Weekly Roundup for December 16, 2011

Librarian and student

A trip to the library for PS 188 and Educational Alliance, thanks to the Charles H. Revson Foundation.

Jess Tonn>      A group of Chicago teachers released a report containing 49 ways “to build a better school day, week and year,” such as implementing a longer school day with a staggered teaching schedule, converting to a year-long quarterly schedule, and starting the day with extracurricular activities.

>      Another report on the secrets of high-performing charter schools—this time from the National Bureau of Economic Research—shows that more instructional time is key to student success. The Atlantic offered this summary.

>      Arne Duncan recently gave a speech to the National Council for Social Studies, exploring how we can promote a well-rounded education and create a meaningful accountability system.

>      I’ll let the title of this NY Times Op-Ed about the connection between poverty and education speak for itself: Class Matters. Why Won’t We Admit It?

>      Jodi Grant wrote a column for Valerie Strauss’ blog this week, examining why after-school seems to fall off the ed-reform radar. Among her points: “Perhaps involving outsiders is intimidating because the things they do—providing meals, mentors, improving behavior, increasing self confidence, teaching leadership, team workforce skills, and making sure kids have access to daily physical activity—don’t fit neatly in school measures and systems.”

>      Need help evaluating your expanded learning program? The Harvard Family Research Project just released this helpful how-to guide.

>      On Wednesday, Jon Stewart interviewed Melody Barnes about K-12 education reform and “teaching to the test,” and proposed that schools be open to the community 24 hours a day, since “from 3 o’clock on, nobody’s using them.” Pssst, Jon, we beg to differ.

>      The NYC Department of Ed released its annual arts report this week, revealing that principals are spending slightly more on the arts than last year, but still much less than before budget cuts two years ago.

>      Childhood obesity rates dropped in New York City by 1.2 percent over the past five years, the biggest decline among cities in the U.S., according to the CDC.

>      YouTube—and many other social media sites—is blocked in NYC schools, but hopefully teachers will be able to access YouTube for Schools, a network launched this week that only allows access to content that can be used in the classroom.

>      I was glued to Twitter on Wednesday, following the senior class of the Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning High School as they marched to the post office to mail in their college applications. SchoolBook filed this dispatch.

>      Did you know that newborn babies cry in the accent of their mother’s native language? Crazy, huh? Annie Murphy Paul talked about this and other stuff we learn before we’re born in a recent TED Talk.

>      Kudos to FOX for not only producing a hit show about the value of high school music programs, but for following it up with this recent episode of New Girl in which teacher Jess (love that name!) Day convinces her roommate to co-teach her after-school bell ringing club, a learning experience for everyone involved. Expanded learning goes mainstream?

Featured Friday Funding Opportunity:

National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards
This award recognizing excellence in after-school and out-of-school arts and humanities programs that open new pathways to learning, self-discovery and achievement.

Deadline: January 31

And now for something completely different:

Did you see this Google Doodle on Monday?

It’s a tribute to Robert Noyce, otherwise known as the inventor of the microchip, co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel, mentor to Steve Jobs, and “mayor of Silicon Valley.” He’s also the Noyce of the Noyce Foundation, which supports informal science programs including our very own STEM work here at TASC.

Happy birthday, Bob. This blog—and much of what I write about in it—wouldn’t exist without you.