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Education Lab Blog

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

Category: Your voices
November 21, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Videos: College students share struggles, triumphs at Education Lab event

On Nov. 15, five local college students appeared before an audience at the University of Washington to share their journeys of achieving college access despite significant challenges and set-backs. “Storytellers: How I Got into College” was hosted as part of the UW Dream Project’s Admissions Workshop Weekend, an annual event that brings dozens of high-school students from throughout King County to UW for assistance completing their college applications.

Go here for a written recap and photos from the evening’s program. Videos of each storyteller are posted below.

Jenée Myers Twitchell, director of the Dream Project, kicked off the event by sharing the story of her own upbringing in Yakima. “My story is filled with addicts,” she said. “Pretty much everybody in my family had gone through or needed to go through rehab.”

Her own struggles inspired her to begin working with local youth and start the Dream Project.

“I didn’t want it be about luck. I didn’t want getting to college to be about, ‘I just hope I meet the right person,'” she said.

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Comments | More in News, Video, Your voices | Topics: Dream Project, storytellers, University of Washington

November 17, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Tell us: Did you study abroad? Why or why not?

Michele Salzman, history professor at University of California at Riverside, leads her students around Rome’s Pantheon earlier this fall. AP photo.

Michele Salzman, history professor at University of California at Riverside, leads her students around Rome’s Pantheon earlier this fall. AP photo.

The Institute of International Education published a report today which showed that, while the number of international students studying in Washington state colleges and universities is skyrocketing, the same can’t be said for Washington students going abroad to study.

Fewer U.S. students enrolled in Washington institutions are studying abroad than they did four years ago. Of the 127,000 students enrolled in four-year public and private universities in Washington, only about 6,200 students studied abroad in 2012-13.

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Comments | More in Poll, Question of the Week, Your voices | Topics: higher education

November 5, 2014 at 10:57 AM

Guests: Seattle schools need formal policy on recess time

daynamug

Dayna Provitt

janamug2

Jana Robbins

Seattle parents, do you know how much recess time your children get each day?

In many schools, students return after summer break to learn that recess has been further reduced. Who is most impacted? According to a recent KUOW investigation, schools with the shortest recess times have more low-income students and students of color.  KUOW also reported that in the past four years, schools with 20 minutes or less recess time per day have increased from just one school to 11 schools in the Seattle district.

Recess is a valuable and essential learning time for children. Research has proven what we’ve also known for years: Children need recess to develop social skills, hone problem-solving skills, explore their own ideas, recharge their minds after periods of structured activity, and simply exercise.

Furthermore, research has shown that adequate recess time actually improves student behavior and academic goals. Children who have recess are better able to manage their behavior and focus on learning in the classroom.

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Comments | More in Guest opinion, Your voices | Topics: guest opinion, recess, Seattle Public Schools

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 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

October 15, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Your voices: Readers’ opinions, concerns on expanded pre-K

As part of our three-part series on early learning, Education Lab recently asked readers to share their thoughts on the idea of expanded pre-K and whether a city-sponsored program would meet the needs of their families.

We received dozens of thoughtful responses to our call out. What follows is the two questions that appeared on the questionnaire, and a selection of reader answers. Some responses have been edited for length or clarity.

Q: Do you agree preschool should be a universal offering, available to all families regardless of income? Why or why not?

Yes, as long as it is actually universal. I do not believe in the middle class subsidizing the poor while still having to pay full or marginally reduced price for my own children. I have 3-year-old twins, and this is of great interest and importance to me. I will most likely vote against the subsidized pre-K initiative.

 Scott Jeffries, Seattle

No. I think we should spend our taxpayer money on boosting the quality of our elementary through high-school education instead. We need smaller classrooms and more individual help for students who need it  too many are falling through the cracks. We should still keep Head Start for the under-privileged.

 Lisa Stultz, Anacortes

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Comments | More in Question of the Week, Your voices | Topics: early learning, pre-K

October 8, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Poll: Should parents be able to pay for teachers’ salaries?

School Board member Marty McLaren, left, meets Tuesday with parents from Gatewood Elementary School in West Seattle who have organized to raise money to prevent one of their teachers from being transferred. Photo by Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times.

School Board member Marty McLaren, left, meets Tuesday with parents from Gatewood Elementary School in West Seattle who have organized to raise money to prevent one of their teachers from being transferred. Photo by Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times.

Parents at Gatewood Elementary in West Seattle are scrambling to raise $90,000 to prevent one of the school’s teachers from being transferred to nearby Fairmount Park Elementary, which reopened this fall.

A group of parents calling itself Friends of Gatewood had collected about $52,000 as of Tuesday. Seattle Public Schools gave organizers a fundraising deadline for Wednesday, Oct. 8, but the school has asked for an extension.

The fundraising effort began after an official headcount of students on Oct. 1 revealed the school had fallen short of its enrollment projections, and Fairmount Park ended up with more students than expected.

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Comments | More in News, Poll, Your voices | Topics: Fairmount Park Elementary, Gatewood Elementary, school funding

September 25, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Guest: New graduation rules will help all parents get more involved

mariaestrada

Maria Estrada

Parent engagement is key to helping students make good decisions about their future and successfully achieve their dreams, particularly during students’ high school experiences.

But for me, parent engagement isn’t just about what I can do for my daughter. It’s also about what I can do to benefit all children.

My daughter Paulina and I moved to Washington from Mexico a few years ago. The language barrier made it difficult for me to understand how the school system worked or what classes my daughter was enrolled in.

Parents need to be engaged, but they also need accessible information about their child’s education. From personal experience, I can tell you that remaining engaged in your child’s education isn’t possible when you’re struggling to understand complex, bureaucratic information in a foreign language.

As a result, while in high school, Paulina took Algebra 1 four times, despite earning good grades and passing the class each time she was enrolled. This fall, Paulina must enroll in remedial math classes at a community college to learn the math she didn’t learn in high school before she can apply to a four-year institution.

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Comments | More in Guest opinion, Opinion, Your voices | Topics: graduation requirements, parent engagement

September 20, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Tell us: Do you support universal pre-K? Would you sign up?

Juan Martinez, left, and Katherine Gaytan, enrolled in Community Action Project's Disney School, play with magnetic building pieces in Tulsa, Okla. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times.

Juan Martinez, left, and Katherine Gaytan, enrolled in Community Action Project’s Disney School, play with magnetic building pieces in Tulsa, Okla. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times.

This fall, Seattle voters will consider two ballot measures that seek to improve early education programs in the city, and make them affordable to all families.

One measure sponsored by the mayor and city council would focus on 3- and 4-year-olds, and include free tuition for families who earn less than 300 percent of federal poverty level. A competing plan, backed by two child-care unions, would cover children from infancy through age 5.

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Comments | More in Question of the Week, Your voices | Topics: early education, pre-K, preschool

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