As with most holidays, school will use Grandparents Day as a special activity for the class. This can be especially true of preschool, where there is as much focus on social activity and every day life as there is on learning the functionalities of reading, writing, and arithmetic. However, with so many different holidays to plan activities and crafts for, you may be out of ideas for Grandparents Day. Have no fear; there is always something new and different to try. If your preschool has a high level of parental involvement, you may have your preschoolers create family trees. While these don’t have to be long and detailed, they can trace the immediate family and the grandparents. It can also be made creative, actually drawing a tree with branches that reach to each family member. You can also have your students create Grandparents Day “gift bags”. Make the bag as much a part of the gift as what it contains by having your students color paper lunch bags. Then, fill it with a hand-crafted greeting card for the holiday and perhaps things like a colored picture or a couple of pieces of candy. One fun idea, if you have the time and patience, is to have the children put on a show. They could act out a scene depicting children showing respect and thanks to the elderly or even sing to their grandparents. Having these respected members of society visit the classroom could be a very special event and could make the elderly feel useful. At the same time, perhaps the children’s grandparents could visit and tell stories from their youth, read books, or even just answer questions about the “olden days”. With signed permission slips, you may plan a field trip to a nursing home, where the children can greet the lonely elderly and wish them a happy Grandparents Day at a time when there is no one else to bring such a pleasant message to their lives. Or, you could simply plan an arts and crafts activity that will create a cute gift for the childrens' grandparents on this special holiday.
Los Angeles schools announced the results of the 2004-2005 school year, state-mandated California High School Exit Exam. Of the students slated to graduate in 2006, 69 percent (more than two thirds) of the class passed both the English language arts and the mathematics portions of the exam. Of the remaining 31 percent of the Class of 2006 students (12th graders): • Fifteen percent (approximately 5,500 students) must pass both the English language arts and the mathematics portions, • Ten percent (3,700) must pass the mathematics portion, and • Six percent (2,000) must pass the English language arts portion. State law now requires all students to pass both portions of the exit exam in order to graduate from high school and receive a diploma. Students begin taking the exam in the spring of their 10th grade year. If they do not pass one or both portions of the exam, they have the opportunity to retest in both 11th and 12th grades. Los Angeles schools’ Class of 2006 was the first graduating class required to pass both portions of the exam in order to graduate. The excellent results of the 2004-5 testing is the direct result of focused instruction and successful intervention, and demonstrates that every student is capable of passing the exam. These intense efforts on the part of Los Angeles schools educators were specifically designed to assist students with coursework directly connected to the exit exams. In the 2004-5 school year, Los Angeles schools developed intervention strategies for students having problems passing the exam. The strategies introduced small learning communities and supported the core curriculum. Personalized teaching and learning approaches were developed for each student, such as an outreach program and intervention on an individual basis. The Los Angeles schools further made attendance at exit exam preparation classes mandatory for students who had yet to pass one or both test portions. These classes met outside of the normal school day and were provided free of charge to the students through the district’s Beyond the Bell, a branch of Los Angeles schools that oversees all student extended day programs. These combined efforts have had a direct and significant impact upon the graduation rate at Los Angeles schools, as proven not only by the Class of 2006 test results but those for the Class of 2007, as well. When the Class of 2006 was in 10th grade, the students had a first-time pass rate of 60 percent in English language arts and 58 percent in mathematics. The Class of 2007, when in 10th grade, surpassed these first-time pass results by 66 percent in English language arts and 59 percent in mathematics — a significant increase in scholastic achievement. These results clearly demonstrate that the dropout rate can be turned around, which is just one of the many student achievement goals of Los Angeles schools. The district continues to aggressively focus upon the development of rigorous curriculum for its middle and senior high schools. Los Angeles schools recognize and the exit exam results underscore the importance of improved high school instruction, which can directly impact higher graduation rates and allow students to matriculate and move on to viable options in their adult lives.
In November 2005, Governor Rick Perry initiated the $10 million grant program for paying bonuses to school employees who have performed above expectations in raising student performance levels. One hundred Texas schools have been invited to participate in the Governor’s Educator Excellence Award Program. To date, 98 have accepted the invitation. The chosen Texas Schools have a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students. Each school has demonstrated high levels of student achievement or marked student improvement. Each has been rated exemplary or recognized, which are the two top academic ratings that can be awarded to a school under the Texas schools’ accountability system; or they have shown strong performance gains in the areas of mathematics and reading. Each school may apply for a three-year grant as follows: • Schools with 449 students or less — $60,000 a year grant, • With 450 to 699 students — $90,000 a year grant, • 700 to 1,199 student — $135,000 a year grant, or • 1,200 students or more — $180,000 a year grant. To maintain eligibility for the grant program, the participating Texas schools must receive ratings of academically acceptable or better. Recommended bonus amounts range from $3,000 to $10,000 per individual. Each school may develop a customized incentive pay program that fits their individual school, as long as the teachers are involved in its development and under the following guidelines: • 75 percent of the grant money must be used for classroom teacher incentive pay; • A classroom teacher must be employed by the Texas schools district and spend an average of four hours each day teaching in an academic setting or career/technology instructional setting; • Award recipients must improve student performance and exceed academic growth expectations, • Performance must be determined using objective and quantifiable measures, such as local benchmarking systems, end-of-course tests, and other assessments, and • Recipients must have collaborated with other faculty and staff members to improve overall student performance at the school. Athletic coaches are not eligible for the program, unless they also teach and qualify under the classroom teacher guidelines. The customized incentive pay plans may take into account a teacher’s assignment in hard-to-staff areas that are specific to individual school districts. A teacher’s initiative and commitment to other activities that directly result in improved student performance also may be considered, such as tutoring students after school. Some of the possible uses for the remaining 25 percent of the grant money are: • To provide incentive pay for other school personnel who contribute to increased student achievement, • Provide training to teachers, • Support activities for mentoring, • Teacher induction programs, • Signing bonuses for teachers in high-need subject areas, • Activities that support common planning time and curriculum development, • Proven programs to recruit and retain teachers, and • Stipends for teachers who participate in after school or Saturday programs, which are designed to improve teaching and learning. Though 12 percent of the Texas schools’ districts have some type of teacher incentive pay program, this is the first state program in almost 20 years. When Texas schools achieve exceptional results, the principals always give credit to their teachers and staffs. The Intent of the Governor’s excellence award program is to say a very sincere “thank you” to the teachers and staff who go the extra mile to help students succeed
