Honoring students for outstanding academic success

Through the work we do here at Scholastic, I am constantly reminded of the increasing number of obstacles to learning that many students face -- from learning disabilities to language barriers to poverty.

And every year at this time, when we name our READ 180 and System 44 All-Star Award winners, I'm reminded that it is never too late to catch up and become a successful student. With the help of their dedicated teachers, these students are truly all-stars!

Below are the READ 180 middle school and high school winners.  Visit On Our Minds, to view the System 44 and READ 180 elementary school winners.

Middle School

Lisette Cortes, Age 13 – Grade: 7 – Washington Middle School, Yakima, WA

When speaking with Lisette, you would never guess that two years ago she was a timid student who read on a first grade level. Today, Lisette reads on an 8th grade level and has become a leader at home by helping her siblings with schoolwork. Next year, Lisette will serve as a school mentor to incoming 6th-graders. When asked how READ 180 has impacted her life, Lisette said, “It has helped me read better. I used to read slowly and I use to get frustrated when I was reading, because I couldn’t read fast like the other kids.” Currently Lisette is earning all A’s and B’s. “With the success she has developed through READ180 her confidence is carrying over to her other classes,” said her teacher, Heather Harris.

Jose Feliciano, Age 13 – Grade: 7 – Spc. Rafael Hernando Middle School, El Paso, TX

A kind and generous “helper,” as his teacher describes him, Jose never hesitates to step up and help his fellow READ 180 students when they need assistance. Just a few months ago, he was a student whose reading scores were holding him back from succeeding in all his classes and dragging down his self-confidence. But all that has changed since the beginning of his seventh grade year. He has already gained the equivalent of two years in his reading skills in this school year. His newfound success has boosted his confidence, helped him become more self-reliant in class, and transformed him into a leader. “This program has given me the confidence needed to achieve better grades in both reading and writing,” Jose said. He says he wants to pursue a career where he can help others. Like his father, he says he wants to join the Army.

Robert Moser, Age 13 – Grade: 7 – Upper Merion Middle School, King of Prussia, PA

Robert is an honor student, a member of the student council and a voracious reader. His story inspires because of the obstacles he overcame to get where he is today. A student with autism, Robert was unable to speak until he was 4 years old. In three years since he started READ 180, his reading skills have soared, allowing him to read at a fifth-grade level with the goal of eventually achieving grade level fluency. “Robert has demonstrated remarkable growth socially due to the increase in his self-esteem and self-confidence as he’s found success in his academics,” said his teacher. Robert is a passionate Philadelphia sports fan and continues to read every day with dreams of one day becoming an animator.

High School

Manuel de Jesus Hernandez-Martinez, Age 16 – Grade: 10 – Thomas Dale High School, Chester, VA

Manuel immigrated to the United States from Mexico when he was five years old. Coming from a household of Spanish speakers, Manuel had to learn English at school and translate for his family. At the start of his 8th grade year, Manuel was a beginning reader. Through the use of READ 180, this year he was able to pass all his Virginia Standards of Learning tests for the ninth grade. “One of the biggest ways READ 180 has helped me was when I needed to get my Social Security card,” Manuel explained. “I got the form and was able to read and fill it out all on my own. If it wasn’t for READ180, I never would have been able to understand he complicated forms.” In 2016, Manuel will be the first person in his family to earn a high school diploma.

Michael Hurd, Age 17 – Grade: 12 – Dover High School, Dover, DE

At the beginning of his high school career, Michael had significant difficulties with reading because of his dyslexia and because the content at the high school level was simply too challenging for someone so far behind. Fast forward to today: Michael is an All-State football player who is getting ready to graduate and enroll at Delaware State University in the fall. “Big Red,” as he is known to his friends and teachers, gained the equivalent of almost 10 years in his reading ability since he started high school. Thanks to his hard work in READ 180 and his partnership with his teacher, Michael is now an honor roll student and is destined for success, whether on the football field, in the classroom, or in the career of his choice. “Football and my education are going to take me somewhere,” he said.

