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Getting Girls into STEM: The Power of Blended (and All-Female) Instruction

Ed Surge – Alyssa Tormala

“Jackie, the team captain of St. Mary’s all-girls robotics team, knows a thing or two about breaking the mold. During a panel on the importance of STEM education for women, she explained what it’s like to be a female student competing in a male-dominated program: “Not only were we the only all-girls robotics team,” she explained of a recent competition, “we were the only team that actually allowed girls to touch the robots.” Jackie’s experience demonstrates how essential it remains to support STEM education designed for women, particularly in engineering and computer science, which remain disproportionately dominated by men. It’s a mission we live by at St. Mary’s Academy (SMA), an all-girls high school located in the heart of Portland, Ore., which has been dedicated to promoting female education for the last 157 years. At SMA, we know that young women thrive when given the chance to choose how and what they learn, while at the same time being supported by a community that believes they can succeed, regardless of gender.”(more)

Interview: New Research Links Dual Immersion to Reading Score Gains

New America – Janie T. Carnock

“Last month, my colleague Amaya Garcia wrote about how Portland Public Schools are using dual immersion programs (sometimes referred to as “dual-language immersion” programs) to increase educational equity. District leaders see dual immersion programs — where core content is taught in English and a partner language — as a key lever for closing the achievement gap for English language learners (ELLs) as well as other “traditionally underserved” students. As the earlier post notes, recent findings from a study of Portland Public Schools add to a growing body of research suggesting academic benefits of dual-language immersion for all students, including ELLs. Researchers at the RAND Corporation and the American Councils for International Education found that students randomly assigned to dual-language immersion outperformed their peers in reading by seven months in the fifth grade and nine months in eighth grade. Results did not differ significantly by native language status, meaning native English speakers and ELLs benefitted from immersion at similar levels. Additionally, the study found that immersion students were three times less likely to be classified as ELLs by the sixth grade.”(more)

Oregon asks, What if camp were part of school?

The Christian Science Monitor – Lilian Mongeau

“It was early evening. Dinner was done and caper crews of students – “caper” is campspeak for “chore” – had stacked the firewood into wheelbarrows, swept the dining hall, and cleaned the bathrooms. The fading light slanted through the trees as the girls from Dogwood Cabin headed back to their bunks to practice their end-of-week skit. “It’s not that bad,” a counselor called Ivy told the 11- and 12-year-olds, nervous about their coming debuts. “I remember doing it when I went to camp. It’s actually fun.” “Ivy” is really Kelsee Morgan, age 16, a junior in high school. Like every girl in her tent, she attends school in Crook County, in Oregon. And, like every girl in her tent, she went to this camp in May of sixth grade.”(more)

Nationwide ad campaign will chide parents: Don’t let your child miss school

Oregon Live – Betsy Hammond

“The federal government is launching a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign designed to persuade parents of elementary and middle school students to get them to school every day. The Ad Council’s “Every Student, Every Day” campaign, paid for in part my the Mott Foundation, will target parents to inform them of the devastating toll on students who miss even one day of school every two or three weeks. Students who are chronically absent are unlikely to learn to read well and are even less likely to graduate from high school. In Oregon last year, 94,000 students missed at least 10 percent of the school year, meaning they were chronically absent.”(more)

NASA-funded consortium to support science education in Washington, Oregon and Montana

University of Washington Today – Hannah Hickey

“A new program based at the University of Washington will bring together educational institutions, K-12 teachers and informal education organizations to inspire, teach and recruit the next generation of students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics…“The goal is to create a virtual NASA hub in the Northwest to provide excellence in the teaching of STEM disciplines, from middle school to high school, and provide a conduit for students from across the region, including from underserved and underrepresented groups, to move into STEM careers,” said principal investigator Robert Winglee, a UW professor of Earth and space sciences.”(more)

Children Show Off the Bilingual Advantage

The Public News Service – Eric Tegethoff

“A new study of bilingual and monolingual toddlers could be reason for Oregon parents to share this story in two languages. Research in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology shows children learning two languages perform better at certain problem-solving tasks than their monolingual peers. Cristina Crivello, Ph.D. student, University of Concordia in Montreal who led the study, says one-and-a-half-year-old bilingual children have abilities that are beneficial for people at any age. “It’s these specific cognitive abilities, like selective attention and cognitive flexibility, where they have to focus on relevant information and ignore distracting information,” says Crivello.”(more)