Green Career Pathways

In 2007, Miles Ten Brinke and Morwenna Rowe joined a handful of other students at their high school. They were joining the PowerSave Schools program at their high school, an energy-saving effort to empower students to identify energy efficiency opportunities at their school to save money and protect the environment. 

Today they are both working in the energyfield. Read More »

Relevant Tags: Green Careers

Flexible Scheduling: Solving the Mystery

An eighth grade teacher made an appointment with the school principal to express concern about student behavior in her last period class. She bemoaned the students’ inattentiveness, inability to follow any abstraction in the lesson, and attention-seeking behaviors. As they continued their discussion, the teacher wondered if the students’ behavior was similar during the rest of the day. She reported that when discussing the problem in team meetings, the other teachers did not encounter the same difficulty in the students’ earlier class periods. She mused whether her experience with these students would be better if she were able to see them earlier in the day. Read More »

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Bok Tower Gardens connects and engages learners

“Over the mountains and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go” is a saying that has been chanted by children for many years as they engage in imaginary play. Here on the Lake Wales Ridge, we say “Let us climb Iron Mountain, go through the trees, and get to the grotto at Pinewood.” At this magical place, one can see hundreds of tadpoles in various stages of their metamorphosis. This is a great opportunity to discuss life cycles, habitats, and food chains.

The educational mission at Bok Tower Gardens is to connect and engage learners of all ages in quality programming that creates appreciation, knowledge and awareness of the environment, art, history and culture. We live by the words of Edward W. Bok’s grandmother, “Make you the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it.” In creating Bok Tower Gardens, Edward Bok was motivated with the belief that we, as human beings, have the opportunity to learn and enrich our lives by the simple idea that beauty is all around us. Read More »

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Sea to Stars, History to STEM in Hampton

Centered in Coastal Virginia and minutes from Williamsburg, Hampton offers students an experience that spans from the Sea to the Stars, with lots of unique material in between. At 400 years and counting, Hampton is rich in history and the city showcases its heritage through its multifaceted attractions and tour sites. Just launched, the 2013-2014 Education Program for the Virginia Air & Space Center and the Hampton History Museum is an effective guide for aligning your student tour with your lesson plans. Read More »

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FROM the EDITOR - Fall 2013

Time seems to quicken as I age. Wasn’t it just yesterday our students were getting out for summer? End of Grade testing. Saying their goodbyes. Family vacations. But where did summer go? Can they really be headed back to school already?

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Relevant Tags: FROM the EDITOR, Charles Sosnik, education, product, schools, children, language, school, from editor, fall 2013, pretend play, native language

Stop back-to-school classroom management problems before they start How to have a happier new school year

The time to stop classroom management problems is day one, week one, hour one of your new school year. Before you start the 2013-2014 school year, let me introduce you to some powerful school skills training classroom management strategies that can stop behavior problems before they start. These strategies deliver big results for a small investment of time. In as little as 30-60 minutes per day, you can pro-actively train your K-12 class members to become prepared, motivated students with the specific skills and positive attitudes they need to succeed in school.

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Relevant Tags: PROBLEM SOLVED, Ruth Herman Wells, Classroom Management, Back to School, Student Behavior, school, skills, classroom, lesson, management, problems, classroom management, skills training, management problems, new school

More authentic recognition...from the beginning

Academic coaches don’t know what athletic coaches don’t know they know — one of the most powerful recognition breakthroughs in our nation that was born on January 29, 1904! Historically it was about one year after the visionary Wright Brothers’ flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C. The impact of these two events has provided us with essential principles that revolutionized the world as we know it. At the end of the football season on that late January day, University of Chicago coach, Amos Alonzo Stagg, presented blankets to his players who had earned them, custom blankets with a Big “C” for Chicago ... the beginning of The Athletic Letter Man’s Club was underway. Coach Stagg was an American football coach who had the longest coaching career — 71 years — in the history of the sport. In 1943, at the age of 81, he was named college coach of the year, and he remained active in coaching until the age of 98. WOW!

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Relevant Tags: CELEBRATING IMPROVEMENT, Larry Biddle, Jostens Renaissance, school, improvement, students, recognition, education, academic, jostens renaissance, our nation, larry biddle

Provide support for student learning

In order for students to learn at more rigorous levels, we must provide appropriate support for student learning. A commonly held myth is that students should be able to do rigorous work on their own. However, if rigorous work is working at a new level of challenge above their current learning, it’s unfair to assume they can simply understand without any instruction or scaffolding.

Scaffolding and Support

Scaffolding and support should be built into every lesson, through strategies such as graphic organizers, modeling, think-alouds, and visual cues. But even with standard scaffolding, some students need additional help.

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Relevant Tags: Barbara Blackburn Ph.D., Rigor is for everyone, Scaffolding, Support, students, support, learning, effective support, rigorous work, student learning, scaffolding support

Important new findings Linking self-regulation, pretend play and learning in young children

Our Mission: To promote the principles of child development for all decision-making about young children.


The study of early childhood education has produced some extraordinary findings as of late. Many tenets of early childhood that we previously just knew or had a gut-level feeling for, now have research to confirm these beliefs; e.g., reading aloud to young children is good for them. For example, I have fond memories of my mother reading to me. 

