Parenting and Learning Issues

Each child learns differently. Here we offer resources on learning styles and the classroom models that support them, expert advice on how to improve learning, and tips on parental involvement.
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Sobering Teen Suicide Numbers Prompts Action by Schools
With rising numbers of suicide amongst children and adolescents, public school districts are taking steps to ensure that all students feel safe, welcome and accepted.
The teen suicide rate in the United States has tripled since the 1960s. Suicide is currently the third leading cause of death among adolescents, and the second leading cause of death among college students. Although suicide is highly preventable, with clearly identifiable warning signs, it continues to occur in many communities across the nation. In fact, in February and March 2014, ten New York City public school children took their own lives.
 
The Numbers
 
According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year, approximately 4,600 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 take their own lives. The vast majority of suicides are carried out via firearm or suffocation. However, it isn’t just deaths by suicide that are part of the issue. Nearly one-fourth of American high school students report thinking seriously about suicide, 13 percent report having a plan, and 8 percent report having actually attempted suicide in the last 12 months. That translates to well over 150,000 emergency room visits by children who have injured themselves as part of an attempt at taking their own life.
 
It is well documented that boys are much more likely to die as a result of suicide. However, girls are much more likely to attempt taking their own life. In addition to these gender differences, ethnic and cultural differences also exist. Among minority groups, Alaskan Native and Native American groups experience the highest rates of suicide. Hispanics are also at greater risk of suicide than are black and white youth.
 
Further...
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10 Best Ways to Prepare for the SATs
The SATs are a make or break exam for high school students. Check out the 10 best ways to prepare for the big test.
Like it or not, the SATs are a critical opportunity for students to prove themselves to college admissions committees across the country.

If you want to be at the top of your game, you need to develop an effective strategy to prepare. We spoke with some of the top experts in college admissions to find out more about the best ways to prepare for the SATs.

1. Start Reading

If you have a lot of time to prepare, the first step is get reading. Richard Bernstein, Executive Director of Huntington Learning Center (Cherry Hill, NJ and Turnersville, NJ), says this is crucial. “If you have a year to prepare, read, read, and read some more.” 

2. Create a Balanced Study Regimen

Build a study pattern that will get you ready for the test. Students can effectively study in group, one-on-one sessions, or by themselves. No matter what you do however, make sure you don’t overload and always keep a reasonable study/life balance.

Setting goals is only useful if they are realistic. The best way to be productive during crunch time is to “schedule play activities first into your calendar, then your work.” Piers Steel, a professor at the University of Calgary, says in a NerdScholar study piece. “It makes sure there is a payoff for being productive.”

A student who elects to devote an inordinate amount of time to studying for the SAT may run the risk of overloading and not retaining information. Colin Gruenwald,...
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Back to School Means Renewed Debate Over Later Start Times for Students
With back to school just around the corner, the debate over when to start and end school has revved up once again.
As students begin to face the realization that their days of sleeping in are nearly over, school districts continue to debate the benefits of later start times for older students. With plenty of research to back up the idea that teens sleep on a different cycle than many schools allow, districts must once again consider the theory that later start times could mean higher student performance. Would later start times really impact how well high school students learn?
 
Research Supports Later Start Times
 
As back-to-school logistics are put into place, research on the benefits of later start times come back into play. There is plenty to choose from in that category – most showing teens that head to class later tend to perform better overall. Unfortunately, coordination of school schedules doesn’t always support allowing teens the later start.
 
According to a recent report at Times-Union, 40 percent of high schools in the United States start prior to 8:00 a.m. A small minority, 15 percent, start after 8:30 a.m. That minority is often the result of coordination of bus schedules, which tends to favor younger students for the later start times.
 
