Category: Education (page 1 of 7)

How Flexible Education Fosters Confidence in Students

The educational system has always been based on students learning by curriculum handed down from top officials. Students don’t get too much of a say regarding their studies, as what they are taught is often decided by local and state officials based on mandates. However, things are shifting to a more client-driven system. Many school districts and colleges throughout the globe want to personalize these crucial educational years for students. But, how can they accomplish this significant undertaking? Dual-credit courses might just be the answer.

Dual-Credit Courses Customize the Learning Experience

Using this new and revolutionary learning method is shaking up schools across the country. With dual-credit courses, high school students can take college classes for free at local universities. This saves them time and money on post-secondary education.

Many students don’t have the money to pay for college, and they may not know all the options available to them. Some may look to community college, but even these learning centers require money, and paying for classes is a big undertaking. Giving younger students educational options to try an array of different things can help secure the future of the country.

High School Students are Embracing These Programs

One reason why these programs are being highly favored is that students have the chance to try college courses before they enroll and spend thousands of dollars. Some students know that they cannot afford college, and, therefore, hardly entertain the idea of post-education services. What if they spend all that money only to realize that college is not for them? It’s a costly lesson.

Studies show that kids who attend college or take college courses during high school are more likely to fully complete their education. With these programs, students can immerse themselves in college life early. They get some higher education schooling under their belt for free, which means that should they decide to pursue their education further, getting a degree will cost less.

Areas in which the dual-credit models have seen success can thank the partnerships formed between colleges and high schools. Working together is essential. No longer does someone at the board call the shots for the needs of the students. Together, the schools collaborate to develop course structures based on what the students specifically need and want. The goal is that each student moves on seamlessly from high school to college, or the workforce.

The fact that not every student will pursue post-secondary education is okay. Still, this program gives them experience and training for where they are at that moment, and it lays the groundwork for future success.

Utilizing Social Media in Catholic Schools

Integrating social media within a school system is no easy task. It takes consistent effort to keep pages updated with current information, and determination to spread the word about a school’s latest happenings. Catholic schools are no different. Social media is the modern key to spreading awareness about brands, so it shouldn’t be avoided by any means. It can help educate those outside of the school system, and possibly bring in new students from all around.

But, how exactly does a Catholic school integrate social media into their day-to-day operations? Simply put: with time and planning.

Search for your School

Utilize all search engines and prominent social media pages to find out what third-party information has been uploaded to the internet recently. This will give you an idea of your school’s public persona as it appears online, or, in other words, a foundation to begin with. With how easily accessible public information is today (thanks in large part due to social media), it this shouldn’t be too challenging of a task.

Strategy

Now you can begin working on your strategy. After doing some research, it should be clear what the general goals of a school social media page are. Perhaps the school needs to be seen in better light. Perhaps a social media page would create better communication between students, teachers, and parents. In the beginning, it is okay to focus on just one or two goals. However, those running the social media accounts will want to use the internet to their full advantage, and the school itself would be wise to brand itself as a social media-savvy educational hub.

Hire a Social Media Manager

This does not have to necessarily be a professional in the social media marketing industry, but rather an individual experienced enough in the world of social media to understand the fundamental needs and goals. This person will be responsible for the upkeep of the school’s social media pages, responding to messages and inquiries about the school as well.

Plan Ahead

It is important to know what, where, and when you are going to post ahead of time, so being several weeks ahead is an advantage for all social media managers. This gives your pages and profiles plenty of time to prepare and perfect their posts. The social media manager should be knowledgeable about the schedule for school events, for example, so they can keep everyone updated online.

Catholic Schools and Their Influence on Educational Decisions

In the United States, Catholic schools educate more than two million students who come from affluent, middle class and economically challenged neighborhoods. Since their beginnings, Catholic schools have served many ethnic communities such as the Irish, Italian, German, Latino, African-American and Polish immigrants. These schools have also been in areas where there are underprivileged children such as New York, Boston, New Orleans, Baltimore and Chicago.

