When Working With Teachers, Be Proactive

Hello Students: As you’re calculating how long you can wait to turn in assignments yet still “make the grade” before the end of the school year, also consider that many teachers are also (very) eagerly anticipating summer vacation (possibly even more than you). Thus, teachers, who have navigated an extraordinarily complex school year and are subject to human limits, may…

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Reopening Dead Ahead…Maybe

More K-12 school administrators are either preparing or have already reopen(ed) school campuses amidst subsiding COVID related health concerns, declining infections, hospitalizations and deaths.   Of course, variants (viruses evolve) or declining vaccination rates leading to worsening infection, hospitalization and even death rates, would lead to a likely-swift reversal of school reopenings.  Reopen, yes, but not fully business as usual as…

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Re-Opening Quandary

As the numbers of diagnosed COVID cases wanes and more Americans are being vaccinated, the desire to re-open schools seems to be increasing. In a recent Pew Research poll, more Americans believe that students need in-person interaction to continue their academic progress:  Yet, in the same poll, 59% of respondents also believe schools should wait to reopen until all teachers…

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Kurt Vonnegut’s Advice: Trust Your Experience

Sometimes, we gain clarity and/or confidence about our aptitude when the thoughts of another like Kurt Vonnegut, author of Slaughterhouse Five, reflects our own experience: When I was 15, I spent a month working on an archeological dig. I was talking to one of the archeologists one day during our lunch break and he asked those kinds of “getting to…

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Zoom School.Joe Visitacion

Virtual Learning at a Cost

In virtual school, where the learning process is digitalized, students are struggling to access assignments, and to demonstrate mastery of the curriculum being presented, therefore, how can it not be that the potential for greater learning is lost?  Students learning virtually must navigate and utilize a sundry of online learning tools, reducing their time to understand concepts. For example, high…

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The Mental Health of the Young

March 13, 2020 is Gen Z’s “Day of Infamy”, when K-12 school campuses closed due to COVID-related health risks, sequestering an entire generation of youth in the midst of their coming of age. Amidst the sudden, and now ever-extending health emergency, precipitating continued distance learning and canceled extracurricular activities, the emotional toll on teens only exacerbates existing pressures.  But there…

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The Ivy League Goes Test-Optional…Almost

Following both Brown’s and Yale’s test-optional announcements, yesterday evening, June 15, Harvard became the seventh Ivy League college to suspend the requirement of SAT and ACT scores for Fall 2021 first year applicants.  Why is Princeton, as the last remaining Ivy League, still requiring standardized test scores for Fall 2021 first year applicants? Since the Ivy League can be considered…

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Phased Return to Educational Normalcy

Leaders in the California Department of Education are proposing to reopen schools in phases, by grade level with elementary school students and teachers returning to campuses first. Elementary school students constitute the greatest number of K-12 students and the greatest percentage of schools in California, so prioritizing their return to school will serve the most students and families.  Though as…

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Yale Declares Test-Optional Admissions for Fall 2021

On June 12, Yale University officials joined almost 200 universities which have suspended the requirement of SAT and ACT scores for Fall 2021 first year applicants. Like many other universities, Yale’s amended testing policy only applies for the 2020-21 admissions cycle. Yale officials reasoned: This one-year policy change reflects the extraordinary circumstances that students, families, and educators are currently facing. …

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The Quandry of Reopening Schools in a Pandemic

As school officials brainstorm ways to reconvene students and teachers in the school building, while living in the midst of a pandemic, educators add “montioring students’ health” to their primary mission of helping students learn. As such, students will also add “decontamination ritual” with “do your homework” as their “get ready for school” checklist. In pre-pandemic days, the morning parent-student…

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An Open Letter to The College Board About Advanced Placement (AP) Tests

March 26, 2020 Dear The College Board, David Coleman, CEO College Board & Trevor Packer, Senior VP of Advanced Placement & Instruction: While not diminishing the dilemma of how to continue the AP program and administer AP exams in the midst of the current global pandemic, students’ frustrations about reducing the exams to 45 minutes from 3 hours, are palpable. I…

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