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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong 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.

October 24, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Tell a story about how you got into college at our Nov. 15 Storytellers event

Bellevue College student Melody Salcedo speaks on stage at a previous Education Lab storytelling event. Photo by Marcus Yam / The Seattle Times

Bellevue College student Melody Salcedo speaks on stage at a previous Education Lab storytelling event. Photo by Marcus Yam / The Seattle Times

Do you have an interesting story to share about getting into college? Education Lab is recruiting current students and recent grads to share short, inspirational tales about how they made a successful transition to higher education.

Selected speakers will get coaching and appear at our Nov. 15 event, Storytellers: How I Got Into College, at the University of Washington.

To send us your pitch, call 206-464-2057 and tell us about an obstacle you overcame to get into college. Your recording should be no more than two minutes and include your full name, phone number and email address.

The deadline to call in your pitch is 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3. We will follow up with you by Thursday, Nov. 6, if we are interested in your story.

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Comments | More in News, Your voices | Topics: Dream Project, higher ed, storytellers

October 24, 2014 at 11:09 AM

How I Got Into College: Students will share stories Nov. 15

UW-Tacoma student Marcus Affleje shares his story at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. Photo by Marcus Yam/The Seattle Times.

UW-Tacoma student Marcus Affleje shares his story at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center. Photo by Marcus Yam/The Seattle Times.

Are you a student dreaming of a degree but wondering how to get there? A parent wondering how to help your child get into college?

Education Lab is partnering with the University of Washington’s Dream Project to present Storytellers: How I Got Into College. The event is a revival of an inspiring Storytellers program we hosted last spring at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute.

This time around, the event will take place Saturday, Nov. 15, in Mary Gates Hall auditorium on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. Current students and recent grads will deliver powerful individual stories on the theme: “How I overcame an obstacle to get into college.”

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Comments | More in News, Your voices | Topics: Dream Project, higher ed, storytellers

October 24, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Mystery no more: Kent’s superintendent headed to AVID

Edward Lee Vargas. Photo by Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times (2009)

Edward Lee Vargas. Photo by Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times (2009)

Outgoing Kent Superintendent Edward Lee Vargas is leaving the district to serve as executive vice president for AVID, a national non-profit that aims to turn average high-school students into college material.

AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is active in several Seattle-area districts, including Kent.

Vargas, who spent six years at the helm in Kent, announced his departure earlier this month but left his destination a mystery. He has been recognized for his efforts to increase the use of technology in Kent classrooms and was named state superintendent of the year for 2014.

A Kent spokesman said Vargas wasn’t granting interview requests until he gets closer to leaving.

His departure was announced not long before the resignation of a superintendent with a higher profile: Los Angeles’ John Deasy, who stepped down Oct. 16 after several clashes with the local school board and teachers’ union.

As the Los Angeles Times noted, Deasy is one of several urban school leaders facing intense pressure amid changes with standardized testing, charter schools and other controversial matters. One study, from the Council of the Great American Schools, says his 3 1/2 year tenure is about average for urban superintendents.

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Comments | More in News | Topics: Edward Lee Vargas, Kent school district

October 23, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Round-up: National attention for Seattle preschool measures, Neb. district OKs guns in yearbook

National attention for competing preschool measures: Seattle’s city-sponsored preschool initiative is attracting attention from the other Washington, where an advocacy organization called Save the Children Action Network is sending tens of thousands of mailers supporting Proposition 1B to Seattle mailboxes. Backers of Proposition 1A, meanwhile, say their proposal is grassroots and has widespread support among local parents and teachers.

New York state to review immigrant enrollment procedures (The New York Times): State officials in New York are reviewing the enrollment policies of several suburban districts near New York City, after a New York Times report found some schools were excluding undocumented students from classes. Dozens of children on Long Island have stayed home more than a month into because of the legal dispute.

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October 22, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Round-up: Report finds academic fraud at UNC-Chapel Hill, short tenure common for schools chiefs

Report reveals academic fraud at UNC-Chapel Hill (The New York Times): An internal investigation by the University of North Carolina has uncovered new details in an academic scandal that first came to light three years ago. According to the report, two faculty members at UNC-Chapel Hill ran a “shadow curriculum” within the school’s African and Afro-American Studies department and awarded unearned grades to student athletes for nearly 20 years.

