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October 2016 Newsletter On Balancing Improvement & Innovation
By Tom Vander Ark
Education Week

Oct 17, 2016- The last two decades of standards-based reform were a series of improvement efforts with a focus on good teaching in every classroom. It included higher expectations with aligned curriculum, assessments and professional development. It left intact basic structures of age cohorts, the agrarian calendar and time-based courses and credits. Read more

Five Steps to Cultivate Service Leaders Through Community Service
By guest blogger Connie Rensink
Education Week

Oct 17, 2016- At the end of the school year, students in the Club We Can afterschool service club were asked what they had learned from their participation. Initial responses included statements like: * "Children in South Africa might not have water." Read more

Eight Reasons to Empower Girls in Schools
By Lyn Mikel Brown
Education Week

Oct 11, 2016- If ever there was a time to unpack the complexities of gender and power with K-12 students—girls in particular—this is it. In the past few months, public attention in the United States has moved seamlessly from sexist commentary in the Olympic Games, to a major news-channel executive's resignation over sexual-harassment allegations, to a presidential campaign that offers up daily helpings of misogyny. Read more

Standards-Based Learning: Why Do Educators Make It So Complex?
By Peter DeWitt
Education Week

Oct 14, 2016- Educators have the odd habit of taking simple ideas and making them inexplicably complex. Granted, there are always subtleties and nuances in education related to the varied contexts in which teaching and learning occur. But adding complexity to simple ideas often yields more confusion than clarity. Read more

Publicly Funded Child Care Gets New Health, Safety Guidelines
By Christina Samuels
Education Week

Sept 23, 2016- Child-care programs that receive public money will have to meet stronger safety and quality standards, under new rules for the Child Care and Development Block Grant released Friday.  Read more

Here's What We Know About the Next Generation Science Standards Tests
By Liana Heitin
Ed Excellence

August 31, 2016- Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards, and many plan to officially start testing students on those standards in the spring of 2018. But the tests are, for the most part, still in early development phases. And the question on many educators' minds is: What will the final tests look like? Read more

A Practical Guide to Evidence-Based Writing Across Subject Areas
By Linda Yaron
Education Week

Aug 7, 2016- The newly redesigned SAT is the latest example of the need for students to skillfully communicate evidence-based ideas across content areas. The “treacherous waters of effective evidence-based writing,” as a colleague recently referred to it, is far more intricate than might initially be expected. Read more

Orienting Students for Math
By John T. McCrann
Education Week

Sept 6, 2016- 'Tis the season for orienting. Around the country students and families are nervously walking into and through school buildings on "new student orientations." The word orientation, of course, predates this annual late summer rituals.  Read more

Redesigning Teaching and Learning: Individual or Systemwide Effort?
By Jill Berkowicz and Ann Myers
Education Week

Sept 6, 2016- Student engagement, project-based learning, interdisciplinary teaching and learning, inclusion, STEM, blended learning, online learning, writing across the curriculum, authentic learning and assessment, team teaching...all these goals and movements within education can become catchwords or overused phrases. Read more

An Effective Teacher Can Improve Student Learning Across the Grade, Study Finds
By Madeline Will
Education Week

Sept 16, 2016- A student's achievement is partially influenced by a teacher other than his or her own, a recent study found. When an effective teacher joins a grade-level teaching team, students' learning across the board improves as other teachers in the grade improve. Read more
D.C. charter enrollment continues to soar as more families choose public schools
By Alejandra Matos
Washington Post

Oct 25, 2016- Enrollment in D.C. public schools continues to climb, especially in the charter schools, according to unaudited numbers from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. The number of students in D.C. schools reached nearly 90,500 this school year, up 3 percent from the previous year. Read more

A Peek at the Senate Bill to Reauthorize Career and Technical Education Law
By Andrew Ujifusa
Education Week

Sept 16, 2016- Following the House of Representatives' lead, there's a new bill in the Senate to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act. But what's in it? And will it get the same smooth ride next week (when there's a hearing scheduled for the bill) that the bipartisan House rewrite received this week?  Read more

