Wright State University’s enrollment is expected to hit its lowest point in more than a decade this coming academic year.
Higher Education News
The new and improved Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) website has arrived! During the last two months, more than 130 of you have taken the time to offer thoughtful feedback as to what you would like to see in a revamped IDEA website. Thank you for your important and informative comments.
With your input driving the project, the new site has:
- Improved Site Navigation and Design
You asked for a visually-appealing, easier-to-use site that reduces the number of clicks it takes to get you where you need to be. We’ve updated the design and worked to simplify the site’s interface to make locating information more intuitive to the user.
- Expanded Search Options
You asked that we keep the statute and regulation search capabilities from the Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004 site but also include a policy document search. We kept the search capabilities, but we updated the search to reflect the most recent statute and regulations. As many of you requested, the search also includes policy documents, such as Dear Colleague letters, OSEP memos, FAQs and policy letters.
- Resources for Specific Audiences
You asked that we highlight resources specific to various IDEA stakeholder groups. We’ve created resource pages specific to parents/families, educators/service providers, and grantees. For non-English speakers, we created a Language Support page that links to one of our grantee’s resources in Spanish, and we’ve provided additional information about the Department’s language assistance, which is offered in more than 170 languages.
- Expanded Content with Streamlined Resources
You asked that we expand content and streamline the site’s resources covering IDEA and other federal agency-related initiatives. We expanded our Topic Areas page to include more topics with updated information and links to reflect Department and Federal resources as well as resources from the Office of Special Education Programs-funded grantees. We’ve provided links to existing IDEA-related data reports, State Performance Plans/Annual Performance Reports and grant award letters. We’ve highlighted laws and resources related to individuals with disabilities that are under the jurisdiction of other Departments and Federal agencies. We’ve pulled together a list of frequently-used acronyms and terms.
Relevant content from the Legacy site has transitioned to the new IDEA site and the Legacy site will remain online while we continue to refine the new IDEA site.
We would like to get your feedback on the new IDEA website as we continue to develop and enhance the content and functionality.
Your feedback on the site is essential for helping us improve the Department’s online resources as part of our commitment to ensure that infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities and their families have the supports and services guaranteed under the IDEA.
The post U.S. Department of Education Launches Revamped IDEA Website appeared first on ED.gov Blog.
On May 4th, the U.S. Department of Education named the 2017 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools (ED-GRS), District Sustainability Awardees, and Postsecondary Sustainability Awardees. Across the country, 45 schools, nine districts, and nine postsecondary institutions are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.
The honorees were named from a pool of candidates nominated by 28 states and the Department of Defense Department of Education Activity. The selectees include 39 public schools, including five magnet schools and one charter school, as well as six nonpublic schools. Forty-four percent of the 2017 honorees serve a disadvantaged student body and 14 percent are rural. The postsecondary honorees include three career and technical and community colleges.
Curious what it takes to be a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School? Here are a few of the actions that three of the 2017 honorees are taking.
Whitefish School District has prioritized energy efficiency in renovations and lighting upgrades and is in the process of developing an energy conservation plan. The district recently broke ground on a two-story classroom building with attached greenhouse. Using geothermal and solar production, and including a production garden, an orchard, an experimental forest, and an outdoor classroom, the facility will be the first zero-net energy building in the state, and will serve as a laboratory for sustainable practices.
Curriculum integration will connect learning to local agriculture, forestry, resources management, and entrepreneurship, and aspects of the facility are designed to help students achieve dual credit through institutions of higher education. Each fall and spring, the district and the city sponsor walk- and bike-to-school events. New bike routes have been established and road signs placed to ensure student and staff safety.
Whitefish installed water bottle refilling stations and has planted drought-resistant native plantings to minimize irrigation use. The district has eliminated plastic utensils in the cafeterias, purchased metal silverware, and is transitioning away from the use of Styrofoam. Whitefish uses its student-maintained gardening space to supply vegetables and herbs to the school district and for educational purposes. It participates in a farm-to-school program, purchasing meat, dairy, grains, vegetables, and fruits from local farms.
