YMCA offers Afterschool Snack Program to provide nutrition and learning …

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Published on: April 23, 2014

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Article source: http://www.gwdtoday.com/main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=27&ArticleID=29726

Mayor proposes after-school programs at libraries

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Published on: April 23, 2014

SAN DIEGO — A proposed after-school tutoring program at the city of San Diego’s libraries would be conducted at 18 branches if approved by the City Council, Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced Tuesday.

The program is part of Faulconer’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

0d99e books Mayor proposes after school programs at librariesThe branches that were selected have at least one school in the vicinity that scored below the target of 800 in standardized tests, the mayor’s office said.

“Libraries are the centers for building, advancing and nurturing these skills that will impact a person’s learning from early childhood through adulthood,” said Cindy Marten, superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District. “I commend Mayor Faulconer and the other city officials for recognizing the importance of libraries and the impacts they have on the success of our students and communities.”

The proposed “Do Your Homework @ the Library” program would provide one-on-one assistance to students through the eighth grade with their school- assigned homework, and offer opportunities for skill development and reinforcement. The program would run for 36 weeks during the school’s academic year.

Volunteers would be available 14 hours a week, including three hours on Saturdays.

The branches that would have the program are College-Rolando, Kensington- Normal Heights, City Heights, North Clairemont, Linda Vista, San Carlos, Serra Mesa-Kearny Mesa, Pacific Beach Taylor, Scripps Miramar Ranch, Central, North Park, Otay Mesa-Nestor, San Ysidro, Logan Heights, Mountain View- Beckwourth, Oak Park, Skyline Hills, and Valencia Park Malcolm X.

The proposed budget also boosts library hours by four to five a week, which would have branches open nearly as long as before the city first ran into fiscal trouble about 10 years ago.

The budget proposal will be reviewed by the City Council next month, with approval scheduled for June.

Article source: http://fox5sandiego.com/2014/04/22/mayor-proposes-using-libraries-for-after-school-programs/

After-school programs can continue, thanks to renewed community-center funding

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Published on: April 23, 2014

After-school tutoring and enrichment will continue at Friends of King’s two schools.

State education officials renewed Friends of King’s contract with the federal 21st Century Community Learning Center Program, which enables schools to provide those services. The organization first received the $480,000 contract last July. That amount will be renewed again in 2015, pending state approval.

The board, which runs Dr. King Charter School and Joseph A. Craig Charter School, approved the renewal at its meeting Tuesday. They also received updates on senior activities and end-of-year celebrations.

This year, King Charter will graduate nearly 40 seniors, the group’s chief executive officer Doris Roché-Hicks said. Getting them all ready for graduation was difficult; some came to King academically behind. OneApp – the city’s unified application process – “doesn’t take organizational patterns, and whether they’re on target to graduate” into consideration, she said.

Challenges met, King’s 2014 graduating class has received more than $500,000 in college scholarships and financial aid, according to King’s records. Seniors graduate May 9, and three seniors will participate in a Recovery School District College Acceptance Celebration on May 1.

Also at the meeting, Friends of King board president Hilda Young called for public comment before the board took action on two items, which is in line with state open-meetings law. A school representative also asked visitors if they would like to speak before the meeting began.

Other upcoming King events:

  • Spring Pageant, May 3

  • 8th grade graduation, May 12

  • Kindergarten graduation, May 13

  • Pre-K graduation, May 14

  • Last day of school, May 16

Article source: http://thelensnola.org/2014/04/22/after-school-programs-can-continue-thanks-to-renewed-community-center-funding/

What You’re Doing This Week- April 21-27

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Published on: April 23, 2014

My Boyfriend’s Out of Town Anniversary Party 

Article source: http://www.nbcmiami.com/blogs/latin-beat/What-Youre-Doing-This-Week--April-21-27-256198221.html

Caroline Garside

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Caroline Garside

LONGMEADOW, Mass. — Caroline Garside died on March 25, 2014, at the Jewish Nursing Home in Longmeadow, her home since 2007.

Caroline was born in New Bedford, Mass., on Nov. 21, 1939. She spent her early years in Duxbury, which was still a small, rural town, where her parents raised cranberries. Caroline and her two sisters, Anne and Jo, spent much of their time as children around the cranberry bogs and at the shore. Caroline graduated from George School, a Friends (Quaker) boarding school in Newtown, Pa., and then went on to Vassar College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in languages in 1961.

After graduating from Vassar, Caroline moved to Cambridge, Mass. She worked for Harvard University in the Peabody Museum Library as a cataloger and as a research assistant at the Center for Studies in Education and Development. Later she did graduate work in geography at Clark University.

In 1971 Caroline married Nat Frothingham, and they moved to Vermont, first to Randolph and later to Montpelier. During her years in Vermont Caroline worked in various human service fields including elder affairs and community health, and for the Vermont Public Interest Research Group. She became active in politics and community affairs and even ran for the state Legislature.

