by Kimberly Elsham, originally published in the EvanstonPatch on 8/22/11
For the last month, teens were in Evanston elementary schools helping summer school students with hands-on projects like building solar ovens or managing simple machines. On Aug. 11, 45 teenagers wrapped up their first summer jobs as tutors in District 65. The kids, between 14 and 16 years old, were part of the annual Summer Tutors Program, where young people are hired to work in District 65 elementary classrooms and offices to assist with the district’s summer programs.
Of about 150 qualified applicants, 45 were selected, said Kim Hoopingarner, Youth Job Center development director. This is the largest number of tutors the program has had in its 16 years and the highest in participation. “This year was the best year,” she said. “We had all 45 who started the program complete it.”
Summer tutors are placed one per classroom for the summer courses for kindergarteners to fourth-graders, said Jamilla Pitts, District 65 summer learning coordinator. The summer school’s curriculum includes “STEM” courses, which highlight science, technology, engineering and math. This is where two summer tutors assist students with hands-on projects in the classroom, such as building solar ovens. “We appreciate the way that they pitch in and feel as much a part of making the program a success as the teachers do,” Pitts said.
The program, which started in 1995, is a partnership between District 65 and the Youth Job Center in Evanston that runs from July 11 to Aug. 11 each year. Tutors work in District 65 elementary schools from 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Monday through Thursday and earn a stipend paid by the Youth Job Center.
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Filed under: Academic Learning Centers,Community,K-8
By Drew Miller, published on 8/15/11 in the RitchfieldPatch
Richfield Public Schools Superintendent Bob Slotterback thinks the law has been bad for education.
On Aug. 8, 2011 Gov. Mark Dayton announced that Minnesota would seek exemption from the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The announcement followed on the heels of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s notification that the federal government would begin granting waivers to states it believed were satisfactorily improving schools on their own.
Richfield Public Schools Superintendent Bob Slotterback greeted the news positively, although he didn’t yet know anything about the exemption’s details. Slotterback said the law has had problems from the start. “Conceptually [NCLB] is a good idea, but like many concepts, if it’s not constructed in the right way, it becomes a failure,” Slotterback said. “And that’s exactly what happened with No Child Left Behind.”
Gov. Dayton’s announcement came just before the Minnesota Department of Education released scores for the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) in Science on Friday.
Amongst a slew of data about student scores across the state, this year’s MCA testing in science revealed that, between 2010 and 2011, Richfield Public Schools doubled the percentage of its fifth-grade students with proficient scores on the exam. Slotterback said inefficient means of comparing student improvement–looking at how effectively students improve in one school or district –was just one area where the law wasn’t working. “We’ve been lobbying hard as [federal legislators] re-authorize No Child Left Behind to build in some type of improvement component,” he said. “Our students … are growing faster than the average student.”
Slotterback conceded that the law had enacted some positive changes as well.
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Filed under: Government,NCLB
by Daniel Brunty, published 8/5/11 in the Winston County Journal
The Changing Academic Performance and Promoting Success (CAPPS) program will begin its third year of service for after school learning on Monday, August 15.
CAPPS is a free after-school tutoring program offered to all Louisville Municipal School District students’ grades 5-12. CAPPS is currently offered to at four school sites: Eiland, Noxapater, Nanih Waiya, and the Boys and Girls Club of Winston County. Times for the program are Monday through Thursday from 3 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. “We are excited about starting our third year of CAPPS,” said Leigh Ann Hailey, director of the CAPPS program. “From the first year up until now, the program has been very successful for the children.”
The program focuses on enhancing character education and student skills in key learning areas such as math and language skills. The program also offers enrichment activities, tutoring, homework assistance, computer projects, group activities, and educational field trips for students. The CAPPS program runs for 15 weeks in the fall, 15 weeks in the spring, and 4 weeks in the summer. This allows access to the program during any time of the year, a big plus for students who want to use it.
Like last year, teachers have seen the positive results the program has had on their students. Hailey also knows that these positive results have carried over to the state tests, in which students who attended CAPPS usually have higher scores. “Teachers reported the students in CAPPS were more prepared for classroom work and that preparation should be seen on the state tests,” Hailey said. “Once we have the data, we can compare the previous year’s scores to evaluate the program’s value.”
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Filed under: Community