Tagged “Parent And Family Engagement”

Pam Allyn

Field Notes: Raising Learning Warriors

Moses was my student in Brooklyn, N.Y. He came from Guyana, was 10 years old, and deaf. His mother, who spoke no English and knew no one in New York, had made the treacherous journey to the United States to give him the opportunity to go to school. He was the skinniest boy I had ever seen, with longer-than-long legs that he sometimes tripped over when he ran. Moses was not getting enough to eat at home, so I started bringing him food. Some days, he did not eat from the time he left me until the next morning at school.

Moses and his mother lived in one tiny room where the heat sometimes did not work. His mother worked two jobs and was rarely home for more than an hour when Moses returned from school. Yet here he was, at long last, in a school for the deaf where he could finally thrive and learn.

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Ryan O’Rourke

Uncommon Commonsense Ways to Empower Struggling Students

Struggling Students - Marygrove College

When we were students, it quickly became apparent who was "smart" and who was "not so smart." This writer happened to find himself in the latter category, especially when it came to math. How did we figure this out? Those who struggled with math, for example, simply interpreted the arrangement of the math groups: Group A students were often first to work with the teacher (and the first to finish). This was obviously the "smart group." Group B consisted of the "decently smart group" of students, and so on. "Smart kids" earned As in math. "Not so smart kids" didn't. "Smart kids" went outside during recess. "Not so smart kids" had to get extra help during recess. Most teachers know As say very little about a student's intellect. Unfortunately, most students don't.

Whether our struggling students know it or not, they have a unique gift. And it's up to us to unearth that special talent and find ways to empower them.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Implications of the New “Poor”

Post written by Pam Capasso, Sara Gogel, Tracy Knight, and Janine Norris of Holly Glen Elementary School in Williamstown, N.J.

Holly Glen Elementary School serves approximately 580 students with one-third on free or reduced-price meals. Our school houses English language learners, students with autism, and students from low-income housing. In the past, Holly Glen comprised various socioeconomic levels ranging from upper class to lower income.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Kids in High-Poverty Communities: 5 Ways It Affects Us All

Post written by Laura Speer, associate director for Policy Reform and Data at the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Success should be in the grasp of all children, no matter where they live. However, the opportunities available to children based on their neighborhood vary dramatically across the United States. For the 8 million U.S. children living in high-poverty neighborhoods, critical resources for their healthy growth and development—including high-performing schools, quality medical care, and safe outdoor spaces—are often out of reach. The KIDS COUNT project at the Annie E. Casey Foundation tracks the well-being of children and families in the United States and provides information for data-based advocacy. This means being the go-to place for data on children and families, and we do that by partnering with local child-advocacy organizations to track data on children at the national, state, and local levels.

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Melissa Mellor

Teachers and Principals Can’t Do It Alone

"As long as some children are routinely assigned the least-prepared teachers, attend schools in disrepair, make do with outdated technology and instructional materials, and have limited access to a broad and rich curriculum, our nation is still at risk," writes ASCD Executive Director and CEO Gene R. Carter in his recent column.

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Walter McKenzie

Connected Community

The hallmark of this brave new Information Age is the interconnectedness of everything: ideas, information, and people. Relationships are key. It's no longer what you know or how much you know, it's who you know and how to connect with them. Interactions are more immediate, fluid, and dynamic.

On an individual basis, it is happening as I write. But what about on an institutional scale? Don't we eventually have to affect change in our public institutions so that they will morph from their successful Industrial Age mind-set to this new way of living and working? This is the biggest challenge of making the shift: finding institutional incentive for becoming more interconnected, agile, and responsive.

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Klea Scharberg

Throughout May: The New Poverty

In today's global economic state, many families and children face reduced circumstances. These "poor kids" don't fit the traditional stereotypes—two-thirds live in families in which at least one adult works, and the percentage of poor students in many rural districts equals that in inner-city districts. In the United States, the economic downturn has dramatically changed the landscape, and districts that were previously vibrant are now dealing with unemployment, underemployment, and more transient families.

Join us throughout May as we share what new—and old—solutions we are using to support learning and ensure that each child, whatever her circumstances, is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

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Ember Conley

Promising Whole Child Practices in Arizona

Nestled between the Gila River and Ak-Chin Indian Communities 30 miles south of Phoenix, Ariz., the city of Maricopa had a population of 1,060 in 2000, according to U.S. Census Data. In 2010, the population was 43,482. This exponential growth of more than 4,000 percent created new challenges and opportunities, including transitioning a small one-campus school district into a successful medium-sized district. Today the district has nine school sites with state-of-the-art facilities, including top-rated athletic fields, a state-recognized performing arts center, and a community facility for large forums.

Using ASCD's Whole Child Initiative framework, the Maricopa Unified School District (MUSD) has reached a new level of success. The staff and community in Maricopa are focused on ensuring that each child in the district is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged with a written, sustainable plan to continue the students' success.

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Ken Endris

Principals: Reach Beyond the Walls of Your School

For the past five years, Fouke (Ark.) Elementary School has witnessed academic improvement in all K–5 grade levels. Attendance has also improved over the same time period. These accomplishments did not happen by accident, instead they are the results of the hard work by staff, students, and families. Not I as principal, not one teacher, nor one program alone is responsible for these successes. These achievements are a result of creating a collaborative and positive learning environment for all our stakeholders.

To achieve our essential goals, our school adopted elements from the Arkansas Leadership Academy and developed five areas to add more breadth, depth, ownership, and sustainability.

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Walter McKenzie

A Whole Child Education Transformation

Everyone freeze! Stop right where you are and look around. Survey the landscape. With all the clamoring and commotion in education, have you stopped to notice? Education transformation is already well under way. I know, I know. With all the posturing and politicking going on from your local school board to the state house to the White House, there's a public perception that it's business as usual. Voices of self-interest continue to tout the status quo. Advocates for the public interest continue to toe the bottom line. Amidst all the noise and distractions, education in 2013 can look and feel like more of the same.

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