Monday, February 28, 2011

Academic Achievement Driving Integration System

Wake County Public School System has been known for its socioeconomic integration. In 2000, Wake adopted a system that aimed to have a mix of children with a 60 to 40 percent rich to poor ratio in each school, based on the number of students who required subsidized lunch.

In 2009, the Wake school board voted to discontinue using socioeconomic integration in an effort to have kids attend a school nearer their neighborhood. Now, civic leaders have proposed implementing an integration system based on achievement. The achievement integration system might have a 70 to 30 percent ratio with 70 percent of students who have scored proficient on state tests and 30 percent who have scored below grade level.

Is this integration based on achievement a worthy substitute? Is it an even better solution?

Read the full story at The New York Times

Friday, February 25, 2011

Who Says Teachers Don't Care?: Closing the Achievement Gap

Achievement gaps are a serious concern in schools across America. With increasingly diverse populations of students, teachers are learning how to ensure all students from every racial and socioeconomic background have the opportunity to achieve high academic standards.

At Elmont Memorial High School in Elmont, New York, the teachers are helping every student succeed as they close the achievement gap for their students. At a racially diverse school, 99 percent of students graduate and 94 percent of those graduates go to college.  

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Arkansas Department of Education Enhances Current Professional Development with PD 360

“PD 360 provides all Arkansas educators with on-demand access to research-based professional development. It enhances current professional development activities and supports common language and practice statewide.”
Deborah Coffman
Professional Development Coordinator
Arkansas Department of Education

In 2000, as part of its effort to improve teacher quality, the state raised the minimum professional development required to retain a teaching license from 30 to 60 hours per year.

On September 6, 2006, ADE introduced its new Internet Delivered Education for Arkansas Schools (IDEAS) portal to provide online PD for districts and teachers. It wanted to make teacher training easier, more job-embedded, and more targeted to the actual needs of its more than 35,000 teachers. It wanted to supply its teachers with the best online PD resources, which in turn would raise student proficiency scores.

The fifteen education service cooperatives throughout Arkansas offer support to the school districts in their region, and provide PD opportunities. ADE Professional Development Coordinator, Deborah Coffman, and the cooperatives were very familiar and involved with The Video Journal of Education PD videos. They were pleased to learn the programs were available online as an on-demand product called PD 360 and quickly added it to their IDEAS portal.

To learn more about how Arkansas used PD 360 to improve student achievement, read the entire case study HERE

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

School Turnaround a Reality for Shawnee High School

“School turnaround” is not always a term that administrators or teachers want to hear, but Shawnee High School is welcoming the challenge to make major necessary changes. With only 4 percent of its students proficient in math and 22 percent proficient in reading, Shawnee knows sustainable improvements need to be in the future. With the assistance of three turnaround experts pulled in by the Kentucky Department of Education, Shawnee High School is already beginning to make progress. Principal Keith Look is looking beyond this school year though; he hopes to find a way to create sustainable change for the next five to ten years.

To learn more about Shawnee's progress, read the full article at Education Week

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Can a Machine Grade Essays?

For years, automated machines have done the grading of tests with multiple choice answers, but what if a machine could grade the essay portion of a test? On Saturday, at the Fourth International Conference on Writing Research at George Mason University, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) showed that computer programs were able to do just that—grade writing, specifically on freshman writing placement tests. However, a writing scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology presented research that argues the claims from ETS and suggests the automated essay grading ‘favors verbosity over originality.’

To learn more, read the full article at USA Today

Thursday, February 17, 2011

100% of Urban Prep Academy Students College Bound

Few students can say that every single senior at their high school was accepted to college, but for the students at Chicago’s Urban Prep Academy for Young Men this is the second year the seniors there can make such a claim. The 104 members of the graduating class of 2011 have been accepted to 103 colleges, with more letters on the way. With a 60 percent high school dropout rate for African-American males in Chicago Public Schools, this all-male, all-African-American high school is doing something right.

