents significant progress in math performance. The illustrative graphs included in the Education Week article provide a dramatic visual to illustrate this trend and ...
Click here to browse dozens of Public School Insights interviews with extraordinary education advocates, including:
- 2013 Digital Principal Ryan Imbriale
- Best Selling Author Dan Ariely
- Family Engagement Expert Dr. Maria C. Paredes
The views expressed in this website's interviews do not necessarily represent those of the Learning First Alliance or its members.
Excellence is the Standard
At Pierce County High School in rural southeast Georgia, the graduation rate has gone up 31% in seven years. Teachers describe their collaboration as the unifying factor that drives the school’s improvement. Learn more...
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