Leading school counselors Cory Notestine and Dan Peabody discuss how the implementation of the Common Core has impacted their work and the ways in which they are collaborating with colleagues.
In a few days, a new and expanded edition of Richard Louv’s best-selling book, Last Child in the Woods, will hit bookstores around the country. Louv’s book has fueled an international movement to combat what he calls “nature deficit disorder,” children’s growing alienation from the natural world. (Louv’s term for the disorder is quickly catching on, turning up in major newspapers, on television, and even in a February cartoon by Bloom County creator Berke Breathed.)
A quotation from our recent telephone interview with Louv elegantly captures the thrust of his argument: “[T]he message we’re sending kids is that nature is in the past and probably doesn’t count anymore, the future’s in electronics, the boogeyman lives in the woods, and playing outdoors is probably illicit and possibly illegal.” ...
Last week, Education Sector's Elena Silva published an excellent report on the success of formerly low-performing elementary schools in Hamilton County (Chattanooga), Tennessee. With generous support from the Public Education Fund and the Benwood Foundation in Chattanooga, these "Benwood schools" used a combination of incentives, embedded professional support and strong leadership teams to fuel consistent, long-term improvements in student learning. (See Public School Insights' story about the Benwood schools here.)
The report advances a very important argument:
It seems that what the Benwood teachers needed most were not new peers or extra pay--although both were helpful. Rather, they needed support and recognition from the whole community, resources and tools to improve as professionals, and school leaders who could help them help their students. ...
I recently interviewed Simon Hauger, a math teacher at West Philadelphia High School's Academy of Applied and Technical Sciences. Hauger and his students in the Academy have grabbed headlines over the past few years by building the world's first high-performance, environmentally-friendly cars. Their cars consistently win top honors at the Tour de Sol, a prestigious national green car competition. In fact, Hauger and his urban students have repeatedly bested teams from universities like MIT. Their story is incredibly inspiring. (Click here for PublicSchoolInsights.org's account about the Academy's program.)
In the interview, Hauger offers a ringing endorsement of programs that bring hands-on learning into the school day. He describes his own program's genesis, some of the obstacles it has faced, his work with community partners, and lessons he and his students have learned along the way. It's truly worth a listen.
Hauger also poses a very interesting question: If a bunch of high school students in impoverished West Philly can create a high-performance car that gets over 50 miles to the gallon, why won't the major car companies? ...
Richard Simmons should feel vindicated by a new studies that demonstrate the importance of health and physical education.
Today's on-line edition of Education Week reports that five elementary schools in Philadelphia have managed to control obesity rates among their students by keeping sodas and candy out of vending machines, trimming back snack foods, encouraging physical education and educating parents, teachers and children about healthy nutrition.
According to a study of these schools published today in Pediatrics, students in schools that followed these steps for two years were half as likely to become fat as students in schools that did not. ...
Mimi Bair is the principal of Memorial Middle School in Little Ferry, NJ, and a former staff member at Woodrow Wilson Elementary in Weehawken, where she helped implement an innovative arts-focused curriculum that has helped the school's mostly low-income students outperform students state-wide. (You can find PublicSchoolInsights.org's story on Woodrow Wilson Elementary here.)
Ms. Bair recently shared some of the secrets of her success.
The National Association of Secondary School Principals has released a list of Breakthrough Middle and High Schools for 2008. NASSP and the Metlife Foundation have recognized these schools, all of which serve many poor students, for dramatically improving student achievement. ...
Story posted June 28, 2015
Reposted with permission from the Coalition for Community Schools.
Henriette Taylor has only been the community school coordinator at The Historic Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary School (HSCT) in Baltimore for a little over a year, but she works hard to make sure the school’s “467 amazing little souls” understand the legacy behind the school they attend.
She reminds them to always include “Historic” before the name of the school, which honors a famous English composer and is also where Thurgood Marshall—the nation’s first African-American Supreme Court justice—began his education.
“Sometimes those beautiful stories, those hard-fought battles are forgotten,” Taylor says. “Knowing your history often defines where you go.”
Working alongside Principal Kelvin Bridgers, who is also new to the school, Taylor is focusing on re-creating the school as a place where staff and partners surround students and families with a seamless web of supports and learning opportunities. “School isn’t just school,” she says. ...
Story posted May 27, 2015.
Republished with permission of the Coalition for Community Schools
When he was hired as the community school coordinator at Benjamin Franklin High School in Baltimore, Dante de Tablan was still learning what it meant to be a community school. But one thing he was certain about was that the front of the building—a former middle school—needed a facelift. The original entrance had been sealed up and another door was being used as the main one.
“You don’t want to miss that opportunity to really make a statement and create a welcoming environment,” de Tablan says, adding that he saw a refurbished entrance as a step toward addressing other needs within the school and community.
The $5 million project, supported by the Baltimore City Public Schools, the state of Maryland and the federal government, was one of the first opportunities for the residents of the Brooklyn and Curtis Bay neighborhoods in Baltimore to be involved in improving a school—the first high school ever in the community. ...
Story posted December 16, 2009, updated December 16, 2014.
• Over 90% graduation rate in most recently availabe data.
Built in 1898, John Spry School has served kindergarten through eighth-grade children from southwest Chicago’s Little Village community, where the majority of the population is bilingual, for many years. But historically many of Spry’s students would graduate in the 8th grade, get a job to help support their families, and never complete high school.
In 2003, former principal of Spry, Dr. Carlos Azcoitia, approached the District CEO about adding a high school to Spry, creating a comprehensive community school from preschool through secondary school. After getting the go-ahead, Azcoitia met with community members, parents, the local school council, teachers, and students to discuss the design of a shared community building with an innovative, “no failure” high school. Today, Spry’s Community Links High School, which serves a student population that is 100% Hispanic and over 93% free or reduced price lunch, is opening new doors for the area’s children.
Committing to Post-Secondary Success
As a public, neighborhood school, Spry’s Community Links High School (CLHS) provides a unique opportunity for students and families from the community who are committed to success. Spry has designed a ...
Story posted October 28, 2014.
- The graduation rate is up 7%, with some schools seeing even greater gains
- Overall test scores are up - for example, Tubman Elementary posted an 8% increase in reading, 13% increase in ELA, 14% increase in math, 12% increase in science and a 19% increase in social studies on the 2014 GA CRCT
- At Westlake High School, SAT scores increased 130 points in one year among the students taking new SAT prep classes
The South Learning Community (SLC) group of schools in Fulton County Schools in Atlanta heard the same old song – increased number of students, poverty up, and greater accountability – but now has a different second verse: “Graduation rates are up 7%, more 9th graders are on track to graduate, and we’re seeing big gains in SAT scores,” says Dara Wilson, area executive director, who works alongside Dr. Donald Fennoy II, area superintendent, to support this group of 27 schools (4 high schools, 5 middle schools, and 18 elementary schools) in south Fulton County, all but one Title 1 with high poverty. These gains are being realized as part of Fulton County School’s district-wide goals of 90% graduation rate, 85% college readiness, and 100% career readiness by 2017 ...