The high school offers activities such as fly fishing, rock climbing, challenge courses, and Nordic and alpine skiing. Students go on field trips to Glacier National Park, rivers, lakes, and wooded trails to learn ice science, fire ecology, water cycles, and snow safety. The entire seventh and eighth grade class performs community service during the final week of the school year. Students engage in citizen science projects researching the health of the local watershed.
The Iowa Lakes Community College’s Sustainable Energy Resources and Technologies Center was constructed with geothermal renewable energy systems, controlled lighting and heating systems, and recyclable building materials. Iowa Lakes constructed a Vestas Wind turbine for training purposes, generates much of its energy on-site, and sells all of the electricity from the turbine to the city of Estherville.
End-of-year rummage sales provide the opportunity for students to purchase gently used items for their dormitories or other needs. Restrooms use automatic hand dryers rather than paper towels. Food service grease is recycled for bio-diesel, and used oil from equipment is also recycled.
Iowa Lakes addresses faculty and staff wellness through health and wellness events, online financial awareness sessions, money toward fitness club memberships, paid family sick leave and personal sick leave upon hire, and annual health screenings. Iowa Lakes uses safe, natural products for cleaning, renovation, and pest management and conducts mold testing. Its newly installed HVAC and exhaust systems maintain a healthy learning environment.
The Construction Technology program revolves around sustainable building processes. Environmental Science and Water Quality and Sustainable Aquatic Resources address preservation, restoration, and management of clean water systems and waste water treatment.
Wind Energy and Turbine Technology courses provide study in wind power generation, distribution, and operations and maintenance. The 66,000 square-foot garden provides a model for local garden projects throughout northwest Iowa to illustrate the process of growing, storing, processing, and preparing locally-grown foods with community patrons. Head Start students, kindergarten through 12th-grade students, and college students reap the nutritional, social, and economic benefits.
Bethany Christian Schools has installed roof insulation and a HVAC system in the old portion of the building to improve indoor air quality and heating efficiencies, a geothermal wellfield, a 3.6-kilowatt wind turbine, and solar panels that provide 77 kilowatts of electricity. Restrooms were updated with low-flow fixtures, and hallway and parking lot lights were retrofitted with LEDs. Skylights were preserved and enhanced to provide natural lighting.
Paper use has been reduced 31%, water consumption has been cut 19%, energy consumption has been reduced 31%, and greenhouse gas emissions have been lowered by 12%. The school generates 12% of its energy needs on campus with wind and solar, and purchases the rest from wind and solar sources.
Bethany participates in schoolwide recycling, accounting for a diversion of 24% of waste from the local landfill. Food scraps from the cafeteria are composted and used in the student-tended school garden, which provides fresh produce for the school’s salad bar, as well as an opportunity for students to learn about gardening and sustainable living. The school’s biannual fish fry fundraiser has become an opportunity to educate students and the general public about sustainable practices, with food scraps and paper products composted, rather than going in the trash.
In the lower school, students study traditional energy and environmental concepts, while taking advantage of a multitude of field trips to local parks and environmental centers. In high school, Bible classes address issues of environmental sustainability and most students take Environmental Science. A highlight of this course includes two weeks outdoors studying the plants and organisms in the school retention pond, which was planted with native species in 2006 by students. At the beginning of the school year, most students participate in one to two days of activities outdoors, including outdoor camps and wilderness experiences, featuring canoeing, climbing, cooking, shelter and fire building, orienteering, and outdoor cooperative activities.
You can view the list of all selected schools, districts, colleges, and universities, as well as their nomination packages, and read a report with highlights on the 63 honorees on the ED website. All schools can find resources to move toward the three Pillars on ED’s Green Strides.
Andrea Suarez Falken is Director of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools.
The post Sixth Cohort of U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Announced appeared first on ED.gov Blog.
At the end of each school year, I use my final class to share a last lecture on things I learned from my students. They are generally surprised by the concept of a teacher learning, but teachers are by nature learners, always seeking new opportunities to grow.