Logistics aside, research certainly seems to favor allowing older students to hit the books later. Students in the teen years require just as much sleep as younger children, according to the National Sleep Foundation. That amount can range from 8 ½ to 9 ¼ hours of sleep every night. Decades of studies support this theory, including a Stanford study in...
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What is Project-Based Learning?
Project-based learning has been highly touted by some educators as a viable option to traditional learning models. We’ll take a look at what project-based learning is and why it is getting so much attention today.
Project-based learning is a unique type of pedagogy that moves beyond the traditional “memorize and regurgitate information” approach that is commonly seen in classrooms today. Project-based learning brings relevancy and practical application to the lesson, by making students active participants, rather than mere bystanders. Although project-based learning is still used on a relatively limited basis today, there are a number of reasons why educators might want to consider incorporating this methodology into their classrooms.
 
A Definition of Project-Based Learning
 
According to the West Virginia Department of Education, project-based learning involves students coming together in groups or working individually to explore real-world problems. Through their explorations, students create presentations that sum up what they learned and their proposed solutions to those problems. Teachers in project-based learning classrooms serve as facilitators and guides, helping students find answers to questions without spoon feeding the answers directly to them.
 
The Edutopia website explains that project-based learning comes from the belief that students learn best by becoming active participants in the education process. The methodology involves the following:
 
       ·      Students using knowledge learned to tackle problems experienced in the real world
       ·      Students exercising more control over their learning environment
       ·      Students typically working in groups or pairs, although individual projects can also be used
       ·      Teachers serving as coaches to encourage student reflection and problem-solving skills
 
Project-based learning is similar to problem-based learning, which presents students with a real-world problem and allows them to explore possible...
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5 Tips for Getting Ahead in High School
We take a look at the various ways high school students can get a leg up on higher education while they are still in high school.
While most students anticipate summer break as a time to let down and recharge, others spend the summer months planning ways to get ahead during the next academic year. For those over-achievers, there are many options to choose from, between summer school opportunities and accelerated programs once the regular school year rolls around. If you are a student looking for fast-track opportunities, or a parent of one of those ambitious students, we have the tips you are looking for to get a step up on the high school years.
 
Advanced Placement
 
This tried and true program offers high-pressure demands and challenges comparable to a college-level course. So why undertake Advanced Placement classes in high school? According to the Princeton Review, Advanced Placement, also known as AP, offers a myriad of benefits to high school students, including:
 
       ·      The ability to pick and choose the subjects for acceleration
       ·      The chance to impress prospective colleges
       ·      The opportunity to earn college credits while still in high school
                                                          
Currently, there are more than 30 AP subjects available, although the options may vary from high school to high school. If you excel at writing, an AP English course may be the perfect choice. Math gurus may prefer an AP math class, while aspiring scientists can find AP courses in biology, chemistry or physics. Even history buffs will find a variety of options in AP world and American history, government or other classes.
 
Advanced Placement courses offer the ability to take an exam near the end of the...
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Parenting and Learning Issues

Improving Learning

A comprehensive look at the latest trends, expert advice and recent studies into improving student learning. Explore the latest studies into links between student performance, sleep and music. See why schools are opting for later start times and year round schedules.

Parental Involvement from K-12

Learn how direct involvement in your child’s education can impact school performance. Get expert advice on how to get involved, learn why and when you need to talk to a teacher and ways to make changes on campus.

Bullying

An overview of bullying in schools, laws to protect students, and the impact on education. This section provides great tips on protecting your child from being bullied or becoming a bully. Learn about the latest anti-bullying laws and see how cyber-bullying effects your child’s school performance.

Types of Learning

What type of learner is your child? Be in the know about different types of learning and which classrooms are best suited for each type. What is project-based learning? Cooperative Learning? Would your child benefit from a blended learning experience? Explore these teaching techniques and learn how they could improve your child’s performance.

Kindergarten and Elementary Issues

Weigh the pros and cons of preschool, full day kindergarten and other issues affecting our youngest learners. Learn what can be done to help your child prepare to enter school, boost confidence, and encourage reading at the grade school level.

High School Issues

Learn more about issues specific to high school students. Get an overview of high school graduation rates, college readiness, career choice and social issues impacting teenagers in public schools.