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Relevant Tags: Early Childhood, Pretend play, Self regulation, Marcy Guddemi Ph.D., Gesell Institute of Child Development, children, play, research, development, executive functioning, pretend play, early childhood, young children, child development, self control,

Reading at five: why?

Kindergarten and preschool education in the U.S. have changed radically since the 1970s when I began teaching young children. The play-based, experiential programs of the past are rarely seen in kindergartens and are even disappearing from preschools now. Instead, hours are devoted each day to teaching young children reading, writing, and arithmetic and giving tests or preparing children for tests. Little if any time is given for play or other free choice activities.

When these changes first began to appear, I asked many kindergarten teachers why they were changing their curriculum. The most common answer was that parents wanted their children to read in kindergarten. Today this goal is strongly supported by many policy makers and school leaders and preschools are under pressure to prepare their children to be able to read in kindergarten.

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Relevant Tags: Early Childhood, Joan Almon, Alliance for Childhood, Reading at age five vs. age 6, children, education, reading, standards, kindergarten, play, third grade, early childhood, joan almon, kindergarten children

Why play is ‘brain food’ for young children

In a world of tests, curricula and standards, for even the youngest children, it is easy to forget the most basic learning task of childhood — play. Play is often seen by school administrators as a waste of time and is quickly being replaced with lessons, instructions and tests to ensure American children remain competitive in a fast-paced world. As educators, parents and policymakers debate and work to “fix” our broken education system, we should not lose sight of the benefits of structured and unstructured play and the amazing impact it has on a young child’s developing brain.

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Relevant Tags: Early Childhood, Erica Wilson Goldthorp, Pro Solutions Training, Brain development in young children, play, brain, education, connections, development, learning, brain development, problem solving, young children, erica wilson, wilson goldthorp

A quick introduction to Multi-Tiered Systems of Support in pre-K

Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) is a model of educational practice in which students’ responsiveness to the instruction they receive informs ongoing decision-making about the intensity of instruction they need. MTSS is a term used to refer to a combination of practices relating to academics response to intervention (RTI) and social-behavioral learning from the Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports( PBIS) model. MTSS is comprised of six key features common to both RTI and PBIS, according to Sugai and Horner’s (2009) review:

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Relevant Tags: Early Childhood, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support in pre-K, instruction, intervention, mtss, implementation, data, education, teachers, assessment, decision making, intervention instruction, mtss model

Public funding for early childhood education How it works now and in the future

School administrators concerned about the educational achievement of all children should lead and advocate for high-quality preschool programs, supporting them in their communities and operating them in their schools if the need and opportunity arise.

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Relevant Tags: Early Childhood, Larry Schweinhart, Highscope Educational Research Foundation, education, preschool, programs, childhood, early childhood, high quality, state preschool, childhood education, preschool programs

Interactive media — an educational publisher’s perspective

The role of interactive media in education — particularly early childhood education — is a matter of ongoing scrutiny and debate. Many educators champion the transformative potential of the digital frontier. They see new opportunities for personalized learning and individualized, student-centered approaches. While others sound alarms against the loss of real-world, hands-on learning experiences that they fear are being replaced with passive “screen time” and the virtual in place of the real.

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Relevant Tags: Early Childhood, Interactive media and young children, Erin Kinard, Abrams Learning Trends, learning, digital, interactive, media, tools, technology, interactive media, early childhood, learning experience, young children, educational content, childh

Are we keeping up with our schools?

School buildings are some of the most important buildings in society. They are centers of the community, as they bring families, neighbors and friends together. Every year, tens of thousands of students spend thousands of hours in these facilities that will help define their future. Yet, with systems, materials and components that are failing, or have already failed, a vast majority of the schools in our country are in a state of disrepair. These important building blocks of our society are failing; and this failure is having a direct impact on student success.

Every year, public school systems in the United States struggle to make available funding work. In the last decade, this funding has dwindled to the point that hard choices have had to be made at every level. One of the items that has been cut back severely is priority maintenance. Funding necessary to adequately care for aging facilities has never been enough, and deferring maintenance and upkeep of schools is a losing battle; the more items are delayed, the more it costs to repair and/or replace.

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Relevant Tags: School Environments, Rebuilding our nation's schools, Irene Nigaglioni, Council of Educational Facility Planners International, school, systems, learning, buildings, facilities, education, school buildings, school systems, energy efficient, 21st cent

Building the adapting school

School districts can create high performing, dynamic school buildings able to change moment to moment and over time that will enhance learning and elevate the human experience. There is however a lack of understanding of how to plan facilities to embrace a continual improvement process to reach long-term aspirations. 

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Relevant Tags: School Environments, Kerry Leonard, School design, learning, process, design, vision, facilities, continual improvement, design process, learning spaces, learning activities, school district

Planning for a new generation of learners

What should schools and districts know before building a facility?

As design professionals, how can we frame this question with a different lens and ask it in another way? What thoughts, concerns, ideals and aspirations do school districts have for their students that planners and designers should know prior to starting the process? You may not know the answer. You may not know how design can help realize your goals.

To achieve successful building design, there needs to be open dialogue throughout the process, with the active engagement, collaboration and participation of multiple constituents. Today, it is important to recognize that the planning and design process can be as unique as the students in class. We know not all students process information and learn the same way. The process for adapting or building a new facility should be viewed with the same perspective.

