Category Archives: ‘A’ for Achievement

Some Teachers, schools, Districts and states are doing it RIGHT!

Florida school dumps common core then skyrockets to number one in English Language Arts, with 90 percent scoring proficient

There is a reason that people have learned reading, writing and arithmetic in generally the same way over the years, and that’s because the tried-and-true traditional methods work. That’s why many people wondered what the real agenda of the Common Core national standards were when the Obama administration started pushing for it so relentlessly. This ridiculous set of educational standards has left many students and parents baffled and frustrated, and it’s believed to be a key reason that American kids are lagging behind other nations in academic performance. What would happen if we got rid of it entirely? If the results gained by one Florida school are any indication, we would likely all be much better off.

Mason Classical Academy, a charter school in Naples, Florida, prides itself on providing a classical education, which it believes brings about “superior educational results” – and leading the county in English Language Arts is proof they’re on the right track. Continue reading

High School Principal Suspends 500 Students

A high school principal in Pennsylvania has suspended nearly half of the student population after an alarming number of unexcused absences.

About 500 students at Harrisburg High School have received suspension notices as the school’s principal has begun cracking down on the issue of unexcused absences among students.

According to PennLive, at least 100 of the students issued suspension notices have served one-day suspensions following Principal Lisa Love’s effort to crackdown on the problem. Continue reading

When Schools Meet Trauma With Understanding, Not Discipline

If you know anything about New Orleans public schools, you probably know this: Hurricane Katrina wiped them out and almost all the schools became privately run charters.


Young children play outside in the fog at Crocker College Prep, an elementary school in New Orleans. ~ Clarence Williams/WWNO

Many of those schools subscribed to the no excuses discipline model — the idea that if you crack down on slight misbehavior, you can prevent bigger issues from erupting.

That was also true of Crocker College Prep, an elementary school in New Orleans. It had strict rules about everything. Students had to sit up straight at their desks, eyes tracking the speaker. They had to walk the halls in silence and even wear the right kind of socks. Students who broke these rules, or acted out in other ways, were punished.

The thing is, students across New Orleans face high rates of exposure to trauma, but school discipline policies have rarely accounted for that.
Continue reading

Charter Schools Prove Even Slight Separation from Government Yields Better Results

Seems it’s not how much you spend per pupil but how you spend it. ~ Tennessee Gal

(During the week of May 5, 2017) It was National Charter Schools Week, and parents, students, teachers, and community members across the nation are celebrating the success of their independent schools.

Charters are technically public schools, since they’re publicly funded, tuition-free, and open to all students, but they’re privately managed and held to higher accountability standards than traditional public schools in exchange for increased flexibility in other areas. Continue reading

Kids Write the Darndest Things…

Hilariously literal test answers prove that children are a LOT more intelligent than they appear (and their creative responses will make you laugh out loud)

Every adult will recall that sinking feeling that came with turning over a test paper at school and realising you don’t know the answer to the question.

But as these laugh-out-loud pictures prove, children can sometimes come up with the most genius responses when left stumped.

Diply has shared a collection of the cheeky, imaginative and downright comical wrong answers given by clueless students when faced with a tricky question.
Continue reading

Why We Desperately Need To Bring Back Vocational Training In Schools

Instructor helps a student participating in a woodworking manufacturing training program

Throughout most of U.S. history, American high school students were routinely taught vocational and job-ready skills along with the three Rs: reading, writing and arithmetic. Indeed readers of a certain age are likely to have fond memories of huddling over wooden workbenches learning a craft such as woodwork or maybe metal work, or any one of the hands-on projects that characterized the once-ubiquitous shop class.

But in the 1950s, a different philosophy emerged: the theory that students should follow separate educational tracks according to ability. The idea was that the college-bound would take traditional academic courses (Latin, creative writing, science, math) and received no vocational training. Those students not headed for college would take basic academic courses, along with vocational training, or “shop.” Continue reading

7th-grader’s science project finds cancer-fighting chemicals in green tea

Stephen Litt has been conducting science experiments since he was in first grade. Every year, the projects became more and more complicated — until finally, as a 7th grader, he came across something that gained national attention.

The 12-year-old boy from Marietta, Georgia, discovered evidence that chemicals in green tea may have cancer-fighting potential.

For this year’s science fair project, he tested epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant in green tea, to determine whether it could prevent breast cancer tumors in planaria, a type of flatworms.

The research, which was part of his award-winning project for the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair, earned the boy praise from scientists across the country. He was even invited to go on a private tour of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University while on spring break in Boston two weeks ago. (Follow the complete story… )

Ten Tips for Parents and Teachers About Healing Stories That Help Kids Cope

Digging through the trash barrel, item by item by porch light, searching for the missing leg, I realized that a miserable, crying child can motivate a parent to do almost anything. A leg had had broken off my daughter Nora’s little figurine, a toy policeman carried from a foreign land by a big brother for the little sister who was now inconsolable because it had been dropped and broken and its leg could not be found. Anywhere.

