schools

America Can't Say No
10:29 am
Sun October 27, 2013

Model U.N.: Choose Your Country Wisely

The United Nations in New York City.
Credit Duesentrieb / Creative Commons

Full disclosure: I was in my high school's Model United Nations club for two years, representing the countries of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Sudan.

There's something innately human about wanting to play pretend. It's one reason why people read, watch movies, and play videogames. At its core, that's what Model U.N. is: pretend. When you get a group of several hundred, highly passionate high school students (dare I say geeks?), blood boils, friendships are broken, and sanctions are imposed. But gosh darn it...it's fun.

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Sandy Hook
6:26 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Newtown Residents Demolish A School, And Violent Memories

In June, people gathered in Newtown, Conn., to remember the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 9:55 am

Demolition has begun at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman killed 20 students and six adults last December. Bricks will be pulverized, steel melted down and a new school built at the same location.

Allison Hornak attended Sandy Hook Elementary School as a kid. After college, she returned home to Newtown, Conn., and opened an art gallery that's within walking distance of where the mass killing took place.

Hornak says she has a lot of fond memories of Sandy Hook — like a teacher who let her chew gum in class, and the pathways through the school.

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Where We Live
12:00 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Youth Civic Engagement and Model United Nations

Alexandra Buda
Chion Wolf

In a time when some say youth civic engagement is declining dramatically, there are programs that exist to teach students effective deliberation, debate, and discourse. This November, high school students from across the state will flock to UConn to debate current and pressing foreign policy issues, in a simulation of the United Nations. 

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Student Loans
4:12 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Student Loans in Connecticut Prompt High Complaint Rate

Trinity College in Hartford. ConnPIRG found that Connecticut registered the third-highest complaint rate in the nation for student loans.
Credit Paul Keleher / Creative Commons

Connecticut borrowers with private student loans have one of the highest complaint rates in the nation. The figures have been compiled by consumer rights group ConnPIRG, from the database of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

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Code Switch
11:50 am
Wed October 23, 2013

It Takes A Classroom To Learn The Family Language

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 4:32 pm

Call it a linguistic identity crisis.

Growing up in Westchester, N.Y., 25-year-old Danielle Alvarez says, she and her two siblings didn't have much need for Spanish. With few other Hispanic families around, she got by with the few phrases she had picked up from her Mexican-born father: good night, put a coat on, be careful.

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Mental Health
8:06 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Malloy Announces Initiatives Aimed at Children and Teens

Governor Malloy announced a Safe Schools/Healthy Students award to encourage school districts to decrease youth violence while promoting healthy child development.
Credit Office of Governor Dannel Malloy

Governor Malloy announced three new initiatives that will make it easier for families to access mental health services, and to provide better identification and intervention for children and teens with mental health issues. 

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Nevada Shooting
12:54 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

2 Dead, 2 Wounded In Nevada School Shooting

A Sparks Middle School student cries after Monday's shooting in Sparks, Nev.
Kevin Clifford AP

Originally published on Mon October 21, 2013 7:05 pm

A staff member at a Nevada middle school was fatally shot by a student, who was also killed, apparently by a self-inflicted wound. Two other students, both 12-years-old — were wounded but are now in stable condition, law enforcement says.

The shooting occurred on the campus of Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nev., a suburb of Reno on Monday before the start of classes.

A witness reports seeing the staff member who was killed trying to persuade the shooter to give up the gun.

The wounded students were being treated at a local hospital, officials said.

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Race and Poverty
3:34 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Rinku Sen: Let's Call It an Opportunity Gap

Credit rinkusen.com

Rinku Sen is an author, speaker and activist. She'll be in Connecticut next week to keynote a conference, talking about "The Structure of Race and Poverty: Implications for the Future of Young Children." She appeared on WNPR's Where We Live and spoke about institutional racism, and about her website Colorlines

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Where We Live
12:00 am
Thu October 17, 2013

NPR's Frank Tavares, and Rinku Sen on Race

Frank Tavares
Credit Chion Wolf

If you listen to public radio, you know Frank Tavares. Colin McEnroe called him NPR’s Yoda, but you probably best know him as the voice of NPR.  He’s wrapping up his tenure as the voice that says, “This is NPR” after funding credits.  

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New Haven
1:09 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Expansion Begins at Common Ground

A groundbreaking Tuesday marked an expansion at Common Ground High School in New Haven. From left, Frank Mitchell, board chair; student Mettao Feliz; State Rep. Toni Walker; William Curran, donor; Melissa Spear, executive director; and Stefan Pryor.
Common Ground High School

Students, administrators and elected officials gathered at the Common Ground High School in New Haven Tuesday to break ground on a new, state-of-the-art facility. Joel Tolman, the charter school's director of development and community engagement, said the new building will house science, art, performance, and athletic spaces. It will also model sustainability with a solar array, geothermal system, and other materials aimed at reducing climate change. 

