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Despite A Revamped Focus On Real-Life Skills, ‘Home Ec’ Classes Fade Away

KQED News Mind/Shift – Tove Danovich

“”Sometimes we take for granted that kids know how to wash dishes,” says Susan Turgeson, president of the Association of Teacher Educators for family and consumer sciences. “I never thought I was going to have to explain, step by step, how to put the drain plug in, the amount of soap to be used.” Yet in many family and consumer sciences (FCS) classes in the United States, once known as “home economics,” teachers are instructing students in basics such as how to keep countertops clean or tell a teaspoon from a tablespoon. In 2010, the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act sought to address the rise of childhood obesity. But despite the renewed interest in showing children how to eat well, FCS classes haven’t gained traction along with that movement.” (more)

3 tenets for developing cultural competency in schools

E-School News – Leila Nuland

“Although educational equity is a fundamental pillar of the American education system, school districts are struggling to ensure their students feel included, safe, and supported. This is in large part due to a shift in the demographic makeup of the student population (non-white students are expected to make up the majority of public schools by 2024) while the demographic makeup of the teaching workforce remains constant (80 percent of teachers during the 2015-2016 school year were white).” (more)

Home Visits Proving Valuable and Growing

Education World – Jim Paterson

“Home visits by teachers may seem impractical, but more districts are undertaking them, and a new report says they build partnerships between parents and the school, change parent beliefs about the classroom and raise student performance. Anne Henderson, a senior consultant at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform who has studied the issue of family engagement for years and authored a leading book on the topic, believes that home visits are the most effective ways to make a school-family connection.” (more)

In wake of shootings, schools grapple with how to handle violent threats

The Christian Science Monitor – Alexandra Villarreal

“When 12-year-old Nora Nissenbaum told a boy from her class she wasn’t interested in him anymore, he started texting her images of Adolf Hitler and insults such as “dirty Jew.” Nora’s parents contacted her suburban Philadelphia middle school and police. Soon after, word spread that the boy had supposedly threatened to take a gun to class and target 33 people, including Nora. But within a week, the boy was back in class despite facing criminal charges in juvenile court, and he and Nora were crossing paths in the hallway eight times a day.” (more)

It’s time to develop an anti-cyberbullying policy; here’s how

E-School News – Kaitlin Beckmann

“As technology continues to permeate our lives inside and outside the classroom, educators, administrators, and students should work together to prevent the development of a cyberbullying culture. Research indicates that cyberbullying is detrimental to students and, in some cases, has been proven to be the cause of self-harm and suicide. Educators and parents need to find ways to actively engage our students and make sure they feel safe in their school community.” (more)

3 lessons on innovating in PBL

E-School News – Don Martin

“After 28 years as a classroom teacher, administrator, and superintendent in rural, southwestern Pennsylvania school districts, I left the traditional school setting and began working for Pennsylvania’s alternative education system, serving at-risk and special needs students. Many students struggle to learn and master concepts in traditional classroom settings. Without a hands-on connection, lessons can be easily lost and remain unhelpfully abstract. I firmly believe that project-based learning (PBL) is one of the best ways to solve this disconnect, so I applied to build a Fab Lab for students in Pennsylvania’s Intermediate Unit 1 (IU1) region.” (more)