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Climate for Academic Success: Sparks Middle School

We are pleased to share a recent success of one of our star schools, Sparks Middle School in Industry, CA was identified as “Beating the Odds” by a new report from WestEd. A growing body of research suggests that school climate may be an important variable in explaining why some schools are more successful than others. This report, written by WestEd’s Adam Voight, Gregory Austin, and Thomas Hanson, contributes to this research by exploring the climate of a handful of secondary schools with extraordinary success compared to that of other schools, including those that consistently underperform. School success is often defined in absolute …

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Torlakson Announces New Family Engagement Framework

  SACRAMENTO—Sharing the vision of California GEAR UP in the vital importance of parent involvement in the success of students, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today released a new, free publication, Family Engagement Framework, a Tool for California School Districts, to help school districts engage families in their children’s education. “Parents are every child’s first teachers,” Torlakson said. “The good news is you don’t need an advanced degree to help your child succeed at school. It’s the little things that make a big difference—reading at home, talking with your child about school, and setting high expectations. Our Family Engagement Framework provides practical …

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Study: Dropouts Decreased Through Middle School Transition

Middle and high schools can reduce the dropout rate by working together to plan the transition to high school, holding activities to familiarize students with the campus, and helping them feel connected to their new schools, according to a new report issued by the California Comprehensive Center at WestEd (WestEd is a California GEAR UP Partner and external evaluator). “The transition from middle school to high school can be challenging for students,” California State Superintendent of Education Tom Torlakson said. “The good news is that some simple steps to make students welcome, can give them the confidence they need to …

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Education News Roundup

Photo credit: Good Education Change Agents (click image to read) Within the small but mighty ranks of California GEAR UP, we often share articles of interest that sometimes become the focus of a blog post or shared on our Facebook and Twitter profile. We decided we would share with you some of the education websites we enjoy and in turn hear from you as to where you like to get your education news. Below is a list of websites and resources which is by no means comprehensive. L.A. Times Education: A news blog operated by the LA Times that features …

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WestEd: Improving Educational Outcomes for Hispanic Children

A new report from SchoolsMovingUp discusses closing the achievement gap for hispanic students. Here are some of the recommendations: Federal level: Recognize and share with colleagues that the majority of Hispanic children in ELL classes are U.S. citizens by birth Clearly define Limited English Proficient (LEP) and former LEP students in Title III of the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Create a 50-state consortium to share best practices and develop common academic standards, assessment, and reclassification procedures Recommend teacher education policy to ensure all current teachers and teacher candidates learn about second language and literacy acquisition, reading across the content areas, and …

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Doing What Works: Turning Around Low Performing Schools

New for our ‘Courageous Conversation’ and ‘Discussion’ catagories: Our friends over at WestEd (thanks Sanjay) shared with us a great multi-media site that is a wonderful clearinghouse for research based education practices online. This site is a joint venture lead by the Department of Education to create an online library of resources that may help teachers, schools, districts, states and technical assistance providers implement research-based instructional practice. What we at GEAR UP particularly like about this site is the well produced videos, slideshows, and information under each topic. It is hard to think of another website that has as much …

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