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Project GRAD on U.S. Senate agenda tomorrow in Columbus

By John Published: March 31, 2010

Project GRAD's executive director, Jaqueline Silas-Butler, will be among the witnesses speaking in Columbus tomorrow (Thursday) at a senate hearing convened by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to discuss her organization's efforts to increase the number of college-bound graduates from Akron's Buchtel cluster of schools.  The field hearing on career and college readiness (in connection with legislation to reathorize Elementary and Secondary Education Act) will be held at 2 p.m. at Metro Early College High School in Columbus, one of the schools I visited for my  series of stories on the teaching methods used at Akron's new middle school,  the National Inventors Hall of Fame School.

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Chemistry made Cool by COSI

By John Published: March 30, 2010

 
Video by Akron Beacon Journal education reporter John Higgins

The Center of Science and Industry, the hands-on science museum in Columbus, sent its traveling road show COSI on Wheels to Northwest Elementary School on Tuesday morning for a school assembly followed by hands-on science activities.  The kids had to solve the mystery of the missing slime ingredients by decoding a series of chemistry-related clues left by the thief, "Arthur Slimerheimer."  The "whoosh" tubes (ethanol gas ignited to make a big noise) were particularly entertaining.

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The Science of TV

By John Published: March 26, 2010

Time Warner Cable is investing big bucks in STEM education over the next five years. Tish Biggs represented the cable company at the recent STEM conference. Here's the story in today's Akron Beacon Journal about an afterschool program developed right here in Akron with Club Invention.

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Stow-Munroe Falls and Hoban HS students win essay contest

By John Published: March 25, 2010

Representing the Great Lakes Region, David Sutter, a senior at Archbishop Hoban High School, earned Third Place and $1,250 in the fourth annual Being An American Essay Contest. Karen Angiulo, a senior at Stow-Munroe Falls High School, earned an Honorable Mention prize and $250. The national competition is sponsored by the Bill of Rights Institute, an educational nonprofit based near Washington, D.C.

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National reading scores up since 1992, relatively flat since 2007 test

By John Published: March 24, 2010

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (often called the Nation's Report Card) has released findings on 4th and 8th grade reading that show gains since 1992 in 4th grade reading, but only slight gains for 8th grade reading since 2007, the last time the test was given. Last October, the NAEP showed similar results for math.  New York Times story, however, looks at the longer trend, noting that since 1990, math scores have shown greater improvement than reading scores.  See AP story here. Ohio Department of Education weighs in here with press release.

The Ohio snapshot of 4th grade reading scores has some interesting data:

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Making a difference in Stow

By John Published: March 23, 2010

I forgot to link to this story yesterday about Autumn Post, a Stow-Munroe Falls High School student who single-handedly resurrected an Akron Children's Hospital teen counseling program at Stow. If you think we don't write enough positive stories about teens,  read this one about the RESPECT program. Autumn is in the middle with friends Angela Parise on the left and Marcus Savage on the right.

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Summer w/Great Lakes Science Center

By John Published: March 22, 2010

The Great Lakes Science Center will have science summer camps for students from preschool age through high school  (including at Camp Y-Noah in Akron) from  June 14 through August 20. Full press release after the jump:

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RIF Redux

By John Published: March 22, 2010

Earlier this month I wrote about attempts to preserve stand-alone federal funding for the Reading is Fundamental program. See post here.  I'd asked the national RIF folks to put me in touch with some local folks who could talk to me about the program. I wish they'd given me John Buntin Jr.'s phone number. He's the chairman of the Kiwanis Club of Kenmore's RIF program. He sent me an email today:

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No more student loan middlemen

By John Published: March 22, 2010

Washington Post's Answer Sheet blog notes that included in the passage of health care reform in the U.S. House of Reps last night was a big change in how students will get their college loans. 

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21st Century Skills and Akron's new middle school

By John Published: March 19, 2010

Fascinating story in the spring issue of American Educator (American Federation of Teachers)  by Andrew J. Rotherham and Daniel T. Willingham about the co-called 21st Century Skills movement. I interviewed Willingham, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Virginia during my research last year on Akron's new National Inventors Hall of Fame middle school. See series here:

They rightly argue that critical thinking skills are worthless without relevant content to think about. They also warn that methods such as project-based or problem-centered learning, which are the basis for instruction at the National Inventors Hall of Fame School, require significant training and support for teachers.

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Irvin prelim hearing set for next Friday

By John Published: March 19, 2010

Former Canton City Schools administrator James A. Irvin will appear in a preliminary hearing in Canton Municipal Court on March 26 at 1:20 p.m. Irvin is facing a felony charge of sexual battery. The hearing will determine if there is enough evidence to send the case to a grand jury, which would then decide if he should be indicted and tried in Stark County Common Pleas Court. My story in the Akron Beacon Journal today includes an interview with the alleged victim's mother, who explains why she trusted Irvin around her son.

