The Arts for All Students in All Content Classes

Acrylic paint, sidewalk chalk, and calligraphy pens are staples of my English class. These items, along with reciting poetry and acting out scenes from plays allow my students to communicate through a variety of mediums, and to integrate their creative capabilities into their everyday learning.

In 2001, I walked into my 6th grade classroom ready to share my love of reading and writing. However, I soon discovered that my students were in need of much more than an enthusiastic teacher with an English degree. I needed to engage them and make them want to learn.

Stacey Dallas Johnston incorporates the arts in her English classes. (Photo courtesy of the author.)

Stacey Dallas Johnston incorporates the arts in her English classes. (Photo courtesy of the author)

My students that year struggled with the basics of reading and writing. Many had already decided that they hated school, and could already be labeled as chronic absentees. Instead of teaching Shakespeare, I was struggling to keep students engaged. I too struggled that year. It took a few months, but The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster was the gateway into exploring the arts. We broke the story into parts and acted it out, we made 3D models and we wrote poems as the main character. It was a start.

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Mensaje del secretario de Educación a los estudiantes de ITT

Estimados estudiantes de ITT,

ITT Educational Services, Inc. (ITT) anunció hoy que clausurará todos los centros ITT Technical Institute. Para casi todo el mundo esto no será más que otra noticia política o empresarial, pero para ustedes, yo sé que es algo que los impacta profundamente, y sin duda querrán saber cómo la clausura de ITT afectará sus vidas y futuro; qué impacto tendrá sobre sus finanzas, y cómo podrán continuar su educación.

En los últimos años, ITT ha sido investigada varias veces a nivel estatal y federal. En agosto, el Consejo de Acreditación de Universidades y Escuelas Independientes (ACICS), organismo responsable de acreditar a ITT, declaró que ITT “incumple actualmente y es poco probable que cumpla en el futuro las normas de acreditación de la ACICS”. Esto ocurrió en medio de repetidas intervenciones en los últimos dos años por el Departamento sobre las finanzas de ITT debido a las preocupaciones sobre si ITT tiene la capacidad administrativa, integridad corporativa, viabilidad financiera y la capacidad de atender a sus estudiantes.

El comportamiento de ITT ha puesto en riesgo a los estudiantes y a millones de dólares en ayuda federal subsidiada por los contribuyentes. La semana pasada, el Departamento de Educación intervino para evitar que ITT continuara empeorando ese riesgo. Fue una decisión que sopesamos mucho. Un posible resultado de la intervención es que una escuela opte por cerrar, en vez de tomar acciones correctivas, lo que puede causar interrupción y decepcionar a los estudiantes actuales. Finalmente, tomamos la difícil decisión de aplicar medidas adicionales de supervisión para protegerlos a ustedes, a otros estudiantes, y a los contribuyentes, y así evitar mayor daño educativo y financiero en el futuro, lo cual era probable si permitíamos que ITT continuara operando sin supervisión adicional o garantías de servir mejor a sus estudiantes.

Estamos aquí para ayudarles cuando estén listos para tomar los próximos pasos. Por el momento, ustedes tienes dos opciones:

  1. Si usted está actualmente matriculado en ITT o se matriculó recientemente, pudiese tener derecho a solicitar la condonación de sus préstamos federales en ITT. De esta manera su deuda de préstamos federales será borrada y usted tendrá la opción de reiniciar su educación en una nueva escuela. Pronto pondremos información en nuestra página de anuncios ITT sobre cómo recibir la condonación.
  2. Si desea completar su título en otra escuela, especialmente si le falta poco para graduarse, usted pudiese tener la opción de transferir sus créditos a una nueva institución. Pero fíjese que transferir los créditos académicos pudiese limitar su derecho a cancelar la deuda de préstamos federales. La condonación de los préstamos por motivo de escuela clausurada es una opción si usted se inscribe en otra escuela y no transfiere sus créditos de ITT.

Ambas opciones tienen pros y contras, según las circunstancias de cada estudiante, así que es importante tener en cuenta cuáles son las suyas. Puede encontrar más información en nuestra página de anuncios ITT. La Oficina de Ayuda Federal para Estudiantes está dispuesta a ayudarle con recursos e información, incluso en este sitio web, y actualizará la información en los próximos días y semanas.