Recently, I had one of those opportunities when the 2017 state teachers of the year visited the Department of Education. These teachers are wonderful representatives of the best talent in the teaching profession, and I gleaned so much from my discussions with these exceptional educators. While they all come from diverse locations and experiences, they all exhibit core characteristics that all teachers can learn from.
These characteristics were apparent throughout a conversation with Sydney Chaffee, who was recently announced as the 2017 National Teacher of the Year. The first thing that stood out to me about Sydney was her passion for her students. She managed to always bring our discussion back to her students, and in doing so, her passion for their success was unmistakable.
This love of helping students was born in Sydney early in her life, as she talked fondly about the wonderful teachers she had during her childhood. These teachers made learning, “feel so alive, like it was on fire,” and Sydney decided at a young age that she wanted to foster that same love of learning for students.
I asked Sydney what keeps her inspired in her work, and the quick answer was simply, “the kids.” She spoke of how she teaches for “the moment,” the one where students gasp in wonder, make new connections, and “do things they thought they couldn’t do.” Sydney perfectly captured the passion of great teachers for their students when she said, “the work is hard, but the results are beautiful.”
As a result of Sydney’s passion for students, the guiding principle of her approach to teaching is something that is true of every great teacher I know – a focus on developing relationships with her students. She said that in her classroom, “relationships are at the center of everything.”
She wants her students to learn and grow, and it is her belief that learning requires a willingness to take risks. As a result, relationships with her students form the bedrock of her pedagogy as she seeks to create safe places for her students that are grounded in the trust that can only develop through authentic care and concern for students as individuals.
Sydney also demonstrates the collegiality and professionalism of great teachers. When I asked her about the experience of being selected as National Teacher of the Year, the first thing she wanted to talk about was how honored and humbled she was to be part of the group of four finalists for the award. Instead of talking about herself, she wanted to talk about how she was in awe of her fellow teachers.
A large part of this excitement about her colleagues is grounded in another characteristic of great teachers – the desire to learn and grow as a professional. The teachers of the year had nearly an entire week together in Washington, DC, and Sydney said one of her favorite moments was learning the history of the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” from one of her fellow teachers during a bus trip. She said it is also one of the reasons she is so passionate about teaching humanities, as she believes that the “answers to our problems” can often be found by learning about the past.
Finally, like all great teachers, Sydney is also constantly seeking to engage stakeholders in the work of bettering educational outcomes for all students. She believes parents and guardians have a “critically important role in conversations about education,” and she hopes as National Teacher of the Year to encourage families to become as involved as they can in their community schools.
To her fellow teachers, Sydney wants to share the message that they “don’t have to be perfect all the time,” but should instead focus on working together to grow and continuously improve. And she hopes teachers and families will be joined in their efforts by policymakers at all levels of government listening to students and teachers and spending real, meaningful time in classrooms.
Of all the lessons I learned from Sydney and the other teachers of the year, this final point made the deepest impression. The task of making learning feel like it is “on fire” for students may start with great teachers, but it also requires the full commitment and engagement of all stakeholders to ensure educational excellence for every child.
Photo at the top: Teaching Ambassador Fellow Patrick Kelly interviews National Teacher of the Year Sydney Chaffee.
The post A Passion for Her Students’ Success: National Teacher of the Year Sydney Chaffee appeared first on ED.gov Blog.
“Go forth into the world and turn your hopes and dreams into action. America has always been the land of dreams because America is a nation of true believers.” – President Trump, Liberty University 2017 Commencement
In today’s world, one important key to success – one way for more Americans to turn their dreams into action – is to gain the postsecondary education and credentials that careers and employers require.
Millions of students and families want to make this investment in their future, but the college marketplace and student loan financing can be confusing.
That’s why the President’s 2018 budget proposal lays out plans to streamline and simplify federal aid, saving taxpayers $143 billion over the next decade while insulating current borrowers from changes to their loan programs. The proposed changes in repayment and loan forgiveness plans will apply only to new borrowers after July 1, 2018. Those who are currently repaying loans or who continue their current course of study can still count on their current repayment and loan forgiveness programs remaining in place.
