Saturday, June 13, 2015

Kendrick Lamar visits a school in NJ

A Visit From Kendrick Lamar- Best Day Of School... Ever?
By Sami Yenigun
Published June 13, 2015


Key Points: English Teacher Brian Mooney teachers high schools students at High Tech High School in New Jersey decided to tie in his exploration of Toni Morrison's novel The Bluest Eyes by referencing the novel with Lamar's album, To Pimp a Butterfly. Not only is the novel begin correlated with what high school students are now interested in, mainstream hip hop/rap music, as well as what is relevant with what is going on in today's event in America.

Audience: Teachers, Educators, public, and students

Relevance: The article truly explores the process of who educators can deconstruct how they think by always keep a hand on the pulse of youth culture. It allows students to not only explore the works of today's artists as well as what holds more meaning to students of today's youth.

Blog Analysis -Alesha, Caleb, Jeff, and Nancy

Link to Notes

Group5 Themed Analysis

Terry, Sierra, James, Corey

Teaching in High Poverty Schools

How do we Keep Teachers in High Poverty Schools?

Response: 'Teachers Don't Leave High-Poverty Urban Districts; They Are Exiled'

The combination of poor management, under prepared students, and lack of sufficient resources makes teaching in high poverty schools very difficult and frustrating. I like this article because I have seen this situation happen myself where good teachers want out of a situation where they feel they are ineffective and are unhappy. The article lists some areas to be addressed, including a lack of social-emotional services. This seems to reflect basic needs not being met including nutrition, safety, and mental health, especially in high crime areas where there is the concept of the school to prison pipeline.  Other areas to improve are resources, parent accountability, resources, professional learning, and teacher support. Unfortunately in these schools the teachers are often under a lot of pressure for results but don't feel supported or valued. In fact, they often are the recipients of blame for the lack of success of the student for not doing enough to help them. Over all, it takes a very dedicated teacher to stay in a situation like this and not move across town where they will have an easier job for the same pay. This is a situation that really needs attention and improvement. I think most teachers  want to make a difference but if they don't feel like they can and don't get the support that they need, they won't stay in the schools that need them the most.

Art Education for Everyone

Arts Education for Everyone
Huffington Post
By Tammara Fort

Key Points: A college dedicated to performing arts catered to adults with disabilites offers a range of learning experiences from dance and music to painting and drawing and "provide(s) training that will allow any student to push the boundaries of their potential and thrive, creating successful and fulfilling lives for themselves."

Audience: educators, special education educators, public, board members

Relevance: This article is relevant because it shows that learning comes in a variety of ways including art. For some students, art is the only way that they can express themselves or come to an understanding about what is being taught. A school like this that is catered to adults with disabilities is even more beneficial as it allows students with differing abilities to be able to comprehend and succeed in ways that go beyond the traditional school setting.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Model Minority

Unraveling the Model Minority Myth of Asian American Students.  

Summary: Asian Americans are stereotyped as the “model minority”. This stereotype causes issues because it encourages strife between racial groups by implying that one is better than another. Expectations of Asian American youth are that they are excellent students, work hard, are obedient, and they are not expected to struggle or need help. This puts pressure on Asian youth to meet expectations when they already have pressure from their families to do the same. Stress and depression is high among Asian Americans in this situation.

Relevance: Asian American students in our community can suffer from stereotypes. In this case, since the stereotypes are seemingly positive, the pressure it puts on these students is not visible or expected.

STEM by Video Games!

Game-based learning is a new area of research and practice. Computer games can be used to teach STEM subjects to a multitude of students. Hindrances to success include the quantity of game-based education content, the quality of this content, and the distribution mechanism for the content.

This article is relevant because it concerns game-based learning. However, this learning is in STEM fields that do not as of yet include Computer Science.

Computer Game Programming

Computer Coding Lessons Expanding for K12 students

South Hills High School teacher, Saleta Thomas, talks about her computer game design class. This class is used to draw students in through the attraction of computer game design. Students can follow it with a more traditional computer science class. Once in college, students will realize that computer science has a lot of options for interesting work and well paying jobs.

