NY Education

Request for Qualifications: Qualifi...

Request for Qualifications: Qualifications for Independent Receivers

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has announced a new Request for Qualifications (RFQ), titled: Qualifications for Independent Receivers. This RFQ will generate a list of Approved Independent Receivers for Persistently Struggling Schools. To be considered for receivership appointments for the 2016-2017 school year, it is encouraged that applications for the list of Approved Independent Receivers be received by NYSED no later than March 11, 2016.
Funding Opportunity: 2016-2019 New ...

Funding Opportunity: 2016-2019 New York State Charter School Dissemination Grant Program

The purpose of the New York State Charter School Dissemination grant program is to provide funds to support the dissemination of effective practices and programs that have been developed, tested, and proven successful in New York State charter schools. Funds are available to assist charter schools in disseminating their effective practices to any district school(s) in New York through designated partnerships.
Funding Opportunity: Continued Deve...

Funding Opportunity: Continued Development, Administration, and Reporting of Teacher Certification Assessments for New York State Teachers and Educational Leaders as part of the NYSTCE Testing Program

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) Office of State Assessment (OSA) is requesting proposals for the continued implementation of the New York State Certification Examinations (NYSTCE) Testing Program. Services include revision, enhancement, development, administration, and reporting of all Teacher Certification Assessments (excluding the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA), the Assessment for Teaching Skills-Written (ATS-W) Elementary, and the ATS-W Secondary) as well as any and all additional instruments deemed necessary by NYSED for the certification for New York State teachers, teaching assistants, and educational leaders.
The New EngageNY Is Here

The New EngageNY Is Here

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is pleased to announce the release of The New EngageNY, featuring a more robust search, responsive design for better viewing on mobile devices, and streamlined navigation. EngageNY.org continues to serve educators and citizens by providing information and resources to help improve teaching and learning in New York.
Funding Opportunity: 2016-2019 McKi...

Funding Opportunity: 2016-2019 McKinney Vento Grant Program

The purpose of McKinney-Vento funding is to facilitate the enrollment, attendance, and success in school of homeless children and youth.
Funding Opportunity: Evaluation of ...

Funding Opportunity: Evaluation of the New York State Charter Schools Program

New York State was awarded its most recent Charter Schools Program (CSP) grant from the United States Department of Education (USDE) in 2011. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is seeking proposals to conduct a statewide evaluation of CSP, focusing on promising features of program implementation in new charter schools and the extent to which those features are promulgated to current and potential charter school operators as well as to traditional district schools. It will also examine charter schools’ access to and use of CSP funds as well as any outcomes that speak to the effectiveness or need for improvement of the CSP grant program.


How to use email more effectively (...

How to use email more effectively (essay)

In order for email to have less control over your life, you need to start to take control of it, argues Tanya Golash-Boza.

Most mentoring today is based on an...

Most mentoring today is based on an outdated model (essay)

Most mentor matches don't work, argues Kerry Ann Rockquemore, because they are based on a fundamentally flawed and outdated model.

Ensuring you make a good first impr...

Ensuring you make a good first impression as a job seeker (essay)

The impression you give when you first meet people can make or break your career opportunities. Saundra Loffredo provides tips for ensuring the former.

Common mistakes academic job seeker...

Common mistakes academic job seekers make (essay)

What are the things academic job seekers definitely should not do? Melissa Dennihy provides a list.

Tips for managing controversies tha...

Tips for managing controversies that result from research (essay)

What should you do if your research lands you in controversy? M. V. Lee Badgett offers advice.

Grad students should think like ent...

Grad students should think like entrepreneurs about their careers (essay)

Grad students need to apply to their career preparation the same entrepreneurial spirit they apply to their academic research, argues James M. Van Wyck.

BBC News Education

State schools 'gaining on fee-payin...

State schools 'gaining on fee-paying'

The UK's state schools have improved so much that some private schools may be put out of business, the editor of the Good Schools Guide says.
Private college loses border licenc...

Private college loses border licence

Some 350 international students at a private London business college have been told they must leave the UK by the end of next month.
Academy chain 'failing too many pup...

Academy chain 'failing too many pupils'

The biggest academy chain in England has been accused by Ofsted of "failing too many pupils", particularly poorer young people.
Teachers 'bump up A-level predictio...

Teachers 'bump up A-level predictions'

The head of the university admissions service says teachers are boosting pupils' predicted grades.
Oxbridge admissions 'intimidating'

Oxbridge admissions 'intimidating'

The admissions process for Oxford and Cambridge universities is confusing and complex and should be simplified, the Sutton Trust charity says.
Heads hit out over English Bacc 'ta...

Heads hit out over English Bacc 'tables'

The government is accused of shelving a new measure of school accountability in England before it is introduced.

US Govt Dept of Education

Strengthening Partnerships between ...

Strengthening Partnerships between Businesses and Community Colleges to Grow the Middle Class

Most first-time college students enroll in certificate or associate degree programs, indicating that the role of America?s more than 1,000 community colleges is more critical than ever. By offering students an affordable education and training close to home, community colleges may be the only option for some students who are raising children, working, in need of remedial classes, or can only take classes part-time. They are also uniquely positioned to partner with employers to create tailored training programs to meet economic needs within their communities.
Balancing Assessments: A Teacher?s ...

Balancing Assessments: A Teacher?s Perspective

As a Teaching Ambassador Fellow, my colleagues and I have the honor of speaking with thousands of educators, parents, and students across the country about their greatest hopes for education and what?s working well for them or not. Just as I have struggled with the amount of testing in my own classroom, we invariably hear about the amount of instructional time and energy devoted to testing.
Girls and Coding: Seeing What the F...

