FROM THE EDITOR - Fall 2014

After a well-deserved summer break, educators are back to continue what, I believe, is truly a labor of love – that of teaching our children and preparing them for the rest of their lives. Each of us will strive for excellence and the best possible results for our students for the coming year and beyond. What that looks like to you depends largely on your vantage point. 

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Steps Toward a Successful Public Private Partnership

As a superintendent, I sat on one side of the desk reviewing vendors with a jaundice eye as I watched my budget and carefully chose where to put my pennies. As a private business owner, I sit on the other side of the desk knowing that I have something of value that can help a superintendent over the hurdles he or she is facing, yet understanding their wariness and their budget constraints. Having been on both sides of the desk has its advantages, yet it includes the overall awareness of the dilemmas to be faced when both are trying to find a cooperative way to work together and support each other. Their dilemma is very similar to the issues I work with when I ask schools and parents to collaborate. The following are a few simple steps that might make these public/private partnerships more effective.

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The Courtship of Eagles

Jostens Renaissance is coming together, working together and staying together. From its inception, it has been emblematic of partnership. From our initial brainstorming sessions with Jostens, the original Renaissance logo featured the eagle pairs courting high in the sky, performing a stirring dance of joyful partnership. Throughout the ages, the majestic eagle has symbolized freedom, power and authority. The United States followed this tradition by incorporating a bald eagle, also known as an American eagle, in the Great Seal in 1782. 

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The Missing ‘S’ of SEL: Because Social and Emotional Learning is Not Enough

I’ve been pushing Social Emotional Learning (SEL) for decades. My version hadn’t acquired its own acronym but otherwise, I’ve been talking about the exact same concepts — but just about 30 years too early. It’s fantastic that SEL is now getting a much deserved moment in the K-12 limelight, but I’m concerned that SEL as currently defined, is missing about 25 percent of its acronym, and more importantly, it’s missing about 25 percent of its content.

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Picture This! Engaging K-6 Students With Visuals

When children are very young, they often draw pictures on anything and everything. As adults, we cherish these drawings and are quick to hang them in a prominent place for all to see. However, our focus and appreciation of their created visuals often diminishes as soon as children start writing words. We soon start instilling the belief that words are more highly valued than visuals.We marvel at their invented spelling and cheer when they can read and write those first sight words.While words are extremely important, we need to continue our appreciation for visuals—both visuals created by students and those they encounter in text.

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EDUCATING THE HEAD,HEART AND HAND FOR THE 21ST CENTURY

The 21st century is placing great demands on our students and educational system. To meet those demands, we recognize that educating the head (cognitive domain), exclusive of the heart and hand (affective and behavioral domains), is no longer educational best practice. We know this because schools are communities of learners in relationship with one another. As educators we must help our students develop a high degree of behavioral competence (hand) to learn within these communities. 

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Prosocial education and school climate reform policy and practice trends: Mobilizing the ‘whole village’ to support the ‘whole child’

There is growing policy; fiscal and practical support for prosocial educational and school climate improvement efforts from federal agencies, state departments of education and large and small districts across America. But there are meaningful challenges that undermine these research-based efforts being integrated into current policy and practice efforts.

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Classroom Management: Teachers’ Affective Styles

Nationally, schools are required to establish standards of appropriate behavior that promote a safe learning community. This assumes students are prepared to achieve, are receptive to authority, and are amenable to rules and consequences. Though prevalent in some locations, these traditional expectations are being altered by a greater proportion of students with challenging histories. Relying on conventional management procedures, like detentions and suspensions, has proven inadequate to reverse this trend. Consequently, classroom management continues to exert a persistent stressor on public school educators, many of whom lack adequate preparation in this fundamental skill.

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TRANSITIONING TO POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION OR THE WORKFORCE FOR STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES

Transitioning from high school to postsecondary education or the workforce can be a challenge for anyone, but for a student with a learning disability, the challenges are multiplied. Each student must know himself/herself well so that goals can be set based on individual strengths. Accommodations needed in order to meet the student’s goals should then be determined. Before setting out to meet those goals, it is important for the student to understand the differences between the laws that protect him/her during and after high school. Finally, parents must insure that their son/daughter is prepared to handle all aspects of independent living without support. As a result of the time necessary for this process, it is essential that planning begin earlier for a student with a learning disability than for his/her non-disabled peers.