Afnan Khan, Age 16 – Grade: 10 – Minuteman Technical High School, Lexington, MA

Originally born and raised in Pakistan, Afnan and her family moved to the United States with hopes for a more stable lifestyle and a quality education. While she started far below grade level, Afnan adjusted to American culture and persevered in her reading goals despite language barriers. Today, she is on the fast track to becoming a proficient reader by the end of the school year. “Now with READ 180, I understand more of what I am reading. I feel confident with my answers,” said Afnan. “I am not nervous to read aloud in class.” Afnan’s determination and hard work have transformed her confidence, inspiring her to study Spanish and receive acceptance into her school’s Health Occupations program with the hope of one day becoming a pediatrician.

Darline Manfred, Age 15 – Grade: 11 – Westerly High School, Westerly, RI

Prior to moving to the United States, Darline never had any formal schooling in her birthplace, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. After the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake, Darline arrived in Westerly, RI,reading far below grade level. But, because of her resilience and thirst for knowledge, she overcame the challenge of being an English language learner in a new country and excelled academically, improving her reading by the equivalent of five grade levels in two and a half years. “I decided to make a difference for myself by working hard every day and learning how to be successful in my READ 180 class,” explained Darline. Her academic confidence led her to playing on the school volleyball team, and she would like to one day return to her homeland to inspire other Haitian children to develop a similar passion for reading.

“Is this America?”

It's been 50 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson declared "unconditional war on poverty," and 60 years since Brown v. Board of Education held that racially segregated schools are unconstitutional.

Whether your paycheck is good, bad or indifferent, you know that inequality and de facto segregation live on in the United States. As James Dent says in this unsparing look at the resegregated school system in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, "It ain't going to get no better."

In April, the Supreme Court upheld Michigan's ban on the use of race as a factor in admissions to state universities. Mark Rosenbaum, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union who argued before the Court, said that the ban "unfairly keeps students from asking universities to consider race as one factor in admissions, but allows consideration of factors like legacy status, athletic achievement and geography."

Rosenbaum's point about legacy admissions, for example, is borne out in a disquieting new statistic. Analyzing data from 30 top colleges, researcher Michael Hurwitz found that children of alumni had a 45 percent greater chance of admission. Because of legacy admissions, Evan J. Mandery observes in this New York Times column, "elite colleges look almost nothing like America."

And what of the legacy of the great civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, who all but forced the Voting Rights Act on President Johnson at the Democratic National Convention of 1964?

"Is this America?" Hamer railed before the television cameras that summer. "The land of the free and the home of the brave?"

Fifty years later, Julian Bond, the former head of the NAACP, says that "the problem of discrimination in voting has not yet been eradicated."

Hamer risked her life so that black citizens like her would "be treated as human beings in our sick society." One can hear her words echoing through Atlantic City's old convention hall, where she fought in vain to win a seat: "I question America. Is this America?"

Listening to the teacher voice

This post first appeared on The Washington Post's "The Answer Sheet" blog. We have permission to cross-post it here.

If you’re reading this column, you probably know that America’s teachers are facing countless challenges in and out of the classroom. A new survey by Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on Teaching in an Era of Change, confirms this, reporting that 82 percent of teachers see “constantly changing demands” as a significant challenge. A host of changes—in leadership, policies, curriculum and more—are placing a strain on already limited time and resources.

Primary Sources lays bare the realities of a profession whose practitioners are rarely given a voice in the national conversation. While 69 percent of teachers say that their voices are heard in decision-making at the school level, very few report the same when it comes to district, state and national decisions—decisions that directly affect teachers and their students.

Knowing such feelings of isolation from my own days in the classroom, I’m grateful that we’re finally hearing teachers’ voices loud and clear. What are they saying? First and foremost, that they are professionals who deserve our respect. They know better than anyone how to spark a love of learning in their students, and those students are their No. 1 priority.

Primary Sources is based on a blind online survey of more than 20,000 Pre-K through grade 12 public school teachers from all 50 states. It was conducted in July 2013 by the highly regarded Harrison Group, a YouGov Company, with respondents proportional to each state’s population, making the survey a representative sampling of America’s teachers.

By listening to teachers, we can learn how best to support them as they help to shape America’s future, one child at a time, often in overcrowded classrooms where children have a wide range of needs. Ninety-nine percent of teachers report having students with social, emotional or behavioral challenges. Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) have seven different student populations in one classroom, including those with special needs, those who are gifted and those who are working two or more grades below grade level.

Imagine 27 patients arriving at a doctor’s office at the same time. Picture a lawyer with 20 clients waiting to see her, or a judge who is asked to rule on 30 cases simultaneously.