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Relevant Tags: School Environments, Planning for school design, Carisima Koenig, Kimberly A. Williams, education, design, learning, school districts, new spaces, new generation, higher education, design process

Space matters in the 21st century

In what we know as an academic setting, such as a classroom, typically the space is set up with desks, whiteboards, and shelves for books and supplies. In this space students are arranged in groups of about 25, by grade level, and synchronously listen to teacher-led lessons driven by curriculum they need for success in life. Also in this space, often times students worked quietly at their desks while teachers monitor and browse the rows to make sure they are studying. Transitioning from that classical academic setting to a 21st century learning space is not an easy task.

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Relevant Tags: School Environments, students, learning, school, classroom, academic setting, learning environment, desks whiteboards, classical academic, school environment

Outdoor learning environments

Outdoor learning environments and recreation areas in schools are essential for students. Now more than ever, schools need to provide children with a strong foundation of maintaining healthy physical fitness habits throughout their life span as well as discovering the world around them outdoors. No two children are exactly alike, thus the way in which each child learns best varies as well. Having both indoor and outdoor learning opportunities is the key to providing all children the ability to achieve success.

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Relevant Tags: School Environments, outdoor learning environments, children, learning, education, outdoor, environments, physical, play, outdoor learning, learning environments, physical education, strength endurance, physical fitness

Making the IEP meeting work: Using facilitators to bring the team together

“Historically, humans have found meaning in work, family, community and shared faith. They have drawn upon collective resources to do what they could not do alone. United efforts — raising a barn, shoring a levee, rescuing earthquakes victims, or singing a hymn — have brought people together, created enduring bonds, and exemplified the possibilities of collective spirit.”

— Bolman & Deal, “Leading with Soul”

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Relevant Tags: Administrator Resources, IEP meetings, education, meetings, members, facilitation, iep meeting, team members, iep team, meeting process

Communication with parents is a two-way street

The “Encarta” dictionary defines communication in part as: an exchange of information, a message, rapport. As I look at the definition, it sounds very much like a two-way engagement, a conversation, a two-way street.

We educators often take a one-way street approach to communication with parents. We know what we want to say. We’re familiar with the language we’re using. We can clearly express the thoughts we have, and we do so either verbally or in writing. However, we may be surprised when what we’re so clearly communicating is misunderstood or not heard at all. It’s easy to get frustrated with those on the other side of the communication, the parents. Why don’t they “get it?” What you said was very clear.

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Relevant Tags: Administrator Resources, Dr. Joni Samples, Family Friendly Schools, Parent Engagement, communication, parents, education, exchange information

Target: Success! Educating English learners in US schools Educating English learners in U.S. schools

The education of English learners has become a major issue in U.S. schools in the past two decades. Many schools which previously had no students who spoke a second language are now finding themselves flooded with students who are learning English. English learners (EL), particularly those who enter our schools in the early years, stand a better chance than at any time in history to be prepared to meet the rigor that they will face with the advent of the Common Core.

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Relevant Tags: English Language Learners, Anne Swigard, Educational Training Specialists, english, language, learners, education, native language, anne swigard, target success, learning english

Effective strategies for English language learners in mathematics

Teachers can best support English language learners by presenting them with challenging mathematics, encouraging the use of graphic models and representations, and addressing mathematical language. The implementation of these strategies will create a supportive environment, giving English language learners the tools needed to be successful in the mathematics classroom.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, children ages five to 17 who speak a language other than English at home rose from 10 to 21 percent of the population from 1980 to 2009 (NCES). As the number of English language learners rises in the United States, there is increasing concern about how to best address their needs in mathematics classrooms. 

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Relevant Tags: Educating English Language Learners in math, Think Through Math, language, english, mathematics, english language, graphic models, models representations, mathematical language, challenging mathematics

Applying early learning standards and language standards when assessing and instructing young dual language learners

The field of Early Care and Education has not been exempt from today’s world of educational accountability and its accompanying push to improve academic achievement for all students — including those who are learning English as another language. Since the Obama administration launched the Zero to Five Plan, interest and research regarding the importance of high quality preschool programs that are guided by Early Learning Standards (ELS) and measured in part by Kindergarten Entry Assessments (KEAs) has intensified. With its emphasis on “leveling the playing field for students of all backgrounds,” this federal initiative has pushed many states to develop or re-examine their state’s ELS to ensure that they do in fact “fit” the linguistic and cultural needs of all children, birth to five years, in early care and education programs.

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Relevant Tags: English Language Learners, Early learning standards, Language standards, Assessing dual language learners, WIDA, language, learners, education, development, english, dual language, language standards, early learning, learning standards, english langu

Systems Theory and Implementing the Common Core State Standards

We have heard many explanations of how the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) will affect America’s schools, from the need to radically modify curriculum around scope and sequence imperatives, to changes in instructional methods and assessment of student learning. For school administrators and classroom teachers, every new piece of information makes them realize how daunting CCSS implementation will actually be!

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Relevant Tags: Common Core State Standards, Stu Ervay, Curriculum Leadership Institute, curriculum, learning, state, teachers, academic, education, common core, state standards, curriculum council, board members

The Common Core of reading, writing and language development

Educators are in the information business ... not just imparting information, but also teaching the processes of acquiring, interpreting and conveying it. This movement of information is a process we know as communication. Communication is an integral part of our daily lives and involves the dynamic acts of gathering, exchanging and/or delivering information between individuals or groups.