She and Nat bought a 12-room Victorian house in Montpelier and spent seven years renovating it and converting it to a wood-heated two-family home. During this time Caroline also started her wholesale baking business, North Branch Bakery, which specialized in pastries made without processed sugar.

In 1984 Caroline and Nat divorced, though they remained supportive friends. Caroline moved to Amherst to pursue new opportunities and live closer to her family. She worked for several years as a program manager at National Evaluation Systems and developed a wide circle of friends and local activities.

During this time she continued her interest in elder affairs and in her early 50s made the decision to go back to school for a master’s degree at the University of Connecticut Storrs. She completed her Master of Arts in gerontology in 1995, focusing on continuing care retirement homes. She then took a position in health care administration/gerontology with the Hebrew Home and Hospital in West Hartford, Conn., (later Hebrew Health Care) and loved her job at their new life care facility, Summerwood.

While continuing to live in Amherst, Caroline volunteered with the Amherst Conservation Commission and maintained trails in the Lawrence Swamp. She joined Northampton Friends Meeting and served as treasurer for several years. She loved hiking on the Holyoke Range and ran her first 5K race at the age of 60. She was active in her condominium association and enjoyed tutoring a Cambodian woman through the Center for New Americans.

After her brain injury in 2001, Caroline made enormous strides in recovery through great fortitude and effort. In this process she demonstrated her remarkable capacity to reinvent herself for each new phase of her life and to approach it with zest and energy.

She did not return to her job, but held numerous volunteer positions in Amherst, started a small sewing business, and continued as an active member of Northampton Friends Meeting. She supported many community programs including Not Bread Alone.

Caroline loved cooking and baking, reading, music, textile arts, travel, hiking and cross-country skiing. She felt her most important accomplishments were starting her bakery in Montpelier, her work with elders, and her wide circle of loyal friends, including her former husband, Nat.

During her recent years at the Jewish Nursing Home, Caroline enjoyed music of all kinds, singing, Scrabble and of course baking. She participated in numerous talent shows and won almost every spelling bee. More than anything, she enjoyed visits from her family and friends.

Caroline is survived by her sister Anne Cann, of Amherst; her sister Jo Goeselt, of North Hampton, N.H., and her brother-in-law, Richard Goeselt; her former husband, Nat Frothingham, of Montpelier, Vt.; her nieces, Elizabeth Cahn, of Amherst, and Laura Smith, of North Hampton, N.H.; and her nephews, Frederic Cann, of Portland, Ore., Robert Cann, of Amherst, and Brian Goeselt, of Newton, Mass.; as well as four great-nieces and four great-nephews.

Caroline was preceded in death by her father, Kenneth Garside, and her mother, Alice Hawes Garside.

The family is especially grateful to Caroline’s friends, who remained richly involved in her life even from a distance, and the staff of the Jewish Nursing Home, who not only cared for her but loved her deeply.

A memorial honoring Caroline’s life will be held on June 22, 2014, at Woolman Hill Quaker Retreat Center in Deerfield, Mass. Burial will be private.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Jewish Nursing Home, Jewish Geriatric Services, 770 Converse St., Longmeadow, MA 01106, or Northampton Friends Meeting, c/o Treasurer, 43 Center St., Suite 202, Northampton, MA 01060. New England Funeral Cremation Center LLC, 25 Mill St., Springfield, Mass., has been entrusted with the arrangements. Visit www.nefcc.net.

Article source: http://www.timesargus.com/article/20140423/OBITUARIES/704239965/0/BUSINESS03

Above The Law Will Announce Its 2014 Law School Rankings Live on The 180 …

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Published on: April 23, 2014

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Pre-law students, law school students and other members of the legal
education community will want to tune in on Tuesday, April 29, at 8 PM
ET for a special edition of Kaplan’s live, online talk show about legal
issues, The 180, when a panel of experts announces and discusses
Above The Law’s 2014 law school rankings. Above The Law – the preeminent
legal blog regularly visited by pre-law students, law school students,
and law school administrators nationwide – emerged on the rankings scene
in 2013, focusing on the outcomes law students care about most like jobs
that are actually in the legal industry, school costs and alumni
satisfaction, and less on inputs like LSAT scores and GPA.

The live broadcast comes as Kaplan Test Prep rolls out the results of a
survey taken of pre-law students in February 2014*, which found the
following:

  • 84% of pre-law students say that where a law school places in the
    rankings is important in determining where they will enroll. Studies
    by PayScale.com show that in general, the higher a law school ranks,
    the higher its graduates’ starting salaries are.
  • A majority (55%) say they expect to incur at least $50,000 in debt to
    finance their law school education. Of that group, 17% think they will
    incur over $100,000 in debt.
  • Pre-law students surveyed were nearly unanimous in saying a law
    school’s academic quality (99%), bar exam passage rate (95%), and job
    placement statistics (94%) should have a lot of weight in determining
    where a law school places in the rankings.