To reach each student in the classroom, a teacher must wear many hats and cultivate a variety of strategies. The report enumerates the skills that today’s professionals consider “extremely important” to being a great teacher, including:

  • creating an environment where students feel safe making mistakes (83 percent);
  • managing the classroom effectively (82 percent);
  • delivering content clearly to students (80 percent);
  • and maintaining high academic expectations for all students (79 percent).

Further, 99 percent of teachers agree that their role goes beyond academics. It also involves “reinforcing good citizenship, resilience and social skills.” Everyone would agree that such work is critical. But if we’re not listening to teachers, how can we properly support them?

Overwhelmingly, teachers are asking for more time and resources to do their jobs effectively. Seventy-one percent, for example, say that they need additional professional development to implement the Common Core State Standards successfully.

Teachers also need quality instructional materials. And while we know that they value collaboration, half of teachers (51 percent) cite a lack of time working with colleagues as a significant challenge. This has adverse implications, not only for teachers’ ability to do their jobs, but also for the quality of instruction their students receive.

Still, our nation’s teachers remain dedicated to their students. Eighty-nine percent say that they are satisfied or very satisfied in their profession, and an almost equal percentage (88 percent) agree that the rewards of their work outweigh the challenges. As one middle school teacher said, “When you get those mini victories, and you see that a child is learning and something positive is happening as a result of your time in the classroom, that’s a big deal.”

It is up to us to make more such moments possible. Teachers are telling us that in order to succeed in the classroom, their voices must be heard outside of it. We would do well to listen. In fact, our future depends on it.

Start listening by reading the Primary Sources report. It includes teachers’ views on a range of topics, including the rewards and challenges of teaching, the Common Core, teacher evaluations, and collaboration with peers and parents. The full report is available for download at http://www.scholastic.com/primarysources.

Differentiating instruction with Laura Robb

Last week, Laura Robb, Scholastic educational consultant and author of Unlocking Complex Texts, and XBOOKS™, was featured on Reading Today Online. In the article Laura discusses differentiating instruction. Below is an excerpt of her post: 

Accommodations...I’m in favor if they support developing the skill of all readers in a class. However, as I visit middle schools and talk to teachers around the country, I notice that in the era of the Common Core, dozens of districts have returned to one book for all. Since one book or one anthology won’t meet students’ range of instructional needs, teachers accommodate instruction to meet district requirements. They often read the text aloud to a group or the entire class.

The result is that developing readers who need to read to improve their skill aren’t reading during instructional time, while advanced readers aren’t challenged to read complex texts at their instructional levels. Moreover, many students don’t absorb information from teachers reading aloud because they aren’t listening. However, there is a teaching strategy that can meet the instructional reading needs of middle school students even if teachers have forty-two or forty-five minute classes: differentiating instruction.

Differentiation asks teachers to meet students’ instructional needs by providing texts at a variety of reading levels. Equally important, differentiation allows students to choose instructional and independent reading texts, and choice motivates and engages them. To facilitate differentiation, organize instructional reading units around a genre to meet your students’ reading needs. By looking at what happened in a seventh grade inclusion class, you can better understand how the teacher and I restructured instruction.

In September, students in that class had instructional reading levels from 3.0 to 11.0. Required to deliver selections from the grade-level anthology, the teacher read the selections out loud to the majority of students. After debriefing with the teacher, we developed these accommodations.

  • the anthology became the anchor text, and the teacher and I used it to think aloud and model reading strategies in brief mini-lessons;
  • we raided the school, public, and classroom libraries to find enough books within the anchor text’s genreto offer all students choices;
  • we provided several books within each instructional level and students chose one;
  • instructional books and materials remained at school and students read, discussed, and wrote about these texts for 25 to 30 minutes three to four times a week; and
  • students completed independent reading once or twice a week, after finishing instructional reading tasks and at home.

Click here to read the full article.

Will you be attending IRA’s 59th Annual Conference, May 9-12, 2014, in New Orleans, Louisiana? Join Laura Robb as she co-presents with Ruth Culham on “Deep Reading & Deep Writing: Developing Literacy Skills Using Mentor Texts.”

We couldn't keep up without you, a salute to excellent journalism

Each and every day the first thing I do in the morning that requires my brain is to look at the daily headlines. All over the world things are happening and how would we know about them without journalists? Our first amendment and respect for the power of knowledge is something that keeps America precious. Over the past week, excellence in journalism has been honored through the Pulitzer Prize and for the education reporters of today, through the Education Writers Association (EWA).

