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School redesigns accommodate today’s (and tomorrow’s) teachers and learners

Education Dive – Linda Jacobson

“Individual teacher desks have been replaced with a teacher collaboration space located within each “learning commons” and students are assigned to “huddle groups” that serve as a type of homeroom, giving parents a main point of contact even if instruction is provided by multiple teachers. In addition to large open rooms, meant to support group activities and project-based learning, there are also “cave-like” spaces for when students need to work alone, says Kiffany Lychock, BVSD’s director of educational innovations. “That’s the beauty of these buildings,” she says. “They’re flexible enough to change.” Such innovative layouts and uses of space in schools are being seen across the country as district leaders strive to find designs that support the way students learn today and are flexible enough to accommodate how educators may decide to use them in the future.”(more)

Hey educators: Are you trustworthy? Here are 4 vital signs for identifying and assessing trust in schools

E-School News – Jennifer Abrams

Trust is a big word. It may be just one syllable and it’s certainly not a word the Spelling Bee organizers would consider a great challenge (or have on their radar at all), but in more important ways it is huge. Its dictionary definition is well-known, easily understood, and…meaningless, most of the time. Because in schools, it’s the connotation we attach to the word and the deep reservoirs of associated emotion that determine how we truly define it. Trust is unwieldy, vague, and fuzzy. It’s complex, huge, and complicated. And, by the way, it is essential: research says trust is critical to our schools moving forward.”(more)

Math skills are essential for scientific learning

The John Hopkins News-Letter – Jonathan Patterson

“We need to talk about math. Now I know that not everyone loves math, and that’s okay. Math can be challenging, abstract, confusing and, for some of us, just painful. A Fields Medal is not in everyone’s future, and that’s fine. However, that shouldn’t stop people from acquiring a decent level of mathematical understanding. Ignorance of mathematics is yet another iteration of the scientific illiteracy that runs throughout our society today, particularly in America. What stands out about mathematical ignorance, though, is just how widespread and accepted it has become.”(more)

A recipe for scientific literacy education

District Administration – Rui Dionisio

“Verona Public Schools is dedicated to cultivating learning environments that nurture the natural curiosity of children. As Albert Einstein said, “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” A year after we launched our pilot program in inquiry-based science, feedback from surveys shows a higher level of student engagement. The new science program, developed with support from the Smithsonian Institute and National Academies of Science, is being implemented this year in our elementary and middle schools with the goal of increasing student engagement and improving knowledge of scientific processes.”(more)

Can School Choice Keep Children Safe from Bullying?

Education Next – Kevin Currie-Knight and Jason Bedrick

“Twelve-year-old Mallory Grossman recently ended her own life rather than endure any more bullying from peers at her school. According to her family, the bullying had gone on for months. They’d reported it to school officials who, they believe, did not take it seriously, and the parents are suing the school district they believe neglected the issue. This girl’s unfortunate death is part of a worrisome uptick in the rate of teen suicides, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report has increased 30 percent for teenage boys in the last 40 years and has doubled for teenage girls. While some studies suggest that bullying in U.S. schools is on the decline, bullying rates are still high—according to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), between one-quarter and one-third of students say they have been bullied. Moreover, bullying not only seems to affect suicide rates, but dropout rates as well.”(more)

How to create a cost-effective PD program that impresses

E-School News – Tim Klan

“Professional development can be expensive. A 2015 survey by the New Teacher Project put this figure at an average of $18,000 annually per teacher. For the largest districts in the country, that could amount to $8 billion annually, according to the survey. That’s a lot of money, even for a medium-sized district like mine–we have about 14,000 students and 1,000 staff members at Livonia Public Schools in Michigan–to spend on PD. But there are ways that districts of all sizes can provide high-quality professional development without breaking the bank.”(more)