Parent/Teacher Conferences

Many schools will be conducting conferences with parents in the coming months.  It is important to ask specific questions or to make sure you understand what areas of strength and what areas of improvement your child has.

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Danita Smith
Quantum Computing

A little-known advancement is taking place in the world of computing that has the potential of greatly expanding the processing power of computers.

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Danita Smith
Tips for Reading in the Second Grade

By the time a child enters second grade he or she has already been introduced to short and long vowel sounds.  So many three-letter words and sight words are already a part of their repertoire. 

However, it is important to make sure they get a sound footing in reading certain words that contain digraphs and blends.

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Danita Smith
What Are the Main Parts of a Computer?

The main part of any computer is the central processing unit or CPU.

The CPU does all of the operations and calculations that make a computer run.  It is made up of a control unit and an arithmetic and logic unit (ALU).  The control unit does just that, it controls which instruction is carried out next.  

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Danita Smith
Preparing Your Child for Computer Science

Computer science, software development and computer programming are some of the fastest growing areas in our economy.

Traditional jobs that were once mainstays in the workforce are now being replaced or supplemented with computer related skills and hardware.  What will the job market be like 30 years from now or even 20 years from now?

As a person who has shifted careers, I am now turning to something I love, computer programming.  It occurred to me that some of our children might not be getting the development they

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Danita Smith
Writing in the 2nd Grade: A Book Report

Many children do not develop good writing skills throughout their time in school.  In particular, writing and analyzing works of literature can be difficult for a child if he or she doesn't have any practice.

You can begin early by encouraging your child to do one book report per month, as early as the second grade.

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Danita Smith
Do Your Children Have a Right to Literacy?

Last year a lawsuit was filed on behalf of children in five of the lowest performing schools in Detroit.

The lawsuit alleges that children in Detroit have been denied the chance to even achieve literacy through the purposeful divestment and indifference displayed by the state of Michigan in various ways.  The suit asserts that education is a fundamental right, such that the denial of a basic education is presumably unconstitutional and it falls under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

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Danita Smith
Illinois' State Funding for Education: Will Schools Open Without Disruptions?

Recently we discussed the changes to the graduation requirements in Chicago’s public school system, but there is a far more important topic that is having an impact throughout the entire state—the state’s funding for education.  Although all of the politicians involved vow that schools will open on time, current disagreements really put into question whether schools will actually open on time and without disruptions in just a few weeks.

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Danita Smith
North Carolina's Budget Negotiations (Update 6-25-2017)

North Carolina senators were recently in a very heated discussion about the state’s budget.  The negotiations and discussions went on into the wee hours of the morning.  

After many back-and-forth amendments, a recess was reportedly called by Republicans.  Republican lawmakers then came back to the session, and according toand proposed a $1 million amendment to fight opioid addiction.  The vote on the budget took place shortly after the amendment was proposed and the budget passed the Senate.

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Danita Smith
Is It Fair to Get a Significant Part of Our Funding for Schools from Property Taxes?

For decades a battle has been raging over school funding:

Is it fair to use property taxes as a significant source of funding for schools?  

Does this create unfair and disparate conditions between school districts that are in high property value areas and those in lower property values areas?

The Supreme Court weighed in on this issue in the San Antonio School District v. Rodriguez (1973) case.

 

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Danita Smith
Idaho's Ideas: Examples to Think About

In Idaho there is an initiative called Advanced Opportunities, which has as a subcomponent program called Fast Forward.

Within the Advanced Opportunities initiative students are encouraged to meet with their counselor (starting in 7th grade) and to work to develop a six-year plan (from 7th grade to 12th grade) with goals such as dual credit courses

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Danita Smith
Baltimore City Schools: A Case Study in Funding

School systems across the country are dealing with the challenges of falling revenues and tightening budgets.  The challenges can especially be felt in urban areas where large amounts of people stay and where the public schools are open to everyone, regardless of their family's income status or circumstances.  Schools systems from Oregon to New York are dealing with the challenges of falling revenue, increasing costs and the need to stay competitive in a 21st century economy.

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Danita Smith
We Have to Stop Locking Up Our Kids

During his time as Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gave a speech in which he described a surprising revelation he had.  Prior to becoming the Secretary of Education, Duncan was the CEO of Chicago Public Schools.  While there he sent out an inquiry to assess when those children were being arrested.

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Danita Smith