With the implementation of school choice programs designed for culturally and economically disadvantaged children, Catholic schools in more than twenty states and or school districts now receive public funding. That these church-related schools receive public funds is, however, a cause of concern for some  who perceive this arrangement as detrimental to the educational choice movement. However, studies have revealed that this fear of Catholic schools’ preventing others from receiving the benefits of the school choice movement is unfounded.

Catholic school funding is not out of proportion

Catholic Education Partners studied data for 16 scholarship tax credit and 12 voucher programs that were run in 20 states. These credits and programs amounted to $1.8 billion of the $2.2 billion allotted for nationwide private school choice. The majority of Catholic schools among these 20 states that were surveyed showed voucher program enrollments of under 40% of their total enrollment. Therefore, these enrollments are in proportion to those of other private schools that receive public funds.

Catholic Schools enable students to succeed

With such public funding, Catholic schools contribute greatly to the success of many economically disadvantaged students. For instance, 99.1 percent of students in Catholic high schools graduate and 84.7 percent go on to college. One reason for this success may be that no matter whether students are in the inner city or the suburbs, the philosophy of Catholic schools is to instruct and develop the whole person.

Enabling children from low-income areas to attend Catholic schools has done much to improve their moral and civic character since Catholic school  teachers are not restricted by state mandates and have myriad opportunities to address character development. By working with students, the teachers in Catholic schools demonstrate their concern for the students as individuals. In numerous cases, such character development and improvement have been shown to correlate with students’ scholastic successes.

Having worked in both public and religious schools, Executive Director of the Department of Secondary Schools at the National Catholic Educational Association, Philip B. Robey contends that more data-oriented public schools lose sight of developing the individuality of each student; an essential part of educating. Catholic schools strive to educate the whole child and are successful for doing so.

Screentime in the Classroom: A Benefit or a Distraction?

Parents and teachers alike are sometimes worried that kids and students are spending far too much time looking at screens, and far too little time actually learning and reading. Naturally, the value of a screen depends on what is being displayed, but parents and teachers have a point. Children almost always expect to see smartphones and devices as sources of entertainment, and will oftentimes interpret screens used as educational tools as no more than entertainment with poorer quality.

The solution to this problem requires some creative thinking along with adults willing to give kids some room to experiment. Everyone is headed for the same destination. We just have different ways of getting there.

Creativity

Children are naturally creative. This is one of the reasons why they are drawn to screens in the first place. Games, animation, and the freedom of choice are the three things screens give them. What adults should do in order to channel those interests productively is show kids how to be creative without a screen.

What if students could learn to make games and animation themselves? What if they were allowed to discover new things without looking them up first? Such experiences could inspire them to try newer, potentially greater things.

Educational Tools

Much emphasis has been put on STEM education of late, otherwise known as a combination of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The biggest obstacle to these subjects is the fact that not all adults understand them, and even fewer can describe how to use electronic devices in order to effectively teach them.

Computer programming is a great example of this. Educators have placed a decent amount of value on teaching children how to “code.” Meanwhile, there are only five states with an official computer curriculum in the United States. How can children use screens productively if they provide no educational value?

Reading

Electronic books were invented decades ago, but were recently perfected within the last 10-15 years. It is now possible to carry the contents of an elementary school library around in a device the size of an actual book. How many educational institutions are taking advantage of this technology? If students and kids were looking at a screen with quality reading material on it, would that be preferable to random videos and distractions? How might carrying hundreds of books around all day change the life of the average elementary or junior high school student?

Screens are becoming an increasingly important aspect of education. Given how much smartphones and tablets are being used throughout the world on a daily basis, it’s only fitting that they become integral parts of the classroom. It is then up to educators and parents to ensure that what is being displayed on those screens is beneficial for the growth and development of the children using them.

Steven Virgadamo Offers Parents Tips on Fall Semester, Lunch and Student Focus

By the time November rolls around, many parents are frustrated that an elementary school child is not eating well at school. Many have already succumbed to that ever-tempting “lunchables” and a bag of chips. Never forget that a child’s meal is a building block to their health and academic success in school.