According to previous Kaplan research of graduating law school
students** though, the single biggest factor graduating law school
students said pre-law students should focus on was a school’s job
placement rate followed by affordability/tuition.

“We’re excited to be working with Kaplan to release our Second Annual
ATL Law School rankings on their live webcast,” said Elie Mystal,
editor, Above the Law, who will be on the expert panel discussing the
rankings. “Our rankings are focused on what pre-law students should be
concerned about when they graduate from law school, not just when they
start. We think that the strength of a law school is better reflected by
their job placement rates, affordability, and their skill helping
graduates achieve the careers they want, as opposed to the amount of
money schools spend on their faculty. We’re more concerned about what
the law school can do for the students than what the students can do for
the prestige of the law school.”

“Talk to any law student and most will eventually admit that where a law
school placed in the rankings was one of the biggest reasons they
enrolled in a particular program,” said Jeff Thomas, executive director
of pre-law programs, Kaplan Test Prep, who will also be part of the
panel discussion. “At Kaplan, we tell students that the rankings can
serve as good aggregate sources of data around job placement stats,
academic life and other considerations, but ultimately each law school
applicant should enroll in a JD program that is the best overall ‘fit’
for the individual’s professional, financial, and lifestyle goals and
needs.”

To attend this live, online event for pre-law and law school students,
register at http://the180.com.
To join in on the social media chat, use the hashtag #The180.

*The e-survey included responses from 227 pre-law students who took a
Kaplan LSAT course and sat for the February 2014 administration of the
LSAT.

**The e-survey included responses from 697 law school students who
took a Kaplan Bar Review course and sat for July 2013 administrations of
state bar exams across the country.

About Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep (www.kaptest.com)
is a premier provider of educational and career services for
individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938, Kaplan is the
world leader in the test prep industry. With a comprehensive menu of
online offerings as well as a complete array of print books and digital
products, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 90 standardized tests,
including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate
school, as well as professional licensing exams for attorneys,
physicians and nurses. Kaplan also provides private tutoring and
graduate admissions consulting services. Additionally, Kaplan operates
new economy skills training (NEST) bootcamps designed to provide
immersive training in skills that are in high demand in today’s job
market and prepare participants for hire.

Note to editors: Kaplan is a subsidiary of The Graham Holdings
Company (NYSE: GHC)

Article source: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20140423005240/en/Law-Announce-2014-Law-School-Rankings-Live

Four District 2 seats up for grabs in wide-open race – Winston

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Published on: April 23, 2014

Lori Clark

Address: 230 Arrow Leaf Drive, Lewisville

Age: 44

Education: West Forsyth ’88; UNC-Chapel Hill ’92 (B.A. music)

Profession: Marketing at Chick-fil-A Peacehaven; substitute teacher, WSFC Schools (both part-time)

Leadership experience: PTA board at Southwest Elementary 2010-14 (second vice president, 2011); Forsyth County Republican Women (president, 2013)

Political/civic experience: More than 25 years of volunteer work: PTA roles such as staff appreciation/hospitality, listener, tutor, as a vice president, room mom, SIT team parent rep, PAC rep, helping to bring Dr. Chapman to Southwest and to Parent Power events (entire system), after-school running club parent; tutoring a juvenile offender; mentor; camp counselor; Reading Is Fundamental volunteer; assistant in at-risk student classroom; Red Cross; Habitat for Humanity; adult sponsor to youth church choir; member of various church ministries; precinct chair and delegate; Pregnancy Care Center volunteer; assistant Bible Fellowship teacher; 2013 Forsyth County Republican Women president

Top priority if elected: I would like to see increased partnerships between businesses, leaders, churches and neighborhood groups in schools with no PTA or little parent involvement. I would like to examine curriculum (resources we have, what we need, what teachers have available to use as sources, teacher training) and help implement an improvement plan in that area. I would maintain the controlled choice assignment plan that we have — always proposing to give as much choice to parents whenever possible.

Are schools underfunded? If no, why not? If so, how would you go about persuading elected officials to increase spending? Our system has a percentage given to it from the county’s budget. I would immediately seek to understand how to increase that amount! As well, I would make a trip to Raleigh to meet reps there on ways to increase the state allotment! Technology is always underfunded, but you can’t put a dollar amount to parents and teachers! More money per pupil is not the answer — higher teacher pay would help! Do you think the neighborhood school plan should continue? Why or why not? The benefits of a choice assignment plan are: more parent involvement, neighborhood businesses/churches, etc. involved, families in control, and competition (raises the bar and means success for more schools). This competition means more families are satisfied with their options, as we see in surveys done in this system. Children and schools benefit when parents can be involved (just ask teachers)!