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Where We Live
10:00 am
Tue October 15, 2013

First College Student in the Family

John Walker Flickr Creative Commons

The transition from high school to college is tough for anyone. But if you’re the first in your family to go to school, you’re a trailblazer and have a whole other set of challenges. From knowledge of the college application process, to financial aid, to campus life, there are more hurdles to get past when you’re the first to go through it.

On this episode of Where We Live we’re joined by a panel of first-generation college students, both past and present to share their stories. Are you a first-generation college student? We want to hear your story!

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Government Shutdown
8:55 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Stalled Efforts in the Race to the Top

State Representative Andy Fleischmann, who chairs Connecticut's Education Committee.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

State education officials plan to submit Connecticut’s grant application for next Race to the Top competition this week. But as the federal government shutdown drags on, state-level officials have no one to answer questions about the federal requirements. Ninety-four percent of the employees at the U.S. Department of Education are on furlough.

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Guns in Bridgeport
9:30 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Proposed Shooting Range Near School is Cancelled

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch speaking on WNPR&apos;s <em>Where We Live</em> in February, 2013.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Bridgeport is scrapping plans to build a police training facility and shooting range across the street from an elementary school.

Mayor Bill Finch said the city will look into other locations. "After hearing such strong concerns from the parents," Finch said in a statement, "we have decided to seek alternate sites in the city for the indoor shooting range, and all potential new sites will be in non-residential areas away from school buildings."

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Newtown
10:36 am
Sun October 6, 2013

The Votes Are In: Sandy Hook Elementary Will Be Torn Down

Voters in Newtown, Conn., have approved a plan to use nearly $50 million in state funds to demolish Sandy Hook Elementary and build a new school in its place. This photo provided by Craig Hoekenga shows his son Trey, a kindergarten student at Sandy Hook, on the school bus this year. The window has a quote from the late principal, Dawn Hochsprung, who was killed in last December's mass shooting.
Craig Hoekenga AP

Originally published on Sun October 6, 2013 2:23 pm

In a referendum marked by a large turnout and an emphatic result, the people of Newtown, Conn., have voted to demolish Sandy Hook Elementary and build a new school. Sandy Hook was the scene of a mass shooting last December, when 20 children and six staff members were killed.

Saturday's vote asked citizens to decide whether to take nearly $50 million in state money to fund the demolition of Sandy Hook and the planning and construction of a new school on essentially the same site.

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Sex Education
4:28 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Should Pleasure Be Taught as Part of Sex Ed?

Credit robertelyov, creative commons

What I remember of middle school sex ed consists mostly of what the kids told me in the back of the bus (gasp!). When they split the boys and the girls up into groups at school, I was given a “starter kit.” It was a cardboard box full of scary and curious feminine hygiene products. I don’t know what the boys got.

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Start 'em young
10:50 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Connecticut Invention Convention Expands to Create Next Gen Innovators

Mallory Kievman, 10th grade, Loomis Chaffee, invented a lollipop that she says will cure hiccups.
Sujata Srinivasan

Thomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves....” For kids in the Connecticut Invention Convention program, now poised to expand through corporate grants, becoming inventors and entrepreneurs seems to be all in a day’s work.

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Gender
11:20 am
Thu October 3, 2013

ACLU On Single-Sex Education In Connecticut

Credit State Education Resource Center

The American Civil Liberties Union in Connecticut said it's concerned about the idea of single-sex classrooms as a way to address the state’s achievement gap.

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Government Shutdown
8:08 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Head Start Program in Bridgeport Forced To Close

Credit Tomwsulcer / Wikimedia Commons

The effects of the federal shutdown have begun to ripple across Connecticut. In Bridgeport, 13 Head Start sites have been closed, leaving needy families scrambling.

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Greenwich
11:26 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Learning How To Stop Bullying

Marji Lipshez-Shapiro.
Credit Ryan Cassella / WNPR

The town of Greenwich is still coping with the tragic death of a teenager earlier this year. A Greenwich high school student took his own life just hours after the first day of school. A preliminary investigation pointed to bullying as having played a role in the suicide.

Each year, Marji Lipshez-Shapiro leads anti-bullying programs in about 200 Connecticut schools as the education director for the state Office of the Anti-Defamation League. Lipshez-Shapiro will be in Greenwich this week, joined by students from Greenwich High School, for conversation with parents on what they need to know about bullying, name-calling, and cyber-bullying.

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Testing
9:48 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Rise in Connecticut Public School Students Who Took the SAT

Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

More Connecticut public school students took the SAT college entrance exams this year than last year. It was a more diverse group than ever, according to the State Department of Education.