"If we get the hook into them through gaming, then when they go to college they can see there's a whole lot more offered in computer science," Thomas says. "If you major in computer science, your world is really open."

This article is relevant to me because I also use computer game design as a motivator in my classes.

In the News...(Feb-Mar 12th)

By: Melissa Goodling, Mathew Scramahorn, Katie Pratt

Oregon Passes Opt-Out Bill Over Objections From US Education Department

Key Points: The article reviews the most recent bill passed from the Oregon Department of Education for students to opt out of state testing. There is concern over how school's could risk losing federal funding if less than 95% of the students participate in testing. Local politicians disagree on this issue. Democrats don't think the opt out bill will cause many to choose not to take the test. Republicans think that the bill will send the wrong message to students not to challenge themselves to meet the Common Core Standards. To date, the Oregon bill will create the easiest opt out policy of state testing in the country.

Relevance: The article is refers to the current debate in education over state testing and the Common Core. Is it worth it? If parents opt out for their children, how will it affect them? Will this bill cause more states to follow Oregon?

Intended Audience: Politicians, Educators, Parents, Students, Lawmakers, Administrators, Oregonians

Published: June 11th, 2015, OPB


Spanish Immersion

I've had the privilege of working these past two weeks in a 3rd grade Spanish immersion classroom. I wanted to share this video with all of you as I think it embodies cultural identity. The video was recorded during their practice this morning but they also presented it at the talent show in the afternoon. The teacher, Isidro Interian, wrote this song about his own life and his journey to the United States from Mexico and the challenges he faced and his experience with overcoming racial stereotypes. It isn't the full song as my phone failed me towards the end but I've included the lyrics to the first part and also the speech that they spoke at the end (not recorded). This performance really touched my heart as many of these students are facing similar challenges in their lives. One of the lines is about others not wanting him (Mr. Interian/hispanics) to be here (America) but that he won't give up because he has students who he is here to inspire. I think that really encompasses the heart of this song and that despite your background or race you can rise above those social barriers that others may place on you. I also love how the song is a blend between English and Spanish and how it flows together to create a cultural artifact for both identities.


"How kids learn in Manila's biggest SPED high school"

In this article, "How kids learn in Manila's biggest SPED high school" posted on 06/10/16 by Maria Feona Imperial and Yvette B. Morales, some issues with SPED are addressed. This article talks about how funding and accommodations are issues with schools involving special education. This article also talks about how labeling or generalizing SPED students limits their potential. The article is intended for anyone interested in SPED. Also, this article seems to be relevant to SPED as it talks about some of what really happens in schools involving special education and the students involved in SPED.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Underachieving Oregon: 3 West Albany High seniors graduate with extra help getting on track

June 5, 2015 from the Oregonian (
Written by Laura Frasier
Audience: Public, Parents, Educators, Students, Government

The Oregonian article shows some things that are going well in the Oregon Education system. West Albany seems to have the resources and made the priority to meeting students individual needs. The article didn't seem to indicate that the students received or did not receive Sped Services. The individual stories highlighted in the new article are part of the story of success for West Albany. The backgrounds of the students were varied and needs were different. What was key to their success was a program that gave them extra academic and organizational support. They benefited use of contracts signed with their teachers and use of non-traditional classes and on-line.

"You Only Get One "First Day of School""

I love this article! "You Only Get One "First Day of School"", while this article is a little old now, it still has some relevance. It was written by Lisa Mims on August 21, 2013. This article was written for educators, both new and veteran. In this article it gives 7 tips for a first day of school. The 7 tips are: smile, dress up, be prepared, develop expectations, classroom management, have a plan for the day, and don't judge. I found this article particularly meaningful in my searching of how to handle your first year of teaching.