Girls and Coding: Seeing What the Future Can Be

3 Types of FAFSA Deadlines You Shou...

3 Types of FAFSA Deadlines You Should Pay Attention To

Click to enlarge
King announces guidance to states t...

King announces guidance to states to help reduce testing

Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. announced today new guidance to help states identify and eliminate low-quality, redundant or unhelpful testing.
ED Seeks Summer Interns

ED Seeks Summer Interns

Have you ever wondered about pursuing a federal career? Are you interested in public service? Would you like to gain valuable work experience and help move the needle on education issues in this country? The Department of Education may have opportunities that match your interests ? and we?re currently accepting applications for interns!


Conn. governor critical of town con...

Conn. governor critical of town considering arming teachers

KENT, Conn. (AP) ? A Connecticut town is considering a program that trains teachers to use guns in the event of an active shooter, and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has come down hard on the idea.
In contentious debate, Clinton and ...

In contentious debate, Clinton and Sanders both claim 'progressive' mantle

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Sanders and former Secretary of State Clinton speak as they discuss issues during the Democratic presidential candidates debate sponsored by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire in DurhamBy Amanda Becker DURHAM, N.H. (Reuters) - Democrat Hillary Clinton went on the attack against rival Bernie Sanders on Thursday in their most contentious presidential debate yet, questioning whether his ambitious proposals were viable and accusing him of an "artful smear" in suggesting she could be bought by political donations. Sanders fought back repeatedly, questioning Clinton's progressive credentials and portraying her as a creature of the political establishment in a debate that featured heated exchanges on healthcare, college tuition funding and efforts to rein in Wall Street. The intensity reflected a race that has seen Clinton's once prohibitive lead in polls shrivel against Sanders as the two vie for the Democratic nomination for the Nov. 8 election.

Rural Oklahoma school posts warning...

Rural Oklahoma school posts warning of armed staff

A rural school district in Oklahoma put up signs this week alerting visitors that some staff members have access to guns, in what it says is an effort aimed at deterring school violence. Schools in Okay, Okla., about 48 miles southeast of Tulsa put up signs that read, ?Please be aware that certain staff members at Okay Public Schools can be legally armed and may use whatever force is necessary to protect our students,? the Tulsa World reports. The signs follow up on a gun policy in the district?s schools ? which serve 420 students ? approved by the school board in August that says staff members may bring a gun to campus concealed on their person or kept in a locked box.
Meek Mill uses life experiences as ...

Meek Mill uses life experiences as word of caution to students

Meek Mill uses life experiences as word of caution to studentsA Philadelphia rapper brought a cautionary tale to local high school students on Thursday.

Only hours left for winner to claim...

Only hours left for winner to claim $63 million California lotto prize

A customer shows their tickets for the Powerball lottery at the CA lotto store in San Bernardino County, CaliforniaOnly hours remained on Thursday for the buyer of a $63 million lottery ticket sold last year in Southern California to claim the prize before the money gets turned over to public schools in what would be the biggest forfeited jackpot in state history. The winning SuperLotto Plus ticket was sold last August at a 7-Eleven convenience store in the Los Angeles community of Chatsworth. The prize, if not accepted by 5 p.m. PST, will set the record as the largest unclaimed California lottery jackpot, surpassing the $28.5 million for a ticket sold in September 2003.

Why did Detroit Public Schools bar ...

Why did Detroit Public Schools bar union's inspectors?

The Detroit?s teachers union isn?t happy with the city?s public schools, after district officials barred the union's health inspectors from entering school grounds. The Detroit Federation of Teachers had invited the environmental experts to check out possible health and safety concerns inside nine schools. "Prohibiting health inspectors to enter schools further erodes the trust of the school community.


University of Central Lancashire la...

University of Central Lancashire launches medical degree that is only open to overseas students

Hospitals may be struggling to overcome immigration laws to recruit new nurses, but for the university sector it is a different story.

Leicester University set to offer U...

Leicester University set to offer US-style flexi-degree courses

A leading university is to offer all its students the chance to study new US-style flexi-degree courses from next September.

Refugee crisis: British universitie...

Refugee crisis: British universities should create scholarships and bursaries for students fleeing violence, say academics

Every university in Britain is being urged to play its part in tackling the migrant crisis by helping make it easier for refugees and asylum-seekers to access higher education.

Cambridge University may bring back...

Cambridge University may bring back entry exam as too many acing A-levels

Cambridge University is considering reintroducing an entrance exam because too many applicants get top marks in their A-levels, in a move that has raised concerns that state school pupils would be put at a disadvantage.

Free school meals for infants 'set ...

Free school meals for infants 'set to be scrapped' under Osborne's spending review

Free meals for infant school pupils are likely to be scrapped in George Osborne?s November spending review, it has been reported.

Parents prepared to pay average fin...

Parents prepared to pay average fine of £210 for taking children on holiday during school term, survey finds

Half of parents from across the UK are prepared to face fines over the next year after admitting they will be taking their children out of school to go on holiday, according to an online travel agency?s research.

Education Week

Latest: US House Democrats ask Snyd...

Latest: US House Democrats ask Snyder for Flint documents

Atlanta school superintendent propo...

Atlanta school superintendent proposes turn-around strategy

Gunshot fired inside Philadelphia h...

Gunshot fired inside Philadelphia high school during fight

Michigan proposes strategy to deter...

Michigan proposes strategy to determine if Flint water safe

State accepting applications for st...

State accepting applications for state-funded pre-K program

GED Testing Service drops passing s...

GED Testing Service drops passing score 5 points


The Role of Campus Leadership in En...

The Role of Campus Leadership in Ensuring IT Accessibility

“Everyone should have an opportunity to participate in higher education.”

