Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Monterey County students and teachers: learn about the Normandy invasion in D.C. and France. Free

It's trip to Washington D.C. and Normandy, France, to study World War II and D-Day. It's for only 15 teams of one student and teacher, so get your applications in soon! National History Day is now accepting applications for the 2017 Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom Albert H. Small Student and Teacher Institute. The program accepts only 15 student and teacher pairs for an immersion program in Washington, D.C. and on the beaches of Normandy, France. The institute covers nearly all expenses for accepted students and teachers including travel, visits to historic sites, and lodging in both Europe and Washington, D.C.

The institute teaches students about the sacrifices and challenges faced by U.S. service members during and after the D-Day landings. Each student selects a single service member, called a Silent Hero, from his or her home state or territory who died in the line of duty.

Students spend months researching their Silent Heroes under the guidance of their teachers. In June 2017, all 15 teams travel to Washington, D.C. Their first event is a welcome dinner with the White House Historical Association. Then, historians and archivists guide the students and teachers through primary source material from World War II at the National Archives. Guest historians and speakers teach them about the importance of D-Day and Operation Overlord to the outcome of the war. Finally, teams journey to Normandy, France to walk in the footsteps of their Silent Hero and learn about D-Day where it happened. On the final day, students read graveside eulogies to their Silent Heroes at the Normandy American Cemetery.

Applications for this program are due by November 28, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. ET. All participants must apply as one team and must be available to travel June 17-29, 2017. Students must be either a sophomore or junior in high school as of fall 2016. All applications must be fully completed and submitted as a single PDF document. The application, and more information, can be found online here.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Santa Rita Superintendent to get a four-year contract, and a $40,000 salary increase?

Expect fireworks tonight during the Santa Rita Union School District board meeting, as trustees are expected to consider -- approve? -- a four-year contract extension with their current superintendent, and provide what's being described as at $40,000 salary increase " to more closely align with comparable districts," according to a board report.

Interestingly, the contract extension report is not included in the agenda online for tonight's meeting. And it does not provide the superintendent's current salary, so for now I can't verify whether the increase is indeed $40,000. If you want to look at the agenda yourself and see if I missed something, here it is.

I don't think I can go to tonight's meeting, but I'm certainly curious about the outcome. I'll keep you posted. Stay tuned.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Governor Brown signs bill to establish ethnic studies as an elective in California high schools

Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2016, which will for the first time establish a model ethnic studies curriculum for use in California’s public and charter high schools.

It’s the first legislation of its kind in the nation, creating a statewide model curriculum for ethnic studies, and countering trends seen in other states that are abolishing or restricting ethnic studies courses, most recently in Arizona.

“This is historic,” said in a statement Assemblyman Luis Alejo, who authored the bill. “I thank the governor for recognizing the importance and value of having ethnic studies available to our students."

A study published earlier this year by the Stanford Graduate School of Education found that students at risk of dropping out who took ethnic studies courses improved their attendance and academic performance significantly, especially Latino students, Alejo said.

AB 2016 had bipartisan support in both houses of the Legislature. This legislation directs the California Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) and the State Board of Education (SBE) to develop and adopt a model ethnic studies curriculum, to serve as guide for local school districts to adapt their coursework to reflect the student demographics in their communities.

This curriculum will be developed with participation from faculty of ethnic studies programs at California universities and public school teachers who have a background in teaching ethnic studies.

AB 2016 directs the IQC to draft and submit a model curriculum to the SBE by June 30, 2019 and the SBE to adopt a model curriculum by Nov. 30, 2019.

Once adopted, school districts and charter schools that don’t already have a standards-based ethnic studies program would be encouraged to offer a course based on the model curriculum to high school students as a social sciences or English language arts elective.

“The development of a comprehensive ethnic studies curriculum acknowledges the diversity of California, which has the most ethnically diverse public school student body in the nation,” Alejo said. “Ethnic studies are not just for students of color. We should give all students the opportunity to prepare for a diverse global economy, diverse university campuses and diverse workplaces.”