Articles tagged with Students

NSBA highlights international student travel concerns

Mark Blom Senior Staff Attorney for National School Boards Association (NSBA) presented a preview of a comprehensive policy guide for school boards on International Student Travel (IST), during a session on “What School Boards Need to Know About Student Travel” held Sunday, April 6 at the NSBA’s 2014 Annual Conference in New Orleans.

It is estimated that over 100,000 U.S. students travel abroad each year in groups touring and learning about the various countries and cultures of the world. The session and corresponding guide are aimed at raising awareness of important legal concerns and ensure school board leaders can ask the right questions and spot potential problems before students reach the departure gate.

Although IST offers enriching experiences for participants, a lack of clarity about responsibility can create legitimate liability for the school district, no matter the district’s perceived involvement in the trip. If a parent of a student harmed on a trip has a legitimate expectation that the school sponsored the trip—through its employees—the school district faces the costs of litigation, possible settlement, and judgment, in addition to adverse publicity.

The report lists the three types of IST and provides guidance on the recommended district-led policies for each.

A. School sponsored and school district managed: The tour is school sponsored, and the school district manages the tour. The school district arranges all aspects of the trip—itinerary, travel arrangements, lodging, tours, restaurants, local guides, ground transportation, etc.

B. School sponsored and tour company managed: The tour is school sponsored, and the school district contracts with a tour company to manage the trip.

C. Non-school sponsored: A tour takes place involving students of the district, perhaps even with a teacher serving as the host, but the trip is not sponsored by the district. These are purely private trips.

In addition, the report promotes better understanding of outside tour companies, insurance policies, and academic credit programs.

Alexis Rice|April 6th, 2014|Categories: Leadership, NSBA Annual Conference 2014, School Boards, Student Engagement, Teachers|Tags: , , , |

The week in blogs: Obama’s education budget (abridged)

Want to get the high points of President Obama’s K12 budget — that is, without sifting through all the numbers and the fine print? Read the Quick and the Ed post by Rikesh Nana on the “three key takeaways” from the Administration’s proposal. It’s an excellent synopsis of what the president is proposing and what it all means.

So what are those takeaways? In order: consolidation of Department of Education programs (something that’s been tried in past budgets but never adopted): continued funding of Race to the Top and other competitive grant programs; and — in the absence of congressional action — an administration-sponsored overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

OK, sports fans, this next column is not about Jeremy Lin. (But if we find one on the New York Knicks sensation that has to do with K12 education, we promise to include it next week.) Instead, Eduwonk’s Andrew Rotherham looks at the firing — and quick rehiring by another team — of NHL hockey coach Bruce Boudreau and what that says about the importance of professional “fit.” Hint: It applies to teaching as well as big-time sports.

Been to Cleveland recently? Even if you haven’t, or have no plans to do so, you’ll want to check out another interesting Quick and the Ed blog on the city’s “portfolio” system of managing schools. Schools would operate with greater or lesser autonomy depending on their performance. “Charter schools as well as district-operated ones would participate,” says the blog by Richard Lee Colvin, “with the goal of giving families a real choice among several good options in every neighborhood.”

Lastly, check out Mark Bauerlein of the Chronicle of Higher Education on the attitudes and academic habits of college freshman. Here’s an interesting paradox (actually a bunch of paradoxes): more than 70 percent of students placed their academic ability in the “highest 10 percent” or “above average,” but only 45 percent felt that confident about their math ability, and just 46 percent believed they were that stellar in writing.

Lawrence Hardy|February 17th, 2012|Categories: 21st Century Skills, Budgeting, Charter Schools, Educational Legislation, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, School Reform, Student Achievement, Teachers, Week in Blogs|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

NSBA commends the educational contributions of “It’s Academic”

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) recently recognized the high school quiz show in Washington, “It’s Academic,”  for its educational value. Earlier this month it was announced that after hosting the quiz show for 50 years, Mac McGarry, 85, has decided to retire.

The Guinness Book of World Records has recognized “It’s Academic” as the longest-running television quiz show in the world and the winner of eight Emmy Awards. Here is the letter NSBA recently sent on the education value of “It’s Academic” and the retirement of McGarry :

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) commends Mac McGarry for challenging young minds as the host of the television quiz show “It’s Academic” for the past 50 years. Under McGarry’s insightful guidance numerous high school students have showcased their considerable scholastic skills every Saturday morning on WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.

NSBA is, and continues to be, a proud champion of “It’s Academic” because it gives students a platform to prove to their peers that being intelligent is a valuable asset. Cheered on by their parents, classmates, cheerleaders, and sometimes members of the school band, the quiz show always has remained true to its vision of asking students to meet and surpass their own educational expectations.

As the host of the nation’s longest-running television quiz show, McGarry has undoubtedly shaped the minds of countless students. As we acknowledge McGarry’s retirement this month, we also would like to congratulate Hillary Howard as she takes over as the host of “It’s Academic.”

We sincerely look forward to the future of “It’s Academic.”

