U.S. DOE begins initiative to enhance STEM

The U.S. Department of Education on Dec. 7 launched the Raise the Bar: STEM Excellence for All Students Initiative. According to the U.S. DOE, the initiative is meant to “help implement and scale equitable, high-quality STEM education for all students from PreK to higher education — regardless of background.”

“Research shows how a sense of belonging in rich and rigorous classrooms is directly correlated to students’ long-term academic success,” said U.S.…

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Arbitrator rules in favor of NTU in COVID quarantine grievance

The Newark Teachers Union (Local 481) scored a major victory Nov. 23 when arbitrator Robert C. Gifford ruled that Newark Public Schools must repay NTU members what the union estimates is about $1 million in salary and restore sick days with regard to COVID-related absences.

The case started on Oct. 13, 2021, when the NTU filed a grievance alleging that starting Jan.…

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U.S. DOE seeks public comment on Stronger Connections FAQs

Through Dec. 19, the U.S. Department of Education is seeking public comment on the draft FAQs related to the Stronger Connections grant program, which is part of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

Stronger Connections recognizes “that local evidence-based school safety and climate plans, along with other evidence-based strategies for creating safe, healthy and supportive schools, depend on meaningful engagement between school and LEA leaders and students, parents, families and community members, and strong relationships between students and adults,” reads the introduction to the draft.…

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Paradiso, Pereira join task force addressing N.J. teacher shortage

Perth Amboy Federation President Pat Paradiso and Newark Teachers Union member Silvia Pereira will be the AFT representatives on the task force Gov. Phil Murphy established via executive order to address the teacher and support staff shortage in New Jersey’s public schools.

“AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera recommended me for the task force, but I would have asked to be part of it had she not,” says Paradiso (above left), who is AFTNJ’s PreK-12 executive vice president.…

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Murphy establishes teacher shortage task force

Gov. Phil Murphy recently signed Executive Order No. 309, which establishes a task force to address the shortage of K-12 teachers and education support professionals in New Jersey.

Dennis Zeveloff, Murphy’s chief policy adviser, has been named the chair of the task force, which will include two AFT members.

According to EO 309, all public members of the task force “shall serve without compensation,” and they will “organize as soon as practicable after the appointment of its members, and shall convene as often as practicable and as requested” by Murphy or Zeveloff.…

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Raise the Bar supports career-connected learning

On Nov. 14, the U.S. Department of Education launched Raise the Bar: Unlocking Career Success, a Biden-Harris administration initiative supported by the Commerce and Labor departments designed “to strengthen the connection between K-12 education, postsecondary education and workforce programs,” according to the U.S. DOE.

“It’s time we bridge the divide between our K-12 systems and our college, career and industry preparation programs, which leave too many students behind and perpetuate inequities in our most diverse, underserved and rural communities,” said U.S.…

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Aoki to lead TeachRock class on growth mindset

DJ-producer Steve Aoki will discuss his experiences in the entertainment industry and share how he’s harnessed his creativity in the free course “Growth Mindset: Unlock Your Brain’s Neon Future,” taking place Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Created by the nonprofit educational resource TeachRock and hosted by Varsity Tutors, this 45-minute session is best suited for students in grades 5-12.…

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U.S. DOE’s ‘Raising the Bar’ series continues Nov. 10

In late October, the U.S. Department of Education launched its “Raising the Bar” literacy-math series to address academic recovery. Its next virtual session is set for Nov. 10 at 2 p.m.

The topic for Nov. 10 is “Best Practices and Research on Rigorous Instruction for all Students in Literacy and Mathematics,” and key features will include leveraging American Rescue Plan funding to implement literacy and math achievement best practices at scale.…

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Murphy expands access to STEM education

Gov. Phil Murphy on Nov. 2 signed S2563, which amends the New Jersey Department of Education’s grant program for STEM teachers that he established in 2019.

Sponsored by Senate Education Committee Chair Vin Gopal, state Sen. Shirley K. Turner and others, the legislation “expands the number of educators who are eligible to provide STEM instruction at nonpublic schools in addition to their public school duties,” while also increasing compensation, according to a release from the governor’s office.…

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Teaching materials aplenty for Native American Heritage Month

November is National Native American Heritage Month, and teaching materials from myriad sources can be accessed online for free.

Among the options suitable for K-12 students are “American Indians: Primary Sources and Ready-to-Use Teaching Activities” from the National Archives and “Native Americans and the American Revolution: Choosing Sides” from the National Endowment for the Humanities.…

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New SML webinars explore games literacy and more

In collaboration with the Chicago Teachers Union Foundation’s Quest Center, AFT’s Share My Lesson will present new webinars in November that are designed to spark creativity and ingenuity among students.

Those webinars are: 

• Nov. 2 at 6 p.m. ET: “More Than STEM: Minecraft As a Tool for Multidisciplinary Learning”

• Nov. 9 at 6 p.m.…

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Take students on a NASA virtual field trip

K-12 students can learn about robotic spacecraft technology and much more through virtual field trips offered by the NASA Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center in Virginia.

These virtual field trips, typically available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, involve hands-on activities and a Q&A session. They may be hosted by the visitor center on Microsoft Teams, or student groups may host the program on a virtual platform of their choice.…

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