Reading, writing, and arithmetic aren’t the only things our nation’s children will be learning this school year!
Schools have made major strides in helping students learn the importance of healthy eating through balanced meals and nutrition education. Now that kids and teens are boarding their buses for another school year, the entire school community has the opportunity to build on that momentum by continuing to increase access to nutritious meals and encourage healthy habits.
Schools are also working hard to implement new food marketing and local wellness standards authorized by HHFKA that will go into effect next June. These standards ensure that any marketing message kids are exposed to at school promotes only tasty, nutritious food options that complement the nutrition lessons they are learning in the classroom and the cafeteria. And here at USDA, we’re working hard to support them – through webinars, guidance, training, and more.
Looking ahead at this school year, we are excited to see how school nutrition professionals will continue to empower students with the nutrition, tools, and education they need to pursue a tomorrow of endless possibility.
For further information on Food and Nutrition Service’s school meal programs, visit our website.
Check out our Back to School Toolkit featuring resources for schools to share with parents and families on how to make healthy eating fun and easy.
Dr. Katie Wilson is Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The post Empowering Students Through Nutrition This School Year appeared first on ED.gov Blog.
Acrylic paint, sidewalk chalk, and calligraphy pens are staples of my English class. These items, along with reciting poetry and acting out scenes from plays allow my students to communicate through a variety of mediums, and to integrate their creative capabilities into their everyday learning.
In 2001, I walked into my 6th grade classroom ready to share my love of reading and writing. However, I soon discovered that my students were in need of much more than an enthusiastic teacher with an English degree. I needed to engage them and make them want to learn.
My students that year struggled with the basics of reading and writing. Many had already decided that they hated school, and could already be labeled as chronic absentees. Instead of teaching Shakespeare, I was struggling to keep students engaged. I too struggled that year. It took a few months, but The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster was the gateway into exploring the arts. We broke the story into parts and acted it out, we made 3D models and we wrote poems as the main character. It was a start.
Two years later, I was given the opportunity to teach at my alma mater, The Las Vegas Academy of the Arts (LVA). Teaching at LVA challenged me to continue integrating the arts into my teaching, as I didn’t want my students to see academics and the arts as separate entities. Thirteen years later, I am still teaching English as well as Creative Writing at LVA. Every day I am given the opportunity to work in a community of creative students who have chosen to dedicate their high school years to the study of the performing, visual and liberal arts.
I have learned throughout my years as a teacher that if you give a kid paint, he will paint. If you offer a student a calligraphy pen, she will use it. If you give students the choice to express their learning in song or spoken word, or with chalk, they will. It just takes an invitation for them to use their talents.
These talents, however, are not exclusive to my campus, these kids are everywhere. They need a community where they can be exposed to and encouraged to engage in the arts. All teachers can be arts teachers, and every kid deserves to be given the opportunity for the arts to be a part of their education. Those paints, that chalk, that mop bucket waiting to be a drum, these are powerful tools that can unlock the opportunity for a student to learn about Math, English, or Science. An arts education is possible at any school.
It was arts that bridged the gap between my 6th graders and me at the start of my teaching career, and it is the arts now that has my students asking questions about Alexander Hamilton. I believe in the power of the arts, as they have played a part in my life both as a student and as a teacher, and I know the power that they have to encourage empathy, artistry, inquiry, and community.
Stacey Dallas Johnston is a 2016 Classroom Teaching Ambassador Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education. Johnston has taught English and Literature at the Las Vegas Academy of the Arts in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the last 13 years.
This past spring, I had the pleasure of traveling out to Phoenix, Arizona to meet with various counselors, mentors, and college access professionals to learn more about how they are getting ready for the upcoming FAFSA season. With the FAFSA launching earlier this year on October 1, many of you have started to organize events and prepare to help students and parents through the financial aid process. As a former college counselor, my biggest piece of advice to you is to familiarize yourself with the Financial Aid Toolkit. It is a goldmine of information that can help answer many of your questions and assist with your financial aid planning process. Also, here’s some advice from a few of our key partners on how to make this process fun and exciting.1. Involve your students in the planning process. They’re the ones who count.
In order for your events and outreach to be effective, engage students in the FAFSA planning process. Invite them to be involved early on and give them opportunities to participate or even lead efforts. Your students will know what works best with their peers. The Be A Leader Foundation has built a robust infrastructure of 33 Be a Leader Clubs throughout the Phoenix metro area that encourages students to participate in planning and leading various financial aid events. Every Phoenix metro-area school has a minimum of four club officers and anywhere from 20 to 80 club members. Karla Robles, Chief Strategy Officer, believes “engaging students not only creates excitement across campus but also ensures participation at all levels of the organization!”
