#RethinkSchool: Flying Drones, Veterinary Care and a Chiropractic Clinic, All in a West Texas High School

“One of the workforce arguments is that we’re turning out folks that know how to color in the right bubble on a multiple-choice test, but they don’t know how to do anything,” said Dr. Kim Alexander, superintendent of the Roscoe Collegiate Independent School District in West Texas. In 2012, Superintendent Alexander and his district colleagues started to address this problem by creating an innovative series of apprentice partnerships with local businesses, and today it appears that Roscoe high school students know how to do everything.

Alexander, who is a Roscoe area native, has worked as an educator in the Roscoe District for 32 years, with the last 15 years as superintendent. In 2012, Roscoe was trying to become a STEM academy. “We wanted to have real-world relevance and real workforce readiness, and even job creation,” Alexander said. “One of the rural dilemmas is to have proximity to meaningful [student] apprenticeship opportunities. You have to partner with profitable businesses.”

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The Many Roads to Becoming a Spelling Bee Champion

A photo of Aren participating at the microphone at the spelling bee. The picture was taken from his right side. Behind him are the other contestants. In the background, a large video screen displays the scene of Aren at the microphone from the rear of the venue.

Aren participating in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

At age 13, our son Aren can’t cross the street by himself, or eat without dropping food all over the floor. He struggles with reading and has difficulty following simple instructions. He also has a speech impairment called cluttering that often makes his speech incomprehensible to others. On top of this, he is hyperactive and needs to burn off his immense energy frequently throughout the day.

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#RethinkSchool: Rural District Embraces the 3 E’s to Advance Student-centered Vision

Superintendent Kirk Koennecke smiles as he recounts how his rural school district’s connection with the Lean Six Sigma business process began, as a way to offer new learning options and provide marketable skills for students.  When courses in this well-known enterprise improvement approach were offered locally, no adults signed up.  But students did – and educators at Graham Local Schools saw an opening.

School leaders seized on Lean Six Sigma training as a way to help more students gain recognized tools for the world of work. Interest has grown, and this year, every junior is scheduled to receive a Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt designation through their standard business electives. Seniors from Graham High School now have the option to graduate with Green Belt certification, in addition to their diploma.

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Student Chefs Are Cooking Up Change at ED

Recently, student chefs from six cities across the country were at the Department of Education to participate in the Cooking up Change National Finals. These talented students earned their way by winning local competitions in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Orange County and Troy, Alabama. They engaged in a cook-off that saw the team from Orange County win first place and the team from Houston win second.

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Overcoming Homelessness and Poverty through Education

[Note: The U.S. Department of Education’s Youth Engagement Team was pleased to host students affected by homelessness and their peer leaders from SchoolHouse Connection for a listening session with Jason Botel, principal deputy assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education. He was recently appointed vice-chair of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. The session provided students an opportunity to discuss obstacles that homeless students encounter in pursuing their education, and the practices and policies that can help them succeed. The students present endured repeated moves between schools and unstable living situations; they also experienced hunger, deep poverty, and in many cases, parental abandonment and abuse. Despite these challenges, they are still pursuing their educations in college.

One of those students, Latte Harris, shares her experiences and highlights the challenges she and many others face while homeless.]

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2018 YoungArts Student Art Exhibit

The art exhibit “Total Tolerance,” featuring 2018 YoungArts winners in design, photography, visual arts and writing, recently opened at the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The first YoungArts exhibit at ED, it features a collection of work from 21 student artists and celebrates religious, cultural, gender and racial diversity. The works reflect the artists’ personal views on inequality and social justice and, in some cases, are directly rooted in their lived experiences.

YoungArts has been the sole nominating organization for the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts since 1979. That year, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. Evan Plummer, senior director of education for the National YoungArts Foundation, remarked, “For 37 years, YoungArts has identified and nurtured the most promising artists in the United States across 10 arts disciplines. The winners come from all 50 states and with a passion for their artistic practice.” Two of the artists featured in the exhibit, Ameya Okamoto of Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon, and Aidan Forester of South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, were selected as 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholars.

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Be Safe and Healthy: Tips for a Fun-Filled Summer

June is National Safety Month and, with the onset of summer, what better time for tips to help children stay safe and healthy.