Then, mid-trash barrel, a memory came to my mind. The now one-legged doll sparked a memory, an image of Joe, the husband of my childhood ballet teacher, with his crutches and his neatly rolled and pinned pants leg hanging loosely where his knee and lower leg had been before he had gone to war. Continue reading

Texas school triples playground time in an effort to solve ADHD

…and what could be the cause?

Proving once again that medication is not the answer to getting inattentive kids to perform well in school, four Fort Worth area public schools are finding success with the LiiNK program. This revolutionary approach to schooling and counteracting ADHD is based on the idea that offering kids more unstructured play can help them focus and perform better in the classroom. Continue reading

There Are No Qualifiers In The Bill of Rights

Language is the tool by which human beings communicate with each other. Without language all music would be instrumental pieces. Without language all films would be silent movies. Without language we wouldn’t have amazing literary pieces to read. Without language history would be lost to the ages.

But language is more than just words; it is grammar too. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best when it comes to the usage of grammar, but I have gotten better over the course of nearly two decades of writing these commentaries of mine. Continue reading

Fishing analogy applicable to education

Publisher’s NOTE: For those readers who have been familiar with me for some years, they are aware of my penchant for ‘fishing.’ My schedule has been quite perplexing for the past couple of weeks, and although I attempt to keep our various web-sites up to date – it is not always easy to do so – and hence – a fishing ‘trip’ was in order. We’ll be back to full attack mode in a few more days. Until then – join me at the river, won’t you?  Oh – and the piece posted below from March 2015 by Phil Power – is the PERFECT example of life’s analogies. ~ J.B.

I’m coming to a conclusion as I age: Mathematics, political behavior and plain common sense all demonstrate that extremes generally don’t accurately reflect long-term reality.

When you apply this notion to politics, it suggests that neither hard-right Tea Partiers nor flaming left liberals are likely to dominate our political system — or provide sensible answers. It’s the generally centrist “sanity caucus” that most times winds up calling the shots.

Nationally, we are apt to see people and candidates divide along these lines during next year’s presidential campaign. One example: As a rough generalization, right-wingers think people who fall behind in things like academic performance or income should be trying harder and doing better, and deserve punishment for not doing so. Those on the left generally think people on the bottom can’t be helped except by redistributing resources to them.

But centrists reason that the best way to help people and society as a whole is by investing in human capital — things like access to early childhood and university education — which increase individual opportunity for all… Continue reading

‘What I was meant to do’

Litchfield Park, Arizona Food Service director named Nutrition Hero

DAVID SCHWAKE, left, Food Services director for the Litchfield Elementary School District, checks on cabbage growth Feb. 7 with the help of kindergartners Kaylee Arthur and Colton Carter at Litchfield Elementary in Litchfield Park. Schwake has been with the district for 19 years and was recently recognized as a School Nutrition Hero. View photo by Jordan Christopher

When you imagine a hero, most likely capes and laser vision come to mind, but you probably don’t picture someone who feeds pupils in public schools.

David Schwake, Litchfield Elementary School District’s Food Service director since 1994, was named a 2017 School Nutrition Hero by the national nonprofit School Nutrition Foundation.

“I didn’t cry. I didn’t get real emotional, but my wife did,” Schwake said. “I was pleasantly shocked. I don’t think what I do is anything special; I just think I do what every food service director should do.”

Schwake was nominated by the school district and chosen by SNF for providing healthy menus and environments for pupils, volunteering at local organizations and food banks, creating effective school initiatives that teach children nutrition and helping the community at large. Continue reading

Congressman Seeks to Abolish Dept of Education with 1 Sentence Bill

The united States Constitution grants absolutely zero authority in the matter of education to the central government. Article ten of the Bill of Rights states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” So, why are so many conservatives cheering the confirmation of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to the position of an unconstitutional department rather than being outraged that it continues almost 40 years after it was illegally created? Congressman Thomas Massie is taking it sitting down and has introduced legislation to abolish the unconstitutional department, and it only took one sentence to write it. Continue reading

Share if You Think Every School Should Have a Year-Round Organic Gardening Program!

For the body and the mind – THIS is growth!

A few years ago the children at our school grew, harvested and, ultimately, ate a giant, two-pound carrot.

Our organic gardening program at the Waldorf School of Cape Cod has come a long way since then. We now have a unheated Sunhouse and a program where middle school gardeners lead first through fifth graders as they learn to build soil, plant, transplant, tend, water and harvest food year round. Our harvests are transformed by our school chef into amazing meals served at lunch. Continue reading