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Strange, sad story from Canton

By John Published: March 17, 2010

The story Wednesday about the Canton school administrator who resigned Monday after trying to kill himself last Thursday in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park has a lot of unanswered questions that we hope will become clearer when there is a resolution to the Stark County sheriff's investigation.

At this point, remember, James Irvin faces some serious misdemeanor charges from Peninsula, but that's it.  UPDATE: Late Wednesday afternoon, Irvin was charged with sexual battery. We have a brief in today's newspaper. The Repository has more from last night.

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Celebrate Pi Day on March 14

By John Published: March 12, 2010

Just a reminder that Pi Day is Sunday, March 14.  What is Pi day? Check it out here!

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Afternoon reading

By John Published: March 11, 2010

Bob Somerby writes a blog called The Daily Howler that watchdogs the media with Mencken-like humor. Somerby taught for 12 years in the Baltimore City Schools, which is why I always read his criticism of education reporting with extra interest. Today he tackles coverage of national academic standards.

Linda Perlstein at the Education Writers Association also covers education coverage. Check out this piece warning about exaggerations in childhood obesity stories.

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More than 200 attend Akron regional STEM conference

By John Published: March 11, 2010

Although local organizers had just three weeks to put together a regional STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) conference, more than 200 attended on Wednesday at the Quaker Square Conference Center. Here's my story in today's Akron Beacon Journal. Big shot guests included Akron mayor Don Plusquellic, Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut and National Inventors Hall of Fame inductee, Jim West.  All preached the gospel of STEM to the choir, but the most persuasive speakers I heard during the half-day conference were two students from the new National Inventors Hall of Fame middle school.  Here's an edited version of their comments:


Beacon Journal video by John Higgins

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A STEM grows in Akron

By John Published: March 8, 2010

Just a reminder that the first regional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) conference will be in Akron on Wednesday at Quaker Square. National Inventors Hall of Fame inductee Jim West is the keynote speaker at lunch. I wrote a series at the end of last year about the new STEM middle school's first buildingwide project on wetlands. Jim West is helping the kids with their second buildingwide project on sound.

Details after the jump

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Weekend reading

By John Published: March 5, 2010

The New York Times Sunday Magazine's cover story  this weekend  is called "Building a Better Teacher" by Elizabeth Green. It's about the actual mechanics of teaching practice and what it takes to do it well. 

I was particularly interested in this nugget of history about the training of teachers:

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Report from Alaska

By John Published: March 5, 2010

Jacinda Yonker is regularly updating her Medina followers on her adventures at the Iditarod sled dog race, which starts tomorrow in Anchorage. See early post here and click here for an update.

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RIF looking for help with budget

By John Published: March 5, 2010

The RIF (Reading is Fundamental) program has been helping children build their own home libraries with free books since 1966 with uninterrupted federal funding since 1975. I've got a story today about their legislative efforts to keep funding for their program separate and level instead of lumped in with other literacy programs and subject to competition from the states, which could then choose whether or not to work with the organizations.

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Ohio makes the cut on Race to the Top

By John Published: March 4, 2010

Associated Press reporting that Ohio made the first cut for federal school reform money. Full press release after the jump

Selected from a pool of 41 applicants are: Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee.

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Elms students have a ball in classroom

By John Published: March 4, 2010

Beacon Journal staff writer Katie Byard has a report on how one area classroom has ditched chairs, replacing them with stability/exercise balls.

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STEM students to show off work at UA and Mount Union

By John Published: March 4, 2010

About 4,000 STEM ( Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) students throughout Ohio will display projects at science days this month. Area students will be part of events at the University of Akron on March 20 and Mount Union College on March 27.

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Race to the Top finalists announced today

By John Published: March 4, 2010


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will announce Phase-one finalists for the Department's $4.35 billion Race to the Top competition during a press conference call with reporters at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, March 4.

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When the school calls you, call us

By John Published: March 3, 2010

I want to thank the Medina parent who called to tell us about the email and voice message blasted out to parents about the 13-year-old arrested for bringing a gun to Claggett Middle School earlier this week.  On Feb. 17, two middle school students were arrested at Perkins Middle School in Akron, one for bringing a loaded gun to school. In both cases, parents were informed by the district and someone called the newspaper to tell us. It's sometimes hard to get through to the right reporter. So call me, John Higgins, at 330-996-3792 if your school alerts you to arrests at school or any other situation the community should know about.

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Congratulations Teresa Moon

By John Published: March 3, 2010

Teresa Moon, advanced mathematics, geometry and algebra I teacher at Crestwood High School in Mantua, Portage County, is one of five Ohio educators  chosen as finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.

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Celebrate World Math Day with food

By John Published: March 3, 2010

Here's something to chew on for World Math Day, courtesy of Chatonooga Times Free Press (by way of ASCD SmartBrief): Culinary Math!

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Days of math and reading

By John Published: March 2, 2010

Reminder, tomorrow is World Math Day.  See this earlier post.

Also, the National Education Association (teachers union) kicks off  the 13th Annual Read Across America Day today (106th birthday of Dr. Seuss)  with First Lady Michelle Obama. Press release after the jump.

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