Archive for September, 2010

One of the Worst (and Biggest) Schools Becomes One of its State’s Best

September 28, 2010 1 comment

Faculty in Brockton High School in Massachusetts used to be ashamed of their school’s dismal performance on not only state tests, but in graduating its students. Sam Dillon of the New York Times in his article shares statistics that illustrate the school’s disastrous condition: in the year 2000, one in three students would drop out and only a quarter would pass standardized exams. Many would point to a school with a population of over 4,000 was an exemplar of what has become a maxim in the education world: the smaller the better.

But then, a number of Brockton’s teachers decided they’d had enough. They organized comprehensive reform, requiring all teachers to attend training and meetings, to incorporate writing and reading skills in all their curricula (including physical education!

The result? Over the last ten years, Brockton has not only gotten itself out of the academic hole, but its students’ test scores are now exceeding that of 90% of Massachusetts’ schools! For a student population comprised mostly of minorities and students of low economic status, teachers have not only revised their curricula, but they have also changed the way they talked to students, motivating them, and speaking to them about college as a legitimate possibility, not a fanciful dream. What school faculty can learn from this case study is that, no matter what the school size, tenacity, creativity, and handwork on behalf of a dedicated faculty can make all the difference.


Insurance for College: What You Might Not Have Considered

September 18, 2010 Leave a comment

One thing many parents either overlook or fail to talk to their college-bound children about is safety at college. In particular, Paul Sullivan of The New York Times, notes how loathe parents are, as well as college students are, to address this issue of insurance for college life. There’s property and identify theft–and liability cases…Sullvan goes over the things parents and their kids should consider and offers some pointers on taking the proper measures. Talking about insurance can be boring or scary, whether you’re thinking about all the technicalities of insurance or what might happen to you or your child in college, but Sullivan keeps his article practical and easy to follow.

Smart and Pretty: The Most Gorgeous Campuses on the Planet

September 12, 2010 Leave a comment

In the past, I’ve provided a list of the most affordable quality colleges and even the schools with the highest drop-out rates, but one other factors to keep in mind when college-hunting is the look of the campus–and your new home if you’ll be moving. In this Yahoo News article, Forbes interviews a panel of architects to cobble together a list of the world’s most beautiful college campuses. College faculty take note: architects say the key to preserving a school’s character and aesthetics is by “taking in its surroundings instead of alienating them” as the school expands for increasing numbers of students. Both unknown colleges such as Kenyon University, the one pictured here, and renowned schools such as Oxford University, have made this diverse list. Yahoo lists the top five, but you can find the full list here.

Green Jobs: The Demand for Graduates is Going UP

September 8, 2010 Leave a comment

An increasing number of community colleges around the country are receiving federal grants to prepare students for green jobs in energy management. The demand for these jobs is so high, these schools are swiftly expanding their current programs, and are accelerating their programs so students can enter the rapidly growing sector faster. Not many schools offer four-year degrees in this field, but the job sector for green jobs is expected to grow four fold in the next ten years! An increasing number of people who have worked in computers and other technological industries are going back to school and entering sustainable energy management programs as our economy relies more and more on alternative and sustainable energy. Learn more here about the programs and the growing sector.

Survival 101: Courses That Will Prepare You for the Real World

September 7, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve talked about ways to make the most out of your college experience and develop the skills you need to get a job in previous posts, but I didn’t talk about specific courses you can take to prepare for the future. In his article, Gregory Mankiw, Harvard professor and New York Times columnist, lists the subjects all college students should take at least one course in to prepare for a future in our current economic climate. I might have what most people would consider an impractical major (Creative Writing), but I have taken courses in all of the disciplines he lists. In fact, such courses can mean the difference between being able to balance your budget and going bankrupt. Probably the only course I would add to that list is Critical Thinking–statistics is a good start at being able to parse out the truth value of data claims, but as for articles and rhetoric, you’re going to need to know a fallacy when you see one.

The Best Colleges Can Be the Cheapest Colleges

September 6, 2010 1 comment

In an earlier post, I discussed schools that will make a “drop out” out of you–mostly schools for low income students. But I also made it clear that not all schools affordable to students from a low income family are low quality. In fact, US News compiled a list of the best schools that are also the most affordable. Both universities and liberal arts colleges are listed by region. In today’s economy, students and their families are taking cost into account more and more, but that doesn’t mean one has to sacrifice the quality of his or her education for affordability.

7 Habits That Will Help You Through High School

September 5, 2010 Leave a comment, a comprehensive resource for parents students including academic articles, activities, games, and advice, published an article about Sean Covey’s book 7 Habits for Highly Effective Teens. The book helps modern teens navigate their way through the challenges of adolescence and high school and develop a roadmap to success. When I read this book as a teenager, I found that these habits proved invaluable to me, empowering me to make the most out of my high school education, organize my life, optimize my relationships, and smoothly transition to adulthood with confidence and sanity.