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.
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Updated November 26, 2015 |
How to Make Sure Your Gifted Student is Properly Challenged
Gifted students often fail to thrive in traditional academic environments because they are not being challenged. In this article you will learn how to make sure your gifted student gets the quality education he or she deserves.
Gifted students need to be challenged.

A commonly cited statistic suggests that as many as 20% of high school dropouts are gifted students. Does this statistic surprise you? On one side of the coin, you might think that gifted students would be more likely to excel in school than traditional students. On the other side of the coin, it makes sense that gifted students might drop out of school if they are not properly challenged. If you are the parent, guardian, or teacher of a gifted student then it is your duty to make sure they are pushed hard enough to meet their maximum potential.

Myths and Misconceptions

The statistic quoted earlier could be interpreted in different ways. Some might assume that gifted students will excel no matter what kind of schooling they receive while others might be able to see that gifted students are often bored in traditional classrooms which leads to a higher dropout rate. Before getting into the details regarding how to properly challenge a gifted student, it is important to address some common myths and misconceptions about gifted students.

  • Gifted students will do fine in normal classrooms. According to a study conducted by the Fordham Institute, over 50% of teachers have not received any professional development in regards to teaching gifted students. Furthermore, nearly 75% of those same teachers admitted that the brightest students in their classrooms are often bored or under-challenged in school. These statistics highlight the sad truth that, unfortunately, many teachers simply are not equipped to deal with
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Updated May 22, 2015 |
5 Ways Parents Can Inspire Children to Love Reading
Children are reading less and less in this country, and the effects of that are showing in their performance in school. However, there are a variety of ways parents can encourage their children to read – and hopefully to love reading!

There has been a substantial decline in the number of children who read for pleasure in the last few years. In fact, according to the annual Kids and Family Report published by Scholastic, in just the last four years, the number of kids that read for fun has dropped by nearly 10%. Today, barely more than half of children in the United States report liking to read for enjoyment. A full 37% of children like to read “a little,” while 12% report not liking reading at all.

When it comes to reading, kids can come up with a million excuses as to why they don’t like it.  It’s boring. There isn’t enough time. It isn’t fun. There’s already too much reading in school. 

Thankfully, there is an art to promoting reading. Some methods, like nagging, definitely do not work. Yet other methods, such as modeling reading behaviors to your child, will pay dividends in the short and long term.

What NOT To Do

It can be frustrating trying to get your child to read, and in those moments, it is easy to rely on unsuccessful methods for encouraging reading. Sometimes the first inclination is to nag your child into submission, or perhaps bribe them to read by offering them a reward for doing so. Unfortunately, these methods often do more harm than good. Nagging can easily wear on your child’s nerves and lead him or her to resent the fact that they are being forced to read. And while rewarding your

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Updated January 21, 2015 |
9 Smart Tips for Boosting Your Child’s Academic Success
Turn your child into a stronger student by creating the right support structure and expectations. Use these nine tips to help maximize your child's academic success.
Your child’s success in school is dependent upon a wide variety of factors. Certainly, the quality of programming at your child’s school, the quality of your child’s teacher, and access to quality resources are all critical components of your child’s success. But the factor that is most important for your child’s academic achievement is your involvement in their educational process.
 
According to the Michigan Department of Education, parental involvement is twice as predictive of a child’s academic success than socioeconomic status. Yet, the same report also notes that a lack of parental involvement is the largest issue facing public schools today. There are likely many reasons for this gap, not the least of which is that some parents just don’t know how to help their children when they bring schoolwork home. However, involvement in your child’s education does not begin and end with struggling to help them with homework. There are many methods you can employ to help your child achieve his or her academic potential, and here are nine ways you can naturally incorporate into your child's academic support. 
Create a Routine and Stick to It
 
A major barrier that many parents face is simply finding the time in their schedules to sit down with their children to talk about school, review work, and provide assistance when needed. This has become even more difficult in recent years as children have become so involved with technologies like mobile phones, tablets, and social media that can occupy
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Updated March 03, 2015
10 Money-Saving Tips for Back-to-School Shopping
One of the most stressful parts of back-to-school season is making sure your children get everything they need, without breaking the bank. Here are 10 expert back-to-school shopping tips to get what you need on a budget.
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
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Updated March 03, 2015 |
Urban Public Schools Come to the Rescue of Black Boys
Public schools across the nation are implementing programs that help keep young black men in school and off the streets. Boosting graduation rates, reducing gang involvement and violence, and providing positive male role models are just a few of the common elements of these programs. Yet, the achievement gap between black boys and other peer groups remains extremely wide.
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
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