• Cooperate with ICE
• Allow ICE on school premises
• Share students’ confidential information.
Two WEAC members are on a state committee overseeing development of new computer science standards for Wisconsin schools. Among the members of the State Superintendent’s Standards Review Council, which will oversee the Computer Science Standards Writing Committee, are Heather Mielke of Elkhorn, Math Teacher, Burlington High School; and Lisa Sanderfoot of De Pere, Computer and Information Science Teacher, Valley View Elementary School, Ashwaubenon School District.
From the Department of Public Instruction
A panel of Wisconsin experts representing classroom educators, school leaders, and higher education are drafting standards for computer science as the next step in a process to define the knowledge and skills students are expected to learn in that subject during their PK-12 public education.
Computer science standards are the first set of standards that are being developed using Wisconsin’s new standards review process. The process began last August with a public comment period on the need and expected outcomes for computer science standards. The State Superintendent’s Standards Review Council examined those comments and recommended that Wisconsin develop academic standards for computer science.
In authorizing computer science standards development, State Superintendent Tony Evers said, “It is critical that our schools keep pace with changes in what citizens and employers expect from our students and how we teach that material. The technology sector continues to grow in Wisconsin and with that comes an increasing demand for people prepared to work in computer science and related fields. To better meet those needs, the state must provide standards to align how we teach computer science to our students.”
Academic standards, like those being developed for computer science, are a defined set of knowledge and skills that students are expected to know and be able to do. Standards set goals for teaching and student learning that help teachers plan curriculum and develop classroom lessons. In Wisconsin, all state standards serve as a model. Locally elected school boards adopt academic standards in each subject area to best serve the local community.
The Computer Science Standards Writing Committee is working on a set of academic standards that span all grade levels. A draft of the Wisconsin Academic Standards for Computer Science will then be available for a period of open review for feedback from the public, key stakeholders, educators, and the Legislature.
“Rigorous, clearly written academic standards are an important part of setting expectations for what our kids know and learn,” Evers said. “The standards review process gives the public a way to share their thoughts, resulting in a set of standards that reflects Wisconsin’s expectations for its students.”
Wisconsin is one of 18 states that rank “very poorly” for instructional support in the federal Head Start program for children in poverty, according to a report by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER).
“Such differences arise, in part, as local programs have been forced to triage limited funding,” the report states. “This report’s findings underscore the need for greater coordination between Head Start and state and local government agencies to build high-quality early learning programs with widespread reach and adequate funding.”
In Wisconsin, Head Start enrolled 14,847 children during the 2014-2015 program year – about 10 percent of the state’s low-income children under age 5, on par with the national average of 10 percent. Federal funding per child exceeded the national average for Early Head Start (EHS) serving infants and toddlers but lagged behind the national average for Head Start (HS) serving 3- and 4-year- olds, when adjusted for cost of living. Instructional support was below the research-based threshold for effective learning, while emotional support and classroom organization exceeded the threshold. Head Start program teachers earned substantially less than teachers in public schools. Specifically:
Head Start is a federally funded, locally administered comprehensive child development program that provides early education and support services to children and families with household incomes up to 130 percent of poverty by federal standards (about $33,000 for a family of four). Head Start serves children ages 3 to 5, while Early Head Start serves infants and toddlers.
Many Head Start programs collaborate with child care and public preschool programs to serve eligible children, including children of migrant workers and tribal families.
The State(s) of Head Start report is also the first to report on Head Start classroom quality by state. Across the country, Head Start teachers demonstrated an ability to provide emotionally supportive environments, and the majority of states also scored well on classroom organization. However, programs in just two states, Kentucky and Vermont, could be determined to score above a research-based threshold for effective instructional support. Eighteen states – including Wisconsin – scored significantly below this threshold. The report also finds variation in teacher qualifications, compensation, and turnover that can create problems for providing effective programs.
The report shows that Head Start programs are not uniformly funded at levels adequate to ensure a high quality learning and development experience and attract and retain qualified teachers while providing all the required services. Large differences in funding between states remain even after accounting for differences in the cost of living between states.