Philadelphia Schools has a “just say no” policy, when it comes to school bullies and other related negative student behavior. Approximately, two thirds of all deaths among children and adolescents in the United States are the result of injury-related causes. These include motor vehicle crashes, unintentional injuries, homicide and suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 126 students committed a school-associated homicide or suicide between 1994 and 1999. Of these students, 28 committed suicide, of which eight intentionally injured others immediately before killing themselves. None of these students were involved in gangs. The suicides, now referred to as “bullycide”, were attributed to school-associated violence, including bullying and other such social stressors. Though the 126 students may seem small for a national statistic, this is only the tip of the iceberg. It does not address the number of students who develop substance abuse and psychological problems due to being bullied and harassed at school — some for many years from elementary through high school by the same individual(s). “Pediatrics”, Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, reported in its May 5, 2004, issue that the rise of obesity and overweight in school-aged children is associated with “many negative social and psychological ramifications.” Peer aggression is at the top of the list. To work toward eliminating this rising national problem in their schools, Philadelphia schools developed a policy that prohibits anyone from bullying or seriously threatening any member of the school community during school hours and coming to and from school. This includes: • Repeated threats; • Threats of bodily injury; • Physical or psychological intimidation; • Extortion of any type; • Fighting or other acts/threats of violence; • Repeatedly posting information about another individual without his/her consent on the Internet, bulletin boards, school walls, individual’s personal belongings, or any other location — whether it is during school hours or not; and • Harassment for any reason, but especially due to race, gender, disability, language or physical characteristic. Besides school personnel, Philadelphia schools have enlisted the help of the students and their parents. They have set up a Bully Hotline that is staffed 24 hours a day for students or parents to report school-related abuse. The hotline serves over 175 languages through a telephonic interpretation service. Philadelphia schools promise to act on a reported problem within 24 hours of receiving the hotline complaint. For some issues, callers may receive a follow-up telephone call to ensure the situations were satisfactorily resolved. Philadelphia schools created flyers in nine different languages that describe the school policy against these negative behaviors, the Bully Hotline, and instructions for non-English language individuals to access the hotline. The eight non-English languages are the most frequently encountered in Philadelphia schools and represent over 85 percent of their “English as a Second Language” students. The flyers were sent to the parents of students enrolled in their schools. Additionally, they asked parents and community groups to further distribute the flyers throughout the city. Philadelphia schools are truly concerned about the safety and well-being of its students. They believe that all students have a right not to be bullied or harassed. With their “no bully” policy and the hotline, they are well on their way to prevent, address and eliminate intimidation and harassment of any student for any reason. This information on Philadelphia schools is brought to you by schoolsk-12.
: The Problem In our rapidly moving culture, special education students, diagnosed with ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) are an ever-increasing challenge for teachers. Having taught in some capacity for nearly 40 years and being a parent of an active little boy, I have studied these conditions with immediate personal interest. Holding Their Attention? Early in my work with the attentionally challenged, I observed that if the learning activity were engaging enough, many of these students could hold attention for long periods. Special Education students diagnosed with ADD or ADHD often have the ability to attend for long periods working with computers or video games. I wondered, could the problem lie more in the pace of the learning activity? Give Them What They Need Subsequently, I began to provide activities in my classroom that had some of the same qualities of the immediate response achieved in those computerized attention-holders. One of the most successful of these was the excavation of fossils. The Setup Fossil excavation was a 6-week class - more of a club, really – in which students excavated a real fossil fish from a soft rock matrix. This time the class was made up of many special education students with various learning challenges, especially ADHD. The outcome of the class was remarkable. Getting Their Interest and Attention We started with a sort of guessing game involving fossils hidden in velvet bags and moved quickly into individual excavation of the fossils. Within minutes, my work was done; the students worked independently for the remainder of the two-hour class. My hardest work that day was to enforce clean-up-the students simply didn’t’ t want to stop working. Tools And Supplies The only tools needed for this activity were small screw drivers-the sort that are available from any hardware store in a set of increasing sizes beginning with an eye-glass tool . I also provided magnifiers of varying types. The most sought after were the dissecting microscopes, which gave the individual the best view of the fragile fossil. However, much of the work could be easily accomplished using the naked eye or a magnifier in a stand, just to leave the hands free. And Then There Are the Behavioral Challenges I was presented with a new challenge about halfway into the second class: a behaviorally disruptive student who had been removed from another class. I did what I could to introduce him to our work and bring him up to speed. His initial work was little more than digging a hole through his rock, paying little attention to the fossil it contained. Success! Then a wonderful thing happened. Another boy, a challenging special education student who generally had little academic success, began to teach. You see, this boy was enthralled with digging out the fossil and he was having incredible success. He single-handedly took over and my work was done. Students Give Rave Reviews, Almost The final endorsement came at the end of our 6-week class. Throughout the period, I had rarely interrupted their work, but I had shown a couple of videos to give the students some additional detail about fossil preservation and excavation, geologic history and so on. At the last class, I asked the students to verbally evaluate the class. When I asked how I could improve the class, all agreed: Only show the videos if we can continue excavating our fossils during it! This is a true story of success. In this six-week project middle school children diagnosed with ADD and ADHD and receiving special education services enjoyed the same success, if not more than, the other students. Even the most absorbing tool, the TV, was not high on these students’ list of significant work. As a teacher, I felt I had been given a great gift of learning about how to support these special students. I encourage you to try it!