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Making College & Career Readiness Accessible to All Students

Within a few weeks of setting foot in a classroom for my first teaching assignment after graduating from college, there were some things that became abundantly clear. Much of the “theory” that I’d learned in my own classes was exactly that—theory. Students did not learn the way they were “supposed to.” And perhaps most unexpected, despite the practical instruction I’d received on differentiating instruction and accommodating all learners, was the understanding that not all of my students were prepared for what the standards said they needed to learn. In fact, some were so far behind that I wasn’t sure how I could reasonably differentiate my instruction sufficiently to meet their needs.

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The Gifted Mind Unlocking the Potential

Being “gifted” has its benefits, and its challenges. Identifying a person as “gifted” does not predict success. As with anyone else, success for the “gifted” is largely the result of preparation, experiences and motivation. Success is tricky and often hard to measure. An important component of success, which is sometimes overlooked, is self-awareness and an understanding of how to effectively use innate gifts and talents. This article does not discuss the definition of “gifted,” but instead focuses on the “nuts and bolts” of how people think and how to unlock the potential for gifted people — and other individuals.

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Stop the Slide Using the Arts to Challenge Gifted & Talented Students

On a cold February afternoon, our elementary school team leaders sat around the conference room table with looks of dread on their faces. It was one of three “Data Daze” held each year to discuss the progress our students were making in each grade level. Typically, the day starts with each team leader meeting with the administrator individually to discuss the various data points of individual students in their grade level. The afternoons are reserved for looking at trends across all grades. 

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WHERE EVERYONE IS ABOVE AVERAGE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GIFTEDNESS AND NORMAL DEVELOPMENT

Child development is a fascinating topic that refers to the biological, psychological and emotional growth that occurs from birth until the passage into adulthood. It is a continuous process with a predictable pattern for every child, yet every child has a unique pace or rate. Developmental growth is strongly influenced by the interaction among genetic factors, events during prenatal life, environmental factors, interactions with others and individual learning. Through years of research, including the new neuroscience research of the brain, we know much about how the child develops. 

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GLOBAL EDUCATION’S ECONOMIC IMPERATIVE

Over the last 20 years, our world has rapidly transformed into an interconnected one. Countries now share economies, climate issues and global security concerns. Simply put, we all depend on one another. The United States’ private and government sectors have been quick to understand and adapt to this new reality.

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A Guide for Student Foreign Travel

It is estimated that over 100,000 U.S. students travel abroad each year in groups. These trips offer a variety of educational opportunities and can be focused on traditional academic interests such as history, art, religion, and architecture, as well as on language immersion, the performing arts, and cultural exposure. On some trips students can earn academic credit.

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Global Education Imagine, Connect and Collaborate

Imagine you and your students discussing plant and animal life of the Great Barrier Reef with a class in Queensland, Australia. Imagine your rural students chatting with New York City students about agriculture and industry in each location. And imagine your French II students practicing their skills with a group of students in Paris who need to practice their English. 

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Integrated Blind Spot Pedestrian Detection Systems

Forward Collisions

Mobileye is an exciting technology that is seeing great success at reducing accidents and modifying driver behavior.

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Leading a Learning Innovation: Seven Keys for the Digital Learning Transformation

Making the shift to a district-wide, blended learning environment means more than adding devices and beefing-up infrastructure.

Leading in this age of digital transformation is collaborative in nature. This includes empowering others to share in the decision-making process. It is also having the authority to empower others to make their own decisions. Today’s leader knows that leadership is a responsibility shared by all.

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World-Class K-12 STEM Education Solution at Minimal Cost

K-12 Parents are demanding STEM education. School administrators want STEM, so that their students can get better jobs in the 21st century. Currently, there is a shortage of STEM-educated people for well-paying jobs.