With those words, Michael K. Young, President of the University of Washington, opens a new video from his institution’s AccessComputing Project, IT Accessibility: What Campus Leaders Have to Say. Developed with support from the National Science Foundation, this video presents university presidents, chief information officers, and other higher education leaders who stress the importance to higher education of accessibility for persons with disabilities, and of having campus technology environments that support it.

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The Game is Changing. What Will Be ...

The Game is Changing. What Will Be Expected of You?

“When we were doing our studies for the National Academies, the typical first response of university presidents or CFOs or provosts was to say: ‘I understand things are changing very rapidly, but I'll ask my CIO to take care of it. The CIO usually can.’ We would then ask: ‘Suppose you wake up in the morning and come in to your office and nothing works anymore. You can't access e-mail. All of your course systems have collapsed. Who fixes the problem?’ They begin to scratch their heads, and pretty soon it's like the five phases of grief. They start off with denial and anger, move through bargaining and depression, and finally reach acceptance.” — James J. Duderstadt, Change and the Research University

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The Top-Ten IT Issues, 2012

The Top-Ten IT Issues, 2012

EDUCAUSE Top 10 IT Issues, 2012

The EDUCAUSE annual publication of top IT issues has long resonated as a yearly snapshot of the most pressing issues for IT leaders in higher education. At the top of list for 2012:

Updating IT professionals’ skills and roles to accommodate emerging technologies and changing IT management and service delivery models Supporting the trends toward IT consumerization and bring-your-own device Developing an institution-wide cloud strategy


Below are the EDUCAUSE Review article summarizing the IT Issues Panel's findings for 2012 and accompanying resources.

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Tune In June 5 -- Rolling Out a BYO...

Tune In June 5 -- Rolling Out a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Program

This free hour-long session, “Rolling Out a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Program,” will offer ideas, sample policy statements and guidelines, and lessons learned for campuses interested in implementing a BYOD strategy for mobile devices on campus.

Those unable to attend may wish to visit the archives after the event or browse related resources.

Interact on Twitter at #EDULive.

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Get Involved with EDUCAUSE -- Volun...

Get Involved with EDUCAUSE -- Volunteer Submissions Are Due June 1

As someone who has a vested interest in higher education IT, you are part of a dynamic and close-knit community where we share new ideas, network with peers, and work toward the common good of the profession.

EDUCAUSE provides opportunities to be an active member by volunteering in a variety of roles, either short- or long-term, throughout the year. These opportunities include:

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Is Agile the Future of Project Mana...

Is Agile the Future of Project Management?

Gartner predicts that by the end of 2012, agile development methods will be used on 80 percent of all software development projects. Project Management Institute’s research shows that agile project management tripled from December 2008 to May 2011, and can help decrease product defects, improve team productivity, and increase business value.

Read the latest article release on agile project management from the Project Management Institute.

To help you apply project management processes at your organization, EDUCAUSE members have access to a selection of professional development resources:

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This Town Is Encouraging Teachers T...

This Town Is Encouraging Teachers To Carry Guns. Here's Their Reasoning.

A small rural town in Oklahoma has decided that the best way to prevent a hypothetical mass shooting at their schools is to arm teachers with guns

So far, approximately 5 percent of all teachers at Okay Public Schools are packing heat, according to Superintendent Charles McMahan. 

At the beginning of the current academic year, the Okay Public School Board of Education instituted a policy laying out how teachers with a concealed carry permit could obtain permission to bring a gun to school. 

On Monday, the policy drew a little more public attention. The old "Gun Free School Zone" signs were replaced with new signs warning that armed staff members "may use whatever force is necessary to protect our students," the Muskogee Phoenix reports.

"No specific incident caused us to pass this policy," McMahan said. "But with everything that's going on in the world, we've heard that you may possibly see more attacks from radical groups looking for children."

The town of Okay has a population of roughly 650 people and only one local police officer. Law enforcement officers from nearby Wagoner take about 10 minutes to respond to any given situation, McMahan said.

"If a shooting situation were to happen, which we pray it never will, seconds matter," he said.

Along with having a concealed carry permit, teachers participating in the program must have a certificate from Oklahoma's Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training, receive a psychiatric evaluation and take a shooting course three times a year. 

Participating teachers must have their weapon on them or secured in a lockbox, according to the policy. The guns must be .45 caliber or less. And McMahan said they must be "name brand" guns.

But what if an angry or upset student gets hold of a teacher's firearm? What if a gun is lost on school grounds? What if a teacher accidentally discharges the weapon?

"The risks are outweighed by the threats that are out there," McMahan said. "The chances of a student getting ahold of one of the guns would be very, very slim."

What if police mistake an armed teacher for an armed suspect during an actual shooting?

"Not really a concern to us, as we have identifiable gear," he said. According to the policy, armed teachers wear an identifying badge, hat or jacket. "We do realize this could put us at risk, but that is the chance we take to keep our students safe."

Perhaps the most important question is simply: Do armed civilians actually stop mass shooters? McMahan believes they do. The evidence suggests only when they're former military or law enforcement themselves.

As The New York Times' Andrew Rosenthal points out, multiple "good guys" with guns can make an already chaotic scene more dangerous:

About the only thing more terrifying than a lone gunman firing into a classroom or a crowded movie theater is a half a dozen more gunmen leaping around firing their pistols at the killer, which is to say really at each other and every bystander. It's a police officer's nightmare.

Around 20 states have laws allowing adults to carry licensed guns into schools, according to The Washington Post. McMahan said he was inspired to post the warning signs after a suggestion from law enforcement and because a north Texas school implemented the same policy in 2014.

The superintendent said he hasn't received any negative feedback regarding the policy, though he clarified that he was "not counting Facebook comments."

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

What if Schools Taught Kindness?

What if Schools Taught Kindness?