"The only purpose of education is to teach a student how to live his life — by developing his mind and equipping him to deal with reality. The training he needs is theoretical, i. e., conceptual. He has to be taught to think, to understand, to integrate, to prove. He has to be taught the essentials of the knowledge discovered in the past — and he has to be equipped to acquire further knowledge by his own efforts." — Ayn Rand, "The Comprachicos" The state of education in New Zealand is a shambles. Parents who are concerned about the future well-being of their children are searching desperately for educational alternatives. The increased demand for private schooling and the dramatic rise in the number of home-schooled children provide an accurate measure of the growing degree of parental dissatisfaction with the current situation. But unless responsible and well-meaning parents are armed with the philosophical knowledge to be able to choose a rational educational method for their children — i. e., a type of educational method that will fully prepare their children for successful adult life — then it is quite likely that the results will be just as disappointing for them as for those parents who have left their children's education in the hands of the state. There is no guarantee whatsoever that private or home-schooling per se will produce satisfactory results. It is one thing to opt out of a state system that not only stunts, but positively perverts a child's intellectual and moral growth (see Editorial, Turning Minds to Mush, TFR #9); it is quite another to choose a rational alternative. This is why philosophical knowledge, because of its specially close ties to education, goes a long way in helping parents make the right choice. The objective of this article, therefore, is to provide not only the knowledge, but also an introduction to a particular educational method that produces exceptional results. The important thing for parents to be aware of is that all educational methods rest upon underlying philosophies. A type of education system that derives its methods and goals from a philosophy that is steeped in irrationality and collectivism will produce a certain type of individual (and society); conversely, a type of education system that derives its methods and goals from a philosophy that advocates and upholds reason and individualism will produce a completely different type of individual (and society). It follows that in order to choose a rational education for your child, it is first necessary to identify an education method's philosophical underpinnings if you want him to have every opportunity of fulfilling his potential as a human being. To begin with — and this cannot be stressed enough — you must know that, ultimately, in order to allow your child to fully develop the potential power of his mind, you first have to know what potential power needs developing. It is only once this power has been correctly identified, and its function properly understood, that it will be possible to go about aiding its development. The power in question, the power that man uses to grasp the world around him, the power that is at the central core of his very nature, is — reason. Unlike the other animals, man is a conceptual being. It is his rational faculty, his ability to reason, that sets him apart. To possess the power of reason is to possess the ability to conceptualise; it is to possess the ability to build, hierarchically, beginning with the perceptual evidence, progressively higher-level concepts that presuppose earlier concepts. Reason is man's sole means of cognition, his only means of knowledge. It is this power which has enabled man not only to survive, but also to progress. It is man's capacity to reason that has taken him out of the caves and put him on the moon. To grasp this point fully, imagine for a moment what it would be like if you lost your ability to reason — i. e., to think. How would you take care of yourself? How would you perform a simple task — such as tying your shoes? How would you structure your day? The answer to all these questions is that without the power of reason you wouldn't be able to. You would be in exactly the same position as a new-born baby — helpless, totally dependent on others to look after you. It is the purpose of education, therefore, to ensure that the helpless, dependent new-born baby makes the successful transition to becoming an independent, mature adult, fully confident of being able to master the world in which he lives. The only way to do that is to provide him with an educational method whose explicit goal is to assist him in such an achievement — by developing his power of reason. The good news for parents is that there IS such a rational educational method. It is known as the Montessori Method, named after Maria Montessori, the Italian Doctor of Medicine who developed her methods while working with mentally retarded children at the turn of this century. Her results with those children were so spectacular that they caused her to wonder what was holding so-called normal children back to the levels she was attaining with her retarded children. In 1907, she founded the first Casa dei Bambini (Children's House) where she applied her methods to children of normal intelligence. Her successes led to the opening of other Montessori schools, and although many intellectuals were (and still are) vehemently opposed to her approach — and even more so to the underlying philosophy of her approach (as they are to anything that provides a foundation for, or aspires to, individual excellence and achievement) — her radical methods were widely acclaimed by the general public. The reason the Montessori Method is so successful is that it is based on the true nature of Man. Dr Montessori did not have a preconceived theory of education into which she attempted to fit the child (unlike other educationalists such as John Dewey); she did not project a type of individual she wanted to create. Instead, she followed the "inner dictates of the child" to guide her in aiding the child's natural development to his full potential. She was fully aware that Man's nature is that of conceptual being, and that the nature of the young child is such that he actively strives to perfect his conceptual faculty as it evolves. Her method works because it advocates and upholds the advancement of a child's reasoning power as its foundational and philosophical cornerstone. Specifically, it is Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, which upholds reason as Man's only means of knowledge, that can provide the theoretical foundation for the Montessori Method. Rand herself paid tribute many times to Maria Montessori's genius in the field of education. Both Maria Montessori and Ayn Rand saw man as, to quote Aristotle's definition, the "rational animal." In his book Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work, E. M. Standing eloquently encapsulates Maria Montessori's view of reason: "In the first place it is the intellect or reason which sets us free from the never ending prison of the present moment in which animals live, dominated entirely from moment to moment by their instincts." In an almost identical reference to reason in her major work on education, "The Comprachicos," Ayn Rand states: "Deprived of the ability to reason, man becomes a docile, pliant, impotent chunk of clay, to be shaped into any subhuman form and used for any purpose by anyone who wants to bother." Both Maria Montessori and Ayn Rand clearly recognised the central role of reason in Man's life. Whereas the genius of Ayn Rand was to construct a fully integrated philosophy with reason as one of its central tenets, the genius of Dr Montessori lay in the fact that she devised a systematic, integrated educational method which all but guarantees the child's proper conceptual growth. Although Dr Montessori's personal philosophy was a mix of Western religion and Eastern mysticism, her methods automatise in the child thinking methodology entirely consistent with Ayn Rand's theory of concept-formation. Those who are interested in the more technical aspects of concept-formation are strongly urged to read Ayn Rand's ground-breaking work, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. This book has major implications for education, as it provides the key to understanding how a rational mind functions, and therefore how a forming mind should be guided as it goes through the various developmental stages. Through scientific observations of children (conducted in an environment where the children were free to act spontaneously), Maria Montessori gained first-hand knowledge of the developing stages of the conceptual faculty; specifically, she observed how the children acquired conceptual knowledge. She recognised their intense interest in the qualities of things; she recognised their capacity to isolate qualities or ideas and their ability to form abstractions of such things. She was well aware "of this tendency of the child? s mind to draw off from material objects their intangible essences, thus building up a store of abstract ideas. These ideas reflect the ESSENTIAL nature of the confused flux of merely sensorial impressions — that 'big, booming, buzzing confusion' of which Professor (William) James spoke" (E. M. Standing, Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work). It needs to be pointed out that "the first five or six years of a child's life are crucial to a child's cognitive development. They determine, not the content of his mind but its method of functioning..." (Ayn Rand, "The Comprachicos"). Also like Rand, Dr Montessori understood well the importance to the child of these crucially formative years. In a quote which mirrors Ayn Rand's thoughts she said, "There are many who hold, as I do, that the most important period of life is not the age of university studies, but the first one, the period from birth to the age of six. For this is the time when man's intelligence itself, his greatest implement, is being formed." To that end, and by way of an introduction, this article will be restricted to dealing with those aspects of the Montessori Method as they apply to the child of 2 — 6 years of age. (It should be noted that Maria Montessori devised her system to educate the child from birth through to twelve years of age. Montessorians have since expanded on her work to include the teenage years for which, before her death in 1952, Dr Montessori left only a basic outline.) Dr Montessori's Aristotelian view of reason (and her in-depth studies of the educational methods of Seguin and Itard) led to the development of her specially designed SENSORIAL MATERIALS which are a feature of all Montessori classrooms. She believed in Aristotle's dictum that "there is nothing in the intellect that was not first in the senses," and knew that the refinement of the child's senses and clarity and