Writing Boosts Achievement
There are no silver bullets in education. But writing – particularly non-fiction writing – is about as close as you can get to a single strategy that has significant and positive effects in nearly every other area of the curriculum. Nonfiction writing is the backbone of a successful literacy and student achievement strategy.
Bring the Arts Back to the Classroom
An interview with Darrell Ayers, vice president of education at the Kennedy Center, on educating the whole child, budget cuts in school arts programs, and the unintended consequences of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Arts Education Reaches Out
Considering art as a fringe subject may be short-sighted. Instruction in the arts can be a powerful tool in motivating and reclaiming students who don’t do well in traditional school settings, including those from impoverished families who have had little or no exposure to the arts in their lives.
Two Schools, One Building
Many people in our district and community didn’t believe that two vastly different populations (a primary school and an alternative program) should be sharing space. We held numerous listening and “getting to know us” sessions. At these sessions, we did not entertain much discussion about how this arrangement couldn’t work.
Responding When It Counts
By screening every child regularly on simple performance indicators that are critically related to important curricular outcomes, we can catch students who are showing signs of difficulty and provide them with modest levels of support before their instructional problems become insurmountable.
Power to the Student Press
Student reporters terrify adults, and I’ve never understood why. Admittedly, good student journalism does have a tendency to “stir the pot” and cause controversy. But at the same time, student reporting can make adults in the community aware of situations, concerns, and perspectives that otherwise might never come to light.
How a high school honors its top students -- and whether it reports class rankings -- is a surprisingly common issue for today’s school boards. Indeed, every few years, the selection criteria spark controversy somewhere and spill over into the courts. Most school boards tweak policies to address minor and unanticipated problems.
Early College, Future Success
Accelerating teens through high school and their first two years of college may seem counterintuitive, yet according to research from the Education Trust, high school students post higher test-score gains when placed in more rigorous courses. This finding is at the heart of the early college and middle college movement.
Suspending School Suspensions
Recent studies document that students who feel connected to school are likely to improve on critical accountability measures. Unfortunately, suspensions disconnect students who already are experiencing difficulties by further alienating them. In-school suspension is one alternative that meets the academic and behavioral needs of students, staff, and families.
Helping Employees Cope With Stress
Educational leaders can do three things, none of which costs money, to help address employee stress: They can make better decisions about the use of time, ensure that employees get the mental health care necessary to deal with stress, and communicate clearly and consistently with every stakeholder in the community.
Evaluating Special Education Reading Programs
After NCLB passed, districts began looking for solutions that teach academic content at developmentally age-appropriate levels. They found that there weren’t any academic programs for special education based on current research. Companies that serve the needs of special education are rising to this challenge, and publishing a new generation of programs.
Many students may have learning disabilities, but because of their giftedness can perform near grade level. The result: Neither their giftedness nor their disability is diagnosed. Montgomery County (Md.), is one of the few districts in the nation to have a designated program for twice-exceptional students.
Do Students Need More Time?
It’s been argued that time is the major design flaw in public education. Politics and tradition have stymied previous efforts to extend the school day and calendar. Despite the obstacles, a number of pioneering traditional schools, districts, and even one state have ventured into expanding learning time.
High School Students Help Their Peers
The creative and empathetic suggestions a San Marino (Calif.) High School student aide had for a teacher led to a school-wide Peer Mentoring Program. With the extra attention given by a peer, special-needs students not only succeeded in class, but also became an integral part of the school community.