Some of the highlights of the new proposal:
- Replacing five different income driven repayment plans with a single plan. The new consolidated repayment plan will help undergraduate borrowers pay back their loans more quickly. However, current borrowers’ plans would not be affected as the changes apply only to new borrowers after July 1, 2018.
- Providing Year-Round Pell and increasing available Pell aid by $16.3 billion over 10 years. The President’s request maintains discretionary funding for Pell grants at its current level, and reinstates the availability of year-round Pell funding, all while safeguarding the financial future of the Pell Grant program. As Secretary DeVos has said, this commonsense solution will enable more students to further their educations without taking on additional debt.
- Helping low-income, first-generation and other disadvantaged students prepare for and complete college. With over $808 million for the Federal TRIO Programs and $219 million for GEAR UP, the budget yields savings of $193 million from the current year’s actual funding levels and reduces funding in areas that have failed to demonstrate an impact in improving student outcomes, while providing important support for vulnerable college hopefuls.
- Investing $492 million in colleges and universities that serve diverse students. The funds will support the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Minority-Serving Institutions, and Hispanic-Serving Institutions through programs under Titles III and V of the Higher Education Act. These programs help narrow gaps in enrollment and degree attainment by improving the academic programs, institutional capacity and student support services at colleges and universities that serve students of color and low-income students in high numbers.
By taking these and other steps, the Trump Administration’s budget aims to help more students and families afford the quality college education that can turn their dreams into action and their talents into success.
The post The President’s Budget: Simplifying Funding for Postsecondary Education appeared first on ED.gov Blog.
“We must never lose sight of our mission: providing each child with the chance to pursue a great education in a safe and nurturing environment.” – Secretary Betsy DeVos, March 20, 2017
President Trump believes that every student – regardless of background or circumstance – deserves to fulfill his or her potential. High-quality educational opportunities are critical when it comes to achieving that goal, especially for our most vulnerable students and communities.
That’s why the President prioritized protecting students from traditionally underserved groups in his 2018 Budget, especially by providing consistent, level funding of:
- $14.9 billion for the core Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies (LEAs), which will support state and local efforts to ensure students in high-poverty schools have access to rigorous coursework and teaching. Title I Grants impact more than 25 million students, as the Trump Administration works toward helping all students meet challenging state academic standards.
- $12.7 billion for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which will maintain funding for support services that help America’s 6.8 million children with disabilities. In addition to highlighting best practices in educating students with disabilities – like the MI Hidden Talent initiative – Secretary DeVos has highlighted the importance of empowering “families with the supports they need in the learning environments that best suit their children’s individual needs.” This funding will help states in their ongoing work to design and implement improvement efforts under the Department’s Results Driven Accountability Framework.
- $736 million for the English Language Acquisition program, which will implement effective language instruction educational programs that help students attain English Language proficiency.
The Budget also includes $492 million for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Minority-Serving (MSI), and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) through the Higher Education Act under Titles III and V. Secretary DeVos has recognized these institutions for their continued efforts to ensure all students have access to a world-class education. Through this investment, the Trump Administration hopes that more of tomorrow’s teachers, doctors, judges, engineers and other professionals will emerge from HBCUs, MSIs, and HSIs.
In today’s 21st century economy, we can’t afford to waste even one day in building American’s talent and potential. The FY 2018 budget will protect the nation’s most valuable asset – its people – by making good on its commitment to all students, with additional help for the most vulnerable.
The post The President’s Budget: Maintaining Support for our Most Vulnerable Students appeared first on ED.gov Blog.
“Our nation’s commitment is to provide a quality education to every child to serve the public, common good. Accordingly, we must shift the paradigm to think of education funding as investments made in individual children, not in institutions or buildings.”– Secretary Betsy DeVos, March 29, 2017
From the beginning, the Trump Administration’s number one education priority has been to help ensure every student in America has an equal opportunity for a great education. Realizing that vision begins with giving parents more control and greater options. The President takes significant steps toward that goal with his 2018 budget, restoring decision-making power back to parents and state and local leaders – those who are closest to individual students and best equipped to address the unique challenges these students face every day.