Role of curriculum is a sticking point on pre-K plans (KPLU): Curriculum is key to a “high-quality” pre-K program, say backers of Proposition 1B, the city-sponsored preschool proposal. Officials say play would have to be a central component of programs that receive city funding — but such a mandate rubs many existing preschool instructors the wrong way.

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October 21, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Round-up: Study finds mentoring helps kids stay healthy, $16 million for UW foreign languages

Study finds mentoring can help kids’ health (Reuters): Research from the University of Georgia has found strong social support can have positive effects on the physical health of adolescents growing up in poverty. High levels of stress hormones are known to contribute to chronic illnesses among children.

$16 million will go toward UW foreign languages: The University of Washington has received a $16-million federal grant that will support up to 140 fellowships a year for students who study languages other than Spanish, French and German. The grant is from the U.S. Department of Education and is intended to help the nation enhance its international leadership role.

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October 20, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Round-up: Private tutors return to local districts, quality of words key to language skills

Federally-funded tutoring returns to Pierce County districts (The News-Tribune): Students at dozens of schools in Pierce County will qualify for free private tutoring following the loss of Washington’s No Child Left Behind waiver. The programs are scheduled to being in November, and hundreds of families in Tacoma Public Schools have already signed up, although response has been slower in some suburban districts.

Quality of words key to kids’ language development (The New York Times): The quality of verbal interaction between parents and young children is more important than the quantity of words spoken, according to an academic study presented at the White House last week. UW researcher Patricia K. Kuhl, one of the study’s authors, says she is worried that messages like “close the word gap” could oversimplify what needs to be done to prevent poorer children from lagging behind their more affluent peers.

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October 17, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Round-up: Janitor says 9 had access to test booklets, magazine names ‘America’s worst colleges’

Janitor says 9 people had access to Beacon Hill tests: The saga of suspicious tests at Beacon Hill International School continues, with a janitor reporting that nine people had keys to a closet where the exam booklets were stored. Seattle Public Schools has not commented on issues surrounding access to the tests.

D.C. magazine picks ‘America’s worst colleges’ (NPR): Washington Monthly has taken a different approach to the traditional college rankings list. Taking into account rates for tuition, graduation and student debt, the magazine has assembled several different lists of schools it’s labeled the “worst” in the country.

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October 16, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Round-up: Beacon Hill tests stored in janitor’s closet, LA schools chief steps down

Beacon Hill tests were stored in janitor’s closet: A Seattle Times investigation has found student test booklets at Beacon Hill International School were stored for weeks in a janitor’s closet  a common practice that raised flags during a recent internal audit. State officials announced Tuesday they were invalidating the school’s test scores due to heavy erasure marks.

L.A. Superintendent John Deasy resigns (AP): LA schools chief John Deasy stepped down from his post today, amid ongoing controversy over use of technology in the district’s classrooms. He had also clashed with the school board and teacher’s union on several issues.

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October 16, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Poll: Should student test scores be tied to principal pay?

Illustration by Boo Davis / The Seattle Times

Illustration by Boo Davis / The Seattle Times

A Seattle Times investigation has uncovered more details about the testing controversy at Seattle’s Beacon Hill International School.

Student testing booklets had been stored in a janitor’s closet for several weeks, a practice that is common in Seattle schools but recently drew concerns from an internal auditor. Five staff members at Beacon Hill — the principal, Po-yuk Tang, an assistant principal, a family-support worker and two custodians — had access to the closet where the test booklets were scored.

State officials announced Tuesday they had invalidated the school’s test scores after finding a large number of wrong answers had been erased and changed to the correct response.

In Seattle, principals can earn up to $7,500 extra each year based on student test scores and a number of other performance indicators. The Association of Washington School Principals says it is not aware of any other district in the state that incorporates test scores into principal pay.

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Comments | More in Poll, Your voices | Topics: Beacon Hill, test scores

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