December 01, 2012
When it comes to the education of our country’s children, there are many choices today. Whether a child has high academic potential
, special needs
or an eye on a career track, schools across the country are ready to answer the call. Take a look at three categories of schools that strive to serve a select segment of our student population today.
Blue Ribbon Schools
In 1982, the Blue Ribbon School program was established by Terry Bell, the Education Secretary at the time. The purpose of the program was to raise the public school system to a new level by recognizing schools across the country that achieved high levels of performance and improvement. Now dubbed the National Blue Ribbon School Program, the system continues to draw attention to outstanding elementary, middle and high schools in both the public and private sectors.
In order to be eligible for Blue Ribbon status, the Department of Education’s
website states that schools must demonstrate one of the following:
Exemplary improving schools must also demonstrate a student population where at least 40 percent comes from disadvantaged backgrounds. Both public and private schools must follow similar performance criteria, but the nomination process is slightly different between the two. Public schools are nominated by a number of offices, including the Chief State School Officer, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the...read more
April 22, 2012
The right school for your child can make all the difference in his or her successful academic career. The good news is that there are many options in education beyond the public school down the street today. The bad news is that the abundance of options often leaves parents in a quandary over how to choose the best environment for their children. It is important to know what to look for in a school to ensure your child receives the best possible education for his specific needs. In some cases, that might indeed be the public school down the street, while other children may need a different environment to facilitate their learning process most effectively.
What are the Choices?
Many parents are unaware of the different choices they have in educating their children today. According to Education.com
, some of the options available in K-12 education include:
· Neighborhood Public Schools
· Alternative Schools
It is important to learn about the various types of schools available nearby, so you can make an informed choice for your children.
Factors to Consider when Selecting a School
Once you know which options are available to you, it is time to determine the best environment for your child, based on the 10 steps we have outlined here:
Finding a Good Fit
To find the best learning environment, a parent needs to set the following four criteria outlined at GreatSchools.org
· What you want your child to learn...read more
September 22, 2010
This year, the U.S. Department of Education has recognized more than 250 public schools and 50 private schools
across the country for their commitment to excellence and their ability to overcome outstanding odds to properly educate their students. These schools have received the Blue Ribbon of Distinction, an award reserved for schools that boast students who meet and maintain high educational goals
. The current winners are listed on the U.S. Department of Education website
What is a Blue Ribbon of Distinction?
According to the Blue Ribbon website
, "The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private K-12 schools that are either academically superior in their state or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement."
The award has been given out since 1982, evaluating student achievement with measurable characteristics that help identify not only the high achievers, but also those schools that have achieved despite difficult odds. The award is particularly focused on schools that have overcome hurdles like poverty
, tight budgets
and high teacher turnover to produce student achievement well beyond their means.
Benefits of the Blue Ribbon Program
The Blue Ribbon of Distinction serves three different purposes. First, it identifies the highest achieving schools in the country, using standards that correctly interpret student performance and improvement. Second, the program makes criteria available to all schools to help them evaluate their current quality status and find appropriate places for improvement.
Finally, the Blue Ribbon program facilitates the exchange of information between the award-winning schools and those looking for solutions...read more
April 02, 2010
, state standardized test scores
, and teacher-to-student ratios: these are all measures utilized by parents to judge a public high school’s quality. However, what if parents have been evaluating all the wrong statistics? What if the best way to measure a public high school’s educational quality is by the success its students achieve after they graduate?
While some public high schools will proudly publish the colleges to which their seniors have been accepted, what happens to these students once they enter into the towers of higher education? Has their public high school education properly prepared them for the rigors of college?
Measuring a Public High School’s Success
As reported by the Washington Post
, the National Student Clearinghouse manages a database of more than 93 million students enrolled in over 3,300 colleges. While this information was once compiled for student loan purposes, the Clearinghouse has now made this data available for high schools.
Included in the National Student Clearinghouse reports is a bevy of valuable information, such as:
- Institutions of enrollment
- College transfer statistics
- College graduation rates
- Types of degrees earned
- Majors pursued
The conclusions that could be gleaned from these reports are invaluable for both high schools and parents. For example, in the sample report evaluated by the Washington Post, the data showed:
- 76% of students who scored 3 or higher on an AP exam graduated from college
- 59.4% of students who failed an AP exam still graduated from college
July 16, 2009
When students choose their schedules for the upcoming school year, many parents worry over whether or not to enroll their child in honors courses. While honors courses certainly provide students with greater challenges, many students are forced to sacrifice higher grades for the cost of more rigorous academic experiences.
Ultimately, many schools and parents are confused over which is better: higher grades
or greater challenges? Since earning a high grade in an honors course is more challenging than earning a high grade in a regular paced course, students seeking to establish their new schedules should heed the advice of public school and college admission
Honors vs. Average: What's the Big Difference?
While each state and school community has its own curriculum standards, most honors and average paced courses respectively adhere to similar philosophical practices. For example, Wake County Public Schools
, one of the largest school systems in North Carolina, divides its high school courses into "honors" and "academic" (average) tracks. In examining the differences in Wake County Schools' 9th
grade English course options, for example, parents and students can clearly examine the basic similarities and differences between the honors and academic options.
- Honors 9th Grade English: Students in both honors and academic are required to read specific texts from a county-wide reading list. An honors course, however, will generally read more texts than an academic course, as the honors course is conducted at a much faster pace. In order to work more rapidly through the diverse materials, honors...
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