Teachers' union officials in New York City have launched a hotline for students to call, in confidence, to speak with mental-health specialists about issues related to school bullying. The hotline is being publicized in all city schools and lines will be open each day from 2:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
A number of Pennsylvania school districts are giving students a more active role in classroom lessons as part of a strategy aimed at boosting literacy. The interactive, student-driven approach is part of a University of Pennsylvania program currently under development. "What it does is make students responsible for their own learning," teacher Sarah Martin said. "It provides students the opportunity to explain things to each other and teach each other."
An Indiana school district switched to a digital curriculum for students in grades 5 to 12 this year, replacing all math and science textbooks with online resources and distributing laptops to students. Despite challenges, including concerns from parents, stress on teachers, and the inevitable technical glitches, students have embraced the new system. "This wasn't a technology initiative -- this was a curriculum initiative," district official Maureen Stafford said.
A group of students in fifth through eighth grade from a private school in Pasadena, Calif., took a field trip Tuesday to the Occupy Los Angeles event to discuss democracy with protesters, attend a city council meeting and hear a speech by a member of the tea party. "My goal as a teacher, regardless of my own personal beliefs, is to expose the students to as many viewpoints as possible," teacher Susanna Barkataki said. "We're here to get first-hand experience."
Despite a dip in the overall school-dropout rate since 1972, latest statistics show students who are poor are five times more likely than their peers from affluent homes to drop out of school. In addition, the dropout rate stands at 5.8% for Hispanic teens and 4.8% for black teens, compared with 2.4% for white teens, the data show.