To learn more about the success at Urban Prep Academy for Men Click Here

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Teachers' Union Leaders Come Together at Denver Conference

Yesterday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stated that teachers’ unions could play an integral role in solving many of the challenges facing American public schools at a two-day labor-management conference in Denver. Teachers’ union leaders from over 150 districts across the nation came to Denver to discuss ways of working together.
The conference comes at a time when thousands of districts are facing their most severe budget cuts in a generation, and union contracts calling for layoffs based on seniority could force many districts to dismiss their most energetic young teachers.

Read the full article at The New York Times

Monday, February 14, 2011

President Obama Releases 2012 Budget Request for the Department of Education

This morning in Baltimore, the President released the proposed 2012 Obama administration education budget. Not including Pell Grants, the administration’s 2012 budget request for the Department of Education is $2 million more than the 2011 budget. With a request of $48.8 billion, some changes included in the budget are the elimination of 13 programs and cutting career and technical education grants, while Race to the Top would receive $900 million and i3 would receive $300 million.

To learn more about the 2012 budget proposal Click Here

Friday, February 11, 2011

Math for America Training Outstanding Math Teachers

One U.S. program seems to be doing its part to help America rank higher in math and science on the international scale. The Math for America fellowship program is part of an initiative launched in 2004 aimed to improve secondary mathematics education by recruiting, training, and retaining outstanding math teachers.

The fellowship provides intensive preparation and support for new teachers. Successful applicants to the five-year program earn a master’s degree at no cost and continue to get mentoring, regular professional development, and other support. They also get generous annual stipends that over five years can total up to $100,000.

Read the full article at Education Week
Will the Math for America fellowship bring a greater number of qualified math teachers to the classroom?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

International Summit on the Teaching Profession Will Address Worldwide Teaching Challenges

On March 16-17, the first International Summit on the Teaching Profession will convene. For the first time, leaders in education from all over the world will come together to share effective strategies for recruiting, training, and empowering quality teachers.
As an attendee, Secretary Arne Duncan recognizes the importance of a Summit such as this one. He remarked, “This summit is a tremendous opportunity to learn from one another the best methods worldwide to address our common challenges.”

Learn more about the International Summit at neatoday.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bully: The Popular Kid or the Social Outcast?

Bulliesmost of us remember them in elementary, middle, or high school. They were the kids who had physical and verbal torment down to a science. Traditionally, bullies have been portrayed as “the pretty girl” or the best athlete in school, but a study by Robert W. Faris, an assistant sociology professor at the University of California, Davis, has spent several years surveying middle and high school students in North Carolina and discovered these stereotypes of bullies are false.
In fact, he found that students in the middle of the social hierarchies at their schools, rather than the most popular or the most socially outcast, are more likely to be bullies.

Read the full article at Education Week

Friday, February 4, 2011

Balko Making the Most of Their Professional Development with PD 360

“For us, technology is the way to go. Using an online product, we can offer anything that any other district can but at a fraction of the cost.” Larry Mills Superintendent Balko Independent Schools, OK

Balko Independent School District (BISD) is a small system in rural Oklahoma. With its small size and budget cuts BISD has had to minimize or even eliminate some of the conferences teachers can attend throughout the year. For Balko, PD 360 was the solution that was cost effective and relevant for their teachers.

Read the full case study HERE

Thursday, February 3, 2011

How Smart Phones Could Change K-12 Education

“They enable more than just anytime, anywhere learning. They enable everywhere, all the time learning,” said Elliot Soloway, a professor at the University of Michigan, speaking of mobile phones. Soloway goes on to explain how laptops and netbooks are a thing of the past for today’s students. It’s all about portability. He says, “Portability trumps everything…portability provides learning in context.” With smart phones becoming more and more affordable, how long will it take until every kid in school has one? Will there come a day when students will choose to do their assignments on the mobile device in their pocket instead of the computer, or even piece of paper in front of them?

Read the full article at The Journal

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

President Obama Prepares to Speak At Another High School Commencement

Last year high schools across the country competed in a contest to have President Obama speak at their commencement ceremonies. In 2010, it was Kalamazoo Central High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Again, for the second year in a row, the White House is challenging students to demonstrate how their school is preparing them for their futures in college or a career.

Learn more at The Washington Post  

President Obama's Speech to Kalamazoo Central June 7, 2010