Here are a few tips to packing a nutritious lunch that kids love:

  1. If you are packing a sandwich, use whole grain bread. The bread must have 3 or more grams of pure fiber to be“true” whole grain bread.
  2. Package the lunch to look like the popular off-the-shelf items like “lunchables.” Cut sandwiches into fun shapes like hearts and flowers.
  3. If your scholar won’t eat a sandwich, try nutrient dense muffins. You take any basic muffin recipe and use gluten free flour and coconut sugar. Add veggies like carrots, celery etc.
  4. Be sure to include fruit like grapes, apples and bananas.
  5. Make a trail mix – nut free of course – but you can include things like raisins, dried apples, berries and you can even add some dark organic chocolate chips.
  6. Ditch the juice and replace with water. Add some food coloring if you need to make a more desirable presentation.

Meals rich in fiber are proven to satisfy hunger which will allow young scholars to focus better on school work. Whole foods for scholars will instill overall well-being and lifelong healthy eating habits. Most importantly, practice what you preach. If your children see you eating well, they too will grow up eating well.

Education Technologies of the Future

Technology continues to be an ever growing aspect of our lives. While it is not so surprising to see how it impacts certain parts of our daily lives, most seem quite shocked when they hear how technology continues to have a major influence in the world of education.

Learning within the classroom is constantly changing as technology shapes the way that people are able to study and grow. Virtual reality and adaptive learning in general is continuing to make its presence known across the country in classrooms.

With technology steadily improving, virtual reality classrooms are now used to help with the learning process. This type of technology in the field of education is able to help draw students in, and get them involved with hands on learning. This type of virtual reality technology sometimes even has the capability to take over as the teacher itself. Many online schools and courses are able to use this type of technology where students have access to it any time of day right from their computer or mobile device. This helps to permit learning at any time of day or not right from the comfort of their home.

Educational robotics have continued to become more popular and will steadily trend upwards in the future as well. The Lego Group, which invented the first educational robotics, set the pace when they developed the Mindstorms brand in the eighties. Today, many companies have bounced off of this idea and created other aspects of educational robotics for various different subjects. Just a few examples of these include Ozobot, Cubelets, or Dash and Dot, which all allow students to tap into their creative side and learn.

Intelligent mentoring is also very accessible and will continue to grow even more popular in the future of education. These types of intelligent tutors via technology take the place of a normal teacher and are able to assist in the learning process of students. A fantastic example of this is Duolingo which is a foreign language program that helps students learn a brand new language. The mentoring system is able to pick up on any type of errors the student makes and helps to correct them so they are able to understand what they did wrong. As technology continues to thrive and become more widespread, intelligent mentoring will grow.

Not Letting Kids “Go Dark” from Faith During Summer

Originally published on NCEATalk.org

The following article is a re-posting of John Jimenez’s blog, NOT LETTING KIDS “GO DARK” FROM FAITH DURING THE SUMMER.

All around the country, the end of the school year is here. And to most children, that means only one thing: summer vacation. The normal routine is broken up for two and a half glorious months of sleeping in, summer camps, family trips, play dates with friends, or whatever unique joys summer vacation brings to a child’s life.

This regular break from regularity is a wonderful thing, but often children can see it as a break from everything they normally do, including the practice and growth of their Catholic Faith. Many parish ministries and religious education programs “go dark” for the summer, and of course, if a child is in Catholic school, that regular connection with the Faith is dormant for the summer months.

As parents, though, we don’t want our children to take a break from their Faith during the summer. We don’t want them to take nearly 25% of every year to stop praying, learning, or growing closer to God. But we may find ourselves more on our own, without as much help from the school or parish during the summer. Thankfully, Catholic Brain does not go dark for the summer; the following are some ideas of how it can help.

Building A Summer Faith Routine

The break in routine during the summer gives the opportunity for some special religious opportunities. We can take our children to visit local shrines, participate more in service projects, or even make a pilgrimage. But in order to help our children continue to make the Faith an integral part of their daily lives, many people find making some summer routine helpful.

