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Why N.J. students dominate the U.S. in learning foreign languages – Disha Raychaudhuri

“Bonjour! Salaam! Ni hao! Guten tag! Namaste! Konnichiwa! Merhaba! If your child goes to a New Jersey school, chances are they will know the meaning of at least some of those words. New Jersey, known for its strong education system, has a highest number of K-12 students learning a foreign language in school, according to a report by the American Councils for International Education. Compared to other states, we’re off the charts.” (more)

Designed for Engagement

Edutopia – Chad Flexon

“In 2016, I reconfigured a learning space at each of the two schools in the Harrison Township School District in New Jersey into a design studio to promote design thinking, engagement of students, and self-started learning opportunities. The goal was for homeroom teachers to utilize the spaces with their classrooms to do things they couldn’t accomplish in a traditional room. Thirty homeroom teachers at each building would share the spaces, and my colleague AnnaLisa Rodano and I assisted them with a modeled approach to using the spaces effectively.” (more)

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)