"Superheroes Go For Run In the Park on New Year's Day", Rockwall Herald Banner

A fun and hopefully inspiring bit of news.

View the whole article here: www.rockwallheraldbanner.com/local/x1637997740/Super-heroes-go-for-run-i...

By Jim Hardin

A Portion:

The event was sponsored by Rockwall Running Center, but Lee Chatham, a Rockwall Running Club member, came up with the idea for a Superman run on New Year’s Day.

Chatham was inspired by the sad financial state of the education system and a movie, “Waiting For Superman.”

Proceeds from the race will go to DonorsChoose.org, described as “an online charity connecting you to classrooms in need.” Promotional material for the race stated that a mission of the effort was “to save America from the cycle of violence and poverty by supporting education at the source — the classroom.”

And how does Superman come into play with this effort to meet financial needs — like providing funds for school supplies and basic classroom needs?

The Superman 5k Web site stated that “America’s system requires a heroes rescue — an entire army of heroes.”

The running bib worn by each runner proclaimed, “I Am Superman.”

“I realized we don’t have to wait on Superman,” Chatham said, referring to the movie title. “We are Superman. We are the super hero saving the day.”

I've got a few great questions from community members, working on responses. Check back soon.
Happy Wednesday, Kimberly Rivers


Judge Opens NYC Teacher Evaluations to the Public, by Max Folmer

Wow, here is a hot topic right now. What do you think?
Here is a portion with the full article here: www.takepart.com/news/2011/01/11/judge-rules-that-public-has-right-to-se...

January 11, 2011

A New York judge ruled Monday that parents and community members had a right to see 12,000 teacher performance ratings based on their students' test scores.

Judge Cynthia S. Kern ruled that the public interest in how public employees perform outweighed the teachers' right to privacy....

See complete article at link above.


Click here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H9SHK55 to get your free eBook today.

"Rethinking Advanced Placement" By Christopher Drew

Here is a wonderful story about coming changes to many of the the AP tests, along with curriculum changes. Notice how the goal is to move away from having students just memorize a bunch of facts to spit out for the test, but to actually learn and understand concepts and emphasize critical thinking.

Here is a portion of the article, with the complete text at the New York Times: www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/education/edlife/09ap-t.html?_r=1

"Rethinking Advanced Placement" by Christopher Drew for the New York Times,
January 7th, 2010

WHEN Joan Carlson started teaching high school biology more than 30 years ago, the Advanced Placement textbook was daunting enough, at 36 chapters and 870 pages. But as an explosion of research into cells and genes reshapes our sense of how life evolves, the flood of new material has been staggering. Mrs. Carlson’s A.P. class in Worcester, Mass., now confronts a book with 56 chapters and 1,400 pages, along with a profusion of animated videos and Web-based aids that supplement the text.

And what fuels the panic is that nearly every tongue-twisting term and microscopic fact is fair game for the year-end test that decides who will receive college credit for the course.

“Some of the students look at the book and say, ‘My gosh, it’s just like an encyclopedia,’ ” Mrs. Carlson says. And when new A.P. teachers encounter it, “they almost want to start sobbing.”

As A.P. has proliferated, spreading to more than 30 subjects with 1.8 million students taking 3.2 million tests, the program has won praise for giving students an early chance at more challenging work. But many of the courses, particularly in the sciences and history, have also been criticized for overwhelming students with facts to memorize and then rushing through important topics. Students and educators alike say that biology, with 172,000 test-takers this year, is one of the worst offenders.

A.P. teachers have long complained that lingering for an extra 10 or 15 minutes on a topic can be a zero-sum game, squeezing out something else that needs to be covered for the exam. PowerPoint lectures are the rule. The homework wears down many students. And studies show that most schools do the same canned laboratory exercises, providing little sense of the thrill of scientific discovery.

All that, says the College Board, is about to change.