precision of his perceptions would affect his ability to conceptualise. By means of a sensorial education she sought to provide the child with the means to exercise his ability to compare, contrast and discriminate, to classify — the goal being the child's acquisition of what she referred to as an "ordered mind." Designed to encourage individual rather than co-operative effort (reason is an attribute of the individual), the sensorial material takes the young child step by cognitive step from the perceptual (concrete) to the conceptual (abstract) level, allowing the "child's mind to draw off their (the materials') intangible essence." This process is imposed on him by the self-correcting nature of the material — its inbuilt "control of error," which only ever allows for one correct answer, making it evident to the child if he makes a mistake (teaching him in the process that reality is not malleable, that things have identity); this demands from him absolute cognitive precision, and rewards him with absolute cognitive certainty. These materials are deliberately designed so that all their attributes are the same except for the single attribute that the child is to focus on. For example, in teaching a child the concept "colour," the child is introduced to the "colour tablets." These tablets are all the same size, weight, shape etc.; they differ in one aspect only — colour. Because of the elimination of non-essentials as well as isolation of the quality (concept) being taught, the child must focus on the particular quality being isolated. The child quickly learns to pair colours of the same hue, and in so doing, makes it possible for the Montessori "directress" to label each quality for him. Later, shades of each colour are introduced, and concepts such as light, lighter, lightest, and dark, darker, and darkest become readily apparent to the child so that "when the child has recognised the differences between the qualities of the objects, the teacher fixes the idea of this quality with a word" (Maria Montessori, Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook). The wide range of sensorial materials, which teach concepts such as length, size, musical pitch etc., are placed in the classroom on child-height shelves where the child can reach them without adult assistance (promoting independence). Within certain limits, the child is then free to work with the material as he chooses. I say "within limits" as (and this is a point of which certain critics of a Montessori classroom should take careful note) the child is free neither to take material from another child — who will be working with it on his private mat — nor to insist that the other child share the material with him (which has obvious ethical implications). He may not interfere in any way with the work of another child; instead, he must wait until the material is returned to its assigned place on the shelves. The child is also prohibited from selecting materials from the shelves which are too advanced for his level of cognitive development. In a Montessori classroom the child works at his own pace with the teacher keeping detailed notes of individual progress. This is done to ensure that intellectual progression is based on certainty — not layers upon layers of mental fog; it ensures that the child is not introduced to material demanding higher levels of abstractions before he has a firm grasp of the lower levels abstractions which they rest upon. For example, the child would never be given shades of colour to grade before being able to match hues; he would never be given a word to read before being able to sound out each individual letter. Why not? Because like Ayn Rand, Maria Montessori grasped the hierarchical nature of knowledge, the obvious implication being that any knowledge presented to the child should follow such logical progression. Instead of ending up as a head full of scrambled and disparate facts, the child's mind becomes ordered. "The little child, who carries within him a heavy chaos, is like a man who has accumulated an immense quantity of books, piled up without any order, and who asks himself: 'What shall I do with them?' When will he be able to arrange them in such a fashion as to enable him to say: 'I possess a library.'?" (Maria Montessori, The Advanced Montessori Method — 1). He will be able to arrange them when he develops, to use Dr Montessori's words, an "ordered mind." The sensorial materials, with their sequential and hierarchical presentation, are but one aspect, albeit a crucial one, of the Montessori classroom. Like every other feature of the classroom, which Maria Montessori referred to as "the prepared environment," they serve a specific purpose. At the central core of that purpose is the attempt to assist and guide the child in the formation of his rational faculty. And while it is certainly true that the primary motive of a Montessori education is to develop the child's rational faculty, that is not to say, as so many of the system's critics do, that other aspects of the child's education are neglected or overlooked. In fact it is precisely because of the development of the rational faculty that these other aspects become possible. For example — imagination and creativity, which, contrary to conventional wisdom, are a direct extension of the fact that "imaginative creation has no mere vague sensory support; that is to say, it is not the unbridled divagation of the fancy among images of light and colour, sounds and impressions; but it is a construction firmly allied to reality... The creative imagination cannot work in vacuo. The mind that works by itself, independently of truth, works in a void" (Maria Montessori, Advanced Montessori Method). A Montessori education also teaches the child to take responsibility for his action. This is achieved by giving him clearly defined and reasonable rules to follow — where the consequences for breaking them are both known in advance and consistently upheld (objective law). He is taught not only to make full use of his time but also always to complete work that is begun (instilling in him the virtue of productivity). He is taught to respect the rights of other children by never interfering with their work — unless it is at the express invitation of another child (teaching him that all interaction between people should be of a voluntary nature). Insofar as the classroom is a microcosm of society, one of the most striking features to any observer of a Montessori classroom is how well the children get along with one another. A typical scene in the classroom is the sight of a number of industrious children happily going about their work, independently or together, in a spirit of real benevolence towards one another. It is therefore both surprising to and frustrating for Montessorians that by far the most frequent criticism of Montessori education is that not enough emphasis is placed on the "socialisation" of the child. At the deepest root, these critics are philosophically opposed to the Montessori method because they are philosophically opposed to reason. This criticism manifests itself, on an ethical level, in a profound hostility towards independence and individualism. It manifests itself in the attitude of those who love to accuse someone of being "too sure of himself — who does he think he is?!" Yet this is one of the many positive hallmarks of a Montessori educated child; he is "sure of himself." It is precisely because he is so sure of himself that he has no desire to succumb to group pressure or obey its whims. Of course, critics then label him "anti-social." "He needs to be socialised," they say — knowing full well that what they really mean is, "he won't sacrifice himself to my (or our) desires." John Dewey, the founder of the school of philosophy known as Pragmatism and the father of modern education (known as progressive education), was one such critic openly hostile to reason and independent thought. "The mere absorbing of facts and truths is so exclusively individual an affair that it tends very naturally to pass into selfishness. There is no obvious social motive for the acquirement of mere learning, there is no clear social gain in success thereat" (John Dewey, The School and Society). The progressive schools, which follow in Dewey's philosophical footsteps (and whose strands of philosophical thought are heavily entwined in New Zealand's education system) socialise the child by discouraging individual effort and immersing him in the group, or, to use Ayn Rand's words, by "throwing him to the pack." Montessori helps the child develop socially by aiding each child's personal development — primarily, by encouraging independence and self-reliance, knowing that these lead to a high level of self-confidence and self-esteem. The progressives, in direct contrast to the Montessorian emphasis on reason and individualism, promote anti-reason and collectivism. They do so by such methods as only having materials in the classroom which are too heavy for any one child to carry by himself, or by insisting that all learning is done as part of a group project. Or, to use a particularly vicious home-grown example of the application of such monstrous methods, by implying that a cow's stomach is wherever the group deems it to be. (Don't laugh, this sort of thing really happens.) Unlike Montessorians, the progressives don't teach respect for another's property; instead, the child is taught that property is communal. In a progressive school, instead of being taught to think for himself, the child is encouraged, in true democratic fashion, to conform to the dictates of the majority. In such an environment it is only a matter of time before truth, to the child, becomes whatever the group decides that it is. The inevitable result of such socialisation is not a society of capable and productive individuals who think for themselves, but a society of dependents who, to repeat Ayn Rand, are ready "to be shaped into any subhuman form and used for any purpose by anyone who wants to bother." It does not require much imagination to project the future shape of any society made up of such types. In fact, one need look no further than at most of the current local crop of near-illiterate high-school and university students to get the picture. But before rushing off to sign your child up at the nearest Montessori school, a strong word of caution. There is no legal way to stop anybody from calling his school a Montessori school. Consequently, there are a number of so-called Montessori schools without trained teachers, without Montessori materials, or without teachers who have even the faintest idea of the Montessori methods. It is imperative, therefore, that you thoroughly familiarise yourself with both the Montessori Method itself as well as the Montessori school you have in mind for your child. That aside, a Montessori education comes with our highest recommendation.
