Chiera testifies at hearing about N.J.’s ARP fund use

AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera testified July 28 during the second of two virtual hearings hosted this week by Gov. Phil Murphy regarding the use of New Jersey’s share of American Rescue Plan funds.

She began by addressing educators’ concerns about “the health of their buildings: temperature, water, ventilation, air quality. … Students need to go back into buildings, and they need to be back in buildings in September, but they need to be back in buildings that are safe.”…

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Veteran teacher offers advice to newbies

Reflecting on his teaching career, which began in 2007, Jason DeHart has come up with a few points he’d tell his younger self if he had the opportunity.

“I share them with you not as a recipe for all success but as starting points for a rich journey of growth,” writes DeHart, an assistant professor of reading education at Reich College of Education Appalachian State University, in a July 22 post for Edutopia.…

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‘Off the Page’ book forums focus on social justice

The AFTNJ social justice committee will hold virtual book forums Oct. 13 and Nov. 16 through its “Off the Page, Into the World” initiative to bring social justice into working spaces.

The book forums will provide a welcoming, nonjudgmental meet-up to exchange ideas on a complex topic, explains committee co-chair Anthony Balzano, a professor of anthropology and sociology at Sussex County Community College.…

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Choice, flexibility are keys to student engagement

If there’s one takeaway from the 2020-21 school year that truly stands out, “it’s that teachers have the ability to creatively plan to engage students in any setting,” writes New Jersey middle-school teacher Ron Litz.

“The lessons we’ve learned from this year in terms of best practices and the revision of practices used prior to the pandemic should continue to be our goal as educators,” adds Litz.…

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Murphy signs civics education legislation

Gov. Phil Murphy on July 23 signed into law S854/S237-A3394, also known as Laura Wooten’s Law, which will require civics education be taught in New Jersey’s middle schools.

The law carries the name of the late Laura Wooten, who is believed to be the longest continuously serving poll worker in American history.

“Currently, New Jersey is one of a minority of states which does not require our middle school students to study civics, leaving a gap between elementary school and high school, which we must fill,” Murphy said in his opening remarks.…

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Higher education is at the center of ‘The Chair’

Sandra Oh stars in “The Chair,” an upcoming Netflix comedy series set at fictional Pembroke University.

Netflix describes the series as such: “At a major university, the first woman of color to become chair tries to meet the dizzying demands and high expectations of a failing English department.”

“The Chair,” also starring David Morse, Holland Taylor and Bob Balaban, will premiere Aug.…

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Making a case for studying pandemic’s overall impact on students

Boston University Wheelock College of Education’s Andrew Bacher-Hicks and Joshua Goodman are not among those who are “framing the pandemic as a ‘natural experiment’ for studying specific educational interventions.”

Writing for Education Next, they recommend that researchers “focus on helping education leaders understand the overall impact of the pandemic on students, putting particular emphasis on discovering which groups have suffered the worst effects.”…

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Early childhood educators recall personal, professional stress during the pandemic

From December 2020 through May 2021, EdSurge followed seven women who work as early childhood educators from around the country. Through interviews, surveys and research, EdSurge learned “what it looks like to teach young learners, engage with families, run businesses and manage personal and professional stress during the pandemic.”

Read the oral history here.

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Ways to make your professional learning personal

Recovering from the 2020-21 school year will take a while, and one way for educators to move forward is to “let go of what didn’t work and proactively pivot toward learning that ignites curiosity,” write Lauren Kaufman and Stephanie Rothstein.

In a July 14 post for Edutopia, Kaufman and Rothstein offer three ways for teachers “to take some control of this process” and in turn “help make professional learning personal.”…

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Making the most of integrated literacy workshops

As a way to “find innovative ways to streamline literacy instruction while offering students opportunities to follow individualized learning paths,” longtime teachers Maria Walther and Karen Biggs-Turner say they have turned to integrated literacy workshops.

In an article posted by MiddleWeb, Walther and Biggs-Turner write about what they describe as “actionable ideas to start your journey by celebrating individuality, encouraging creativity and sparking curiosity.”…

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Stepping outside can give teachers a recharge

Being a teacher involves spending most days “under artificial lights in classrooms and offices, our faces illuminated by screens,” writes Ryan Tahmaseb, director of library services at the Meadowbrook School in Weston, Massachusetts.

“We don’t go outside unless we need to supervise an outdoor activity or move from one building to another,” he adds. “So many Americans are overworked, stressed and anxious.…

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Tech practices worth keeping for the long haul

Part of “holding on to the positive components” that school districts used during the pandemic has been deciding which technology practices “will remain for the long haul,” according to Jason Borgen, chief technology officer at Santa Cruz County Office of Education in California.

Writing for SmartBrief, Borgen delves into six practices that he says are high on his list.…

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Ideas for post-pandemic schooling

Frederick Hess, a former high school social studies teacher and an executive editor at Education Next, writes that now is the time for “fundamentally rethinking how schools make use of instructional talent.”

“A half-century ago, when teaching talent was plentiful and the demands on teachers were more uniform, the notion of the do-everything teacher might’ve made more sense,” writes Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. …

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Finding inspiration from student teachers

Dan Rose, a veteran middle-school teacher in New York, credits his recent student teacher for reminding him “that my journey to perfect my teaching should never end — and of the value of opening my heart, mind and classroom to student teachers to begin with.”

In a Professional Learning post for Edutopia, Rose offers seven tips for working with a student teacher.…

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Murphy, Bridges discuss latest round of federal aid for higher education in N.J.

Gov. Phil Murphy spent the early part of his July 12 briefing talking about the nearly $30 million in additional federal support for New Jersey’s higher education sector to help colleges and universities weather the impact of COVID-19.

“The bulk of this funding — about $28.5 million — is heading out to nearly three dozen colleges and universities in support of the office’s Opportunity Meets Innovation Challenge, which is a competitive grant program,” Murphy said.…

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