A special-education teacher lists the ingredients she believes are needed to create a supportive learning environment for students. They includes a generous helping of positive attitude, smiles, organized lesson plans, art supplies and effective improvisation.
One of Kentucky's worst high schools has increased the academic pace and focus on reading as part of its turnaround efforts. Teachers are working to show students they are passionate about students' education as a way to encourage them to learn, and teachers work individually with failing students to get them back on track. The principal is also working to build relationships among teachers and students. The efforts appear to be working, with some academic success and improved attendance.
About 10% of students nationwide are expected to attend year-round schools by 2012 as more districts look for ways to improve student performance. Experts say that students from low-income households lose some of what they learn over the traditional summer break. However, many districts are concerned about the increased cost of year-round school. In Clark County, Nev., officials ended their year-round calendar to cut costs, saving $13.8 million.
New York City teachers union officials say educators may sue the city if its teacher-evaluation data is released to the media because hundreds of teachers have reported errors in the evaluations. "If members are harmed or defamed because the Department of Education was not managing the data inside of the system, then we will help them take legal action," said the president of the United Federation of Teachers. City officials say principal should flag mistakes and that teachers who've reported errors have often misunderstood the data.
Teachers in a Massachusetts district are using the online learning system Moodle for the second year and say the program gives students greater access to class material. One teacher said the program often is used to provide resources for students who may want to go beyond what was taught in the classroom. Teachers post videos and reading materials, along with discussion threads that allow students to talk about academics.