[ECP] Educational CyberPlayGround K12 Newsletter Resources and Headlines

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  • Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2007 04:00:00 -0400


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Greetings K12 Newsletter Peeps,

Happy Reading for today.


Chicago Public School employees info stolen
A huge breach of security has put thousands of Chicago Public School
employees at risk. A thief stole two laptop computers containing private
information about 40,000 current and former employees. The heist was
caught on tape.
Investigators say its still unclear if the laptops were stolen for the
sensitive information they contained or as a crime of opportunity.
Either way, it has some questioning how the school district safeguards
valuable information.


Carnegie Perspectives
Ray Bacchetti tells the story of his family's educational experiences
over three generations. Bacchetti reminds us that access to higher
education is one of the blessings that every American should expect as
a birthright, not a special privilege. As we continue to be a nation
of immigrants, those doors must remain open. In past years, government
invested heavily in the education of youth, whereas today most support
comes in the form of loans.

Navy officer Bill Hawes home from a seven-month tour in Iraq,
surprising his six-year-old son in his school classroom. His son jumps
up, crying, and runs into his father's arms. An amazing spontaneous
moment of joy and sorrow in one family's story.

Portland Schools Foundation $850,000 in Grants  (503) 234-5404
Portland Schools Foundation, a local education fund, is excited to
announce grant awards of more than $850,000 in grants to Portland,
Ore., public schools and their partners. Awards were distributed to 45
schools, including elementary, middle, and high schools, charter
schools, and alternative programs. These grants were funded through
the Equity Fund and the First Octave Fund managed by the Schools
Foundation. The Equity Fund, by school board policy, is supported by
one-third as a result of funds raised by individual school
foundations.  The fund is designed to help schools close the
achievement gap. This year, local school foundation parents and
community members raised a record $842,000 for this fund. As parent
leader and Schools Foundation board member Amy Carlsen Kohnstamm said,
"It's fantastic that we're able to raise money for our own school, but
it's a privilege to support other schools through the grant program."
In the past ten years, the Portland Schools Foundation has invested
more than $4.5 million to close the achievement gap and improve
teaching and learning, particularly in high-poverty schools. In school
after school, teachers and principals have made extraordinary
progress: elementary school achievement has climbed and the
achievement gap has narrowed.

Degrading Treatment and abusive discipline in schools.
A report by the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI)
shows that middle and high school students in New York City and Los
Angeles are frequently ignored and mistreated in their classrooms, and
subjected to harsh discipline policies that punish, exclude and
criminalize students.

Safe Schools


The registry is organized by state and by grade level.
The registry also includes sites for charter Schools, virtual schools,
school districts, state and regional education organizations, state
departments of education, state standards and state administrators.

Science, take teachers to task for spending too much time on basic
reading and math skills and not enough on problem solving, reasoning,
science and social studies.
The typical child in the U.S. stands only a 1-in-14 chance of having a
consistently rich, supportive elementary school experience, say
researchers who looked at what happens daily in thousands of classrooms.
They also suggest that U.S. education focuses too much on teacher
qualifications and not enough on teachers being engaging and
supportive. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, educational
researchers spent thousands of hours in more than 2,500 first-, third-
and fifth-grade classrooms, tracking kids through elementary school.
It is among the largest studies done of U.S. classrooms, producing a
detailed look at the typical kid's day. The researchers found a few
bright spots, reports Greg Toppo in USA Today. Kids use time well, for
one. But they found just as many signs that classrooms can be dull,
bleak places where kids don't get a lot of teacher feedback or face
time. For example, fifth-graders spent 91.2 percent of class time in
their seats listening to a teacher or working alone, and only 7
percent working in small groups, which foster social skills and
critical thinking. Findings were similar in first and third grades.

Can't Upgrade the Computers
Some Massachusetts classrooms still have decade-old computers that can
take up to 10 minutes to boot up. In Natick, a growing number of
students are bringing their own laptops, because the district does not
have enough modern machines to run the latest software. And in Boston,
it is teachers who are bringing their own laptops to school to
sidestep the system's unreliable equipment. A decade after schools
across the state pushed to get computers into classrooms, many
districts are limping along the information superhighway. Their
machines, or the wiring and other infrastructure in their buildings
are obsolete. Other districts have modernized equipment but lack the
specialists to train teachers to use the latest technology and show
them how to weave it into everyday lessons. And the legion of personal
laptops showing up in schools is creating nightmares for technology
directors, who worry about computer viruses spreading to their
buildings' secure networks. With tight budgets, impending teacher
layoffs, and voter resistance to tax increases, many communities face
dim prospects for keeping pace with rapidly changing technology.

Teacher Success
Is teacher retention an issue in your school or district? Do you
recruit or retain? Teacher retention should be a process, not a
program. It is far better to retain a savable teacher than to train
new ones year after year. With national attention focused on the
number of teachers that will be needed over the next decade, schools
need to take personal ownership of supporting and developing their new
educators. Knowing that teacher quality is the greatest predictor of
student success means that support for new teachers should be a
critical component in all school improvement plans. Here are five tips
from Lynn F. Howard to support new teacher success:

Kajeet New Cell Phone for 8-to-11-year-olds 'tweens'
"Parents can set monthly allowances" for minutes, ring tones, games,
and text messaging on the $99 phone's "pay-as-you-go cellphone service"
on the Sprint Nextel network. No contracts or cancellation fees.
And there's a "wallets" option, so that calls to family members are
covered by Mom, for example, but ring tones come out of the kid's wallet. <http://www.theolympian.com/105/story/75202.html>


"Grants to Support High-Quality Early Learning"
The A.L. Mailman Family Foundation supports organizations that are
national in scope or reach more than one state.  The foundation's goal
is to promote the building of sustainable systems that provide access
to high quality early learning experiences for all children and effect
system-wide change by encouraging responsive public policies. Maximum
Award: $50,000.
Eligibility: 501(c)3 organizations.
Deadline: May 1, 2007.

"Recognizing Outstanding Youth Activism"
The Earth Island Institute Brower Youth Award recognizes young people
for their outstanding activism and achievements in the fields of
environmental and social justice advocacy.
Maximum Award: $3,000. Eligibility: youth ages of 13-22.
Deadline: May 15, 2007.

"Grants for Direct Services to Young Children"
Mattel Children's Foundation Grants program award organizations with a
mission that focuses on the direct service of children ages zero to 12
years. Organizations or programs must show creative and/or innovative
methods to address locally defined needs directly impacting children.
Maximum Award: $20,000.
Eligibility: 501(c)3 organizations that benefit children.
Deadline: June 15, 2007.

"Cultivating Youth Social Entrepreneurs"
YouthActionNet Fellows are social entrepreneurs who participate in a
week-long capacity building workshop in Washington, DC. A key focus of
the workshop is facilitating peer-to-peer learning and networking
opportunities.  Eligibility: youth aged 18 - 29.
Maximum Award: $500.
Deadline: May 15, 2007.

"History Channel Save Our History Grant Program"
The History Channel Save Our History Grant Program inspires youth to
become the preservationists in their communities. Museums, historic
sites, historical societies, preservation organizations, libraries,
and archives are invited to partner with a local school or youth group
and apply for funding to help preserve the history of their communities.
Maximum Award: $10,000.
Eligibility: 501(c)(3) history organizations.
Deadline: June 1, 2007.

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