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By Meris Stansbury, Associate Editor, eSchool News, February 3, 2013 — According to the Harvard Family Research Project report, “Partnerships for Learning: Community Support for Youth Success,” data collected from a community schools initiative called Elve 8 show what successful partnerships for learning look like—and the effects these can have on learning.

When partners work together to combine resources strategically, aligning their goals with the curriculum, a “seamless web of supports” is created that provides children with a “holistic learning experience,” says the report.

According to the report, by offering an array of combined services, community schools are able to create five “conditions” that research indicates are necessary for youth to succeed:

1. A shared vision of learning: Partners share a common understanding of the goals and resources needed to support children’s learning.

2. Shared leadership and governance: Partners have an equal say in leading efforts to support children and families

3. Complementary partnerships: Partners share complementary skills and areas of expertise to create a seamless and comprehensive set of learning supports for children.

4. Effective communication: Partners communicate effectively and frequently to ensure they are aligning their activities and are working in harmony with one another.

5. Regular and consistent sharing of information about youth progress: Partners have access to crucial data that help them better understand the youth they serve.

6. Family engagement: Families serve as key partners to help address the complex conditions and varied environments where children learn and grow.

7. Collaborative staffing models: Schools and community organizations create staffing structures that intentionally blend roles across partners, so that staff work in multiple settings to provide adult support spanning school and non-school hours.

Read the entire story here.

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Reported by Masslive.com on 11/29/12, the town of South Hadley was approved for a provisional grant in the amount of $13,874,014 to go toward the building of a new Plains Elementary School.  According to the article: “The current Plains building has a litany of problems, including undersized classrooms and special education resources, antiquated fire protection and lighting, inadequate parking (even for buses), lack of access to natural daylight and fresh air in some rooms (due to additions meant to reduce crowding), heating and ventilation issues and other difficulties.”

Congratulations to Principal Jill Flanders and the South Hadley School Building Committee for obtaining the funding.  A town special election to allocate the funds necessary to complete the project will be held on February 26th.

We want to hear from you – what other towns in western Massachusetts are in need of new facilities?  What buildings would you like to see improved?

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In a part of America that rarely makes headlines, there is a small town with a group of teenagers who will captivate your ears and warm your heart. Mariachi High (I.D. 2314) is a DVD that presents a year in the life of the champion mariachi ensemble at Zapata High School on the Rio Grande in South Texas. Their playing will inspire, surprise and bring you to your feet! Borrow this video for a month by clicking here.

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From the Boston Globe, July 31, 2012 –  Educators have been tossing this subject around for some time, but teenagers in Weston, Massachusetts,  may be able to score a little extra shut-eye each morning starting in the 2013-2014 school year, depending on the findings of a local committee set up to study changing the high school’s start time, Boston.com reports.

“Teenagers need a lot, a lot of sleep,” said Weston schools Superintendent Cheryl Maloney, a member of the committee looking into changing the start time. “They’re exhausted, and they’re growing. Their body needs that rest in order to support this phenomenal physical, emotional, intellectual growth that’s happening.”

There is apparently evidence to support at least testing the idea and evaluating the results.

Read the full story by clicking here.

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From eSchool News, July 10, 2012, by Patrick Welsh — When summer school opened July 9 at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., where I teach, remedial courses in math had more students than any other subject.

That is because of the high failure rate not only in math courses, but also on the state’s standard of learning exams in math. The summer school pattern is similar in most high schools around the country, where kids will be trying to learn the math they never figured out during the year.

I worry that we’re pushing many kids to grasp math at higher levels before they are ready. When they struggle, they begin to dread math, and eventually we lose thousands of students who could be the scientists and engineers of tomorrow. If we held back and took more time to ground them in the basics, we could turn them on to math.

Read the entire article by clicking here.

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