The membership provides Microsoft software to keep academic labs, faculty and students on the leading edge of technology. Students and faculty are also sometimes allowed to resell academic software. Search Help tips Academic SoftwareAcademic software is software sold at significantly discounted prices to students, faculty members and educational institutions. Do not sell academic copies of software to anyone other than an educational institution, a student or a faculty member. Do not sell academic copies of software to anyone other than an educational institution, a student, or a faculty member. Advises faculty about academic software, and arranges for the purchase and installation of academic software for student access through the Learning Resources Center. Only software used by faculty, staff, or students for Simmons College business purposes, including academics, may be installed on Simmons-owned computers. EASA welcomes the submission of computer software designed for education and research in all academic disciplines. The software that academic and research people create is generally very innovative and advanced. Open source software development as a special type of academic research (critique of vulgar Raymondism). EASA aims to stimulate the development and use of high quality academic software for higher education and research. This paper tries to explore links between open source software development and academic research as a better paradigm for OSS development. Open source software development should better be viewed as a special case of academic research. Individual academic departments and research centers and institutes maintain labs with specialized software for use by people associated with them. Our goal is to become your premiere source for academically discounted software and volume licensing. -2005-2006 Acadea is your complete academic source featuring a full selection of software, hardware and training products. Principles, techniques and experiences with developing open source software in an academic environment. A considerable number of open source software developers work either in academic institutions or large corporations. Given the range of users in an academic environment, it will be important that e-books are not hardware or software dependent. In order to facilitate use, therefore, Academic Computing Services will aid individuals to learn the use of the hardware and software facilities available. Check out the Academic Superstore today and see how easy it is to shop for truly discounted computer software and hardware. We supply hardware and software to academic resellers, national chain stores, computer outlets and local music shops. Our Academic products are selected from the thousands of hardware and software packages that all claim to be the best for musicians. This would include software for e-mail, web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, and other functions which are widespread in the academic community. UNAUTHORIZED copying of software by individuals can harm the entire academic community. Mary-Ann Moore CAMBRIDGESOFT has long been committed to providing the highest quality chemistry software and databases to the academic community at significantly reduced prices. Your discount academic software will show up at your door as soon as tomorrow! When you combine the bundled software with an academic software discount you can realize some really impressive savings. You can avail academic discount only for use of e11 help desk software for non commercial purposes. Given the range of users in an academic environment, it will be important that e-books are not hardware or software dependent. Principles, techniques and experiences with developing open source software in an academic environment. SGI reviewed the most widely used proprietary software applications in the academic environment. New computers/academic software for teachers provide access to student-assessment data. For many academic software programs, they only need access for the duration of their semester courses. Advises faculty about academic software, and arranges for the purchase and installation of academic software for student access through the Learning Resources Center. About Academic PricingLearn how to save money on graphics software by shopping for academic versions and taking advantage of educational pricing and discounts. Please visit the Academic Software Catalog page to view a sample listing of the more popular titles along with your student pricing. System requirements Academic software pricing includes installation support, but not general technical support. Do not sell academic copies of software to anyone other than an educational institution, a student or a faculty member. Do not sell academic copies of software to anyone other than an educational institution, a student, or a faculty member. In any case, it is important to point out that an academic software is only a tool among others. Open source software development should better be viewed as a special case of academic research. accessory-computer-store/academic-cheap-software/
Helping your young acting hopeful prepare for a successful acting career can be an incredibly rewarding experience for the parent. All parents like seeing their children being creative, expressing themselves, and, most importantly, having fun. It should be stated, however, that forcing a child to participate in any pursuit they don't like is not just counterproductive but harmful to the child. Your role, as the acting hopeful's parent, is to caringly nurture your children's expressed interests and not force them into a pursuit in order to live vicariously through them. One would have to be born under a rock to have missed some of the more public examples of what can happen when children are forced into an acting career they never wanted. That being said, there are some very simple pointers you can follow that will have a powerful impact in the immediate sense and create long-term opportunities for the professional acting success of your son or daughter. Start Early: Human beings, it would seem, are all natural born actors. Early in their lives, they often spend entire afternoons play-acting imaginary scenarios. Sadly, as many of us get older, we forget how much fun acting can be. By exposing your youngsters, at an early age, to the concept of acting, you are, in effect, introducing them to something at which they are already. Regardless of whether it's soccer, football, chess, or acting, childhood pursuits should always be fun. By giving your children an early glimpse of acting while they are young and predisposed to the concept, you dramatically increase the odds of their long-term success. Acting Camps provide the perfect vehicle for your children to immerse themselves in the creative fun acting can provide. What they gain from the camp experience has as much to do with you, the parent, as it does the camp itself. With the internet woven into the fabric of our lives, there is simply no excuse for parents not doing due-diligence research on any acting camp they are considering. A little research time, up front, can save you a lot of money, effort, and disappointment later. After your children have started their first camp, make sure that they are having fun. If not, first try finding a better-suited program and see if that resolves the issue. If not, you may need to consider the fact that acting may not be of interest to them at that point in their lives. If that is the case, and the situation is handled carefully, it may well become one as they get older. Forcing the issue now will virtually guarantee that your child will never enjoy the art. If there isn't a fit, back off and give them some time. Find out what it was about the camp experience they didn't like. More importantly, find out what things (even if only a few) they actually did like about the camp. Pay attention to these answers. There is a good chance that, armed with this information, you can research other camps that may be better suited to your child's tastes and artistic needs. Find a different camp, try again next year, and until then don't push or make a big deal out of it. Be Involved: Acting is a passion and, like flame, it needs fuel in order to burn. A parent's support and involvement has no equal as that fuel. Acting Camp is about far more than just what happens during the time your child attends. What happens before and after camp is as important as the camp itself. Furthermore, if you have an uninterested attitude towards your children's pursuits then their attitude will soon follow your own. Help them prepare for the camp experience beforehand. If you have done your research, then you are well-versed in what your children will be learning and doing. Help them feel prepared for it and they will have the kind of fun that only self-confidence brings. After Camp is over, spend a lot of time revisiting what they experienced and learned. Often, there are exercises and drama games that can be fun for the whole family to recreate. Children look to their parents for validation. Be that validation for your young actor or actress and you have armed them well for success. Be Selective: Acting Camps are as varied as the children who attend them. Take the time to research, research, research. If your children are new to the art, look for fun-filled camps that focus more on the enjoyment of the experience than the knowledge gained. As your children progress, they will want, as well as need, more challenges for their mindsplacency destroys drive, and an unchallenged mind can hardly avoid becoming complacent. Acting Camp should always be fun, but as your children grow they will develop a sense of pride in their craft and will be eager to take the challenge to the next level. Do your homework and be prepared to provide that challenge in their next camp. Preparing For the Next Step: Eventually your children (and I use that term loosely here) will be ready to move on to acting school. As you have watched and participated with your children in their acting youth, you'll no doubt have picked up on where their artistic talents and drive really lie. Research schools that have well-respected programs, and degrees, in those areas. This next step is an expensive one, so doing your research here actually does pay. Just as acting camps have helped form your children's creative foundations, so acting schools will take it to that next, and this time, professional level.