How aggressive should the board be about opposing/supporting issues in the General Assembly? One role a board should play is that of advocate — for Forsyth stakeholders — to the General Assembly on key education issues. The board should be the liaison, ensuring that representatives for our county know what our needs here are! The board can make trips to the General Assembly, write and pass resolutions (opinions or stances) for the purpose of representing those by whom they were elected! They can be “representatives” on education issues.

What should be the school board’s top priority and how would you achieve it? First and foremost, the board should keep its main goal as improving the educational outcomes for all of Forsyth County’s public school students. It should diligently research the issues and make judgments using facts and evidence while seeking stakeholder involvement and thoughts. The other priority should be raising teacher pay, allowing much teacher classroom creativity and support, retaining and valuing them, and preserving their jobs (I’d study successful teacher incentive pay plans in other areas).

How much input should the local school boards have in curriculum choices and policy decisions made by the state Department of Public Instruction? : I’d always push for as much local control and decision-making as possible. We know better what Forsyth Co. needs. Broad guidance is acceptable from DPI, but the “honing in” of specifics (which textbooks, resources, teacher training, etc.) should be done locally. If DPI does direct a policy or initiative or choose curriculum, local boards should be able to give open debate/opinion, volunteer involvement and see and question the results.

What role do you think charter schools and voucher programs should play in public education? As a conservative, I always support the ideas of vouchers and charter schools. Each equals competition, and that is a free market/enterprise-type ideal upon which our nation was founded. A public school system doing its job should not fear either — ideally, their presence should raise the bar for all schools. The “public” money issue (into a private school) is an issue that warrants close evaluation, as should accountability guidelines for charter schools.

How should the board of education deal with the lack of adequate textbooks in classrooms? The board should consider what happens with Common Core in N.C. first. Second, we are in dire need of resources for both student and teacher, so assessing technology (future going online?) versus printed texts (books, etc.) would be necessary. Third, the board should look nationally for solutions other districts like ours have used. Fourth, the board should share the cost findings and possible revenue sources (General Assembly, our commissioners, etc.) with the stakeholders for open debate.

Dana Caudill Jones

Address: 600 Susanna Court, Kernersville

Age: 43

Education: Bachelor’s in political science, High Point University

Profession: Operating officer/owner of Caudill’s Electric

Leadership experience: Lead my company in 2008 as being named one of the top 100 small businesses in North Carolina. Elected five times and served 10 years as a member of the Kernersville Board of Aldermen.

Political/civic experience: I serve on the Kernersville Medical Center Board of Directors; president of the Next Step Ministries Board of Directors; Kernersville Cares for Kids Board of Directors; past president of Kernersville Middle School PTA and Cash Elementary School PTA; elementary school liaison for Winston Salem Forsyth County Council of PTAs; member of the Forsyth County Republican Women and serve as chaplain.

Top priority if elected: Focus educational resources to at-risk children in order to teach every child to read by the third grade and on grade level by the fifth grade.

Are schools underfunded? If no, why not? If so, how would you go about persuading elected officials to increase spending? I believe our schools have adequate funding. I am not sure the money is always spent wisely and in ways that impact the direct instruction of education to the student. A large amount of funding received is restricted and must be spent in specific areas. More flexibility should be given at the local level to how funding and resources should be appropriated. Do you think the neighborhood school plan should continue? Why or why not? Yes, the current plan adopted and in place around 1995 provides choice for all parents and should continue. The plan empowers parents to make the right school choice for their own child and gives the parent and student a sense of ownership in their choice and school.

How aggressive should the board be about opposing/supporting issues in the General Assembly? The board should aggressively state its opinions to the General Assembly on issues that affect public education policy, such as advocating for the removal of the Common Core state standards from N.C. education. The board should not engage in political issues that do not effect public education.

What should be the school board’s top priority and how would you achieve it? Protect the classroom teacher and support staff. This can be achieved if we manage the budget wisely and evaluate all spending on how it relates directly to the education of the students. The main goal should be to provide each student with a quality education in each and every school in the district, and in order for that to happen we must have top quality teachers and a school environment that is safe and welcoming.

How much input should the local school boards have in curriculum choices and policy decisions made by the state Department of Public Instruction? Local school boards, along with teachers and input from parents, should always be in the conversation before curriculum choices and policy decisions are made by the DPI. Teachers and support staff along with parents must be part of the conversation in the beginning. This will ensure a successful understanding and implementation of curriculum and policy changes.

What role do you think charter schools and voucher programs should play in public education? I believe in parental choice, so I support charter schools and the voucher program. Charter schools should be held to a high standard and we must be careful that the money granted to a school is used appropriately. I believe the voucher program can be improved to ensure funds are reimbursed back to the local district if a student returns to a public school during the course of the school year.

