#RethinkSchool: Safety and Success in a Magnet School Setting

My zoned middle school, in Orlando, FL, made local news with a tragic and terrifying story: a student was taken into the bathroom and raped. That was exactly what my mom was avoiding five years ago, when she diligently fought to keep me out of that school, which had a reputation for being unsafe.  Unable to afford private education, thankfully we had another viable option. Howard Middle School, a public magnet school only twenty minutes away from my house, offered a Visual and Performing Arts program.

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National Blue Ribbon Schools—Learning Requires Engagement

Sunset Elementary School in San Francisco, CA – a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School

National Blue Ribbon Schools are special places, each unique to their communities, their students, their staff, and their leaders, yet they are producing outstanding results for all their students regardless of race, socioeconomic status, or zip code. They are closing the gaps in student achievement and, in most cases, demonstrating consistent excellence.

Each year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program visits a handful of schools to learn more about what makes these outstanding schools tick. Video profiles offer glimpses of dynamic students, teachers, and principals in action—a day in the life of a National Blue Ribbon School.

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Back to School by the Numbers: 2018

Across the country, hallways and classrooms are full of activity as students head back to school for the 2018–19 academic year. Each year, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) compiles some back-to-school facts and figures that give a snapshot of our schools and colleges for the coming year. You can see the full report on the NCES website, but here are a few “by-the-numbers” highlights. You can also click on the hyperlinks throughout the blog to see additional data on these topics.

The staff of NCES and the Institute of Education Sciences hopes our nation’s students, teachers, administrators, school staffs, and families have an outstanding school year!

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#RethinkSchool: Performance, Partnerships and the Perfect Fit: The Professional Performing Arts School

Thanks to the Professional Performing Arts School – located in the heart of Manhattan’s theater district – New York City is about to be home to a few more young stars.

The high school, also known as PPAS, serves nearly 500 students who dream of pursuing dance, drama, music, or musical theater. Students in grades six through twelve split their days between academic instruction — when they can enroll in Advanced Placement courses or earn college credit through partnerships with New York University, Fordham University, and others — and arts instruction.

As one of more than 400 high schools in New York City, PPAS offers students the opportunity to partner with some of the foremost programs in the city, like the Ailey School, the National Chorale, the Julliard School,  the American Ballet Theatre and Rosie’s Theater Kids.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Should I stay or should I go? This is the very question I’ve asked myself every year, with guilt, after successfully concluding each school year for the past seven years. The question is one that is not easy to answer because there are just too many reasons stemming from the question, “Why should I stay?”

The Whys of Teaching

I have thought about leaving because the trauma I face brings so much pain and stress, but I choose to stay because I can be a source of relief, comfort and healing to the child hurting greater and bearing burdens heavier than what I could ever carry.

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#RethinkSchool: “Not a Second to Waste” – A Teacher Embraces Student-Centered Education

Drawing on a wide-ranging teaching career at the community college level and with students attending Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools, Daniele Massey understands that a personalized education can be great preparation for success in college, careers and life. 

Today, Massey lives in Virginia with her family. Her husband remains on active military duty. In this interview, she describes her journey and lessons learned.

You’ve had opportunities to work in different school settings and different phases of a student’s life – what has that process been like for you?

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Join Us for Living School Grounds on the 2018 Green Strides Tour in Missouri

It’s my favorite time of the year again:  Green Strides Tour season!

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 outdoors physical activity; and environmental education.  As part of its Green Strides outreach, the Department conducts an annual tour of past honorees.  This year, the Green Strides Tour will reach its twentieth state, Missouri, on October 24 and 25, and spotlight ED-GRS honorees’ use of Living School Grounds.

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#RethinkSchool: From a Junkyard to a STAR School; STAR School Uses Navajo Cultural Values with STEM Projects to Overcome Challenges

Mark Sorensen was fed up with seeing Native American students score lower on standardized tests, graduate at lower rates and be less likely to pursue post-secondary education compared to other groups of students in the U.S.

He had a vision for a charter school that would provide the Native students in his community a culturally inclusive school environment that would motivate them, so he bought a junkyard.

STAR School, located on the edge of the Navajo Nation near Flagstaff, Arizona, serves 145 K-8 students and challenges their application of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to daily life.

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Educate Comprehensively — From Calculus to Carpentry; East Syracuse Minoa Schools’ Message at the U.S. Department of Education

The East Syracuse Minoa Central School District prides itself on educating the whole student — every student.  Its educators say this dedication to excellence through cross-disciplinary and inquiry-based learning forms the core of its identity and values.

Fifty-three of the district’s high school students and eight faculty members and parents traveled to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) in Washington, D.C., recently to showcase the district’s comprehensive education — one with broad offerings that include art, physics, music, English composition, computer programming and automotive technology.  As evidence of this integration, the group opened its 105-piece K–12 student art exhibit and showed a student-made film on all of its career and technical education classes to myriad D.C.-area arts educators, leaders and advocates, one of their Congresspersons’ staff members and ED staff.

“We have students who take AP [Advanced Placement] art in the morning and go to auto tech in the afternoon,” said Matthew Cincotta, chair of the high school’s art department.  He described a class in which students merged information from art and biology to inspect a dissected cat.  “We talked about connective tissue,” Cincotta explained. “You have to understand anatomy to understand how to draw hand and body parts.”

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Achieving Gold: Asian American and Pacific Islander Students Convene for the 2018 Youth Summit

Domee Shi, creator of the Pixar Animation Studios short “Bao”, shares a lively moment during the Going for Gold panel.

After weeks of hard work, hours of meetings, and too many packets of instant coffee, we pulled it off – hosting the 2018 AAPI Youth Summit! Held yesterday at Google’s D.C. headquarters, this year’s gathering built on a tradition of connecting with young Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) leaders.

Each year, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI) invites AAPI students and interns to an event aimed to educate, connect, and inspire the next generation of AAPI leaders. This year’s theme, “Going for Gold,” highlighted trailblazer AAPIs across different industries and throughout the federal government.

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#RethinkSchool: Family Relationship Opened Door to “Synchronous Learning” Between Colorado Schools

“When I was a student at Arickaree High School, we didn’t have a clue as to what was going on in the real world,” said Gregg Cannady, who today heads collaborations and concepts development at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Colorado, about 100 miles from his former high school in Anton. That was in the 1970s. “I went to college and found out I was totally unprepared,” Cannady said. “I really didn’t understand any career that wasn’t something that I’d not seen out on the farm.”

You might think that in the 21st century, things would be different in rural education from when Cannady was in high school. But, according to Cannady, a music teacher with 30 years of experience, engaged, job-related education is still lacking in parts of rural America.

When Cannady took his education positon at STEM School in Highlands Ranch, it was to create a music program. But Executive Director Penny Eucker and the Nathan Yip Foundation, a sponsor, urged Cannady to do something also for the state’s rural students.

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Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act Signed into Law

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century (Perkins V) Act  was signed into law this week and brings changes to the $1.2 billion annual federal investment in career and technical education (CTE).  The U.S. Department of Education is looking forward to working with states to implement the new legislation which goes into effect on July 1, 2019 and replaces the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (Perkins IV) Act of 2006.

“The law creates new opportunities to improve CTE and enables more flexibility for states to meet the unique needs of their learners, educators, and employers,” said Scott Stump, Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education.

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