Renascence School Education News - private school

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Utah bets big on foreign language learning, but not everyone is on board

PRI – Nina Porzucki

“Utah probably isn’t the first place you’d think would be at the forefront of language education in the United States. When it comes to per-student spending in public schools, Utah comes in dead last among all 50 states. What’s more, Utah passed an “English Only” law 15 years ago, declaring English to be the state’s sole official language. So what accounts for this language push? One man: Republican State Senator Howard Stephenson. Stephenson has served in the Utah legislature for more than 22 years. He calls himself a “government watchdog” and idolizes Ronald Reagan. He’s even got a page dedicated to the past president on his website. Safe to say, the senator is wary of the government messing in his business. But during a 2008 trip to China, where the government messes in everyone’s business, Stephenson had what he describes as an “epiphany.” He met many Chinese students who spoke with him in fluent English. They were bright, eager and articulate.”(more)

Monday, March 9, 2015

How to make elementary teachers stronger in STEM

E-School News – Stephen Noonoo

“Despite renewed interest, calls for funding, and presidential appeals, true STEM integration is missing from a large number of classrooms across the country. And to hear Patty Born-Selly tell it that’s especially true at the elementary level. “Most elementary teachers when they are placed in the classroom often just don’t feel comfortable teaching STEM subjects,” said Born-Selly, who is the executive director of the National Center for STEM Elementary Education, an organization embedded within Minnesota’s St. Catherine’s University (colloquially known as St. Kate’s). “They might avoid it or they might teach the bare minimum or they might go on a field trip and think that was their science lesson,” she continued. “But 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 with, say, reading.” Why the disconnect? Limited exposure to teaching STEM during college and pre-service training leads many elementary teachers to soft peddle those subjects in their classrooms, she said. Students, in turn, feel detached from science and math, which may dissuade them from pursuing STEM subjects at higher levels later on.”(more)

All Girls Deserve Education Beyond Primary

Time – Malala Yousafzai

“When we imagine the power of all our sisters standing together on the shoulders of a quality education — our joy knows no bounds. Who inspires you? Over the last year I’ve been honored to travel and meet some exceptional girls. These young women won’t let anything stand in the way of their education. They inspire me. Amina is one such girl. I met Amina last summer when I traveled to Nigeria. Her home in northern Nigeria is a place where education is under attack by Boko Haram. Despite the always present threat of violence and the fact that girls hardly ever attend secondary school, Amina persisted — she stood up for her right to an education. I know firsthand that the act of simply showing up at school is dangerous. It takes courage.”(more)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Two NYC Schools Become First Public Schools in US to Go Vegetarian

Education News – Grace Smith

“Another elementary school in New York City has decided to go with a vegetarian menu for student lunches, and other schools nationwide are paying attention to the experiment. The first school to do so was a public elementary school in Flushing, Queens. Now, the Peck Slip School in lower Manhattan will be serving only plant-based foods in order to support their students’ health as well as for the environment. Natalia Lima of Ecorazzi says that these two schools are the only non-charter schools in the US to have made this switch to vegetarian. The Coalition for Healthy School Food (CHSF), a non-profit organization focused on getting whole foods into schools across New York City’s boroughs, was instrumental in the schools making the change…The CHSF group’s executive director Amie Hamlin noted that many schools are asking for menus to lower their students’ BMIs, promote better health, reduce the number of sick days, and to increase students’ concentration. After implementing vegetarian menus in January of 2013, the school was able to report improved test scores and longer attention spans by students within nine months.”(more)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

How Elementary School Teachers’ Biases Can Discourage Girls From Math and Science

The New York Times – Claire Cain Miller

“We know that women are underrepresented in math and science jobs. What we don’t know is why it happens. There are various theories, and many of them focus on childhood. Parents and toy-makers discourage girls from studying math and science. So do their teachers. Girls lack role models in those fields, and grow up believing they wouldn’t do well in them. All these factors surely play some role. A new study points to the influence of teachers’ unconscious biases, but it also highlights how powerful a little encouragement can be. Early educational experiences have a quantifiable effect on the math and science courses the students choose later, and eventually the jobs they get and the wages they earn. The effect is larger for children from families in which the father is more educated than the mother and for girls from lower-income families, according to the study, published this week by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The pipeline for women to enter math and science occupations narrows at many points between kindergarten and a career choice, but elementary school seems to be a critical juncture. Reversing bias among teachers could increase the number of women who enter fields like computer science and engineering, which are some of the fastest growing and highest paying.”(more)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Program aims to get boys interested in reading

