Massachusetts Districts Implement Anti-Bullying Efforts: Many Massachusetts school districts are rolling out anti-bullying plans that were due to the state by the end of 2010. The plans vary widely by district, with many aimed at specific age groups and some incorporating elements of outreach to parents. State reviews of the plans are expected to be finished today, and districts with more work to do will be notified.
Many researchers agree that students need a diverse set of competencies to be ready for and thrive throughout adulthood. Yes, students need to demonstrate content knowledge. Yes, students should master basic skills. Yes, students need to graduate from high school. And students must be able to communicate effectively, solve complex problems, produce creative solutions, work well in teams, make and follow through with plans, and so forth. To ensure that students are truly ready for college, careers, and citizenship requires more than preparing them to take and pass standardized tests, meet graduation requirements, and be eligible for postsecondary opportunities.
Many schools have set a strong example by successfully preparing students for the complex and demanding futures that lie ahead while meeting all state and national requirements. One such school is Quest Early College High School, winner of the 2011 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. Located in Humble, Tex., Quest prepares a very diverse student population for the next phases of their lives by creating a learning environment that allows students to practice taking college courses, work at businesses in their community, and experience the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
Principal Kim M. Klepcyk says,
Students are not told to care about their world; they are caring for it each week at their service-learning sites. Students are not simply learning about how to be a change agent in their society; they are practicing it through social action on a daily basis. Finally, students are not preparing to be a worker in this 21st century global community; they are practicing being a worker now.
In each critical area of developing the whole child, Quest connects learning and leading today with lifelong success and well-being. Quest challenges students by requiring them to exhibit mastery of learning target standards from throughout their four years through a senior exhibition experience that provides, according to students, the single most important preparation experience for college, the workplace, or the military. The school also developed a wellness program that meets state-mandated physical education requirements and addresses all aspects of wellness; instills lifelong health habits; and develops goal-setting, planning, and evaluation skills. Quest staff and community continually build a sustainable structure that centers all learning on preparing for, practicing, and connecting the skills they are learning today with their lives tomorrow.
Have you signed up to receive the Whole Child Newsletter? Read this month’s newsletter and visit the archive for more strategies, resources, and tools you can use to help ensure that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.
Oklahoma High School Parents and Principal Frown at New School Lunch Guidelines:Not everyone seems pleased with the new efforts to improve school nutrition. Some critics say that the new guidelines will cost schools money when it's not certain students will even eat the healthier choices. Without buy-in from some parents, principals, and even students, how likely is it that the USDA's nutrition standards are going to have an effect? Comment on ASCD EDge.
Bronx Preparatory Charter School in New York prepares underserved middle and high school students for higher education, civic involvement, and lifelong success by holding high expectations and providing a caring, structured environment. The school's 700 students in grades 5–12 spend 50 percent more time in school than their peers in traditional public schools. Heavy emphasis is placed on math and literacy. Middle school students attend up to two hours each in math and English daily and are introduced to high school-level content in 8th grade. During the 11th and 12th grades, students can take college-level courses.
College is integrated into every aspect at Bronx Prep, with rooms named after colleges and universities and teachers constantly referring to students' future higher education. Consistent science, social studies, physical education, and artistic block scheduling provide a well-rounded education. Middle and high school students spend one hour a day, four days a week participating in classes such as piano, violin, dance, and drama. One hundred percent of the school's first three high school graduating classes were admitted to four-year colleges.