Cualquiera que sea su decisión, no abandone su educación. La educación superior sigue siendo el mejor camino a la seguridad y oportunidad económica. Reiniciar o continuar los estudios en una institución de alta calidad y prestigio puede parecer un revés ahora, pero lo más probable es que dé fruto en el futuro. Hay personas y herramientas, como nuestro Informe Universitario, para ayudarle a escoger el programa más idóneo para su éxito.

Admiro su trabajo y dedicación, y en el Departamento haremos todo lo posible para continuar dándoles información sobre sus opciones y cómo salir adelante.

Atentamente,

John B. King Jr.,

Secretario de Educación de EE.UU.

A Message from the Secretary of Education to ITT Students

Dear ITT student,

Today, ITT Educational Services, Inc. (ITT) announced that it is closing all of its ITT Technical Institute campuses. For most of the world, that news will be covered as a business story or a political one, but I know that for you it is deeply personal. You are probably wondering what this means for your future; how it is going to affect your finances and your ability to continue your education.

In recent years, ITT has increasingly been the subject of numerous state and federal investigations. In August, ITT’s accreditor, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) determined that ITT “is not in compliance, and is unlikely to become in compliance with [ACICS] Accreditation Criteria.” This came amid increasingly heightened financial oversight measures put in place by the Department over the past two years due to significant concerns about ITT’s administrative capacity, organizational integrity, financial viability, and ability to serve students.

The school’s decisions have put its students and millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded federal student aid at risk. Last week, the Department of Education took oversight actions to prevent ITT from continuing to add to that risk. When we made that decision, we did not take it lightly. One possible outcome of oversight actions is that a school may choose to close rather than take corrective actions, which can cause disruption and disappointment for current students. Ultimately, we made a difficult choice to pursue additional oversight in order to protect you, other students, and taxpayers from potentially worse educational and financial damage in the future if ITT was allowed to continue operating without increased oversight and assurances to better serve students.

We are committed to helping you as you consider next steps. Most immediately, you have two basic options to choose between:

  1. If you are currently or were recently enrolled at ITT, you may be eligible to have your federal student loans for your program at ITT discharged. Your federal loan debt will be wiped away and you will have the option of restarting your education somewhere new. We will post and update information about how to receive a discharge at our ITT announcements page.
  2. If you wish to continue and complete your program at a different school – especially if you are close to graduating – you may be able to transfer your credits. It is important to note that transferring your credits may limit your ability to have your federal loans discharged. Closed school discharge may be an option if you enroll in a different program that does not accept your ITT credits.

Both of these options have pros and cons, depending on your unique circumstances, so it is important that you consider your specific situation carefully. You can find some information to start with at our ITT announcements page. The Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid is ready to support you with resources and information, including through this website, and will be updating you with more information in the coming days and weeks.

Whatever you choose to do, do not give up on your education. Higher education remains the clearest path to economic opportunity and security. Restarting or continuing your education at a high-quality, reputable institution may feel like a setback today, but odds are it will pay off in the long run. There are people and tools – like our College Scorecard – out there to help you pick a program that gives you a real shot at success.

I am proud of your hard work and dedication, and we will do all we can to continue to provide information to you on your options.

Sincerely,

John B. King Jr., U.S. Secretary of Education

Setting the Foundation for Good Attendance

As a Pre-K teacher, I have the unique opportunity to be one of the first educators to set the foundation for good attendance with parents and students. Since I am required to have an interview with each family and student before the school year begins, I take advantage of the interview to explain the attendance rules and expectations. I explain to parents that attendance is the basis of education for all students and that it is state law that they attend class. My campus, J.J. Pickle, hosts many recent immigrant families who often aren’t familiar with school procedures and laws pertaining to education. Reviewing policies with parents is a way to avoid confusion and unnecessary absences.

Attendance is important at every age! (Photo courtesy of the author)

Attendance is important at every age! (Photo courtesy of the author)

It can be challenging when parents believe that early childhood education is more like a daycare setting rather than an academic one, so they don’t see the problem with their children missing a few days. But I am proud to say that my classroom is academically rigorous — for four year olds. I have had students enter my class not knowing any letters, but they often leave reading by the end of year with significant gains in learning English.

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We Need to Talk About it: Supportive Environments are a Necessity for Quality Schooling

Students at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy. (Photo courtesy of the author)

Students at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy. (Photo courtesy of the author)

Students excel when they feel both welcomed and supported. At Camino Nuevo Charter Academy (CNCA), we believe that quality schooling is dependent upon quality relationships with students and families. This philosophy creates a space to better serve our community in a socially just way.

