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

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You are currently viewing all posts written by Caitlin Moran. Caitlin Moran is the community engagement editor for Education Lab. She joined The Seattle Times staff in September 2013 after three years running hyperlocal news websites at Patch. Contact Caitlin to find out how you can contribute to the local conversation surrounding education.

January 24, 2015 at 6:10 PM

Submit a question for video chat on restorative justice

Monae Trevino, second from left, is embraced by a fellow student during a discussion at Big Picture High School in Burien. Photo by Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times.

Monae Trevino, second from left, is embraced by a fellow student during a discussion at Big Picture High School in Burien. Photo by Ellen M. Banner / The Seattle Times.

Monae Trevino, a student at Big Picture High School in Burien, has had her fair share of interactions with school authority.

Trevino, 18, has been suspended on more than one occasion at other, more traditional schools. But at Big Picture, where teachers and administrators practice an alternative form of discipline called restorative justice, she has had to meet with peers and educators to talk through her actions and learn how they impact others.

Oftentimes, she says, restorative justice is tougher to handle than suspension.

“You can’t run from anything, and to have people talking good about you, telling you they’re truly disappointed — it hurts. It was kind of overwhelming, actually,” she told reporter Claudia Rowe, who wrote an extensive story about restorative justice for Sunday’s paper.

On Tuesday, Rowe and Trevino will meet in The Seattle Times’ video studio to talk about restorative justice, why it works, and about reader reaction to the Sunday story. Their conversation will be video recorded and posted on the Education Lab blog later in the week.

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January 24, 2015 at 6:01 PM

Your voices: Parents, teachers share ideas for fixing discipline

As part of our ongoing series on school discipline, Education Lab recently asked readers to share their experiences with student discipline. A selection of these responses are below (some have been edited for length or clarity).

Want to add your own two cents? Go here to share your thoughts. We may publish another round of responses at a later date.

How have you seen discipline handled well?

Discipline has worked when I’ve seen adults willing to be a mediator for helping students listen to each other. Establishing agreements (not rules) beforehand and continuing to revisit them is also helpful. When children know they can trust, they will be heard, they are more willing to listen and learn and be guided.

–Marcia Christen, Poulsbo

I see more schools using positive behavioral supports. We have to teach kids how to behave and the right social skills to get their needs met. Suspending them only makes it worse.

–Lori Lynass (teacher), Shoreline

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January 23, 2015 at 2:09 PM

Roundup: French schools will add more civics lessons; bill would offer info on sudden cardiac arrest

Following terrorist attacks, France plans to add more civics lessons (The New York Times): Officials in Paris have announced new measures to promote more secular values in schools following a string of terrorist attacks conducted by Muslim extremists. The plans call for students to receive more lessons in civics and morals and the role of the media in society.

Minority students make up disproportionate share of homeless population (KPLU): One out of every 10 homeless students in Washington is black, even though black students account for just 5 percent of the overall student population. During the last school year, more than 32,000 students across the state were homeless — the highest figure since such record keeping began.

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January 22, 2015 at 1:49 PM

Roundup: SPS decides to bid on federal reserve building; students leave billions in aid unclaimed

Seattle School Board decides to bid on vacant downtown building: In a change of course, the Seattle School Board voted Wednesday to bid in an auction for the vacant downtown federal reserve building in the hopes of turning it into an elementary school. The board had previously voted against acquiring the site for free, which would have required the district to remodel the school within three years or face fines.

Students leave billions of unclaimed financial aid on the table (Nerd Wallet): Using federal data, financial news website Nerd Wallet estimates high-school graduates nationwide left more than $2.9 billion in federal Pell grants unclaimed in 2013 by not filling out the FAFSA. The analysis assumes the rate of Pell eligibility is the same among students who did complete the application as it is among those who failed to do so.

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January 22, 2015 at 11:53 AM

Tell us: How have you seen student discipline handled well?

