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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
December 12, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Tell us: What should top Nyland’s to-do list for Seattle schools?

Larry Nyland

Larry Nyland

If there’s one thing Larry Nyland has, it’s experience.

The new leader of Seattle Public Schools, offered the permanent job on Wednesday, started his first superintendency in 1982, in Pasco. He’s also held administrative positions in Alaska, Shoreline and Highline, before becoming Marysville superintendent in 2004.

Seattle School Board member Sharon Peaslee said Nyland’s ability to lead districts through tough times is one of the key reasons she recommended the board extend his contract through June 2017. The motion was approved with a 5-2 vote on Wednesday.

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Comments | More in News, Your voices | Topics: Larry Nyland, Seattle Public Schools, your voices

December 6, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Your voices: Teachers share thoughts, best practices on student discipline

Education Lab recently reached out to a handful of teacher groups in an effort to gather educators’ thoughts and experiences with student discipline, as part of our Sunday story about the issue. What follows in a sampling of the responses we’ve received so far.

Are you a teacher, parent or student? Have something to say about this important topic? Join the discussion by filling out our reader questionnaire or weighing in in the comments section.

How do you approach student behavior in your classroom? Has your strategy or technique changed at all during your career? If so, how?

I try to deal with children one on one. If that fails, then I call home. If the behavior continues, then I use the progressive discipline (guidelines) in our school.

At Kentlake (High School), we have been doing a freshman retreat for all ninth-grade kids. We also have been doing a Breaking Down the Walls community building exercise for the past four years. As a result, the number of fights at Kentlake are the lowest in the district. Does this kind of success translate to the classrooms? I like to believe it does.

–Theresa Turner, Kent

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Comments | More in Your voices | Topics: discipline, your voices

November 30, 2014 at 11:00 PM

Guest: Why diversity matters in tech and engineering

Susannah Malarkey

Susannah Malarkey

Diversity in our technology and engineering workforce is a hot topic, and with good reason. Washington has the highest concentration of science, tech, engineering and math (STEM)-related jobs in the country, but the lack of women and people of color in this sector is glaringly obvious.

It isn’t enough to simply complain. We must tackle the root causes of this issue, not only for the good of individuals who will find livelihoods in this sector, but for our innovation-based industries as well.

Pursuing a career in STEM is a smart move for many students. These professions offer above-average pay and a range of fulfilling job opportunities. So why isn’t there more diversity? According to a study by the U.S. Census Department last year, African Americans hold only 6 percent of the jobs in these fields, and Hispanics only 7 percent — numbers far below their representation in the overall workforce. Women hold only 26 percent of these jobs.

In order to grow our technical workforce, the talent pool from which STEM companies find their employees must grow much more diverse. As someone who works with leaders in the tech industry, I can report that CEOs believe that diversifying their workforces is not only the right thing to do, it is also seen as a business imperative.

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Comments | More in Guest opinion, Opinion, Your voices | Topics: higher ed, STEM, Technology Alliance

November 30, 2014 at 9:01 PM

Rewind: Watch a replay of video chat on diversity in STEM education

On Tuesday, the Education Lab team hosted a Google+ Hangout about diversity in STEM and what some universities are doing to help more people of color and first-generation students earn degrees in fields like computer science and engineering.

The video chat was tied to a Monday story by Katherine Long about programs at the University of Washington and Washington State University that give disadvantaged engineering students a fifth year to complete academic prep work to put them on equal footing with those students from more privileged backgrounds.

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Comments | More in Your voices | Topics: higher education, STEM, University of Washington

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

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