Students Use Self-Directed Learning to Serve Their Community, One Foot at a Time

Surrounded by farm fields in rural Arkansas, Abby Simmons, Matthew Cook and Darshan Patel, 8th grade students at Armorel High School, completed a community based project that garnered national media attention earlier this year. They successfully printed a 3-D prosthetic foot for an Indian Runner Duck named Peg.

The high school students teach themselves how to use 3-D printers and run state-of-the-art software in for photography, design, video, music and virtual animation (just to name a few) under the guidance of Armorel High School teacher Alicia Bell.

“You can teach yourself how to do different software,” Simmons said, “or anything you would like to learn about.”

The students attending the rural school in the unincorporated community of Armorel are eager to help alleviate needs they discover in their community and school. They design solutions using technological tools and resources, while developing invaluable skills in critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration.

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ED Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Announces MLK Jr. Drum Major Innovative Service Award

The Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education’s White House Initiative for Educational Excellence for African-Americans, invite you to participate in the 2018 Martin Luther King Drum Major Innovative Service award nomination process.

The MLK Drum Major Innovative Service Award goes to volunteers who perform extraordinary every-day acts of service. The term, service, may include leading through outreach, mission-driven service, volunteerism, and ministry focused on innovative educational experiences for students.

Many Americans serve on a daily basis, every month, year after year through faith-based organizations and as volunteers for community groups, addressing a variety of critical education needs. Our focus is to recognize these extraordinary volunteers.

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Rural Montana Students Become Citizen-Scientists through Place-Based Learning

Teacher Judy Boyle stands at a cooler containing water and small fish. She is holding a net and handing out fish two students standing at the cooler. In the background other students are releasing their fish into a lake.Six Montana students are warmed by a campfire with their teacher, Judy Boyle, and some of their parents who have come along on the ‘field study trip.’ The students, ranging from 1st to 7th grade, journal about the symbiotic relationships and geothermal features they observed and recorded during the day. Place-based education is one way Boyle enables her students to engage with science, their natural environment and community.

The Advantages of Being a Small, Rural School

Life in Divide, Montana, may look a little different from the norm in more populated areas. The two-room schoolhouse serves the six students enrolled at Divide Public School. On their commute to school, the Divide students and their teacher could be held up by a different kind of traffic – a herd of elk.

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HBCUs: Vital to U.S. Competitiveness

Since 1837, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have been educating and preparing, primarily, but far from exclusively, African American students – nearly a quarter of HBCU students are non-Black – to contribute to the American experience. These institutions help fill the nation’s dual pipeline of productivity: providing diversely talented employees and creating employment opportunities. They consistently add both workers and job-creation to their state and local economies.

Despite being historically under-resourced, in 2014, the nation’s 101 accredited HBCUs injected $14.8 billion in direct spending impact to the national economy, adding more than 134,000 jobs, on- and off-campus, according to a recently published landmark study, HBCUs Make America Strong: The Positive Economic Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, commissioned by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

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President’s Education Awards Program (PEAP): Celebrating Student Achievement And Hard Work in the Classroom

Benjamin Stoddert Elementary School (Washington, DC) Graduation Ceremony; PEAP 6th grade recipients pose with their Principal Donald Bryant and PEAP director Frances Hopkins of OCO.Graduating elementary, middle and high school students can be recognized.

School principals or designated school representatives may pre-order certificates at 1-877-897-4784.

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

Students receive a certificate and schools receive a letter signed by the President and U.S. Secretary of Education.

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My Art Is a Reflection of My Story: National PTA Reflections Student Arts Showcase at ED

Acacia Wright reads her winning essay, “My Color in the Crayon Box.”Student artists whose works focused on the theme “What Is Your Story?” gathered at the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on Jan. 16, 2018, to be celebrated for their awards in the 2018 National PTA Reflections® Student Arts Showcase program.

Since 1969, the program has annually recognized elementary through high school students from around the country for artistic ingenuity as expressed in film, dance, literature, music composition, photography, and visual arts. Each year competitors are asked to bring a different theme to life in a way that is personal and meaningful. This is the 11th year ED has partnered with the National PTA to host a ceremony and art exhibit to honor award-winners.

