Closing schools because of poor performance may offer meaningful benefits to students, according to an analysis of 29 New York City high schools designated for closure between 2003 and 2009. Data show rising ninth-graders slated to enroll in such schools were more likely to enroll in higher-performing programs, potentially increasing their odds of graduating, researcher James Kemple writes.
Facebook is a useful tool for teachers as well as students, middle-school language arts teacher Heather Wolpert-Gawron writes in this blog post. She points to two recent examples where the social-networking site has been used to organize teachers and students. One educator used Facebook to gather feedback from other teachers on education reform, and a group of students used Facebook as part of a problem-solving project in class.
A Connecticut middle school that mixed low- and high-achieving students rather than tracking them into separate classes found struggling students improved their behavior and earned better grades, but some high-achieving students said they weren't being challenged. A plan to expand the pilot has drawn parent opposition.
Researchers are beginning to uncover links between studying the arts and achievement in academic subjects such as math and reading. Neuroscientists are studying whether students who learn music, visual or performing arts experience changes in brain structure and thinking that help them perform better in other areas.
To cope with the high dropout rate among the country's Hispanic students, many schools are offering mariachi music classes in order to keep students in school. The lessons keep Hispanic students interested in education, and mariachi performances make their mostly immigrant parents feel more comfortable visiting schools, officials said.