Posts Tagged ‘high school’

Are America’s Students ‘Racing to Nowhere’ or ‘Waiting For Superman?’

December 29, 2010 2 comments

This year’s ACT college readiness test results revealed that many graduating high school students are unprepared for college. In fact, as pressure on schools increases to improve their graduation rates, more and more are passing students who don’t even meet graduation requirements. The documentary Waiting for Superman investigates how schools are failing to intellectually stimulate, challenge, and adequately prepare students for the real world. Meanwhile, the documentary Race to Nowhere tells a different story in which students grapple with curricula so vigorous, schedules so tightly packed, and pressure from parents so intense that their creativity, physical and mental health, and, in some cases, their very lives, are at stake. Should parents and faculty be pushing students harder or easing up? Read more…


Choosing a College: What Advice Should You Follow?

December 3, 2010 Leave a comment

As college students have attested, choosing which institution of higher learning to attend can be a baffling experience, particularly when even the experts can’t agree. The New York Times has enlisted a variety of experts (such as a law professor, the director of the nonprofit Colleges Change Lives, and an economist) to each give their own take on the myths associated with the college application process, cite what they think are the most important factors to consider when choosing a college, and provide resources and strategies for students who are looking for a quality education. The featured discussion offers students a spectrum of ideas and perspectives on a very difficult and often times nerve-wracking process.

In Sanhedrin High’s Commencement, Every Graduate Gets a Valedictory Speech

October 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Sanhedrin High School, an alternative school in rural town called Willits in Northern California, was established in 1989 for students seeking alternatives to Willits High School’s curricula. With a 1:12 teacher to student ratio (about half the national average), Sanhedrin can give students (especially those with learning disabilities), the specialized attention they need. The word “Sanhedrin” is rooted in the Greek synedrion, meaning “sitting together,” and was used to describe the assembly of twenty-three judges appointed in the Biblical Land of Israel. A fitting name for a school with a graduating class of twenty students, that, due to its size and unique community, has tackled challenges and developed traditions associated with commencement in its own idiosyncratic way. Read more…

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.

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.

High School Is Not Enough to Prepare You for College

September 3, 2010 1 comment

The ACT has found that taking the required courses in high school does not ensure that you will have the skill set you need to succeed in college. According to their recent news release based on this year’s test scores, although progress has been made (the number of students who meet ACT’s readiness requirements increased by 1% since last year, which experts find encouraging) nearly half of all test takers either meet none of the ACT’s readiness benchmarks for college or only one of them. The benchmarks are based on grades students actually get in college and indicate the likelihood a tested high school student will get a good or bad grade in college based on their performance. From this data, the ACT has concluded that the core high school classes are often not rigorous enough to prepare students for the challenges of college. Read more…

Fun and Smart Graduation Gift Ideas

August 23, 2010 Leave a comment

Wondering what to get a high school grad for graduation? lists 50 ideas organized by price–many have practical applications for students. The Christian Science Monitor has a few really innovative ideas here, including a solar charged backpack that can charge a student’s ipod and cellphone. Not sure if buying a grad an inch plot of land in a few states is the most practical of gifts, but the all-in-one-multi-tool (including scissors and can opener) and the Skype subscription are the kind of practical gifts parents often don’t consider. For new college students, spending money wisely and practically can be a challenge–I remember how easy it was to overlook the simplest, practical things I needed. Getting a student a long-lasting, useful gift will often be most helpful for a student moving out on his/her own. Of course, some students are already prepared for the big move, and the gift-giver might be looking for something a little more fun. If the graduate is on the nerdier side of things, check out Techland’s gallery of a few gifts that he or she might appreciate.