More than likely, when you learned how to add, you started on the right and moved to the left. If you were adding whole numbers, you added the ones, "carried" if necessary, and repeated for the tens, hundreds and so on. This works well on paper, and it is the most efficient paper and pencil method; however, adding in the other direction has several desirable advantages: the left to right method promotes a better understanding of place value, it can be done mentally with much greater ease, and it does not require that numbers be lined up in a column. Students can learn left to right addition, so they have another method to choose from when presented with addition problems. Left to right addition involves adding the largest place values first. As you move from left to right, you keep a cumulative total, so it is simply a number of smaller addition problems. To give you an idea of how it works and what it sounds like, consider the example, 677 + 938. Begin by adding the left most place values. In the example this is 600 plus 900 equals 1500. Add the values in the next place, one at a time, to the previous sum, and keep track of the new sum each time. In the example, 1500 + 70 is 1570, 1570 + 30 is 1600. For students who are more proficient at this algorithm, they don't necessarily think "plus 70" or "add 30." Their thought process, if said out loud might sound like, "600, 1500, 1570, 1600, . . ." Continue adding the values in each subsequent place until finished. The final steps in the example are 1600 + 7 is 1607, 1607 plus 8 is 1615. The sum is 1615. As you can imagine, students need to be proficient at single digit addition and have an understanding of place value before attempting left to right addition. When they are first learning it, they might try repeating sums as they go along (e. g. 1500, 1570, 1570, 1570, 1600, . . .) to help them retain the newest sums. They might also cross out digits as they are adding. There is no rule about having to add in this way mentally. Students could write down the sums as they proceed. Left to right addition promotes a better understanding of place value than right to left addition. In right to left addition, single digits are carried or regrouped with little emphasis placed on what the value of those carried digits are. In the example, 1246 + 586, students add 6 + 6 to get 12; they write down the 2 and carry the 1 when they should be carrying the ten. In the next step, they add 8 + 4 + 1 to get 13; they write down the 3 and carry the 1 when they should be adding 80 + 40 + 10, writing the 3 in the tens place (i. e. 30) and carrying the hundred. Essentially, right to left addition excludes vocabulary related to place value. Left to right addition, on the other hand, promotes an understanding of place value as each digit is given its correct value. In the example, the one in the thousands place is one thousand, the two in the hundreds place is two hundred, and so on. Left to right addition is well-suited to mental addition since the sum is cumulative with no steps in between; in other words, there is nothing for the student to keep in mind except for the cumulative sum. In right to left addition, several numbers must be remembered as the student proceeds. To illustrate this, consider the simple example, 64 + 88. In left to right addition, the sum is simple to find: 60, 140, 144, 152. Only one number had to be remembered at any point. In right to left addition, 4 + 8 is 12, so there are already two numbers to remember: the two in the ones place and the regrouped ten. The next step is to add 60 + 80 + 10 to get 150. At this point, the two must be recalled and added to the 150 to get 152. Although this sounds simple, it becomes more complicated with more digits. Right to left addition does not require numbers to be lined up in a column, but it is often taught that way because the method tends to ignore place value and relies on a student's ability to line up the place values to compensate. Many errors that students make in right to left addition occur because they don't have a strong knowledge of place value, and they forget or don't realize that like place values need to be lined up. They might, for instance, add a digit in the tens place to a digit in the hundreds place. Another scenario is a sloppy recording of numbers where a digit is mistakenly added to the wrong column. In left to right addition, the emphasis is on finding a certain place value in each number rather than relying on the place values being aligned. Students, of course, need to be able to recognize place value before they can be successful at this method. For instance, they should be able to recognize that the ones in the numbers: 514, 1499, and 321 are in the tens, thousands, and ones places respectively. If they can't, further teaching on place value is required before addition can be taught effectively. Although left to right addition has several advantages, it isn't suggested that you scrap everything else. Learning a wide variety of addition methods allows you latitude in problem solving situations. By teaching students this method, you give them another option when they are tackling addition questions.
I’m telling you affordable degrees are the wave of the future. Do you remember how when all your drone friends were slaving away at their universities with less money than the guy that sleeps in your hedges? Meanwhile, you laughed all the way to the bank every week with the sweet check you collected from the carwash? Well, its been awhile, since you’ve felt that sort of ability to condescend, but not for long. Lie to your friends and tell them that you’re going to your grandmas for week…and then return with a PhD! That’s right, someone finally got higher education right. Instead of learning things…and paying someone to do it, you can just tell them what you’ve learned and then collect the appropriate degree. It’s genius and affordable. This exciting program also will only sideline you for five days. I know it’s a week and that’s pretty irritating, but depending on your current level of knowledge you can walk away from that week with an associate, bachelor, masters or even a PhD. The only problematic aspect that I can see in the beautiful concept is that you need to know things in order to actually get your affordable degree in five days. I mean, I know a couple things. But Master’s Degree sufficient worth of things, that I can’t be completely sure of? I don’t want to just settle for a lousy Bachelor’s Degree. I need to go big. On second thought, these programs seem to be run by fairly reasonable people. I bet that if I promised them that I would learn enough things later they would accept that and give me the degree. Well, I don’t know why I’m still here writing. I just wasted a fifth of the time its going to take me to graduate. So, if you want an affordable degree that could have you working in the United Nations in a week, get out there and start explaining to someone what you know.