But, because of budget cuts, most superintendents can’t implement STEM programs.

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SafePlans: Helping to Make Schools Even Safer and More Prepared

Protecting our schools can be incredibly complicated and tragically imperfect. SafePlans understands safe and prepared schools are a consequence of collaborative efforts among schools leaders and their commentary stakeholders, all other concerns – including our mandate to educate and prepare our children – are secondary. Recent events, including an increasing number of violent school intruder situations that have resulted in multiple deaths, have made it essential that every school district receives emergency training and has a comprehensive preparedness program.

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World’s Finest ® Chocolate

World’s Finest Chocolate is family owned and based in the heart of Chicago. With over 65 years of experience, we pride ourselves in being one of nine American companies that manufactures chocolate directly from the bean. 

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Panic Buttons are Making Schools Safer

As a new school year kicks off, schools across the nation are installing panic buttons for an extra layer of security. “Banks have silent alarms they can use to notify authorities if a robbery is taking place. We can equip schools with similar technology so that officials could issue an alert if an armed intruder were to enter a school building,” said Rep. 

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A PLACE AT THE HELM Options for graduate studies in higher education administration

If you’re interested in leadership roles in colleges and universities, an advanced degree in higher education administration could be the gateway to a profession with growing opportunities. Studies in the field lead to careers as diverse as student affairs, admissions and enrollment management, financial aid, government and community relations, policy analysis, alumni relations, institutional and policy research, athletics administration and change management.

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Active Learning Through Project-based Learning

When I watched how a group of students from Danville High School presented the results of their water quality testing of three local parking lots to their school board, I was struck once again by how differently they learn than we did. A generation or two ago, we would sit in classrooms passively and listen to the teacher lecture. Of course, we would do experiments in our science labs, but few that seemed relevant to us.

The Danville class was following a biology curriculum that turned them into active learners, engaged in solving an issue facing their local community. They went beyond learning all the key scientific information that they must know to understand biological systems. They discovered that science is highly relevant to the world they live in, and why knowing and using the information they learned might affect public policies that can make their lives better.

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DO THEY STACK UP? Reviewing Face-to Face Classes in the Shadow of Online Success

Recent comprehensive data shared by the Babson Survey Research Group in their 2014 report, “Grade Change: Tracking Online Education in the United States” indicated that academic leaders from only 10 percent of colleges fail to see online learning as pivotally entrenched in their strategic plan — from which it might seem reasonable to imply that a lot do. In fact, 90 percent do! It’s not hard to see why; online programs can really help to maximize the drive to bring dropouts back and ultimately positively impact enrollment. The marginal costs are also low once the learning management system is established, and labor costs for full-time faculty to sustain instruction can be low.

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Taking Gap Year Education To The Next Level

Gap years are on the forefront of many peoples’ minds these days: universities are incorporating them into their programming, students and parents are increasingly asking about them, educational counselors/consultants are increasingly getting asked about them, and organizations like the American Gap Association now exist to help navigate them. But delving into the world of gap years is accompanied by a variety of both exciting and challenging questions, perhaps the most exciting being the outcomes. When challenged more deeply these outcomes seem a natural outflow of taking the intentional time to align one’s personal interests with the world of opportunities that are out there. But, put in more general terms, taking the time to figure out what you stand for and what you stand against inevitably translates to a more motivated student — and thankfully there’s data to support this.

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What is the Value of a Master’s Degree?

What is the value of a master’s degree? The field of economics and the business sector tell us that the value of any commodity or service is what people are willing to pay for it. In 2008 the U.S. business sector valued master’s degrees at more than $3.8 billion. That is the amount that U.S. companies reimbursed their employees for graduate coursework. U.S. companies clearly place a premium on employees with a master’s degree. Some examples include:

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Building a New Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment System

(This is part one of a three part series.)

As we all struggle to meet the challenges of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) — or whatever new standards your state may have adopted — the new assessment system, and whatever new challenges lay ahead, the reality is that we must first have a system to address ANY issue that we face. Your district may have had a system to meet the old challenges of state standards and state assessments, but with the new CCSS and whatever assessment system ends up upon us, we must change our system to address these new challenges. Let’s address systems and how we go about creating a new system to meet the new challenges.

