Principal Tara Desiderio visits each kindergartner at home before school starts to talk to the parents and child and leave a book and list of the school's social media accounts, part of her philosophy of working with parents at Wescosville Elementary School in Pennsylvania, which has a diverse student body. Desiderio explains in this Q&A that she also calls each parent of a kindergartner before the start of school to welcome them and see if they have any questions.
Sand Springs Public Schools in Oklahoma has joined the more than 250 other members in the DonorsChoose District Partnership Program, which allows a district to have its own page on the website to help organize and solicit donations for its schools. DonorsChoose vets each request, which can include funding for books and class trips, and provides follow-up reporting to schools and donors.
The Biden administration says the COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed to trusted sites, including school-based clinics, children's hospitals, pediatricians and pharmacies, as soon as the vaccine is available for children ages 5-11. Under the plan, schools will play a role in outreach and vaccine education efforts, however, polls continue to indicate that many parents are hesitant to vaccinate their children.
The Illinois State Board of Education is allowing teacher evaluations to be optional for the second year in a row. Districts are given the flexibility to not evaluate teachers given that school continues to be disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Missouri State Board of Education has created an emergency amendment to offer a faster training path for substitute teachers, altering requirements so as to improve recruitment. The amendment, scheduled to take effect Nov. 2, will allow those who hold a high-school diploma or the equivalent to be certified as substitutes after 20 hours of approved training.
Catholic-school students in the House of Ignatius, part of a five-house housing system based on the "Harry Potter" series of books, will be going to an amusement park in Branson, Mo. The students, from McAuley Catholic High School and St. Peter's Middle School in Joplin, Mo., earn points for their house through academics and service -- the biggest point-maker -- to win the quarterly prize by beating the other houses, all named for saints.
School leaders can start improving diversity among teachers by surveying parents, so they can share their voices, say more than 100 Black educators who contributed to a report from Teach Plus and the Center for Black Educator Development. Leaders can create a more culturally inclusive environment if they "work collaboratively with the practitioners who know the students best -- teachers," says Iesha Green, an educator in Arkansas.
Saint Paul School in Kensington, Conn., has a growing enrollment, a robotics club, a theater program and makerspace with a 3D printer. Principal Jill Conaway, who started in the role this summer, says other upgrades include Smart TVs replacing Smart Boards, thanks to grant funding.
Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia recently held a "Mass for Peace and Justice," celebrated by Archbishop of Philadelphia Nelson Perez, for the city's record number of victims of gun violence, with nearly 2,000 fatal and nonfatal victims in 2021 so far. At the event organized by the college's Institute for Forgiveness & Reconciliation, Perez said collaboration, prayer and advocacy can help fight the "pandemic" of gun violence.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2014 visited Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School in Takoma Park, Md., to speak with students about pursuing their dreams and in support of the Cristo Rey model. Powell, who died earlier this week at age 84 from complications of COVID-19, told the students in attendance during the visit that they must get a good education and do their part to improve the country.
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