Archive for the ‘High School’ Category

Qualities that Make a Teacher Great

Throughout their academic careers, students are going to encounter numerous teachers. Some will be good, some will be bad, and (hopefully) a few will be great.

It’s the great teachers who leave lasting impacts on students. They’re the ones who perhaps challenged what the student thought, or pushed them to work a little differently than they were comfortable with. Maybe they inspired their students to set new goals or work even harder for the ones they already had. Great teachers are the ones students will think about long after they’ve left school. And it turns out; they may all have a few things in common.

greatteacher

 

Rob Jenkins, a faculty member at Georgia Perimeter College, wrote The 4 Properties of Powerful Teachers for the Chronicle of Higher Education, in which he details qualities he believes all great teachers possess, no matter the subject or grade level.

The first quality is he shares is all great teachers seem to have similar personality traits. He writes, “Great teachers tend to be good-natured and approachable, as opposed to sour or foreboding; professional without being aloof.” He also lists several other traits of teachers including being comfortable in their own skin and creativity.

Read the rest of this entry »



Smut or Shakespeare: Kansas Senate Defines What’s Appropriate for the Classroom

If you’re a student (or know a student) in Kansas, major changes may be coming to your curriculum. The state’s Senate has recently passed a bill (SB56) removing legal protections for educators in schools for using curriculum methods that may be viewed as harmful to minors. However, the legislation did not remove the same protections for educators at colleges and universities.

kansas capitol

Seen by supporters as a way to protect minors from “offensive content,” the measure gained traction after a poster in a Johnson County middle school spurred some parents’ ire. The poster, displayed as part of sex-education curriculum, asked the question “How do people express their sexual feelings?” Answers to that question included intercourse and anal sex. None of the answers to the question were depicted in any way on the poster other than with words. Some parents were offended by the posters’ content, and it was removed by the school.

The tide then turned to other materials which some could consider inappropriate, culminating in the bill passing in the Kansas Senate. It will now go to the state’s House of Representatives. The bill would allow for teachers, principals and other educators to be charged with misdemeanors for disseminating and/or displaying materials determined to be harmful to minors.

Nathan Whitman, educator from Burrton High School in Kansas, helped clear up exactly what the “offensive content” would be. He said, “inappropriate content called ‘harmful to minors’ as defined by SB56 is ‘any description, exhibition, presentation or representation, in whatever form, of nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement or sadomasochistic abuse when the material or performance, taken as a whole or, with respect to prosecution for an act described by subsection (a)(1), that…the average adult person…find[s]…[appeals to a] prurient interest in sex to minors[;]…depicts or describes nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement or sadomasochistic abuse in a manner that is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community[;]…lacks serious literary, scientific, educational, artistic or political value.'”

Read the rest of this entry »



Colorado Measure Against Civil Disobedience Incites Student Protests

At least 700 high school students in Jefferson County Colorado walked out of class Wednesday morning to protest proposed changes to their schools’ history curriculum.

colorado protest

The suggested changes from their school board include an evaluation-based system for awarding teachers’ raises, and a curriculum committee that would push for the promotion of “positive aspects” of the United States and its history. The committee would ask educators to avoid any material that may encourage or condone “civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.”

Read the rest of this entry »



Major Changes are Coming to the SATs: Here’s What You Can Expect

1600 is perfect again! On the SAT that is. On March 5, the College Board announced its plans for a redesigned SAT which will be introduced in the spring of 2016.

SAT

The updated exam will feature three sections: “evidence-based” reading and writing, mathematics, and an essay. The essay portion will be optional, which goes against the previous change made to the SAT in 2005.

Makers of the SAT said the new exam will feature “relevant” vocabulary words students are likely to encounter in college, a more in-depth focus on fewer math topics, and questions asking students to cite specific passages supporting their answers.

Read the rest of this entry »



$1.5 Billion Piled on Wall Street Tells Obama and Romney Not to Forget Education

Earlier this summer, 857 desks were placed on the National Mall in Washington D.C. They represent the number of students who drop out of school every hour of every school day each year.

Now, a 6-foot-tall stack of $1.5 billion fake hundred dollar bills sits on a sidewalk near the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street, representing how much money the economy would gain if the dropout rate of students were reduced by 1 percent.

Both installations are part of an initiative by the College Board to get people talking about education during the presidential campaign. Dubbed “Don’t Forget Ed,” they want to raise awareness on what their website calls a crisis in America.

“It’s my future that they’re messing with. This election is going to make a really big difference to me…If it’s not about education, then it’s not about me,” said Merone, a student featured in one of the campaign’s videos.

Don’t Forget Ed encourages Americans to get involved through social media sites, signing a petition, and talking to others about the issue. In a presidential campaign focused on tough subjects like the economy, health care, and the budget deficit, the College Board doesn’t want education to be left behind in the debate. Read the rest of this entry »



ACT Scores Reveal High School Students are Not Ready for College

Across the country, high school juniors and seniors are preparing for college. When I was in high school years ago, I was in tons of organizations, volunteered, and took more honors and AP courses than a high schooler should take. I did everything I could to build my resume for college and kept my GPA high. The next item I had to put on my college resume was my ACT score. Let’s just say my ACT score proved that I wasn’t as brilliant as I thought.

