Digital Promise: League of Innovative Schools
The Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools is a unique national coalition of 46 public school districts and education agencies in 25 states that collectively serve nearly 3 million students. Through partnerships with start-ups, research institutions, and one another, League districts are committing to demonstrate, evaluate, and scale up innovations that deliver better results for students.

Too often, what's holding education back is an inability or unwillingness to break the mold of the 19th Century schoolhouse and harness 21st Century tools - data dashboards, personalized learning, "flipped" classrooms - that can transform the way we educate our kids. In other words, we've failed to harness the power of technology to empower teachers to teach and students to learn.


The good news is, a number of pioneering district and school leaders are committed to doing the difficult work of using technology to deliver results in the classroom. These leaders, the tip of the spear of innovators in American education, have come together to form the League of Innovative Schools. The League connects districts and schools with top universities and entrepreneurs, building a hotbed of innovation where we can demonstrate promising ideas, evaluate them rigorously and rapidly, and replicate what works - accelerating the pace of change in public education.  >> READ MORE 


Black students more likely to be suspended - even in preschool
Black students are more likely to be suspended from U.S. public schools - even as tiny preschoolers.

The racial disparities in American education, from access to high-level classes and experienced teachers to discipline, were highlighted in a report released Friday by the Education Department's civil rights arm.


The suspensions - and disparities - begin at the earliest grades.


Black children represent about 18 percent of children in preschool programs in schools, but they make up almost half of the preschoolers who are suspended more than once, the report said. Six percent of the nation's districts with preschools reported suspending at least one preschool child.


Advocates long have said get-tough suspension and arrest policies in schools have contributed to a "school-to-prison" pipeline that snags minority students, but much of the emphasis has been on middle school and high school policies. This was the first time the department reported data on preschool discipline.  >> READ MORE 

New tech education options abound for youth
It was a postcard-perfect Sunday afternoon, but the 30 kids at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science's Teen Tech Center were inside, focused on their virtual worlds. This time, though, there were no parent complaints about wasting time on video games - the kids weren't playing them, they were learning to build them.

The day's challenge to create a virtual theme park was part of CoderDojo, one of three coding clubs for kids started by Florida International University's School of Computing and Information Sciences. The groups have been meeting regularly in Miami-Dade and Broward.

Michelle Torres, 11, Cheryl Fiffe, 8, and Chloe Fiffe, 10, of Little Havana's Coral Way K-8 Center, programmed the ups, downs and arounds of their "Monster Coaster." At a nearby table, team Salazar - Luis, 10, Maximo, 8, and Lucia, 7, who attend St. Patrick Catholic School in Miami Beach - designed a haunted forest and "the world's first underwater roller coaster." Nearby, Aisha Chebbi, 12, of George Washington Carver Middle School in Coral Gables, worked on a Little Mermaid-inspired park.

"There are no quizzes, no tests. They learn at their own pace - and learn with each other," said Gregory Jean-Baptiste, an FIU computer science doctoral student who mentors at CoderDojo. "So it's not, 'Let's get together and play Minecraft.' It's, 'Let's figure out how to build Minecraft,' " he said, referring to a video game wildly popular with young people.   >>READ MORE 
Nearly 100 HBCU stakeholders are meeting at a symposium here this week seeking to leverage the intellectual capital and top-tier research activity at HBCUs into dollars needed to ensure institutional viability in the years to come.

Held in conjunction with OPEN 2014-the National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance's (NCIIA) 18th Annual Conference, the HBCU Innovation and Entrepreneurship Collaborative Symposium highlighted numerous opportunities HBCUs have to attract more grant dollars and join forces to kick-start their entrepreneurial activity. The symposium is being hosted jointly by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), NCIIA, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office with funding from The Lemelson Foundation and the Lumina Foundation.


"One of things that I've been wanting to do is really changing what HBCU means," says Dr. John Michael Lee, an APLU vice president who leads its Office for Access and Success. According to Lee, though HBCUs have traditionally been known as simply "a place where African-Americans students are educated," there is "so much more" to their story. HBCUs "have superior students, they do research, they do innovation." Nevertheless, leading-edge research and innovation "is not what we think about we think about HBCUs." >> READ MORE 

Elementary Students Create Renewable Energy Devices
As part of a recent unit on renewable energy, "Inspiring Elementary Education" students at McNeal Elementary School built solar shuttle rides, along with hydro cars and solar cars from K'nex kits. 