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Embracing the Common Core with Art

Citing evidence in a text is an important goal for students under the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which call for close reading of a text, making logical inferences, and citing pertinent evidence to support an interpretation. As exposure to a variety of texts is encouraged, reading a work of art as a visual text can aid in the development of these reasoning skills. As students make observations about a painting or sculpture, dig deeper to form evidence-based interpretations, and compare art with primary source documents, art becomes a natural partner for exercising these critical thinking skills and Common Core concepts.

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Why Alignment Matters

I watched from across the room as he opened his packet and looked at the test results. Not a single word, just the look of defeat as a single tear “accidentally” escaped from the corner of his eye. In an instant, this confident young man, a natural leader who often spoke up in class, was sucker-punched by failure.

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The BUZZ on PBL

My first big project happened the summer after I turned 11. It was like all great summer projects, outdoors and filled with the sun-baked buzz of the garden. It wasn’t a fancy garden, just a strip of purple asters dancing between the gravel drive and the house. The joy of it was the bees, their endless variety and energy, their lack of interest in me, and the intensity of their work.

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How Smart Administrators Can Make Smarter Decisions

(This is part one of a two part series.)

Administrative decisions affect our children’s present and future lives. As one administrator said to me, “It takes us five years to realize we made a bad decision. In the meantime, children have crossed through five grades and we can’t go back and fix it.”

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The New Imperative For Public Education Branding and Marketing Your School

Public education used to be a monopoly. No competition. Every year the students simply showed up. And most people loved and supported what was happening inside. Not today. Charters, vouchers, open enrollment and private schools dot the landscape, bringing fierce competition for students and the dollars each one of them brings to the district budget. 

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Often Overlooked HARD AND SOFT SAVINGS OF IDENTITY AND ACCESS MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS FOR EDUCATIONAL ENTITIES

If you work in the IT department at a school, whether it is K-12 or higher ED, you know that educational entities face many issues with identity, access and password management. With so many types of accounts in a school—such as student, employee, teacher, parent and temp—managing accounts and access rights becomes difficult and extremely time consuming. For example, at the beginning of each school year there is a rush to get new accounts correctly provisioned. Many schools have hundreds, if not thousands, of new students coming in each year, and creating accounts for each of these students can take a full-time employee weeks to accomplish the task.

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Data in Education

Using data to guide instruction is an increasingly popular concept in education. In fact, if you type the phrase into Google you’ll find over 7.8 million search results ranging from websites of technology companies with educational data solutions to academic papers and editorials on the subject.

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Leadership Actions for Transforming Schools

(This is part two of a two part series on effective leadership. Part one included the first two insights in the series. The first was to Establish and Pursue a Vision of Your Preferred Future [Development of a strategic vision for teaching and learning]. The second was to Increase Organizational Coherence [Increasing a school’s ability to act as a unified whole].)

 

Insight 3: Provide Clear Communication

There are several elements of clear communication that support school transformation efforts. The most basic element is informing staff, parents and community members about what is happening at the school to improve teaching and learning. Sylvia Pirtle, principal of a turnaround school, used an online calendar to keep teachers informed and up to date on professional development, improvement initiatives, learning activities and other school events.

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STRATEGIES: Delay, Impede, Protect

In part one of “Prevention and Deterrence Have Limits,” we discussed general prevention and deterrence strategies for reducing the risk of violence at school. The strategies provided in part one are intended to help staff detect students most prone to acting out in a violent way. Because not every lethal assailant is a student or has a direct connection to the school he is targeting, educators must keep in mind that recognizing warning signs of potentially violent behavior has limitations. In part two we offer strategies to help better prepare staff should a lethal assailant or active shooter arrive at school. These strategies are designed under the concept of Delay, Impede and Protect.

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LESSONS LEARNED FROM SANDY HOOK

(This is part one of a two part series.)