- Federal Student Aid Resource:
Our 2017–18 FAFSA Messaging and Planning Calendar can also help with any outreach activities you’re planning! This document provides suggestions and resources to help you plan communications to students and parents for the 2017–18 FAFSA.
The FSA ID is a username and password needed to electronically sign the FAFSA. For some, the FSA ID process can be a bit tricky; but, the College Depot at Phoenix Public Library has an efficient system in place to help students (and parents) get their FSA IDs and complete the FAFSA. Judy Reno, Director of College Depot in Phoenix, says their model was designed to streamline their FSA ID and FAFSA completion process while still maintaining tailored customer service. This has led to almost 200 FAFSAs being completed in only two events! Their game-winning solution: set up events with financial aid work stations that are separated out by the FSA ID, the FAFSA, and “complicated situations.” A check-in team guides parents and students to a station according to their specific needs. Reno’s biggest piece of advice was to staff the stations according to level of experience and provide sufficient training before events.
- Federal Student Aid Resource:
Want to help encourage students and parents to create their FSA IDs? Use our FSA ID Digital and Social Outreach resources for tweets, Facebook posts, and more. All you have to do is click “share.”
Not everyone has time to go classroom-to-classroom searching for students and reminding them to complete their FAFSA. If you’re looking for a time-saving, tech-savvy option, take some advice from Arizona State University’s ProMod project which pairs students and parents with their own mentor. They use a two-way text message platform has been pivotal in connecting mentees and mentors with more than 80% of mentees responding to mentors via text message. Natalie Nailor, Project Director, has this to say:
“We would recommend integrating text messages into your campaign strategy to not only remind them about important deadlines, but more importantly, provide a real person on the other end of a support line to help students prevent ‘summer melt’ and successfully transition to college.”
- Federal Student Aid Resource:
Don’t forget: you’re always welcome to use our Federal Student Aid Information Center if you need additional help. Email, chat, and phone options are available whenever you have questions! We also have an entire list of Digital Outreach Resources, including videos, to help you promote everything from FSA ID awareness, FAFSA completion, and student loan repayment.
In partnership with College Goal Arizona, Central High School has found a way to make filling out the FAFSA fun and exciting through the power of school and community collaboration. Central’s annual FAFSA Fiesta is a daytime event in which students bring in the necessary documents (after receiving pre-event communication), to create their FSA IDs and complete their FAFSAs. Dolores Ramirez, Post-Articulation Specialist with Phoenix Union High School District, has the following advice:
“Know your students and their needs; never assume they know college-going language; and continue to engage your community.”
Ramirez worked with numerous restaurants for donations, community-based organizations for volunteers, and school administration. Once students completed their FAFSAs, they received raffle tickets for a chance to win cool prizes and receive a free lunch—tacos!
- Federal Student Aid Resource:
If you need a handout that explains the college-going process in plain language, for parents and students, then make sure to review our College Preparation Checklists. We have checklists for elementary, middle, and high school students—there’s even a separate checklist for adults and parents so that everyone is financially and academically prepared for college. If you’re working with Spanish-speaking students or parents, make sure to check out the Spanish version!
AGUILA Youth Leadership Institute, Inc. doesn’t just stop at FAFSA completions. They recognize that the FAFSA is the gateway to federal, state, institutional, and/or organizational financial aid. AGUILA primarily helps first-generation, minority, low-income students find a way to make college affordable—even if they’re undocumented. AGUILA organizes many events but their signature one is called the Scholarship Overnight Search (SOS). This three-day, overnight experience gives students the opportunity to have a fun and educational school-based sleepover where they play games but also apply for scholarships and work on their résumés. CEO and founder, Rosemary Ybarra-Hernandez, has strategically scheduled two SOS events each year—the fall session coincides with the National College Fair and the spring session is held before spring break. AGUILA ensures a safe, culturally-accepting space for all students which has led to a greater level of understanding and comfort in the college-going process.
- Federal Student Aid Resource:
If you’re interested in starting a scholarship-focused event, check out the “Learn About” section of our Financial Aid Toolkit and glance through our “Hosting a Financial Aid Event” resource page. There’s also the Department of Labor’s Scholarship Search Tool that gives students information on how to apply for scholarships and individualized based on the profile they create. After all, who doesn’t love free money?
