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Getting on board with STEM education

The Examiner – Mike Genet

” To help fill what business leaders see as a growing availability and need of STEM jobs now and in the near future, local school districts have altered or expanded their curricula for science, technology, engineering and mathematics offerings in recent years. The Independence School District has put together specific academies available to students in each of its three high schools – computer science and industrial technology this year, along with a freshman academy that can help interested students choose a possible pathway in their high school education. Next year, there will be business, health and public services and arts and education academies. Brad McLaughlin, an ISD assistant superintendent, said the academies originated from what the district found to be disconnect between the college or career readiness of many graduates and what the workforce was seeking.”(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)

Education Department extends No Child Left Behind waivers for 7 states, District of Columbia

The U.S. News and World Report – JENNIFER C. KERR

“The Obama administration is giving seven more states and the District of Columbia continued flexibility from the requirements of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law. Besides the nation’s capital, Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Tuesday announced the renewal of waivers for Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, New York, and West Virginia. Current law requires schools to use standardized tests in reading and math to measure student progress. Schools in states with waivers wouldn’t be excused from the testing requirements but instead could develop and implement their own plans to measure progress that go beyond the required testing. The idea is to free the states from some of the more rigid parts of No Child Left Behind while Congress works on an update to the law.”(more)

How One Superintendent Is Improving Her Community By Improving Her Schools

The Huffington Post – Rebecca Klein

“In just three years, Tiffany Anderson has helped turn around one of lowest performing school districts in Missouri. In 2010, failing test scores and low attendance rates put Jennings School District on the verge of losing its accreditation and at risk for being taken over by the state. Then, in 2012, Anderson took over as superintendent. Now, test scores are up, parents are more involved and schools are offering a host of programs designed to serve the local community and motivate students. This week Education Week named Anderson one of the nation’s 16 most innovative district leaders in its 2015 Leaders To Learn From report. Members of the education journal’s editorial staff decided who would make the list based on nominations from readers, state administrators, fellow journalists and education policy experts.”(more)

Schaer Science: STEM in the Gym

Fourstateshomepage.com – Jessica Schaer

“The students at Weir Elementary School are learning a little more than just physical education in their gym class…Pitsco elementary curriculum specialist, Tammy Pankey, says the STEM in the gym program like these students are using…teaches students science, technology, engineering, and math through physical education…The curriculum uses simple tools, almost toy-like objects, to teach what would otherwise be some very difficult concepts…”I think for the students, it’s a way to really see the tie-ins of how science can go into different subject areas. And how it can tie into P.E. and gym…” said Pankey. “(more)

Missouri Law Strips Schools of Right to Track Students

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“A new Missouri law makes it illegal for schools to electronically track students as part of a national push to increase privacy protections. Schools in the state will no longer be allowed to require students to carry radio frequency identification technology (RFID) that tracks their location using radio waves and a small chip which is often embedded in a card or badge.” (more)