“People who read and see and witness your work performed will create meaning from it, understand the human story, and understand the context in which you created it,” Jacquelyn Zimmermann, director of the Student Art Exhibit Program at ED, noted at the gathering. It drew students from about 25 states, from Alaska to Florida, as well as their families and teachers, arts educators and advocates, and ED staff.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke about the importance of the arts in education by noting the national focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and articulating the importance of another view, which includes the arts. “I happen to think that art is pretty important too,” she said. “So I like those who really embrace STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) education.” Following DeVos, Jim Accomando, the new president of the National PTA, expressed similar sentiments: “National PTA has long recognized the arts as an essential part of a great education.” As reflected by the top leaders of both organizations, access to and participation in the arts are at the core of an excellent education.

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Why You Should Celebrate National School Counseling Week

It just figures that National School Counseling Week starts the day after the Super Bowl. The country gorges on guacamole-covered chicken wings on Sunday, and when America’s most misunderstood group of educators asks for three nacho chips and a high five on Monday, the country is too tired to party.

In some ways, we don’t mind. The last time we made headlines, most people surveyed felt that school counselors were more of a hindrance than a help in applying to college. Before that, we were the punch line of a car ad — “Your guidance counselor drives a minivan” — or we were known as the washed-up teachers who were given offices close to the principal so he could keep an eye on us.

But Jenny doesn’t see us that way.

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Educator Self-Care Is Social Emotional Learning

Note: February 5-9, 2018 is National School Counseling Week.

Vicarious or secondary trauma invades our classrooms and leaks into the hearts of educators who carry the emotional burdens of their students. If we can honor our educators and their work by giving them the skills and space for their own self-care, then we help them stay whole and enjoy long, healthy careers being present for students and their learning.

As a school counselor, I help teachers understand the most important thing they can do for children is to keep their own mood stable. When I come into their classrooms to teach students about breathing strategies, mindfulness, yoga and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), it is not just for the students but also to offer time for teachers to connect with their own breath.

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Secretary DeVos Convenes Higher Education Summit: Innovation Blends Technology and the Personal Touch

“We need to question everything; to look for ways in which we can improve, and embrace the imperative of change. At the end of the day, success shouldn’t be measured by how much ivy is on the wall,” said U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. “It should be determined by how you’re educating and preparing students for today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.”

Setting this tone of innovation, Secretary DeVos welcomed over 20 education leaders from across the nation to the Education Innovation Summit on Higher Education, held recently at the U.S. Department of Education’s headquarters in Washington. The agenda included general discussion as well as several featured presentations.

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Secretary DeVos Convenes K-12 Summit: Innovation Starts with a Focus on the Learner

“There are a number of challenges and opportunities facing American students,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “And Washington, D.C. does not have all the answers. But government can be good at bringing people together to highlight their creative thinking and new approaches.”

Secretary DeVos welcomed nearly 20 education leaders and entrepreneurs from Maine to California to the Education Innovation Summit on K-12 learning, held recently at the U.S. Department of Education’s headquarters in Washington.

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National #SchoolChoice Week 2018: Recognizing the Diverse Career Goals And Academic Needs of Students

January 21-27, 2018 is National School Choice Week! President Donald J. Trump issued a proclamation marking the event.

In the words of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos,

School choice is not about picking this building or that classroom – it’s much bigger than that. It’s about freedom to find the best way to learn and grow. Learning can, should, and will look different for each unique child, and we should celebrate that!

During the week, ED highlighted success stories of students who were able to find the right fit for their educations.

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The ED Games Expo Comes to the Kennedy Center

Did you know that game-based learning is gaining popularity in education as more young people and adults learn from games in and out of the classroom? Well-designed games can motivate students to actively engage in content that relates to coursework, and to master challenging tasks designed to sharpen critical thinking and problem solving, as well as employment and life skills.

On January 8, 2018, the 5th annual ED Games Expo occurred at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. The event was organized in collaboration between the Department of Education’s (ED) Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and the Kennedy Center’s Education team. The event showcased more than 100 learning games, most developed with funding from 17 different government programs within and outside ED. The games were for students of all ages in education and special education and covered topics across STEM, reading, social studies and social development. Many incorporated emerging technologies, such as virtual reality, augmented reality and maker spaces with 3D printing stations, as well as engaging approaches to learning, such as narrative adventures and puzzle games.

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