March 22, 2015
Connecting Careers and Academic Achievement at LEAP for Education
High school reformists incorporate the 3 R’s for student success: rigor, relevance, and relationships. Students need to be challenged academically, must understand how that challenge relates to life in the “real world,” and they need to know that adults in the system care about them and are invested in their success. Most urban high schools offer a range of rigor in course selections including honors and AP level courses. However, too many students miss the connection between their learning and the real world. How many times
November 3, 2014
Should We Be Teaching Computer Science in our Public Schools?
Today coding is an elite career mostly populated by white or Asian men. Girls, blacks and Latinos are largely absent. To democratize Computer Science we need it to be available in the public schools and taught in a way that makes it compelling and relevant to all of our students.
January 3, 2014
Invent to Learn
In previous blogs I have spoken about contextualized learning, particularly as it relates to science and math. For too many students the way math and science (and other subjects) are taught in school is too abstract leaving students disengaged and wondering what all this textbook learning has to do with them and their lives. But the problem goes even deeper. Even when students get to participate in lab work or even take home or in-class projects, the assignments are more often than not, prescribed. Either it
August 3, 2012
Developing a Community of Engaged Learners
A large percentage of high school students are disengaged from learning. Nationwide 50% of these students do not go on to any post-secondary education (38% here in Essex County, MA). I have always been an engaged learner so it has been a long path for me to realize that for many, learning can appear to be irrelevant and, yes, boring. In fact, this is the most common reason students cite for dropping out. These students see no clear connection between their schoolwork and the “real world.”
October 1, 2011
Why Have Homework?
Several recent studies on homework have been nothing less than, well, inconclusive. Studies seem to show that: Older youth benefit more from homework than younger youth Lower income youth benefit less than their wealthier peers Some homework is beneficial but excessive homework has diminishing returns Quality homework – that is, homework that creatively expands a student’s understanding of material covered in class – is better than drill and kill homework There are homework benefits that cannot be measured such as learning how to work independently or
October 30, 2010
Yes, My Child Is Book Smart, But Does S/He Have What It Takes?
There has been a lot of talk in education circles about the failure of schools to teach 21st century skills. Driven by the insatiable appetite of our knowledge economy, our schools need to address the needs of employers across all sectors for employees with strong problem solving, critical thinking and communication skills. In an age of mega-standardized testing from MCAS to SAT to Accuplacer, our emphasis on test prep is reducing the time students have to build these skills. In addition to problem solving, critical thinking
September 11, 2010
Gap Year Academy?
If you won the birth lottery and 18 years later find yourself holding a high school diploma but totally unprepared for college emotionally and/or academically, you have several choices. You can get your parents to subsidize a trip to a foreign country and experience living and maybe working abroad. If you are more community-minded, you could volunteer for City Year or some other non-profit. Or, if you want to boost SAT scores or GPA’s to improve your chances at a better college, you can go to
July 25, 2010
Restoring Creativity to the Classroom
Being creative doesn’t mean just being good in the arts. Being creative also means being a problem solver, critical thinker, or inventor. A creative person has the ability to produce something original and useful. It has always been that many of the great new ideas have emanated from the U.S. Yes, our inventions are often shipped overseas to be programmed, packaged, assembled or supported but the idea generation, the inventiveness has always been an American strength. A recent IBM survey of CEO’s identified creativity as the
May 16, 2010
Community Colleges Are Filling the Gap. But Shouldn’t Others Be Helping?
At Salem CyberSpace almost of all our students live in homes where English is not spoken and over half are native speakers of languages other than English. For the students who came to this country as teenagers, getting up to speed in English in order to succeed in college is indeed a tall task. However, all students who do accumulate the required number of high school credits and pass MCAS will earn a ticket to the local community college. Community Colleges provide open enrollment to any
January 27, 2010
Connecting Career To High School Achievement
High school reformists incorporate the 3 R’s for student success: rigor, relevance, and relationships. Students need to be challenged academically, to understand how that challenge relates to life in the “real world,” and to know that adults in the system care about them and are invested in their success (what I have called in previous blogs, social capital). Most urban high schools offer a range of rigor in course selections including honors and AP level courses. However too many students lose the connectedness between their learning