With gratitude,
/s/
Anne L. Bryant
Executive Director
National School Boards Association

Alexis Rice|November 16th, 2011|Categories: Student Achievement, Student Engagement, Teachers|Tags: , , , , , |

Video: NSBA discusses school climate and bullying on Comcast Newsmakers

BoardBuzz recommends you check out Mary Broderick, President of the National School Boards Association (NSBA), recent appearance on Comcast Newsmakers.

Broderick discusses school climate, bullying, and cyberbullying, and promotes NSBA’s Students on Board: A Conversation Between School Board Members and Studentsproject to get school board members across the country to start talking with students about school climate.

Alexis Rice|August 18th, 2011|Categories: Bullying, Center for Public Education, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, School Boards, School Climate, Student Achievement, Teachers|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Making progress preparing more students for college

A similar review with a summary of additional findings can be found on NSBA’s Center for Public Education’s blog The Edifier.

There was a slight increase in the percent of 2011 high school graduates ready for college English, math, social science, and science courses, according to ACT’s The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2011 report released today. 

It is good news that the percent of students considered “college ready” increased, especially since it has been increasing for several years. This shows our high schools are graduating more students ready to succeed in college. This is likely because more students are taking more rigorous courses. As the Center’s Chasing the College Acceptance Letter found, those students who take more rigorous courses increase their chances of getting into a good college at a greater rate than students who simply improve their grades.

However, the results also show that progress has been slow and gaps between groups of students persist. The progress needs to accelerate exponentially to close the gap between the percent of students who want to go onto earn a 4-year degree (83 percent) and those who are “college ready” (25 percent) so they are adequately prepared for such college level work when they enter college. Yes, high schools are on the right track, but there is much more work to be done to truly meet the needs of their students.

For more information on how to use college entrance exam scores to evaluate your school, check out the Center’s Date First website.

Jim Hull|August 17th, 2011|Categories: Center for Public Education, High Schools, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Reports, Student Achievement|Tags: , , |

Does ‘proficient’ equate to college or career ready in your state?

This was also published in The EDifier.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) at the U.S. Department of Education released a new report, Mapping State Proficiency Standards onto NAEP Scales: 2005-2009. The report enables states to compare the rigor of their standards for proficiency in fourth and eighth grades in both math and reading to that of other states. To do so, it places each state’s assessment cut-score for proficiency — the score which students much reach to be considered proficient — onto NAEP’s scoring scale using statistical mapping techniques. This means it shows where on NAEP’s scoring scale a student would fall if that student scored right at the state’s cut-score for proficiency on the state assessment.

Example: If a fourth grader in Vermont scored at the proficient cut-score on the Vermont state assessment, that score would correspond to a score of 214 on NAEP, which falls within NAEP’s Basic Achievement Level.

What did the report find?

  • The differences where states set their proficiency standards vary greatly.
    • The difference in scores between the states with the five highest and lowest standards is comparable to the difference in scores between NAEP’s Basic and Proficient levels.
    • The range of state standards is between 60 and 71 NAEP points, which equates to about six or seven years of learning. It is also more than twice the size of the Black/White achievement gap in 4th grade reading, which is 25 NAEP points.
  • Most state’s proficiency standards are at or below NAEP’s definition of Basic performance.
    • In grade 4 reading, 35 of 50 states set their standard for proficiency lower than NAEP’s cut-score for its Basic level. For grade 8 reading, 16 out of the 50 states did so.
    • In grade 4 math, seven of 50 states set their score for proficiency below the cut score for NAEP’s Basic level, with 42 states setting their proficiency score within NAEP’s Basic level. One state—Massachusetts—set its proficiency score within NAEP’s Proficiency level. Similar results were found in at the 8th grade level.
  • The rigor of state standards increased in states that substantively changed their assessments between 2007 and 2009.
    • Across the 34 math and reading assessments that substantively changed between 2007 and 2009, in 21 cases the rigor of the standards increased.
    • In just 5 cases did the rigor of the state standards decrease.
  • Most state results show more positive changes in the proportion of students reaching proficiency than NAEP results.
    • The change in the percent of students reaching proficiency between 2007 and 2009 was more positive in 17 of 22 state assessments than on NAEP.

Keep in mind when reading the report that NAEP does not necessarily define proficiency the same way states do. NAEP defines Proficiency as competency over challenging subject matter, not grade-level performance as states attempt to do. It is also worth mentioning that no country, not even the highest performing countries, would have 100 percent of their students reach NAEP’s Proficiency level. and that some leading assessment experts have stated that proficiency for accountability purposes probably lies somewhere between NAEP’s Basic and Proficient levels.

Even with that in mind, the results should be a warning flag to many states, especially those who set their proficiency standard below NAEP’s Basic level. But this could be a moot point in the coming years, as most states have signed on to the Common Core of Standards, where the goal is college and career readiness, not proficiency as both state assessements and NAEP are currently setup to measure. In the meantime, states should still ensure they set their proficiency standards at a level where students demostrate they have the skills necessary to get into college or get a good job after high school.

