A recent article in the Eagle-Tribune discusses the dropout rate in Haverhill, Massachusetts and plans to reduce the number of students choosing to leave Haverhill High School before graduation.
"With a 4.4 percent dropout rate at Haverhill High School, which is more than double the state average of 1.9 percent, Haverhill's school are about to take new steps to help children before they reach high school."
"'While we remain concerned about the dropout rate, we believe that it is time to take a different and more pro-active approach to this and many other issues that we face in our schools today,' [Jared] Fulgoni [,assistant superintendent of schools,] said."
"At Thursday's [Haverhill] School Committee meeting, Fulgoni outlined some of the steps to retain more students and reduce the dropout rate. He said those ideas stem from a one week educational seminar he attended this summer at Harvard University, and research Harvard conducted."
Sep 21, 2017
An Edutopia article last year discussed how the Walter Bracken STEAM Academy Elementary School, a Title 1 magnet school in urban Las Vegas, Nevada, created a culture of reading by introducing "Series Reading" across all grade levels. What was the result?
– By fifth grade, students are two and a half years above grade level on the STAR Reading Assessment.
– Instead of talking about the latest TV shows, students excitedly discuss the books they read.
– Students are often caught reading books under their desks during other lessons.
A recent Education Dive article discusses how school libraries can increase interest and use by creating "makerspaces" that encourage hands-on, creative work.
"Not long ago the New Milford High School library in New Jersey was pretty traditional. It had tall stacks of books and old wooden tables that didn’t move easily. It was underutilized. Students weren’t drawn to it and, to a large extent, neither were teachers.
"Today, it’s a different story. Students stop by the library during their lunch period and come before and after school. Teachers send students down to work on projects during class time or bring their entire classes. With far more people in and out of the library throughout the day, circulation is way up."
“'Makerspaces are about creating a maker culture,' [the New Milford High School librarian Laura] Fleming said. 'It’s a mindset. It’s a toolbox at your disposal for reaching kids. That can be done in any space and on any budget.'”
A recent article in The Eagle-Tribune discussed a summer program where Haverhill teachers participated in an AP course "Summer Institute."
"Five teachers from Haverhill High School ... spent the last few days at a weeklong program at Bridgewater State University, where they spent time with instructors and hundreds of fellow teachers from various states and foreign countries, honing their teaching skills specifically for Advanced Placement courses.
"The Summer Institute program is put on each year by Mass Insight Education, a national nonprofit that aims to improve school systems and student achievement through district restructuring and academic rigor. It runs two sessions, one week long each, and this year will see a total of 520 participants from 39 states and 10 foreign countries. "
The article continued, "Teaching an AP course requires different skills from teachers than an average high school course. Darshan Thakkar, the chief academic officer for Haverhill schools, said teachers need to impart more than the course material — they must teach students to synthesize information from various sources, then analyze that information and articulate their own argument about that information. "
An article by eSchool News discusses the importance of writing to improve student learning in all disciplines, not just to prove students are learning.
"Simply put, writing is our critical thinking made visible.
"Through the process of writing, writers put nascent thoughts into comprehensible language for others to read. In their pursuit of self-expression, they often find themselves challenged to find new words or motivated to develop academic vocabulary.
"Because it is a critical thinking process, writing isn’t merely an act of jotting down what you have in your head. Once the initial thoughts in your head start to flow, you naturally begin iterating on them."