Laura Pinger and Lisa Flook of the Center for Healthy Minds share their lessons from creating a "kindness curriculum" for young students. Walking to class one day, one of us (Laura) saw a young student crying and waiting for his mother to arrive--he had split his chin while playing. When Laura got to class, the other students were very upset and afraid for their friend, full of questions about what would happen to him. Laura decided to ask the class how they could help him. "Caring practice!" exclaimed one of the children--and they all sat in a circle offering support and well wishes. The children immediately calmed and they continued with their lesson. This is what's possible when kids learn to be kind at school. Various mindfulness programs have been developed for adults, but we and our colleagues at the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, wanted to develop a curriculum for kids. Every school teaches math and reading, but what about mindfulness and kindness? We ended up bringing a 12-week curriculum to six schools in the Midwest. Twice a week for 20 minutes, pre-kindergarten kids were introduced to stories and practices for paying attention, regulating their emotions, and cultivating kindness. It's just the beginning, but the initial results of our research, coauthored with Professor Richard Davidson and graduate research assistant Simon Goldberg, suggest that this program can improve kids' grades, cognitive abilities, and relationship skills. Why teach kindness to kids? The school environment can be very stressful; in addition to any issues they bring from home, many students struggle to make friends and perform well in class. Being excluded, ignored, or teased is very painful for a young child, and we thought it could be impactful to teach empathy and compassion. When other kids are suffering--like that boy who split his chin--can we understand how they might be feeling? Kindness bridges those gaps and helps build a sense of connection among the students, the teachers, and even the parents. Learning to strengthen their attention and regulate their emotions are foundational skills that could benefit kids in school and throughout their whole lives. On top of that, having classrooms full of mindful, kind kids completely changes the school environment. Imagine entire schools--entire districts--where kindness is emphasized. That would be truly powerful. Teaching kindness is a way to bubble up widespread transformation that doesn't require big policy changes or extensive administrative involvement. Running and studying a Kindness Curriculum If you had visited one of our classrooms during the 12-week program, you might have seen a poster on the wall called "Kindness Garden." When kids performed an act of kindness or benefitted from one, they added a sticker to the poster. The idea is that friendship is like a seed--it needs to be nurtured and taken care of in order to grow. Through that exercise, we got students talking about how kindness feels good and how we might grow more friendship in the classroom. Another day, you might have found students in pairs holding Peace Wands, one with a heart and one with a star. The child with the heart wand speaks ("from the heart"); the other child (the "star listener") listens and then repeats back what was said. When there was a conflict between students, they used the wands to support the process of paying attention, expressing their feelings, and building empathy. Our Kindness Curriculum combines creative activities like these, as well as books, songs, and movement, to communicate concepts in a way that is understandable to four year olds. Our instructors taught the curriculum with active participation by classroom teachers. The Kindness Curriculum is designed around the ABCs--or, more specifically, A to G: Attention. Students learn that what they focus on is a choice. Through focusing attention on a variety of external sensations (the sound of a bell, the look of a stone) and internal sensations (feeling happy or sad), children learn they can direct their attention and maintain focus. Breath and Body. Students learn to use their breath to cultivate some peace and quiet. Instead of listening to a meditation, we played a song from Betsy Rose's CD Calm Down Boogie, "Breathing In, Breathing Out," while the children rested on their backs with a beanie baby on their belly. The beanie provided an object to "rock to sleep" with the natural in- and out-breath, while the breathing calmed the body. Caring. Here, we teach kids to think about how others are feeling and cultivate kindness. We read the book Sumi's First Day of School Ever, the story of a foreign student who struggles with English, and brainstorm ways to help a student like Sumi--as simple as offering a smile. Depending on other people. We emphasize that everyone supports and is supported by others through the book Somewhere Today, which describes acts of kindness that are going on in the world right now. Students learn to see themselves as helpers and begin to develop gratitude for the kindness of others. Emotions. What do emotions feel like and look like? How can you tell what you're feeling? We play a game where the teacher and students take turns pretending to be angry, sad, happy, or surprised, guessing which emotion was expressed, and talking about what that emotion feels like in the body. Forgiveness. Young kids can be particularly hard on themselves--and others--and we teach them that everyone makes mistakes. A book called Down the Road tells the story of a girl who breaks the eggs she bought for her parents, but they forgive her. Gratitude. We want kids to recognize the kind acts that other people do for them, so we have them pretend to be various community workers like bus drivers and firefighters. Then, they talk about being thankful to those people for how they help us. Sixty-eight students participated in the research, with about half going through the Kindness Curriculum and the other half measured as a comparison. To investigate the impact of the curriculum, we tested children before and after the training period. The results of our study were promising. Students who went through the curriculum showed more empathy and kindness and a greater ability to calm themselves down when they felt upset, according to teachers' ratings. In an exercise with stickers, they consistently shared about half of them, whereas students who hadn't gone through the curriculum shared less over time. They earned higher grades at the end of the year in certain areas (notably for social and emotional development), and they showed improvement in the ability to think flexibly and delay gratification, skills that have been linked to health and success later in life. This was a small study, and we'd love to see deeper investigations into our Kindness Curriculum in the future. For example, what happens over a longer time if we support students' practice throughout the year and into the next school year and beyond? If parents got involved in the curriculum, they could provide powerful support as well. "Kindfulness" in daily life Mindfulness and kindness go hand in hand, so much so that the phrase "kindfulness" accidentally (but aptly) came out in one of our conversations and has stuck with us. While we administered a specific curriculum for the purposes of our study, any teacher or parent can bring the principles behind it to bear on their interactions with children. The first key is simply to model mindfulness and kindness. For example, what quality of attention do we bring when we interact with our kids? Do we give them our full attention--eye contact, kneeling down to speak with them, asking questions--or are we distracted? Kids are extraordinarily observant, and they pick up on whether we are paying attention to them. By modeling behavior, and through our interactions, we show them what it's like to be seen and heard and to be compassionate with others. Another simple activity is to relax and feel the natural breath for a few moments during the day. Kids need to be active and run around, of course, but they can also benefit from cultivating a bit of stillness. For example, when Laura enters the classroom, she or one of her students rings a bell, which signals students to listen until the sound ends and then feel five in- and out-breaths together. This practice settles students and gathers their attention so they are more ready to learn. We can also help kids reflect on their emotions, which sometimes feel overwhelming, and change their relationship to them. After a child calms down, we can sit with them and reflect on that feeling. Which part of the body felt angry, happy, or upset? All emotions are natural, so kids shouldn't feel bad about experiencing them; we can teach them to cultivate a kinder attitude. For example, a parent might say, "When I feel sad or angry, it doesn't feel good in my body. But all people have feelings. Feelings help us learn about ourselves and others. I can be kind to myself no matter what feelings come. I can get better and better at learning from my feelings." And, by the way, practices like these are equally useful for parents and teachers, who are struggling with stressful workplaces or busy classrooms. For teachers, brief practices with students many times during the school day allow everyone to pause and be fully present to themselves, each other, and what is happening, whether it is pleasant or unpleasant. For parents, mindfulness and self-kindness training allow them to be more present with their spouse and children at home and with their coworkers at work. Finally, to combine the concepts of mindfulness and kindness, we can teach caring practice to our kids. These phrases work well for children: May I be safe, may I be happy, may I be healthy, may I be peaceful. When the boy split his chin, the other four-year-olds got together to do this practice: May you be safe, may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be peaceful. And these wishes can be extended further: To my entire classroom, my school, my neighborhood, my whole community...May we all be safe, may we all be happy, may we all be healthy, may we all be peaceful. In the midst of their distress, the children found comfort and support for themselves and their friend rather than feeling upset and worried. They later shared with him that they had offered him these wishes. It's these small changes, spread across classrooms, that could make schools more kind--and educate a new generation of more compassionate and connected citizens. Read more stories like this at Greater Good.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Senior Night

