Class size is an ongoing challenge for school districts around the country. The New York Times reports that though the recession has ended, the impact of budget and staff cuts is still being felt in the classroom. Many districts have had to increase their student-t0-teacher ratio.
In North Texas, hundreds of elementary schools were granted waivers from the state, The Dallas Morning News reported earlier this year. Dallas ISD applied for more than 200 waivers from the 22 students-per-classroom state cap. Suburban districts like Plano and Richardson ISDs also sought waivers.
How are teachers and students adapting? Do more kids equal more distractions? Does it affect teaching and learning? Chime in below.
Frisco School Superintendent Jeremy Lyon believes healthy children make better grades. His philosophy is one reason the American Heart Association recently made Lyon the first superintendent appointed to an affiliate board. Here’s more on how Lyon plans to put his passion into practice.
Ninth-grader Alex Gutierrez is enjoying her Chinese class, but says it’s getting more and more challenging.
Students at the Garland charter school are required to learn both Mandarin and Spanish. Next summer, students without disciplinary problems will have the opportunity to travel to China. In the fall, nearly 200 Chinese students will go to the Garland school and live on campus there.
Teacher Shenglin Selinger is a native of China and used to teach in Dallas ISD. She plays songs and shows videos to help students learn Mandarin.
Principal Nadia Ayala gets inspiration from the words of Henry Ford and Edward James Olmos’ character in the movie Stand and Deliver.
All year long, KERA has followed the Class of 17 from eighth grade to high school. Today, we catch up with Alex Gutierrez whose struggles in math sent her to summer school. Alex is now in a brand new charter school with a multicultural twist.
In Texas, many students have ended up in court for getting into fights or even cursing. Some have also ended up with criminal records. In 2010, the advocacy group Texas Appleseed spoke out against the high number of students being issued citations, in particular African American students.
Some school districts have responded by finding other ways to handle disciplinary problems. Dallas public schools, for example, are actually issuing fewer citations year to year. But as KUHF in Houston reports, the Bryan school district, two and half hours south of here, is under tough scrutiny.
The number of first-year teachers hired in Texas public schools has dropped significantly, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.
The paper looked at data from the Texas Education Agency, which shows that fewer than 15,000 first-year teachers were hired during the 2011-12 school year, far less than the 25,000 teachers hired in 2008. Last year was also the first year in recent history in which public schools lost more teachers than they hired.
A number of reasons contributed to the loss, including the recession and cuts to education funding, the paper reports.
January’s Grammy Awards is billed as music’s biggest night. The Grammy Foundation is now also recognizing teachers. When nominees were announced last week, a Plano orchestra teacher learned she’s up for the first ever Music Educator Award.
NPR aired an interesting story this morning about how some parents think their kids begin their school day too early. They and some experts say students aren’t getting enough sleep and wake up feeling groggy. Sleep deprivation can ultimately lead to irritability and health issues like depression. Now, there’s a national petition promoting legislation to prevent public schools from starting before 8 a.m.
Locally, at least one school district – Garland ISD – is considering changing its start time for high school students. The school board there took up the issue last week. Parents, students, teachers — how do you feel about this issue? Is this a topic of discussion at your school? Chime in below.