Some thoughts on Community Schools Coordinators

A student exists in a classroom with a teacher, in a school with a number of classrooms and teachers and with a principal overseeing the operation.

The surrounding community has a plethora, a legion, of programs and resources that can be made available to support that student, that teacher, that principal, and that student’s family.

The teacher and principal too often do not have time to effectively seek out and link that student to all the appropriate supports and services available.

So who suffers?

The student, for sure. But also, the family. The teacher. The classroom. The principal. The school district. The neighborhood. The city. Businesses. All the taxpayers. Society at large

The unique role of a Community School Coordinator is to build bridges between that student and the appropriate organizations and services that can support that student and their family in breaking a cycle and succeeding in school and in life.

The unique role of ABC Community School Partnership is to create Community School Coordinator/Principal partnerships at individual schools amenable to the concept, and to sustain a community-wide viewpoint for organizing, energizing, and proliferating, collaborative efforts to support individual students and their families in their school setting

The mindmap below is a schematic of what this is and how it works. Notice that, without a Community School Coordinator, the full burden of seeking and organizing appropriate resources and programs for individual students and families falls on the shoulders of already very busy teachers and principalsCommunity Schools Mindmap


America has a growing food inequality problem

Income inequality isn’t the only gap the U.S. needs to mind these days; the country is amassing a sad and expensive discrepancy between what its poor and rich eat.

The Alternate Healthy Eating Index, which incorporates the latest scientific evidence on the relationship between diet and health and assigns values to certain foods based on their relative nutritional value (sugar-sweetened juices, for instance, have a lower rating than vegetables).


Part of that divide is likely price-driven. Health foods, while growing in popularity (and fast), can be expensive, and, in turn, inaccessible to poorer people not just in America, but anywhere. “Price is a major determinant of food choice, and healthful foods generally cost more than unhealthful foods in the United States,” the study said. A significant portion of the U.S. population, after all, has enough trouble feeding itself any food, let alone fancy food—some 15 percent of the U.S. population and 17 percent of U.S. households were food “insecure” as of 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which means that they occasionally run out of money for food, or food entirely.

Read the full article  here.

Update on Common Core Standards

Common Core standards were designed by state officials as a way to make sure that students in, say, Montana are learning the same level as their counterparts in Maine.

New Things shake people up, as do all “changes” of any type. Common Core is a “New Thing,” therefore it shakes folks up.

It is not:

  • a federal curriculum
  • a cultural warfare tool to brainwash children
  • anti-Christian
  • anti-capitalist
  • anti-American
  • a “failed program” – it’s way to new to declare that yet

Some states, like Indiana, changed the name to “Hoosier State Standards” while leaving everything else virtually identical to Common Core Standards.

The idea behind Common Core tracks back to, and was supported by, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

The hope of supporters is that Common Core states will be able to measure whether their students have the skills they need in an increasingly mobile and globalizing economy. As of 2012, at least 20% of college freshmen in the U.S. had to take remedial courses that not only derails many students’ journey to a diploma, but also costs taxpayers an estimated $2.5 billion a year in financial aid.

Time Magazine article can be read by clicking  here.

You can view a Prezi presentation of New Mexico Common Core State Standards by clicking  here.

Check out this new PTA/PTO assistance/organizer for any device

This new free app is designed to support PTO/PTA organizations, parents, and school teachers and administrators. This is what it’s website says:

Blissfully Easy and Quick to Set Up
and Manage


Sounds like it could be quite useful. To go their website, click  here.

Gallup Poll’s 2013 State of America Schools report

Since the early 1970s, Gallup has reported the results on their annual survey of American education. This year’s report includes findings from:

  • more than 600,000 5th- to 12th-grade students participated in the survey
  • results from Gallup’s decade-long study of exceptional teachers and principals are included

Here are the highlights of the 2013 survey and report.

  • Just 33% (1 in 3)  students scored highly on all three factors linked to success at school and beyond: hope, engagement, and well being.
  • Emotional engagement is the heartbeat of the education (learning) process.
  • Less than half of students strongly agree that they get to do what they do best every day, leading to boredom and frustration as their greatest talents go undeveloped.
  • Within the first five years on the job, between 40% and 50% of teachers leave the profession. A lack of autonomy needed to effectively use their talents plays a significant role in these turnover rates.
  • Nearly 70% of teachers are not engaged in their work. While teachers compare favorably to other U.S. workers in agreeing they are able to do what they do best every day – they are last among 12 occupational groups studied when it comes to feeling their opinions count at work.
  • Just 19% of Americans agree that the country’s high school graduates are ready for college, and only 17% say graduates are prepared to join the labor force.
  • Just as exceptional teachers help students stay emotionally invested in the learning process, great principals provide the support that teachers and other staff members need to achieve high levels of performance.
  • Many U.S. school districts struggle with a lack of adequate school board leadership; only 37% of superintendents strongly agree that their districts are well-governed at the board level.
  • Young adults who say they had frequent opportunities in their last year of school to develop real-world problem-solving skills are about twice as likely as those who disagree to report higher-quality work lives.
  • Securing three simple rights for students can change the trajectory of their lives:
    1. They feel they have someone who cares about their development;
    2. They are able to do what they like to do each day;
    3. They are able to do what they do best every day.

You can download the entire 47-page report  here.

I am struck with how tightly this couples with M. Night Shyamalan’s findings in his excellent book, I Got Schooled. By clicking on that title in the tags below, you can find summaries of his five practices that lead to success in the classroom.

Kids science projects are now life-changing ideas

Science projects are no longer just about poster boards and papier-mâché volcanoes.

With prestigious competitions like the Google Science Fair and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, millions of entrepreneurial students are showcasing their talents and gaining national recognition for their work. From bioplastics made from banana peels to new treatments against influenza, today’s science projects by children and teenagers have turned into life-changing ideas.

Click here to see nine recent award-winning science projects from some of the brightest and youngest minds out there.


How Increasing Income Inequality Is Dampening U.S. Economic Growth, And Possible Ways To Change The Tide


Here is an overview from recent Standard & Poor’s economic research describing the importance of education to our country’s well-being:

  • At extreme levels, income inequality can harm sustained economic growth over long periods. The U.S. is approaching that threshold.
  • Standard & Poor’s sees extreme income inequality as a drag on long-run economic growth. We’ve reduced our 10-year U.S. growth forecast to a 2.5% rate. We expected 2.8% five years ago.
  • With wages of a college graduate double that of a high school graduate, increasing educational attainment is an effective way to bring income inequality back to healthy levels.
  • It also helps the U.S economy. Over the next five years, if the American workforce completed just one more year of school, the resulting productivity gains could add about $525 billion, or 2.4%, to the level of GDP, relative to the baseline.
  • A cautious approach to reducing inequality would benefit the economy, but extreme policy measures could backfire.

You can read the whole, lengthy article  here.