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eSchool News
eSchool News covers the intersection of technology and innovation in education.
  • Course Access policies focus on equitable learning
    The answer to ensuring that all students have equitable access to the courses that will prepare them to be college- and career-ready could be found in a state policy known as Course Access, according to a new report from the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL). Federal data indicates that only 50 percent of U.S. high schools offer calculus and just 63 percent offer physics, meaning that students in the other 50 percent of schools don’t even have the chance to enroll in these advanced courses. But Course Access policies, funded by public education dollars, would ensure that all students have equal access to the online, blended, and face-to-face educational opportunities that help them become college and career ready. This lack of equitable K-12 course access persists in college and through to the workforce, according to the report, which notes that minorities and underrepresented student groups traditionally have low access to high school STEM courses, and, therefore, are underrepresented in STEM professional fields. Students often lose interest in STEM fields as early as middle school, and research shows that sustaining STEM interest through high school is a big predictor of college and workforce STEM participation. But Course Access can change that by offering consistent learning opportunities that sustain student interest in STEM. Classes offered through Course Access pass state academic and quality standards and can be offered in online, face-to-face, and technical formats. Students could opt for Course Access if they want to take a specialized class, such as Mandarin Chinese, not offered at their school, which is often the case for students in rural districts. In addition, Course Access is an option for students who wish to take Advanced Placement or other college-level courses not offered in their district. This approach also offers potential for increased personalized learning strategies.
  • School groups team up to help with digital transformation
    Many educators across the United States have made considerable progress in using technology to transform learning, and several school districts have advanced beyond small pockets of innovation to embrace systemic transformation. However, few school systems have found a way to create a fully enabled digital ecosystem that is continuously improving. To help school systems make this “digital leap,” three leading educational leadership groups—AASA, the School Superintendents Association; the National School Boards Association (NSBA); and the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)—are partnering to share their collective expertise. The organizations’ “Leading the Digital Leap” initiative aims to empower K-12 superintendents, district technology leaders, and school boards to strengthen their ed-tech advocacy and adopt “bold, thoughtful, and scalable approaches that leverage digital tools in ways that personalize learning,” according to CoSN. The project is expected to launch at the end of the month with a website, www.leaddigitalleap.org, that will contain best practices for leading a digital transformation in schools. The website also will include practical resources such as an E-rate Toolkit for leveraging the federal E-rate to fund technology infrastructure; a checklist for ensuring schools are ready for online testing this year; and more. “Helping school district leaders take the ‘digital leap’ means new roles for district technology leaders, superintendents, and school boards, and everyone has to make that leap,” said Keith Krueger, CoSN’s chief executive. “The exciting thing about the Leading the Digital Leap initiative is that, for the first time, the major professional associations representing district leaders are joining together to help our school systems enact digital system-wide transformation. We are creating a common voice and suite of resources to answer the ‘whys’ and the ‘hows’ to make this vision a reality.” eSchool Media is a media partner for the project.
  • Four ways to advocate for school libraries
    If school librarians want to make a case for library funding, they must demonstrate how they help students learn and prove that they build collaborative instructional partnerships with classroom teachers. Libraries often suffer financially when school administrators are forced to make budget cuts, often because administrators might still have outdated views regarding what the school library actually does. Librarians have specialized and varied training, but often, that training does not help direct funding to the school library unless administrators see how libraries benefit student learning, said Michelle Luhtala, head librarian at New Canaan High School (Conn.), during a Connected Educator Month edWeb webinar about making the case for school libraries. Luhtala, with input from Deb Schiano, a teacher-librarian at Madison Junior School in New Jersey, outlined four areas of expertise where librarians can demonstrate to school administrators that they directly contribute to student learning. Instructional partnerships “This is very powerful, very useful, and is a huge part of what we do,” Luhtala said. “We explain how research is done. There’s real collaboration here.” School librarians play an integral role in developing materials that help teachers understand and unpack the Common Core, and they work to create documents and warehouses of collaborative materials and research projects. Creating online learning materials in collaboration with fellow librarians and educators supports educators’ instruction, which supports students’ learning achievements. Librarians teach teachers, through direct instruction and through classroom experiences, how to use technologies. Helping teachers reach that “ah-ha” moment leads to greater and more effective technology integration in teaching and learning. Professional development is an important part of collaborative instructional partnerships. Librarians offer unique services when they enter a teacher’s classroom and help the teacher become more independent not just in technology use, but also in developing and teaching research skills and other important skills students will need when they go to college or join the workforce.
  • With no internet at home, kids crowd libraries for online homework
    Once again, Christina Morua found herself in the South Dade library longer than she would like on a school night. The 28-year-old single mom sat in the bustling children's section on a recent Thursday, waiting for her fourth-grader to get on a computer and start some online math homework. "We don't have any Internet at home," Morua said as her oldest, 11-year-old Abel, clicked through an assignment on a library laptop while Alina, 9, waited for her turn at a desktop. "We just reserved a computer. We have to wait 70 minutes. He got one of the last laptops." With more school materials heading online, parents like Morua here and elsewhere across the country find they can no longer count on home for homework. That leaves libraries as a crucial venue for their youngest patrons, but funding challenges, reduced hours on school nights and aging equipment have made it harder to meet the demand. "The laptops we do have, the batteries aren't working," said Patricia Readon, a librarian working the children's desk at the South Dade branch in Cutler Bay. "You can check out a laptop, and the next 30 minutes it's dead. The sad part is, if you don't have a computer, you can't do your homework." Morua's long wait for a computer offers a flip side to the current debate over how best to reinvent Miami-Dade's libraries. That discussion has largely focused on how to attract people with no current interest in libraries--entrepreneurs who need office space, twenty-somethings who might like a Starbucks near the checkout counter, and 3-D printers for the "maker" movement of techie do-it-yourselfers. Yet for families without access to online homework, libraries are already the place to be on school nights. It's just the lack of computers that has them complaining.
  • Students excel with project-based learning
    When it comes to classrooms today, students want more than the lectures and quiet classrooms of the past. They want technology to use as learning tools, they want to collaborate, and they want to work on projects that are relevant to their learning and the real world.
A triumphant 6th re-union PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 12 August 2008 10:00