For more information on how NAEP’s proficiency levels compare to states’, check out the Center for Public Education’s The proficiency debate: A guide to NAEP achievement levels.

Jim Hull|August 12th, 2011|Categories: 21st Century Skills, Assessment, Center for Public Education, Educational Research, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, School Board News, Student Achievement|Tags: , , |

Late graduates to be counted

Note: This entry was orignially posted on National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Center for Public Education’s blog The Edifier.

It took awhile but states will finally be able to count those students who take longer than four years to earn a high school diploma (late graduates) as graduates through a common graduation rate formula that all states must use starting this summer. NSBA has been fighting for this change ever since the Center released its Better Late Than Never: Examining late high school graduates report over two and half years ago which showed that late graduate’s were more successful after high school in terms of earning a college degree, finding a good job, civic engagement and living healthier than those students who earned a GED or never earned a high school credential. As a matter for fact, late graduates’ postsecondary outcomes outcomes did not differ much from those students who graduated on-time. So there was little reason why late graduates shouldn’t have been counted as graduates.

The adoption of the common rate enables states to report an extended-year rate which would include late graduates that are currently not counted in most state gradation rates. In a press release announcing the common rate the U.S. Department of Education declared:

States may also opt to use an extended-year adjusted cohort, allowing states, districts and schools to account for students who complete high school in more than four years.

Moreover, in the release Secretary Arne Duncan stated that a common rate “…will also encourage states to account for students who need more than four years to earn a diploma.”

This is a major step forward in giving districts credit where credit is due by counting all students who earn a standard high school diploma as graduates not just those who earn a diploma in four years. However, how districts get credit, if any, for their late graduates under Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) / No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and most state accountability systems is still unclear. Hopefully Congress will reauthorize ESEA soon and put into law that indeed late graduates are graduates even for accountability sake.

Jim Hull|July 29th, 2011|Categories: Center for Public Education, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, High Schools, NSBA Opinions and Analysis, Reports, Student Achievement|Tags: , , , , , , |

What’s that smell? Could be the student body

Do your high school students stink?
296-1244490633l0Oy
I’m not talking, mind you, about their academic performance. I mean, do your kids stink literally? As in body odor?

The answer is, apparently, a resounding Yes across much of the country. Unbeknownst to me, high school students have given up on the after-gym shower.

Actually, they gave up on school showers in the 1990s.

That’s what I’ve just learned after doing a bit of research that looked as far back as the 1980s. At the end of the Reagan era, I’ve found, a slew of media accounts reported that gym teachers were having a tough time dealing with teenagers who skipped the post-gym shower.

Some students claimed there wasn’t enough time to fit in a shower between classes. The reality, of course, was that students were avoiding the typical adolescent embarrassment that surrounds showering around other teens.

At that time, schools were tougher about hygiene. “Showers are required as part of the grade,” one teacher explained.
(more…)

Naomi Dillon|January 5th, 2011|Categories: American School Board Journal, Governance, Wellness|Tags: , , |

How a Virtual Learning Environment Can and Should Help Learners

Jeff Borden gave a great presentation on the rationale of why and how online learning can help students and teachers. His talk was not full of the often empty rhetoric about how “digital learners” are different from the rest of us. I’ve thought and written about this on my blog (MrPahs.com). Jeff said the learners haven’t changed–the way they and we learn has changed. I think the sooner we include everyone in the conversation about learners the better. No one benefits from creating a divide between so-called digital and non-digital learners. Another point that Jeff made was that students like technology because they like variety. We all like variety–young and old. Online learning can help address this deep need inside of all of us.

Another important way Jeff made for the case for online learning is that the technology can meet the many needs that teachers have everyday. As teachers, we want our students to write more, to think more, to create more. Online technology tools can help us achieve these goals. By using some very straight-forward tools effectively, we can get a lot of return for our investment. What really came through in Jeff’s talk was that he wasn’t just a “tech head” going off on the cool new tools. It was very clear that he uses these tools in actual classrooms. It’s great to hear from someone who has “the goods” and can help teach and inspire others.

Lindsey Pahs|October 29th, 2009|Categories: 21st Century Skills, Educational Technology, T+L|Tags: , , , , , , |

Frans Johansson and The Medici Effect

During the general session on Wednesday, Frans Johansson shared his vision of the power of diversity in innovation. If anyone has had a diverse life, Frans has–from his quick recap of his life we can see that he’s had to pull together resources/ideas from a wide range. Luckily we can all benefit from his experience. We can ask ourselves and our students in a wide variety of situations to think about the material differently. The question “How is a neuron like a hand?” becomes a tool for exploration, innovation and discovery. The draw for many teachers to the profession is the ability to be creative. We like the process. Now we can use the “Medici Effect” to help guide us in fostering creativity in our students. Combine ideas that seem disparate. Ask if the seemingly impossible is possible–let’s try it!

Lindsey Pahs|October 28th, 2009|Categories: 21st Century Skills, T+L|Tags: , , , , , |
Page 1 of 212