The Gadsden Times – Staff Writer

“Adventures around the world await, Steven Winston told fourth-grade boys at Floyd Elementary School. “It takes you opening up that book and beginning to read,” Winston said. Winston, who works at the Alabama Power Steam Plant, and Greater Gadsden Tourism Director Hugh Stump met with students for the first time Thursday as part of Guys Read, a Gadsden Public Library project designed to keep boys interested in reading…Studies show girls continue to read after fourth grade, while boys tend to lose interest, Jackson said. Guys Read was developed to keep boys interested in reading, ideally, for the rest of their lives.”(more)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Helping Our Students to Study Abroad: Trends and Advice

Education Week – Christine A. Farrugia

“The profile of U.S. study abroad is changing. Today a more diverse range of students are studying in more destinations and through innovative programs that fall outside of the traditional model. Being aware of these trends can help us understand what motivates students to go abroad so we can encourage and support them. By beginning the exploration of other countries in elementary school, we build on students’ natural curiosity about the world around them…Over the past fifteen years, study abroad by STEM majors has grown substantially, outpacing growth in other fields. Contributing to this growth is an increasing awareness by students and faculty advisers of the career-related benefits of global experiences…you can help students by increasing their understanding of the value of an international experience in various career fields as is happening in STEM. And where possible, integrate the study of geographic areas of most interest to your students into your classes. By tapping into students’ natural curiosity about the world at a young age, we can build a solid base from which to encourage them to go out and see it through study abroad.”(more)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Is Your First Grader College Ready?

The New York Times – Laura Pappano

“Matriculation is years away for the Class of 2030, but the first graders in Kelli Rigo’s class at Johnsonville Elementary School in rural Harnett County, N.C., already have campuses picked out…“The age old question is: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ You always ask kids that,” Ms. Rigo said. “We need to ask them, ‘How will you get there?’ Even if I am teaching preschool, the word ‘college’ has to be in there.” Forget meandering — the messaging now is about goals and focus…Credit President Obama and the Common Core Standards for putting the “college and career ready” mantra on the lips of K12 educators across the country. Or blame a competitive culture that has turned wide open years of childhood into a checklist of readiness skills. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that college prep has hit the playground set…This may sound overwrought, but Joan Nachman, the guidance counselor at Magnolia Elementary School, points out that colleges want Advanced Placement courses on transcripts but high school students can’t just sign up. They must prepare with honors courses in middle school, which means strong work in elementary school. “You have to set the groundwork now,” she said.”(more)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Longer School Days Coming for Boston Elementary, Middle School Students

Education Week – Corey Mitchell

“Students in 60 Boston elementary and middle schools will spend 40 more minutes each day in class as part of a plan to boost academic performance and allow more time for teaching the arts and enrichment courses. The school board passed the plan by a 5-to-1 vote this week, marking the final step in the approval process… Boston’s move to longer days is just the latest among districts joining the steady trickle of school systems expanding learning time.”(more)

Friday, January 23, 2015

The business case for STEM education

Fortune – Michal Lev-Ram

“Silicon Valley has always looked for talent among the young (Mark Zuckerberg made his first billion at age 23). It’s only recently, though, that it has set its sights on grade school. The Valley isn’t trying to hire preteens (yet), but some of the country’s mightiest tech giants are aiming to bolster the talent pipeline by putting serious money behind kids’ math and science education, particularly for girls and minorities…in early January, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced that he will dedicate $300 million to sponsor STEM education in K-12 classes and in universities, with a focus on underserved regions. The money is part of a broader effort to boost diversity among its workforce and will also fund recruiting, training, and investments in female and minority-owned startups, along with education.”(more)