1. The Summer Time Slide
For my profile story, I interviewed the director of Books for Keeps, Leslie Hale. Her organization collects books to donate to children whose families cannot afford their own. The primary motive for Books for Keeps is to slow the decline in learning that occurs each summer when children are not in school that sets poor children back disproportionately compared to their more affluent classmates. For children coming from low-income families, the summer time slide is drastically larger because without the schools providing reading materials, these students go about two and a half months without practicing their reading skills. This occurs every summer and leaves these children at a tremendous disadvantage and ultimately lowers their chance of graduating high school.
2. Arts programs being dropped from curricula
Earlier this semester, I spoke with Amy Broocke, a former head of school and current franchisee for Challenge Island, a national STEAM extracurricular program. She stressed the importance of keeping arts programs in curricula because they emphasize 21st Century skills that other courses cannot teach. Furthermore, when arts programs are dropped, the “fun” part of school usually goes with it, thus creating an environment in which students are not as excited to learn.
3. Technology in the classroom
In an effort to keep up with 21st Century teaching techniques, Clarke County vamping up its efforts to establish modern technology in the classroom. By providing access to such devices as iPads to each student, Clarke County hopes to better engage the children and help encourage modern learning styles. This phenomenon is by no means exclusive to Clarke County–many counties across the nation are doing this as well. While there are definite benefits, some view this idea as a waste of funds because in only a few years this technology will be outdated and eventually obsolete. This is an interesting debate in the field of education right now and one that will certainly be influential in the way students learn in the future.