July 29, 2009

The desire of power in excess caused the angels to fall; the desire of knowledge in excess caused man to fall; but in charity there is no excess, neither can angel or man come in danger by it. Author:Francis Bacon Source: Essay—OnGoodness

When our members, friends, and supporters flew from all over North America during this critical economic downturn it shows the love, the passion, and dedication that they have to support our association and what it stands for. We all have good time with friends and family. More so we all were happy when it was announced that the big project was finished and is giving full services. What is so enjoyable other than see the seed we saw six years a go bearing fruit and reach for harvest in our six reunions. We have seen via video the beautiful library filled and equipped with hard cover books. We have seen the children who six years a go were fighting for a sitting space now relaxed and have books as they want in the spacious and elegant library. What else is satisfying other than hearing our little brothers and sisters, our parents, friends, and alike appreciating the marvelous work of each and every one of us put into this. Guys don’t take it easy and do not assume you haven’t done your share. we are changing a generation that is lagging behind. We are bringing the young generation who is still using 19th century technology and outdated books in this 21st century. We are creating a new generation with new ideas, talents, creativity, and what have you. Therefore, you have every reason to be proud.

In general, our members in most cases were and are very optimistic. This year even though the board was not expecting to see many members attending the re-union due to the sluggish economy, many managed to make it. We all were amazed by the number of attendees from different States. It appears to us and to all members that people can do anything and everything if there is a will. We know now more than anytime else that our members are determined to do anything for the quality of education, for bright future of the new generation, and to eradicated backwardness ones and for all.

Those of us who flew have a good time and enjoyed ourselves with friends and alike and contributed some to our beloved association. Those who choose to be with us in spirit also were with us in spirit and have sent their fair share of contribution. Is not this something! We don’t know what it is but there is something unique about this association. We all stand as one, support each other, listen to each other, work together as hand in gloves, bring information, share information, no pointing fingers, always think positive and do what is best to change the life of others. Amazing!

