School Gardens for Beginners: Advice from Common Ground’s Jill Keating Herbst

Education World – Keith Lambert

“School garden programs are on the rise: certainly a growing trend! Teachers and academic communities across the globe are capitalizing upon the hands-on experience, curricular connections, and natural engagement these projects can inspire in students. However, to the agricultural novice and green thumb alike, the idea of initiating such an endeavor can certainly feel daunting.”(more)

Five easy ways urban schools can experiment with outdoor learning

The Guardian – Staff Writer

“Whether it’s hunting for minibeasts in the playing fields or reading a book under a tree, the positive impact of outdoor learning on young people’s achievement and development is widely acknowledged. But what do you do if your school isn’t blessed with acres of green space? From making the most of your playground to venturing further afield, we’ve gathered five tips to help urban schools feel the benefits of taking learning outside.”(more)

Great Ideas For Designing Accountability Systems for Schools

Education Next – Michael J. Petrilli

“On Tuesday afternoon, we at the Fordham Institute will host a competition to present compelling designs for state accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act. (Event details here.) The process has already achieved its objective, with more than two dozen teams submitting proposals that are chock-full of suggestions for states and commonsense recommendations for the U.S. Department of Education. They came from all quarters, including academics (such as Ron Ferguson, Morgan Polikoff, and Sherman Dorn); educators (including the Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellows); policy wonks from D.C. think tanks (including the Center for American Progress, American Enterprise Institute, and Bellwether Education Partners); and even a group of Kentucky high school students. Selecting just ten to spotlight in Tuesday’s live event was incredibly difficult.”(more)

What Is a School District’s Role in Protecting Student Data Privacy?

Education World – Nicole Gorman

“Frederick County Public Schools in Frederick County, Maryland has one thing in common with many school districts across the country- it has begun the process of implementing Chromebooks for its students use. The district formerly had a bring-your-own-device policy (BYOD), but like many other schools are figuring out, the increasingly reduced price of Chromebooks and the ease of use helps them to be an economically feasible option for one-to-one initiatives. However, with the process of implementing new technology comes a series of obstacles that districts must overcome; as Frederick County Public Schools begin implement Chromebooks, they are beginning to tackle the issue of protecting student privacy through protecting student data.”(more)

How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off

The New York Times – Adam Grant

“THEY learn to read at age 2, play Bach at 4, breeze through calculus at 6, and speak foreign languages fluently by 8. Their classmates shudder with envy; their parents rejoice at winning the lottery. But to paraphrase T. S. Eliot, their careers tend to end not with a bang, but with a whimper. Consider the nation’s most prestigious award for scientifically gifted high school students, the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, called the Super Bowl of science by one American president. From its inception in 1942 until 1994, the search recognized more than 2000 precocious teenagers as finalists. But just 1 percent ended up making the National Academy of Sciences, and just eight have won Nobel Prizes. For every Lisa Randall who revolutionizes theoretical physics, there are many dozens who fall far short of their potential.”(more)

Detroit’s struggle to write a new chapter for its schools

The Christian Science Monitor – Stacy Teicher Khadaroo

“The pictures of Detroit schools infested with patches of mold and dead rodents, with crumbling buildings sporting leaky roofs and buckling floors, have horrified parents nationwide. Those conditions, plus overcrowded classrooms, classes taught by uncertified teachers, and declining pay, have long been a concern for teachers. But because of the outrage over children in nearby Flint, Mich., being poisoned by lead-tainted water, the cries from Detroit are suddenly resonating with a wider, more responsive audience. After more than a decade of losing enrollment and amassing debt largely under state-appointed emergency managers, the Detroit public school district could be on the verge of writing a new chapter for itself – one in which educators, students, and parents insist on taking back control of their destiny.”(more)