On Dec. 1, 1958 a fire broke out in the basement of Our Lady of Angels School in Chicago, IL. Ninety-two students and three staff lost their lives and sweeping changes to fire safety standards were enacted across the nation. On Dec. 14, 2012, an active shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School (SHES) murdered 20 students and six staff. Most schools are still using the same plans and training that failed Sandy Hook.

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SECURITY PROFESSIONALS

Countermeasure Consulting Group

In the past couple of years, news stories abound of deranged individuals attacking the most vulnerable and precious targets, our kids. But, it is important to approach this problem with critical, rational thinking instead of fear and hyperbole. 

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SCHOOL SHOOTINGS CONTINUE TO EMPHASIZE NEED FOR CRISIS PLANNING AND TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS

Mention the subject of school security these days and the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, CT Comes immediately to mind. To no one’s surprise this tragedy, which resulted in the deaths of 26 students and faculty, continues to propel efforts to improve the safety and security at American schools.

In truth, previous high-profile incidents have had a significant impact on school safety and security over the past 15 to 20 years. A specific example is the October 2006 shooting at the West Nickel Mines School, an Amish one-room schoolhouse in Lancaster, Pa., which prompted administrators nationwide to significantly tighten access to school facilities, particularly during school hours.

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VIDEO SECURITY SYSTEMS D.I.Y. with your own I.T.

Schools find themselves today at the center of a perfect storm, a collision of seemingly unstoppable forces. Growing security challenges, tightening financial resources and revolutionary technologies are converging. The rising threat to the safety and well being of our students, staff and facilities is all over the news. Tax dollars, grants and/or fund-raisers that fill the coffers are being asked to do more than ever before. Systems that deliver the ever-more-effective video security are becoming more and more sophisticated and expensive. Overall, while every school’s needs are increasing, it seems that the means of satisfying those demands are more and more difficult to grasp.

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Security Product Profile: Just Say Go

In the past couple of years, primarily due to the pervasive nature of the 24-hour news cycle and the Internet, stories of deranged individuals attacking the most vulnerable and precious targets, our kids, has caused considerable fear and consternation among parents and school administrators nationwide. In the last few weeks my grandson started first grade, my daughter returned to her middle school to teach Health and PE, while my wife began another year as a speech and language pathologist at our local school. Am I concerned for their safety? You bet I am! But, it is important to approach this problem with critical, rational thinking instead of fear and hyperbole. The likelihood of an active shooter event occurring at any one of our schools is very low; roughly the same chance of being struck by lightning or being threatened by a serious school fire. However, just as is in the case of preparing for or preventing fires or lightning strikes, it is our duty to prepare for every possible serious contingency in order to best protect our staff and children.

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The Evolving Face of School Security: Blending Technology and Culture to Preserve Tradition

School security has evolved over the past 100 years as has our culture and its influence on our learning environment. A century ago, times were simpler. School security typically was comprised of uncomplicated discipline policies and keeping a close eye on the front door. Today, schools have to deal with uninvited intruders, active shooters, lock-downs, bullying, parental custody battles and more. At no other time in history has our educational system been taxed with such complexity and challenge. One way to successfully combat these elements is through a combined effort of school administrators, faculty, parents, local law enforcement and a security integrator versed in the latest safety tools.

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HOW DO YOU MEASURE A FLIPPED CLASSROOM OR OTHER BLENDED COURSE?

There is a growing trend in education: Schools and teachers are moving toward a blended approach to instruction. A recent study by eSchool News in April 2014 reported that flipped learning is surpassing all other digital trends in K-12 schools. Implementing a blended learning approach requires teachers to rethink their classroom roles. Within a blended environment, teachers have the opportunity to build stronger relationships with students, while working one-on-one or in small groups. 

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Flipping Over Flipped Classrooms What’s All the Excitement About?

Flipping the classroom is the latest hot topic in K-12 education. The concept has recently captured the interest of educators throughout the U.S. and beyond. There is an organization of teachers interested in flipping, online communities, blogs and NINGs, along with websites, videos, books and articles. But what’s it all about? Why the excitement? What should educators know about flipping?