A look at the list of winners from both organizations is not only to see examples of stellar work but it is also an interesting way to look at the past year in review. The Boston Globe Staff was recognized for their exemplary work during a tragedy as they covered the Boston Marathon bombings. In education, Philadelphia Public School Notebook and WHYY/NewsWorks coverage of the local school closings received a first prize honor from EWA.

Congratulations to all of the dedicated professionals who were honored over the past week. Many of whom took extraordinary efforts to tell their story. A few other highlights are:

From the Pulitzer Prize list The Guardian US and Washington Post both were honored for their public service reporting on NSA surveillance, Chris Hamby of the Center for Public Integrity for investigative reporting, Eli Saslow of the Washington Post for explanatory reporting, Will Hobson and Michael LaForgia of the Tampa Bay Times for local reporting, David Philipps of The Gazette, Colorado Springs, CO, for national reporting, and Jason Szep and Andrew R.C. Marshall of Reuters. Make sure to check out the full list which also includes photography, commentary and cartooning here.

First Prizes in the 2013 National Awards for Education Reporting from EWA, which separated newsrooms by size, include Sara Neufeld of the Hechinger Report; Alia Wong of the Honolulu Civil Beat; David DesRoches of the Darien Times; Jane Stancill of The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C.; Vanessa de la Torre and Matthew Kauffman of The Hartford Courant; Liz Bowie of The Baltimore Sun; Denise-Marie Ordway of the Orlando Sentinel; and Dan Mihalopoulos of the Chicago Sun-Times. In broadcast, First Prizes went to John Merrow, Jane Renauf, David Wald and Jessica Windt of Learning Matters; Jenny Brundin of Colorado Public Radio; and the full team behind “This American Life: Harper High School” hosted by Ira Glass, A full list can be found here.

Be sure to read, view or listen to these award-winning pieces.

Go-to articles and resources on the summer slide

The International Reading Association (IRA) held a fantastic Twitter chat last week on the topic of stopping the summer slide.

Below is a list of go-to links and resources that participants shared during the chat.

If summer reading is a topic of interest to you, Scholastic is holding a live Google+ Hangout TOMORROW at 8 p.m. EST featuring three educators who will share about summer reading initiatives in their communities. Pam Allyn, literacy expert and founder of LitWorld, will be moderating the hour-long session. RSVP and tune in on the event page here.

  1. Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen's Reading Today article on how reading books during the summer can help close the reading achievement gap between children from wealthy and from poor households.
  2. Kimberly Tyson's blog post offering 13 ideas to parents for motivating their children to read during the summer.
  3. A 2007 Reading Today article on the summer slide by Maryann Mraz and Tim Rasinski.
  4. IRA's "Stopping the Summer Slide" Pinterest board.
  5. Five summer reading tips from Pam Allyn in Scholastic Instructor magazine.

And we couldn't go without mentioning the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, our online reading program designed to motivate kids to read all summer long. Teachers can go to the site now and pre-register their students.

How toddlers thrive: A conversation with Dr. Tovah P. Klein

As calls for universal preschool continue around the country, so do debates about its efficacy. Even New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledges that the additional 21,440 seats he will offer 4-year-olds in September can't guarantee success.

City officials, de Blasio told Capital New York, will have “to evaluate the program for purposes of improving quality . . . over time.”

How do young children learn best? I recently asked Dr. Tovah P. Klein, the author of How Toddlers Thrive. Klein, who has three growing boys, is an associate professor of psychology at Barnard College and the Director of Barnard’s Center for Toddler Development. Here are excerpts from our conversation.

What is the developmental difference between a toddler and a preschooler?

Between 18 months and 3, 3½, there is unbelievable brain development. Kids are starting to develop language. They’re just gaining a sense of self, which is completely new to them. Infants don’t know that they’re separate from adults. But at age 2, children really start to get the idea that “I’m my own person. I can make decisions. I’m going to decide what to wear, what to play with.” It’s a power struggle that gets heightened between ages 2 and 3, as children figure out who they are. Those raw feelings start to tame by 3½, but they clearly go on in those early years.

