Quakertown district is a model for cyber education

The class on dramatic irony promised to be cool. Seniors in Nicole Roeder's English class at Quakertown Community High School had to watch a set of videos, including the trailers from Ferris Bueller's Day Off and a scene from Othello as interpreted by two different theater troupes.


But the computer program wasn't working, and the Othello scenes had stalled. So Cheyenne Knight, 18, switched gears, to her physics class. First she stopped to chat with the student next to her, a junior, who was slowly typing up a chemistry lab with a Wikipedia article on magnesium oxide pulled up on his screen.


Knight is one of Quakertown High's cyber students. She takes her core academic classes online; the flexible learning style of online classes fits her better, she says. Her grades are good, despite the occasional distraction and technical glitch, and she's on track to graduate this spring.


"I work a lot faster than some people," she said. "All-day school does not work for me."


The small school district of Quakertown, in Bucks County, has become a national model for how to use technology to transform the public school experience. The majority of students in the district take at least one class online, and all ninth graders are given laptops they can take to college when they graduate.   >> READ MORE 

Availability of pre-K education varies widely between states
Want your child to go to a state-funded pre-K program? Choose your home state wisely.

A new report to be released Tuesday finds wide disparities in the number of spots available for publicly funded preschool programs. A whopping 94 percent of 4-year-olds attended such a program in the District of Columbia and more than 7 out of 10 did in Florida, Oklahoma and Vermont. Ten states had no such program.


In fact, even as lawmakers from both parties have embraced the idea of expanding early childhood programs, the number of children enrolled in state preschool programs saw a modest decline of about 9,200 children in the 2012-2013 school year - the first such reduction since 2002, when researchers at Rutgers University started tracking pre-K trends. Even as funding increased from a year earlier, more than half of states with programs made cuts. California alone, for example, lost nearly 15,000 slots.


Overall, $5.4 billion was spent by states on pre-K funding for about 1.3 million preschoolers.

The report is from the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers in collaboration with the Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics.


Given announcements of support by politicians for preschool, Steven Barnett, the director of the institute at Rutgers, said he expected more growth to be reflected in the findings, and yet, "the numbers aren't there."


"We were very surprised," Barnett said.


Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the data is a "reminder of how much work we still have to do to ensure that every child gets a running start."  >> READ MORE 


Mentoring new teachers can boost students' learning
Des Moines teacher Amanda Carlton had been warned about her first year in the classroom.

Colleagues and former classmates told the 24-year-old: Be prepared to be overwhelmed.

But Carlton describes her experience at Madison Elementary School as "wonderful, actually." By meeting with a mentor each week to plan lessons, dissect student data and talk about instructional strategies, the new teacher said she was able to overcome early challenges and become better at her job.

Des Moines, Iowa's largest public school district, is one of a few Iowa school districts that have revamped their new teacher mentoring programs in an effort to increase staff retention and improve student achievement. Other Iowa districts will likely follow suit over the next three years as more state money becomes available for districts that pledge to increase support for new teachers and add leadership roles for veteran educators.

National experts say the strategy, while costly, has the potential to reap rewards for schools and states looking to boost student learning. Although new teachers bring energy and fresh ideas, it typically takes them three to five years to become effective educators, according to national research.


Hands-on learning

McBride Elementary on Tuesday became the first public school in northwest Alabama to be certified as an official outdoor classroom through the Alabama Wildlife Federation.

Covenant Christian School in Tuscumbia earned the certification three years ago.


One of 53 schools in the state with such distinction, the wildlife habitat in McBride's large courtyard is home to various designated areas for songbirds, turtles, Rouen ducks, a butterfly garden, a geometry garden with raised beds for planting and a weather station. Still to come is the addition of a pond to be stocked with perch and brim for the school's Catch and Release program. Also, a secret reading garden is planned.


The wetlands area of the courtyard was established in the mid-1990s for outdoor study. It was the vision of then Principal H.L. Noah and Assistant Principal Jack Pennington.

Through the years, the area lost its usefulness.

At the end of the 2013 school year, Assistant Principal Alan Willingham decided to bring the area back to life. Securing $20,675 in grant funds, the area began to take shape as walkways and bridges were built, raised garden beds created and landscaping additions designed to accommodate the various wildlife habitats.  >> READ MORE 

The end of the school year is fast approaching, which means it's time for school principals to think about the President's Education Awards Program!


These awards recognize high-performing and high-improving students in the classroom.

Since 1983, PEAP has provided individual recognition from the President and the U.S. Secretary of Education to students whose outstanding efforts have enabled them to meet challenging standards of excellence.


Each year, thousands of elementary, middle, and high school principals participate by recognizing deserving students. The school principal determines the number of qualifying students based on program criteria and verifies the order for awards. There is no limit on the number of awards, as long as students meet the criteria for each award. Award orders can only be placed by a school administrator.


The program has two recognition categories: The President's Award for Educational Excellence and The President's Award for Educational Achievement. The award includes a certificate and congratulatory letter signed by the President, the Secretary of Education, and the school principal. School principals have final authority to determine which students receive an award.   >> READ MORE 


* Using Math for Sports, Cooking & Entrepreneurship
* Creating Stories Through Scrabble
* Promoting Image through Look Books, Fashion Shows and the Movies
* Connecting with the Neighborhood through Community Service and Volunteerism
* Sharpening Writing Skills through Journal Writing about Guest Speakers and Site Visits
* Using Planning Principles to Support the SEP Graduation Ceremony and Celebration


Contact the Summer Enrichment Program Team (Marilyn West, Julian House & Justin House) for more information:  804.782.1938, 888.937.8904, consulting@mhwest.com or www.mhwest.com.
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 consulting@mhwest.com.
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)

Tom Twist Twisted Thirty Three Times


Mary Mumford Married Murray Merry


Carol Clancy Closed Charles Chambers Closet


Blane Bear Blamed Ben Bare Before Break-time

Ritz Unveils Migrant Education Centers

The Indiana Department of Education is opening seven migrant education centers across the state including one in West Lafayette.  


On Monday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz unveiled an expanded and improved Migrant Education Program for Indiana.


Ritz said the goal of the centers is to offer educational and supportive services to eligible migrant students. The centers will also offer professional development opportunities for teachers and administrators.


Southwest Florida Special Mentoring Program Has Flavor 

On the surface, lunch service at La Trattoria Cafe Napoli in Fort Myers on Thursday was business as usual - expedient service with artful Mediterranean-inspired dishes flowing from the kitchen.


But behind the scenes, an experiment was underway helping a youth deepen her passion for cooking and build skills for her future.


Thursday lunch service was the first hands-on practice session for Naomi, a 15-year-old student at AMIkids Southwest Florida. Under the tutelage of restaurateur Gloria Cabral-Jordan, Naomi learned the ins and outs of the kitchen, from new ingredients to blending flavor profiles and what it takes to run a restaurant.



"Attitude is the mind's paintbrush-it can color any situation."
- Loring Forcier
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