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A break from the classroom doesn’t have to be a break from learning

The Courier-Journal – Staff Writer

“Albert Einstein once said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning.” It’s sound advice about the need to continually seek knowledge — a quest that shouldn’t cease in the summer months. When school is out and the weather is hot, kids spend time splashing in the pool, hunkering down in front of the TV, or maybe even hitting the beach. They’ve earned this downtime and fun in the sun, but it’s crucial to keep young minds engaged to prevent “summer brain drain.” Children can lose as much as three months of skills over summer break, according to the nonprofit National Summer Learning Association.” (more)

Column: The importance of sparking STEM interest in our children

Cincinnati – Tiffany Osborne

“In fact, the U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that 80 percent of new jobs in our area over the next decade will require some form of math or science skills – and that STEM jobs are on track to grow at two times the rate than any other field. However, as these fields continue to expand, our region faces a growing disparity between the number of STEM careers available and the amount of local talent with the skills needed to perform those roles. This disparity becomes even more pronounced when looking at the number of students interested in these crucial STEM fields. In fact, research shows that:.”(more)

How Colleges Are Stepping Up Campus Walkability

The Atlantic – Ashlie Stevens

“Two University of Kentucky students pause in front of a streetlamp in the middle of campus. One holds his phone up to a bright blue sign attached to the pole, and steadies his camera over a QR code. “I had no clue that was three minutes away,” his friend says…This scenario is a common occurrence since the installation of nearly 80 signs around campus as part of Walk [UK], a collaboration with the civic startup Walk [Your City]. The bright blue signs show the distance in minutes to on- and off-campus destinations that may be closer than students, staff, and visitors realize…the U.S. Surgeon General issued a statement in September promoting walkable communities as a public-health strategy…The University of Kentucky Hospital physician Connie Jennings posits that the technology may have a positive effect on student health. “This is the first generation that may live shorter lives than their parents, and inactivity plays a huge part in that,” Jennings says.”(more)

The case for investment in early education

The Courier-Journal – Chuck Denny and Mark Shriver

“Generations of Kentuckians have improved their lives through education. In recent years, we have found that school success and the foundation for adult productivity depend on an early introduction to learning. All children deserve a strong start. But in far too many communities, children in poverty miss out. Without access to high-quality early learning programs, children fall behind. Many never catch up. They confront educational, health, and safety challenges not experienced by children from more affluent families. Throughout their lifetime, at-risk children are more likely to complete fewer years of school and experience more years of unemployment. Yet children may attain a successful education if they receive quality learning in their first years. Parents who read and talk to their child at a young age lay the foundation for physical, cognitive, social and emotional development long before kindergarten begins. And the results are remarkable and quantifiable.”(more)

Faster learning progress seen in first Common Core state

E-School News – Staff Writer

“Results from the first state to adopt the Common Core State Standards—Kentucky—show that students with more exposure to the standards “made faster progress in learning” than peers who followed the older state standards, according to a study conducted by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. While the report’s authors are careful not to attribute student achievement gains to the Common Core, they conclude that “fears about [the standards’] impact on student outcomes may be overstated.” The analysis was written by experts with the National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER) at AIR.”(more)

Kentucky Considers ‘Enhanced’ Skills Diploma

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“Kentucky is considering the implementation of an enhanced high school diploma, called Kentucky Rising, which could take effect as soon as the 2016-2017 school year. The new diploma would allow graduates to receive scholarships as well as early college admissions through criteria showing their readiness to enter the global work force. “It’s huge,” Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said. “I think it’s going to be a critical initiative for economic development in our state.” Holliday went on to say that the diploma would help to build a stronger workforce in the state, one that would further meet requirements of foreign industries who have investments in the state, as well as with industries doing business with other countries…”(more)