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School Reform
3:04 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Diane Ravitch Rebukes Education Activists' 'Reign Of Error'

Yunus Arakon iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 8:11 am

Diane Ravitch, a former assistant secretary of education, spent years advocating for an overhaul of the American education system. She supported the No Child Left Behind Act, the charter school movement and standardized testing.

But Ravitch recently — and very publicly — changed her mind. She looked at the data and decided that the kinds of changes she'd supported weren't working. Now she's a prominent critic of things like charter schools and school choice — and she's particularly opposed to privatizing schools.

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Technology
3:02 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Students Find Ways To Hack School-Issued iPads Within A Week

Customers test out iPad minis on display in Los Angeles. Students who received free iPads from the Los Angeles Unified School District in a deal with Apple are finding ways to use them for more than just classwork.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 10:53 am

Los Angeles Unified School District started issuing iPads to its students this school year, as part of a $30 million deal with Apple. The rollout is in the first of three phases, and ultimately, the goal is to distribute more than 600,000 devices.

But less than a week after getting their iPads, almost 200 of the districts' high school students found a way to bypass software blocks on the devices that limit what websites the students can use.

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Bridgeport
12:51 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

State Supreme Court Mulls Vallas Verdict

Paul Vallas.
Credit The Connecticut Mirror

The Connecticut Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in the case of Paul Vallas, the Superintendent of Bridgeport Schools. Vallas is disputing a lower court ruling that he is not qualified for his position. The case centers on a certification waiver that was issued to Paul Vallas when he took up his position as Bridgeport Superintendent. He didn't have the conventional qualifications, but the state's education turnaround efforts allow for people to be recruited from out of state to help failing school districts.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
10:28 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Vallas Appeals; Cops on Trial; Concert-Goers Collapse

Credit Manny Broussard / FEMA

It was a violent weekend in some parts of the world, and we're monitoring the situation at the Nairobi mall today along with the rest of the world as the situation unfolds. In Connecticut, steady habits are keeping some of our attention in court, where Bridgeport Superintendent Paul Vallas and East Haven police officers are busy today to kick off this first week of fall. Meanwhile, others in Middlebury were involved in some very unsteady habits. Read all about it in today's Wheelhouse Digest.

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Education
2:54 pm
Sat September 21, 2013

What Did Your Parents Tell You About Race?

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 6:48 pm

Earlier this week, a school in Hartford, Conn., made headlines after parents complained about its, uh, novel approach at making America's racial history resonate with seventh graders.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:40 am
Thu September 19, 2013

A Crash Course On How Infinity Works

Credit Flickr Creative Commons, Rainbow Lyf

Infinity is weird. It's neither even nor odd. It's not a number. Really, it's just a concept we use to summarize that which we can't understand.

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News
4:17 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Governor Malloy Announces Grant Money for School Security

Gov. Malloy announced on Wednesday $5 Million for 169 schools in CT to improve school safety.
Credit Christine Stuart / CT News Junkie

Governor Dannel Malloy announced today that 169 Connecticut schools will share $5 million in grants to upgrade school security infrastructure. The governor promised more grant money is on the way.

The competitive grants were part of the Gun Violence Prevention and Safety Act. The $5 million of state bond money will go to school districts that plan to upgrade or already upgraded their security infrastructure in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
1:38 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Reform Rejected; Gang Leader Turns Editor; Borrowing Encouraged

Paul Vallas in 2008, when he served the New Orleans school district.
Credit Manny Broussard / FEMA

As the fall leaves begin to turn in Connecticut, we're thinking today at The Wheelhouse Digest about a few other things turning a corner as well. Efforts toward school reform in Bridgeport were pushed back last week. A former Latin Kings member in New Haven found a way to transform herself and her work. And everything will be turning up jobs if we just borrow some more, according to a new report. Here's a taste of the news you need to know now.

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Public Education
8:49 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Report Cites Persistent Achievement Gap in Connecticut

The report provides data such as this graph, showing that low-income students score half as well as their non-low-income peers, as early as the 3rd grade and across all subjects tested.
Credit Connecticut Commission on Educational Achievement

A new report from the Connecticut Council for Education Reform praises Connecticut's efforts to overhaul its public education system, but warns more needs to be done to close the state's achievement gap between low-income students and wealthier students. The statewide nonprofit organization, made up of business and civic leaders, released the report Tuesday.

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Bullying
1:26 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Why Spying On Our Kids To Solve Cyberbullying Might Not Work

Cyberbullies can reach victims around the clock – before school, during school, even while lying in bed at night. And in public online spaces, everybody else finds out about it.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 3:43 pm

A school district in Southern California has hired a private firm to comb through the cyber lives of its 14,000 middle- and high-school students, looking for signs of trouble.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the Glendale Unified School District is spending $40,000 to have the firm monitor social media use among the district's students. School officials want to know if the kids are posting suicidal thoughts, obscenities or comments intended to bully fellow students.

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