Report: STEM's Future Is Play, Inclusiveness, Lifelong Education
By Jackie Zubrzycki
Education Week

Sept 15, 2016- Learning about science, technology, engineering, and math is increasingly important—but right now, too many Americans don't have equitable access to great STEM education.  Read more

Is School Reform Hopeless?
By Emily Leayman
New York Times

Sept 14, 2016- Last week a Connecticut judge ruled that the educational disparities between rich and poor districts were so great and so persistent that the state needed to revise every major aspect of its school system. The problems he found exist throughout the United States. Read more

Next Target for IBM’s Watson? Third-Grade Math
By Elizabeth Harris
New York Times

Sept 27, 2016- It knew enough about medical diagnoses and literature to beat “Jeopardy!” champions at their game, and has been put to use in cancer wards. Now, an IBM computer platform called Watson is taking on something really tough: teaching third-grade math. Read more

Do teacher expectations matter?
By Nicholas Papageorge and Seth Gershenson

Sept 16, 2016- Researchers, policymakers, and education professionals alike tend to agree that it is important for teachers to believe in their students and to maintain high expectations about their students’ educational attainment. This is a key motivation underlying arguments to diversify the teaching workforce. Read more

Building block: D.C. task force to examine charters’ facility challenges
By Emily Leayman
Education Watchdog

Oct 26, 2016- As the city’s Cross-Collaboration Task Force of district and charter school representatives tackles mutual education concerns, members will soon address one of the most challenging aspects of opening and financing a charter in D.C. — school buildings. Read more

New D.C. Public Schools chancellor should protect charters, too
By Jay Mathews
Washington Post

Oct 23, 2016- Dear new D.C. Public Schools chancellor: If you had been around in 1998 when I was a reporter covering D.C. schools, you would have wondered, as I did, if charters could ever work in a city run by people so vehemently against them. Read more

D.C. improves graduation rate, but trails 50 states
By Emily Leayman
Washington Post

Oct 17, 2016- The District of Columbia has made strides to improve its graduation rates, but it still lags behind the 50 states. According to new data from the Department of Education, D.C.’s graduation rate was 68.5 percent in the 2014-15 school year. The national average is 83.2 percent, a jump from 79 percent in 2010-11. In bordering Maryland and Virginia, the rates are 87 and 85.7 percent respectively. Read more

Groups Issue Blueprint for Teaching Computer Science in All Grades
By Marva Hinton
Education Week

Oct 17, 2016- A group of computer science experts released a framework today for what K-12 students should know about the subject and what they should be able to do in the field.  Read more

D.C. EDUCATION BRIEFS: Public Charter Schools Improving
By Dorothy Rowley
Washington Informer

Oct 19, 2016- A newly-released citywide report shows public charter school quality continuing to rise. The report by the DC Public Charter School Board is a comprehensive look at education for public charter schools throughout D.C. that serve pre-kindergarteners to 12th-graders and for adult programs. Read more

U.S. fourth- and eighth-graders show gains on national science test
By Emma Brown
Washington Post

Oct 27, 2016- The nation’s fourth- and eighth-graders have made gains in science, and large racial achievement gaps have narrowed slightly, according to the results of a national science test released Thursday. In the test administered last year, girls improved faster than boys, narrowing the gender gap at the eighth-grade level and erasing it in the fourth grade. Read more

D.C. parents, officials seek to delay school nurse cuts
By Emily Leayman
Washington Post

Oct 27, 2016- As a parent of two, Gwendolyn Washington is happy that a school nurse is present at Shepherd Elementary four days a week. But the day the nurse wasn’t there, her three-year-old fell off a sliding board at recess. Teachers called Washington and her husband but did not give the child a bag of ice for his injury. Read more

Parents slam new D.C. schools health plan that could reduce nurse coverage
By Perry Stein
Washington Post

Oct 27, 2016- The D.C. Department of Health plans to change the way nurses are assigned to city schools, using a stricter formula to decide which schools get part-time nurses and which get full-time nurses as part of a push for more holistic child health care that focuses on preventive and community-based care. Read more
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