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LeBron James Opens I Promise School For Akron’s At-Risk Kids

The Huffington Post – David Moye

“Even NBA legends can get the jitters on the first day of school. Just ask LeBron James. On Monday, the basketball great opened the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. The school focuses on students who are at risk in reading and need additional academic intervention so they don’t fall further behind their classmates. About 240 third- and fourth-graders will attend classes this first year, with enrollment set to expand to 1,000 students in grades 1 through 8 by 2022, according to Cleveland TV station WEWS.” (more)

OPINION: Many students who need mentors still don’t have them

The Hechinger Report – David Shapiro

“Since evidence emerged in the mid-1990s of the significant positive impacts that professionally supported volunteer mentors can have on young people, the field has grown. With limited funding and largely grassroots efforts, the strategy reaches an estimated 4.5 million young people who have mentors through structured programs run by nonprofits, schools and community centers. Many more young people, like Barahona, benefit from informal mentoring relationships with friends, neighbors, faith leaders, teachers, coaches, social workers and others. With a mentor, young people are more likely to stay in school, hold leadership positions, volunteer regularly, go to college and become mentors themselves.” (more)

Borsuk: What does it really mean to ‘never, never give up on students?’

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel – Alan J. Borsuk

“Two weeks ago in this column, I quoted Marc Tucker, who leads the National Center on Education and the Economy, a Washington-based nonprofit, saying that in a talk in Madison. On its face, it’s not controversial. Who’s in favor of giving up on kids? But what does it mean to give up or not give up? That’s a provocative matter, particularly in a city where the needle has moved so little in improving deeply distressing overall outcomes for students. (Let one fact represent the problem: Fewer than 20% of students in both Milwaukee Public Schools and the private school voucher program were rated as proficient or advanced in reading and math in tests given a year ago.) Some teachers took Tucker’s remarks as criticism of their own efforts.”(more)

Schools increase focus on social-emotional learning

Education Dive – Erin McIntyre

“Moral reasoning and character are being considered and taught in more schools than ever before. Last summer, Education Week reported on a significant bump in educator support for critical soft skills, after surveying school officials and teachers. Since then, a new California initiative starting this year plans to test students on emotional skills in eight districts. A 2011 study found teaching social emotional skills helps students improve academic performance by 11%.”(more)

How ‘Turnaround for Children’ Uses Science to Build Social, Emotional Skills in At-Risk Students

The 74 Million – Mareesa Nicosia

“A kindergartner in Latoya Newton’s class at P.S. 314 in the South Bronx used to cry and scream for hours from the moment she arrived at school each day, disrupting the entire class. That was last year. This year, Newton, a special education teacher who followed her students from kindergarten to first grade, reports a dramatic change in the little girl’s behavior. “She’s now able to sit on the rug and participate in the classroom and is a part of the classroom community, whereas before she didn’t feel that way,” said Newton, who is in her second year of teaching. “It’s a big transition from last year to this year.” That kind of transformation — of not just a single student’s behavior but the overall way teachers interact with their pupils — is a major aim of the New York City-based nonprofit Turnaround for Children, which has been working with struggling, high-poverty public schools throughout the Northeast since 2002.”(more)

A Peaceful and Just Future Will Require Mindset Mentors

The Huffington Post – Rodney Walker

“Since I was five years old, I spent my childhood in and out of foster homes after my parents developed drug addictions on the south side of Chicago. My world changed when I met my mentor at 17 years old. He was the Dean of my school — Michael McGrone Sr. — and he taught me a new way to think, to be, to make sense of myself. Learning the entrepreneurial mindset — innovation, critical thinking, risk-taking — shows kids how to overcome adversity and deal with the complexities of life. And mentors play an outsized role in helping youth learn this mindset. For young people, and especially inner-city kids, the entrepreneurial mindset has very little to do with entrepreneurship. It’s about going beyond the guidebook and recognizing that there’s no cookie-cutter way to success. Everyone has adversity; you need to work your mind to figure out how to overcome it. My mentors constantly modeled these skills and reminded me of their significance.”(more)