Education Department warns of new hacker threat to school districts

This post is an FYI post. It seems as though ‘Dark Overlord’ claims credit for attacks on school districts. Here is a link to the Washington Post story:

WP: Talking less, listening more: TED Talk inspires Va. Teacher of the Year

A TED Talk shaped Michelle Cottrell-Williams’ perspective as a teacher.

The talk, led by scholar Brene Brown, delved into how vulnerability and shame influence people’s connections with one another, Cottrell-Williams recalled.

The 35-year-old teacher took the lesson to heart and, since then, has made it a point to talk less and listen more to her students, to let them be the guides for their own learning.

“I learned how important empathy is,” she said.

Cottrell-Williams, a social studies teacher at Wakefield High School in Arlington County, was named Virginia Teacher of the Year on Monday. She was selected from among educators representing eight regions across the state.

She said advocating for students of color and those who learn English as a second language is one of her priorities. That’s important, she said, because public schools don’t do enough for those students.

Chris Willmore, Wakefield’s principal, said Cottrell-Williams challenges her students and encourages them to consider different perspectives.

Read the rest of the story HERE and please share!

EdWeek: Add Money Smarts to the Skills Illinois Students Must Now Be Taught

bank_financiallitBeginning this year, Illinois schools are required to teach financial literacy to students in first through 12th grade.

The state’s new personal finance standards are based on the Council for Economic Education’s National Standards for Financial Literacy. A task force made up of classroom teachers and groups like Econ Illinois, which provides training on how to teach money concepts, revised the social science standards to include financial literacy benchmarks for the first time. Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) unanimously adopted the new standards in June 2015, and the state approved them in February 2016.

Illinois is one of 45 states to factor financial literacy into its standards. The thinking behind the effort: students need practice making decisions about spending, saving, budgeting, and investing.

Read the rest of the story HERE and please share!


Effective teacher learning is vital to student success. Teachers who continually improve their practice by using data to inform instructional decisions see improved results for their students. In the tradition of supporting effective professional learning, in 2016 Corwin launched a nationwide survey in partnership with Learning Forward and the National Education Association (NEA) to ascertain the state of teacher professional learning and how to best support educators where they are.

To read the entire survey click HERE.

KQED Mindshift: Bringing Scientists to Schools, and the Thrill of Field Trips to Class

In many schools, field trips are becoming a rare luxury. But what if there was a way to bring the excitement that students show for those real-world experiences into the classroom?

An Australian organization called Scientists in Schools has flipped the field trip model, pairing volunteer scientists and mathematicians with classrooms around the country. Australian schools, like many schools around the world, don’t teach a lot of science at the primary school level. Teachers, who are responsible for covering all  subjects, lack confidence when teaching science. Similarly, while there is a focus on numbers in primary grades, some of the broader elegance of math is lost. Australia performs well on international achievement tests, but its students report feeling disengaged and don’t often choose to specialize in math and science as they get older.


Chicago Tribune: Quinn signs bill requiring schools to hold shooting safety drills

Local school districts will now be required to conduct safety drills to prepare for a possible shooting under legislation Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law Monday.

The measure, which took effect immediately, will require schools to partner with local law enforcement agencies to develop and conduct a shooting drill at least once a school year. It’s up to each school whether students must be present for the exercise and parents can choose to have their children sit out.

The law was developed to better prepare school and law enforcement officials following the December shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman killed 20 children and six staff members. Illinois schools already are required to hold several school and bus evacuation drills and severe weather exercises.


KQED Mindshift: How Leadership Can Make or Break Classroom Innovation

The leaders of a school or school district play a big role in setting the culture and work environment for teachers. And when it comes to trying new things, the attitude of principals and superintendents can sometimes make or break a teacher’s willingness and ability to weave new ideas and methods into the teaching practice. In most schools, strong, effective leaders can make all the difference.


Chicago Tribune: Quinn says he’ll meet Monday with leaders on pension changes

Gov. Pat Quinn said today that he’ll meet with Democratic legislative leaders Monday to try to find compromise on changes to a public employee pension system that’s approaching $100 billion in debt.

The governor indicated he spoke with House Speaker Michael Madigan on Friday to set up the meeting that will include Senate President John Cullerton. On Tuesday, Quinn called a meeting on pension reform but an out-of-state Madigan was a no-show who also did not call in. The speaker’s staff indicated that Quinn’s team knew Madigan would not be available, but held the meeting anyway.


Wisconsin State Journal: Budget committee puts halt to Common Core standards

The Legislature’s budget committee Wednesday voted to require a review of the state’s new math and reading standards and to halt implementation of national science and social studies standards.

But it also voted to require all high school juniors to take the ACT college preparatory exam loosely tied to the standards.

In a 13-3 vote, the committee approved a budget amendment by Rep. Dean Knudson, R-Hudson, to have the Department of Public Instruction, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau and a Legislative Study Council review how the Common Core State Standards compare to Wisconsin’s standards and how much implementation will cost.

Education Week: District Leaders Urge More Time to Implement Common Core Standards

Four organizations representing school district leaders today called for “adequate” time to manage the tricky transition to the Common Core State Standards and tests.

“Adequate” isn’t defined in the joint statement, however.

“We must make adequate time for a thoughtful conversation about how assessments can be used to provide instructionally useful information to schools in a timely manner,” say the American Association of School Administrators, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the National School Boards Association.