One simple thing to do is make use of the daily Scripture presentations from Catholic Brain. Each morning children can start their day by reading a child-friendly translation of the day’s readings at Mass, followed by a simple five-question quiz. This allows them to join the mind of the Church in pondering God’s Word throughout the summer.

The saints are our constant companions throughout our journey in life. Each day children can learn about the Saint of the Day. This way, throughout the summer, they will be able to make many new heavenly friends. In the morning, at meals, and before bed, children can be encouraged to ask that day’s saint to pray for them. By incorporating the daily Scripture readings and saints, the Catholic Faith can continue to be part of the rhythm of our children’s daily lives.

“Faithful” Screen Time

One of the things that many children spend more time doing in the summer is watching television. Catholic Brain has many wonderful videos for children, about the life of Jesus or other Bible stories, about the saints or virtues. If children will have more screen time this summer, perhaps it can begin with one of the videos found on the site. Have them share with you what they learn each day.

Of course, there are all sorts of things that can be found on Catholic Brain, from games and other activities, to printables and music. The extra time this summer gives children an opportunity to search the site on their own and find things that interest them.

Summer Catechism Study Program

One of the best opportunities Catholic Brain is offering this summer is its eight-week Summer Catechism Study Program, beginning June 18, and running through August 10. This child-friendly approach to the truths of our Faith is built to become part of daily life.

The 38 videos correspond to the 38 lessons in the Baltimore Catechism, and are accompanied by activities, games and quizzes. Children can track their progress by earning badges throughout the program and each child will earn a certificate of completion when they finish. They will also take a final quiz, and those with the highest scores can win Catholic Brain store gift cards, trophies, and free Biblezon tablets. Best of all, the program allows kids to end the summer with a deeper understanding of the Faith than they began it with. Just go to the Catholic Brain site, and click on the pink “Summer Catechism Study Program” tab to sign up!

Funding Within the Catholic School System

Currently, Catholic schools are facing a financial crisis, brought about by an unmet need for funding. Government funding and donations from philanthropists do help, but it’s not nearly enough to offset the costs associated with educating each school’s children. This leaves the bulk of funding to come from the only other available source: tuition. While that seems like the obvious solution, the ways in which tuition is applied may be doing more harm than good.

The Dilemma with the Current Tuition Model

Catholic schools are caught in a tough spot right now, due to their dependence upon tuition to fund the system. Currently, tuition is based on the number of children attending the school. In the per student model, a family with five students will be paying five times more than a family with just one child. The problem with this is that the family with five children is already paying a higher percentage of their earnings to provide those children with other necessities, such as food, clothing, and healthcare. Unless they’re wealthy, that family will see the burden of tuition as an added hardship.

The problem doesn’t just affect that one family. Looking for ways to cut corners, even a devout Catholic family may find themselves forced to send their children to public schools. The burden of tuition may be lifted, but the children aren’t getting the education that the family wants for them. As more families make this same choice, enrollment in Catholic schools will suffer. Ultimately, Catholic schools will become more akin to elite private schools, where only single-child families will enroll.

A New Tuition Model

While the situation seems dire, there is a solution that has been proposed and it’s one that embraces the giving nature of the Catholic faith. The idea is to switch from a per student tuition model to a per family model, which would have every family paying the same for tuition. It would lighten the burden on families with multiple children attending the school, allowing them.to pay one smaller tuition.

In general, families would be paying just a few hundred per year as opposed to the thousands of dollars they would otherwise have to pay. This also means that single-child households may be paying a little more. However, an increase of a couple hundred is still far more easily managed than tuition costs of $5,000 or more per year.

It seems obvious that the current method for funding Catholic schools isn’t sustainable as a long-term solution. By amending the way tuition is applied to each family, more children will be able to remain in their school of choice. That’s better for the children, for their families, and for the Catholic schools seeking to provide a better educational experience.

 

Source: https://catholicexchange.com/blueprint-for-change-funding-catholic-schools

Helping Students Develop a Unique Mindset and the Ability to Think Critically is the Calling of Every Teacher

Effectively motivating your students and providing them with engaging educational programs and activities is at the forefront of every teacher’s mind. However, it would not be beneficial to teach them so that they are unable to learn on their own. Teachers should obviously aid in a student’s learning, but also help in the development of a unique mindset and the ability to think for oneself, thus being able to learn outside of just a classroom setting.

