Few things are more exciting in school than a field trip, but budget constraints and curriculum priorities have changed the nature of field trips. For example, a growing number of schools use field trips as an incentive for good behavior instead of learning enrichment for everyone. Researchers at the University of Arkansas are trying to measure the connection between culturally enriching field trips and learning. Emily Richmond of the Education Writers Association reports:
The new study’s findings “demonstrated that there can actually be lasting and sustainable outcomes, educational outcomes, that are produced through students participating in these one-time, culturally enriching experiences,” said Sandra Ruppert, the director of the Arts Education Partnership, a national nonprofit coalition. “It’s an important factor to take into consideration for schools and others that are thinking about reducing or eliminating field trips, thinking that they don’t add any educational value.”
via Are Schools Taking the Right Approach to Field Trips? | MindShift.
By Julia Freeland
This week marks National Computer Science Education Week. Not only are K–12 schools, parents, and leaders around the country engaged in activities like the Hour of Code, but the week is also a chance for advocacy groups like code.org to highlight the beleaguered state of computer science education in America. For example, currently only around five to 10 percent of schools offer AP computer science, and 25 states still don’t allow students to count computer science courses toward high school graduation.
Given the demand for software skills in the labor market, there’s been a lot of fanfare in recent years around seeding opportunities to boost young people’s computer science skills—the Hour of Code, the emergence of numerous coding boot camps, and edX’s very popular Harvard MOOC, CS50, to name a few. I’ve found that most stories about computer science education focus on the skills gap that new programs stand to fill; they talk about coding as a new language that students will need to learn in order to navigate the 21st century world.
via What Computer Science Education Can Tell Us About The Future Of Schools – Education Next : Education Next.
By John Fensterwald and Laurie Udesky
The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to increase funding that supporters say will expand the Internet capacity for an additional 40 million students in 100,000 schools nationwide.
The ccommission raised the E-rate, a federal program paid for by telephone customers, by $1.5 billion per year, bringing the total yearly funding to schools and libraries for Internet connections and operating subsidies to $3.9 billion.
via Funding to expand schools’ high-speed Internet | EdSource#.VIsjhJ3TnGg#.VIsjhJ3TnGg.
By Richard Bammer
Ceremony, oaths of office and the annual reshuffling of Vacaville Unified’s governing board took center stage during the early part of Thursday’s regular trustee meeting in the Educational Services Center.
At the outset of the gathering, two incumbent trustees, Michele Dally and Whit Whitman, and two newcomers, Jeremy Jeffreys and Shawn Windham, re-elected or elected on Nov. 4, were sworn in and took their seats on the dais, ready to do district business. All but Windham, who won a two-year seat, replacing Chris Flask, will serve four-year terms.
Jay Speck, superintendent of Solano County schools, administered the oaths of office.
Business, indeed, commenced immediately afterward, with the annual election of board officers.
via Several trustees, including two new faces, sworn in at Vacaville Unified School District offices.
By Mark Gomez
A powerful storm that is expected to blast the Bay Area Thursday with bursts of rain and gusts of wind up to 70 mph has prompted school districts all over the area to close schools to make sure children are safe.
Oakland school officials on Wednesday afternoon joined San Francisco, Berkeley, Alameda and other districts in announcing schools in their cities will close Thursday, according to a news release. San Lorenzo Valley schools in the Santa Cruz Mountains also will close.
Vallejo City Unified School District officials said Wednesday afternoon that district schools would be open Thursday.
California Maritime Academy classes were cancelled for Thursday due to the severe weather, school officials said Wednesday evening.
via Bay Area schools set to close ahead of powerful storm.
By Richard Bammer
The annual re-shuffling of the governing board, an update on Measure A, and the likely approval of the 2014-15 first interim budget report are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight in open session in Vacaville.
Incumbent trustees Shelley Dally and Whit Whitman, and newcomers Jeremy Jeffreys and Shawn Windham, all re-elected or elected Nov. 4, will be sworn in by Jay Speck, Solano County superintendent of schools.
Current board president Sherie Mahlberg will be recognized for her yearlong service.
Jane Shamieh, chief business officer, will update the board on Measure A, the $194 million school bond measure approved by voters on Nov. 4.
via Vacaville Unified School District board to elect new officers, hear update on Measure A, budget.