Young children have incredible curiosity. That’s the learning piece. They might explore very slowly. They might be observant. But they’re naturally curious, whether it’s in an observant way or a touchy, let-me-do-it way. People say that 5-year-olds aren’t toddlers, but there’s a lot of toddler in them. For many children, asking them to sit at desks, be still, and take in a lot of information is a completely unreasonable expectation. In those early years, it’s the adults’ role to set up environments where children can build on this natural curiosity and desire to know.

Given the push for preschool in New York City and elsewhere, what kinds of environments should we be creating for 3- and 4-year-olds?

Children need interactive, hands-on activities that engage their interest and learning on all levels and allow for open-ended play. Children also need to move a lot at this age. So we have to create spaces with child-sized furniture and areas that provide choices—opportunities for climbing, say, which helps with large motor skills, cognitive toys like puzzles and shape sorters, and lots of sensory experiences. Research shows that young children take in information through all their senses. Experiences with sand, water, and crinkly art help them see how things work and develop those “I can figure this out” skills.

The more children use all of their senses, the more they will learn. This is what people forget. Let’s say you want kids to be able to hold a pencil and write. You don’t give them a pencil at age 3 or 4. You have them use their fingers, whether it’s by playing at a sand table, running their hands through fingerpaint or putting pegs on a pegboard. All those experiences are giving them fine motor skills. But you’re not sitting down and saying, “Right now is fine motor skill time.”

The idea that “play is learning” does not mean connecting a dot from point A to point B. It means that there are lots of modes of learning going on at the same time. By picking up a funnel and pouring sand through it, kids learn about gravity and their own power. Learning is happening at multiple levels, but not because the teacher is saying, “Learn.” It’s because the environment has been set up to support the child.

How do we close the vocabulary gap that is driving the urge to put pencils in more kids’ hands at a younger age?

The research showing a vocabulary gap is important. It tells us that the brain learns an immense amount in those early years. By age 3, children have absorbed a great deal, or not, depending upon the amount of language they’ve been exposed to.

But the context gets left out. It’s not just that children are learning language before they go to school. They’re learning lots of things. Language is singled out because it can be measured. I don’t want to say it doesn’t matter. It’s very important, and I think it does highlight for policy makers that by age 3, a lot of important growth has occurred.

But we can’t really measure the development of the prefrontal cortex, which is also going on in the early years, or regulatory skills. Those are the skills kids need going forward: the ability to handle their impulses and feel their emotions but also express them in some kind of acceptable way. We see 2- and 3-year-olds throwing a lot of things and pushing people out of the way. That’s to be expected. By age 4, behavior is becoming more regulated—again, within a range.

Language is not learned in isolation. If children haven’t developed an expansive vocabulary, it often means that a lot of other learning hasn’t occurred. If you watch young children playing with blocks or doing a puzzle, they try, then try again. The building falls. The puzzle pieces don’t fit. They’re learning to handle frustration, often with an adult, so they’re getting support. They’re learning persistence. They’re also learning about a process. So, more important than language and number concepts are several foundational skills, like the ability to handle emotions, focus on a task or find a passion. Children learn best when they’re interested. Nobody really learns at 4 or 5 or 10 if they’re not interested.

How might young children respond to being in a classroom setting if they're not ready?

If children are overwhelmed and can't focus because they haven’t developed the foundational pieces to get there, we’re setting them up for failure. We can't ask them to sit quietly in a classroom and take in reams of information. They’ll think, “I can’t do it. I must be dumb.” We can't assume that essential skills—including being able to listen, make decisions, and handle emotions—are just going to come along. It doesn’t work that way.

Children need to be guided and supported for who they are. Take any group of children, regardless of their socioeconomic level, and there’s going to be a huge range in temperament and approaches to the world. But if a child hasn't had a lot of support by age 4, he or she may need the guidance that some other child needed at age 2. Basic steps can't be skipped.

Many children are growing up in difficult circumstances. If your parents are under tremendous stress or struggling just to put food on the table, or you can't go outside because your neighborhood is dangerous, it makes a huge difference. You're not getting crucial physical and sensory experiences. You’re not learning how to interact with other children on the playground. Children can’t learn without knowing how to play.

What effect does living in a digital world have on young children?

We don’t know, but we have lots of anecdotal evidence to guide us. The biggest concerns that developmental psychologists like me have are centered around interaction and the ability to read social cues. One of the things we know that young children get from the back-and-forth with adults, and then with other children, is how to read social cues. There are a lot of stories in the news about bullying and children who don’t have social skills. You learn to read cues by conversing, by interpreting others' emotions and intentions (what we call non-verbal cues) and making eye contact in the course of interacting.