How should the board of education deal with the lack of adequate textbooks in classrooms? If the state does not increase the funding, then locally we need to step up and purchase the textbooks, either books or electronic license for digital textbooks. Without textbooks and resources that can come home, parents are at a huge disadvantage when trying to help their children with homework. This may be a perfect opportunity to reach out for private dollars from corporations to purchase these resources.

Irene May

Address: 5310 Forest Mill Drive, Pfafftown

Age: 42

Education: Bachelor’s in biology from George Mason University

Profession: Homemaker

Leadership experience: Member of WSFCS Board of Education since January 2013

Political/civic experience: Active in elections and issues since 2010; board member of Forsyth County Republican Women’s Club

Top priority if elected: Curriculum and involving parents in the curriculum.

Are schools underfunded? If no, why not? If so, how would you go about persuading elected officials to increase spending? I think funding issues that WSFCS have faced in the past few years have been met with a creative and positive attitude, and never more so than now with the leadership of Dr. Emory. While I think that it would be a relief to not have these challenges, we are a government body that uses taxpayer funds to get our job done, and this struggle ends up saving the taxpayer money.

Do you think the neighborhood school plan should continue? Why or why not? Yes. The vast majority of people in our community appreciate the choices that we have set before them, and the friendly competition between our schools make each school better and our system stronger.

How aggressive should the board be about opposing/supporting issues in the General Assembly? There have been resolutions passed recently, and I think that is the respectful and effective way to approach the General Assembly. It is difficult for me to justify jumping in with lawsuits because of the money involved and limited benefit to us. Of course, an individual board member has their own prerogative to do what they think is right.

What should be the school board’s top priority and how would you achieve it? : Limiting austerity measure effects on the classroom. You have to get creative, and we have thus far. For example, the board has played a big part in saving teaching assistant positions to mitigate the effects of these tough times.

How much input should the local school boards have in curriculum choices and policy decisions made by the state Department of Public Instruction? A lot! Local school boards should have the primary role when it comes to how local schools are run, and that is determined by policies and curriculum. A top-down approach is not the best way to resolve problems and to spearhead positive change. As a parent, the thought of trudging through a massive bureaucracy to resolve an issue is pretty overwhelming.

What role do you think charter schools and voucher programs should play in public education? They are part of “choice.” I am dedicated to seeing children in our community educated. Vouchers and charter schools are another way to empower parents and get them involved in their children’s education.

How should the board of education deal with the lack of adequate textbooks in classrooms? A few years ago, N.C. cut textbook funding by about 80 percent. We have not had a refresh for about 10 years. The instinct is to jump in with both feet and tackle this problem, but it is clearly a state funding issue. The board should express its concerns to the General Assembly and press them for a plan.

Jeannie Metcalf

Address: 504 Knob View Drive, Winston-Salem

Age: 62

Education: Attended UNC-Chapel Hill

Profession: Homemaker

Leadership experience: Chair of WSFCS Curriculum Committee 2002-present; president, Peace Haven Civic Association 1992; member of personnel committee Calvary Baptist Church, four three-year terms 1989-2013; member WSFCS executive PTA Council 1990-92; appointed by then-speaker Harold Brubaker to a four-year term on N.C. Teaching Fellows Commission 1996-2000

Political / Civic Experience: Member WS/FC board of education (1994-present); WSFCS Peace Haven Civic Association Board of Directors 1986-98; president, Peace Haven Civic Association 1992; member, personnel committee Calvary Baptist Church, four three-year terms 1989-2013; member WSFCS executive PTA Council 1990-92; appointed by-then Speaker Harold Brubaker to a four-year term on N.C. Teaching Fellows Commission 1996-2000

Top priority if elected: Focus on pre-K to third-grade reading

Are schools underfunded? If no, why not? If so, how would you go about persuading elected officials to increase spending? Our job is to demonstrate need. Those making the decision about spending taxpayer money have to be good stewards and decide where that money is best spent. We, too, have an obligation to be good stewards of the funds we are given, as well. Do you think the neighborhood school plan should continue? Why or why not? We do not  have a neighborhood school plan. We have a parental choice plan. Every year 30 percent of parents make choices different from their residential schools. And yes, I think it should continue.

How aggressive should the board be about opposing/supporting issues in the General Assembly? We should work together with our entire legislative delegation to make our needs known in Raleigh.

What should be the school board’s top priority and how would you achieve it? Having all kids reading by third grade. We should focus dollars and time on achieving this. We need more pre-K locations in our schools. We should coordinate with existing preschools and day cares and let them know what we expect students to be able to accomplish when they begin kindergarten.

How much input should the local school boards have in curriculum choices and policy decisions made by the state Department of Public Instruction? We have a responsibility when DPI adopts flawed curricula — such as the horribly flawed Common Core — to speak up and share our concerns with our local delegation. Then do what we care to support them as they attempt to bring about change.