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Relevant Tags: Common Core State Standards, Sylvia R. Cadena Smith Ed.D., reading, writing, development, language, learning, knowledge, language development, writing language, common core, cognitive skills, “acquisition cycle”

Misconceptions about Common Core state writing and language standards

Help! The Common Core ate my kid! Have you read the Writing and Language Common Core Standards? Do you think they are on track? Their mission is clear “The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers...”

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Relevant Tags: Common Core State Standards, Debra Kemp, Common Core in the news, standards, writing, education, language, common core, writing language, state standards, language standards

3 shifts in the math core = 1 big shift in teaching

Love it or hate it, willingly or force fed, we are taking a bite from the Core. Here goes the next big educational experiment. Are you ready? Whether you answered yes or no, take a minute to consider the following. The ideas in this article will help you along your journey to digesting the Core and quite possibly enjoying a piece of its fruit. For digestibility purposes, we will look only at the math side of the standards. First, we’ll look at what was wrong with state standards in an effort to see the “Why” of the Core. Then we’ll discuss the three major shifts in the mathematics section of the standards, and finally we’ll see the shift and opportunity that lies ahead for teachers.

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Relevant Tags: Common Core State Standards, Wynn Godbold, core, standards, teachers, math, education, state standards, common core, conceptual understanding, wynn godbold

When implementing reform, communication is the key

Common Core. Teacher evaluation. Career pathways. Here they come. Is everybody in your district on board?

If you’re being honest, the answer is probably no. While everyone is aware of these incredibly important reform issues, administrators are asking, “How do we get teachers, families and communities to understand, accept and buy into the changes?”

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Relevant Tags: Common Core State Standards, David R Voss, Voss and Associates, education, reform, teachers, voss, common core, voss associates, career pathways, reform efforts, teacher evaluation, reform communication, professional development

Change is coming: The impact of the next generation science standards The impact of the Next Generation Science Standards

For science teachers everywhere, change looms on the horizon. Inquiry-based learning strategies have begun to replace traditional lecture-driven courses, and more teachers see the benefit of student-led research projects. Academia now touts data corroborating the positive impact of these methods — the kind that involve students in genuine scientific practices — across K-12 science education. 

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Relevant Tags: STEM Education, Next Generation Science Standards, science, education, ngss, teachers, science standards, next generation, science teachers, stem education, lecture driven, practice science, framework document

HIRE education: STEM and the transportation industry

A recent survey from STEMconnector® and My College Options® showed one out of four high school freshmen indicated an interest in science, technology, engineering and math,(STEM). The study also showed 57 percent of these freshmen lost interest in STEM careers before their senior year. In addition, 60 percent of college students in STEM majors are graduating in non-STEM careers.

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Relevant Tags: STEM Education and the transportation industry, Universal Technical Institute, UTI, students, stem, education, career, technology, high school, transportation industry, stem education, auto technology, school counselors, technical education, secondar

Physics first!

Physics is often the last science taught in schools.

It really should be the first.

Obviously, I’m biased. I work at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, where I’m in charge of educational outreach. Basically, I spend all day, every day, in the service of the idea that physics is for everyone. But I’m also a former high school physics teacher, and I’ve spent a lot of time in all kinds of classrooms.

And in those classrooms, I’ve learned something. Kids, even little kids, love physics.

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Relevant Tags: STEM Education, Physics, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, physics, education, stem education, perimeter institute, theoretical physics

Getting a grip on technology and our schools

For the first 12 years of this century, American schools were so short of funding, some were asking parents to send toilet paper to school because the schools were unable to supply this staple.

All of a sudden, some school districts have enough money to make technology purchases in the millions of dollars at a time. It is encouraging to see schools re-gaining economic support and moving on with much-needed technology upgrades.

However, many educators, parents and other members of the public are alarmed by the order of spending, the directions of that spending, and the radical thoughts behind it.

This article is a call for a more thoughtful approach to technology acquisition and deployment in schools. It argues for keeping technology in perspective and doing the right thing for the right reasons.

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Relevant Tags: Technology and schools, Art Willer, technology, education, devices, ipad, mobile, learning, mobile devices, replace computers

Students as allies and advocates in creating the 21st century schools

Schools today are grappling with how to use digital devices and technology to create new learning opportunities for the 21st century. This is a profound task for many schools that touches every part of the learning mission. As part of the change process, there is usually a call for the inclusion of all stakeholder groups as a key factor in creating a sense of ownership and community support that will lead to success. Stakeholders from the community, business leaders, board members, parents, school administrators and staff are polled for their input, asked to attend meetings, draft plans, and finally to implement the plan. However, one group, the largest stakeholder group of all, is often not represented at all — students.

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Relevant Tags: Technology in schools, students, technology, community, 21st century, student involvement, learning opportunities

Life Safety, Security, and Operational Conflicts

Our world is full of threats. The buildings and systems we interact with

everyday are designed to limit our exposure to the risk of fire, bodily harm and other such threats. We tend to take for granted many of the safety features afforded us by these systems, but nevertheless they influence our daily lives.

