Discipline. Facetime. Pipeline.

A recent HuffPo article reveals results of California’s efforts to reduce student suspensions for minor behavioral infractions. Spoiler: the results have been mostly positive.

Two important observations stand out:56522eea1b0000270029e550

  1. More efficient, less exclusionary discipline tactics result in increased instructional time for the students. These precious minutes of instruction translated into improved academic performances. The verdict: every little minute helps, especially for at-risk students most affected by these changes.
  2. To support the students, we must first support the teachers. A notable response from the study was that despite the many positive outcomes, classroom teachers were left with sometimes-rowdier classrooms and minimal guidance on alternative behavior management approaches. The verdict: always schedule PD to support teachers as a part of any change management plan.

Gardening 101: Getting to the Root of the Problem

Dandelions: the perennial lawn maintenance nuisance. It doesn’t take a very savvy gardener to know that getting rid of a dandelion takes more than just popping the yellow top off. It requires attention to the root – digging the whole darned thing out from the ground – to remedy the problem.

taraxacum_officinale_aggregata_species_dandelion_flower_side_view_12-04-10_1There’s a reason that in talking about problems and solutions the term “root” is thrown around even when the topic isn’t gardening or dentistry. Throwing “solutions” at the top of a complex problem will never solve the problem. At best it will mask it or defer the problem for a time, but ultimately the concern will either manifest itself somewhere new or re-emerge again over time.

We know this in gardening, in business, in healthcare, in government. So why are we so slow to “know” it and, more importantly, to act on it when it comes to education? All the data tells us that access to early childhood education dramatically, positively impacts a child’s trajectory of success for K-12, post-secondary education and far into their professional lives. More successful professionals means stronger national and global economies and a more secure future for us all.

Let’s make 2016 the year that we acknowledge the achievement gap in the united States and demand our next president make early childhood education a priority. Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) is doing just that. Read more on their campaign to make early childhood education funding a top priority in the campaigns for all presidential hopefuls in the coming elections.

Not So Special Ed?

We at ShiftED frequently highlight concerns regarding the achievement gap and socioeconomic discrepancies in the US education system. What the casual edu-observer may be surprised to discover is that the system’s well-intended special education structure can be a primary perpetrator in this inequity.

https://edlaw80205.wordpress.com/short-guide-to-special-education-in-ontario-schools/This week on the EdWeek blog, educator and administrator, Dr. Doug Green, takes a deep dive into the United States’ special education system structure. In this in-depth reflection, Dr. Green shares his own experiences as principal, comparisons between American and Finnish approaches to special education, and his suggestions on ways the system can be improved to be more effective for students, teachers and schools’ budgets.

Agree? Disagree? We want to hear from you. Share your thoughtful comments below.

Another Argument for Holistic Approaches to Learning

Today on KQED’s Mind/Shift, Katrina Schwartz shares results from a study by the Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) called “Beyond Academics: What a Holistic Approach to Learning Could Look Like.”

“The CCSR report makes the case for better integrating aspects of a child’s development using a compilation of developmental psychology, neuroscience, sociology and education research perspectives. By combining insights from each of these areas, the report’s authors strive to paint a clearer picture of how to support development of the intangible qualities underlying both the cognitive and non-cognitive skills emphasized in school, clubs and at home.”

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Graphics and Glitter and Gaps, Oh My!

How to Keep Your PD on Point

Sylvia Duckworth, an “AIM French teacher and techno-geek” out of Toronto, shares “10 Things Teachers Want for Professional Development” in a happy little infographic. The value of the list is threefold: 18121142350_682ac1f50a_m

  1. PD Content creators ought to constantly keep these in mind when researching and developing curriculum for educators
  2. School leaders should use these as an evaluation tool when selecting programs for in-house training and in recommendations for offsite training for their teams. Additionally, there are a few reminders on how to remain a team player when attending professional development activities with your team.
  3. Although the infographic speaks of what teachers already want, it’s a good reminder on what to look for when seeking out your own development opportunities.

More artful edu-wisdom from Sylvia can be found on her twitter @sylviaduckworth or her about.me page.


 “I will never miss the glitter…”

No time is a bad time to share stories that restore faith in humanity. And this reflection on the saints who are preschool teachers is no exception. If you’ve ever parented a 3-year-old, cared for a 3-year old, or observed a screaming one in the aisles of a Wal-Mart, you know that wrangling even one of these angels is not for the faint of heart. So head over to the Huffington Post to read about just a few of the things we ought to thank preschool teachers for, then go find a teacher and thank her yourself. Faith in humanity: restored. 

Want to share a story of an outstanding teacher? Tell us: rfadenrecht@lumentouch.com


Gaps and Overlaps

When considering the achievement gap that plagues our at-risk and under-privileged youth, we think of the traditional classroom and efforts that can be made to close that gap during the school year. What we often overlook is the perpetuation of the achievement gap that occurs during the summer months, when students with fewer academic resources at their disposal face a continued lack of resources: a viable network for finding employment.

According to the superintendent of school in Rochester, NY, “There is no other time in the lives of minority and poor children in the nation where the opportunity gap is so widened than during the summer time.” But all is not lost! Read on in this EdWeek article to see what proactive cities across the country are doing to empower the youth in their community this summer.

Is your community linking youth with opportunity? Tell us about it: rfadenrecht@lumentouch.com


Direct Yourself

We’re always looking for schools who are “doing it right” when it comes to the 21st century learning movement. Change is never easy, and enacting meaningful change when it comes to education comes with a lot of bureaucratic red tape, budget limitations and a well-padded comfort zone that must be overcome. So when we find schools that seem to have found a way over or around those hurdles, we’re excited to learn more and share their inspirations with the world. Prepare to have your mind blown by – that’s right – seventh grade chemical engineers. Read it here

Do you know of a school doing progress, disruptive, impressive thing? (Bonus points if it your school!) Email us: rfadenrecht@lumentouch.com


 Readers Gonna Read

If you happened to read “Five Ways to Keep the Pencil Sharp This Summer” on the Lumen Touch blog last week, then you received a little nudge about reading outside your comfort zone. If you’re still stuck on where to go, check out this week’s book recommendation:

Remember when the crazies at Duke University gave every incoming freshman an Apple iPod? The catalyst of that hair brained brilliance, Cathy N. Davidson, writes about the experience, as well as her other experiences with disruptive learning in her book: Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. Read a full summary here. Or buy it here.

Do you have book ideas to contribute? Email us: rfadenrecht@lumentouch.com


 On the Blog

This week on the blog, find out what competitive cooking, reality TV and project-based learning have in common. A few ingredients may leave you queasy, but we hope the recipe itself helps you cook up some delightful project ideas!

Share your project-based learning ideas! Email us: rfadenrecht@lumentouch.com