I wrote a story for today’s Oklahoman about a program called Troops to Teachers.
And while the federal Troops to Teachers program brings military personnel into the educational fold, there also are citizens in military reserve units who go from teacher to soldier.
Nationally in April, 4.1 percent of those in the Selected Reserve — those most likely to be called to duty — said they work in the education field, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Les Melnyk told me.
There are more than 800,000 men and women in the Selected Reserve, he said.
The education category includes those who work in grade schools and colleges, and those who work for schools but not as classroom teachers.
By the way, here are some breakdowns on what geographic areas and subjects those in the official Troops to Teachers program go into; just click on the images to see the graphics at full size:
Share your thoughts here on those who have served as both troops and teachers.
Do you know math well enough to teach the third grade? Deborah Ball, dean of the School of Education at the University of Michigan, posed this question to about 30 education reporters, myself included, at a recent workshop in New York.
38 / 4 = 9.5, Ball said. Write four distinctly different word problems that correspond to this division expression, representing different interpretations of the meaning of division, and with different possible numerical answers, depending on the context.
So how do you ask a kid to solve 38 / 4 and get a different answer?
This was a word problem I came up with: Johnny helps his mom sort the family’s laundry. There are 38 pieces of laundry and they are making four piles. How many items will be left if all the piles have an equal number of clothes? (The answer is 2 — I asked for the remainder.)
Ball and University of Georgia professor Jeremy Kilpatrick used the example as a springboard for a discussion about conflict over how to teach math and what it takes to teach it successfully. The Evansville Courier & Press had a compelling story on the issue last month, focusing on moms who aren’t happy with “new math” curriculums and who are giving their children a second math lesson at home in the evenings.
I’d like to know your thoughts. Is this a conflict at your school? In general, what do you think of changing methods of teaching? And if you’re a teacher, how do you learn to teach something an entirely different way than you learned it in the first place?
Be mindful where you park. In the rush of parents walking their children into school this morning, my car was blocked by another vehicle. Thanks to the kind dad that helped me maneuver out of the tight spot!
Lesson No. 2: No photos please! My daughter was not at all interested in having her picture taken. How will I scrapbook this momentous day? I’ll try again tomorrow.
Lesson No. 3: Don’t forget the ice pack in the sack lunch. I did and then had to remove an item that needed to be kept cool. Luckily that still left a cookie and a peanut butter sandwich (crusts removed.)
Lesson No. 4: Take a deep breath. Smile big when you wave goodbye. Don’t cry until you get to the car. You’ll be stuck there for a while anyway.
Susan Simpson, Mom of a KINDERGARTENER! (Can you believe it?)
Who am I kidding? I’m gonna cry.
This is a week of goodbyes and new beginnings. Today is my daughter’s last day at the daycare she’s attended since she was five months old.
She started in the baby room at one end of the building and has moved up through every classroom, now finishing a year in pre-kindergarten.
Her teachers have advised me (how to get a breastfeeding baby to take a bottle), admonished me (where did Adi learn that “bad” word?), and helped me adjust to all the wonderful and bewildering changes of a child growing, learning and loving.
I don’t know Adi’s new teacher yet. I meet her today. I’m sure she will be wonderful and kind and enthusiastic.
I hope she won’t wonder why there are tears in my eyes. They are happy tears. My baby is growing up.
Susan Simpson, Education Writer
The annual meeting of CareerTech educators and administrators started today in a new location — downtown Oklahoma City. (Previously, meetings have been held in Tulsa.) But CareerTech state director Phil Berkinbile had another locale in mind in his opening address — DisneyWorld.
He said Walt Disney’s dream started with a drawing of a mouse and a vision of greatness. CareerTech doesn’t have Mickey Mouse but it does aim “to help make dreams and success a reality for Oklahomans,” he said.
The CareerTech system of vocational technical schools across the state helps tens of thousands of high school students and adults each year gain job readiness skills, and for many, a start on a college education.
But the system also struggles with higher operating costs amid stagnant state funding, loss of many Baby Boomer instructors to retirement, and a significant high school drop out rate.
Still, CareerTech graduates add $2 billion annually to the state’s economy, Berkinbile said.
Now that’s a mouse that roars.
Susan Simpson, Education Writer
In my last blog post I shared an e-mail from a teacher. Today I’ll share another.
Pam Blevins of Moore schools, who is also the regional museum educator for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, wrote to tell me about eight Oklahoma teachers who attended a regional workshop in Flagstaff, Ariz., last month.
The workshop was geared to teachers who had previously attended programs at the national memorial museum — but Blevins said more could have been eligible to go.
