FROM the EDITOR - Fall 2012

08/21/2012  |  Stephen Murphy Editor-in-Chief

We are proud to present SEEN’s “Back to School” issue. We have quite a few exciting articles and features to kick off the 2012-2013 school year.

First, we are thrilled to have had the opportunity to speak with Tom Roe and W. Ansel Sanders from the A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School of Engineering in Greenville, SC. In past issues of SEEN, we have featured several articles that discuss the dire need in the United States to get kids engaged in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) at an early age so that they will be prepared for the careers of the future. The A.J. Whittenberg School addresses this need with their school-wide engineering curriculum. Starting with four-year-old Kindergarten, AJW is getting kids engaged with STEM from the very beginning of their school careers. Tom and Ansel give us an overview of how this innovative new school came about and describe the school’s unique approach to educating elementary school students.

Our special focus for this issue is Classroom Assessments. Of course, my first thought was about the tests that we administer to students, especially at the end of the school year. But, as I spoke with more educators, I got a more robust picture of the ways we can assess our classrooms. We explore how proficiency-based assessments, like those used in language classes, help teachers to personalize learning for their students. We also get some advice from an AP English teacher on how teachers can prepare for the implementation of Common Core as it relates to testing their students.

Another form of classroom assessment is taking a look at teacher performance. Florida’s Hillsborough County – which is the eighth largest school district in the United States! – has implemented an “Empowering Effective Teachers” initiative wherein teachers receive evaluations from their peers. We have a fun and informative interview between a peer evaluator and a teacher that gives each side of the story.

Shifting gears a little, in this issue we also explore the need for character education in schools. Recent news stories about bullying have only underlined the need for programs within our schools that give students the tools they need to deal with these types of situations—a must for every student.

Also in this issue, we’ve continued our focus on student safety from our Spring issue. Thanks again to Derek Graham, section chief for transportation services with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, for continuing his overview of school bus safety. His contribution is greatly appreciated.

As always, we present a wide variety of resources and information for educators, including specialized graduate education programs, special needs and autism resources, school nutrition, and ideas about STEM education.

Is your school doing anything innovative and exciting that we should feature in SEEN? Please let us know!

Visit to share your feedback, your ideas and your requests or email me directly at [email protected].

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