Ambitious goal for music teacher: Raise $50,000 to fund CPS orchestra
For orchestra leader and teacher Arturs Weible, music is a gift he gives students at Chopin Elementary School so they can escape the realities of life while building a skill that could take them beyond their Humboldt Park neighborhood.

It is why he puts in long hours after school, helping his young students perfect classical melodies, and why he is devoted to obtaining string instruments for them, caring for those delicate violins, violas and cellos and making sure they are properly stored year after year.

Now, Weible is taking on a new project. He's trying to raise $50,000 to privately pay for his students' orchestra program. Although the program at Chopin has been funded this year, Weible worries that he can't continue to depend on the Chicago Public Schools system for financing.

He hopes he can rally enough donors to eventually keep the orchestra going independently.

"Every year we rely on the school's discretionary fund, which is shrinking," Weible said. "My goal is to take the onus off of Chopin's budget and relieve the school of the burden. I have to face the fact that because of budgetary cuts something could eventually be phased out and that could be the orchestra."

"Our ultimate goal is to not ever cost the school any money," he added.  >>READ MORE 
Rise in Penetration of Interactive Learning is a Key Market Trend
Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global Interactive Response Systems - Market Analysis 2015-2019" report to their offering.

Educational institutions are giving prominence to m-learning as it helps them deliver e-learning course materials to the handheld devices of students or to facilitate blended learning. Institutions are developing online learning content that can be accessed through mobile devices.

According to the report, educational institutions worldwide are encouraging the use of tablets and smartphones in classrooms to give an exposure to technology. This is being done through the concept of BYOD. Schools and colleges are increasingly adopting new teaching methods by involving devices in multiple areas such as basic research and assessment.

Further, the report states that the revelation of the data negatively impacts the learning of low performing students. The limitations to complex content creation for multiple quizzes are another factor acting as a hurdle to the growth of the market.  >>READ MORE
The Wizard of Oz comes to life at fantastical new playground
When visitors drive through Watkins Regional Park in Prince George's County, they may notice a few odd elements as they near the end of the grounds.

Faces appear in trees that otherwise stand tall and strong; sounds of musical chimes float through the air; and yellow bricks that sparkle in the sunlight replace the old concrete sidewalk.

A storybook sign under a rainbow arch reads, "Welcome: Home of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz."

Suddenly, the scenery makes sense.

Legs from the Wicked Witch of the West stick out from under Auntie Em's tornado-ravaged home; tall flowers and a farm tractor sit in the field of poison poppies; flying monkeys hang from the trees; and Oz's Emerald City towers above.

There's also a big red barn, a state fair, a giant ruby slipper, and of course, a scarecrow, a lion and a tinman - not to mention a handful of children running throughout.

The Wizard of Oz playground is the newest addition to Prince George's County's collection of 26 "imagination" themed playgrounds.  >>READ MORE 
Tootoot, set up by Michael Brennan in 2013, is an app through which pupils can send anonymous messages to counsellors and mentors, receiving guidance in return without the fear of repercussions from bullies.

With staff and peer mentors already in place at Oldham Hulme, which looks after over 1000 children between the ages of three and 18, the impact of Tootoot has been instantaneous.

"Within 24 hours of launching the app, we had two cases online and were able to deal with some concerns at once," said head mentor Hannah Plews.

"This powerful way of communicating has and will continue to have effective results in helping us help our students in their day-to-day lives.

"Even after such a short period of time we have already seen firsthand what Tootoot can do for students immediately and for years to come."

The app, which has also been rolled out at nine other Greater Manchester schools, was launched at the school last Wednesday as part of its week-long 'YOUnique' campaign raising awareness of personal issues.

Schools can sign up and enjoy 12 months free of charge, a generous trial offered by Brennan after he battled through personal experiences of bullying as a child.   >>READ MORE 
Lawmakers to teachers: Make your voices known
As a long weekend began for Utah students, hundreds of teachers met in Salt Lake City Thursday to consider innovative solutions to implement in their classrooms and to make their voices heard with lawmakers.

The first day of the Utah Education Association's annual convention included training for teachers, a look at innovative practices, and a discussion with state legislators. But a prevailing concern expressed by those educators was the feeling that parents and teachers are being left out of policy decisions that impact what goes on in the classroom.

"We should be trusting our educators," said UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh. "Parents are the first, most important teachers, so they need to be partners in that work. We need to get policymakers out of the business of micromanaging public education.  >>READ MORE 
First African American Female Astronaut Inspires Philadelphia Students  
A Philadelphia public school had a very special visitor on Wednesday, who brought an unusual message to motivate students. The Kearney School, in Northern Liberties, hosted the first African-American woman in space.

Dr. Mae Jemison is the prize in a contest called "Win a Day with Mae," sponsored by Bayer, to encourage science in schools. Kearney, with its arts-infused curriculum, might seem an unlikely winner but the astronaut's message made clear why it was the perfect choice.

"I wanted to be a dancer, I wanted to be an astronaut, I wanted to be an artist, I wanted to be a teacher, I wanted to be an architect, I wanted to do a restaurant..." Jemison explained to the students.

It wasn't about picking a career in science.
"I'm going to tell you: Choose the kind of person you intend to be. Find those qualities that you want to be and work on those," Jemison said.     >>READ MORE 
Bobby Blue Blows Big Blue Bubbles.

The Big Beautiful Blue Balloon Burst.

Cooks Cook Cupcakes Quickly.

Brittany Blue Berry Bounced Blue Balls.

Connie Cane Cream's Clean Classy Car.

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Children who read bedtime stories with math questions boosted their math learning skills, a new study out of the University of Chicago says.

Apart from boosting student achievement, the math stories also helped math-anxious parents become more comfortable discussing math problems at home, which in turn can further boost student progress at school. 
St. Mary's students traveled to Pebble Beach Friday, Sept. 25 to participate in a unique sports-related STEM forum. 

In conjunction with the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, Chevron created the STEM Zone. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

The Chevron STEM Zone is a unique, hands-on and interactive warehouse-style environment built to inspire students to inquire about the science of sporting events.
U.S. Department of Education Awards More Than $13.7 Million in Grants to Predominantly Black Higher Education Institutions to Establish or Strengthen Their Academic Programs  
The U.S. Department of Education is awarding more than $13.7 million to 23 Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI) to establish or strengthen their higher education programs.

"Longstanding black institutions continue to educate and graduate some of our finest students and this country's future leaders," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. "The grants will help these institutions strengthen their programs as they continue preparing students to achieve their full potential in this competitive global economy."



M. H. West & Co., Inc.'s Chair & CEO, Marilyn West discusses current topics of interest every Monday in our free publication, Marilyn's Monday Morning Message (M4).