When a child, or an adult, is absorbed in technology, they're not interacting in these important ways. Adults also provide comfort for children. Comfort for a young child can mean just glancing over at a parent to get reassurance. When the parent smiles, the child goes back to playing. You get less and less of that comforting interaction when the parent or child is looking down. I was just at a wonderful preschool, and they said that the teachers of 4- and 5-year-olds had decided to remove pretend cell phones from the play area because the children were making less and less eye contact with each other.

Yes, technology is here to stay. Still, you don’t have to teach it. The one real concern is for kids who don’t have access to it as they get older. That's not the case with young children. You can give a 2-year-old or a 5-year-old an iPhone, and they'll figure it out quickly. But technology has to be just one tool and should not take away from what we know about children’s development—that they learn in a three-dimensional world. They learn by touching, tasting, looking, and trying things out in many different ways. This interaction with the world and with people provides learning in all modes—social, emotional, physical, and cognitive. A tablet or an electronic device can't provide that hands-on, multi-sensory learning that is essential at this age.

Think about what children master by playing with blocks, which is the most open-ended thing kids do. They learn about weights when they’re picking up the blocks. They learn about balance and gravity. Can you get that from a flat screen even if it has interesting and colorful block-building apps? I don’t think so. A lot goes into really grasping the concepts of balance and gravity, not to mention mathematical skills like the angles at which blocks can be stacked. 

Does 20 minutes on an iPad hurt a child? No. But if children's brains take in information on many, many levels, and you’re giving them a flat surface, well, it’s entertaining. That’s fine. But it’s not the same kind of learning. It’s information coming at them, and they merely respond.

Can you tell me about the Center for Toddler Development at Barnard?

The children are between the ages of 1½ and 3, 3½. They're here once or twice a week for sessions that last about two hours. This is truly a laboratory of toddlers. It's almost like a pre-preschool.

Everything in the classroom is at the children's height. Everything is accessible to them, and they're guided by a routine. The same toys are in the same place every day. The children build trust from the predictability of it all. That also helps them regulate. They start off as strangers, and they get to know the teachers and the room. Eventually, they think, "I know what I know. I can come in now and make decisions and choices."

Up to the age of 5, even beyond, children are not in our social world. They're in their world. So, for example, what parents think is rude is not rude from a child's point of view. If I want something, and it's over there, I may reach past you and even swipe you along the way. Why? Because I needed that.

Children are in a whole different realm. They may demand something and refuse to back down. A parent's instinct is to say, "Don't be rude." From an adult's point of view, it's rude. From a child's point of view, they're trying to assert what they need. So it's a very different environment for a young child. If we focus just on behavior in young children, let's say in all of these new preschool classrooms, without understanding why they're doing what they're doing, it's going to be a battle.






Earth Day resources for teachers, parents and students

Scholastic is committed to educating children and ensuring a safe environment in which they learn. Just last year Scholastic surpassed its company-wide goal of strengthening its sustainable paper procurement practices

To share our beliefs and passions around preserving the environment, we’ve compiled everything you need to celebrate Earth Day (April 22) and Earth Week (April 16-22).

Educators: Visit Scholastic.com for lessons and activities to help build student awareness around our planet. Promote environmental awareness on Earth Day, and throughout the year, with these teaching ideas, lesson plans, and student activities.

Parents: Discover 6 green ways to celebrate Earth Day with the family.

Children: Learn how to make a recycled egg-carton flower, or save your home from “energy vampires" with these kid-friendly activities

Readers: Check out these great environment-themed books.

Coming soon! Buried Sunlight teaches readers how coal, oil, and gas are really "buried sunlight," trapped beneath the surface of our planet for millions and millions of years.

Falling out of the lead, a new report

Continued proof that there is more work to be done when it comes to serving disadvantaged students has been brought to my attention in a new report, Falling out of the Lead. From The Education Trust, this report examined the paths of high-achievers and found that depending on student backgrounds the achievement gap widens during high school. Many black and Latino students as well as students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds who enter high school as top academic performers ultimately graduate with lower grades, AP pass rates and SAT/ACT scores when compared to their more advantaged peers. 

A helpful infographic helps translate these important findings:




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