Geri Chaffee is the founder of Dreamers Academy, Sarasota’s new dual language immersion (Spanish/English) K-5 public charter school. It is scheduled to open in August. In this column about kindergarten, she writes, "This is a foundational time when tapping into (children's) immense potential with enriching activities, especially reading and writing, is essential to helping them manage increasingly complex academic content in the future."
Six years into her career teaching English as a second language, Minnetonka Public Schools educator Anna Bjork is being recognized with an international award. The 28-year-old teacher was recently named to the International Literacy Association’s biennial 30 Under 30 list, which shines a spotlight on the next generation of leaders working to create positive change in the global literacy landscape.
Denise Jensen teaches New Mexico History and Navajo Culture at Navajo Preparatory School, in the northwest corner of New Mexico. The private, International Baccalaureate college-prep school established for Native American students serves about 265 teenagers from the Navajo Nation and other tribal nations. Most live at the school when it’s in session. But when Navajo Prep went all-remote last March, Jensen saw with painful clarity the struggles her students face daily to do their schoolwork from home. Jensen told her story to Catherine Gewertz, senior contributing writer.
For the sixth year in a row, WEAU is partnering with the Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation to honor one outstanding educator or staff member in each of the twenty Eau Claire schools with a Golden Apple Award. Putnam Heights Elementary principal Diana Lesneski presented ELL teacher Sarah Stovern with the Golden Apple Award with her family and peers there to show their support.
Nominee for education secretary Miguel Cardona vowed at his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday to help schools reopen safely and ensure educators and students have the support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. But Cardona did not take a firm position on the role of standardized tests during the pandemic, and in general tried to stake out positions on controversial issues such as the rights of transgender students without seeming combative.
In East San Jose, Ben Painter Elementary is the first school in Alum Rock Union School District to launch a Vietnamese dual immersion program, allowing students to learn both English and Vietnamese as part of their daily curriculum. The program, still in its first year, has two classes and is serving 20 preschool students and 15 kindergartners.
Sitka illustrator Michaela Goade was awarded one of the highest honors in children's literature this week for her work on "We are Water Protectors." Goade, who is Tlingit, is the first Indigenous person to win the Caldecott Medal. Earlier this week, Michaela Goade thought she was signing on to an ordinary Zoom call with her small publishing team. Instead, she was met with a group of new faces congratulating her on her win.
On Wednesday, lawmakers will have some tough questions for Miguel Cardona, President Biden's nominee to be the next U.S. education secretary. The Connecticut educator will no doubt have to navigate the choppy policy waters of school choice, how to close opportunity gaps and, most critically, how he would help schools reopen as the pandemic rages. For now, though, members of the U.S. Senate's education committee won't have much to go on as they prepare for Cardona's hearing. That's because, along with most of the country, many of those lawmakers are just now getting to know him.
Florida is allowing students to opt out of taking an annual English proficiency exam that is administered in person. The state Department of Education also is expanding the window of time for K-12 public-school students to take the test, if they choose to do so.