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New Jersey school aims to improve literacy skills among current — and future — students

Education Dive – Linda Jacobson

“Alanna Rivera’s daughter, Damara, knew about Carson Elementary School’s “babies club” before she did and kept nagging her to get involved. The only problem was that Rivera didn’t have a baby. Damara, who is now finishing 1st grade at the Pennsauken, N.J. school, was an only child. But then Rivera learned she was expecting her second child, so when she attended back-to-school night last fall, she made sure to visit the information table about the Carson Baby Initiative.” (more)

Positive reinforcement leads to school-wide change

E-School News – Dennis Pierce

“As the largest middle school in the state of New Jersey, Lincoln Middle School has struggled at times with student discipline. Chronic tardiness and fights on campus have been a problem for this school, which serves 1,800 7th- and 8th-grade students. Traditional approaches to student discipline haven’t worked to change the school’s culture. Not only has punishment been largely ineffective as a deterrent, but it also erodes the critical relationship between students and educators. When teachers are constantly meting out punishment, their relationship with students becomes confrontational instead of supportive—and this isn’t the type of environment in which students can learn most effectively.” (more)

With Drones, Students Tackle Complex Topics

Ed Tech Magazine – Alan Joch

“Three years ago, an innovative educator in Jersey City Public Schools’ Division B introduced drones to a class of elementary students with autism. Her goal was to enhance student engagement, and the results from that experiment were encouraging. “Students stayed on task better and were more involved with learning,” says project leader Kimberly Crowley, a mathematics supervisor for the New Jersey district. Crowley is now known as “Drone Girl” to many students. Thanks to the success of that experiment, drones have taken off throughout the district. Today, more than 100 teachers are using them in their classrooms, and about 3,000 students have participated in what’s become the Division B Drone Project.” (more)

STEM classes growing in popularity for girls

North Jersey – Meghan Grant

“During the last few years, the STEM courses offered at Rutherford High School have seen an uptick in enrollment, particularly among female students. The district is planning a STEM Day for girls on Feb. 16, with nearly 65 eighth grade girls signed up to attend. Standing for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM, is the merging of science and technology coursework learned in a laboratory setting. There are currently 30 students enrolled in the required, year-long introductory course, Foundations of Technology. Next year, it will be offered as half-year class to allow more students to enroll.More advanced courses include Technological Design, Advanced Design Applications, Engineering Design and Honors Physics.”(more)

How One Teacher Let Go of Control To Focus On Student-Centered Approaches

KQED News Mind/Shift – Linda Flanagan

“When Kristine Riley looks back on how she used to teach her students, she sees order and control. Her third, fourth and fifth grade gifted-and-talented classes had been structured and orderly, and students sat in designated seats. She had assigned the same tasks to every student and had hoped for roughly the same answers from all of them. She used to believe that it was her responsibility as a teacher to impart information to her students. Riley had decided what was important and students were expected to learn what they were taught. Riley is also a conscientious teacher and regularly looks for ways to better herself on behalf of her students in Edison, New Jersey public schools. So after a colleague she admired and teachers she followed on social media began extolling the learning advantages of letting go of control in the classroom, Riley decided to give it a try.”(more)

School lunches: A key part of a child’s health and education

New Jersey.com – Sherry Sakowitz-Sukkar, M.D.

“Getting the kids ready to go back to school often involves shopping for school supplies, new clothes and attempting to get everyone back into a normal sleep routine. However, another key part of ensuring that kids are prepared to tackle the new school year is sending them to school with a healthy lunch. And, fortunately, packing a healthy lunch is easier and faster than you might think.”(more)