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How to stop school violence Components of a comprehensive program

One of the most pressing questions in schools today is, “How can we stop school violence?” We know from experience that violence in the workplace can be drastically minimized. How about schools? While, violence in schools cannot be 100 percent prevented, there is one approach that has been astonishingly successful that can be emulated in school settings.

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Relevant Tags: School Security, violence, program, education, security, workplace, school violence, domestic violence, violence program, threat response, potential violence, school security, workplace violence

Technology for All Seasons: Learning Leads the Way

Nestled in the heart of eastern Kentucky with a total population of under 5,000, Owsley County is one of the smallest counties in the state.  The county’s rural roads present a particular challenge during the course of a typical winter when the public schools are sometimes closed for 25 or 30 days because of snow and ice.  In such years, many of the district’s 750 K-12 students experience not only an academic “summer slide,” but a troubling “winter slide” as well, notes Owsley County Public Schools Chief Academic Officer Paul Green.  For a district that already has a 56 percent high school graduation rate, that’s a huge concern. Read More »

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Security 101 for the school administrator

The recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in a small town in Connecticut has brought with it a lot of introspection about what could have been done to better protect these children and the adults charged with their care. School boards and schools administrators everywhere are now facing parents who want to know what is being done at their school, regardless of location, to protect their children.

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Relevant Tags: School Security, security, procedures, education, technology, security measures, security system, fence gates, school boards, school administrators, security program

Counting the seconds to safety

American Psychologist magazine recently addressed the issue of violence in schools in “Understanding and Preventing Violence against Teachers,” published online in January and in its February–March print edition.

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Relevant Tags: School Security, school, safety, technology, education, monitoring, police, response, monitoring center, personal safety, sos response, subscriber’s smartphone, seconds count

Campus safety and security of the future — beyond a duty of care

Successful institutions have survived and sometimes thrived by anticipating, navigating and mitigating a myriad of hazards, risks and emergencies over multiple generations. Brand reputation perception, and risk outcomes, arguably including quality of education, may be traditionally linked to a safe and secure campus. Personal physical safety and logical security hazards increasingly influence perceptions of learning and working environments for students, teachers and staff. Effective institutional risk and uncertainty management performance often offers peace of mind for all stakeholders including parents and host communities.

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Relevant Tags: , security, students, safety, schools, campus, risk, education, safety security, students faculty, situational risk, new technologies, campus safetySchool Security

Cyberbullying and school liability

Not a day goes by that we are not introduced to a new product or service that enhances our ability to communicate, work, play or learn via the Internet. The speed of technical innovation is often breathtaking leaving educators racing to catch up to the “early adopters.” Unfortunately, as these technologies enter into the mainstream of our society, finding their way into our schools, they may also introduce a “dark side” that disrupts the ability to keep our students and teachers safe. Witness the growing backlash to the recent launch of Google Glass, an innovative, wearable computer product that allows users to connect to the Internet, record video and post pictures. While a technical marvel, dozens of articles have been posted in just the past week arguing the right to privacy — fear of potential abuse and electronic harassment — versus First Amendment rights. How will our policies address this product as it enters our schools? What new liabilities will we face?

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Relevant Tags: School Security, school, product, education, cyberbullying, online, cyberbullying school, students teachers, digital abuse, school liability

Bully box, meet the Smartphone New technologies transform anonymous reporting

Increasingly, new laws and court rulings hold that educators may be responsible for incidents that impact school life but that happen outside of school hours. Today’s educators must address challenging issues such as bullying, cyberbullying, violence, assault, and more. Anonymous reporting programs are increasingly being implemented to help solve these problems by creating more visibility on what may be happening outside of the school day.

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Relevant Tags: School Security, school, reporting, anonymous, students, education, mobile, bullying, anonymous reporting, bully box, mobile devices, reporting programs, reporting system, cyberbully hotline

Best practices for supporting families, and yourself, during the college application process

Many of us associate the fall months with carving pumpkins, picking more apples than we could possibly ever eat, and coming to terms with the fact that yes, it is once again time to retire our flip flops for another season. Just as the winter boots make their entrance, so does the stress and anxiety that families and schools often sense as college application deadlines surface on the horizon. While I don’t feel that the college application process will ever be completely stress-free, there are steps that schools and families can take to make the experience easier for everyone involved.

Honesty is Always Best

Students are most likely to succeed in college when they are well prepared to manage the academic demands they will face. While most high schools offer numerous rigorous course options, encouraging students to challenge themselves is just the first step. As students are progressing through school, particularly middle and high school, we should be mindful of their academic performance, including their patterns of success and areas where improvement is needed.

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Relevant Tags: Student Careers, college, students, application, application process, college application, financial aid, best practices

A meaningful and planned entrance into the hospitality industry

As high school students matriculate into their final years of secondary education, many turn their attention to future aspirations and careers. This article focuses on those students who are interested in a vocation in the hospitality industry, also known as culinary arts. I will; however, make a distinction that culinary arts focuses more on the food production aspect, whereas the term hospitality refers to a more holistic perspective of the industry as a whole.

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Relevant Tags: Student Careers, hospitality careers, culinary careers, industry, hospitality, education, college, hospitality industry, high school, internship site

Agriculture careers have exploded

Go to school, get a job. That age old mantra of parents everywhere has taken on a ring of desperation in recent years, with horror stories of college grads finding employment prospects only at their local Starbucks and long-time workers being hit with temporary layoffs that stretch into years.