What role do you think charter schools and voucher programs should play in public education? They obviously give parents more choices.

How should the board of education deal with the lack of adequate textbooks in classrooms? Obviously there is material available on all kinds of Internet sites devoted to lessons and lesson-planning for every subject possible. We just must be diligent in making sure this material is both content and age appropriate.

David Singletary

Address: 7890 Misty Mountain Road, Germanton

Age: 46

Education: Carver High School; Online studies, no formal degree.

Profession: Licensed insurance agent and tax preparer

Leadership experience: Veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Eagle Scout, small business owner, and 15-plus years’ management experience.

Political/civic experience: Republican precinct chairman and Plan of Organization chairman, local business groups.

Top priority if elected: Education equality for all students and a comprehensive pay structure that rewards teachers for both performance and time-in-service.

Are schools underfunded? If no, why not? If so, how would you go about persuading elected officials to increase spending? Yes, our schools are underfunded and that is nothing new, because underfunding of proposed budgets has always been a common practice. We all agree that our schools need adequate funding, and in many cases more funding. I believe we also agree that we need to responsibly manage the funds that we are given. As for how? We have to make it a priority and bring it up at every chance. Do you think the neighborhood school plan should continue? Why or why not? Yes, we need neighborhood schools, and we need to address the special needs of these schools. I’m all of school choice and I’m concerned about the inequalities that are being created in some neighborhood schools as a result of school choice. Continuing to allow school choice is the way to go, and taking a look at our neighborhood schools and addressing their needs is also essential.

How aggressive should the board be about opposing/supporting issues in the General Assembly? The school board should always err on the side of students and teachers. And, when the General Assembly sends down unfunded mandates and legislation that is simply wrong, or not practical, then we have an obligation to aggressively oppose it.

What should be the school board’s top priority and how would you achieve it? The school board’s top priorities should be creating an educational environment that allows students and teachers to make the most of the experience, while developing a local curriculum that addresses the unique needs of our students and teachers. We achieve this by not merely accepting the curriculum being provided to us, and actually listen to our students, teachers and parents. Then we find ways to make the needed changes.

How much input should the local school boards have in curriculum choices and policy decisions made by the state Department of Public Instruction? The local school boards should always have input into curriculum choices and policy decisions. In the same manner the federal government is meant to have limited access to education policy, the state should not be “the final say” on education policy. Our students and teachers greatly outnumber our Legislators and that local input should carry significant weight.

What role do you think charter schools and voucher programs should play in public education? Neither charter schools, nor vouchers are a “fix all” for what ails our education system. Yes, they are good ideas with potential, but that potential has yet to be proven. I’m all for giving students and parents options, but I’m also interested in seeing the numbers and whether or not they support the success of our students.

How should the board of education deal with the lack of adequate textbooks in classrooms? Anything that we can do to provide textbooks for our classrooms would have to be better than what is currently being done. I’ve been out of high school for 28 years. We were short on books then and still short now? We need to make sure that all classrooms have the textbooks they need, or electronic access.

Article source: http://www.journalnow.com/news/elections/local/four-district-seats-up-for-grabs-in-wide-open-race/article_f843c96e-ca95-11e3-937d-001a4bcf6878.html

A Way Out for College Kids

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Published on: April 23, 2014

American education is in trouble—that much seems to be a given. Our public schools and colleges are getting poor results, our young people are drowning in debt, new graduates can’t find jobs, and our overall rankings in the world are pretty dismal. We are greatly in need of a transformation, but we need to think big, because the problem is huge.

In 2012, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development tested 15-year-olds in 64 countries in math, science, and reading. Out of 64 countries, the U.S. Scored 23rd in science, 20th in reading, and 29th in math. Not only is this ranking lower than our previous ranking in the 2009 test, but we ranked this low despite spending the 5th most per-student out of the 64 countries.

After this underwhelming high school experience, young people move on to the big next step: college, which isn’t such an exciting, empowering step into adulthood anymore, unless you believe taking on debt and collecting unemployment after college constitutes an initiation into adulthood. And before anyone blames “entitled lazy millenials”, consider the statistics: In two decades, the cost of private tuition has nearly doubled and public tuition has nearly tripled (adjusted for inflation). It’s impossible for most young people to “work their way through college,” and more than two-thirds of recent graduates leave school in debt.

As the cherry on top, these young people who have followed the advice of their parents and the culture at large to go to college and get a degree are now faced with poor-to-no job prospects. Since nearly everyone is expected to get a bachelor’s degree, the degree is less and less of a guarantee of employment. Once a college degree was significant on a resume. Now not having a bachelor’s has become a barrier to consideration for even many low-skill white-collar positions. In many industries, a master’s degree is fast becoming the new bachelor’s. Bring on the debt.

