Thursday, November 18, 2010

More on grading the teachers

The Brookings Institute, an influential Washington DC based think-tank, is jumping on the teachers evaluation fray with the new report Evaluating Teachers: the Important Role of Value-Added. I'll confess: I haven't read the full report (it was just released yesterday, just found it today, so have mercy on me). But it's not too long, and its conclusion may be something that pleases most. From the executive summary: "We conclude that value-added data has an important role to play in teacher evaluation systems, but that there is much to be learned about how best to use value-added information in human resource decisions."

The study looks at value-added, or the evaluation of teachers based on the contribution they make to the learning of their students, from four points of view: how is value-added used? what are the consequences (for teachers and students) for classifying or misclassifying teachers as effective or ineffective? How reliable are these types of tests? How reliable are evaluation methods between those that use value-added and those that don't?

There seems to be some momentum building up towards some type of standardized testing for teachers, so the more we know, the better off we'll be.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The science of happiness

From the University of California at Berkeley comes this fascinating video about their current research on happiness and how happy children are likely to be more successful than those who aren't. Sounds logical, right? Happy people have the good attitude we all love and appreciate, the type that takes you places in life. Grumpy people get quickly relegated to the dog house. Now, if researchers could reveal exactly what the secret is in raising happy children, that would be so nifty...

Monday, November 8, 2010

Building peace

What does it take to build peace? Twenty-three high school and CSUMB students tackled the issue through the Summer Youth Leadership Training Project, a five-week program with El Sausal Middle School students. The two sets of students grappled with issues such as concerns about safety, being underestimated by adults, and not being able to see a real future, and they presented their explorations last month at the Breadbox Community Center.

CSUMB student Victoria Flores was one of those university students who lent her talent to explore this thorny issue. During the presentation last month at the Breadbox, she showed some of the artwork created by El Sausal students. (Photo courtesy of CSU Monterey Bay)

And speaking of weighty explorations, while Hartnell College considers axing what looks like a good program job training program, Castroville Rotary club held its annual "job shadowing" program, aimed at introducing students to a host of occupations out there: dentistry, moving and storage, restaurant work, banking, and construction management. Monterey County Supervisor Lou Calcagno and Superior Court Judge Efren Iglesia were job-shadowed by two North Monterey County students last week. Now, those are jobs surely any teenager would want to have. Right?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A gift-bearing trip

Representatives from All Saints' Day School in Carmel traveled to Haiti to deliver gifts to its sister school, St. Patrick's Episcopal. Straight from the keyboard of Cynthia McCoy of All Saints' Day School comes this story. Enjoy!

It takes a long and bumpy five hours in a four-wheel drive vehicle on a semi-dirt road to reach St. Patrick’s School, located in the village of Locorbe in central Haiti, about 90 miles from Port-Au-Prince. But last month, members from Carmel's All Saints’ Day School traveled to Haiti to deliver supplies and gifts to St. Patrick’s Episcopal School and Church. Besides bringing gifts, their mission was to strengthen already established relationships, and assess what additional help might be needed, especially in light of the earthquake that devastated the country in January.
“The trip began on a main road and eventually turned onto a dirt road that sometimes disappeared, turning into a path. The biggest challenge was washed-out roadbed and twice residents had to bring hoes and rakes to smooth out the surface,” said Fr. Rick Matters, All Saints’ Day School Chaplain and Rector of All Saints’ Church.
For over a decade, the children and families of the rural Haitian community where St. Patrick’s is located has received significant support from its sister school, All Saints’ Day School of Carmel, for teacher salaries, school supplies and the development of goat herds. For this year’s journey to Haiti, All Saints’ Day School Board Trustee, Betty Kasson, and Fr. Matters joined members of St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church in Carmel Valley and St. Jude’s Episcopal Church of Cupertino, as well as Fr. Roger Bowen, former Head of York School.
All Saints’ Day School will continue its partnership with St. Patrick’s and anyone who is interested in helping with funding, all of which goes directly to that community, is encouraged to contact Deanna Cleary, Outreach Director at All Saints’ Day School (831-624-9171 ext. 77).