Education News: ACT, known since 1959 for their college entrance exam, is about to launch a new system to help measure student achievement from early elementary to high school. The assessment tool will help students build on their academic strengths and address their weaknesses.
At Communities In Schools, an initial evaluation is a primary tool used to assess the needs of schools and students. This helps site coordinators and school officials identify and track the performance level of all K-12 students in order to implement the strategies that will lead to each student’s individual success.
The new tool being introduced by ACT can be a resource to help facilitate the process that Communities In Schools already has in place of helping students reach their academic goals.
New York Times: Five schools in the Balsz Elementary School District in Phoenix, Ariz., have opted to lengthen the school year, adding almost an extra month, in an attempt to increase student learning time. A recent New York Times article reports that the National Center on Time & Learning has found that roughly 170 schools across the country are following suit in extending the school calendar.
While education reformists ponder the pros and cons of a longer school year, Communities In Schools is continuously focused on addressing the issue of learning loss that takes place as a result of students being off in the summer. Some initiatives include summer reading lists and partnerships with local libraries around the country to engage students in grade-level reading programs, and math and science camps that introduce students to the importance of these subjects and help to boost confidence in them.
Education Week: A debate has begun in a Colorado county school district following budget cuts that have resulted in two teaching positions being replaced with online instruction. Advocates of the decision claim it is in line with their goal of making the profession more efficient and relevant. Detractors protest that technology’s role cannot take the place of humans, and that there are three areas that are difficult to computerize: expert thinking and complex communication; solutions to new problems; and service jobs.
One of Communities In Schools’ basic tenets is a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult. This can be provided by a mentor, tutor, counselor or teacher. At the same time, we support student success no matter how it is attained. While an online course cannot replace a supportive relationship, if it works in the student’s favor to be enrolled in the course, our site coordinators are prepared to recommend such options. It’s a safe bet that some combination of technology and traditional teaching will help lead to success in school.