Very Special Student Artists Display Vision, Imagination in VSA Exhibit at U.S. Department of Education

Students whose artwork is displayed at the VSA exhibit use oversized scissors to cut the red ribbon at the exhibit.Seventeen-year-old Keevon Howard has mastered one cardinal rule laid down by his high school art teacher, one that resonates beyond the classroom. “Don’t erase,” his teacher counselled — accept the mistake and weave it into your composition. Coping is a vital life skill, she said, so whatever you put on the paper, that’s what you deal with.

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Proud to Serve Again

Elmer Harris standing in his class filled with students.Each year our school hosts a Veterans Day assembly and breakfast. After this year’s assembly, a number of students shared how they were surprised and excited to see my military photo during the slideshow tribute. Some were shocked and amused to see a serious looking and clean shaven Master Sergeant Harris instead of their bearded and smiling classroom teacher, Mr. Harris. I suppose the topic of my 22 years of military service and transition to teaching isn’t something I routinely discuss with students.

Teaching is a family tradition for many educators. That’s not my story.

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FLOTUS, Secretary Visit Highlights Anti-Bullying Efforts

A student smiles enthusiastically while taking a selfie with First Lady Melania Trump during an anti-bullying event.As a School Ambassador Fellow with the U.S. Department of Education, I had the opportunity to help plan and coordinate a visit for First Lady Melania Trump and Secretary Betsy DeVos to Orchard Lake Middle School in West Bloomfield, MI. The school was selected because they had pledged their commitment to anti-bullying initiatives promoting inclusion and acceptance. Orchard Lake Middle School prides itself on diversity and anti-bullying programs, so the principal and staff knew that they would be a good fit for FLOTUS’s bullying prevention platform.

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Still Ripe after 100 Years; ED Panel Discusses the Constitution and World War I

To comply with the law that requires all schools that receive federal funding and all federal agencies to observe Constitution Day, September 17, here at the Department of Education, we focused on the Constitutional issues that arose during World War I. We chose to focus on World War I because 2017 marks the centennial of the U.S. entry into that war.

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A Day in the Life of a Principal

The principal’s day is a reflection of many complex interactions such as:

  • communicating with multiple types of stakeholders,
  • managing financial resources,
  • connecting daily with students,
  • leading professional development, and
  • being a collaborative team player.

You may be wondering how one person could accomplish all of this in one day, so I welcome you into one of my days at Jackson Hole High School.

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A Vocational Rehabilitation Success Story: Joseph Cali

Note: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

The New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS), which receives Federal funding from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services’ Rehabilitation Services Administration, is pleased to share Joseph’s (pictured above) success story in honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM).


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Vocational Rehabilitation Success Story: George (Burt) Petley

Note: In recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA), a State VR agency which receives funding from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services’ Rehabilitation Services Administration, is pleased to share Burt’s success story. 

Burt began his path to employment in a sheltered workshop in 2007, where he did packaging and sorting tasks. Burt’s fellow participants and supervisors said he was dependable and with the support of his sister, Christie, Burt had reliable transportation. While Burt sometimes had difficulty with decision-making, repetitive tasks were an area where he excelled.

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Things People Say

Note: October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

 

Number One. “Did you know?”

They never complete the thought, as if just looking at him implies what they’re really asking. I ache to play dumb: Know what? That he would almost never cry as a baby and be a champion sleeper? That he would love to swim but hate to play soccer? That I could love him ‘til it hurts and still get so annoyed by some of his antics? As obnoxious as my brain screams for me to be, I simply answer “No. After losing the first one, I didn’t want to take any chances with this very wanted baby.”

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Learning Outside from the 2017 Green Strides Tour in Georgia

I had the honor of attending the Georgia Green Strides Tour 2017 with Andrea Falken of the U.S. Department of Education and Keisha Ford-Jenrette of the Georgia Department of Education, and numerous other national, state and local partners.  We rode a van to some of the school sites that had been honored over the years as U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools. This year’s two-day tour focused on the theme “Taking Learning Outside,” and covered a wide range of approaches.

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ED Releases Secretary’s Proposed Priorities for Competitive Grant Programs

Today, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released the Secretary’s proposed priorities for ED’s competitive grant programs and launched the 30-day public comment period. Once we consider the comments received and issue the Secretary’s final priorities, the Secretary may choose to use one or more of them in competitions for new grant awards this year and in future years. These priorities align with the vision set forth by the Secretary in support of high-quality educational opportunities for students of all ages.

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The Path Begins: Forest Kindergarten

It’s a rainy day in Walker County, Georgia. In most schools, this would mean a day indoors with children and teachers wishing they could be outside. At Gilbert Elementary, you can look out the window and see a group of kindergarteners, in lime green rain suits, splashing their way across the playground on their way to the forest. These students will spend the next two hours making mud pies, building boats from found materials and observing the differences rain makes in their environment.

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