Senior Night

2016-02-04-1454621809-6734957-BasketBall.jpg The JV game finishes; we win by a nose in a tense, hold your breath kind of ending. Then the varsity players take the court to warm up. During the pulsing music of the warm-up, I think back to sitting next to my dad in Philadelphia's Spectrum watching the 76ers. Then and now, I am always asking questions, always trying to learn more, thinking about the players, the game, the passion. I ask my basketball-wise husband if our coach watches the other team's players to scope out the competition. "Not so much," Seth answers, focused intently on our own team's three-point shots. "Maybe he watches how they shoot, but he's really watching our girls." The warm up music ends; the girls on both teams straggle to the sidelines. Our captains present white roses to the Seniors from the other team. Then, each one of our seniors, escorted by her parents, steps into the center of the gym. Alex and Christina, juniors, read citations, which, composed by the whole team, are rich in love. Hugs are exchanged. Gift bags for each senior hold goodies and are filled, too, with pride and the bittersweet recognition that in a few more weeks, the oldest girls will finish their final Laurel School basketball season. Some have played in green and white uniforms for four years. I love the parent part of the ceremony--a girl standing with her mom or with her mom and dad, honored by her team. In my twelve years of headship, I have come to understand, more than I could in the NYC school from which I came, how much parents and adults shape the culture of a team. There are the coaches, of course, and the girls themselves and our amazing athletic trainers, and Emily, a senior, who has managed this varsity basketball team faithfully for three years, but in the stands, cheering on the girls, are the parents whose support of their daughters is unflagging, year after year. Two sisters, Paris and Peighton, play on our team, and they are audacious and talented. As they pass to each other, which they do a lot, I think about what it must be like to grow up in a family where a dad or mom loves basketball and encourages a child to learn to stand at the line and sink a foul shot, to perfect the hook the younger sister makes time and time again under the basket. The hours and hours all the girls have devoted to improving their skills dazzles me; you don't become this good without working, day after day, month after month, at particular aspects of the game. The team's determination and resilience impress me. Laurel parents come to as many games as they can; they know the game; they know each other. They cheer; occasionally, they coach from the sidelines. They get mad when it seems the refs call more fouls on our girls than on our opponents. Parents run the concession stand, the smell of popcorn permeating the gym, a KitKat bar and hotdog serving as dinner for my 11-year-old son, loyal fan and team mascot. The moms and dads are a mini community within our school, committed to their girls, to this team. I love them. Their commitment models what commitment means--the same is true for any sport, of course. Parents have a hand in sharing in shaping the experience of the team. I wonder, abstractly, if the girls often know their opponents--from rec leagues or from neighborhoods--and if the parents ever re-connect with the parents of girls our girls once played with or against. I wonder how acquaintance flavors the game. Of course, I wondered the same thing at the Cavs game a few weeks ago--does LeBron like some of his former teammates from the Heat? But on our court, there is none of LeBron's drama. Our phenom is Alex--perhaps the kindest student in the school and the most ebullient and the tallest. I taught her in ninth grade; I remember her as the tallest of her fourth grade classmates, her blonde hair a puff of dandelion gold. She is formidable on the soccer field as well as on this court. She can reach up and tip a rebound out to a teammate. Her arms are like windmills as she guards; she flies down the court, her foul shots swish in. She is an athlete who has worked hard on her game and who possesses a confidence borne of trusting herself and her skills. I note, too, that she has grown into leadership and has never been afflicted by ego, supported by parents whose work ethic mirrors her own. When Christina races towards our basket, she goes so fast I am afraid she will go right through the wall. KK is playing in a shoulder brace due to a dislocated shoulder, but though she be but little, she is fierce--a double threat who loves theatre as much as she loves basketball. I cringe when a girl from the other team collides with her, but up KK gets; she steals the ball brilliantly and makes a high-pitched sound in the face of the players she guards. Our own fifth-grade son models his game on KK's. Christy is fast and fabulous under the basket. Lily and Claire, new to the Varsity in ninth grade are quick and agile. I think of one of my favorite lines from Hamilton; this team, too, is "young, scrappy and hungry." It must hurt, this ferocious, fast-paced game. Players tumble down; things get physical. Our girls help each other up, encourage one other. They play together, passing, running plays with confidence and skill. We score a lot of baskets fast, so I exhale, enjoying the experience, less worried about the outcome. Little girls from our Middle School are there to cheer; they play ball, too, with their coach, Olivia, who not so long ago, as a student in our school, made playing lacrosse look like gorgeously aggressive ballet. Now, she is back coaching. The coaching fascinates me. Once last year, in a gym that was not our own, I sat close enough to hear our head coach, Tim, encourage the girls during a time out. His voice was low, urgent, but supportive. He believes in them; he knows what they can do. He is a teacher. The girls know he trusts them and that helps them soar. They play with terrific concentration, but there is joy, too, in their game. At half-time, our son streaks along the bleachers, hunched over, a huge stuffed alligator mascot aloft on his back, a bright green blur. "Go, Gators," shriek the Upper School girls in the front row, our spirit squad. "Go, Gators!" echo the little girls and all the rest of our fans in our half of the stands. In front of my husband and me, seven or eight Upper School teachers watch the game. I love that they have come back to school for Senior night, that we are all together cheering on our girls, gasping when a three-pointer arcs into the basket, beaming when we score, worried when the other team catches up within ten points. We murmur about particular girls, proud that they are ours, recalling what they were like when we taught them in English or math. We are amazed by their grace and conscious, too, of the many contributions beyond basketball that each girl makes to our school. At the end, a triumph--for the team and for our seniors. I walk home across the parking lot, proud, tired. An hour and a half of adrenalin, a shared focus on a goal, camaraderie, joy, community pride, noise--this is a good way for a headmistress to end her day. Other worries drop away, diminished by the satisfaction of witnessing a game well-played. It is hard to remember that there once was a time when I didn't even know I was a fan--a wild, exuberant, loud, loyal fan, proud every day of all of our girls--on the court, off the court, in every corner of our school. We are the Gators; that is our name. Laurel will win, no matter the game. You'll hear us comin' and this will be our cry, 'Root, root for Laurel Gators never say die! '