So where are the jobs? One place is agriculture. Far from its roots of farming, agriculture has exploded over past decades to include more than 16 million jobs — about one in every 12 here in America, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. And the opportunities aren’t going to diminish any time soon. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Employment Opportunities for College Graduates publication estimates that there will be more than 54,000 job openings annually between now and 2015 for those with baccalaureate and advanced degrees in agriculture.

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Relevant Tags: Student Careers, agriculture, education, students, science, careers, high demand, west caldwell, agriculture careers

The missing ingredients in education: Purpose and passion

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

In his bestselling book, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” neurologist and psychiatrist Victor Frankl maintains that asking about the meaning of life as a whole, is the wrong question. He proposes that we ask a subjective question instead: what’s the meaning of my life? Meaning is different for each individual. To provide life with meaning we need to find our individual purpose and fulfill it at any given moment. For Frankl, purpose is something innate within the individual, something that each person possesses by definition of the fact that they exist.

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Relevant Tags: Social and Emotional Learning, purpose, education, youth, belief system, motivating belief, meaning life

Redefining behavior The importance of understanding behaviors and providing practical solutions for teachers of students with disabilities

Each year there is a growing awareness of, and emphasis on, the inclusion of students with disabilities into the general education population. While the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) does not specifically define the term, “inclusion,” IDEA does require school districts to place students in the least restrictive environment (LRE) and to educate students with disabilities in the regular classroom with appropriate aids and supports.

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Relevant Tags: Social and Emotional Learning, students, education, disabilities, classroom, learning, behaviors, general education, sensory processing, jacob ryan, redefining behavior

Classroom management: An ecological model

Help Wanted! Teachers prepared to manage students’ limited behavioral readiness for school. This national dilemma reflects students’ changing family structure, shifting social cultural factors, and problems with academic achievement. Regardless of their socioeconomic status, a majority of communities are anticipating a steady increase in the percentage of students displaying inappropriate school conduct. This trend profoundly impacts schools’ mission to educate students, especially as common core standards are implemented to enhance learning.

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Relevant Tags: Social and Emotional Learning, students, behavioral, social, management, education, rules, classroom management, pro social, ecological model, class rules, management ecological, social behavior, social emotional

Is behavior part of your building plan?

The role of the building principal is a challenging responsibility that incorporates characteristics, behaviors and actions that are difficult to isolate and define. In addition to being the instructional leader, principals develop policies and procedures, manage staff, support students and develop strong relationships with parents and the community. Within the context of school improvement and accountability, the role of the principal has expanded and evolved in response to the demands of mandatory assessments, teacher evaluations, concerned parents and struggling students. Researchers and policy makers continue to investigate the characteristics and key activities that define effective principals. Recent landmark research commissioned by the Wallace foundation identifies five practices that effective principals engage in. Great principals:

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Relevant Tags: Social and Emotional Learning, behavior, students, staff, expectations, building, education, behavioral expectations, positive behavior, behavior plan, pbis schools

Productive and peaceful schools: Solving conflict through self regulation Solving conflict through self-regulation

We are fortunate to live in a time when research and neuroscience provide concrete evidence to support an idea many have long felt to be true: Our relationship with our emotions shapes our brains, our potential for academic success and the health of all our relationships.

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Relevant Tags: Social and Emotional Learning, children, regulation, emotions, emotional, behavior, self regulation, our emotions, peaceful schools

The school-wide physical activity program

The goal of the school-wide physical activity program is to develop the skills and knowledge individuals need to lead a physically active lifestyle. Accomplishing this goal requires the commitment of the entire school, just like any other curriculum area. There are two aspects to a comprehensive school-wide physical activity program. One is the physical education program. The other is the school physical activity program. The following briefly outlines the two programs.

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Relevant Tags: Wellness, physical, education, activity, curriculum, program, assessment, physical education, physical activity, activity program, education curriculum, physically active, curriculum resources

School junk gets overhaul: USDA sends mixed messages USDA sends mixed messages

Would you believe that the USDA has not updated its school snack rules since 1979?

Under the current guidelines, foods of minimal nutrition value (or “FMNV”) cannot be sold in food service areas during meal periods but may be sold anywhere else in a school at any time. FMNV are defined in federal regulations as having less than five percent of the RDA per serving for eight key nutrients and include soft drinks, water ices, chewing gum and certain sugar-based candies like jelly beans.

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Relevant Tags: Wellness, school, foods, education, rules, product, competitive foods, meal programs, federal meal

Childhood obesity: What are we doing to fix it? What are we doing to fix it?

Childhood Obesity is an American epidemic. In America’s South, a region often plagued with fast food and processed meals, the children are feeling the effects of unhealthy eating as one in three are overweight, while 15 percent are obese (Center for Disease Control [CDC], 2010). One of the issues concerning the epidemic is that both children and parents don’t recognize poor eating habits. Making a change requires available information and resources. To allow the South to improve its eating habits and to fight obesity directly, the change in available foods and healthy eating has to start at home, in supermarkets and schools.