"Student Success in High School Varies by State and Circumstance"

In this article, "Student Success in High School Varies by State and Circumstance" from EDWeek, a thought on SPED is brought up. It was written by Caralee Adams on June 5, 2015. This article references another article that was posed to our blog, "Students Face Uncertain Paths After Special Education." This article brings to light the idea of students with disabilities attending college and how their success in high school can help. As the other article also pointed out, self-advocacy has a big impact on success for all students including students with disabilities. This article is directed towards teachers, students and those interested in student success. It is relevant as it talks about student success and the things that help.

Another Article about ESOL Students in Middle and HIgh School

Teaching AdolescentEnglish Language LearnersEssential Strategiesfor Middle and High School

by Nancy Cloud Judah Lakin Erin Leininger Laura Maxwell

Key Points:
Like the last article I reviewed, this publication looks at the challenges of English laguage learners in middle and high school. One big challenge is staying in school and graduating. Many of these students have low literacy even in their primary language. They are put in a situation where they need to be able to test at a high enough level to succeed in their standardized testing. Many have never experienced high stakes testing at all. The students need to meet all of the same graduation requirements as their native English speakers counterparts who have been learning skills leading them to where they are since they entered school. These credits often include mandatory english classes, US  and state history, and other classes that are based in US culture. Poverty can also be an influence for some of these students. Many immigrant students hold part time jobs which reduced time available for school work. Social challenges are another issue for these students. Social opportunities help grow language skills but if the student is having a hard time fitting in, they have reduced access to social groups.

Non English speaking immigrants is an increasing challenges in school in the US and in our own communities.

ESOL Students in Middle and High School

By Deborah J. Short & Shannon Fitzsimmons

Key Points:
English Language Learners in middle and high school are often lagging quite a bit behind their native English speaking peers in academics. Academic literacy is low for many of these students, they are learning English proficiency while being held to the same academic requirements as the rest of the school. Essentially, they have double the work. Many also have low academic literacy in their native language which means they are already behind even without the burden of learning a second language.

This report summarizes many of the challenges for students who are English language learners in middle and high school, including their background, programs, lack of assessment, and more. They also make suggestions for improvement including teacher training, programs, and expectations.

The number of non-English speaking immigrants is increasing in many areas, including our local schools. It is something all teachers need to be trained for.

SBAC Testing and Opting Out

The Smarter Balanced Test - Parents and Lawmakers are Still Playing this Out

Oregon Live:  Oregon risks losing $140 million for enabling kids to skip Common Core tests, feds warn

Key Points:
This article talks about the current status on the parent backlash against the new testing in our schools. Oregon lawmakers are trying to make it easier for parents to opt out of testing. Currently they can but they need to site religious reasons. This law would enable parents to opt their children out without stating a reason. Supporter also want parents to be informed of their ability to opt out and also have schools with large opt out rate be protected against the consequences of the lower test scores that the school could average in this situation. The article reports that this law would put Title I money at risk because it has a mandatory testing requirement.

My kids took these tests this year. Apparently it was very different from the old OAKS test. I'm not sure how I feel about it, I guess we will see how effective they are. However, my son was put through the wringer at his school. He is a part time middle school student, but they had him do test after test, even in the subjects where he did not participate in school and it was crammed into the reduced time that he was at school. He is a good student so I assume they wanted his test scores on their record. This in itself isn't a result of the new tests, but the combination of having him do a lot of testing in a short time and having the tests be more challenging was not a good experience for him. He usually does not mind testing at all, but this year he really did.

This is a pretty big movement in our schools here in Oregon as well as across the nation. It will be interesting how it plays out.

For Students With Disabilities, Transition From High School Requires Self-Advocacy

Key Points: This article reviews the controversy of how support services in special education can cause students to have a harder time transition to college. The transition to college is more difficult because students don't have self advocacy skills.

Relevance: The article is relevant because self advocacy is an important skill for an individual to be independent. We need to support our students to becoming as independent as possible for the real world.