ADHD refers to attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder. Most children who suffer from this disorder suffer from attention problems as well as hyperactivity. Parents of such children are well aware that inattention and hyperactivity continue throughout the day. Keeping such children busy after school hours can be as difficult as keeping them safe during the school day. The first step while choosing the right after school activity for your child is to understand how ADHD affects him. Is your child interested in sports? Is he put off by the fierce competitiveness, or does he find it hard to get along with teammates? Does your child vocalize his feelings, or is communication a problem? For a child suffering from ADHD, physical exercise is always beneficial. Exercise takes up the extra energy and helps to stimulate the brain. Team activities teach social skills and discipline. But, if your child shies away from team sports, you may want to look at activities like dancing, cycling, swimming or gymnastics. Martial arts not only teach techniques of self-defense but also teach self-control and patience. If your child shows aversion to sport and shows inclination towards the fine arts, you may need to look at some other options. Acting classes are a wonderful form of creative exercise. It also provides the child with ample opportunity to develop his social skills. Music, art or dance can help the child to keep himself busy and entertained. In case the child is not interested in any of the above, you may want him to join a Boy Scouts club or other community oriented clubs that take up social work. Cleaning a park, putting on a show, helping out in an old age home are various activities that may pique your child's interest. Whatever form of activity you choose, make sure that you monitor your child's progress periodically. If you feel that there is no progress, you may need to change the activity. Anything that increases your child's self-esteem is good. You may enlist the help of the coach or teacher to assess your child's development. There are certain activities that are detrimental to a child suffering from ADHDputer and video games are a definite NO. Since these games need no interaction, children will feel all the more isolated. These children also find it difficult to distinguish between the good and the bad messages. They may therefore show an inclination to stick to messages that are not needed. Games that need the child to sit and wait for his turn patiently tax his patience and will not be a success. Although you would want these children to be as near to normal as possible, understanding their needs and limits will help you select the right after school activity - one that is fulfilling, tiring as well as challenging.
Admission into an Ivy League school, or equally competitive college, is a lofty goal. It requires years of dedication from both parents and students. These high-powered, historic institutions receive thousands of applications each year yet reject more than 85 percent of candidates. While there is no formula for gaining one of the coveted places, there are a number of strategies, techniques, and hints that give applicants an edge. Students determined to get into a competitive college must begin their preparation well before their senior year of high school. For example, high powered schools look for students that have completed four years of math, science, and language courses. They expect applicants to maintain straight A’s while taking the most difficult course load their school has to offer. Students who go above and beyond academically by acing end-of-year Advanced Placement (AP) tests not only gain college credits but favor with admission boards as well. All college-bound students are required to take the SAT I and II and submit the results to their selected schools. However, those applying to Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Brown, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Dartmouth, Yale, and the like should aim for higher than 1400 on the SATs to stay competitive. There are a variety of test preparation classes and materials available in bookstores and on the Web to streamline the studying process – a process that should take place well before the end of a student’s senior year. Because top-flight universities strive to create an atmosphere of diversity on their campuses, they are interested in students that are academically gifted but mature, confident, and motivated as well. They review applicants’ extra-curricular pursuits, particularly those that showcase a unique ability or leadership position. These activities set applicants apart from the crowd and are not necessarily limited to school sponsored sports. Initiating a food drive, becoming class president, or getting a part-time job can go a long way in illustrating strong ethics, enthusiasm, and perseverance. The formal application process takes place during senior year and requires a great deal of planning and forethought. Applications must be filled out completely and define the applicant as a whole person, not just as an athlete or a star student. Remember, top-tier colleges want the most well rounded individuals. Students should provide letters of recommendation and write a personal essay that illustrates their ability to handle the strenuous pace of Ivy League life while augmenting campus variety. If a student is really counting on their first choice school, they are encouraged to apply through early action or early decision programs. These programs require the application to be sent in months in advance and result in a much higher percentage of acceptance. Some programs stipulate that students may only apply to one school through the program and require a deposit, while others are not as binding. Research is crucial, as each school has a different policy. Whatever you do, don’t assume that an Ivy League education is out of reach. Often, high school seniors are discouraged by the overwhelming number of students that don’t get the opportunity to walk the hallowed halls of Harvard; but, admissions committee members are quick to remind students that they stand no chance of admittance unless they try. You never know what an Ivy League school is looking for. It may just be you.
All states across the United States require standards that must be met in different subjects by specific grades, especially in reading and math. End of year testing is required for specific grades to ensure schools and students are meeting these standards. The concern is that states, including the Arizona schools, are trying to teach everything at once to students, with teachers losing the ability to teach the important math concepts in depth. Otherwise, students are learning a little about everything (just enough to pass state tests) but not enough to actually use in the real world. Many educators in the Arizona schools are concerned that they are being forced to teach for testing, rather than real in-depth learning that is needed in higher grades and college. For example, the Arizona schools require second graders to know 77 math concepts by the end of that grade. That is a lot of concepts, and teachers are given no guidance from the Arizona schools on which concepts are the most important. That means that equal importance is given to all, and all must be sufficiently taught. In order to do this, Arizona schools would need to create mandatory day-by-day lesson plans, which they have not done. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is a highly influential organization, whose recommendations are followed by most educators. Almost all math textbooks for kindergarten through eighth grade reference the council, also aligning with their recommendations. In a report released in September, the council agrees with many Arizona schools educators that the state is trying to cover too much within one year, noting that some states require even more. Council Executive Director Jim Rubillo points out that too many mandatory math concepts taught means very little in-depth learning by the students. They may be able to pass a test at the end of the year, but it is doubtful that many students will carry the concepts into higher learning without the repetition and in-depth instruction required. Too many concepts to teach leaves no time for in-depth instruction. The council also released new recommendations for curriculum focal points. The recommendations narrow the focus to just three math concepts at each grade level with all instruction for each grade built around them. The council hopes states will enter into a discussion on this issue and consider their recommendations. The Arizona schools begin revision of their math standards next spring and are considering the council’s recommendations, according to Mary Knuck, state director of standards for the Arizona schools. If the Arizona schools follow the council’s recommendations, it would mean a major overhaul of their current standards and testing methods. The real challenge for Arizona schools teachers currently is not the vast array of standards that must be taught; however, the real challenge is to teach math for both real world applications and standardized testing. It must make sense in the real world, or it is wasted. Yet, Arizona schools students must be able to have instant recall in order to answer state test questions correctly. Hopefully, the council and the Arizona schools can together make more sense of the crucial math standards for the Arizona schools.