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Relevant Tags: Wellness, foods, kids, children, habits, education, obesity, eating habits, healthy eating, healthy foods, childhood obesity, field trip

ADA laws and tour operators

As an active member of the Student Youth Travel Association (SYTA), I am very proud to announce that our organization successfully travels hundreds of students with disabilities each and every year as do many SYTA active members. This group includes students with mobility limitations, vision impairments, and life threatening allergies, just to mention a few conditions covered under these important laws. We do this not because we have to, but because it’s the right thing to do. We believe students with disabilities deserve access to the same programs as any other student without a disability would have. We believe as most SYTA members do that student travel bridges cultural and political borders through education and exchange, making the world a better place for future generations. That belief is not intended for only those that can walk, talk, and hear as most of us can. Our mission is to provide the opportunity for everyone, no matter what their physical abilities are.

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Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, ada, education, laws, tour, ada act, tour operators, ada laws

The Virtual Field Trip Evolved, incredible and affordable

With the explosion of technology in our schools virtual field trips are capable of “plugging the gap” in experiential learning. Technology in creating/viewing virtual field trips has evolved as well — more capabilities, using less tech resources and available on more devices. If the students can’t come to the museum/mountain, virtual field trips can be used to bring the museum/mountain to the classroom.

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Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, virtual, education, product, video, technology, virtual field, field trips, experiential learning, 36° photography, video conferencing, video tours

Busch Gardens: A playground of education, exploration and experimentation

Inspiring students to explore, learn and grow has to be one of the greatest joys of being an educator. Teachers provide the tools of exploration to young minds and motivate them to take classroom concepts to real-world experiences. Here at Busch Gardens, not only do we offer 422 acres of thrilling rides and coasters to entertain kids and kids-at-heart, we also offer a playground of education, exploration and experimentation. From our latest animal interaction tour — Birds of Prey Up-Close™ to our STEM programs in partnership with NASA, Busch Gardens offers students the opportunity to take classroom lessons and apply them in a fun and thrilling environment.

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Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, busch, gardens, education, tour, product, learn, busch gardens, birds prey, education exploration, exploration experimentation, playground education, gardens playground

Henricus Historical Park 17th century life in one of America’s earliest colonies

Leave the 21st century and walk through the palisade walls and gates of the Henricus fort of 400 years ago; follow the path to the Corps du Garde where you will be challenged by a soldier tending a cook fire and prepping his musket for the day’s drills. The blacksmith is starting the fire in his forge; the goats, pig, chickens and cats are being fed at the planter’s house; tobacco is being sowed in the field. The new “stately church” to be built of brick has begun; Powhatan Indians come from their nearby village and fields to trade corn and hides to the English for metal tools and copper.

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Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, henricus, education, historical, james river, henricus historical, historical park, 17th century

The history and drama of Abingdon, Va.

The Town of Abingdon is home to the most famous stage in Virginia, the Barter Theatre. Barter was founded on the idea that live theatre is important to the cultural life of the community. So important, in fact, that when it opened its doors in the midst of the Great Depression, patrons could buy tickets with produce or livestock. Eight Decades later, this heritage is celebrated with at least two performances a year when patrons can barter for their tickets with donations of canned goods for a local food bank.

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Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, abingdon, barter, education, trail, theatre, barter theatre, cultural life, daniel boone, history drama, experiential learning

Bridge Walk: Spanning the gap between adventure and education

The New River Gorge and the surrounding areas offer some of the best outdoor recreation and adventure activities found anywhere in the United States. One of the most unique of these activities is Bridge Walk, a guided stroll within the structure of the New River Gorge Bridge. This tour of one of the world’s largest and well known man-made objects not only arouses the senses with breathtaking views and the exhilaration of being over 800 feet above the river, but it includes an educational component that separates it from so many of the other activities in the area.

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Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, bridge, education, river, gorge, adventure, bridge walk, gorge bridge, united states

Embark on Marco Polo’s legendary Silk Road Journey in new exhibition at Fernbank Museum

Atlanta’s Fernbank Museum of Natural History brings the incredible 13th century travels, experiences and legends of Marco Polo to life in the special exhibition Marco Polo: Man and Myth, on view from Sept. 28, 2013 - Jan. 5, 2014. Making its North American premiere at Fernbank, Marco Polo: Man and Myth highlights his epic 24 year journey from Venice to China along the Silk Road.

Students will learn that Marco Polo was far more than the inspiration for a game played around the pool. The exhibition introduces Marco and his experiences along the 13th century Silk Road, a vast and ancient network of routes extending from Asia to Europe. The son of a family of merchants, he set out from Venice in 1271 with his father and uncle on a trade voyage that would push the boundaries of the world as it was then known. This major exhibition includes rare and extraordinary objects from private collections and museums in Italy to reveal the cultural practices, artistic traditions, unique landscapes, and unusual animals he witnessed.

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Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, marco, polo, education, exhibition, fernbank, marco polo, fernbank museum, silk road, 13th century, polo myth, natural history

Horry County Museum School groups discover the history of the Grand Strand

Visit Horry County, South Carolina for beach vacations, camp grounds, golf trips, fine dining, outlets stores, theme parks and the most modern tourism amenities available on the east coast. If these are the things that come to mind when you think of Horry County then you have got it right. But, when you think of Horry County do you also think of Waccamaw Indians, turpentine and naval stores, Gullah Gee Chee culture, Revolutionary war heroes, historic small towns, thriving agriculture traditions, rivers and swamps, and local arts and culture? If you don’t, then you still have a lot to learn about Horry County, South Carolina.

