Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.
December 10, 2013 at 5:00 PM
Did you miss our live chat on family engagement and the Logan Square parent mentor program? Scroll through below to see a recap.
- Joanna Brown, lead education organizer for the Logan Square Neighborhood Association
- Monica Espinoza, former parent mentor and current mentor coordinator at Burbank Elementary in Chicago
- Pachomius Schmidt, Federal Way teacher
- Linda Shaw, Seattle Times reporter
December 7, 2013 at 4:00 PM
Got a question for our Dec. 10 live chat with Chicago parent mentor organizer Monica Espinoza, Joanna Brown of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Federal Way teacher Pachomius Schmidt, and reporter Linda Shaw? Submit them via the form below, or send an email to email@example.com.
December 2, 2013 at 3:01 PM
“Engagement” is a word that gets tossed around frequently in discussions surrounding K-12 education. But what exactly does it mean?
The National PTA recently highlighted the need for a common definition to the term on its website. We decided to pose the same question to Education Lab readers, but with an added challenge: Limit the definitions to no more than one full sentence. A selection of responses follows:
It would start with documented communication between the school and the parent.
—Charles R. Hoff, Kent
Family engagement simply means that families are active participants in their children’s education.
—Kezia Willingham, Seattle
An ongoing and purposeful, two-way, culturally appropriate relationship between schools and families resulting in positive academic, as well as peripheral effects for students.
—Joel Domingo, Seattle
November 24, 2013 at 5:00 PM
We received many thoughtful responses to our Question of the Week regarding attendance and whether it’s OK for kids to occasionally miss school, even if they’re not ill. The question was tied to Thursday’s story about how two Seattle middle schools are emphasizing attendance in an effort to improve student performance.
Many respondents were quick to point out that some absences could be just as enriching as spending the day in school. Richard Stowell of Kenmore writes:
A good student should be allowed to take a break from school if he/she makes up classwork ahead and has school permission. Oftentimes students can learn valuable lessons from travel or other such activities.
Here is a selection of other responses. Some have been edited for length.
I allow my daughter, who is in ninth grade, to have one day per quarter to use at her discretion. It is her mental health day. With the amount of responsibilities she has in school and in out-of-school activities, I want to instill in her the value of taking care of herself and knowing that sometimes you just need a break. She is learning to identify for herself how to balance commitment and recognize her capacity.
—Petaki Cobell, Seattle
November 20, 2013 at 1:50 PM
Missing just a few days of class in sixth grade can predict whether you’ll graduate from high school. That research is behind a national anti-dropout effort, and its impact at two Seattle middle schools was the subject of a Thursday story from Education Lab reporter Claudia Rowe.
November 20, 2013 at 6:00 AM
A new article in The Atlantic raises an ongoing question about class sizes: Is it better to put a lot of students in the classroom of an excellent teacher, or lower class sizes for all teachers?
That debate has been going on for some time, and, despite the conclusion of a new report described in The Atlantic, probably will continue.
The report, based on a simulation of data from North Carolina, says that excellent teachers are a better investment than small class sizes.
November 18, 2013 at 1:56 PM
Got a question for our Nov. 22 live chat with researcher Robert Balfanz, Denny Middle School Principal Jeff Clark, City Year mentor Becka Gross and reporter Claudia Rowe? Submit them via the form below, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 15, 2013 at 1:17 PM
Despite Wednesday’s introduction of a federal bill to dramatically expand free preschool, few hands went up when we asked readers for their thoughts on early learning. Here’s an excerpt of what Liz Smith of Bellevue had to say in response to the question, “How can we better prepare young children for kindergarten?”:
Be like France, pay their mothers to stay home with them for the first three years of their lives. Invest in parents spending time with and raising their children … Read to children, take them to museums, have them participate in fun art and music, and keep that going throughout their educations. … Encourage parents to invest their time and energy in family activities. Don’t pressure them to be reading before they are ready … keeping them engaged is more important to their future learning than cramming academics down their throats before they are of the age to benefit from it.
Cursive, on the other hand, proved to be a livelier topic, with two related reader polls bringing in a total of nearly 700 votes — and counting. Several people also commented on the value, or lack thereof, of continuing to teach children to write in script:
November 8, 2013 at 3:04 PM
We received several thoughtful responses to this week’s question: What’s the best way to measure student performance?
Peter Henry of Edmonds referred to his own experience as a math instructor. Part of his response: “Assessment is a natural part of teaching and learning, and it functions best as an integral part of the classroom. Every time I give an assignment and read or listen to student responses, that is an example of assessment, and I modify my practices accordingly.”
November 4, 2013 at 3:04 PM
Education Lab is a blog for teachers, parents, students and community members to talk about how our schools can better serve the region’s students. Each week, we will provide a question to get the conversation going. This week’s prompt asks a basic question about how we evaluate success in education.
About the authors
Katherine Long has been a reporter for The Seattle Times since 1990, focusing for the past three years on higher ed, with stories that have ranged from the complexities of prepaid tuition programs to nontraditional ways to earn a degree.
Claudia Rowe joined The Seattle Times’ reporting staff in 2013. She has written about education for The New York Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, among other publications.
Mike Siegel has been a news photographer at the Seattle Times since 1987. His photography was used in a series titled "Methadone and the Politics of Pain," which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2012 for investigative reporting.
Janet Horne Henderson is The Times’ education editor. She has directed award-winning stories and projects examining race, immigration, religion and health, in addition to education
Caitlin Moran is community engagement editor for Education Lab. Her role is to help foster constructive dialogue online and in person
Read extended bios.
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