The Downward-facing Dog and the Pyramid Pose are a few techniques that Needham High School seniors in Massachusetts are learning in their mandatory yoga classes. Instituting mandatory yoga and hiring relaxation consultants is the work of the school’s newly formed Stress Reduction Committee. Headed by principal Paul Richards, the student committee is part of a growing movement among administrators to combat anxiety caused by the competitive and academically driven culture of many affluent suburban high schools. “A lot of these kids are being held hostage to the culture,” Richards says. The environment, which places great emphasis on grades, test ...


Don’t look now, but it may not be long before ed schools have to start adding courses in music theory. In an attempt to give their lessons added flare and stickiness, according to The Washington Post, a growing number of teachers are incorporating music into their instruction. Web sites selling educational songs are flourishing (see, for example, www.songsforteaching.com), while educator-songwriters find themselves in increasing demand. To wit: The Chromatics, a group comprising mostly research scientists that performs standards-based songs about astronomy, has sold nearly 15,000 copies of its albums. Eric Chandler, a guitar-toting 2nd grade teacher ...


English High School in Boston is the oldest public school in America, as well as one of the most prestigious, having graduated the likes of J.P. Morgan and Leonard Nimoy. But now it's facing closure by the state if its students' achievement doesn't improve this year. Today English has a 25 percent senior dropout rate, the worst student retention rate of Boston’s high schools, and the second-worst test scores. In an effort salvage the school, the state has given current headmaster José Duarte—along with the threat of closure—an extra $1.2 million in funding, greater freedom ...


Student-contracted staph infections, which in at least one case has been terminal, have recently been reported from New Hampshire to Georgia. Four cases of teachers infected with the methicillin-resistant MRSA have also appeared in local headlines. And a national report released this week indicates that staph infections killed more people in 2005 than HIV/AIDS, proving that it is more common than previously thought. According to The Press of Atlantic City, an elementary school teacher in Bridgeton, N.J., has been out of work for two weeks since acquiring the infection during a hospital stay. Upon notification of the teacher’s...


Teachers in Loudoun County, Va., decided to stir the status quo by mixing honors, regular, and special education students in the same class. Three teachers at Blue Ridge Middle School in Purcellville, Va., hope to inspire the “slower-developing students to see new possibilities,” school administrators said in a Washington Post article by Jay Matthews. "It’s more challenging for the kids,” said Inez Lemmert, a sixth-grade teacher of the class. “They bring themselves up to these new expectations, rather than someone dumbing down all the work for them." The experiment is taking place in an English- and social studies-infused class, ...


Ever wonder where teachers go when they’re bad—or even, apparently, when they’re just accused of making a mistake? In New York at least, they go to the “Rubber Room.” According to a New York Times story by Samuel G. Freedman, the city's Department of Education runs 12 teacher “reassignment centers”—essentially holding pens for some 760 educators awaiting rulings on termination actions brought by schools administrators. While some of the teachers assigned to the centers have been accused of assault and other crimes, Freedman says, others are there for seemingly far lesser serious reasons, such as receiving...


An association of Christian high schools is suing the University of California system, alleging unconstitutionally biased admissions, according to a Chicago Tribune article. The UC system is accused of discounting core courses from Christian high schools because of their religious viewpoint. UC does admit that “the process of reviewing [high school courses] has become more regularized and rigorous over time,” according to Christopher Patti, counsel for UC. The decision of this unprecedented case could have a large impact on curriculum—not only for California’s approximately 800 religious secondary schools, but also for religious high schools around the country. "If...the...


In the perennial discussion over how to get parents more involved in their children’s education, one teacher has arrived at a solution, according to the New York Times. Damion Frye, a 9th grade English teacher from Montclair High School in New Jersey, has been asking parents to read and respond on his blog to their children’s classroom reading assignments or face a consequence—their child’s grade could be lowered. Says Frye, who is a Montclair alumnus, “Parents complain about never getting to see their kids’ work. Now they have to.” Parent response has been mixed. Some are ...


As the discussion over the reauthorization of NCLB heats up, one New York educator wants to be heard. Nancy Close, a health teacher from East Islip, Long Island, writes in a Newsday commentary this week, “It’s important that Congress listen to teachers and, make sure that, this time, it gets the law right.” Without deeper consideration, Close fears, “…Congress could make a problematic law even worse.” The unrelenting focus on test scores, she writes, is draining the creativity from teaching and learning. “Children and their schools are so much more than test scores…Yet, it appears the House Education ...


This week, The Christian Science Monitor reported on the 2007 National Assessment of Education Progress test results. Released Tuesday, the NAEP scores indicate that elementary and middle school students are making significant gains in math and marginal improvements in reading. The achievement gap between black and white students—27 points—is still large, but at an all-time low. Many are quick to link the achievement gains to No Child Left Behind, particularly as Congress debates its reauthorization. Defending NCLB in light of the NAEP results, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said, “[It’s]…working…Any efforts to weaken accountability would ...


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