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Research Roundup

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on December 16, 2014

Outlook on instruction: Class around the clock District Administration Magazine 

The idea that all students can learn the same material through the same old teaching methods is slowly changing.  Today, students are becoming more empowered to shape how they learn.  The availability of technology resources such as individual laptops for each student make this vision easier for educators who are now able to direct individual attention to students working on different assignments.  With these technology advances making the classroom environment accessible 24/7, collaboration and discussion between students and educators is thriving.

Big Drop In Students Being Held Back, But Why? NPR Blogs 

The decline in the number of students who are held back nationwide has declined with much mystery surrounding the reasons behind the decrease. Little attention to measuring grade retention has contributed to the lack of knowledge. Researchers have identified two reasons for the phenomenon: holding students back is costly and incentives for schools and districts to improve their graduation rates are too great to prevent advancement. On the upside, some educators indicate the progress is due to more students being identified earlier and having their needs met before the gaps in learning become too wide. 

The Race Gap in High School Honors Classes National Journal 

In fall 2013, students entering the University of California averaged over a 4.0 weighted high school GPA. A GPA above 4.0 is achieved by advanced placement classes. Unfortunately, not all students have access to these courses and minority students especially are more likely to attend high schools that do not offer these advanced classes compared to their white counterparts. Read on for highlights about the differences in advanced placement and college prep courses by ethnicity. 

5 Critical Questions for the Innovative Educator Connected Principals Blog 

New technologies are constantly being introduced to classrooms to enhance learning.  It is often difficult to keep up with the latest without disrupting the student classroom.  This article gives 5 tips on how educators can stay focused on what is most important in the classroom: the student.  

Research Roundup

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on December 12, 2014

Online Bullies Pull Schools Into the Fray NY Times

Cyberbullying seems to be growing at a faster rate than in the past.  Laws and case rulings have been contradictory leaving school principals unclear as to what authority they hold in regards to behavior outside of school. Because of the ambiguity in laws, a strong disconnect is present between school authority and student freedoms and rights.  It is unclear whether school administrators or parents should be educating and disciplining students.  Views from parents range from one extreme-schools getting involved and punishing “bullies”- to another extreme-allowing the matter to be handled by parents. These two conflicting views make it difficult for policies or programs to be developed.

 

FACT SHEET: Invest in US: The White House Summit on Early Childhood Education Whitehouse.gov

Obama is pushing for Education expansion; the sooner children are exposed to high-quality education, the better.  He urges high ranking officials and the public to come to a consensus and aide in the development of education policies to help children attain early access to preschool.  Obama hopes effective discussions between all stakeholders will result in a higher quality preschool.  Over $1 billion, along with federal awards, is being invested into action plans for young learners. Read more to find where the $1 billion investment is being allocated and for next steps that align with Obama’s vision for education.  

 

Connecting SEL and the Common Core, Part One Edutopia

Are young adults really ready for college? New college students may feel anxious about finding new friends, managing homework, choosing a major and knowing how to manage leisure versus study time. This blog digs deeper into student emotional well-being by defining what it means to be “college, career, and contribution ready” and how schools need to connect the lessons of core classes to student emotional well-being and self-esteem.  

Social Media Threats Case Heard By Supreme Court - Implications for Schools

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on December 04, 2014

Social Media Threats Case Heard By Supreme Court - Implications for Schools

 

The Elonis v. United States case is bringing increased attention to the already complicated question of how to deal with school threats made on social media. The case, which is before the Supreme Court, involves a 27-year-old man who made threatening comments on Facebook about shooting up an elementary school. The specific question before the Court is whether, when someone is prosecuted for making threatening statements, the government should be required to prove that that person intended his words to be taken as a threat. The crux of the issue is whether one should have to prove a subjective element (that the speaker intended his words to be taken as a threat) or merely an objective element (that a reasonable listener would have understood the words as a threat -- a much lower burden). Proponents of free speech argue that "proof of subjective intent is required to ensure that protected speech is not chilled by the fear of criminal prosecution" (ACLU).

How the Supreme Court decides this case will have broad implications for how school administrators address threats made by students on social media outlets and impact how youth are treated when accused of such conduct.

Regardless of what standard of proof the Court deems appropriate, however, any standard that allows us to criminalize youth for their behavior on social media will likely do more harm than good. For this reason, although working to protect free speech is vitally important, when it comes to this kind of behavior by youth, arguing over whether the objective or subjective standard is appropriate misses the true issue at hand: how can we best prevent this type of behavior from occurring and work to remedy its harm as effectively as possible. 

Countless studies and data show that criminalizing cyber-bullying will not decrease bullying and will instead cause a less satisfactory school climate for all students, as well as significant harm to those students labeled "bullies," including perpetuating the school-to-prison-pipeline[1] (for a more detailed discussion of the issue of criminalizing cyber-bullying, see: New York's Cyber-Bullying Law Struck Down http://conta.cc/1vxFtzM). Similarly, the answer to dealing with school threats on social media should not be to put kids in jail. Instead, we should be focusing on prevention.