Ashley Harris is an Outreach Specialist at the Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid.
The post Counselors: 5 Creative Ways to Help with the Financial Aid Planning Process appeared first on ED.gov Blog.
Estimados estudiantes de ITT,
ITT Educational Services, Inc. (ITT) anunció hoy que clausurará todos los centros ITT Technical Institute. Para casi todo el mundo esto no será más que otra noticia política o empresarial, pero para ustedes, yo sé que es algo que los impacta profundamente, y sin duda querrán saber cómo la clausura de ITT afectará sus vidas y futuro; qué impacto tendrá sobre sus finanzas, y cómo podrán continuar su educación.
En los últimos años, ITT ha sido investigada varias veces a nivel estatal y federal. En agosto, el Consejo de Acreditación de Universidades y Escuelas Independientes (ACICS), organismo responsable de acreditar a ITT, declaró que ITT “incumple actualmente y es poco probable que cumpla en el futuro las normas de acreditación de la ACICS”. Esto ocurrió en medio de repetidas intervenciones en los últimos dos años por el Departamento sobre las finanzas de ITT debido a las preocupaciones sobre si ITT tiene la capacidad administrativa, integridad corporativa, viabilidad financiera y la capacidad de atender a sus estudiantes.
El comportamiento de ITT ha puesto en riesgo a los estudiantes y a millones de dólares en ayuda federal subsidiada por los contribuyentes. La semana pasada, el Departamento de Educación intervino para evitar que ITT continuara empeorando ese riesgo. Fue una decisión que sopesamos mucho. Un posible resultado de la intervención es que una escuela opte por cerrar, en vez de tomar acciones correctivas, lo que puede causar interrupción y decepcionar a los estudiantes actuales. Finalmente, tomamos la difícil decisión de aplicar medidas adicionales de supervisión para protegerlos a ustedes, a otros estudiantes, y a los contribuyentes, y así evitar mayor daño educativo y financiero en el futuro, lo cual era probable si permitíamos que ITT continuara operando sin supervisión adicional o garantías de servir mejor a sus estudiantes.
Estamos aquí para ayudarles cuando estén listos para tomar los próximos pasos. Por el momento, ustedes tienes dos opciones:
- Si usted está actualmente matriculado en ITT o se matriculó recientemente, pudiese tener derecho a solicitar la condonación de sus préstamos federales en ITT. De esta manera su deuda de préstamos federales será borrada y usted tendrá la opción de reiniciar su educación en una nueva escuela. Pronto pondremos información en nuestra página de anuncios ITT sobre cómo recibir la condonación.
- Si desea completar su título en otra escuela, especialmente si le falta poco para graduarse, usted pudiese tener la opción de transferir sus créditos a una nueva institución. Pero fíjese que transferir los créditos académicos pudiese limitar su derecho a cancelar la deuda de préstamos federales. La condonación de los préstamos por motivo de escuela clausurada es una opción si usted se inscribe en otra escuela y no transfiere sus créditos de ITT.
Ambas opciones tienen pros y contras, según las circunstancias de cada estudiante, así que es importante tener en cuenta cuáles son las suyas. Puede encontrar más información en nuestra página de anuncios ITT. La Oficina de Ayuda Federal para Estudiantes está dispuesta a ayudarle con recursos e información, incluso en este sitio web, y actualizará la información en los próximos días y semanas.
Cualquiera que sea su decisión, no abandone su educación. La educación superior sigue siendo el mejor camino a la seguridad y oportunidad económica. Reiniciar o continuar los estudios en una institución de alta calidad y prestigio puede parecer un revés ahora, pero lo más probable es que dé fruto en el futuro. Hay personas y herramientas, como nuestro Informe Universitario, para ayudarle a escoger el programa más idóneo para su éxito.
Admiro su trabajo y dedicación, y en el Departamento haremos todo lo posible para continuar dándoles información sobre sus opciones y cómo salir adelante.
John B. King Jr.,
Secretario de Educación de EE.UU.
The post Mensaje del secretario de Educación a los estudiantes de ITT appeared first on ED.gov Blog.
Dear ITT student,
Today, ITT Educational Services, Inc. (ITT) announced that it is closing all of its ITT Technical Institute campuses. For most of the world, that news will be covered as a business story or a political one, but I know that for you it is deeply personal. You are probably wondering what this means for your future; how it is going to affect your finances and your ability to continue your education.