NIEER estimates that federal funding falls $14 billion short of what would be needed to serve all eligible 3- and 4-year-olds in high- quality Head Start programs for 1,020 hours per year (at an average of $10,000 per child). Early Head Start is even further from the funding levels needed to fulfill its expressed mission. Although Head Start grantees are expected to raise 20 percent of their total budget from non-federal sources in the form of financial or in-kind donations, these added resources do not make up for the gaps in the federal funds needed to adequately pay teachers to deliver the expected quality and hours of services.
NIEER’s findings highlight the need for renewed attention to meeting the needs of young children in low-income families in every state.
For more information on the State(s) of Head Start and detailed state-by-state profiles on quality, duration, access, and funding, visit www.nieer.org.
For more than 50 years, Head Start has provided free early childhood education and other services to low-income families and their children. But new national research, out today, shows great variation from state to state in how well the program works.
“Some programs prepare teachers whom parents would love to see in front of their child’s classroom,” the review concludes. “Too many others graduate teachers who still need substantial assistance and experience before they are truly ready for the position they now are authorized to fill. Since 2014, programs have made gains in a few key areas, but still have far to go in others.”
Compared to its previous release in 2014, the NCTQ said programs overall showed “positive signs of growth,” especially with regard to teaching reading. For example, it noted, more programs now include all five research-proven elements of reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. The percentage of programs that require each element individually also has increased.
The NCTQ noted “strong progress” in these areas:
NCTQ President Kate Walsh stated that, “When programs improve, the big winners are of course future teachers and the children they will one day teach, but also the programs themselves. They are showing a willingness to change to better meet the needs of public schools. Programs that adopt an evidence-based model of teacher preparation are leading the way for others to follow.”
Despite these gains, undergraduate elementary teacher prep programs still have far to go, the report said, particularly in preparing elementary teachers in mathematics. The weak preparation of teachers may help to explain the low performance of the US in the latest round of PISA testing announced this month, with 36 nations ranking higher in math. Only 13 percent of the teacher prep programs have coursework covering the essential math topics every elementary teacher is expected to teach.
The report said only one quarter of the programs (26 percent) are sufficiently selective, generally admitting only the top half of college goers. However, a number of programs are taking it upon themselves to adopt tougher standards. At institutions lacking strong admissions requirements, the number of undergraduate elementary teacher prep programs which independently require at least a 3.0 GPA for admission has increased from 44 in 2014 to 71 today.
Other areas where the report said programs can improve include:
Another former Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, now President of the University of North Carolina system, also commented, “These findings serve as reminder to me and my colleagues in higher education that we have a tremendous obligation to our public schools and future teachers. We must and can do better.”
This Review only analyzed undergraduate programs preparing elementary school teachers. Over the next two years, NCTQ will release updated ratings for undergraduate secondary, graduate and nontraditional elementary, graduate and nontraditional secondary, and undergraduate and graduate special education programs.
A WEAC member’s classroom project to gather information about how the Holocaust was reported locally in the 1940s has caught the attention of local media.
Eau Claire South Middle School Social Studies Teacher Yvonne Novak has involved her students in a project sponsored by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
“Americans from all over are doing research and looking at how the Holocaust was reported in everyone’s communities,” Novak told the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram.
About 30 students have volunteered to work on the project, and several said they are learning about the events surrounding the Holocaust earlier than many students and at a much deeper level. In addition, they like the fact that Eau Claire is being represented nationally as part of this important project.
Novak, a member of the Eau Claire Association of Educators (ECAE), told the Leader-Telegram she appreciates that the project allows her students to learn methods of research by exploring primary source documents, and said the project has led to deeper engagement from the students.
While paging through a book that binded together copies of old newspapers in McIntyre Library’s archives, an article caught the attention of eighth grader Chris Jahnke. Published in UW-Eau Claire’s newspaper The Spectator, the article was entitled “Hitler – The Perpetual Menace to World Peace.”
Sauk Prairie reading interventionist Claire Fallon believes in co-teaching. “Research has shown that even just a different person restating what the first person said can help increase learning in students,” the WEAC Region 5 member says in an article this week in the Sauk Prairie Eagle.
Fallon, who teaches at Tower Rock Elementary School, says co-teaching can benefit all students but also helps her grow as an educator while building trust and communication with other teachers.
