We at Hertz Furniture are pleased to announce the recipient of our 21st Century Learning Commons Grant. Crossroads Academy of Kansas City has been awarded a furnished learning commons valued at up to $50,000. The prize includes furniture, design, delivery and installation.
The grant was open to all US charter schools opening a new school in 2015 or 2016 whose state association participates with BuyQ (formerly known as Momentum Ventures). BuyQ helps charter schools reduce operational costs through group purchasing contracts for products and services. Applications for the grant were accepted from April 1 to May 16, 2015.
Harris Rosen, the wealthy business owner of Rosen Hotels and Resorts, decided 21 years ago to invest both financially and with his time in a failing neighborhood to see if a significant investment in education would change the future of residents.
Decades later, Tangelo Park is a thriving community which has gone from being crime and drug ridden to over 450 students receiving full college scholarships from Mr. Rosen personally.
When Rosen began his education campaign in this neighborhood of 3000, almost half of the students were drop outs. Two decades and his $11 million dollar investment later, nearly all high school graduates continue on to higher education.
Last week we suggested that now is a great time to get control over your work space. Now we are going to share some step-by-step suggestions on how to organize your office.
1. To get started, first clear away as much unwanted and unneeded stuff as possible. Choose an area where to begin. Is your bookshelf overflowing with outdated resource books? Are magazines piling up in corners? Throw out whatever you can. If you think something might be useful, label a boxes “give away” or “store” and then DO IT. The faster you move things on and out, the faster your office will be a functioning space.
If you missed your “spring cleaning” opportunity, as many of us did, summer is a great time to make a fresh start, especially when it comes to getting organized. Days are longer and vacation is calling. Facing that messy office head-on can bring greater creativity, calm and productivity. Knowing that the average executive wastes six weeks every year just searching for paper, should be enough to inspire anyone to tackle this task. It is time to organize your office!
Working step-by-step, area-by area might be the best way to manage this challenge. Start by repeating in your head the following mantras:
Now that the end of the school year is already upon us, it’s time to evaluate what has been accomplished. Does your school have a formal evaluation system besides testing? Did you enjoy the year? Were your goals met? Can you recognize growth in your students? How about in your teaching abilities and lesson plans?
Taking time to really assess how your school year went can make all the difference for next year’s satisfaction and success. As we have tried to bring out in past blogs, test scores do not tell the whole story. Perhaps that shy student has finally gotten to the point of asking public questions or making friends. Maybe you were able to build up the self-esteem of a troubled child. Did you take a difficult subject and make it exciting to study? Did a self-absorbed student learn to work well in a group? Were you able to nip bullying in the bud?
Once again, an adult has been arrested for inappropriate behavior with a student. This time, it is a Florida principal who has been suspended from her job after being found in a car with an 18 year old senior. Marijuana was found and the principal was partly undressed.
A quick Google search will discover that this is far from the first time such a situation has happened, though much more common is finding teachers with students. What is going on? Whose responsibility is it? Can anything be done to protect our students?
There’s a new school on the block, so to speak. Referred to as “Teacher Powered Schools”, this innovative concept is catching on. The idea developed in 2007 when teacher Lori Nazareno and her colleagues thought to design and run a teacher powered school.
Presently, there are about 70 such schools in action in the US and they seem to be meeting their goals where other schools continue to struggle. Let’s explore this initiative.
The Teacher Powered School is built on the premise that teachers know best what students need and have enough professionalism to find ways to fulfill those needs. Teachers work collaboratively to design and implement school learning, manage the budget, maintain student discipline, select personnel, decide their salaries and benefits and more. They also agree on a system for evaluating the success of their programs.
Many might think that this is the job for the parents. However, 1. Many parents do not have basic life skills themselves as can readily be seen by the high debt and divorce rates and 2. Many parents spend incredibly limited amounts of time with their children, making “life skill” education practically impossible.
We’ve already explored the problems and frustrations with Common Core Standards in “Rotting to the Core”. Now, schools are experiencing an increase in parental backlash by having huge numbers of parents opting out of common core testing by not allowing their children being tested. In New York State last year, 49,000 students did not take the English test and 67,000 skipped the math portion. Numbers of refusals are expected to increase this year. What’s going on?
Teachers, parents and students are more often believing that state tests used to evaluate both student present and future successes as well as teacher quality are flawed. Even principals have stated that students are being over tested.
We might not be clear about what makes a great principal but we sure know when we don’t have one! Whether you are a principal, teacher or part of the school staff, here are some key points everyone wants to have in their principal.
A people person - A good principal takes the time to get to know all the staff under his care. Support staff, such as maintenance crew and cafeteria personnel, are as important as the teachers. Know that a successful school is made up of a lot of people all doing their job to the best of their capacity. A good principal shows appreciation for everyone who keeps things running smoothly. When the principal respects them, they respect the principal-a crucial aspect of a successful school.
Pine Bush High School in Pine Bush, New York made headlines recently for their celebration of National Foreign Language week. Inaugurated in 1957 by the Alpha Mu Gammar Honor Society to help make students aware of how vital foreign language study is, schools are free to choose various activities which expose students to foreign languages.
Though Spanish and French are usually the main languages explored, Italian and German are sometimes included as well. However, as the U. S. melting pot expands its horizons, exposure to more languages seems appropriate.
Anyone who has been around children (and even some adults) and certainly those of us who have been in a classroom, have experienced someone diagnosed with ADHD. In fact, in the US today, 1 in 10 male children are being medicated for the disorder and one in eight children in school are now said to suffer from some sort of mental disorder! The New York Times recently reported that from 2008 to 2012 the number of adults taking medications for ADHD increased by 53% and that among young American adults, it nearly doubled.
Incorporate living elements such as plants, water and animals in built environments. For example, in the classroom include potted plants, aquariums, water features, natural daylight and accessible views of nature from inside the classroom. These direct connections to nature, especially dynamic nature that incorporates movement, produce the strongest biophilic reactions.
Design features that are reminiscent of aspects of nature. This is achieved by incorporating elements that represent nature without bringing in live elements. Examples include fabrics with organic patterns such as leaves, flowers, animals and seashells, photographs of natural scenes such as meadows, beaches or forests, natural materials such as wood, cork and stone and earth-tone color palettes (blues, greens and warm neutrals). Incorporating such representational design elements within the built environment still allows students to connect with nature in an indirect way also evoking positive effects.
In our first blog about Bibles in public schools, we discussed the history of the concept of “separation of church and state” and the extreme differences in understanding where this idea comes from and how schools follow this edict. In our second blog on the subject, we asked: Can the Bible as literature be taught without affecting religious sensibilities? Can one truly present the Bible without imparting some of our own beliefs into the process?
Now, we will explore how those who want the Bible in our public schools feel this issue should be handled.
Last week, we discussed the history of the concept of “separation of church and state”. We noted extremely different degrees of religious tolerance in school systems. Some public schools consider the Bible as contraband while others are actually distributing them on school grounds.
Similar to last week’s story about the Bartow County, Georgia school district being sued for allowing Bibles to be distributed in their schools, Orange County, Florida is now up against a similar fight.