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Come On! Just Dive!

Come On! Just Dive!

I was speaking with nearly 600 delightful students at an elementary school today when a woman pulled me aside between presentations. She had been a substitute teacher years ago when she filled in for my classroom aide one day. This is the paraphrased memory she conveyed to me today from that subbing experience, something she recalled like it was yesterday: ***** You were talking about taking risks I believe, and you told the kids about some game like soccer or volleyball for the blind. You told the students that players blocked the ball with their bodies, and without thinking, you dove onto your side to demonstrate, forgetting you were wearing a skirt! I never forgot that dive, and I bet your students didn't either! ***** I laughed out loud today, suddenly recalling that moment that had completely faded from memory! No way had I held that spontaneous demonstration in my "hurray Miss Nimmer" moments, even though the skirt had not betrayed me and the students had a pretty enormous laugh. It was a sudden impulse, a moment of athletic drama, then just part of my distant past. However, for this lady who brought it all back to me today, it was priceless and awesome, and she believed the students in that room that day would still agree. We labor over lesson plans. We study strategies, timing, assessment, and data. We research and rehearse and reflect. And yet, the most profound teachable moments are often those where some hunch, some nudge, some whisper tells us to step outside ourselves and fling ourselves onto the carpeted floor, sans pads and Helmut and teammates and ball and match. You've done it too...maybe not a dive like this but something when you lost all awareness of self and became something else for your students: a growling lion or a strutting bard or a rapping grammarian. For those unscripted moments in time, we are not ourselves, but our students perhaps learn more about us than when we believe we actually are. Bravo to this dichotomy. Colleagues, dive with me. It is the only way to win! ***** The sport I was demonstrating is goalball, a rutile, intense, incredible athletic endeavor for the blind. Take a look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJifbI_OSps

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Three Questions High School Seniors...