“Each teacher comes with their own set of tools in their toolbox,” she says. “With co-teaching we get to share our tools. And I have a very full toolbox.”
The Eagle article quotes Grand Avenue Elementary School Principal Craig Trautsch saying co-teaching also benefits teachers by providing an extra set of eyes.
“We have such a diversified student population that one way of trying to explain something or connect with a student doesn’t always work,” Trautsch said. “Having that second teacher there can make a difference in whether a student understands something or not.”
Another benefit, he said, can be found when a teacher may be absent, requiring use of a substitute. “You don’t have that transitional part for the students because the other teacher can step in and lead.”
Two heads are better than one. That old proverb sums up the co-teaching movement utilized in some Sauk Prairie School District classrooms, and it’s become a philosophy for Tower Rock Elementary School reading interventionist Claire Fallon. “Research has shown that even just a different person restating what the first person said can help increase learning in students,” she said.
A new report by the National Center for Education Statistics shows that the number of children being home-schooled in the United States has doubled since 1999. As of 2012, the report finds, about 1.8 million children were being home-schooled.
Among the highlights cited in the report:
Characteristics of Home-schooled Students
The Learning Context of Home-schooled Students
Reasons for Home-schooling
In 2012, the most commonly selected reason for parents to home-school their children was a concern with other schools’ environments, which includes factors such as “safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure” at schools (91 percent). Other commonly reported reasons included, “a desire to provide moral instruction,”(77 percent) “a dissatisfaction with academic instruction at other schools,”(74 percent) and “a desire to provide religious instruction” (64 percent).
Approximately 1.8 million U.S. children were home-schooled in 2012, more than double the number that were home-schooled in 1999, when the federal government began gathering data on national home schooling trends, according to estimates released Tuesday. The increase was fastest between 1999 and 2007, then slowed between 2007 and 2012, according to the estimates from the National Center for Education Statistics.
From the Department of Public Instruction
Average scale scores for Wisconsin public school students in grade eight and grade four were not statistically different from the last administration of the exam. Small improvements in scale scores of Wisconsin takers across subgroups were seen but the results must be viewed with caution due to the fact that the NAEP uses samples of students and is not a census exam.
When looking at performance for subgroups of Wisconsin students, a number outperform the national averages in grades eight and four. Those include English-language learners (EL) in both grades, males and females in both grades, non-disabled students in both grades, and non-EL students in grade eight. Wisconsin student results showed no statistical difference from other groups of takers nationally when comparing American Indian or Alaska Native students in grade four, Asian students in grade eight, Hispanic students in both grades, white students in both grades, students eligible for free or reduced-price school meals in both grades, and students with disabilities in both grades. Students nationally outperformed Wisconsin when compared across subgroups of black students in both grades and Asian students in grade four.
The NAEP science assessment was administered between January and March of 2015 to approximately 2,500 fourth-graders and 2,300 eight-graders in Wisconsin public schools. Nationally, approximately 110,800 fourth-graders and 107,200 eighth-graders took the test. The most recent administration of NAEP science in 2011 was only given to eighth-grade students. The science exam is broken into three content areas that assess knowledge and skills in physical science, Earth and space sciences, and life science. Because the exam is administered to a sample of students, no results are available for individual schools or districts.
Find a detailed breakdown of scores HERE.
Wisconsin students scored above average in science in 2015, but other states are catching up – and making progress toward closing achievement gaps, according to the latest results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation’s Report Card.
Wisconsin classrooms have one of the highest rates of new teachers in the nation, according an analysis from Education Week.
According to a review of data from the U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights, 15 percent of Wisconsin’s public school teachers are in their first or second year, compared to 12 percent nationally.
Education Week says the data, while still under review, are consistent with other recent research pointing to a “greening” trend in teaching over the past 20 years.
“They also raise questions both about the overall stability of the teaching force and the ability of school systems to provide adequate support to so many novices,” the article states.
“It’s a really substantive and serious issue when a district or school is dealing [with an influx of new teachers],” said Susan Moore Johnson, a professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Everybody involved in K-12 education knows that new teachers tend to need a lot of extra support. What they may not fully grasp, however, is just how many new teachers are out there. As a segment of the total U.S. teaching force, their representation appears to be considerable.