Sadly, many of our public figures continue to push all young people in this direction. President Obama has promoted the idea that every American should go through some amount of college. Only around 70% of young people currently go to college. Imagine how meaningless college experience would become to typical employers if 90%+ of young people went to college.

Most of this information isn’t new to anyone paying attention to education over the last few decades. The problems have just gotten worse and are now creating a mass of young people who are graduating with lots of debt they’re unable to pay off because they can’t even find an entry-level job. To dig our way out of this mess, we as a culture need to think big and not be afraid to rewrite our practices, traditions, and public rhetoric in order to find a solution.

We should consider the homeschoolers. Modern homeschooling didn’t really take root in the U.S. until the 1980s and wasn’t popularized until the 1990s. Even now only about 4% of American children are homeschooled, but those 4% are showing incredible results. Their education costs roughly 90% less than the average public schooler, yet they consistently score much higher in standardized tests. They get their high school degrees at a higher rate, they earn better grades, and they do much better in college. Oh, and they spend less time in class and so, counter to some outdated and uninformed opinions, have more time for socialization and socialize with a broader spectrum of people and ages. Finally, such successes are not dependent on a student’s parents’ education level or income.

So what can colleges learn from the success of these K-12 students? Ask the typical homeschooler about their experience and they will tell you that they benefited from the flexibility homeschooling provides. Students work at their own pace, flying through and going farther in subjects they master easily while taking more time for the subjects with which they struggle. Their schedule is flexible and can more easily accommodate extracurricular activities, early college classes, socializing, volunteering, and family needs. Moreover there is a cost savings because parents are already providing the housing and food and teachers that dominate schools’ budgets. The only major out-of-pocket costs are books and the occasional outside tutor, class, or extracurricular fees.

This is where colleges can take a page out of the homeschool playbook—they can achieve the flexibility and cost-savings of homeschooling by utilizing the Internet. This is hardly a new idea: The number of online courses and colleges offering them is exploding. Around one-third of college students take some online courses for credit (over 6.7 million in 2011). More than 70% of public and for-profit colleges and nearly 50% of private nonprofit colleges are offering full online programs.

Online courses offer a way to learn skills and earn a degree while having the flexibility in time and space to also have a normal full-time job, or a family, or a more regular schedule. Plus online classes are often more cost-effective, and they will become even cheaper as the percentage of online students grows. The demand for expensive student services, housing, cafeterias, sports stadiums and programs, workout centers, entertainment venues, and a host of other college expenses will decrease dramatically as the percentage of online students increase. A college education will once again be focused on education, not the four-year “experience” of prolonged-adolescence that college has become for so many young people today.

Another exciting online development is the massive open online course (MOOC). These free courses (many offered by prestigious universities) are attended by thousands of students simultaneously. Many of these even offer certificates of completion if the student decides to pay. This is an excellent alternative for acquiring skills and knowledge without spending an arm and a leg. If MOOCs mature into courses that can actually provide some form of credit and command some respect, they could be a game-changer.

Let me add one caveat – I am not dismissing the importance of a traditional liberal arts education. An extended liberal arts education is a significant and important institution in our society, but it is not for everyone. Let’s face it, most college-bound young Americans are not really going to get a liberal arts education. They’re going to take some combination of skills-oriented, basic knowledge, and frivolous courses in order to earn a degree which they hope will give them a better chance to get a job. Looking to change that wasteful system does not mean we have to throw the liberal arts baby out with the bathwater. If we really believe most Americans need further education after high school, then that education needs to look different than our current model. Forcing every young person through a cookie cutter shaped like the skeleton of a four-year liberal arts education isn’t helping anyone, and it’s destroying the employment prospects and financial future of the very young people we are trying to help.

It’s time for a change in the American college structure, and the more quickly we get on board the more quickly we can help young people. Parents can quit holding up the traditional four-year on-campus degree as the ideal for all young people. They can encourage their new high school graduates to look into alternatives like online degrees, apprenticeships, and local community and technical schools. Businesses can stop the idiocy of treating a bachelor’s degree as the default entry point for considering any job applicant for any position. The bachelor’s degree means next to nothing now. Employers should get their heads out of the sand and consider creating paid apprenticeship/intern programs that will teach young people what they need to know to become excellent employees without taking the time and debt to go through four years of irrelevant classes. Public leaders can look to encourage alternative approaches—particularly the development of robust online college resources. Finally colleges can see the writing on the wall and work at developing new options and expanding existing alternatives. Changes brought by the Internet have crippled and destroyed previous industries—let’s hope quality colleges and universities adapt in time. A new world of post-high-school education is inevitable. The only question is how quickly we can get there and lift the burden currently weighing down America’s youth.