Slips, trips, and falls

  1. Develop an action plan for injury prevention: According to the CDC each day about 8,000 children up to the age of 19—almost 2.8 million children each year—are treated in U.S. emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. Be mindful of where children play and help prevent unnecessary falls. Check out the CDC’s Injury Prevention and Control website, and see if a plan can be tailored to your specific needs and situations.
  2. Help children be safe on the playground: With the summer months can come an increased use of playgrounds. Check out the local playground—or backyard playground equipment—to ensure that it is safe for play.
  3. Promote an understanding of the need for sports safety. The CDC advises that children wear protective gear during sports and recreation. Remind children that no one wants to intentionally get hurt and wearing proper protective gear can decrease the risk of injury.

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Betsy’s Blog – Combating the Opioid Crisis

The opioid crisis has produced broken families, shattered lives and indescribable tragedy throughout the United States. Drug overdoses have claimed more than 300,000 lives since the year 2000 and have become the leading cause of injury death in the country. In 2016, more than two million Americans had an addiction to prescription or illicit opioids. No community is immune to this “crisis next door.”

On October 26, 2017 President Trump declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency. The Presidential Memorandum he issued that day expresses the Administration’s commitment to addressing the opioid crisis and its effects.

The Department of Education and other Federal agencies throughout the Administration are actively combating the opioid crisis. On the newly-created Opioids.gov you can see the magnitude of the crisis and the Administration’s efforts to combat it – from stopping the flow of illicit opioids into the U.S. to providing first responders with overdose-reversing drugs increasing access to treatment. Americans can share their own stories at CrisisNextDoor.gov, and I certainly encourage students, parents and educators to share how they have been impacted.

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U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Visits the Netherlands

In a photo, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos stands among a group from the IMC Weekendschool Ambassadors. There are six women to the right of the Secretary in the photo and three women and one man on the left. They are standing in front of an American flag and an image of an old map hangs on the wall behind them.

Secretary DeVos and IMC Weekend School Ambassadors

[Note: This post originally appeared on the website of the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in the Netherlands.]

A photo of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos inspecting a wooden device. The Secretary is holding the top of a long wooden pole that is connected to three smaller poles, two of which are tied to a red chair. Three young students and a gentleman in a suit look on.

Secretary DeVos with students in Rotterdam

The U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, travelled to the Netherlands for an official program on June 11-12, as the second stop on a three country trip to Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, to explore the vocational education, decentralized school systems, and apprenticeship programs within Europe.

Her visit to the Netherlands, planned by the Dutch Ministry of Education, focused on vocational education, school choice, and advancing education options to prepare students for the modern economy. Secretary DeVos started her trip by meeting with the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Ingrid van Engelshoven, and the Ministry helped to plan her visits. She viewed how Imelda Primary School in Rotterdam has incorporated arts into the school to advance student understanding of abstract concepts and to encourage problem solving.  She spoke with students at Edith Stein College in The Hague about the Dutch educational system and challenges faced by students.  She also visited students [at] Lucia Marthas Institute for the Performing Arts in Amsterdam, where students were preparing performances for their end of year productions.

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8 Common Public Service Loan Forgiveness Mistakes

If you are employed full-time by a government or not-for-profit organization, you may be able to receive loan forgiveness after making 120 qualifying payments (10 years), thanks to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.

But loan forgiveness is not automatic. There are a number of specific requirements you must meet. If you want to make sure you’re on the right track, avoid these common mistakes:

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President’s Education Awards Program: A Celebration of Student Achievement and Hard Work in the Classroom

President’s Education Awards Program (PEAP) student recipients are selected annually by their school principal. This year, PEAP provided individual recognition to nearly 3 million graduates (at the elementary, middle and high school level) across the nation at more than 30,000 public, private and military schools from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Outlying Areas — American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands — and American military bases abroad.

Students received a certificate signed by President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Schools also received letters from the President and the Secretary.

The Department encourages schools to be on the lookout for 2018-19 school year materials from PEAP program partners: the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). The materials outline how to order certificates to award students before the end of the school year. Certificates are FREE, and there is no limit.

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U.S. Department of Education Announces New Website to Assist State Education Policy Makers Access ESSA Resources

The U.S. Department of Education is pleased to announce the launch of the Comprehensive Center Network (CC Network) website. The CC Network website brings together a compilation of more than 700 resources developed by 23 Comprehensive Centers and over 200 projects currently underway in states across the country and makes searching by state or topic easier.

Through a single website, the CC Network portal, anyone interested in learning more of the broad range of education initiatives funded by the U. S. Department of Education, through the Department’s comprehensive centers, may examine the hundreds of efforts underway, or completed, through the nation’s network of centers.  Visit the site today at www.CompCenterNetwork.org and follow CCN on Twitter for important website updates.