ALAS 2012 will focus on best practices, top resources

The 9th annual ALAS Summit on Hispanic Education is an opportunity for K-12 leaders to explore, address, and examine issues, best practices, resources, and successes in the education of ELL students with an emphasis on Hispanic youth.

Those who attend will experience dynamic keynote speakers and break-out sessions chosen to meet the specific challenges facing school and district leaders. The conference takes place Oct. 10-13 at the InterContinental Hotel in Miami, Florida.

Pre-conference Site Visits To High Performing Miami-Dade County Public Schools

A highlight of the 9th Annual ALAS Summit on Hispanic Education is our Miami-Dade school visits to see first-hand “what works: in urban education settings. View listings, schedule and additional information.

Online registration for site visits

If you have already registered for the summit and would like to be a part of the school visits, please go back to the registration page and add your site visit option and pay the additional $30. Please note that Imagine Learning School visit is complimentary. To register for this school only, go to www.imaginelearning.com/alas.

Keynote and Featured Speakers Include:

•        Dr. Bill Daggett – Founder and Chairman, International Center for Leadership in Education
•        Mr. Alberto Carvalho – Superintendent, Miami-Dade County Public Schools
•        Mr. Tony Plana – Movie and Television Actor and International Speaker
•        Dr. Joanne Urrutia – U.S. Department of Education
•        Ms. Martha Kanter – Under Secretary of Education
•        Ms. Jeannette Torres-Alvarez – Author and Television Personality – sponsored by Discovery Education

For more information, on summit, hotel, sponsorship, visit us online at www.alasedu.net

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Students publish ed-tech textbook on iBookstore

More than 600 school districts have iPad programs.

At Georgia College, educational technology could spawn more educational technology.

A group of graduate students at the Milledgeville, Ga.-based campus have used Apple’s iBookstore to publish a video- and image-laden eTextbook filled with information and advice for educators hoping to better incorporate technology in their classroom lessons.

The eBook, “Using Technology in Education,” is a student-created textbook available for the iPad and available for free in the iBookstore, which was introduced in January.

Nine graduate students in Associate Professor Chris Greer’s Advanced Technology for Teachers course researched, filmed, and photographed the text and images used in the ed-tech textbook, covering myriad topics from social media use in education and document cameras to advances in assistive technology and eReaders.

Greer said his class’s eTextbook is a good example of how technology can make education more efficient and affordable without sacrificing quality.

“This movement toward electronic textbooks and tablet computers could revolutionize K-12 and higher education,” he said. “Digital textbooks are inexpensive and can be updated more quickly and easily. Our textbook strives to look at technology and education together.”

Greer said making textbooks available for iPads will have quite an impact in K-12 and higher education as more educators adopt the devices for classroom use. More than 600 school districts have an iPad program, he said.

“It’s a cool, well-designed eBook,” said Greer, associate professor of instructional technology in the John H. Lounsbury College of Education, who added that Apple deemed his students’ work exemplary. “After we submitted it, no revisions were needed. The textbook passed Apple’s screening process, which speaks to the quality of the students’ work.”

Twelve percent of college students who answered a recent survey said they owned an iPad, the Apple product that has launched a tablet computing revolution.

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9 in 10 teachers use own money to buy essentials for students

Many teachers routinely spend money out of their own pockets on necessity items for their students, according to a nationwide survey conducted by AdoptAClassroom.org, the Huffington Post reports. The organization surveyed 1,188 K-12 teachers from public, private and charter schools throughout the country, and found that the vast majority of teachers — 91 percent — reported purchasing things for their students that ranged from food and snacks, to personal care items like toothbrushes and soap.

“This survey of our teachers makes one thing abundantly clear: teachers are not only educating students, but through their out-of-pocket purchases, teachers are tackling major social issues such as homelessness, poverty, hunger and teaching students basic life skills,” said James Rosenberg, founder of AdoptAClassroom.org. “Again and again, we see it happen — when society lets kids down, it’s teachers who step in to fill the gap.”

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Police propose storing assault rifles in high schools to protect students

An Illinois community southwest of Chicago is astir after the local police chief proposed a new method to protect students: bring more guns to school, the Huffington Post reports. Plainfield Police Chief John Konopek wants officers regularly assigned to district high schools to be allowed to keep an AR 15 semi-automatic rifle under lock and key in school offices so they are better prepared to handle school shootings, if the situation were to arise. School officers will be the only ones able to access the weapons, NBC Chicago reports. Konopek notes that training exercises have shown that officers are “much better equipped to handle this type of incident” while using a long gun — with greater range, accuracy and stopping power — versus a handgun.

“Unfortunately, in today’s society, active shooter incidents are no longer something we see on TV,” Konopek said in a statement according to the station. “They are reality.”

