Former teacher Laura McKenna explores 30 years of changes in New York's District 75, which exclusively serves students with severe disabilities. The district has shifted from a custodial focus to an academic one, and it has high standards for hiring instructors and paraprofessionals, McKenna writes.
Students in gifted classes are more likely to spend time on critical thinking, creativity and so-called "extension activities" than on advanced material, according to a survey by the National Center for Research on Gifted Education at the University of Connecticut. Three-quarters of the schools surveyed said they did not use a separate curriculum for gifted courses.
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Schools that incorporate whole-child educational competencies have greater success in teaching social and emotional literacy, which better prepares students to navigate the workforce, experts said at the Reagan Institute Summit on Education. A major challenge for schools lies in measuring their own success in teaching those skills, panelists said.
Computer scientists at Western Illinois University are creating a program that uses virtual reality to help students with autism prepare for social interactions during the school day. The program simulates social situations students are likely to encounter in middle school and prompts them to adjust their behavior if necessary.
A bill under consideration by North Carolina lawmakers would reduce required US history classes in favor of adding a financial-literacy course. Supporters say the course is needed to educate students about subjects such as student debt, but critics say it should replace a required math course.
Students in a robotics class at STEM Magnet Academy of Pointe Coupee in Louisiana are adapting electronic toys so they can be more easily used by children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy that affect motor skills. The toys are then distributed to students with special needs in the district's elementary schools.