In recent years, ITT has increasingly been the subject of numerous state and federal investigations. In August, ITT’s accreditor, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) determined that ITT “is not in compliance, and is unlikely to become in compliance with [ACICS] Accreditation Criteria.” This came amid increasingly heightened financial oversight measures put in place by the Department over the past two years due to significant concerns about ITT’s administrative capacity, organizational integrity, financial viability, and ability to serve students.
The school’s decisions have put its students and millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded federal student aid at risk. Last week, the Department of Education took oversight actions to prevent ITT from continuing to add to that risk. When we made that decision, we did not take it lightly. One possible outcome of oversight actions is that a school may choose to close rather than take corrective actions, which can cause disruption and disappointment for current students. Ultimately, we made a difficult choice to pursue additional oversight in order to protect you, other students, and taxpayers from potentially worse educational and financial damage in the future if ITT was allowed to continue operating without increased oversight and assurances to better serve students.
We are committed to helping you as you consider next steps. Most immediately, you have two basic options to choose between:
- If you are currently or were recently enrolled at ITT, you may be eligible to have your federal student loans for your program at ITT discharged. Your federal loan debt will be wiped away and you will have the option of restarting your education somewhere new. We will post and update information about how to receive a discharge at our ITT announcements page.
- If you wish to continue and complete your program at a different school – especially if you are close to graduating – you may be able to transfer your credits. It is important to note that transferring your credits may limit your ability to have your federal loans discharged. Closed school discharge may be an option if you enroll in a different program that does not accept your ITT credits.
Both of these options have pros and cons, depending on your unique circumstances, so it is important that you consider your specific situation carefully. You can find some information to start with at our ITT announcements page. The Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid is ready to support you with resources and information, including through this website, and will be updating you with more information in the coming days and weeks.
Whatever you choose to do, do not give up on your education. Higher education remains the clearest path to economic opportunity and security. Restarting or continuing your education at a high-quality, reputable institution may feel like a setback today, but odds are it will pay off in the long run. There are people and tools – like our College Scorecard – out there to help you pick a program that gives you a real shot at success.
I am proud of your hard work and dedication, and we will do all we can to continue to provide information to you on your options.
John B. King Jr., U.S. Secretary of Education
The post A Message from the Secretary of Education to ITT Students appeared first on ED.gov Blog.
September 17 is Constitution Day/Citizenship Day, commemorating the September 17, 1787, signing of the U.S. Constitution. In recognition, Congress has mandated that every educational institution receiving federal funding hold an educational program about this seminal document.
“Most of you are no doubt aware of the highly successful musical Hamilton, which tells the captivating story of the first Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton, and our nation’s founding,” Secretary of Education John King said when commenting on Constitution Day.
“Among his many other contributions, Hamilton wrote most of the Federalist Papers, which argued in favor of the Constitution, something not everyone agreed was needed. The genius of the play is that it reminds us that well-meaning people with very different perspectives on how we should govern ourselves in a democracy were able to compromise and find a way to move the nation forward.”
About the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton once said, “I am convinced that this is the safest course for your liberty, your dignity, and your happiness.”
Hamilton also credited hard work and perseverance to his success, something that is applicable to all students: “Men give me credit for some genius. All the genius I have lies in this; when I have a subject in hand, I study it profoundly. Day and night it is before me. My mind becomes pervaded with it. Then the effort that I have made is what people are pleased to call the fruit of genius. It is the fruit of labor and thought.”
For those familiar with the soundtrack to the musical Hamilton, “Non-Stop” gives us a reason to study and reflect on the Constitution this day and throughout the year:
To assist students and educators in their studies, the National Archives and Records Administration offers key resources, such as “The Constitution at Work,” a match game connecting primary resources to constitutional articles, and “Exploring the U.S. Constitution,” an eBook that explores the roots of the three branches of government. Likewise, free online resources are available from the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the U.S. Senate. This year is also the 225th anniversary of the passage of the Bill of Rights — the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.
As Secretary King tells us, “It reminds us that understanding our history helps us understand our present and also prepare for the future. And, most relevant to us here, it reminds us that all of our children must receive quality education—rich with history, civics, arts and sciences — if they are to be engaged and knowledgeable participants in this great and evolving form of self-government.”
Anthony Fowler is an Interagency Liaison at the U.S. Department of Education.