Specifically, the budget supports the expansion of education choice and refocuses the Department’s funding priorities by making the following investments:
- $1 billion increase for new Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success (FOCUS) grants. FOCUS funds are new dollars to support making sure each student, especially low-income students, has access to a public education that meets his or her needs. These funds are tied to the student, making sure the investment is made in him or her as an individual, not in a building or system.
- $250 million increase for private school choice. Increased funds for the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program, a competitive award for applicants to provide scholarships for students from low-income families to attend the private school of their parents’ choice.
- $167 million increase for public school choice. Increased funds for the Charter Schools program to strengthen State efforts to start new charter schools or expand and replicate existing high-performing charter schools, while providing up to $100 million to meet the growing demand for charter school facilities.
This expansion of parental choice will especially benefit our most underserved communities, whose students are often trapped in schools that fail to meet their needs. By empowering these parents with choices, they’ll be able to choose an educational environment for their kids where they can grow and thrive.
State and local leaders know the individual students and their communities. Yet onerous regulations passed down from the federal government to state leaders have hindered rather than promoted student success. By removing these barriers, America’s students will be better prepared to bring about a new era of creativity and ingenuity to thrive in the 21st century.
The post The President’s Budget: Empowering Parents by Expanding Education Choice appeared first on ED.gov Blog.
President John F. Kennedy, in 1962, proclaimed May 15 as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which it falls as Police Week.
In 2017, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is proud to once again celebrate Police Week and to especially thank the police who help keep schools safe. In addition, ED recognizes the important role that career and technical education (CTE) plays in preparing people for a law enforcement career.
CTE, which is led in ED by the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education, is a program that combines technical and academic knowledge. Today’s – and tomorrow’s – law enforcement professional must know physics, mathematics and computer science as well as technical problem-solving.
And just as our laws protect the structure of our society, CTE is a cornerstone for preparing the people who will enforce these laws. Police officer, correctional officer, information security specialist, rescue worker and immigration and customs inspector are among the high-demand careers in our nation’s high school and college CTE programs.
Officer Xavier Leake of Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department knows the value of combining technical and academic education first-hand through the district’s Cadet program. “Being in the Cadet program helped me get the knowledge and field experience I needed to be successful,” Leake said. “I learned policy and procedure, but I also learned how to develop as a good person and a great officer.”
High school CTE programs have grown in popularity for young people who want to follow in the path of Officer Leake and his law enforcement colleagues throughout the country. In high school CTE programs, student participation in law, public safety and security courses has increased at a nearly double-digit rate, from 99,041 students in 2014 to 108,776 in 2015. At the college level, student participation in these programs has remained steady between 2014 and 2015 at just over 182,000. These high school and college programs, taken together, represent the third-largest career category (behind health care and business) chosen by students participating in CTE programs.
States also have tools and resources to help individuals prepare for, and advance, in law enforcement careers. For example, Washington state offers Career Bridge, an award-winning website featuring over 6,500 of the state’s education programs, state labor-market data, a career quiz for students to assess their interests, and, when data are available, performance results for thousands of education programs – including participation, completion, entry into the workforce and earnings.
CTE educators look forward to continuing to play a role behind the scenes in preparing law enforcement professionals for their careers. And this week, the people of ED express deep gratitude to all police officers as they step up to serve, protect, and defend us all.
Kim R. Ford is a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education.
Joe Barison is a public affairs specialist in ED’s Office of Communications and Outreach.
Photo at the top is the White House illuminated blue in honor of Police Officers Memorial Day and Police Week.
The post Police Week: Appreciating Our Peace Officers and the Role of Career and Technical Education appeared first on ED.gov Blog.
As new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been settling in to her new job, she has been meeting ED career staff and learning about their contributions to the agency. Several quick-fingered staffers have snapped fun, informal photos and selfies with ED’s new leader, and Inside ED has collected several of their smiling photos here.