Weekly Roundup for December 23, 2011

Jess Tonn>      New York public schools will be seeing Big Red—in a good way—when the new Cornell engineering grad school comes to Roosevelt Island. According to Crain’s New York, “Cornell committed to launching a $150 million start-up financing fund, and to create programs that will reach 10,000 NYC students and 200 teachers per year.”

>      Syracuse will #expandEDin2012, thanks to the Wallace Foundation’s $4.3 million investment in Say Yes Syracuse. Among the group’s already impressive results: reducing the number of students who dropped out, were incarcerated, or otherwise left school by 44 percent between 2009 and 2010.

>      Did you see our very own Chris Caruso on the very first education Spreecast this week? Here’s hoping it’s the first of many education-themed talks on the site. Very cool technology happening over there.

>      As a web communications junkie, I’m frustrated by the throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater approach to social media many schools take. Thank you, SchoolBook, for these 5 Tips for Teachers to Navigate Facebook’s Features and Risks.

>      Apparently there is a right way—and a wrong way—to e-read with your kids. Here’s what you need to know about using that shiny new tablet Santa leaves under your tree this weekend.

>      Speaking of Santa, still need to do some last-minute shopping for you kids? Check out GeekDad’s list of the 5 Best Toys of All Time. I’d add “junk mail catalogs,” known in my house as “the original crinkle toy,” to the list. [Disclosure: GeekDad’s article was not published last week, but I couldn’t resist giving it a shout-out in this season of toy buying.]

>      If you’re like me, you have a hard time keeping track of all the Education Week blogs…but this new one on global learning by the Asia Society’s Anthony Johnson is worth adding to your favorite RSS reader. Check out this recent post on Expanding Horizons Through Expanded Learning Time.

>      I’ve read a lot about Geoff Canada’s vision, educational philosophy and background, but very little about his management style. That’s why I loved this interview in The New York Times’ “Corner Office” column. Psych majors take note: “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t draw on my undergraduate background in psychology,” Canada says.

>      Anyone who was once a middle school student understands the findings in this report on New York’s Beacon Community Centers: Expanded learning programs are more likely to success when they give tweens a say in the activities offered.

>      Why would parents and kids rally to save an “F” school? Find out in InsideSchool’s profile of Legacy High School’s efforts to engage students on the verge of dropping out.

>      Also not from this week, but guaranteed to inspire even the Grinch-iest of Scrooges: Meet Sherrie Gahn, principal of Whitney Elementary School in Las Vegas, where 85% of the students are homeless. Gahn has mobilized a team of community organizations and volunteers to meet the kids’ needs, saying:

“I told the parents that I would give them whatever they need. All I need them to do is give me their children and let me teach them. In turn, I will give you food and clothes and we will take them to the eye doctor. I will pay your rent, pay your utilities, but keep your child here….[The kids] have food in their bellies that they would not have had, they have clothes on their back they wouldn’t have had and for the first time someone believes in them. It’s beyond food and clothing.”

Featured Friday Funding Opportunity:

AmeriCorps 2012 State and National Grants
These grants support the efforts of community-based non-profit organizations to recruit and deploy AmeriCorps members to tackle unmet needs.

Deadline: January 18

And now for something completely different:

‘Tis the season for holiday mixes, and while I didn’t have time to make my own mix this year, this Pandora station is playing on my computer as I write this blog post. Mele Kalikimaka, everyone, prospero año y felicidad!