Renascence School Education News - private school

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Denver teacher’s lesson plan goes viral, launches movement

The Denver Post – Anna Gauldin

“A Denver teacher’s lesson plan has gone viral after it revealed the inner workings of her students’ minds. Kyle Schwartz, 28, is a third-grade teacher at Denver’s Doull Elementary School, where more than 90 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. In an effort to get to know her students better, she created a lesson plan called “I Wish My Teacher Knew.” She said she was blown away by her students’ responses to the prompt, which she began sharing on Twitter. Pretty soon, the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew was trending.”(more)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Seminole to bring foreign languages to all elementary schools

Orlando Sentinel – Lauren Roth

“The fifth-graders in Mei-En Marler’s classes at Bentley Elementary can politely tell you what they ate for lunch, ask directions and introduce themselves – all in Mandarin Chinese. Her students are on the leading edge of a Seminole County push to teach foreign languages at the elementary-school level. In the fall, the district plans to offer either Spanish, French, German or Chinese to students at each of its 38 elementary schools. Parents at each school will be offered the option to enroll their children in the program. That will make Seminole the first school district in Central Florida and only the second in the state, after Miami-Dade County schools, to offer foreign languages to all elementary students…”This is a dream come true,” said Minnie Cardona, who is overseeing the rollout of the new language programs in Seminole schools. The district’s experience has been that students who take a world language do better on assessments in English as well. “It’s one of the 21st century skills,” she said.”(more)

Arizona Student Test Scores Excel After Superintendent Introduces World Language Program

iSchoolguide – Sara Guaglione

“Can learning another language help students achieve better results in other subjects? That’s certainly what one superintendent in Arizona wanted to find out what she introduced a world language program in 2008 – and the results speak for themselves. Superintendent Debbi C. Burdick integrated learning Spanish and Chinese languages into the elementary school level in her district of Cave Creek USD in Arizona, Education World reports. Years later, students “in the various world language programs have excelled above and beyond district and state averages, pushing the district up in rankings to fifth out of 227 districts in Arizona,” according to a District Administration article…”Our students excel in 21st century skills when they learn a second language,” Burdick said. “It makes them better global citizens.””(more)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bills in Nevada Focus on 3rd Grade Literacy, Handwriting

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“A bill in Nevada would look to ensure that all third graders in the state can read by the time they complete the third grade…The bill would require students in the state to demonstrate a proficiency in reading on a standardized test or similar alternative prior to being allowed to move on to the fourth grade, beginning in 2019. According to testing data, 39% of third graders in the state were not considered proficient in reading last year…However, the state has repeatedly passed those children on to the fourth grade…Another bill in the state, SB 287 introduced by Senator Don Gustavson, would require every student in both public and charter schools in the state to be able to read and write cursive handwriting by the end of the third grade…Gustavson said he believes it is important to do so in order to read and understand historical documents and letters. In addition, he said the exercise would improve upon motor skills and hand-eye coordination.”(more)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

This school groups students by ability, not grade level

E-School News – Erin Richards

“It’s after lunch in a combined fourth- and fifth-grade class at Walker Elementary School, and students are working on equivalent fractions. Students cluster around teachers in one of three small-group “seminars,” then scatter to work independently in the large room, which was once the library. That was before the staff moved out all the books to combine two grade levels in one room—part of an experimental model of instruction now deeply rooted at Walker and hailed by many as the future of education. Children here are grouped by ability rather than grade level. They set their own academic goals, constantly reflect on why they’re learning the material, and conduct much of their work on various types of computers.”(more)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Building a Solid Foundation

U.S. News & World Report – Sara Mead

“To maximize children’s chances of success in school and life, we need to ensure that they can read by third grade and also have the math, self-regulatory and interpersonal skills that predict later success in both school and life. Achieving this goal will require expanding access to high-quality early childhood experiences. But it also requires changing practices in grades K-3 to better support young children’s learning and development as well as building linkages between pre-K and elementary schools. While we should be concerned about the millions of children that lack access to pre-K, we should pay equal attention to improving the quality of education for the millions more who are currently enrolled in our nation’s elementary schools – and may not be getting what they need to succeed.”(more)

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)