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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10 Ways To Build A Positive Parent-Teacher Relationship
Build a positive relationship with your child’s teacher from the first day of school and throughout the year.
The start of a new school year is always filled with many beginnings, including the beginning of the relationship with your child’s teacher. A positive relationship can reap many benefits for you and your child, creating a constructive learning environment where your young student can thrive. Developing a good relationship begins even before the first day of school, as you prepare your child - and yourself – for what lies ahead. Here are 10 constructive ways to build a positive relationship with your child’s teacher this year.
 
Make Initial Contact

 It is important to make contact with your child’s teacher either before the school year begins or shortly after it has started.  Some of the issues to cover with a teacher during this initial contact include:

By alerting your child’s teacher to these important factors at the beginning of the year, it allows that teacher to support your child in the best way possible throughout the year.
 
This video gives helpful tips on how to establish a productive relationship with your child's teacher that will benefit you, the children and the teachers.
 
 
Offer Support
 
Let your child’s teacher know up front that you are on her side when it comes to how she runs her classroom. Give the teacher the authority she deserves as a professional who has been trained in her craft. While you may know your child best, the teacher is responsible for the education of anywhere from 20-30 students.
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Cheating Scandals in Public Schools Grow Exponentially
Cheating in public schools has grown dramatically, aided through the use of cell phones, graphing calculators, and even apparel. Learn about why students are cheating and how schools are regulating the cheaters.
Aided by technology, more students are cheating in public schools than ever before. While only 20% of students in the 1940s admitted to cheating in school, this statistic has skyrocketed to 75% of today's high school student population, according to Educational Testing Service. From cell phones and text messages to emails, cheating has found technological accomplices.
 

Cheating Trends

According to the School Library Journal, Dr. Donald McCabe, a professor of management and global business at Rutgers, has found that nearly all high school students have admitted to engaging in some form of cheating. Unbelievably, 95 percent of all of McCabe's surveyed students report that they have cheated (at some point) during their educational years! Whether the cheating involved copying homework, sharing answers on a test, or using other tactics, McCabe asserts that most teens participate in these behaviors - often without getting caught.
 
From surveying the cheating practices of high school students for over six years, McCabe has accumulated data from 24,000 high school students in 70,000 different high schools. Based on this extensive data, McCabe found that 64 percent of the students have admitted to engaging in serious test-based cheating (including copying, helping someone during a test, and using hidden notes).
 
Why Students Cheat

Why does such a large majority of students cheat in school? While cheating was once stereotypically confined to struggling students, today's cheaters are often the "best" students in school. In fact, according to The Josephson Institute, "Cheating is higher among college-bound kids than
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Would Your Child Get Better Grades Without a Summer Break?
Learn about the pros and cons surrounding year-round schools through studies arguing that students perform better in school without a summer break.
With increasingly demanding standards, competitive college acceptance expectations, and more rigorous educational guidelines, many public school students are striving for higher grades than ever before. Recent studies assert that the key to boosting a child's GPA involves providing students with more consistent educational opportunities. Fundamentally, more consistent opportunities are best achieved by providing students with year-round public instruction.
In fact, according to NAYRE, Specialists in Time and Learning, educational studies prove that nearly all students experience various forms of summer learning loss during the longer seasonal time away from school. In further detail, a team of psychology experts at the University of Missouri thoroughly evaluated the impact of summer vacation on students' test scores. As a result of these investigations, The study found that summer learning loss is a reality, that all students (including the best) lose in math and spelling skills, and many, though not all, lose in reading skills over the traditional summer.
 
As a result of these, along with other expert findings, many educators and parents are supporting new propositions for year-round public school classes. These initiatives are forcing many community members to question: will students earn higher grades without a summer vacation? This video from PBS gives an overview of the issue.
 
 
The Year-Round Educational Model
 
With new plans for year-round programs, public schools have individually, and often uniquely, created their own modified instructional calendars. An example of a year-round calendar typically
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5 Top Secrets to Getting on a Teacher’s “Good Side”
Learn how you and your child can get on a teacher’s “good side” with these five strategies.
While every teacher naturally wants to help students learn and excel, there are inevitably some “favorites” in the classroom. However, based on expert information and educators themselves, parents can be involved and take simple steps to help get on the teacher’s “good side.”
 

Meet the Teacher

At the beginning of any school year or new semester, most schools host “open-house” or “meet the teacher” events. If your child’s school provides the community with this opportunity, try your best to attend! The open-house invitations allow parents and teachers to interact face-to-face. 
 
 
This parent-teacher meeting can ameliorate various miscommunication issues down the line. For example, if your child comes home complaining of a teacher’s unfairness or assignment, you can use your own knowledge of the teacher (based on your meeting) to assess if your child’s perceptions are accurate. Many teachers, upon meeting parents at open-house events, are able to clearly outline their classroom procedures, grading policies, and so forth. By becoming aware of these guidelines and the teacher’s personality, you can more clearly assess any future issues that your child may encounter in the teacher’s class.
 
Establish Communication
 
If you can meet the teacher at an open-house event, then you’re off to the right start! If you cannot attend a meet-the-teacher event, however, try offering your own introduction through another alternative method. For example, email the teacher, introducing yourself in a friendly fashion. Offer your home number or email address so that the teacher can easily contact you if needed. By making yourself available, your child’s teacher can more
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Benefits of Public School Summer Programs
Learn about the three major advantages of enrolling your child in a summer learning program hosted by your public school.
To provide students with academic, social, and personal enrichment opportunities year-round, many public schools and national institutions have created unique and diverse summer programs. With programs focusing on core subject areas, such as math and language, in addition to programs that spotlight team development and leadership skills, students of all ages can benefit from the exclusive perks of summer programs. 
  
Stimulate Academic Advancement and Cognitive Development
 
For students who struggle in specific academic areas, or for students who demonstrate exceptional academic abilities in core areas, summer programs that focus on academic instruction allow students to enhance their cognitive skills and abilities. For example, as the American Mathematical Society reveals in their list of summer camps and programs, there are hundreds of local universities, public schools, and community colleges that provide kids with the opportunity to engage in mathematical practice, research, and investigations. 
 
While these opportunities, in any subject area, will provide students with unique and engaging intervention activities and lessons, many of the academic programs also help support personal development and social development advancements as well.  In this video Socratica offers 5 reasons for attending summer school.
 
 
For example, in thoroughly investigating the array of summer math programs across the country, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) directs an academically rigorous math camp with a unique social twist; the UNL camp caters specifically to young girls ranging from grades 10 through 12. Striving to target this unique group of students who specifically tend to struggle in math, and who
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