Blake Yee, center, watches his MY VOICE presentation with his father, Steven Yee, and mother, Rolyn Yee, at the Supported Training Experiences Post Secondary (STEPS) building in Naperville, Ill., along with Kate Bruno, far left, a case manager and support teacher in the program. As part of the program, youths with disabilities prepare a multimedia presentation to showcase their post-graduation plans.Intended Audience: Educators, Parents, Special Education Students, Administrators, Program Director/Coordinators

Published Date: 5/29/15


Monday, June 8, 2015

The Educator in the Mirror | Teaching Tolerance

The Educator in the Mirror | Teaching Tolerance
Audience: Educators, administrators, Parents
Key Points:
Teachers roles  should include understanding and supporting the various identities represented by our students.  It is important to note that intent is far less important than impact.  As teachers, the impact of our roles as mentors, authorities and guides means that the stakes are higher for us. Whether we like it or not, our job inherently asks us to judge our students, hopefully based on their work. 

As educators we need to ask students what they need from us, thus to empower students in the classroom to have a decisive role.  An important role as an educator is to be an ally, to listen and ask questions. An important realization is that the more the students are the focus of our work, the more we create space for their identities to thrive


Assessment in Sped

Key Points: This article breaks down the key elements of assessment in Sped.  It has some very good information and tools that may help special educators as well as general educators in need of help. I liked how easy it was to pull useful information out of without having to sift through useless text.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Student Portfolios as an Assessment Tool

Student Portfolios as an Assessment Tool

Article by Emma McDonald
Education World

Audience: Educators, administrators

Key Points:
Student Portfolios are one type of assessment tool that can be used very effectively.  The movement at this time has been away from traditional paper and pencil assessment and into alternate forms of assessment such as teacher observation, projects, essays, and other more creative ways of evaluating student achievement.
While portfolios remain quite popular in education coursework there is one common reason teachers forego the use of portfolios and that is that they are a very subjective form of assessment.
Looking at different types of assessment and how they fit students, teachers and curriculum.  The portfolio is not the easiest type of assessment to implement, but it can be a very effective tool. Portfolios show the cumulative efforts and learning of a particular student over time. They offer valuable data about student improvement and skill mastery.

Native American Students In Utah Are Getting Pushed Out Of School At Alarming Rates
Key Points:
Native American students in Utah may be getting referred to law enforcement agencies at very young ages often before they even know how to read. Native American students in Utah are more likely than any other student group -- including all other students of color -- to get referred to police or arrested at school, and are 7 ½ times more likely to face expulsion than white students.


Speaks to the idea of disproportionate referrals and possible racial profiling toward students at an alarmingly young age and rate.  Students are being forced out of school and into the penal system. 

Audience: educators, administrators, law makers, parents 

Oregon, lowest graduation rates

By Robert Manning
On June 7th, 2015

Key Points: Oregon has the lowest graduation rate in the U.S. at 67%. The rate has increased but still lowest in country. Advocates recommend starting young to improve these rates by emphasizing on the importance of preschool. Article discusses two brothers, one who went to preschool and one who didn't and their differences in school from social behaviors to desire to learn. The boy who went to preschool performed better overall in school than his brother who didn't. 

Audience: educators, parents. 

Relevance: Shows the importance of early childhood education and its effect in low income areas where preschool has been proven to help increase graduation rates for students living in those areas. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous

The United States has led the world in fiscal ebullience, innovation and entrepreneurship thanks to exactly the kind of teaching we are now told to eradicate.  A broad general education helps foster critical thinking and creativity. 
In order to protect American jobs and be successful critical thinking is, in the end, the only way.
One reason to value a liberal education lies in its roots. The most valuable skills students need are the ones that are uniquely human, that computers cannot quite figure out like flexibility, common sense and judgement.

Graduation Disparities Loom Large for Students With Special Needs - Education Week

Graduation Disparities Loom Large for Students With Special Needs - Education Week

Published Online: January 28, 2014
Published in Print: January 29, 2014, as Graduation Disparities Loom Large

Audience: Educators, Parents, Lawmakers

Key Points: 
The wide graduation-rate gaps in many states between students with disabilities and those in regular education raise the stakes for next year's first-ever federal evaluation of how well states are serving their special education students. By 2015, the Education Department aims to take a closer look at graduation-rate disparities when it evaluates states on their special education performance.  