Next month, the board, the nonprofit organization that owns the A.P. exams as well as the SAT, will release a wholesale revamping of A.P. biology as well as United States history — with 387,000 test-takers the most popular A.P. subject. A preview of the changes shows that the board will slash the amount of material students need to know for the tests and provide, for the first time, a curriculum framework for what courses should look like. The goal is to clear students’ minds to focus on bigger concepts and stimulate more analytic thinking. In biology, a host of more creative, hands-on experiments are intended to help students think more like scientists.
Read the rest of the article at: www.nytimes.com/2011/01/09/education/edlife/09ap-t.html?_r=1


The City of Fillmore is looking for volunteers to help with Coastal Cleanup Day this Saturday September 15th from 9am-12pm. The Coastal Clean Up volunteers will meet at Sheills Park & take a short walk over to our Sespe Creek bed to do our part in keeping our waterways clean. For more information/to register 805-524-1500 ext. 713 OR email recreation@ci.fillmore.ca.us


This is a new blog called “School Matters” hosted by the Fillmore Gazette. The Gazette responded to my request for a way to inform the public on various school related issues and to respond to questions from the community. I am honored to be able to moderate, facilitate and write for this blog because School Matters. It is my hope that this blog will be a resource for the community and create another avenue for residents to get engaged with our local schools. The state of our schools affects the entire community, not just families. Property values, new business, quality jobs, crime rates, all are affected by how our schools are doing. Everyone needs to care about our local schools.

I want to hear from everyone. Students. Parents. Alumni. Family Members. District Staff. Residents. Business Owners.

What do you want to know about our schools? What do you think the community should know about our schools?

****Did you know that FUSD has an annual budget (2010-11) of $35 Million? That is your tax dollars (state and federal) at work. Is that money being spent wisely? What do you think?

**** What is great about FUSD? What do you love about your schools? What do you wish was different? What do you want to see happen at your local school?

****Is FUSD evolving to meet the needs of our changing economy? If you are worried about the state of our economy, and want to see it “fixed”, education must be at the foundation of any “fix”. More students must graduate. More students must be minimally proficient, and more must excel. This is needed to create the business leaders and owners of the future. What can local Districts and School Boards do to better prepare current students to succeed?

****Currently all of our seven schools are in “Program Improvement”. This is a label assigned by the state for schools that are failing to meet certain benchmarks for the number of students testing at a “minimally proficient” level. Do you know what FUSD is doing to improve the schools? What do you think FUSD should do?

This Blog is for you, the community. Send in your questions.
1. Post your question as a comment on this blog.
2. Send in questions by email: schoolmatters@fillmoregazette.com
3. Write your questions and mail to: Fillmore Gazette, attn: School Matters, 408 Orchard Street, Fillmore, CA 93015

Some guidelines for submitted questions and comments:
1. Please include your name. While I prefer that I have permission to list your name with your question, I am willing to respond to questions submitted anonymously. But in the event that I need to clarify the question or don’t understand what you are asking, having a way to contact you can be helpful.
2. For all online comments: Feel free to challenge, question and provide alternative views. That is what good dialogue is all about. BUT I will be very quick to delete and remove any comments that are derogatory, libelous, or disrespectful. Keep in mind it is perfectly OK to criticize when our intention is to help improve it. Just always err on the side of being respectful and forthright. That is why I prefer all comments include your full name, we tend to behave a bit better when our name is attached to our words. Any comments that detract from a respectful dialogue will be deleted.
3. Please state your question clearly. And provide any “context” for your question.
4. Let us know “who” you are: student, parent, guardian, family member, teacher, staff, resident, or business owner.

Once I have your question and I think others will be interested in it, I will do my best to find the best answer. I will research, interview, read and examine various sources to come up with a response. It is my intention to always provide “sound” information from “good” sources. If I am stating my opinion, I will let you know it.

From time to time I would love to have “guest writers” submit an essay (any students interested? District staff, what’s on your mind?) on a topic, or an editorial on an issue they feel passionate about that has to do with education, schools, FUSD etc. Just submit it. For these submissions I MUST have your name and contact information. If you are interested, send me your “topic” idea for approval and word limit.

**Note: I do not speak Spanish, but if I receive a question in Spanish I am able to get it translated. I am looking for folks interested in helping me translate (Any bi-lingual students want to volunteer with the local paper?) the entire blog. Contact me if you’re interested.

So here we go… a new year, a new blog, because SCHOOL MATTERS!

Welcome to the Blog and I look forward to reading and responding to your questions.
Best, Kimberly Rivers