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TECHNOLOGY REVIEW

KAJEET
An average of 30 percent of students do not have adequate Internet access when they leave school. As more districts implement digital and web-based learning programs, a large number of students are finding themselves caught in a widening “digital divide” struggling to keep up with their connected peers. The Kajeet SmartSpot ™ provides safe, affordable mobile broadband connecting students to the available resources needed to complete required assignments outside of school. 

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USING TECHNOLOGY TO PERSONALIZE LEARNING IN MATH EDUCATION

Across the United States, school districts are spending large sums of money purchasing hardware such as tablets, laptops and desktop computers. Although hardware is an important component to the positive evolution of education, it is critical that schools and districts carefully determine which software applications to integrate with the hardware to maximize student achievement. The strategic benefit that certain software applications provide is the facilitation of a personalized approach to math education.

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5 WAYS FREE EDUCATION SOFTWARE COMES AT A HIGH COST

They say you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

But when it comes to software for K-12 schools and districts, maybe it’s time to start.

Why? If a software company wants to give its product away free to educators, that’s a good thing for schools, teachers and students, right? After all, there’s not a lot of money in education budgets these days. And if software companies — along with their visionary, deep-pocketed investors — now find it fashionable to give their products away for the sake of showing a large user base and good growth numbers, isn’t this a boon that works in educators’ favor?

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Is video-enhanced professional development worth the risk?

I had three years of public school teaching under my belt when I learned the importance of professional development.

For me, the lesson came in the form of a shared classroom with a master teacher. Thanks to the pedagogical skills she demonstrated and the feedback she gave on my teaching, I learned as much as her students that year.

Experience has taught me that this kind of personalized professional development is both the most valuable and the most highly sought-out among educators. Unfortunately, most teachers have never gotten the chance for such one-on-one professional development, much less to share a room with a master teacher.

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Make Connections Through Earth Science Week 2014

Land. Water. Air. Life. We often study them as independent, separate things. But these systems are inextricably connected. By deepening our knowledge of interactions of earth systems — geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere — Earth Science helps us manage our greatest challenges and make the most of vital opportunities.

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INTERNATIONAL CODE COUNCIL OFFERS TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS CERTIFICATE PROGRAM

Do the students in your building construction classes know the maximum stair riser height, the live load used to calculate the floor system in a livingroom, do they understand egress and fire separation, know how wind loads affect a structure and understand how geographical regions across the country regulate building design? Do your students know that termite infestation, topography, temperature, wind speeds, seismic and ground snow loads all play a part in constructing a safe and sustainable structure? We can provide thousands of examples in all four major disciplines - building, electrical, mechanical (HVAC) and plumbing.

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AN EFFECTIVE SYSTEM SOLUTION FOR STEM EDUCATION

According to the 2013 PISA study of 15-year old students, The United States is ranked 30th in the world in math and 23rd in science. While U.S. scores have not improved since 2003, many other countries are making significant progress. The math scores of students in Shanghai show that they are “the equivalent of over two years of formal schooling ahead of those observed in Massachusetts, itself a strong-performing U.S. state.”

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PRIVATE INVESTMENT IN PUBLIC EDUCATION

How would your school district use an extra $1,850,000 in private support? Would you renovate a media center, create computer labs, improve sports facilities, and bring in extra resources to assist with early literacy efforts, or create a support system for graduating high school students to pursue post-secondary education? 

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Crowd-funding creates student achievement ‘one dollar at a time’

Crowd-funding; the term has created a lot of buzz in recent years. We all have heard about the struggling actors funding their film projects online, or the local coffee shop that kept its doors open when the community pooled their money together – but what place does crowd-funding have in the classroom? More and more, teachers and administrators are turning to the Internet to equip their classrooms with the best resources and ensure students have essential tools that budget cuts have taken out of the equation.

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THE FOUNDATION OF MY CAREER IN TENNIS: PHYSICAL FITNESS

While many people remember the tennis tournaments and championships that I have won in my playing career, it’s important to realize that the foundation for my success was my lifelong commitment to being physically fit. I also want to be remembered for displays of sportsmanship that I tried to bring to the profession of being a tennis playing professional.