Boo Davis / The Seattle Times

Boo Davis / The Seattle Times

Education Lab’s series on student discipline continues Sunday with a story about how a Burien school is using an approach called restorative justice to reduce suspensions and develop a stronger sense of personal responsibility among students.

The story will be Part II in our series, which began last month with a look at how the Kent School District is working toward similar outcomes and testing out in-school suspensions as an alternative to more traditional forms of discipline.

Along the way, we’ve been asking readers to share their experiences with school discipline. Where have you seen it done well? What can teachers or administrators do to better balance the need to minimize classroom disruptions with the desire to reduce suspensions and expulsions?

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January 21, 2015 at 3:28 PM

Roundup: How free college tuition works in South Seattle; education and the State of the Union

How free community college works in South Seattle: The privately funded 13th Year Promise Scholarship automatically provides one free year at South Seattle College to students from three Seattle high schools. The program has been a success, with 43 percent of students who participate earning a two-year degree or certificate within six years.

California districts fail to comply with teacher-evaluation law (Los Angeles Times): A review of 26 school districts in California found that the overwhelming majority are failing to comply with a state law that requires student testing data  to factor into teacher evaluations. In some districts, collective bargaining agreements with teachers are presenting road blocks; others say they are in the process of revamping their evaluation systems.

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January 20, 2015 at 12:37 PM

Roundup: UW, WSU consider new Eastside degrees; bills address student homelessness

UW, WSU consider new degree offerings for Eastside students: Washington State University is exploring a partnership with Bellevue College that would offer four-year degrees to students on an open enrollment basis. Meanwhile, the University of Washington plans to soon begin offering a Redmond- or Bellevue-based master’s degree to students working on social issues.

Private money restores some college classes in prisons: Private groups have started offering college courses in Washington state prisons following a 1995 ban on using taxpayer money for such programs. Supporters say inmates who complete college coursework are less likely to return to the prison system after their release.

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January 16, 2015 at 11:56 AM

Roundup: UW, Boeing announce new research center; suspensions down 53 percent in LA

UW, Boeing announce new campus research center: Boeing is partnering with the University of Washington to open a mew campus research center for doctoral engineering students, UW professors and Boeing engineers. Boeing will initially invest $800,000 a year to fund a series of four research projects at the 4,300-square-foot facility.

California sees big drop in students suspensions, expulsions (Los Angeles Times): In Los Angeles, suspensions are down 53 percent following new district guidelines for disciplining minor offenses. Across the state, suspensions were down 15 percent last year and 24 percent over two years.

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January 15, 2015 at 1:45 PM

Roundup: Study reveals surprises about school choice; Dutch teachers find autonomy

New Orleans study maps out how parents select schools (NPR): Location and after-school programs were the top considerations of New Orleans parents who participated in a study about school choice. The researchers also found that poor families were more likely to choose schools based on proximity and extra-curricular activities over academic performance.

In the Netherlands, more school time gives teachers more freedom (The Atlantic): Dutch students attend class 200 days out of the year — about four weeks longer than their counterparts in the U.S. According to some experts, the extra time gives teachers there more room to help shape curriculum and school policies.

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January 14, 2015 at 1:30 PM

Roundup: Patty Murray lays out vision for No Child Left Behind; website addresses student grief

Patty Murray lays out vision for No Child Left Behind: In a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, Murray said she supports using standardized tests each year in grades 3-8 and once during high school and argued that student assessments ought to remain part of No Child Left Behind. The Washington Democrat is expected to be a party leader in Congress’ work to reauthorize the law.

In Portland, proposed changes to transfer policy draw protests (The Oregonian): The Portland school board delayed its vote on proposed revisions to its enrollment and transfer policies Tuesday amid protests that the community had not been informed about the vote. The changes include shifting the district’s transfer policy from a lottery to a petition process and prioritizing low-income and Head Start students at so-called focus schools.

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