That’s why CNCA created and sustained an educational model that uses the per-pupil funding that we receive from the state to support strategic resources like full-time mental health practitioners and professional development for teachers and administrators on trauma-sensitive instruction. We also conduct home visits and teach ethnic studies as part of the curriculum to both affirm our relationships with students and to assist them in navigating life circumstances. We’ve found that these types of school climate investments help our students redirect energy to learning and it shows in their academic performance.

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Join Education on the ‘Real-World Learning’ 2016 Green Strides Tour!

U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS) and its Green Strides outreach initiative share promising practices and resources in the areas of safe, healthy, and sustainable school environments; nutrition and outdoor physical activity; and environmental and sustainability education.

To bring additional attention to honorees’ practices, ED-GRS has conducted an annual Green Strides tour, allowing schools, school districts, and postsecondary institutions to share their work with community leaders and policymakers and celebrate their achievements. The following is the tentative tour schedule. Updates will be shared through our newsletter.

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Transformation Through Education: The Importance of Second Chance Pell

In order for the nation to increase college access and success for all students, we know that education must occur in a variety of environments, Sing Sing prison included. Our group of college leaders, non-profit, government and corrections officials gathered for a strategic partners meeting to discuss expanding support for prison education programs and to see the work up close.

I started the day struck by stark contrasts — the daunting high walls and barbwire fencing overlooking the calm, picturesque waters of the Hudson River — the setting for an impassioned conversation about the value of education with a group of incarcerated college students. The students we met are enrolled in the Hudson Link educational program but as visitors that day, we were the ones going to school.

Hudson Link alumnus and Academic Coordinator Todd Young, Talisha Duncan, daughter of Hudson Link alumnus Douglas Duncan, and Kim Hunter Reed. (Photo courtesy of the author)

Hudson Link alumnus and Academic Coordinator Todd Young, Talisha Duncan, daughter of Hudson Link alumnus Douglas Duncan, and Kim Hunter Reed. (Photo courtesy of the author)

We heard tough facts from a black male who noted, “When you come up with nothing, you wind up in jail or dead. We wound up in jail.” We also saw demonstrations of transformation through education.

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10 Common Tweets @FAFSA Gets on Twitter

Student on laptop.

We’ve been answering a lot of your back-to-school comments and questions on Twitter! Here are some of the most popular tweets we get, with our answers:


Tweet #1:

We get this question so many times a day! Your school will disburse (pay out) your financial aid, not the federal government. Since each school has a different timeline for awarding aid, you’ll have to call your school’s financial aid office to find out the specific date.


Tweet #2:

College can be expensive, we know! We provide as much aid as we can based on the information you provided on your FAFSA. There are many factors we take into account, like your year in school and how much it costs to attend your school. If you need more financial aid, here are 7 options you should consider. Make sure you look into applying for local scholarships or talk to your school’s financial aid office for personalized advice.


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Increased Oversight of ITT and the Impact on Students

In recent years, ITT Educational Services, Inc. (ITT) has increasingly been the subject of state and federal investigations and this year it has twice been found out of compliance with its accreditor’s standards. Over time, ITT’s decisions have put its students and millions of dollars in taxpayer funded federal student aid at risk. In response, over the last couple of years, we at the Department of Education have increased our financial oversight over ITT and required the school to boost its cash reserves to cover potential damages to taxpayers and students.

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An American Teacher in China

Every year during back to school season, I find the time to reflect on students I’ve met in the past and unique classroom experiences I’ve had.

I have had the opportunity to visit China twice – once in 2012 and once in 2015 – and during both visits I was able to visit schools and speak with teachers and students.

During my last trip, I spoke with teachers in Luoyang, Shenzhen, Beijing and Wuhan.

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9 Consejos Útiles para Padres en este Regreso a Clases

El regreso a clases puede ser un tiempo de locura y ansiedad para padres de familia y sus hijos. Estos son algunos de nuestros mejores consejos para asegurar que este nuevo año de clases tenga un buen comienzo.

 

BTS-Tips-Esp-1


Recorre el camino que tu hijo seguirá para ir a la escuela y toma nota de patrulleros escolares, guardias de cruces peatonales y áreas de tráfico en el transcurso. Conversa con tus hijos sobre NO hablar con extraños e investiga cuáles son las reglas en tu escuela sobre la llegada temprana o tardía. Pregunta sobre los procesos de entrada y salida en la escuela. Si es posible, pasa a visitar la escuela y conoce las instalaciones por dentro.

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