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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Parent-teacher conferences can be a bit unnerving for parents regardless of how many times they’ve attended. It can be difficult to cover all the questions you have in a short period of time, and you may even leave the conference feeling like you weren’t able to accomplish much. However, there are practical steps you can take before, during, and after parent-teacher conferences to ensure you have all the information you need to support your child’s learning.

Before the Conference

Parent-teacher conferences are often set up such that parents have precious little time with each teacher, in many cases 10-15 minutes at the absolute most. In order to get the most out of your appointment, come to the conference prepared. Begin by reviewing your child’s grades beforehand, including their report card, any progress reports, work your child has brought home, and any comments your child’s teacher has made on his or her homework. Gathering as much information as you can ahead of time will allow you to formulate questions to ask your child’s teacher and be ready to dive into the discussion once your appointment time arrives. Some possible questions to ask include:
 

  • Is my child performing at grade level?
  • What are my child’s strengths? Weaknesses?
  • What can my child do to improve academically?
  • What can I do to help my child improve academically?


It’s important to be prepared whether your child is doing well or poorly. On the one hand, if your child is struggling you’ll need to be familiar with why this . . . read more

It’s back-to-school time, are your kids ready? One of the most stressful parts of back-to-school season is making sure your children get everything they need, without breaking the bank.

Teachers today seem to request more and more supplies than ever before. Whether physical or electronic, it’s a tall task to find and purchase the items at a reasonable cost. We’ve paneled some school, retail, and savings experts to get the best tips and strategies so you can get the best supplies on a smart budget.

Here are 10 expert back-to-school shopping tips.

1. Use supplies from last year

Before you do anything else, check last year’s school supplies to see if they are still in useable condition. Don’t purchase new supplies if the old ones can be made to last a while longer. Lunchboxes, backpacks, clothes, sports equipment, and other school paraphernalia can often make a return appearance. Sometimes, you’ll find unopened packs of pens, pencils, and other items that you may have forgotten about.

2. Make a list – and stick to it

Make a list before leaving the house. According to Dr. Deborah Gilboa, also known as parenting expert “Doctor G,” says a list is vital to staying on budget. “We tend to shop more responsibly when a list is guiding our purchases… [It] helps cut down impulse buying.” Many teachers also hand out supply sheets for their students and it is a good idea to bring this document along on shopping trips so that children get . . . read more
Knowledge is power. It is a phrase that countless schoolchildren have heard from the lips of countless teachers through the years. While for some it’s just meaningless words, for others it is a mantra by which they approach education. The Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) takes that mantra to heart, and after 20 years, has changed the manner in which public school children are taught.
 
KIPP began as the brainchild of two Teach for America workers in 1994. After recognizing that their low-income students were not receiving the support they needed in order to achieve success in school, and later in life, Dave Levin and Mike Feinberg devised a new way to teach middle school students. After convincing the Houston Independent School District to green light their experimental program, Levin and Feinberg built a curriculum that harnessed the power of values held dear by their community – hard work, accountability, high expectations, and a sense of togetherness. From their initial class of 47 students, KIPP has since grown into a network of 162 schools across the nation.
 
KIPP In a Nutshell
 
KIPP was formed in order to bring opportunity to underserved populations through education. KIPP schools, which are public charter schools, are founded on the belief that any child – regardless of his or her socioeconomic status, racial heritage, or other demographic factors – can and will learn if given the appropriate opportunity. And with that opportunity, poverty-stricken children can develop the knowledge and skills they need to graduate from . . . read more
The educational outlook for black boys has long been bleak. In Oakland, nearly one-third of African-American males drop out of high school. In Chicago, black boys lag behind other students in nearly every single measure of academic success. In schools throughout the nation, in large cities and small rural communities, black boys rank near the bottom in most measures of academic achievement and near the top in terms of the number of discipline referrals and suspensions.
 
Some of these statistics must be taken with a grain of salt, however. The American public school system has historically been less than responsive to the needs of black students, but particularly so for black males. Boys of color face many obstacles in life that include absent or unresponsive fathers, violence in the home and in their neighborhood, pressure to join gangs, and substance abuse. Yet schools regularly overlook these factors as being outside their realm of responsibility. Racial profiling by school officials, biased discipline policies, and a culture that engenders fear of young black males compound the problems for an educational system that is unprepared to manage the social, emotional, cultural, and academic needs of black boys.
 
Further compounding the issue is that institutional failures of public school systems serve to label young black students as something they are not. Black males are more likely to be removed from regular education settings and are more often misclassified as mentally retarded. These incorrect actions are taken due to a black student’s poor . . . read more
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were developed by a cadre of experts from the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, Achieve, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and other stakeholders, including K-12 science teachers and government officials from 26 states. The standards establish benchmarks that gauge student learning at each grade level from kindergarten through the twelfth grade in the areas of life science, physical science, earth and space science, and engineering, technology, and applications of science. The standards direct student learning along three dimensions:

  • Practices: Students master investigative behaviors that are key to scientific exploration and theory development about the natural world. These include, but are not limited to, the steps of the Scientific Method and their associated practices.
  • Crosscutting Concepts: Students learn concepts that are applicable to all disciplines of science, using common ideas such as patterns, cause and effect, stability, and change. Using this framework provides an organizational structure in which children can relate knowledge from one scientific field to another.
  • Core Ideas: Seminal concepts within science focus the curriculum on ideas that have broad applicability, provide key tools for understanding ideas and solving problems, relate to social or personal concerns, and are learnable over the course of multiple grades at increasingly deep levels of rigor.

These new-generation standards emphasize the importance of science in daily life, but also seek to prepare students for a rapidly evolving workforce that relies heavily on a deeper understanding of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). STEM-related . . . read more
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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.