A testing task force is recommending that the Mississippi State Board of Education drop a US history exam that is required for high-school graduation. Removal of the test, which is without a state or federal mandate, raises "serious policy questions," according to board Chair Jason Dean, who says he will have to "do some thinking" on the proposal.
Some schools are taking a "grief-sensitive" approach to students who have experienced loss, particularly in neighborhoods where violent crime rates are higher than average. At one New York City middle school, students fill out surveys at the start of the year, so teachers and staff can provide social and emotional support to cope with grief and trauma.
Community leaders in Oxnard, Calif., recently welcomed families to a park for free multilingual read-aloud events featuring books read in English, Spanish and the indigenous language Mixteco. One of the organizers, Lucy Cartagena, said similar events are planned in three other parks, with a month of outings ending with the installation of a Little Free Library.
Young people and students in Gibraltar, a British territory located at the tip of Spain, are speaking more often in English than in Spanish, some observers say. Some link the declining use of Spanish on social media and satellite television, while students ages 12 to 16 learn Spanish for two hours per week.
Some school districts in the US are adopting curricula that are more culturally responsive and inclusive to allow students from all backgrounds to see themselves in the instructional materials. Whitney Oakley of Guilford County Schools in North Carolina, which began its curriculum overhaul through a 75-member task force, says students "won't put the books down."
Teachers can help support student outcomes by adopting social and emotional learning, writes Saiying Steenbergen-Hu, a research associate professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University. In this opinion article, Steenbergen-Hu shares data showing that SEL helped improve social behavior, academic performance and students' attitudes toward themselves and others.
Middle- and high-school students at 11 Minnesota schools and educational programs will use their math and engineering skills to build 12-volt DC We Share Solar Suitcases that will be used to provide electricity at a Kenyan refugee camp. Students will build 120 of the devices this year to provide power for classrooms, plus tablets, cellphones and other devices.
Educators and school leaders who are transitioning into new roles this year should prioritize listening before acting, writes Fred Ende, an administrator in a New York state district. The move to a new role is a change for the individual moving, but it also affects people in the organization who have to adjust.
Google for Education has introduced a feature called originality reports that allows teachers and students to scan their work for plagiarism. As the feature scans work for commonalities among billions of webpages and millions of books, it highlights text that may need additional sourcing.
More than half of teenagers 13 to 17 say they receive news on YouTube and other social media sites, according to a poll from SurveyMonkey and Common Sense Media. Much of that information comes from social media influencers and celebrities, although less than half of respondents said social media and influencers "generally (get) the facts straight."