International Baccalaureate—or IB—academic programs are gaining recognition nationwide for their rigorous curricular standards and the high-achieving students the classes draw. The program was created in Switzerland in 1968 to provide a common educational framework that would be recognized worldwide, with a focus on putting learning into an international context and encouraging students to develop their own projects. But in Minnesota, there's a growing furor about the IB program. Last month, two separate congressional district Republican conventions approved resolutions denouncing IB, and the classes were also a divisive issue in last fall's school board race in Minnetonka, Minnesota....


In 1948, when a teacher and part-time art critic encouraged his employer, New Trier Township High School, to buy “Still Life with Flowers” by a then-relatively-unknown artist, it seemed like a good idea. The teacher, Frank Holland, planned to use it in class as a prime example of American modernism. Plus, it was going for just $62.50. Turns out Holland’s was a great idea: Christie’s auction house recently sold the school’s painting for $3.1 million to an anonymous bidder. The art classes at New Trier got a lot of use out of “Still Life” over ...


A group of Latino students at Steele Canyon High School in Rancho San Diego, California, had planned to skip classes to attend pro-immigrant rallies this spring. But English teacher Kim Dickinson found that, while the students had strong feelings about the topic, they didn't really know much about the immigration legislation being protested. She challenged them to do more than just add a few more bodies to the protesting crowd. She invited the students back to her classroom and encouraged them to research the issues behind the rallies. Their discussion grew to include dozens of other students and now, two ...


He’s a baseball coach who finds inspiration in photographs of Albert Einstein and J. Robert Oppenheimer. That’s because 44-year-old Steve DeCaro is also a physics teacher at Mattituck High School on Long Island. For four years, in fact, he’s fused physics and America’s pastime in a way that’s raised achievement levels both in the classroom and on the field. It took a while. For years, the ex-jock who fell in love with physics as a high-schooler (and subsequently earned a master’s degree in the subject) lived two lives, unable to interest his students in ...


Most graduating seniors at the top of their class get up in front of peers and parents to make a speech. Gallatin High School valedictorian Chris Linzy did just that, but now the Tennessee teen faces disorderly conduct charges carrying a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail for his attempt to speak—plus the possibility he won’t receive his diploma. “This is blown so far out of proportion,” said the boy’s father, David Linzy. “This wasn't an incident where he vandalized something, streaked across the stage, or set off fireworks." He did break the rules, however. At Gallatin...


Middle school language arts teacher Janice Ramsey has hit upon a paradox: Many kids say they hate writing, but, what with e-mail and instant messaging, they’re virtually doing it in their sleep. Building on that opening, Ramsey, who teaches at Booth Middle School in Woodstock, Georgia, has developed a writing curriculum that’s oriented around e-mail composition. Instead of blaming e-mail for the world’s grammatical ills, that is, she uses it to teach kids about structure, style, and voice. “What’s associated with e-mail? Plain old letter-writing,” she reasons. Who knew? Ramsey says working in the electronic medium ...


It's not just gas prices that are up these days. For students at Basha High School in Chandler, Arizona, the cost of ketchup has gone through the roof. Enterprising senior Kirk Alvers has calculated that while gas prices are hovering at $3 per gallon, the cost of ketchup in the school cafeteria is $18 for 36 ounces. The price spike is connected to a new cafeteria policy under which students ordering burgers and fries must purchase, at 25 cents for two, any ketchup packets they want beyond the three that come with the meal. Principal Kristine Marchiando explained the new ...


Recess is on the chopping block, and its supporters are stamping their feet, complaining loudly, and talking to anyone who will listen. And that's just the parents. Kids are getting involved, too, through a massive "Rescuing Recess" letter-writing campaign spearheaded by the National PTA and the Cartoon Network. New government study results show that the percentage of schools that don't have recess is on the rise. And while the recess-less schools are still in the minority—only 7 percent of 1st graders and 13 percent of 6th graders have no recess—many parents sense that school-sanctioned playtime is under attack,...


The 1999 Columbine High School massacre has inspired movies, books, and plays, so it's not entirely surprising that the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history would one day be made into a video game. Still, the freeware Super Columbine Massacre RPG is decidedly creepy. Using cartoonish, Donkey Kong-style graphics of the school and killers, interspersed with news photos of the tragedy, the program puts the gamer in the black trench-coated role of Eric Harris as he and Dylan Klebold shoot teachers and classmates to death. Though many victims and afflicted family members predictably find the game in unspeakably bad ...


"No pass, no play" isn't a new idea. For years, school districts have been requiring high school athletes to maintain basic academic standards in order to suit up for the game. But in one Texas school district, simply attending football games as a spectator could soon require passing grades. The same goes for band concerts and other extracurriculars. The superintendent of DeSoto schools says this "No pass, no attend" policy is only in the "thinking out loud" stages, but parents and students are already choosing up sides. Brittany Jackson, a 9th grader, was outraged at the proposal. "Just because a ...


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