Our DC folks are truly great in their hospitality. If it was not for their money and time scarifies we may not enjoyed our time since driving from one area to the other is so nightmarish. However, by the effort of the father of our association- HBT and others, we have a pleasant week. The Haileselassie Belay household took a week of vacation from their job to facilitate our Stay. The young Robel Haileselassie and his beloved mother Tsige did not have a break until we all depart. Every year, every month, every day, every minute and second we all fall in love with this very kind and big heart family. May God give them longevity so that our ADI will be served better and we all have a good vacation with them year after year? CUDOS HAILE BELAY TEKLU and Family! If we start naming people we may forgot some hard working individuals and committee members so we will stop here but would like to thank all the women who feed us for five days with the best food ever TIHLO.

Financial report: - Members discussed the financial situation of the association. A report was presented by the secretary and each and every one was given the opportunity to look into the financial statement of the association and the books for that matter. In addition, the amount of money collected in the past six years, the amount of funds wired for library construction, student teacher award, books and computer purchases, and power installation were explained.

What was new this year? The establishment of the youth network (AYN) is new. Our association had established Awlaelo Youth Network. Some may ask why another association or network? Well, you know our youngsters who are born or grow up in the states and those of us oldies do not speak the same language nor do we see things in the same fashion. The youth have their way of doing things, their way of supporting others, their methods of fund raising and communication, hence, the need to organize them. They are organized now and eventually they can replace us, they can contribute on their best skills, and they can reach out to youth in Ethiopia using the current technology and medium of communication-the internet supported by their facebook social network. Thanks to Asefa Abay, Selm G and others for taking this project. Our brothers and sisters need your support. Your skills, your intellect is highly need back in ADI and it is hour sincere believe that you will do a good service. Make a call to all university students in Ethiopia and else where to join you. God willing the library will have a broadband and you will have many participants from there too.

So now we can say that we Deqi Awlaelo all have faith. We are very faithful to our God, faithful to our ADI and our people. Our actions, our deeds, our practice tells that all. With love and passion we supported all six high schools. We are opening the eyes of many for better life, better education which will lead to a better society. We are happy to be part of such dedicated group. We are individuals working and striving not to be known by anyone except the beneficiaries. We believe there is no excess charity. We want to share what we have with our people back home.

Board Election: - It was the board’s desire this year to retire from their leading positions. But it did not happen. The current board members had served six years and are still at service. Our members spoken! They don’t want to see the board leave or replaced by new faces. They say “don’t fix it if it is not broken”. However, some new faces were added so that they can be trained some leadership skills from the veterans so that coming year they can assume full responsibility. Since the members say no to the request of electing new board, the board members had no choice except accepting decision and will of the members.

Investment group: - Another new happening this year is the establishment of a committee to study about investment opportunities and some other things that will benefit members. This 7 member committee will study some investment opportunities in Tigray and here in the Diaspora to benefit its members. It will also look into some sort of group insurance for members, scholarship availability for our children, retirement conditions and many more. Over all, this is an interesting idea.

Member driven workshops: -Last year ASAA had drafted a five year plan to support the quality of education in all the high schools in KILTE AWLAELO. Based on that plan the first workshop was given by Engda Hagos (PhD) from Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Engada had given a workshop for 8 teachers and 25 top students in the field of science. He had motivated the students and teachers to do their best and to aim high. The school as well as Dr. Engda was happy with the outcome. Our association is also grateful to have such dedicated professionals who on their spare time teach and guide our brothers and sisters who are very thirsty for education. Thanks Doc for all the help. It is decided that workshops will continue and all professional who flew to ADI for personal case will give seminars, conferences, and workshops to students, teachers, and the other interested groups.

Finally we were happy by the support from our Ethiopian brothers in the Metropolis of the three States (DC, MD, VA). We could not do it without your support. Again thanks. With your support we managed to collect close to $29,000 before expenses. This is not bad. The country is in deep recession and yet we managed to collect such amount. This tells us how people are dedicated to support the needy children of Tigray to excel in education.

Where will ASAA gather next year? It was decided by our Seattle branch that they will host the 7th re-union. We are all happy by the decision of the branch to host it. We know they are not alone. The Seattle Tigrean community is one of the strongest and the best one in North America. We firmly believe Seattle community will support us in full gear. Hope to see you all in Seattle Washington in July 2010.

Abraha W Kahssay for ASAA

Last Updated on Friday, 09 July 2010 03:21