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Congress must reform immigration laws that send top STEM graduates to China

Jonas Korlach left Cornell with a Ph.D. in biochemistry, a patent on technology that effectively reads the entire human genome, and an idea that spawned a company now employing 285 people and generating more than $30 million in revenue per year, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Yet because of American immigration laws, Dr. Jonas would have been kicked out of the United States, along with his invention, the jobs he created, and the revenue his company generates, had a US Congresswoman – Rep. Anna Eshoo (D) of California – not assisted him in 2004. Thousands of immigrants earn advanced degrees from top US universities every year. They train under our best faculty (many of whom are also immigrants), conduct cutting-edge research, and leave with the skills and knowledge necessary to power our innovation economy. But with a dysfunctional immigration policy, America is now losing these creators of tomorrow’s great companies to competitors abroad…

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Three ed reforms parents should worry about most

As summer comes to a close, students are preparing to go back to school. I find that most of them enjoy returning. Certainly, our daughters did, said Carol Burris, the principal of South Side High School in Rockville Centre, New York. There is something exciting about a new beginning. Kids look forward to seeing their friends and meeting their new teacher. Teachers matter a lot to kids. When I ask the students in my school to describe their teachers, they use adjectives like “great,” “caring,” “smart” and “patient.” It is upon the caring and trusting relationship between student and teacher that learning is built. If you ask most Americans what they think of their child’s school, by and large, they think it is really pretty good. Although most parents see room for improvement, few think that the “sky is falling” on the roof of their neighborhood public school…Although I agree that we should all make a serious commitment to improving education, I worry that reformers, many of whom have built careers and fame by constantly disparaging our schools, are successfully promoting changes that are not in the best interest of students. It may be that the “cures” they propose are far more harmful than the problems they seek to address…

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Dictionary.com: A back-to-school resource for all your language needs

Once solely a reference source, Dictionary.com has evolved into a comprehensive online and mobile learning destination that offers a blend of free and subscription-based personalized vocabulary and writing help to students. This customizable website offers quizzing applications across multiple platforms, as well as interactive study tools that support curricula from elementary through graduate school, its creators say.

The website’s Word Dynamo service, which is free of charge, uses gaming and social features to bridge the gap between classroom and home learning. It enables students to grow their command of language at their own pace, and teachers also can use the service to augment in-class lessons and as a resource for homework assignments and study tools.

Writing Dynamo, billed as a “personal writing coach,” is a subscription-based writing analyzer that helps students improve their writing skills. For $5 per month, students can use the service to fine-tune their copy for polished final drafts—or even get feedback on resumes and college application essays.

A Spanish feature includes English-Spanish translations, word definitions, audio pronunciations, and learning tools such as Word of the Day, Phrase of the Day, and Travel Narratives. Designed to accommodate all levels of users, from novice to advanced students, the service can help users with everything from learning pronunciation to boosting conversational Spanish. What’s more, a Translator service can translate any page or word into more than 50 languages; users can translate more than 2,000 characters at a time.

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Opinion: Eight problems with Common Core Standards

E.D. Hirsch, Jr.’s book, “Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know,” was published March 1, 1987. So it was probably in March of that year when, sitting at a dining room table in an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, my host — a publishing executive, friend, and fellow West Virginian — said he’d just bought the book, says Marion Brady, veteran teacher, administrator, curriculum designer and author. He hadn’t read it yet, but wondered how Hirsch’s list of 5,000 things he thought every American should know differed from a list we Appalachians might write. I don’t remember what I said, but it was probably some version of what I’ve long taken for granted: Most people think that whatever they and the people they like happen to know, everybody else should be required to know. In education, of course, what it’s assumed that everybody should be required to know is called “the core.” Responsibility for teaching the core is divvied up between teachers of math, science, language arts, and social studies. Variously motivated corporate interests, arguing that the core was being sloppily taught, organized a behind-the-scenes campaign to super-standardize it. They named their handiwork the Common Core State Standards to hide the fact that it was driven by policymakers in Washington D.C., who have thus far shoved it into every state except Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia…

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Karen Klein puts $75,000 toward anti-bullying foundation

After a viral video of her being antagonized by a group of middle schoolers sparked an outpouring of support from more than 32,000 online strangers, Karen Klein is using some of the $700,000 in donations to launch an anti-bullying foundation, KSDK reports. She told WROC she plans to put $75,000 toward the Karen Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation

“We’re hoping to get other people to put money in it, and this is going to be for education for people that have been bullied, for people that just — for people that need it for this situation,” she said.

Klein threw out the first pitch Sunday at the “Strike Out Bullying Ball Game” at Frontier Field in her hometown of Rochester, N.Y. She was there on behalf of the minor league Rochester Red Wings, who are partnering with local organizations to teach fans about the dangers of bullying

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Almost 1 in 5 teens smokes or uses drugs at school, U.S. students report

Eighty-six percent of American high school students report that some of their classmates use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs during the school day, the Christian Science Monitor reports. That’s among the most significant findings of an annual survey of teenagers about their perceptions of drug use, released Wednesday, by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASAColumbia) in New York. The latest survey, the National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XVII: Teens, gives parents a teen’s-eye view of the relentlessness and pervasiveness of the school drug problem, says Joseph Califano Jr., founder and chairman emeritus of CASAColumbia and former US secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. The survey gives a “graphic portrait of what is going on in high schools and among high school students – the fact that we have 9 out of 10 students saying that classmates are using drugs, drinking, and smoking during school the day on or near school grounds,” says Mr. Califano during a phone interview…

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