Our district is battling a loneliness epidemic

Whether talking in-person or virtually, even small conversations play an important role in creating the connections students need. But it can be challenging to carve out time in our busy schedules to focus on building these relationships.

As educators, we must make the time to ensure that every student feels seen and heard. All of us need a support system, and this is especially important for students in their teenage years. Yet, many felt alone over the past couple of years because of pandemic-induced isolation. That isn’t OK, and studies have already shown the traumatic impact the loneliness epidemic is having on students across the country.  

At Classical Academy High School near San Diego, we’ve spent the past few years ensuring that every student has an educator in their corner. It’s become clear that using technology with a purpose is impactful and provides students more access to their teachers. …Read More

When I grow up: Nurturing girls to become leaders

Growing up, I was the class vice-president; the de facto leader of every group project ever assigned; elementary and high school valedictorian; and the captain of my sports teams. I met all the stereotypes of a typical, Type A student. Yet, it never crossed my mind that when I grew up, I could be a CEO.

I’m not alone. 

According to Harvard Business Review 5.3 percent of large U.S. companies have CEOs named John compared with 4.1 percent that have CEOs who are women. Firms with CEOs named David, at 4.5 percent, also outnumber women-led businesses. More than half of college graduates are women, yet, less than 8 percent of the fortune 500 CEOs are women. The stats speak for themselves. …Read More

4 ways we designed collaborative learning spaces

When we built a new 3-story high school building on our former baseball field, we knew that we wanted to incorporate spaces where students could learn and teachers could teach in a very collaborative manner.

So, along with our new classrooms, in most areas of our school there are now two hallways with resource classrooms running down the center. Those are our collaborative spaces, and they’re where we got to be creative in terms of planning and design.

We didn’t want to just order 200 of the same chairs and hope for the best, so we worked with MiEN to select furniture designs and other elements that would best define and complement our new collaborative spaces. Here are four other steps we took to achieve our vision:…Read More

How our district engages students in a CTE program

Over the past decade, industries across the world have voiced their concern over the lack of tech skills among high school and college graduates. At the end of 2020, there were an estimated 1.4 million unfilled computer science jobs; this figure continues to rise.

However, the education sector’s response is that currently less than half of high schools teach, and only 5 percent of students go on to further computer science study.

It’s not just about educating our students to take a computer science career path. Today, computer science skills are used and applied across all areas of the curriculum and a broad range of careers.…Read More

Spaced repetition is the secret to overcoming learning loss

Just as “turnt,” “on fleek,” and “adulting” have become trending words in pop culture, so too has “spaced repetition” become a buzzword in education. Some educators are obsessed with it. Others say it’s just a minor hack for memorizing vocabulary.

So what’s “the tea?” In fact, spaced repetition is the key to all learning of knowledge-heavy subjects, from preschool literacy and numeracy exercises through high school, corporate training, and beyond. And yet it remains the most underrated and underutilized learning principle in the history of education.

In this article, I’ll explain exactly why spaced repetition is the secret to overcoming learning loss, and why all educators should incorporate it into their teaching methods.…Read More

Why we should be teaching students economic literacy

When 17-year-old Jerry Marnell thought about heading off to college, economics seemed like an enticing major to study. Between self-starting his own production company and serving as president of a local club, he knew basic business tenets were vital to success and he was interested in learning more about the subject.

But like for so many young people across the country, Jerry’s high school in California’s Monterey Bay area did not offer economic classes. He had no way of knowing for certain if economics was something he’d like to pursue, or how economic principles touch every facet of our lives—from the decisions made by individuals and companies to the performance of regional, national, and global economies.

As students return to class this back-to-school season, many parents may think their own teenagers will be taking an economics course, given the topic’s importance. For the last several years, however, only half of the U.S.—a stark 50 percent of states—require that high schools even offer an economics class as part of the curriculum, according to the Council for Economic Education. Meanwhile, 27 states mandate that personal finance courses be offered – a number that has nearly doubled since 2011. Unfortunately, economic literacy has taken a back seat when it comes to young Americans because many policy makers confuse the discipline of economics with financial literacy.  …Read More

VHS Learning Reveals New Commitment to CSforALL Movement

Boston – At the 2022 CSforALL Summit, VHS Learning announced its plans to further expand student access to computer science education. The nonprofit revealed that it will offer free online computer science courses to fifty high school students in rural or underserved high schools. The nonprofit has also created a new beginner’s course on Python, one of the fastest growing computer programming languages.

A total of 180 organizations, up from 136 last year, disclosed commitments during the CSforALL summit, which took place October 19-21, 2022, in Memphis, Tennessee. CSforALL commitments are new, specific, and measurable actions aimed at advancing the goal of rigorous and inclusive computer science education for all U.S. youth. The commitments grow support and momentum for a sustainable K-12 computer science education system in and out of school. VHS Learning has been making annual commitments since the inception of the national CSforALL movement.

In addition to free enrollment in VHS Learning online computer science courses, sponsored students will receive all necessary course materials, and a student orientation. All VHS Learning’s computer science courses are led by teachers certified in their subject area.

Computer science courses in VHS Learning’s high school course catalog include:…Read More

In post-COVID schools, let’s redouble efforts to support students

The other day, my friend’s high school daughter complained, “It’s not fair!” “What’s not fair?” her mother asked. “Everyone is cheating!” her daughter replied. “They started doing it during COVID, and now it’s a habit.” Unfortunately, academic dishonesty is just one example of the many negative consequences of the COVID pandemic.

In hindsight, we have ample evidence that remote learning during COVID increased hardships for PK-12 students, both academically and non-academically. Some students lacked necessary resources. In one study, even after all students were provided with a laptop computer, internet access, and headphones, low-income students’ school attendance and engagement were consistently less frequent than their higher-income peers (An, 2021). Food insecurity also increased during COVID, partly due to the hiatus of school breakfast, lunch, and take-home snack pack programs (Parekh et al., 2021). And worst of all, children at home during COVID were twice as likely to experience physical abuse and three times likely to experience emotional abuse during the pandemic than in prior years (Park & Walsh, 2022).

Without a doubt, remote learning during COVID was distressing for students, with 71 percent of parents in one study reporting that the pandemic had “taken a toll on their child’s mental health” (Abramson, 2022, para. 2). …Read More