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College and Career Readiness through Blended Learning

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preparation for life

Education and Inequality, trying its level best, the “Great Equalizer” needs a lift

Education and Inequality

The “great equalizer” of education can only nudge the scales so far.

By Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

In his FY20 budget proposal, Governor Charlie Baker has waded into the discussion of fair funding for school districts in Massachusetts. He has proposed large increases for districts that have been clearly underfunded for years. While presenting the proposed changes and recognizing the fight many districts have been waging for years, some even threatening legal action against the state, Baker proclaimed the adage we have heard many times: “Education is the great equalizer.”

Curiosity and Courage
Curiosity and Courage in the Classroom

by Eileen Wedegartner, Blended Learning Specialist

WGBH, one of our Boston NPR stations, recently ran a three-part series titled, “Teaching the Future: Climate Change Education on Cape Cod.” The series explores the challenges for teachers who are trying to teach about climate change when they have not had deep training on the subject.

Words Matter, Language and liability in a sensitive time

What did he say and When did he say it? And what did he mean?

By Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

When I read recently that UMass Amherst football coach Mark Whipple had been suspended for using the word “rape” in a press conference, a burst of memory went off in my mind. I flashed back to the high school cafeteria line where a classmate blurted “I just got raped by that calculus test.” No one blinked. My first thought was not about his choice of words, but my GPA. His grades in calculus were usually higher than mine; if he had done poorly, my grade would probably be zero.

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Dear Friend of JFYNetWorks,

You may remember a young man named Joey whom we have featured before. Joey was a pleasant, affable high school student with a winning smile and a low opinion of himself. “I want to go to college,” he said, “but I’m not sure I can do it. There’s too much to learn. How am I ever going to make it?” We have recounted how we helped Joey work his way through our College Readiness course by showing him the periodic reports that documented how much he had achieved and how much closer he was to the goal. Our blended learning specialist, Melissa, even counted the number of software modules he had to complete and checked them off as he did them. By the end of the year, he had learned enough to pass the college placement test. In the fall, he was admitted to community college without having to take any remedial courses. We’ll never forget his charmingly modest expression of triumph to Melissa: “I got this, Miss.”

Tragedy and Triumph, The Highs and Lows of Working in Schools

The Highs and Lows of Working in Schools

by Cathie Maglio, Blended Learning Specialist

The schools I work in have been back in session since the beginning of September. I was excited to get back to see teachers I have worked with for years, to meet teachers who are new to the JFYNet program, and to see all the students, new and returning. I have also gone to new schools, giving presentations on the JFYNet blended learning program. I enjoy doing these demonstrations since it gives me a chance to meet other teachers and principals and to show them a program that I know helps raise students’ skills and scores on MCAS and college placement testing.

Astronomy in the Fenway

Reading the Red Sox’ Stars

by Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

    “I’m amazed you can see Venus with all the lights around Boston,” my friend Tyler commented as we walked back to the car after a Red Sox win at Fenway Park.

    “That’s not Venus,” I assured him. “That’s Mars.”

    “It can’t be Mars. It’s too bright to be Mars.”

    “Actually, Mars is at its brightest point in 50 years right now. And the only time you can see Venus is right after sunset or right before sunrise. It’s too late for Venus.”

How teachers and coaches help students find their own success

How teachers and coaches help students find their own success

By Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

“You have a great ability to quickly develop an analysis of the topic. If we can teach you how to speak, we might have something here.”

These were my first comments to Jackson, a new student, almost three years ago after he gave a practice Impromptu speech. “Impromptu” speaking gives the student a random topic on which to speak for four minutes after ninety seconds of preparation. Thus began a journey which would culminate in a way often found in my daydreams, but never allowed to creep into conscious thoughts for fear of jinxing the whole thing.

Predictions: Snow days! School delays! Red Sox win! WHen?

It will snow. Just don’t ask me when.

by Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

I would never want to be a weather forecaster in Boston. The changing jet stream winds, the effect of the warm ocean on a snow or rain line, and the pressure of predicting whether rain will hold off long enough for the Red Sox to play would be too much for me. Engineers were thinking about traffic when they built Routes 128 and 495, but those lines on the map are now rain and snow boundaries. Making those storm calls may be the most thankless job in the region– after predicting the Red Sox finish.

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.

The Magic of Opening Day

Today is Opening Day at Fenway Park

by Greg Cunningham, Blended Learning Specialist

It’s the worst-kept secret in offices, boardrooms and schools anywhere within striking distance of Fenway Park: people play hooky the day of the home opener. And why not?

In early April, young baseball fans find more to learn at the ballpark than in a classroom, and older ones more to do than in an office. In schools students are told to dream big, to imagine the impossible. Walt Whitman in Song of the Open Road sings “These are the days that must happen to you.” Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland asks “’Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle.” Exploring Wonderland, Alice realizes it is she who’s changing, not the world around her. She grasps to hold on to the innocence of childhood, a yearning all adults can relate to on opening day. What is the ballpark but a scene of eternal childhood?