We weren’t (able) to get in touch with many of the Belfer and Belfer II participants in Oklahoma as their email addresses and/or phone numbers were inaccurate. There are currently close to 100 participants in Oklahoma as well as 5 Museum Teacher Fellows in Oklahoma. We would like to get in touch with as many as possible in preparation for another regional conference as well as a gathering in Oklahoma. They may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, putting Belfer as the subject.
Meanwhile, here’s a snapshot of those who went to Arizona.
From left: Nancy Pettus, Tulsa; Naomi Poindexter, Tulsa; Melinda Parks, Oklahoma City; Pam Blevins, Moore; Debra Hatler, Ketchum; Rhonda Snow, Moore; Kimberly Derby, Owasso; LouAnn Jones, Enid.
Wendy K. Kleinman
Seven Oklahoma schools are in a national running for a $10,000 grant from Big Lots. A teacher at one of those seven schools — third-grade teacher Dawn Dilley at Putnam City’s Apollo Elementary — sent me an e-mail about it.
She hopes the school will get the money so they can build a fitness track, and wrote an essay and put together a 90-second video with some of the school’s students as part of the application.
Twenty-five runners-up will get smaller amounts of money; there are 100 schools nationwide all trying to win.
The thing is, online voters choose the winner, and she wants some help. Here’s what she told me in an e-mail.
Apollo’s is very important because we are considered a 100% Title 1 school. All our kids qualify and get free lunch & breakfast through a federal program. Now, due the economic issues facing our students, we don’t have a lot of PTA funds or giant fundraiser budgets to draw money from. We are also aware that kids in poverty have a higher rate of obesity and a lower rate of overall health. Knowing this, we applied for this grant to get our school a walking track. This grant would allow us to easily motivate our kids to get in shape and help the regular classroom teachers at our school comply with the OK Legislature’s new longer PE times, since we will be taking on this burden.
What I need from you is your vote and possibly the vote of all the people who read your education blog, or anyone else you know who might vote. I would also like to get the word out to support all OK educators. This competition costs nothing but 5 minutes of time from now through July 22nd.
It would be great if we could win, but it would be even greater if all 7 Oklahoma schools won some money.
Here’s how to vote: Go to www.lots2give.com. Use the drop-down menu to select Oklahoma, and Apollo Elementary’s video as well as the others will appear. Vote by clicking the “Vote for this school” button. People can vote up to three times a day through July 22, and you don’t have to watch the video each time.
Wendy K. Kleinman
Nearly 2,000 teachers in Oklahoma have National Board Certification, putting it in the top 10 of states with the most such teachers. (View a map of National Board Certified teachers here.)
A study released this month by the National Academies, completed at the request of Congress, finds that the certification does make a difference in the classroom, for both student performance and teacher retention.
Here are some statistics provided by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, which created National Board Certification:
- -There were about 63,800 National Board Certified teachers working in all 50 states and Washington D.C. as of March 2008.
- -Nearly one-fourth of 2008 State Teachers of the Year were National Board Certified, and such teachers won National Teacher of the Year four times since 2001.
- -Half of 369 education preparation institutions say they align their master’s degree programs with National Board Standards to a great extent.
However, Milton Hakel, chairman of the committee that wrote the report, also said that cause-and-effect is not clear.
“We don’t know whether the certification process itself makes teachers more effective as they become familiar with the standards and complete the assessment, or if high-quality teachers are attracted to the certification process,” Hakel said.
Are you or did your child have a National Board Certified teacher? Share your comments about the program below.
Wendy K. Kleinman
Student contest information often comes my way. But this week, I came across an advertisement in Education Week that gives teachers and administrators a chance to shine.
A middle school social studies teacher in New Jersey was named as the 2008 Outstanding Young Educator. Now, the organization that bestows the title – the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development – is taking nominations for 2009.
The organization will, for the first time, honor not only one teacher but also one administrator. Nominations are due Aug. 1; the nominees must be age 40 or younger.
To nominate someone you know, visit www.ascd.org/oyea. And if you’d like, share your stories here about a great educator — young or young at heart – that has crossed your path.
Wendy K. Kleinman
A little more than a week ago, The Oklahoman ran several stories and graphics about the difficult process involved in terminating underperforming public school teachers.
One part mentioned the Toledo Plan, a unique method of teacher evaluation spearheaded by the Toledo, Ohio, school district.
NPR recently put together an interesting segment about the plan, including conversations with and about teachers who came under the scrutiny in the peer review system.
You can tune in to the “All Things Considered” recording by clicking here and selecting “Listen Now,” and share any comments you have on this blog.
Wendy K. Kleinman