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Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, horry, museum, farm, education, history, horry county, natural history, south carolina

History, science, literacy and more on board the USS Yorktown

The Institute of History, Science and Technology is proud to announce the fall release of the newest edition of the “Oscar I am; Harry I Was” reading series. This original two-part work will be separated into two individual books. These literacy-infused textbooks are written to “spark” students’ interest in history and science while motivating them to read for fun.

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Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, history, students, science, education, patriots, teachers, history science, patriots point, uss yorktown, fifth grade

Berkeley County, S.C. Where history meets adventure

Berkeley County is the ideal place for educational groups seeking adventure and history in non-traditional forms.

If history is your thing, the Old Santee Canal Park should definitely be on the must-see list! Learn about the first true canal in America located on 195 acres, see the first semi-submersible torpedo boat, CSS Little David, that was built right here on the plantation.

Enjoy enriched educational experiences at the Old Santee Canal Park. The park, which sits on the historic Stony Landing Plantation, was an important site for trade and transportation since colonial times. You will find a 19th century plantation house, four miles of boardwalk that brings you face-to-face with nature, brilliant at any time of the year. The canal bed can actually be seen at Biggins Swamp. Our impressive 11,000 square foot Interpretive Center tells the story of the engineering feat of digging a canal from the state’s midlands to the Cooper River. The Interpretive Center houses cultural and natural history exhibits, an interactive computer, live snake exhibits and more. Two theaters feature nature and history films.

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Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, berkeley, history, education, park, berkeley county, old santee, santee canal, canal park

From the American Revolution to the Industrial Revolution and Farming Sea Experience Savannah’s Cultural Heritage

The Coastal Heritage Society of Savannah, Georgia, operates five different historic sites. Each offers a number of hands-on interactive programs that lead to discovery and understanding of our American story. These programs, based on current social studies curriculum standards, explore aspects of the coastal history from the American Revolution to life in the 20th century African American community of Pin Point. The mission of the Coastal Heritage Society (CHS) is to preserve the cultural heritage of coastal Georgia and to provide relevant educational and experiential programs. To that end, the society operates four National Historic Landmark sites: Old Fort Jackson, Battlefield Memorial Park, the Georgia State Railroad Museum and the Savannah History Museum. Since September of 2102, CHS has operated the Pin Point Heritage Museum.

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Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, savannah, georgia, american, heritage, museum, revolution, coastal, pin point, american revolution, fort jackson, heritage society, coastal heritage

Loggerhead Marinelife Center Virtual field trips teach students ocean conservation with a focus on threatened and endangered species

STEM has become a common acronym for the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Loggerhead Marinelife Center, a non-profit organization nestled along Florida’s east coast in Juno Beach, Florida, embraces the science sector of STEM. The center offers various weekly educational programs, along with free admission to over 215,000 visitors annually, with many of them being school-aged children. The center’s mission is to promote conservation of Florida’s coastal ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. The campus sits adjacent to one of the most densely nested beaches in the world for loggerhead sea turtles, with three species of sea turtles returning to Juno Beach to lay their eggs every year.

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Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, education, sea, loggerhead, marinelife, turtle, sea turtle, loggerhead marinelife, marinelife center, juno beach, field trips, sea turtles, ocean conservation

St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city

St. Augustine, Florida has been known for years as the Nation’s oldest city. Settled by Spain in 1565, the town is more correctly termed as the Nation’s oldest continuously inhabited European settlement. Fifty-five years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock and 42 years before England’s founding of Jamestown, St. Augustine was an important and thriving outpost protecting the routes of the Spanish treasure fleets as they made their return to Spain while laden with the riches of the New World. Still located on the northeast coast of Florida, the town now boasts an historic Latin charm in a quaint natural setting that attracts school groups, families and couples alike.

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Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, augustine, education, park, spring house, discovery globe, fountain youth, ponce leon’s, native american

St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum Where science and maritime history come together to create hands-on project based STEAM learning experiences

St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum’s (SAL&M) K-12 programs and tours focus on a broad range of maritime topics as they relate to Florida, the country, and the world! Using program content that meets Common Core and other state and national curriculum standards, all of our programs incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM)-based activities and lessons in all educational programming.

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Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, education, lighthouse, learning, augustine, augustine lighthouse, lighthouse museum, archaeological research, artifact conservation

Explore St. Tammany Parish

Explore Louisiana’s Northshore and discover experience learning at one of the area’s top field trip destinations, where students and teachers alike find adventure in our outdoor classrooms and unique educational opportunities. Louisiana’s Northshore is located a short, 45 minute drive from New Orleans across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway — an engineering feat and the longest bridge over water in the United States. Louisiana’s Northshore is also just one hour away from the Mississippi Gulf Coast beaches and the technology education programs of the Stennis Space Center, as well as the historic plantations of Baton Rouge, making the Northshore an ideal location for hub-and-spoke tours.

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Relevant Tags: Experiential Learning, education, northshore, educational, tours, wildlife, field trip, tammany parish, outdoor classrooms, louisiana’s northshore, unique educational, island swamp

Our Goal: to reinvigorate the spirit of American education.  The Southeast Education Network, through SEEN Magazine and, 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.