NSCC has been supporting prevention efforts specific to such social media concerns through our school climate measurement work and the creation of a new dimension that provides schools with data on the perceptions about social media behavior from key stakeholder groups - parents, students, staff - directly. In this way, we are able to support a more meaningful dialogue within the school community about how social media is being used - positively or negatively - and what can be done to promote online behavior that reinforces their core values and codes of conduct in all areas of school life. Ultimately, when schools are equipped with the right information, they can be more effective in prevention efforts related to mean, cruel or potentially harmful behaviors before they manifest as negative actions that require a more serious response from the administration or other officials. 

If the Supreme Court finds that an objective standard is proper in Elonis, it would make it easier to focus on punishment rather than prevention. This is the wrong approach. Our efforts should be spent working to prevent and remedy the underlying behavior instead of making it easier to criminalize the behavior and providing more opportunity to further crowd the school-to-prison-pipeline.

[1] R. Skiba, A. Cohn, & A. Canter, Zero Tolerance and Alternative Strategies, in  HELPING  CHILDREN AT  HOME AND SCHOOL  II: HANDOUTS FOR  FAMILIES AND  EDUCATORS, S4:103-S4:106 (A. Canter, L. Paige, et al., eds. 2004); National Association of School Psychologists, Zero Tolerance and Alternative Strategies: A Fact Sheet for Educators and Policymakers , NASP ONLINE, http://www.nasponline.org/resources/factsheets/zt_fs.aspx (last accessed April 24, 2014); American Psychological Association Zero Tolerance Task Force, Are Zero Tolerance Policies Effective in the Schools? An Evidentiary Review and Recommendations , AMERICAN  PSYCHOLOGIST, Vol. 63, No. 9, 852–862 (Dec. 2008) (hereinafter “Are Zero Tolerance Policies Effective in the Schools?” ).

 

Research Roundup Dec 1,2014

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on December 01, 2014

Bringing Education to African Girls   New York Times

Ms. Cotton was award the World Innovation Summit Education Prize for her role as founder of Camfed, an organization that has helped millions of young girls in sub-Saharan Africa. Through direct sponsorship to young women’s education, Camfed works to ensur girls remain in school. “Besides financially supporting students, the organization trains teachers, mentors and community activists. It has also created a 25,000-member network of Camfed graduates who use their own experiences to teach and advise their communities, something the organization calls a “virtuous cycle.”

 

What It Takes to Fix American Education The Daily Beast

“We’re spending way too much time focusing on who is ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ debates over education, and not enough on implementing proven solutions.” Jonah Edelman writes how education reform is not a quick fix, but a process that involves many long term changes. He believes students, teachers, and parents should all have a voice in the discussion. 

 

Sacramento City Schools Focus on Emotional Learning The Sacramento Bee

The school district of Sacramento is adding social learning to their curriculum for all grade levels. A teacher says, “The aim, is to move students toward responsible decision-making and making ethical and constructive choices about themselves and their social behavior.” Another questions, “It’s about what kind of future generation we are creating within our current set of students and what kind of world do we want to model for them? Social and emotional learning is at the heart of education. It has got to be. Otherwise we’re lost.”

 

IU Partnership Helps High School Students Learn Art of Film-making, Produce Movies The Republic

Susanne Schwibs, an experimental film professor at IU and Noel Koontz, a film literature teacher at academy decided to bring their classes together through service learning. “"When (IU students) learn and try to teach techniques to the high school students, they get a deeper understanding of what they themselves are doing," Schwibs said."Film-making is collaborative," Koontz said. He continues, "bringing the learners together helps to mimic the film-making process, and it gives his class a chance to try different kinds of techniques to create a narrative hands-on.”

 

Education policy lags behind research findings Boston Globe

There is new development in literature on how children develop skills that are crucial to academic and life-long success, and the development of the brain. The NIH study of a Chicago preschool program found that by age 24, children who participated in the program had lower rates of depression, violent crime and incarceration, and were more likely to attend four-year colleges and to have health insurance than children who did not participate in the preschool program. Learning requires that children be able to pay attention, be patient, persist, persevere, face their mistakes, and remain focused when frustrated. Each of these skills is rooted in the ability of children to understand, control and manage their own emotions.

17 Ways Schools Can Educate Parents About Bullying

By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on November 23, 2014

By Dr. Michele Borba

Twitter: @MicheleBorba

Blog: http://micheleborba.com/blog/

 

REALITY CHECK: A meta-analysis of over 600 studies on bullying found that a key to reducing peer cruelty is parent education.


I’ve worked in bullying prevention with hundreds of schools around the world as well as on 18 US Army bases and I find the same thing no matter where I am: parent education must be a component in effective bullying prevention. In fact, the sooner we engage and educate parents about the dynamics of bullying and the most effective strategies to reduce it, the better we can help all our children-bullies, targets and bystanders.

 

I’ve included 17 ways I’ve seen schools and communities involve parents in bullying prevention. I’ve learned that there is no right way to strengthen the home-school connection about bullying prevention. Home-grown and organic strategies are always better, and when students are involved it strengthens your efforts even more.

[Read more…]

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