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Articles: Teaching & Learning

Fourteen states require a student be allowed to fulfill a math, science or foreign language credit for high school graduation by completing a computer science course. (Click to enlarge)

In seven years, computer systems design jobs will be huge in the United States.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 38 percent growth in the design industry between 2012 and 2022—from 1.62 million jobs in 2012 to an estimated 2.23 million jobs in 2022. But recent reports of the lack of required computer science courses in districts and the absence of female and minority students in AP computer science courses has led some to wonder whether or not the nation will have enough skilled workers to fill these positions.

Last year, more than 900 middle school students gathered at the American Museum of Natural History in one of New York City’s largest science fairs (with more than 400 projects) on the 10th anniversary of the museum’s middle school science initiative, Urban Advantage.

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City is leveraging its scientific resources to address K12 STEM education needs and to help develop future scientists.

The museum’s mission is to “discover, interpret, and disseminate, through scientific research and education, knowledge about human cultures, the natural world and the universe.” It houses more than 33 million specimens and artifacts.

Two students at the Shaker Heights City School District help tend to their high school garden project—part outdoor learning lab and part “market” for their school lunches.

Students ease stress with stretches in elementary school yoga sessions. In another district, students taste vegetables they’ve never tried before after growing produce in a school garden. Elsewhere, more students eat healthy breakfasts they’ve grabbed from convenient to-go carts in the morning. This kind of innovation is evident across the country, as district leaders find new ways to promote health and wellness.

Under a new plan for decentralization, Denver Public Schools will have flexibilities in curriculum and assessments that are traditionally associated with charter schools.

Principals in Denver Public Schools will soon have the power to purchase their own curriculum, professional development plans and testing programs.

Denver schools announced in May its move to a decentralized model for 2015-16, joining a growing urban district movement to give traditional public schools the flexibility of charters.

Students in four classrooms at Vallecito Elementary School, part of Dixie School District outside of San Francisco, now use standing desks.

Students show stronger concentration when working at standing desks, according to new research. A recent study in the International Journal of Health Promotion and Education found that students using standing desks improved their ability to stay on task in class by 12 percent—the equivalent of gaining seven minutes per hour of instruction time.

Researchers from Texas A&M and the University of Louisville studied 282 students in grades 2 through 4 for an academic year. Twenty-four classrooms were randomly chosen to receive standing desks or keep traditional seated desks.

Superintendent Bob Horan of Schodack CSD offered space to an energy research firm, a business that converts wastewater into electricity and the builders of a solar-powered boat.

Faced with a nearly 40 percent decrease in enrollment and a middle school at 33 percent capacity, Superintendent Bob Horan of Schodack CSD in upstate New York offered empty space to startup companies. 

The U.S. public school system’s focus on struggling students leaves high-achievers—especially minorities, the economically disadvantaged and English-language learners —without a challenging enough education, experts say.

Superintendent Darwin Stiffler has raised achievement for migrant students in his Yuma, Arizona district.

Driven by a passion to create an environment where teachers and students can reach full potential, Superintendent Darwin Stiffler has implemented programs to support the migrant workers and military families whose children attend the Yuma Elementary School District in Arizona.

Students at Cherokee County School District use Pearson’s WriteToLearn to help them become better writers.

As Common Core standards require students to write extensively across the curriculum, more districts are using automated assessment tools to save teachers time and give students immediate analysis.

Janice M. Tkaczyk is the national director for counselor and academic relations at Universal Technical Institute. She spent 35 years in public education, including 30 as the guidance director at a regional, technical high school.

In today’s education landscape, it’s common for teachers, school counselors and administrators to encourage students to graduate high school and earn a four-year college degree.

For years, we have seen this as the “right” path and perhaps the only path to success. But this one-size-fits-all approach isn’t a viable one. While many graduating seniors are excited to head off to college, many students with great skills and big dreams are struggling to decide on their next step. So, what’s the right path for those students?

Giving students a chance to practice academic English can be a part of any subject lesson, she says. And that’s where ESL instructors can play an important role by becoming peer coaches for classroom teachers, says John Segota, TESOL’s associate executive director for public policy.

The biggest changes in reading instruction center on embedding literacy across all subjects. Engineering concepts, for example, can be used to break down the plots of stories and analyze characters. And ESL specialists should collaborate with subject teachers to align instruction so students are learning the same words and concepts.

Birmingham Public Schools use ETS’ Criterion as a learning and teaching tool. Students get immediate feedback on grammar and mechanics, as well as links to exemplary writing with detailed techniques to improve.

Some vendors have developed tech tools that will solve the challenges of teaching and assessing student writing effectively. We asked several experts to share their thoughts about writing assessment concerns and how administrators can address those issues. Here’s what they had to say:

A living, breathing teacher is the best tool to assess a written essay.

However, DA found a few tools that can do almost the same job, pointing out narrative, organization and purpose of an essay. We used an authentic essay that a fifth-grade girl in Connecticut wrote about her very big mastiff dog named Bam Bam.

And two tools, PEG Writing and ETS’ E-Rater, were able to assess the same essay separately.

Here is the original essay:

BamBam by Tess A.

Once upon a time their was a little dog. His name was BamBam.

American Indian students consistently trail all other minority groups on standardized tests. But this population had the largest reported graduation rate gain of any demographic between 2010-11 and 2012-13, rising from 65 percent to nearly 70 percent in two years.

The jump is perhaps due in part to greater numbers of native teachers and administrators returning to reservation districts, some experts say.

Laura Dinehart is an associate professor of early childhood education at Florida International University.

Relegating handwriting to the back burner of early childhood education ignores the close relationship between fine motor skill development and early success in math and reading.

Technology isn’t the enemy, but jumping to keyboards and calculators before mastering pencil and paper may not be developmentally appropriate for young learners.

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