Renascence School Education News - private school

Friday, March 27, 2015

First Person: ‘Why schools should teach Mandarin’

Leicester Mercury – Alice Eaton

“Mandarin Chinese is spoken by around 800 million people worldwide. That’s twice the number of English speakers. With China becoming increasingly powerful in business, there’s a growing need for Mandarin speakers…An often quoted phrase about Mandarin is to “seal the business deals of tomorrow”. In China, it’s common for nursery children to start learning English, because the Chinese recognise it as an important language. We should reciprocate this, for the possibility that in the near future, Mandarin could overtake English as the global language of business…Finally, there’s more than just the utility factor of Mandarin as a language. It is fun.”(more)

Friday, March 20, 2015

US students share love of Mandarin


“When the Chinese president and the Harvard president met in Beijing this week and called for deeper understanding through cultural and educational exchanges, it resonated with a Chinese language group for American college students in Washington. The Chinese tea time, a regular event for Mandarin speaking and bicultural sharing, kicked off this semester at the George Washington University Sigur Center for Asian Studies on Tuesday afternoon. Daniel Reinemann, a senior majoring in international relations at GWU, went to Shaanxi Normal University in Xi’an as an exchange student in the fall of 2014…”An interesting experience,” Reinemann said in Mandarin. He has studied Chinese for three years as his minor. “A lot of people learn Chinese for practical reasons, but I think the cultural aspects are also important and attractive,” he said. Mark Jarvis, who graduated from GWU more than 20 years ago, returned to the school’s Confucius Institute to further his study in China after retirement. “I used to do some business in Asia and went to Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong very often,” Jarvis said. “It’s very useful.”…Both Reinenmann and Jarvis are among the growing number of American students who have taken to the Chinese language and culture in the past decade, particularly after US President Barack Obama announced in Shanghai in 2009 a goal of sending 100,000 American students to study in China from 2010 to 2014.”(more)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

10 steps to making yours a STEM school

E-School News – Stephen Noonoo

“The quest to improve the way schools team STEM subjects, such as engineering and computer science, isn’t an easy fix. New resources, technology, and teacher training all play a significant part. Recently, school administrators shared how they were tackling the problem at the elementary level, using professional development courses from the National Center for STEM Elementary Education at St. Catherine University in Minnesota. To help other schools, the NCSEE has also come up with a ten-point tip sheet for schools looking to beef up their commitment to STEM. “The thing that’s most universally true is that schools and teachers are so full of opportunities to teach STEM. There’s so much right there already,” said Patty Born-Selly, the executive director of the NCSEE. “What we’ve found across the board is that teachers really want to be more comfortable with this material and the subject matter so they feel as comfortable with it as, say, reading.” Among the organization’s suggestions: be realistic, involve local professionals from the community, survey local outdoor areas, and take time to celebrate STEM successes in a way that joins together the entire school. Read on for the NCSEE’s full suggestions.”(more)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Inspiring the Next Generation of STEMthusiasts

Change the Equation – Staff Writer

“Last week we saw this article proposing an awards show that spotlights scientists in a way that’s as big as the Oscars. The author argues for a science awards show grand in stature, which would present awards to the top five to 10 breakthroughs in science. Sounds promising, doesn’t it? We thought so too. But the reality is that it’s unlikely an award show will be enough to inspire young people about STEM…So what’s the solution? We’ve got to focus our efforts on building a strong foundation by fostering interest in STEM at a young age. Young people should be exposed to STEM earlier and in a variety of ways…Maybe an Academy Awards for STEM isn’t the solution, but shining a spotlight on the good commitments of Corporate America and promoting strong STEM programs will go a long way to inspiring young people.”(more)

Friday, February 27, 2015

New Advocacy Group Pushes for Multilingualism in D.C. Schools

Ed Central – Conor Williams

“D.C.’s dynamism as a local community was on full display earlier this week at a panel event hosted by the DC Language Immersion Project. The discussion, titled “Economic and Workforce Development Impacts of Language Immersion,” was the second in a series of local events designed to build a groundswell of support for multilingualism in D.C.’s public schools…Joint National Committee for Languages and National Council for Languages and International Studies Executive Director Bill Rivers…cited recent data showing that 11 percent of American companies are actively looking for multilingual job candidates…domestic and global workforce demands are changing rapidly—most jobs being created now in the United States depend in some way on foreign trade.”(more)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Why Chevron Is Helping Fund STEM Education