What is the ACT? The ACT is a national college admissions exam, testing students in five subject areas of English, math, reading, science, and writing. The highest an individual can score on their ACT is 36. Scoring a 36 almost guarantees admission into any university in the nation and large amounts of scholarship money. Across the country, universities request students to send college applications with an ACT and SAT score. But, in the Midwest, it is common for potential college students to send in just an ACT score.

Kansas ACT scores for 2012 are similar to the previous year, according to The Wichita Eagle. The data released Wednesday revealed students in the class of 2012 are not ready for college. About half of all US high school students scored below the average ACT score, a 21.1. High school classes of 2012 in Kansas had an ACT score average of 21.9, compared to last year’s average score of 22. Read the rest of this entry »



Curiosity in the Classroom Designed to Get Students and Teachers Excited about Science and Math

If you ask a student if he or she were interested in math and science, statistics say they would more than likely give a resounding no over a yes. However, if you ask them if they are curious, they might be more apt to give a positive answer. A new site, CuriosityintheClassroom.com, capitalizes on this spirit of inquiry that children have by providing engaging learning materials for them, their parents, and their teachers.

Curiosity in the Classroom, a venture between Discovery Education and Intel Corporation, encourages students in grades 6-12 to ask questions and find ways to answer them.

Does our brain store all the memories we’ve ever had?

How many texts does an average teen send per month?

Are robots “intelligent”?

The answers may surprise you, and this website answers all of these questions and more.

This interest in scientific findings is more than just a way for kids to pass the time, it may be essential to their later success in finding employment, a career, and the good of the country as a whole. Resources on the website for teachers include troubling research about students’ perceptions of their science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skills, which are fields in which the demand is increasing, the unemployment rates are low, and the pay is great. Read the rest of this entry »



Prestigious High School Sued Over Gifted Program’s Underrepresentation of Blacks and Latinos

One of the most prestigious high schools in the US is being sued by the Coalition of the Silence, a minority advocacy group, and the NAACP for discrimination against black and Latino children. On July 23, 2012 the two organizations filed the federal civil rights lawsuit against Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

“Poor Latino kids are not being identified [for gifted programs], and I worry part of that is language,” said Martina Hone, a representative of the Collation of the Silence. “African-American kids are not being identified. I’m worried that’s race.”

In their lawsuit, the NAACP and the Coalition of the Silence claim that Fairfax County – where the school is located in Alexandria, VA – “essentially operates a network of separate and unequal schools [and] for decades, these students have been grossly and disproportionately underrepresented in admission to the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.” Read the rest of this entry »



Florida Schools Should Quit Focusing on Grades to Evaluate Success

Continuing its streak for not being accountable, the Florida Department of Education recently announced that it incorrectly graded hundreds of schools across the state. In fact, 40 out of 60 school districts in the state were affected by this miscalculation of grades.

This error occurred when the FDOE omitted one part of the newly revised and very complex grading formula that is used to evaluate the schools. Since the error was discovered, the grades have been corrected, resulting in 116 schools seeing their grades increase from a B to an A, 55 seeing their grades increased from a C to a B, and 35 schools seeing their grades increase from a D to a C.

School grades are important to students, parents, teachers, principals, administrators, and the community,” said Gerard Robinson, Commissioner of Education. “And, while I am pleased that the continuous review process has resulted in better grades, we will continue to look for ways to improve the grade calculation process.”

The school grades are based mainly on a standardized test that focuses on reading, writing, math, and science called the FCAT. The results of these grades are used for a number of purposes, including determining which schools receive financial rewards. However, many people are saying this test is too rigorous for most students and that students might feel too discouraged after taking it.

Rick Roach, an educator who took the FCAT and did not pass, made his results public.

“It seems to me something is seriously wrong here,” he said about the test. “If I’d been required to take those two tests when I was a 10th grader, my life would almost certainly have been very different. I’d have been told I wasn’t ‘college material,’ would probably have believed it, and looked for work appropriate for the level of ability that the test said I had.”

Roach currently has two master’s degrees and is a member of the Orange County School Board.

So, it seems that perhaps the Florida Department of Education should take a look at what it has been doing lately, concerning standardized tests and grading of schools in the state. Perhaps grades are not all they are cracked up to be.

“Moving forward, we need to focus our attention on the quality of the work produced and student achievement, not just a letter grade,” said Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie.

Via The Huffington Post

Also Read:

Students in Florida Attend Virtual Schools with No Teachers

It’s the End of No Child Left Behind: Now What?

Later Start Times in High School Would Help Student Performance



African American Student Initiative Announced by President Obama

President Obama announced that he will be creating a new education initiative targeted to improving the achievement levels of African Americans in education. While in New Orleans giving a speech to the Urban League, the president stated that he would sign an order putting the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans into place.

This new educational initiative “works to make sure that all African American students can receive an education that fully prepares them for high school graduation, college completion and productive careers,” Obama said.

This initiative will be work with the Executive Office of the President and cabinet agencies to identify evidence-based practices to improve African American students’ achievement in school and coll,ege. The White House stated that this initiative will also work to “develop a national network of individuals, organizations and communities that will share and implement these practices.” The goal of this initiative will be to ensure that African American students have the same opportunities as other students. Read the rest of this entry »