It goes without saying that one of the keys to my success in tennis has been my ongoing commitment to physical fitness. 

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SMART SNACKS IN SCHOOL

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to work towards improving the health of today’s school environment. Changes to school meals have offered students healthier school lunch options, including dairy foods, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The new Smart Snacks in School standards will expand on the improvements and guarantee that children are offered only tasty and nutritious foods during the school day.

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MOVE TO IMPROVE Increasing Physical Activity In Your Schools And Community

(This is the last of a three-part series about activating the brain and body through increased physical activity in our school systems.)

There is a lack of physical activity with an overemphasis on standardized testing in U.S. schools today. 

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Loggerhead Marinelife Center

“Paging Dr. Ella!” At Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC), a sea turtle research and rehabilitation facility nestled along Florida’s east coast in Juno Beach, this is a common sound in the Children’s Research Station. 

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A CANNON BLAST Of Curriculum for All Ages

As educators, we strive to make learning fun for students, even when they struggle to see light at the end of the homework tunnel. Yet, in those rare but rewarding moments when you witness a student come to the realization that it is possible to simultaneously learn and have fun— well, that’s the magic we as educators constantly seek. And in St. Augustine/Ponte Vedra, that magic is everywhere.

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Learn to be a zookeeper, take a shower of butterflies — experience Gainesville

Nearly 30,000 people a year come through the gates to visit a unique site on the Santa Fe College campus — a teaching zoo. The program is the premier wild animal technology program in the United States and the students learn what it will take to become a zookeeper. The animals range from alligators to tree climbing kangaroos, which, oddly enough, are not really great climbers. Each trip to the zoo comes with a guided tour led by one of the students. The lush tree canopy makes the zoo a year round attraction great for all ages.

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The Florida Aquarium Education Program

Since opening in 1995, The Florida Aquarium has been delivering marine science and environmental education programs to visiting guests, the community, and of course, school kids! Each year the aquarium hosts approximately 75,000 school children. 

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Make a Quick Escape to AFRICA, ASIA OR AUSTRALIA

Fun is in our nature at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, the top-attended zoo in the southeastern United States. Over the last decade the zoo has been rated No. 1 by “Parents” magazine (2009) and “Child” magazine (2004) for providing a great variety of educational experiences for all ages and affordable family fun.

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STEM in Action at Coral Castle

Coral Castle’s educational mission is to assist educators and students with curriculum supported activities and professional development that improve and enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) literacy.

As supporters of education, we are aware of the critical importance STEM plays in the future of our community, the nation and global society. Our educational program encourages problem solving, creativity, critical thinking and innovation. 

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THE KEYS TO LEARNING The Florida Keys

A necklace of islands that begins just south of Miami, the Florida Keys are connected by the Overseas Highway’s 42 bridges — one almost seven miles long — over the Atlantic Ocean, Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. In 2009, the famed highway was designated an All-American Road, the highest recognition possible under the National Scenic Byways program established by the United States Congress.

The Florida Keys is divided into five regions: Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine and the Lower Keys, and Key West. Each region has its own special flavor, and attractions including historic museums, flora, fauna, fishing, diving, watersports and some of the most unique learning experiences found anywhere in the world. When planning your Florida Keys field trip, consider the following adventures.

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Successful Student Travel Starts with Selecting the Right Educational Travel Company

Choosing to Travel

Imagine — the moment has finally come. You and your students are about to embark on an educational trip to some of the world’s most notable and historic destinations. For months your classroom has been abuzz with talk of all the sites you’ll get to see in real life and of the unique experiences your students wouldn’t otherwise have inside the classroom. You realize, in order to make this vision a reality, you’ll need the help of an educational travel company.

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GOING UP UP UP ON NEW ENGLAND’S MOUNT WASHINGTON COG RAILWAY

The adventure on the world’s first mountain climbing cog railway begins at Marshfield Base Station. Buzzing with all of the activity a person would expect to encounter in an operating train station, one of the first sights a visitor to the railway will encounter is the brightly painted engines and historic coaches, jockeying for position on the platform.