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that the California Department of Education (CDE) will receive $4.4 million in federal funds that will be used to enhance child development services for 260 high-need infants and toddlers residing in nine rural Northern California counties.
“Nothing is more important than ensuring children receive quality early education in a safe environment. We welcome this grant to help build upon our existing state-funded child care and development programs,” Torlakson said. “It will be especially helpful to these rural counties.”
The Early Head Start—Child Care Partnership is a new competitive grant that supports the partnering of Early Head Start programs with child care providers to expand the number of high-quality slots for infants and toddlers.
via Early Head Start Grant for Rural Counties – Year 2014 (CA Dept of Education).
By Susan Winlow
School board members in Vacaville will hear two resolutions and a presentation Thursday on Measure A, the $194 million general obligation school bond passed by 61 percent of the voters in November.
One resolution is required by law: The district must adopt a resolution certifying the election results. The Solano County Registrar of Voters submitted a Certification of Election Results showing that at least 55 percent of the voters were in favor of the bond.
If passed, the second resolution will establish a Fund 22 that will keep and track bond funds separately from other district funds.
via Vacaville school board to hear Measure A presentation, resolutions Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
School board members will hear three agenda items on the consolidation and renaming of two programs in the Fairfield-Suisun School District during Thursday’s regularly scheduled board meeting.
The two programs are the Dover Bridge to Success School, which is a technology-driven program for seventh through 10th grade that utilizes iPads to deliver curriculum on a one-to-one basis, and the Matt Garcia Learning Center, which is a credit-recovery program designed for seventh through 12th grade to make up credits in an accelerated way in order to graduate on time.
via District to look to close 1 program, creating new one Daily Republic.
By Richard Bammer ,
By Richard Bammer
As one calendar year ends and another is set to begin, Travis Unified leaders on Tuesday heard a cautionary tale of future state and federal funding for schools, a story that comes as the 5,100-student district this year will see a $2.8 million net increase over last year’s budget and labor unions are sure to clamor for more than just nominal pay hikes.
Shortly after the governing board re-elected Ivery Hood as president, Chief Business Officer Ken Forrest, using a detailed PowerPoint presentation for his 2014-15 first interim budget report, said the district’s 2014-15 projected budget of $44 million may be a sign of good times compared to previous years but state officials predict that revenue growth by 2019-20 will slow as the U.S. economy continues to grow modestly.
via Travis Unified board urged to use caution for future budgets.
By Richard Bammer
More than 40 Orchard Elementary sixth-graders, two classes broken down into groups of seven or so, gathered, by turns, at three different stations — plant, water, soil — along the South Pasture Trail at Rush Ranch Open Space.
Under foggy skies, the wind still with temperatures in the high 50s, the Vacaville students spied native plants and animal tracks, tested murky-looking water, touched moist earth.
From time to time during their outdoor classroom trek, at the prompting of adult guides and educators, they recorded notes about their findings and observations, answered questions in a workbook, then capped their outing by writing poetry about their experiences before returning to their North Orchard Avenue campus.
via Vacaville’s budding scientist-poets.
By Susan Winlow
New members of two local school boards will take oaths of office Thursday.
Three will take the oath of office at 6 p.m. in the Fairfield-Suisun School District, just prior to the regularly scheduled board meeting. Newly elected trustee Chris Wilson will represent Area 4. Incumbent David Isom ran unopposed and will continue to represent Area 7. Newcomer Jonathan Richardson, who also ran unopposed, will represent Area 5.
They will join current members Judi Honeychurch, Pat Shamansky, John Silva, Kathy Marianno and student trustee Jared Hickory.
Superintendent Kris Corey will administer the oaths.
via School boards to welcome new members Daily Republic.
By Susan Winlow
School district trustees in Fairfield will hear a 2014-15 interim financial report, a twice-yearly required statement to ensure a school district’s ability to meet financial obligations.
The first interim report for the Fairfield-Suisun School District includes general fund statement of revenues, expenditures and changes in fund balance; criteria standards indicating financial health or distress; average daily attendance; cash flow statements; and multiple-year projections and assumptions.
Reports indicate the district will be in “planned” deficit spending mode, with a total decrease of $7.4 million in the general fund, largely due to one-time monetary carry-overs not fully spent from 2013-14. Financial reports note that deficit spending “will need to be addressed” as the district puts together the 2015-16 budget but Kelly Bartel, assistant superintendent, said in a Tuesday phone interview that the deficit spending in this case is not worrisome.
via Fairfield school district considers financial future Daily Republic.