Three Questions High School Seniors Should Ask When Choosing a College

If you are a high school senior in the United States, or one's parent, the next few months will be a whirlwind as you wind down your high school career and begin receiving acceptance letters from the colleges and universities to which you applied. These letters represent the culmination of years of planning and preparation: working to get good grades, studying for SAT and ACT tests, researching colleges and completing applications that will make you stand out among your peers. They also represent one of the most important decisions of your life. As acceptance letters come in, this should signal a shift in your entire perspective. As you applied to colleges, you sought to differentiate yourself from your peers so as to prove why you should be accepted or offered a scholarship. With acceptance letters in hand, you now become the decision-maker --with input from your parents and other trusted advisers, of course. This is a key point not to miss: With acceptance letters in hand, you are now in control, and the responsibility rests with the university to explain why you should choose it. This mindset can also be helpful for younger students who are looking ahead to their own college applications. Asking an educational institution to differentiate itself can equip you with the information to make the best decision for your future. In talking with students, educators and employers all across the United States through my work with Project Lead The Way -- and advising my four sons through the college-decision process -- I have identified a few questions worth considering. What do I want to study? According to one recent study, as many as 50 percent of students enter college without deciding on a major. An estimated 75 percent will change their major during their studies. If you don't know what you want to pursue as a career, you are not alone, but as you decide, ask yourself these questions: Are there jobs available in that field? Will the money you make in that field enable you to have the standard of living you desire? These may be hard questions to answer, but knowing what you want to study will help you identify which college will give you the best education, or if college is even the best path for you. What is the best financial investment for me? What you choose to study can help determine if the financial investment of college is your best decision. If you're uncertain of your major, a community college may be the best first step. For a much lower tuition, you can earn your core credits and transfer them to a four-year institution once you've decided on a major. For certain career paths, a two-year degree or technical certification may be a better investment, especially if you want to go into a field that requires specific skills. Keep in mind, however, that the rapid pace of technological development is rendering many once reliable and high-paying trade jobs obsolete. A four-year degree, while more expensive, is more likely to equip you with the skills and expertise to adapt to an evolving job market over the long term. Which of my choices will give me the best chance of employment in my field of study? If you know what you want to study and that a four-year college is the right path, the next question to ask is which college or university will give you the best chance at success. For some majors and career goals, the choice will be obvious, thanks to clear market signals. Top companies, such as Google, recruit at top technology schools, such as Stanford and MIT. Many big-name companies rely on schools to filter top talent and, like it or not, having Princeton or Yale on your resume will give you an advantage in the job market. For most students, however, the market signals are much less clear. To help determine which institution is best for you, ask your prospective schools how many of their graduates are employed in their major fields of study within three, six and 12 months of graduation. Don't settle for the percentage of all graduates - you want to know your chances of getting a job in the major you are investing your time and money in. Check out the federal government's new College Scorecard - it can be a helpful tool in determining which of your options gives you the best chance at success. Choosing a college is one of the most important decisions you will ever make, because it will have an enormous impact on your career options for the rest of your life. The best decision you can make is an informed one, and you can empower yourself with information by asking the right questions at the right time. Vince Bertram is president and CEO of Project Lead The Way and the author of the New York Times best-selling "One Nation Under Taught: Solving America's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Crisis.

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Celebrating the Centennial of Justi...

Celebrating the Centennial of Justice Brandeis' Nomination to the Supreme Court With Justice Ginsburg

Last week marked the 100th anniversary of Louis D. Brandeis' nomination to the US Supreme Court. In a year of discussion on diversity, this moment deserves special notice -- he was the first member of an American minority group to be so chosen. He served his country in spite of vociferous opposition and even hostile fellow justices. Justice James McReynolds famously would leave the justices' conference when Brandeis was speaking and even refused to sign the justices' traditional letter of farewell when Brandeis stepped down in 1939. Most of all, Brandeis commands our attention today because his opinions still matter; they still influence our sitting justices and our law. No better example of this can be found than the words that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg spoke in a tribute I witnessed last week before a crowd of over 2500 students and friends at Brandeis University, where I was proud to serve as President. As moderator of the event, I was joined by legal commentator Jeffrey Toobin, scholar Philippa Strum, Massachusetts Chief Justice Ralph Gants, and US District Judge Mark Wolf, each of whom addressed the ways in which Brandeis changed the law and the course of American history, as well as his continued relevance today. The real stars of the event were "the Notorious RBG," as Ginsberg biographers Shana Knizhnik and Irin Carmon have lovingly dubbed her in their recent book, and the man we may now call "the notorious LDB." Justice Ginsburg described in great depth the influence on her own legal and judicial career of the so-called "Brandeis brief" in Muller v. Oregon (1908), the basis of the Supreme Court's historic decision upholding Oregon's law regulating the maximum hours that women could be required to work by their employers. Ginsberg revealed how this work challenged her during her earliest days as a young attorney fighting for women's rights, teaching her to ground her argument in facts, statistics and social history. While she came to realize that in Muller, Brandeis' actual argument ended up limiting women's rights, she followed his example on how to write and how to argue. So many lawyers and justices are limited by their preoccupation with theory and abstraction. For Brandeis and Ginsburg, both brilliant lawyers before becoming influential justices, theory must be grounded in facts. Brandeis was an exemplar not only of how a lawyer should argue, but how a lawyer should live. He understood the broad spectrum of the lawyer's role, from that of advocate for a client's interest, through that of "lawyer for the situation," through his celebrated role as the "people's lawyer." Law, for Brandeis, was the key to civil society and social change, and the role of lawyer included his or her obligations to client and society alike. As our panelists discussed, this was deeply personal to Brandeis. He was moved by Matthew Arnold's words: "Life is not a having and a getting, but a beginning and a becoming." Our panelists of sitting judges, scholars and journalists recognized the challenges that the notorious LDB would face today, especially in light of the challenges to privacy presented by technology and by threats to national security. Brandeis will forever be linked with the legal protection of privacy. In 1890, he and his law partner, Samuel Warren wrote one of the best-known works in American legal history: "The Right to Privacy." The article in the Harvard Law Review was a tour-de-force, essentially creating a new right but basing it in its deep legal and philosophical roots and in the common law rules of tort law and property law. Brandeis biographer Melvin Urofsky quotes the observation of Harvard Law School Dean Roscoe Pound that the article "did nothing less than add a chapter to our law." Although the limits and scope of the right to privacy remains a subject of intense debate, the existence of the right is widely accepted and generally understood as a fundamental aspect of our legal system. Brandeis' role as influential writer went beyond his legal scholarship per se. Economic events of the past decade have brought renewed interest in and attention to a series of articles that he wrote for Harper's Weekly beginning in 1913 entitled "Breaking the Money Trust," later published as Other People's Money and How the Bankers Use It in 1914. The ideas and analysis proposed here had a major impact on the discussion of financial regulations and legislation governing the financial industry. They have a compelling resonance today. Brandeis's written opinions during his 23 years on the Supreme Court covered a wide range of issues. Among the aspects of constitutional law and theory that continue to bear his unmistakable stamp are judicial restraint in the face of legislative decision-making and experimentation, at both the federal and state levels, and the need for constitutional norms to adjust and adapt to evolving standards and contexts, as seen in his classic dissent in Olmstead v. United States (1928), in which the Court held that constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures did not apply to telephone wiretapping. (Significantly, Olmstead was overturned by the Supreme Court almost 40 years later in Katz v. United States.) Nowhere was Brandeis's judicial brilliance more keenly demonstrated than in the area of freedom of expression. Brandeis is often associated with Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in this regard; they were the two great dissenters in a series of opinions in which the Supreme Court upheld restrictions on free speech. Brandeis and Holmes, however, approached the issue of free expression from different perspectives, as illustrated in the first sedition case in which the two justices did not vote together, Gilbert v. State of Minnesota (1920). Gilbert had been convicted of violating a Minnesota statute against interference with or "discouragement" of military service. He had given a speech in 1917 that was highly critical of American involvement in World War I. The Supreme Court affirmed Gilbert's conviction and upheld the constitutionality of the statute, finding that the expression at issue represented a "clear and present danger." Justice Brandeis alone dissented on free expression grounds. The true power of Brandeis's position comes from his answer to a seemingly technical threshold question: what is the source of any constitutional protections that Gilbert might enjoy? Plainly the First Amendment on its face - "Congress shall make no law ..." -- could not reach action by a state. Brandeis was reluctant to seize on the approach the Court would ultimately adopt - selectively incorporating certain Bill of Rights guarantees into the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause. Instead he relied upon the "right to speak freely concerning functions of the Federal Government," which he described as a "privilege and immunity of every citizen of the United States which, even before the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment, a State was powerless to curtail." The right of a citizen to take part, for his own or the country's benefit, in the making of federal laws and in the conduct of the Government necessarily includes the right to speak or write about them; to endeavor to make his own opinion concerning laws existing or contemplated prevail; and to this end to teach the truth as he sees it. Free expression thus derived its protection, according to Brandeis, from the very structure of the government created by the federal Constitution, a concept later expounded upon by my teacher Professor Charles Black in his celebrated Structure and Relationship in Constitutional Law (1969). This "structural" approach to free expression proposed by Brandeis is striking in two respects. First, it would provide a broad-based protection against state interference with any expression bearing on a national issue. Second, the underpinning of the "structural" approach differs dramatically from the marketplace of ideas notion that underlay the "clear and present danger" approach. The "structural" approach is driven by the need for debate in our political life. Such a comprehensive theory of free expression might avoid some of the pitfalls of the "clear and present danger" approach, which necessarily limits speech based on its expected consequences. Whereas Holmes saw the ultimate value of free expression as flowing from a "marketplace of ideas" that would produce the best results, Brandeis saw the value of expression as flowing from the very nature of a political and social community. To participate in public debate is not merely to try to reach the best idea but also to participate in civil society altogether. Free expression to Brandeis is at the heart of what it means to constitute a community. As vividly painted by Brandeis: "Like the course of the heavenly bodies, harmony in national life is a resultant of the struggle between contending forces." For any one of these aspects of the life of Louis Brandeis -- lawyer, scholar, justice -- we would remember him today as a figure of insight, brilliance, creativity, and moral courage. The combination renders him an extraordinary figure in the practice of law, legal scholarship, judicial craftsmanship and jurisprudence, and civic activism on both a national and international scale.

