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National Blog

Oregon and Washington students exceed expectations on new tests


The results are in!

Oregon and Washington students are scoring higher than expected on the new Smarter Balanced tests, which measure critical thinking and problem solving – not just memorization.

The preliminary results reveal that more students in grades 3 through 8 scored proficient than anticipated, according to reports released Thursday.

Summer is here...let the learning begin!


It's summer vacation, a time children wait for all year to swim in the pool, collect shells at the beach, catch up with old friends, host lemonade stands, and eat way too much ice cream.

This tradition started in the 19th century; it’s commonly believed that summer vacation was held so that children had time to help their families work on their farms. Nice as that story is, it isn’t true. It’s because the heat in urban areas became unbearable. Brick and concrete made everything so much hotter, driving families to spend their summers in the countryside.

Fighting Summer Learning Loss


Summer evokes a lot of memories and images: ice cream at the park, splashing in the pool, riding your bike down the street to meet friends. Fireflies, grilling, playing ball. Summer experiences are a pretty good illustration of the American Dream.

Great Teachers Save Lives (Literally)


So why don’t we reward and keep the best ones?

Stephanie Stuck is a spunky high school senior who’s full of life, humor, and optimism. But it wasn’t always like that.

Growing up in a small town just south of Portland, Oregon, Stephanie barely knew her mother, and from a young age she bounced from foster home to foster home.

For much of her time in foster care, Stephanie suffered through emotional and physical abuse.

“When I was in the system, some foster parents would tell me I was dumb and stupid,” she says. 

Stand UP in the News


Stand Indiana was featured this week on ABC’s local Indianapolis affiliate in a story about how our Stand UP (Stand University for Parents) family engagement program seeks to help Hispanic families stay involved in their children’s education.

Because many parents of Hispanic students do not speak English, it is difficult for them to understand what is going on in their children’s homework, school, and overall education and stay actively involved. Indiana’s Stand UP program, an 8-week course for parents to become education advocates, is helping to bridge that gap.

Why I Advocate: One Teacher's Fight to Keep Standards in Her Classroom


As I finish my twelfth year in the classroom, I am forced to look back and reflect on a year unlike any other. A year filled with many rewards and a year filled with many frustrations. For every gain we made in the classroom this year, the state, as a whole, took two steps back.

Teachers like me are clinging to the new standards with vigor, terrified that they will be taken away. I advocate for myself and teachers like me, who believe in their students enough to push them further, to question them deeper, and to support them more than ever before.

Celebrating Teachers on Teacher Appreciation Day


Think about your favorite teacher for a moment. This probably came easily to you. What about this teacher made an impression on you that still resonates 5 or 14 or 31 years later?

Did this teacher make lessons exceptionally fun, or change the way you think about something? Did this person stay after school with you to make sure you understood the material or attend your school play?

Students’ Parents are the Ink to National Signing Day


Today is College Signing Day, a day where college-bound students from across the country announce and celebrate their choice of schools. For many of these students, going to college wouldn’t have been an option if it weren’t for their parents’ resiliency and faith.

Exploring the Importance of Creativity on National Tell A Story Day


My mom saved the first story I ever wrote. I’m sure she saved dozens of others, as well, but this one, from kindergarten, will forever stick in my memory. I wrote and illustrated a story of my mom and me taking a plane to Florida, crashing, and getting on another plane. That plane crashed, too.  The final sentence in the story is: “Then we got on a different plane and that one landed.”

Well, that’s good! Third time’s a charm, and all that...

Parents and principals, the perfect partnership


Last week at the introductory meeting for Stand University for Parents (Stand UP), our family engagement program, I had one of the most exciting, exhilarating moments of my career. I looked into the enthusiastic crowd and a woman loudly committed to attending all six weeks of classes.

“I will stand up, show up and show out!” She yelled.

What made this moment special? She wasn’t a parent at the school, she was the principal!