By Alyson Klein
If you were hoping that Congress would add the Education Sciences Reform Act to the list of bills it will pass during this short lame duck session, you’re going to be disappointed.
ESRA, a relatively low-key, targeted bill that governs education research programs, will have to wait until the new Congress convenes in January. The legislation already passed the House of Representatives on “suspension” (a congressional process used for non-controversial measures with lots of bipartisan support.)
via Education Research Bill Will Have to Wait for 2015 – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Anya Kamenetz
Little children are big news this week, as the White House holds a summit on early childhood education December 10. The President wants every four year old to go to preschool, but the new Congress is unlikely to foot that bill.
Since last year, more than 30 states have expanded access to preschool. But there’s still a lack of evidence about exactly what kinds of interventions are most effective in those crucial early years.
In New York City, an ambitious, $25 million dollar study is collecting evidence on the best way to raise outcomes for kids in poverty. Their hunch is that it may begin with math.
via Why Math Might Be The Secret To School Success | MindShift.
By John Glidden
At the end of this month, Mary Grant will begin a well-deserved retirement.
After 40 years at the Vallejo City Unified School District, Grant, the lead student records archive technician, will step away from her role as guardian of student records.
Yet, Grant, 64, of Vallejo, said she didn’t expect to be working with the district.
Coming from Alabama, Grant and her husband, Livingston, migrated to California in 1972 with the couple’s 3-year-old child.“
I was only going to work for five years to give myself an opportunity to get used to the West Coast,” Grant said. “But with the birth of our second daughter, we decided I needed to go to work,” Grant added with a laugh.
via Vallejo school district loses guardian of student records after 40 years.
By Richard Bammer
Annual board elections, approval of new course offerings, and the 2014-15 first interim budget report are on the agenda when Travis Unified leaders meet tonight in open session in Fairfield.
Trustees will elect a new board president or may choose to retain current president Ivery Hood. The other members are Angela Weinziner, John Dickerson and Riitta De Anda. A fifth seat, representing Travis Air Force Base, remains vacant, pending a special election in March.
Jim Bryan, assistant superintendent for educational services, will report on four new courses and the name change of another.
via Budget, new career-tech classes on Travis school board agenda tonight.
By Keri Luiz
New and returning members of the governing board of the Benicia Unified School District took their oaths of office last week, then turned their attention to the next calendar year.
With many members of the trustees’ families in the audience along with teachers and administration staff from the different schools, returning Trustees Rosie Switzer and Peter Morgan and newcomer Diane Ferrucci were given the oath of office by City Councilmember Christina Strawbridge.
Following a brief reception, the meeting reconvened and the board performed their annual organizational meeting to decide officers and committee appointments.
via New Benicia school board sworn in.
By Evie Blad
The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice will jointly announce today guidance on education of confined or incarcerated youths with the aim of helping states and localities to improve outcomes when juveniles are released and to reduce their likelihood of recidivism.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder will release the materials at the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center in Alexandria, Va., following on recommendations from a report created as part of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. That effort seeks to improve schooling outcomes and opportunities for boys of color.
African American boys are more likely to be disciplined at school than their peers, and they also face higher rates of incarceration and contact with the justice system.
via New Federal Guidance Aims to Improve Schooling for Incarcerated Youth – Rules for Engagement – Education Week.
By Katrina Schwartz
Can the act of making or designing something help kids feel like they have agency over the objects and systems in their lives? That’s the main question a group of researchers at Project Zero, a research group out of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, are tackling alongside classroom-based teachers in Oakland, California. In an evolving process, researchers are testing out activities they’ve designed to help students to look more closely, explain more deeply and take on opportunities to change things they see around them.
The program is called Agency By Design and it relies on nimble, malleable activities Project Zero researchers call “thinking routines” that slow down the pace of the classroom to make space for deep observation and wonderment. That happens by talking and discussing objects or systems in the everyday world to help kids develop words to describe their thinking. It’s more a framework than a specific step-by-step process. The Oakland educators experimenting with thinking routines teach a range of ages across public, private and charter schools. They each adapted the exercises to fit their purposes.
via How Dissecting a Pencil Can Ignite Curiosity and Wonderment | MindShift.