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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

December 31, 2013 at 5:00 AM

Education Lab’s most popular stories: practical information for change

Education coverage often gets a bad rap: Too wonkish, too soft. Too superficial. Too boring. We launched the Education Lab project in October 2013 to address that, running in-depth stories that feature both humanity and proven approaches to creating positive change in schools.  So far we’ve written about fast-track improvements at a long-struggling elementary school;…

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December 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Your voices: Readers share how schools could improve in 2014

Before Christmas, we asked Education Lab readers to think ahead to what they’d like to see change at their school in the new year. Specifically, we asked, “If you could offer the principal of your (or your kids’) school a one-sentence suggestion to improve student performance in the next year, what would it be?” Here…

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December 30, 2013 at 5:00 AM

Seniors: Put the value of the liberal arts into words and win a scholarship

For several years now, there’s been a steady drumbeat of reports and studies about the need to expand and improve science, technology, engineering and math education — commonly referred to by its acronym, STEM.

But some educators are worried that in the rush to educate everyone in the STEM fields, the liberal arts are getting left behind.

Last year, leaders from 40 public and private four-year and two-year colleges and other organizations in Washington got together to discuss the importance of the liberal arts. They formed the Washington Consortium for the Liberal Arts, and as one of their first projects, established several scholarships for students who can put the importance of the liberal arts into words.

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December 27, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Daily round-up: Tacoma weighs changes to special-needs program, nutritional report cards detail food choices

Coming to a report card near you: nutritional stats (The Atlantic): Want to know whether your student really eats his veggies and drinks his milk in the cafeteria? A recent pilot program from Cornell University sent parents weekly emails with a breakdown of their kids lunchtime selections.

Tacoma Public Schools seeks parent input in special needs program (The News Tribune): Education officials in Tacoma are working to implement a set of 18 recommendations from the Urban Special Education Leadership Cooperative. One of the expected changes: switching to an “inclusion model” that would place more special needs students in mainstream classrooms.

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December 27, 2013 at 5:00 AM

Two contests reward innovative students looking to make their mark

Courtesy NFIB

Courtesy NFIB

Maybe your kids relish a challenge and consider the holiday break a frustrating exercise in boredom. If so, two contests with impressive prizes and upcoming deadlines might keep them busy until classes start again.

High school seniors who have started a business — be it anything from babysitting to website design — should consider applying for the National Federation of Independent Business’ Young Entrepreneur Awards. The deadline has been extended to Jan. 6, 2014, and is open to any high school senior who owns a business and is headed to college or vocational school next year.

Applicants must submit a 1,000-word, typed essay describing their entrepreneurial efforts and future goals. In 2013, 100 such students walked away with $1,000 each, including Jesse Sheldon from Spokane Valley, Donavon Preiser from Auburn, Mikaela Pederson from Bellingham, and Lucas Holtgeerts of Anacortes.

Five others scooped up the $5,000 award, and Shea Gouldd, a young baker in Florida, was named young Entrepreneur of the Year. She won a $10,000 scholarship toward tuition at Washington University in St. Louis. Ms. Gouldd started Shea’s Bakery at age 14.

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December 26, 2013 at 4:15 PM

Your voices: Readers share local examples of parents and schools working together

Earlier this month, we asked readers to share their examples of parents and teachers working together in the Puget Sound region. The request was tied to our Dec. 8 story about a renowned parent mentor program in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. We tried something a little different with this Question of the Week, using the  More

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December 26, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Daily round-up: Kitna will donate NFL paycheck to Tacoma school, online college gains traction

Kitna will donate NFL paycheck to Tacoma high school: Jon Kitna’s earnings from coming out of retirement to play in Sunday’s Dallas Cowboys game will go to Lincoln High School in Tacoma, where the father of four teaches math and coaches football. The quarterback will earn approximately $53,000 for his week of work.

Transgender student law set to take effect in California (AP): School districts in California are contemplating changes to locker-room layouts and dress codes as a new transgender student law goes into effect Jan. 1. The legislation — the first of its kind in the nation — allows children to use the sex-segregated facilities and participate in the sex-segregated activities of their choosing.

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December 26, 2013 at 5:00 AM

Kindergarten signups to start on same date in seven districts

A little more than a year ago, six South King County school districts along with Seattle Public Schools won a four-year, $40 million federal grant, part of what’s known as the Race to the Top program.

Since then, they’ve been working together to carry out what they proposed, which includes building stronger ties between pre-kindergarten programs and the early elementary grades, improving instruction in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects, and encouraging more students to enroll in college or career programs after high school.

One other benefit of the whole effort is that Seattle and the six other districts — Auburn, Federal Way, Highline, Kent, Renton, and Tukwila  — are working together much more than ever before, with an eye toward helping and learning from each other.

One small example: The districts recently decided to coordinate kindergarten registration this school year. Rather than having seven different kindergarten sign-up times, they will decide on a single start date.

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December 24, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Have opinions about education? Submit a guest column to Education Lab

Education Lab’s purpose is to both examine promising approaches in education and to facilitate a meaningful dialogue around what’s working — or not working — in our schools. Your voice can help us accomplish these goals. The Seattle Times welcomes submissions of guest commentaries for the Education Lab blog. We’re looking for pieces that make a strong solution-oriented argument about…

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December 24, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Daily round-up: Start-up helps teachers manage data; new SAT could have fewer obscure words

Fewer obscure words expected in new SAT test (NPR): Words like “mendacious” and “jettison” may soon disappear from the SAT test, if new College Board president David Coleman has his way. Coleman has said he would like to replace the obscure vocabulary questions with words that students are more likely to use in real life.

San Francisco start-up aims to help teachers manage classroom data (The New York Times): A company called Clever is using a single sign on process to enable teachers to access different online resources more easily. The software is now in about 15,000 schools.

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