The results of the evaluation could affect what states can do with their federal aid for special education.  The director of the federal office of special education programs said that "We know there are students with disabilities who can be achieving much more."  The office of special education programs, which is charged with evaluating states on their adherence to the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, plans by next year to take into account graduation rates, dropout rates, and other so-called "performance" indicators as it shifts from a focus on compliance to what it calls "results-driven accountability."

Graduation Rates for Students with Disabilities on the Rise

Graduation Rates for Students with Disabilities on the Rise

By Christina Samuels on March 23, 2015 5:11 PM

Audience: Educators, Parents

Key Points:

Graduation Rates for Students with Disabilities on the Rise. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act allows students with disabilities to stay in school at least until age 21, or longer if state laws allow making it difficult to compare one state's graduation rate to another.  States have different definitions for what a "regular high school diploma" is for a students with a disability.

The U.S. Department of Education broke out four-year graduation rates for different student subgroups as of the 2012-13 school year. Even within standardization, there is variability, different definitions in diplomas and student with a disability are just two factors.  

Data Overview: Students With Disabilities, In School and Work - Education Week

Data Overview: Students With Disabilities, In School and Work - Education Week

Published Online: May 29, 2015
Published in Print: June 5, 2015, as Students With Disabilities, In School and Work
Audience: Educators, Parents, policy makers
Key Points:
Nearly 6 million students with disabilities attend public schools in the United States. The Education Week Research Center compiled data from the U.S. Department of Education in order to shed light on the high school achievement and post-high-school outcomes of students with special needs. 
Compiled data from the US Dept. of Education shows the results and highlights key patterns regarding the educational status of students with disabilities. There has been gains on math and reading tests but the gap still remains.  Data on High School outcomes, graduation rates and type of diploma are shown as are the rates that young adults with disabilities have been employed, participated in job training, or attended a postsecondary school following high school.

For Students With Disabilities, Transition From High School Requires Self-Advocacy - Education Week

For Students With Disabilities, Transition From High School Requires Self-Advocacy - Education Week
Education Week
June 5, 2015
By Sarah D. Sparks
Educators, Students, Parents

Key Points:
Post High School Transition is a challenging time for students, especially those with disabilities.
Students need assistance to help them start to find their own voices.
Federal Law requires transition planning no later than age 16 this includes self advocacy but there is no  specific reporting on it.

 Transition is a time when many students fumble through the process of learning to be independent.  Students with disabilities, who are now graduating from high school are  entering higher education at greater numbers than ever before. Students with disabilities are no longer provided accommodations and services through the IEP.  There are are 2 other federal laws that provide services but not at the same level. 

‘Education Suspended’ | Teaching Tolerance

‘Education Suspended’ | Teaching Tolerance

Friday, June 5, 2015

Students Face Uncertain Paths After Special Education

From Education Week
Published online May 29, 2015
Written by Christina A. Samuels
Audience: Teachers, Special Education Specialists, Transition Teachers and Families

Students have experienced a structured and somewhat predictable path while receiving special education services in public school settings since IDEA has been enacted. What has not been historically smooth is the transition from education to vocational or post education life. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act hopes to add structure and substance to transition

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

New Autism Research Outlines Gender Differences in Social Interactions

By Christina Samuels on May 15, 2015 4:49 PM

Boys and girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder  demonstrate their difficulties in  communicating  in different ways. New research presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research recently held in Salt Lake City found that in general education classrooms, girls remain more connected to peers when they are in classroom of 21 students or more.  Boys, however, tend to have better social connections in classrooms with 20 or fewer students.

While much of Autism research is male oriented, this study focused on both boys and girls .

This article is geared towards parents, educators and researchers

link to full article