Doing this can be somewhat challenging, as you’ll essentially have to “fool” them into taking part in activities that almost force education. This, however, sounds much harsher than what you can actually do. Inspire unique thought by asking open ended questions and encouraging all to take part in a discussion. Assign projects that require students to combine their current sets of skills with new ones learned over time. Develop a framework within your regular teaching schedule that does not take away from current methods, but adds a twist to them every now and then.

One great way to develop unique mindsets in the classroom is to ask your students to theorize something. This can be done over a short or long period of time in which their theories may prove true, or false. Have them test and modify these stances as things progress. This is a great activity to expand one’s knowledge and learn that a theory is just that; something that can be proven false no matter how passionate one feels about it.

Encourage reading, but do not demand it. Younger students are often forced to read, whether it be sections of a science book, or a certain number of chapters in a fictional work. This poses the risk of creating disdain towards the idea, making children and young adults unwilling to read during their own time. While certain activities and classwork will require reading to some extent, explain the benefits of doing so on your own. Allowing your students to read without any external pressure can do wonders for their classroom engagement in addition to improving brain power.

Create activities in which your students must work together to achieve an end goal. Collaboration is a great way to learn one’s own value in any given situation. Rather than creating some type of hierarchy, assign equal roles and allow your students to enjoy their unique value applied to the task at hand; another great strategy in building confidence as well.

Teach them to embrace any mistakes made. Almost no task will be done perfectly throughout their education, and that is perfectly acceptable. It’s an age-old saying that holds true merit: “Everybody makes mistakes.” To discredit yourself because of any type of mistake is to demean your own worth. Teach your students to make these mistakes without pointing any fingers, and explain the benefits of allowing oneself to stride through missed opportunities. To dwell on a mistake provides no value, but they should learn from any made.

Though these are just a few strategies you can introduce to your students to help them develop unique mindsets, they can be extremely valuable both in, and outside of the classroom. As Alice Wellington Rollins once said, “The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask him which he finds it hard to answer.”

Education Research: What to Know for the New Year

Educators and those within the education industry are well aware of the constant changes and innovations that occur on a yearly basis. New studies may be released promoting certain teaching strategies as opposed to others, or detailing the types of environments children seem to thrive in that contradict a traditional setting. Regardless, professionals with years of experience under their belts understand the most important aspects, and those that are the most truthful. Below are a few findings Chalkbeat has compiled that all educators should take with them heading into 2018.

 

Teacher Certifications Come with Ramifications

 

Vetting teachers before hiring is obviously a crucial aspect of the employment process in education. However, overly strict rules often limit adequate, trustworthy teachers from joining, and thus benefiting the school they wish to work at. Similarly, certifications exclude teachers of color, which is often extremely detrimental in the sense that students of color have been shown to benefit more from educators of the same ethnicity.

 

Another downside of certifications is that they are often state-regulated, which means teachers are very limited in terms of where they want to teach. While it may be rare for an educator to move across states, the option should always exist. Certifications effectively render that impractical.

 

Unions may not be beneficial

 

Steven Virgadamo, with 35 plus years involved in implementing school improvement programs in nearly all 50 states, believes that having a group of educators more interested in protecting their jobs can sometimes be counterproductive to student performance, unless of course job security is tied directly to student test performance. The needs of the students and their families should never be placed secondary to the needs of the teachers.

 

State Tests Show Results

 

Mandatory statewide testing has always been seen as a somewhat controversial practice, but they have been shown to provide results. The University of Chicago found that students who took state tests later showed improved grades, a higher acceptance rate among colleges, and a consistent college tenure. But, with more testing came more displeased students, suggesting that teachers who may be great at improving test scores may lack in providing a happier educational environment.

 

Staying ahead of the curve in educational trends can be difficult, but knowing what works best, and what has worked in the past can equip teachers with the necessary tools to help their students succeed, as well as improve their personal teaching methods.