Time – Tim Bajarin

“Over the last year, I’ve become more interested in the Maker Movement and programs that focus on STEM education — science, technology, engineering and math. Like many people, I believe the U.S. education system needs to do more to get kids interested in math and science, as technology sits at the heart of new job creation and is impacting our lives in ways none of us could have imagined 50 years ago. I shared my thoughts in a TIME column last May about the Maker Faire, a very interesting program that has sought to bring technology closer to kids. The Maker Movement is quite exciting, and dedicated Maker Faires are popping up in many places around the world that emphasize how people can create all types of things from scratch and learn a great deal in the process. The movement has its roots in tech hobbyists circles, where people were using things like Raspberry Pi motherboards to create various tech gadgets. However, Maker Faires now include things like knitting, bee keeping, organic gardening and just about anything that involves making things.”(more)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Addressing the Skills Gap Through After-School and Summer Programs

Education Week – Alli Lidie

“In the United States, there is a large and ever-widening gap between the skills unemployed individuals possess and those that companies need to fill vacancies…Despite high rates of unemployment, an alarming 82 percent of local manufacturers struggle to find qualified employees. These middle-skill positions, many with a STEM-focus, require workers with some post-secondary education but not a four-year college degree and have a median income of almost $77,000. These should be appealing options for youth to consider. So, what can be done to get them interested? In order to be prepared for these manufacturing positions and others, the next generation of workers needs a number of targeted supports. They need to be exposed to experiences and opportunities that spark their interest and love of learning, motivating them to pursue a 21st century career. They need chances to work with adults and peers to develop the essential skills of communication, teamwork, grit, global competence, and perseverance that will allow them to succeed in their chosen field. Lastly, they need supportive adults to encourage them along the way.”(more)

Friday, February 13, 2015

After years of growth, foreign language enrollment declines in N.C. colleges

Triangle Business Journal – Jason deBruyn

“After years of solid growth, enrollment in foreign-language courses in North Carolina has declined…Nationwide, enrollment declined 6.7 percent since 2009 after growing steadily for 20 years….In an interview with the Chronicle of Higher Education, Rosemary G. Feal, the MLA’s executive director, speculated that several factors could have played a role in the decline, including rising student interest in career-oriented subjects such as business in the wake of the recession. Those studies leave less time for language classes, Feal told the Chronicle. As the business world becomes increasingly global, several surveys have found that employers value job seekers who can speak multiple languages. The growth of the Chinese economy in particular has affected interest in the language. The number of institutions reporting enrollments in Chinese, for example, has more than doubled, from 412 in 1990 to 866 in 2013, and the enrollments in Chinese have more than tripled, from 19,427 in 1990 to 61,055 in 2013, according to MLA. Likewise, while 17 percent of reporting institutions taught Chinese in 1990, 36 percent showed enrollments in Chinese in 2013.”(more)

The Next Generation of Women in STEM

Diplomatic Courier – David Chavern

“The word “engineer” is derived from two Latin terms meaning “to devise” and “cleverness.” Contrary to popular perception, successful “engineering” has always required creativity and lots of out-of-the-box thinking…STEM careers have been traditionally male-dominated, with a number of barriers—some cultural, some more overt—that have impeded the retention and advancement of women in STEM fields. But empirical evidence tells us that companies with higher levels of gender diversity perform better than their competitors…smart businesses create a corporate culture from the top down that paves the road for more women in STEM at all levels. Diversity in hiring—and thinking—has to first and foremost be championed by the board and the CEO. Then they, in turn, have to work to root out unseen and misunderstood biases throughout the organization and, very importantly, hold people accountable. Again, this isn’t just a social good or a “nice thing to do.” It is a business imperative for companies that are in a war for talent…But this is not enough; we all have to do our part to make sure unseen and misunderstood biases in the home and school are rooted out, and that all young women with an interest in and talent for STEM fields have a chance to learn and succeed. We can’t just complain. We need to buy more GoldieBlox for the young girls in our lives!”(more)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Good to see partnership of businesses, schools

Vegas INC – Glenn Christenson

“Wandering through the crowd at schools Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky’s State of the District address, I saw the business community becoming an active partner in addressing the needs of Southern Nevada’s K-12 education system. Skorkowsky made clear his appreciation of prominent business groups’ and individuals’ help in achievements made in the district’s Pledge of Achievement Program. A close working relationship between the business and education communities is crucial to prepare our children for success. This partnership has been a long time coming, and we are seeing benefits. Concepts that businesses support, such as return on investment and accountability, have become part of the dialogue, making it easier to communicate the district’s goals and strategies to the business community.”(more)