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3 ways innovative schools advance maker learning for all

E-School News – Melissa Gedney

In March 2016, Digital Promise and Maker Ed issued a call-to-action for school leaders around the country to commit to growing the next generation of American makers. Over 1,400 U.S. school leaders have answered the call by signing the Maker Promise. For many members of the League of Innovative Schools, a network of the nation’s most forward-thinking superintendents, this is just an acknowledgement of the work they have long championed. Maker learning inspires creativity, confidence, and passion for learning in young people. So how do you sustain a maker program, and encourage the sorts of innovative action required for this? We identified three major ways how League leaders are making this happen.”(more)

What Is a School District’s Role in Protecting Student Data Privacy?

Education World – Nicole Gorman

“Frederick County Public Schools in Frederick County, Maryland has one thing in common with many school districts across the country- it has begun the process of implementing Chromebooks for its students use. The district formerly had a bring-your-own-device policy (BYOD), but like many other schools are figuring out, the increasingly reduced price of Chromebooks and the ease of use helps them to be an economically feasible option for one-to-one initiatives. However, with the process of implementing new technology comes a series of obstacles that districts must overcome; as Frederick County Public Schools begin implement Chromebooks, they are beginning to tackle the issue of protecting student privacy through protecting student data.”(more)

Building a STEM Education Ecosystem in Baltimore

The Huffington Post – Paul Mincarelli

“Across the country, school districts, informal educators, non-profit organizations, and entire communities are mobilizing to enhance STEM learning opportunities for America’s youth. Rarely in the history of American education have we witnessed such focused energy towards enriching curriculum, especially in the STEM fields. A quick Google search for STEM grants yields millions of dollars in opportunities from philanthropic organizations, private industry, the federal government, and defense contractors. Last spring, President Obama hosted the fifth annual White House Science Fair, and announced an additional $240 million in private-sector commitments to STEM education programming, thus bringing the President’s “Innovate to Educate” campaign total to over $1 billion. It is not hard to explain why the nation’s focus has shifted so staggeringly towards STEM given the global stakes, the opportunities, and the fundamental shift in how we as a country are doing business. What is difficult, however, is capturing this tidal force of resources and energy in an equitable fashion that will provide the best outcomes for all youth.”(more)

More schools are working to integrate the arts into classroom learning

The Washington Post – Donna St. George

“The creative buzz in Room 19 is increasingly common in the school as Prince George’s County expands an initiative to integrate the arts into teaching and learning. Started last year in 15 schools, the growing effort now includes 41 schools in Maryland’s second-largest school system. Those involved say they use art in many forms across the curriculum as a way to make content more meaningful and deepen student learning. The new strategy comes as interest in arts integration is growing nationally, driven in part by increasing research that points to academic, social and personal benefits for students…”(more)

Coding Camp to Baltimore Schools: Bring Us Your Bored!

NPR – Elissa Nadworny

“On the second floor of Morgan State University’s engineering building, Jacob Walker, 12, is putting the finishing touches on a ruler he’s just created. Not yet an actual ruler. One he’s designing on the computer. He just needs to add his initials — then it’s time to produce it on a 3-D printer. Jacob starts seventh grade in the fall and has big dreams. Building this ruler is all part of the plan. “When I was a child,” he says, “I loved to play with Legos, and it inspired me to be an engineer when I get older.” Jacob is one of some 50 boys in this free, four-week camp at Morgan State. It’s called the Minority Male Makers Program — paid for by Verizon.”(more)

Baltimore and the Societal Factors Influencing Our Schools

Education Next – Andy Smarick

“The unrest in Baltimore has been on most of our minds. As a kid, I lived–and, now with my own three kids, live–not far from the city, so I’ve been following events closely. Over the last week, there’ve been some moving pieces written about the schools of Charm City. NPR followed a principal the day after schools reopened and captured the pained (and painful) voices of 8th-grade boys. The Baltimore Sun covered a group of Baltimore Ravens visiting schools, including a high school named for famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass (watch the two embedded videos of Ray Lewis). My favorite, though, has been the piece written by my friend, the inspirational Derrell Bradford, a Baltimore native. He offered a personal reflection of his journey–figurative and literal–from a troubled neighborhood through challenged and elite schools to his current role as a school reform advocate. This CNN piece, about Baltimore’s lost men, is similarly moving and even harder to read. I’m incapable of adding new insight to the issues of race involved here. I did my best to contribute a small bit on that score in the wake of Ferguson last fall.”(more)