The Arts for Academic Achievement Program The Arts for Academic Achievement Program (AAA) has been bringing artists into Minneapolis Schools since 1997. While its outward focus is on teaching students to paint, dance, and express themselves artistically, its real mission is to make students love learning and use the arts to apply themselves to their academic subjects. Supported initially by an Annenberg Foundation educational reform grant and in partnership with the Perpich Center for Arts Education, AAA has expanded throughout Minnesota. Currently the Minneapolis School District has pledged to continue the program after the end of the initial grant, bringing the program to 120 classrooms in 40 schools in the Minneapolis School District. How It Helps Students Learn Students in the AAA Program develop a positive attitude toward school and learn the value of determination in finishing a project that has meaning for them. National research indicates that instruction through the arts is very effective in raising the achievement scores of at – risk groups. The AAA Program has documented the substantial increase in student assessment scores when arts are integrated into the Minneapolis Public Schools. The ties between third grade reading scores and the level of arts instruction show a clear link between the two. The more arts education provided, the higher the scores, especially within groups that have shown greater barriers in learning. AAA makes students work hard and feel pride in demonstrating their skills to the community. Students perform or present their projects to real audiences and strive to make those audiences proud of them. As a result, students put real effort into what they do and develop a strong positive attitude toward learning. At the high school level, attendance has jumped for students involved in the AAA program, as students desire to come to school and learn more. How It Helps Teachers Teach AAA brings teachers into the planning and implementation process. This builds a community of learning that cares most about helping students achieve through an atmosphere of cooperation and understanding. Minneapolis School District teacher teams develop curriculum and work together with local artists to present and enhance new learning experiences. This leads to changes in the way that individual teachers as well as whole schools view education. AAA research shows that teachers involved in the AAA program change the way they teach. Minneapolis School District teachers see how students can learn, redirecting their efforts toward students that had otherwise been regarded as weaker. AAA gave teachers to understanding and experience to help develop more children in areas such as intelligence, leadership, and motivation. In addition, instruction by Minneapolis School District teachers participating in the AAA program created more child – centered classrooms in which children can develop and explore at their own pace. Minneapolis School District teachers learned that the creation of independent student learning activities allowed students to develop their own skills in a different way from teacher – led classroom instruction. Minneapolis School District teachers participating in AAA learned how to encourage students to take risks in order to increase their understanding.
If you have children, late July, August and early September represents more than summer ending, cooler weather and fall foliage. School begins once again for millions of kids across the country. Getting your child prepared, regardless of whether they are in Kindergarten or a senior in high school, is a must. Here are some tips to make the transition from several weeks of summer fun to school days and homework easier. Children in Kindergarten – 5th grade 1. About a week before school starts, have your children go to bed at the time they will when school begins. Set their alarm or wake them up early. It’s difficult for some kids to adjust to going to bed and getting up earlier after having an entire summer of sleeping in or staying up late. Many young children need to be on a schedule and preparing a week or so earlier will pay off, especially if you have a night owl or late sleeper. 2. If you have a school supply list (many school districts post them on their website or hand them out the last day of school), buy the supplies early. For the child who is not organized, this is a good way to begin the school year off on the right foot. Label everything and get the backpacks ready the night before school starts. Buy some extra supplies to keep at home if your child is one to lose or forget their pencils or markers at school. They will probably need some basic supplies for homework time. Nothing is more frustrating than sitting down to do homework and discovering the basics are missing. 3. If you have a Kindergartener, walk to school two or three days before school begins (or drive if they take a bus or you will be driving them). This helps acquaint them with what they will actually be doing that first day and can work wonders for alleviating the first-day jitters. If your child is especially anxious, ask if you can let them visit their new classroom for five or ten minutes the day before school starts. Many principals will let the Kindergarteners come to the campus prior to school starting. Middle School 1. Many sixth graders will be attending a new school for their middle school years. Oftentimes, the campus is much bigger and can be intimidating. Of course pre-teens may not admit they are nervous, but most parents are. Suggest a bike ride over to the school sometime during August just to look around. Many middle schools conduct orientation anyway a couple of days before school actually begins, but an extra trip without all of their peers might be worthwhile. 2. Just as in elementary school, it is important, if not more so in middle school, to have all the school supplies ready, especially an organizer. Some schools make it mandatory for the students to purchase an organizer directly from the school. Get in the habit from day one of checking it and being sure homework assignments are recorded. Visit the school website and see if homework and grades will be posted on the site. This is an excellent way to stay involved with your child’s progress throughout the year. 3. If your student struggles with the basics; math or language arts, consider hiring a tutor for some review sessions before and during the first semester. Also, it is quite common in middle school for students who are excelling to be moved to Honors classes sometime during the year. Being in an accelerated class is a good way to prepare a student for Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school, which count as college credit. HIGH SCHOOL 1. Find out when the PSAT and SAT exams will take place. If your student is not a good test taker, consider enrolling them in a test prep class. As colleges become more and more competitive, test scores make a difference. One can take the exam more than once if they are not happy with the score, so plan ahead and register early. 2. Stay tuned in to your student’s school and social schedule. There is a tremendous amount of freedom in high school and even the most academically gifted students can be distracted by all of the things that are associated with the teenage years. Establish a curfew for school nights and limit the amount of time that is spent at a part-time job or involved in sports, especially if time management and study skills are not your child’s forte. 3. If your son or daughter is college-bound, start doing your research and be sure to attend the college nights that many high schools sponsor. Know what is expected on college applications. It is no longer a simple process like it was for the baby boomer generation. Test scores, a formal essay, volunteer hours, and class selection in high school are all important factors in getting into college. Take advantage of the many companies that exist today solely for the purpose of assisting you and your student select the right college for them. Regardless of the age and grade of your children, stay involved. Volunteering on any level, whether it be reading stories to your elementary aged child’s second grade class, helping in the computer lab in middle school, or being on a committee for peer counseling in high school, it is important to know what is happening at the place your children spend a large part of their week. With so many parents working, many Parent Teacher Associations have their meetings in the evening, so more parents can attend. There are activities that need volunteers that do not involve daytime hours such as calling parents in the evening for a fundraiser or helping with a weekend car wash at high school. These tips can help your children get back to school the right way and prepare them for a year of learning and fun. 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