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Helping Children Cope With Crisis

The Huffington Post – Marian Wright Edelman

“Executive Director of the Connecticut Commission on Children Elaine Zimmerman helps meet many child needs in her state including sharing advice to help children cope with terrible events. Some of our nation’s largest tragedies have hit Connecticut’s children close to home. Many lost family members who worked in New York City on September 11th. Then there was the unimaginable heartbreak and horror of the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut which murdered 20 first graders and six beloved teachers in a place where families believed their children would be safe. But epidemic gun violence has shattered schools, colleges, and movie theaters and streets and homes all over America. Connecticut children are far from alone in their fears of violence and terrorism. Constant stories about wars, desperate refugee parents and children, worries about attacks on places of worship, and the cumulative natural and unnatural devastation can make the world seem like a very scary, unpredictable place. So Elaine Zimmerman has shared suggestions she, as Executive Director of the Connecticut Commission on Children gives adults to help children cope with crisis and provide all children the security they desperately need.”(more)

Should Halloween Celebrations Be Limited to Outside of School to Honor Non-Participating Students?

Education World – Nicole Gorman

“A school district in Connecticut has made national news after its administration warned parents that Halloween—including the costumes and candy which come with the holiday—would be banned from all elementary schools in the area this month. Letters circulated from Rosemarie Marzinotto, principal of Milford, Connecticut, Live Oaks School which warned parents that no Halloween-themed activities would be allowed in the district’s elementary schools this season; all activities, she said, would be limited to being fall-themed only. “This decision arose out of numerous incidents of children being excluded from activities due to religion, cultural beliefs, etc. School-day activities must be inclusive. Halloween costumes are not permitted for students or staff during the day at school,” she said, according to news station FOXCT.”(more)

Initial Common Core goals unfulfilled as state results trickle in

The San Jose Mercury News – CHRISTINE ARMARIO

“Results for some of the states that participated in Common Core-aligned testing for the first time this spring are out, with overall scores higher than expected, though still below what many parents may be accustomed to seeing. Full or preliminary scores have been released for Connecticut, Idaho, Missouri, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. They all participated in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, one of two groups of states awarded $330 million by the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 to develop exams to test students on the Common Core state standards in math and English language arts.”(more)

Early childhood health targeted as path to better education

The New Haven Register – Jodie Mozdzer Gil

“Experts are focusing more money and attention on the health of young children in Connecticut in an effort to prepare them to be successful in school later on. The efforts include developmental screenings at child-care centers; home visits and information hot lines for parents; better collaboration with pediatricians; and more support for preschool staff members dealing with emotional and behavioral issues. The idea is that if a child’s basic health needs aren’t met, he or she won’t be able to keep up with academic and social expectations in school. “There’s been a huge interest in addressing early-childhood development with the understanding that’s where we get the most bang for the buck,” said Lisa Honigfeld, vice president for health initiatives at The Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut.”(more)

State Ditches Common Core Tests for SAT

Education World – Nicole Gorman

“In a move that might inspire other states to follow suit, Connecticut’s governor Dannel Malloy has opted to have the state’s juniors to take the SAT instead of a Common Core-aligned test—the Smarter Balanced Assessment—beginning this upcoming school year. “Mr. Malloy, a Democrat, said the change will help cut down on duplicative assessments and reduce the amount of classroom time spent preparing for tests, which has been a frequent concern brought up by parents,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Malloy has been fighting for the change for some time, originally suggesting the switch to U.S. Department of Education secretary Arne Duncan in September of 2014.”(more)

World of Opportunity

Connecticut College – Amy Martin

“As a high school student weighing his college options, Christopher Bothur ’07 was sure of one thing. “I grew up in Connecticut, I went to school in Connecticut, and I wanted to get as far away from Connecticut as possible,” he says. But a visit to Conn, where Bothur figured he’d at least inquire about study-abroad opportunities, would challenge, and quickly upend, his plans to leave the state. Bothur was struck by the College’s commitment to international education, highlighted by intensive language instruction, subsidized international internships and an interdisciplinary curriculum steeped in world affairs…in recent years, faculty, staff and students have been involved in discussions about how to revise and renew the general education curriculum, in place since 1973. One of the goals is to better integrate language and culture study into all facets of the student experience…All of the developments are designed to prepare Connecticut College graduates for an undeniable reality. “Students today need to be incredibly flexible in their ability to think across regional and traditional boundaries, while also synthesizing vast quantities of information,” says Amy Dooling, associate professor of Chinese and co-director of the Mellon Initiative on Global Education. “You can have an international career in New York City or Minneapolis or Atlanta. The reality right now in America is that global society is right here.” “(more)