Inspiring Elementary Education, or I-E-Squared, is a special class that K-5 students take in week-long blocks every five weeks, focusing on engineering topics of all types in order to provide an early fundamental basis for the various engineering disciplines, while fostering interest in STEM-based careers from a young age.

The project helped them see how science can help tackle mankind's challenges like dealing with declining non-renewable fuel sources and controlling carbon emissions.

McNeal's I-E-Squared teacher, Denise Touchberry, explained that such projects allow students to get an up-close look at how such applications can be used.

"Students have the opportunity for hands-on engagement with projects involving renewable energies such as wind, water and solar, and gain an understanding of how we use those energy sources in the real world," said Touchberry.
M. H. West & Co., Inc.'s Young Entrepreneur Program has won the Norfolk Education Foundation's Collaborative Award. The award was presented at their 7th Annual Together In Education Awards Gala & Silent Auction.

M. H. West & Co., Inc. has designed its Young Entrepreneur Program with this in mind. The Young Entrepreneur Program helps youth experience the journey felt by individuals in becoming business owners and in the process pick up skills and guidance that they can use inside and outside of the classroom.


The program ties to standards of learning of the state or jurisdiction where the program is implemented. The program can be offered as an enrichment program over several weeks or an extended period to elementary, middle and high school students. Discussions matter and the program revolves around small and large group participation, individual study, internet research, media presentations, roleplaying and site visits.


1. Laying the Groundwork
2. Turning Ideas into Action
3. Preparing the Business Plan
4. Opening the Business
5. Evaluating Progress

* Elementary, Middle and High School Students
* Girls and Boys Club Members
* After School Students
* Summer Camp Participants
* Youth Reentry Citizens
* Administrative, Teaching & Support Staff

* On-Site Program Delivery
* Technical Assistance for Program Development
* Professional Development for Program Staff

Read More About the Young Entrepreneur Program

If you are interested in learning more about the Young Entrepreneurs Club for your school or organization, please contact Marilyn West at 804.782.1938 or
Build your school's spirit with a large, custom display banner. Call M. H. West & Co., Inc. for pricing and size options. (804.782.1938)

Little Lonnie Little Liked Licorice


Corey Crook Cook Cooked Cabbage


Creepy Critters Crammed Clara's Clutch


Mary Merry Met Merry Mary Marian

Marin Girls Matched with Women Mentors at Women's History Month Reception

More than 80 girls from throughout Marin County were matched with successful women mentors on Saturday at an inspirational Women's History Month reception at Manzanita Center in Marin City.


The girls were seated at tables in the center's gymnasium along with some 60 women from various walks of life and professions.


Philanthropist Deborah Santana and TV news women Pam Moore and Barbara Rodgers were among the speakers.

Santana told the gathering about her hero, 98-year-old Grace Lee Boggs, an author and lifelong social activist and feminist.>>READ MORE 

Family Math Night Puts Fun in Learning
Playing math games with your mom and dad might not sound like fun, but it packed the gym recently at Godfrey Elementary. About 250 students, parents and teachers crowded around tables as Calvin College students led them in games like Sweet 13, Sum What Dice, Pig and High Roller as part of Family Math Night.

A good time, yes, but also a valuable time for getting students interested in math and for future teachers to see how students learn.


Debbie Schuitema, Godfrey-Lee K-8 math coach, said many students look at math as something they just can't do, and that research shows parents can have a big effect on why they think this way.  "If the mother is negative about math, and says it's too hard, that can lead a child to say 'I can't do it either.' It makes it OK to not be good with math," she said.

How to Extend Learning in the Classroom by Giving Kids a Memorable Summer

 The beginning of spring starts the countdown to summer. Just ask any parent, student, or teacher. This is the time of year teachers focus on covering required course work before the year ends. It is also an active time for camps and youth organizations such as Scout groups, one of the oldest and largest after school providers in this nation, gearing up for summer camp and after school activities. Providing the fun, memorable summer experiences that lessen summer learning loss is one of the many critical roles of this group of out of classroom educators.


Hands-on learning activities are recognized for engaging and inspiring learning inside and outside the classroom. After school providers extend the critical learning and 21st century skill-building that take place in the classroom. RAFT (Resource Area For Teaching), a member-based education non-profit founded in 1994, has recognized the important role after school providers play in the education of the children in their care. Julie DiMaio, a longtime RAFT member, is a 4th grade teacher in Millbrae, CA and is also a Cub Scout leader.




"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything
without losing your temper or your self-confidence."
- Robert Frost

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