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College and Career Readiness through Blended Learning

College Readiness
College Readiness

Summer Study for Math

by Joan Reissman, Blended Learning Specialist

My last blog post discussed the fact that students don’t understand the connection between Accuplacer scores and remedial college courses until they meet with an advisor and see how many non-credit-bearing courses they will have to take. Although some colleges allow a good high school GPA to substitute for remedial math courses, using high school courses as a proxy is much more common for English than math. It’s generally easier to study English on your own than math, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve your math skills. You may not be pursuing a STEM major, but you will still need to take math courses. Not only do you need basic math skills for everyday living, but you will need math skills for many majors including accounting, trades and social sciences. Keep in mind that the skills you build now are the foundation of success in college.

School’s Out—Sort Of

by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning Specialist

’No more pencils no more books, No more teacher’s …’

It’s July and I’m hearing the Alice Cooper song “School’s Out for Summer! “ in my head.

I’ve finished up my work in the schools for the year. Tenth graders took their MCAS tests and seniors took the Accuplacer tests in English and math. Their scores were sent to colleges for placement in courses. Testing was pretty much all I did in May and June. It was frustrating trying to work with the seniors who had mentally already left school despite their physical presence in the building. Every time I thought I was done, there was another teacher asking if I could come one more day to test students who were absent or did not do well the first time and needed scores sent to colleges. I always say yes because I wish my seniors well in their next endeavors, college, work, or the military.

Summer Study for Accuplacer

by Joan Reissman, Blended Learning Specialist

Many students don’t understand the connection between Accuplacer scores and their immediate future.

They may not see any connection until they meet with an admissions counselor and find out how many remedial courses they have to take. Although some community colleges are now waiving remedial math courses based on certain high school GPA levels, many institutions still require a minimum Accuplacer score for math and all still require it for English classes. Improving Accuplacer scores is a worthwhile idea regardless of remediation policies, because it signifies improved foundation skills. Tests like Accuplacer are not just arbitrary exercises: they measure the skills required for an academic or vocational pursuit. Math and English are the foundation skills. Today, let’s look at some strategies for improving English skills. (Part II will deal with math.)

From Ethiopia to Architecture: My Journey - Selamawit Balcha's Journey

by Joan Reissman, Blended Learning Specialist

One Student’s Brave Journey

As a Blended Learning Specialist with JFYNetWorks, I have met many students. It’s the best part of my job– meeting people and helping them succeed. I enjoy working with all students, but some naturally stand out. Selamawit Balcha is one of those stand-outs. She was in one of my classes at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in 2014 and I was immediately impressed by her determination and focus. I knew she would be successful. She is now working towards her architecture degree at Wentworth Institute of Technology. I asked her to share her story and she responded with the following account.

Tyrone Figueroa, East Boston HS Teacher

A teacher gives back to his community

by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning Specialist

In my last blog post, I talked about building relationships with people in the schools I work with. Today I would like to introduce you to one of my favorite teachers, Tyrone Figueroa. How Tyrone came to be a teacher is an interesting story.

I first met Tyrone last fall. He was teaching the Senior Math Seminar, one of the classes in which we embed our JFYNet College and Career Readiness program. In the course of working with him I got to know a little bit about his story.

Solving the state’s math problem: do the math

by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning Specialist

Math has been in the news lately. The Globe ran a story on college remediation December 28 (“State colleges trying to solve math problem”) that said only 60% of community college students who have to take remedial math (also called “review” and “developmental”) complete the courses and only one-third of those completers go on to finish a regular degree-credit math course. The article did not say how many of these students ever graduate. Nor did it say that the remedial math population amounts to 47% of recent high school graduates enrolling in community college—more than 4000 students every year.

Does Homework Have to be Boring?

by Joan Reissman, Blended Learning Specialist

The value of homework is the subject of longstanding debate among educators. In simpler times, homework required no more than rote repetition of concepts taught in class. That’s no longer enough. Today’s teachers don’t want reinforcement to be merely repetitious. They want homework to drive deeper understanding of concepts. They use techniques that reinforce daily lessons while promoting deeper understanding through application and differentiated instruction. For example, one study of teachers who assigned technology-based homework linked their students’ improved performance on final exams to the way the teachers structured the homework ccording to the principles of cognitive intervention (Butler, Marsh, Slavinsky et al., Educ Psychol Rev (2014) 26: 331).

Education: Our Lifeline to the Future

The skills gap persists

by Gary Kaplan, JFYNetWorks Executive Director

Labor Day weekend kicked off, appropriately, with the national Employment Report. It was underwhelming. Job and wage growth held their sluggish pace. Commentaries ranged from “steady as she goes” to “more noise than signal” to “disappointing though hardly catastrophic.” A movie opening to reviews like those wouldn’t have lasted the weekend.

Boston Urban Science Academy students in the Summer Bridge program at Quincy College 8-16-2017

Twenty-nine students from Boston’s Urban Science Academy completed a summer course at Quincy College August 10 thanks to a unique partnership between the high school, the college, and JFYNetWorks.

Urban Science Academy is located in the old West Roxbury High building at the end of VFW Parkway, the southernmost delta of the city. Its students come from a broad swath of neighborhoods extending from Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, Roxbury and Dorchester to Mattapan, West Roxbury and Hyde Park. The daily trip to school via T can be an ordeal.