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3 keys to student success with early college programs

E-School News – Dennis Pierce

“Like a growing number of school districts, North Carolina’s Guilford County Schools (GCS) has early college programs that allow students to earn college credit while they’re still in high school. But what’s unique about GCS is the number of choices the district offers: 14 altogether, including nine high schools that operate on college campuses. GCS has offered early college options since 2001 and has seen remarkable success, despite serving a largely urban and low-income population. All but two of its early college high schools have a 100-percent graduation rate—and the lowest rate among the other two is 97 percent.”(more)

What Good Preschool Looks Like: Snapshots From 4 States

NPR – Cory Turner

“A new report, out today, provides 186 pages of answers to one of the toughest questions in education: What does it take to get preschool right? Parents and politicians alike want to know. States are spending roughly $7 billion this year on early childhood education, despite the fact that there are more cautionary tales — like this one from Tennessee — than success stories. Today’s release from The Learning Policy Institute, “The Road to High-Quality Early Learning: Lessons from the States,” helps balance the preschool debate by highlighting a handful of states that appear to be getting pre-K right: Michigan, West Virginia, Washington and North Carolina.”(more)

How the Department of Defense schools are teaching their version of Common Core math

The Hechinger Report – Emily Richmond

“Standing in front of a smartboard, 5-year-old Kaleb Eckerfield touches an icon of a storm cloud with raindrops. He drags it with his finger to the empty space under the day’s date, creating an instant weather report. “What do we know about how many sunny and rainy days we’ve had this month?” asks Andrea Todd, the teacher of Kaleb’s kindergarten class at Hampton Primary School, one of the nine schools located on the Fort Bragg Army Post in North Carolina. “They’re equal,” Kaleb says, pointing to the illustrations. “One, two. Two of each.” The next task awaits: a math problem requiring him to add up a string of six black dots, and then subtract two more dots from that total. Kaleb studies the equation, and then looks up on the wall at a poster of a notched line marked 1-40. He carefully writes “4” on the board. “How did you decide to write that number here?” Todd asks, with nothing in her tone or body language to indicate whether Kaleb is right.”(more)

A ‘No-Nonsense’ Classroom Where Teachers Don’t Say ‘Please’

NPR – Lisa Worf

“Any classroom can get out of control from time to time. But one unique teaching method empowers teachers to stop behavior problems before they begin. You can see No-Nonsense Nurturing, as it’s called, firsthand at Druid Hills Academy in Charlotte, N.C. “Your pencil is in your hand. Your voice is on zero. If you got the problem correct, you’re following along and checking off the answer. If you got the problem incorrect, you are erasing it and correcting it on your paper.” Math teacher Jonnecia Alford has it down pat. She then describes to her sixth-graders what their peers are doing. “Vonetia’s looking at me. Denario put her pencil down — good indicator. Monica put hers down and she’s looking at me.” In “no-nonsense nurturing,” directions are often scripted in advance, and praise is kept to a minimum. The method is, in part, the brainchild of former school principal Kristyn Klei Borrero. She’s now CEO of the Center for Transformative Teacher Training, an education consulting company based in San Francisco.”(more)

Common Core ignites math war in North Carolina

The News and Observer – Lynn Bonner

“Sydney Young is a confident, vivacious 10-year-old who was comfortable recently showing a classroom full of parents at Fuquay-Varina Elementary School how fifth-graders learned to solve math word problems requiring multiplication and division with decimals. But Sydney admitted later that she occasionally cries in frustration over her math homework. Her aunt, Jean Rodgers, helps Sydney with math at home. And Rodgers gets frustrated, too. Many elementary math lessons today don’t look much like they did few years ago. Rodgers has turned to YouTube videos for help and scoured bookstores for math texts. She attended the fifth-grade math night for families to learn how to help her niece, a conscientious student who aspires to go to Harvard. “She doesn’t like to not understand,” Rodgers said of her niece. “Even though she’s fine now, the last thing we want is for her to get behind and not be able to catch up.” Sydney was in second grade when North Carolina adopted national goals for student achievement in math and reading called Common Core standards. Four years later, the standards continue to be controversial with some parents and students. Math in particular – what students should know, when they should learn it, and how to teach it – is a flashpoint in the debate.”(more)

Flipping the classroom together—from 3,000 miles away

E-School News – Bridget McCrea

“Who says you can only use the flipped teaching method in your own class or with other teachers in your school or district? Not Andrew Thomasson and Cheryl Morris, that’s for sure. For the last few years, this enterprising duo has been flipping their English classes, co-moderating a weekly Twitter education chat, presenting at conferences, planning lessons, and collaborating regularly from opposite sides of the country. With Thomasson based in North Carolina and Morris in California, the pair run their own blogs, Morris Flips English and Concerted Chaos, focused mainly on the creation of flipped classroom materials and the application of that content in the K-12 classroom. The pair joined forces in 2012 after Morris, who teaches sixth grade English and History at Del Mar Middle School in Tiburon, Calif., was introduced to the flipped learning concept.” He put five kids through college. So Chilton feels my pain.”(more)