schools

A few years ago, a good friend and I were walking near downtown Philadelphia, not far from my old elementary school, Thomas C. Durham, on 16th and Lombard. The school was built on the edge of a black neighborhood in South Philly in the early 1900s, and its design earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places when I was in the third grade. I nudged my friend to take a quick detour with me.

In a classroom in the Bronx borough of New York City on a recent school day, a little boy in a green shirt got very frustrated. He was sitting on the floor with his fellow second-graders as they were going over a math problem with their teacher, when he suddenly turned away from the group and stamped his feet. It seemed like he was mad that she had called on another student. But instead of reprimanding him, the teacher asked him to chime in.

"You agree?" she asked him. "Do you want to take a look at it?"

The boy said yes and continued taking part in the lesson.

Erik Drost / Creative Commons

As another season of high school football gets underway on Friday night across the state, a new law takes effect that gives coaches, parents, and student athletes a comprehensive guide on how to identify and manage concussions. 

Creative Commons / Pixabay

New Haven is adding five dental clinics to its public school health centers. But as access to dental care -- especially for children -- is still a concern in some parts of Connecticut.

The U.S. Education Department has approved 16 state plans designed to improve students’ access to quality teachers. New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut are included in the initial round.

Williams College has announced plans to limit its carbon footprint in an effort to battle climate change, but not divest from fossil fuels which students, alumni and staff called on the college to do.

Peter Morenus / UConn

The University of Connecticut has broken ground for a new $95 million engineering and science building.

Gov. Dannel Malloy joined UConn president Susan Herbst and other dignitaries for the Wednesday ceremony at the site of the planned 118,000-square-foot building. It is designed to house laboratories for UConn's genomics, biomedical, chemical engineering, and cyber system research programs.

In New York City, some 65,000 children have enrolled in Mayor Bill de Blasio's new, universal preschool program. To put that number in context, that's more than all the public school students — in all grades — in either Washington, D.C., or Boston. Free pre-K for all 4-year-olds was a key de Blasio campaign promise.

Cacophony has taken over Matt Kressy’s MIT class. But the noise is planned, and soon, he hopes, it will become music.

This week, Kressy has put MIT’s first-ever integrated design and management (IDM) students in a kind of boot camp. He wanted to immerse the engineers, designers and business school students in a project where they would have to work in concert.

Seattle Municipal Archives / Flickr Creative Commons

A 1965 Senate subcommittee predicted that Americans would work 14-hour weeks by the year 2000. Needless to say, their prediction was a little off. Fifty years later, the five-day, 40-hour work week remains the standard here in the U.S. 

Ishutterthethought flickr.com/photos/37202375@N03 / Creative Commons

An investigation is underway into allegations of hazing involving a Connecticut high school football team.

Dylan's Wings of Change

Ian and Nicole Hockley lost  their son, Dylan, in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.

Dylan had autism, and some problems with speech and engaging socially. After his death, his parents started a foundation called Dylan's Wings of Change to help children with similar difficulties develop fully. Their Wingman program is little different because it's for all kids.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A transformation is underway in southeastern Connecticut. New London Public Schools are transitioning to become the state’s only all-magnet school district. The idea is not only to serve city students better, but also to create schools that attract suburban students and families back to New London.

The University of Rhode Island has won $500,000 from the National Science Foundation to launch a graduate center focused on science writing.

The program will include workshops and classes to train students in the sciences  to write more clearly and persuasively. University officials said the program is part of a trend on college campuses, as researchers increasingly recognize the importance of communicating beyond academia.

pcbinschools.org

A new investigation by WNPR reporter David DesRoches found that two-thirds of Connecticut schools could be contaminated with toxic PCBs. 

Office of Dannel Malloy

The results are in, but teachers aren’t happy.

State education officials released the long-anticipated results of the new standardized test, called the SBAC, on Friday. The numbers showed that less than half of Connecticut students met the “achievement level” or above in math in grades 3 through 8, and slightly more than half met this level in reading.

WNPR/Chion Wolf

When Kerryann Heron arrived at Martin Luther King Junior School to drop off her two sons, she was overwhelmed by the sight of scores of African American men lined up on the sidewalk to greet kids on the first day of school.

"It brought tears to my eyes," she said. "I was like, 'What! Get off of me, get away from me!' But they mean well, this is really, really good, I've never seen this. This is awesome."

Her son, Chase is heading into fourth grade. He says being greeted by high-fives and applause made him more excited to come to school.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

For nearly three decades across the U.S., toxic polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, were widely used in school construction and renovation work. A WNPR investigation has found that two-thirds of schools in Connecticut could be contaminated.

Despite a 1979 ban on PCBs -- a synthetic chemical -- and their classification as a known human carcinogen by the World Health Organization, there’s no state or federal law that requires testing for the presence of PCBs in schools.

David DesRoches / WNPR

When kids want to volunteer, they're often told what to do by adults. But the RiseUP Group in Hartford is a little different. The non-profit asks young people to create their own events and programs, to help them develop leadership skills and an appreciation for where they live.

Chester E. Finn Jr. has three very bright granddaughters. He thinks they "have considerable academic potential and are not always being challenged by their schools." Finn is not just a proud grandpa; he's a long-established expert on education policy with the Fordham Institute and Hoover Institution.

So it's not surprising that his grandkids got him wondering about — and researching — a big question: How well is the U.S. educating its top performers?

alamosbasement / Creative Commons

School starts next week, and soon kids will begin trickling into classrooms across Connecticut. They’ll sit down behind desks in classrooms and study English, science, math, history -- and then maybe a bit of Spanish, or French, or even Chinese.

Lee Morley / Creative Commons

Bartlomiej Palosz, 15, committed suicide in 2013, on the first day of his sophomore year in high school. Now his parents are suing the town of Greenwich and its school board, claiming that not enough was done to address the years of bullying that their son endured. 

CTN screenshot

The first two years of high school were a breeze for Ibrahim Adetona. But he started to struggle during his junior year, and he was eventually suspended from school for 10 days. After that, his struggles got worse.

alamosbasement / Creative Commons

The state Board of Education has approved more than 1,000 additional charter school seats for the coming school year, a 12 percent increase.

Cynthia Fowx / The Nature Conservancy

A high school internship from the Nature Conservancy is working to improve students’ understanding of the natural world.

"If a kid is in first period when they should still be asleep, how much are they really learning?"

U.S. Department of Education

There will be one less test for eleventh graders this coming school year – at least for students who plan on taking the SATs as part of the college application process.

Common Ground

Common Ground is a bit of a misnomer -- there’s not a whole lot that’s common about this high school. Started in 1997, the school uses agriculture as a key component of its curriculum.

The Obama administration Friday is taking a small step toward expanding adult prisoners' access to federal Pell grants. The money would help pay for college-level classes behind bars.

Hartford Public Schools

A letter sent to a student’s family by a Hartford magnet school said the student should consider going to another school because of her low grades. Now Hartford’s superintendent is telling principals not to push out low-performing students.

Pages