Mind Trust looks for education innovations
A school where students ask themselves "What problem do I want to solve?"

And another that aims to break the cycle of poverty by pairing students with jobs.

These ideas are among the contenders in an innovation competition being spearheaded by The Mind Trust, an Indianapolis-based education organization.

The winner will receive $50,000 to further develop their concept for a charter school. The Mind Trust hopes the competition will lead to more charter schools opening in the city that challenge the traditional way of delivering an education.

Twelve teams from across the country will compete at The Mind Trust's Charter School Innovation Summit in April. The team that receives the planning dollars will become eligible to apply for a $250,000 grant from the organization to open a school in Indianapolis as early as 2018.

The competition follows a study by the organization released in October that found charter schools aren't innovating enough and should take risks on new educational models.  >>READ MORE 
Michelle Obama Surprises D.C. Elementary Schools On Garden Tour Kickoff
Green thumbs everywhere, take heed. First Lady Michelle Obama is going on a nationwide garden tour, and she kicked it off by surprising a bunch of delighted students at local D.C. elementary schools.

When the First Lady arrived at the White House, one of the first things she did as part of her Let's Move! campaign was plant a kitchen garden on the South Lawn. Now, on the seventh anniversary of breaking ground, the garden continues to grow. Some of the fruits, veggies, and herbs go towards meals at the White House, while other foodstuffs get donated to Miriam's Kitchen.

On the Today Show, she said that she's heard from lots of people inspired by the White House Kitchen Garden to create their own planting beds to fuel their meals, and she wants to visit them.

The tour started at D.C.'s Watkins Elementary School in Capitol Hill. Watkins has a garden thanks to its involvement in Foodprints, a program in six different D.C. Public Schools that melds gardening, cooking, and nutrition education. The students seem utterly thrilled as they all make tacos. >>READ MORE
PhilaDelphia schools launch effort to fill 800 teaching positions
To try to make sure there's a teacher in every classroom in every Philadelphia public school in the fall, the School District has launched an ambitious new early-hiring strategy.

The goal is to ensure that principals have their teaching staffs chosen by June 30.

"We are looking to hire at least 800 teachers," Kendra Lee-Rosati, the district's acting chief talent officer, said Wednesday.

To fill the posts, the district wants to have 5,000 applications so that it can select from the best candidates.

"We want really good people to apply," said district spokesman Fernando Gallard.

"Great teachers and staff are critical to our focus on building a more equitable system of schools across our city," Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said in a statement. "We are committed to hiring educators and support staff who believe deeply in the potential of all students."

Gallard said the district wants to prevent the problems that occurred last fall, when 190 teaching positions were vacant in October. Many remain unfilled.

Union leaders welcomed the district's effort but questioned whether the goals could be accomplished.

"I believe it's a wonderful theory, but I don't believe that it's something that will be achieved," said Rob McGrogan, head of the principals' union.

"I will say it's a laudable goal, but it is going to be very difficult," agreed Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

He noted that city teachers have not had a raise in four years; their contract expired in August of 2013. And teachers often have to buy classroom supplies.

"It becomes a real issue with recruitment and retention when you have other districts competing for teachers," Jordan said.
Hundreds of school projects 'flash funded' by celebrity donors
Lucy Eustace hoped for good news every time her phone buzzed, and she thought she might be closer to her goal of raising $450 for two new laptops for her students at Arundel Elementary-Middle School.

In December she had posted her request on DonorsChoose.org, a website that helps educators across the country raise funds for classroom resources. But only one donation had come in months. So when her phone buzzed shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday, she thought she was getting notice that her request had expired.

Instead, she found out she was one of hundreds of teachers across Baltimore City whose classrooms projects had been "flash funded" by philanthropists who surprised educators across the country by paying for all of their wish lists - from pencils and paper, to technology and field trips.

"It's like Christmastime for teachers," said Eustace. "It's like you woke up, and the thing that you waited for all year is under the tree."

It wasn't Santa who delivered the surprise Thursday; it was former Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith, who funded every project on DonorsChoose.Org submitted by schools in Baltimore's east side. Carmelo Anthony, a forward for the New York Knicks, funded projects from schools on the city's west Side. And other local philanthropists funded wish lists from other schools in the city.   >>READ MORE
Transforming Unused School Spaces Into Something Amazing
Are there spaces on your campus that are not being used? How about a portion of your field, or the front of the building where there are spaces with grass? We've changed many areas on two school campuses by thinking creatively about our space. We start with looking at an unused or under-used location and then considering current instructional needs that could be better taught in a creative space.

We created labs for earth, physical, and life sciences as a part of our magnet program at Walter Bracken STEAM Academy. We developed each space by working as a team to decide the best materials for that particular lab. Each grade level worked to decide what lessons they would teach in that space and what materials that they would need. Our life lab is a space with fish tanks, hydroponics, and lab tables. We wanted an oven and refrigerator for lessons. The earth lab is for dirt, space, and landforms. We have our physical science lab with littleBits, mixtures and solutions, and simple machines and magnets. In addition to the science labs, we went on to create a Lego lab. The Lego lab is a space that we use for instruction, optional indoor recess, and incentive time with the class.   >>READ MORE
Loopy lizards lying lazily aloft a little lane of logs. 

Greg Granger gave Gretta green grapes.

Cooks Cook Cool Cup Cakes Quick!

Build your school's spirit this year with a large, custom display banner. Call M. H. West & Co., Inc. for pricing and size options.    ( 804.782.1938)

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After 16 years with the Baltimore county school system, Kate Miller has learned to spot the signs in students. They are groggy. They may be irritable and have trouble concentrating. It usually means the student is hungry.

And it's more obvious on Mondays mornings, or after school breaks, when they've gone several days without enough to eat. >>READ MORE
CITGO Renews Commitment to Moody High School, Boosting STEM Education
CITGO Petroleum Corporation has renewed its commitment to help students at Foy H. Moody High School in Corpus Christi prepare for futures in science, technology, mathematics and engineering (STEM). For several years, CITGO has supported education at the CITGO Innovation Academy for Engineering, Environmental & Marine Science at Moody High School, one of the highest-ranked schools in the country for STEM courses. The continued assistance from CITGO will allow the Academy to carry on offering students access to unique educational experiences - including field trips, admittance to academic competitions and conferences and educational technology and supplies - as well as professional development for teachers. >>READ MORE 
Atlanta Schools Report High Rate of Bullying Among Students
Atlanta Public Schools had one of the highest rates of bullying among students in the 2014-15 school year in metro Atlanta, according to the Georgia Department of Education.

There were 440 reported incidents that resulted in disciplinary action in APS, the second-highest in metro Atlanta districts. DeKalb schools had the most with 849. >>READ MORE


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Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching. - Unknown