Article source: http://townhall.com/columnists/zacharygappa/2014/04/23/a-way-out-for-college-kids-n1828094

Small-town and rural Ontario leaders want a reprieve from school closings

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Published on: April 23, 2014

Small-town and rural Ontario mayors want school closings halted until after a review of a widely-criticized process used to weed out doomed schools.

A motion recently passed by Penetanguishene — its only high school has been on the chopping block for eight years — is gaining steam, including in Southwestern Ontario, adding to the call for the province to impose a school-closing moratorium. Civic leaders hope to make the debate an issue in Ontario’s next election, widely expected this spring.

“It’s timing right now,” said Penetanguishene Mayor Gerry Marshall. He said he’d like to see school trustees, municipalities and the province talk after an election about how to address rural communities facing school closings.

Deeply divisive, Ontario has dealt with a generation of school closings driven by falling enrolment, with even more expected as the province removes the top-up funding support it provides to keep many of its about 600 half-empty schools alive.

But with Premier Kathleen Wynne’s minority Liberals facing a May 1 budget that may not pass, triggering an election, worried groups are racing against the clock.

“The frustration right now is there’s a sense of urgency by the existing school boards and sitting trustees to clear the decks,” said Marshall.

“The time to close schools and have that conversation is not when you have three political clocks ticking.”

He’s led the latest charge to put a stop to school closings and has allies in the mayor of Niagara-on-the-Lake, head of the Ontario Small Urban Municipalities Association; Southwest Middlesex Mayor Doug Reycraft, who chairs an alliance of communities that have fought rural school closings for years; and London and Waterloo researchers studying the fallout of school closings.

“We have no evidence of the financial savings. There’s been no research done of any savings,” said Bill Irwin of Huron University College, who’s studying how closings affect communities and neighbourhoods, especially those trying to revitalize.

“There may be some short-term fiscal savings, maybe, but the long-term cost to human, social, community capital — we haven’t accounted for any of that,” he said.

Irwin said he’ll be in Hamilton next month, a city considering a moratorium on school closings.

Ontario has lost more than 100,000 students over the last decade, triggering hundreds of school closings and mergers.

Hundreds more could face the axe, with about 600 half-empty schools getting by on top-up funding from the province that Education Minister Liz Sandals says will be withdrawn if school don’t use at least 65% of their space.

Sandals has also said changes are coming to the process under which schools weeded out for possible closing or mergers are put before community review panels that make recommendations — not binding — to school boards.

Critics contend those panels — called accommodation review committees — often pit neighbourhoods against one another, and drag out school deaths for months, even years at a time, satisfying few.

A former MPP and teacher, Reycraft said kids need to figure larger in the equation.

“What seems to be lost on school board trustees is the fact that while the schools may belong to the board, the children — the students that are in them — belong to the community and they need to pay more attention to what communities believe to be best for their students than they have done in recent years,” he said. “

They are their schools, but they are our kids.”

Before 2003, boards could close schools with little public input. Then came a three-year moratorium on closings, followed by the new guidelines that included consultation for at least seven months before shutting a school.

Sandals has said a group of board administrators from across Ontario is studying the process and will recommend changes this spring, to be in place by the fall.

OTHER POINTS

Rural schools are community cornerstones; closing them isn’t the same as in a city, where there might be another school a few blocks away.

Penetanguishene Mayor Gerry Marshall

Closing rural schools and busing kids farther away costs kids, including their ability to take part in after-school sports and hold down part-time jobs.

“It really does affect the way students move through their teenage years.”

Southwest Middlesex Mayor Doug Reycraft.

BY THE NUMBERS

2 million: Ontario’s approximate student population

100,000: Decline in student population over last decade

600: Half-empty schools province says it can’t keep funding

7: Months required for consultatations on schools facing closings or mergers

kelly.pedro@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/KellyatLFPress? 

Article source: http://www.ingersolltimes.com/2014/04/21/small-town-and-rural-ontario-leaders-want-a-reprieve-from-school-closings

Students observe at schoolyard habitat

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Published on: April 23, 2014

3b920 535703a1cdd95.preview 300 Students observe at schoolyard habitat

Observations

Tyranny Brown, 8, carefully studies a shrub in the Pelican Pines Schoolyard Habitat on Monday. Ellen Minichiello, a Great Outdoors Alliance Educator, shows Tyranny how to notice details about the shrub and how it functions in nature.



Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 5:04 pm

Students observe at schoolyard habitat


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On Monday Pelican Elementary second graders in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers after school program spent the afternoon observing and learning from the habitat in the school’s back yard.


The Pelican Pines Schoolyard Habitat is a place still being developed, but it’s a place educators hope students from the school and community will come to learn about nature.

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      Tuesday, April 22, 2014 5:04 pm.

      Article source: http://www.heraldandnews.com/breaking/article_c4f0f304-ca7a-11e3-b7b1-0019bb2963f4.html

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