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The High Museum of Art Offers HIGHly Engaging Teaching and Learning

What do a sushi couch, an African mask, a Byzantine painting, a marble sculpture and a painted bicycle have in common? They are all part of the High Museum of Art’s diverse permanent collection, which is on view every time you visit. Comprising 13,000 works of art, collections engage students and teachers while helping them open their eyes to the world.

Temporary special exhibitions bring great art to Atlanta and often the High is the only venue in which these works can be seen in the Southeast. Here are just a few of the exhibitions coming to the High in this fall. Cézanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art from the Pearlman Collection presents masterworks by Degas, Gauguin, Van Gogh, and Modigliani. 

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CHALLENGE BY CHOICE

Breaking down barriers and going outside your comfort zone are two obstacles that can be overcome mentally as well as physically. The ACE Adventure Resort in West Virginia offers an amazing amount of outdoor adventures from rafting and rock climbing to kayaking and team ropes courses that involve “peer support and accountability in decision making.” The fantastic thing about ACE’s plethora of activities is there is something for everyone — and for all ages.

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What’s new at old Henricus? A Living History Educational Museum

Henricus Historical Park—housing the recreated site of the second successful 17th century English colony in the New World —is working steadily to make 17th century Virginia history come alive, both by searching for the past and by re-creating it for visitors today and tomorrow. 

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CAN’T TAKE YOUR STUDENTS TO GREECE? VISIT “ALABAMA’S LITTLE CORNER OF GREECE”

Teachers from all over the southeast are discovering that Jasmine Hill Gardens and Outdoor Museum located near Montgomery, Alabama, makes Greek and Roman studies come alive for their students. Although the garden was founded in 1928, extensive changes were made prior to the Olympic Flame coming to Jasmine Hill in 1996 on its way to the Atlanta Olympic Games.

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A Group Outing to please everyone

When planning student and group excursions, sometimes it is difficult to please everyone with a diverse offering of possibilities, but not so in Berkeley County, South Carolina. Whether it’s educational programs, historical tours, outdoor activities, or just sightseeing and enjoying great cuisine, you can plan a trip to please everyone in the group.

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Technology Lends a Helping Fin for Children at the South Carolina Aquarium

Educators preach, “Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning,” and as modern society steadily marches into the Digital Age, the change of pace leaves many uncertain of what is in store for the future of formal education. The power of curiosity shapes learning, and the advancement of modern technology sparks this curiosity, particularly in youth. Children are driven by their innate inquisitiveness, and as upcoming generations continue to become more tech-savvy, technology holds opportunities to turn everyday experiences into learning opportunities.

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Regional Exhibits Help Horry County COME ALIVE

Housed in the Old Burroughs School located at the corner of 9th Ave. and Main in historic Conway, S.C., the Horry County Museum features a variety of local and regional exhibits.

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CREATE, EXPLORE, and DISCOVER at the Huntsville Museum of Art

The Huntsville Museum of Art brings people and art together by providing students a first-hand experience of original works of art through its permanent collection changing exhibitions annually. 

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Our Goal: to reinvigorate the spirit of American education.  The Southeast Education Network, through SEEN Magazine and www.SEENmagazine.us, presents resources, ideas and techniques to help educators become more effective while growing personally and professionally. SEEN Magazine is dedicated to educators, school administrators, and the education community.

Did You Know?

Technology in the Schools
14.1 million — Number of computers available for classroom use in the nation’s 114,000 elementary and secondary schools; that works out to one computer for every four students.

Languages
9.9 million — Number of school-age children (five to 17) who speak a language other than English at home. These children make up nearly one-in-five in this age group. Most of them (7.0 million) speak Spanish at home.

Teachers and Other School Personnel
6.5 million — Number of teachers in the United States. The bulk of them (2.6 million) teach at the elementary and middle school level.

School Enrollment
40% — Percentage of elementary and high school students who are minorities (i.e., people who are non-Hispanic white). This compares with 21% in 1970, when the crest of the baby boom was enrolled at this level of school.