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Does Your HIgh School Matter for BS...

Does Your HIgh School Matter for BS/MD Admissions?

A common question we get is whether it matters where you go to high school. Is a private school better than a public school? Is a very competitive high school better than a less competitive school? As is often the case, the answer is rarely as simply as a yes or no. A strong high...Continue Reading >

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Does Your HIgh School Matter for BS/MD Admissions?

New BS/MD Program in California

New BS/MD Program in California

I wanted to let my readers know about a new BS/MD program that is just starting up. The program is at California Northstate University and its first class of BS/MD students will start in Fall 2016. This is particularly good news for many California students who were disappointed when the program at UC San Diego...Continue Reading >

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New BS/MD Program in California

Time to Start Thinking about Your P...

Time to Start Thinking about Your Plans for Next Summer

What are your plans for next summer? If  you are considering a BS/MD program or even applying to some highly selective colleges, now is the time to be thinking about your plans for next summer. The first question is what do you want to be doing? Research? Volunteering? Taking a class? If you have plans...Continue Reading >

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Time to Start Thinking about Your Plans for Next Summer

Start Thinking About Filing the FAF...

Start Thinking About Filing the FAFSA if You Might Need Financial Aid

Now that we are into the new year, the parents of high school seniors who believe they will need financial aid to pay for college need to be thinking about filing the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is required of all colleges that provide federal financial aid including grants and...Continue Reading >

RSS Feed Content © Todd Johnson, Kelley Johnson and College Admissions Partners

Start Thinking About Filing the FAFSA if You Might Need Financial Aid

Does Your Medical School Affect You...

Does Your Medical School Affect Your Residency Placement

Our students are often concerned about attending the highest rated medical school(whatever that means), because they are concerned about which residency they will match with. They believe that going to a top ranked medical school will allow them to attend whatever residency they wish to attend. And it might. But is also might not. We...Continue Reading >

RSS Feed Content © Todd Johnson, Kelley Johnson and College Admissions Partners

Does Your Medical School Affect Your Residency Placement

Accelerated Medical Programs and Su...

Accelerated Medical Programs and Successful Students

Several professors from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, including the director of the HPME program, recently wrote an article in Academic Medicine comparing the success of students in BS/MD programs with those that took the traditional route. The abstract of that report can be found at Pub Med. In summary the study found that...Continue Reading >

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Accelerated Medical Programs and Successful Students


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