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Mundo Verde Groundbreaking Ceremony

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One of the greatest things about Washington, D.C. is the wealth of educational choice that it provides its students. Though some may argue that traditional public schools should be able to cater to every type of student, when taking one look at the Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School, it’s difficult to argue that innovation is something negative.

Mundo Verde is the only school in the District that focuses on sustainability education, and it doesn’t stop there.  On top of that unique focus, it also combines bilingual education with project-based (expeditionary) learning. With their eco-friendly vision, it’s only fitting that the groundbreaking ceremony for their new campus took place on Earth Day (April 22nd).

The new building is in a great location, and seems to be a perfect fit for the vision that Mundo Verde’s leaders have for its future. After talking to some of the school’s founding board members, a group of parents who teamed up in 2010 to fill the gap that they saw in the D.C. charter system, I could tell that there was a strong, passionate support system that was heavily invested in the school’s success.

The school currently enrolls students from pre-K to second grade, but will expand up to fifth grade in the coming years. After fifth grade, Mundo Verde students will receive admissions preference at DC International School. The kindergarten and pre-K students participate in a full Spanish-language immersion program, while the first and second graders have a dual-immersion program, with classes taught in both English and Spanish.

The expeditionary learning model means that students focus on specific projects and become experts on a topic. A past topic was water, and students learned the ins and outs of water conservation and even had the opportunity to educate others on the subject. Their

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Day One: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going

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My impetus for pursuing an internship at CER grew from a personal love of education, both learning and teaching, and a zeal for pursuing excellence in the field. Over the years I have worked at elementary schools, researched subjects ranging from charter school development to the efficacy of Teach for America, and sought out classes that reflected my interest.

Still, though on paper I seem prepared for this internship, I am acutely aware of my lack of wisdom that can only be gained through experience. Fortunately for me, from my desk in the CER office, I can see half a dozen offices that house some truly key players in the education reform movement. Built on twenty years of wisdom and experience, a dynamic energy courses through this office that buoys the creative ability and industry of those inside. I am humbled and excited to have the chance to learn from them.

That, of course, is my main objective: to learn. I am hungry for knowledge and understanding, and I am committed to serving CER valuably for the next six weeks. In addition to informing my future career goals, I hope this experience fosters relationships that broaden my worldview and further my development as an individual thinker and doer.

For years I have been immersed in the theoretical and pedagogical exercise of education reform. At home I have heard my father talk about his experience representing Students First in Tennessee and working with Governor Haslam on his education reform efforts. In class, my Education professors presented me with a very pro-public, pro-teacher, pro-union take on the history of education and the future of reform.

My experience at CER will add a new flavor to the mix, one that I hope will savor more of concrete experiences and practical implications as I develop my perspective.

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Speak Up Release of National Findings

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As technology continues to constantly change and grow at an incredible rate, it can be difficult to keep track of the impact that it has on the education system in America today. While technology is often characterized as detrimental to the social skills and attention span of young people, it’s important to also look at the variety of benefits that it can provide.

Project Tomorrow, a California-based national education nonprofit, released the findings of their 2013 Speak Up National Research Project on April 8th in Washington, D.C. This project reports on the views of K-12 students on the role of technology in education. Last year, over 400,000 students, parents and educators answered polls on their opinions regarding the use of technology in the classroom and how they hope it will be used in the future.

The 2013 report is titled “The New Digital Learning Playbook: Understanding the Spectrum of Students’ Activities and Aspirations,” and it aims to move beyond the “mythology” that exists regarding the role of technology within the education community in the U.S. today. Julie Evans, the CEO of Project Tomorrow, gave the presentation of the project’s findings and how they demonstrated the positive impact that technology can have on students’ learning. The findings highlighted the many ways that technology can benefit students both within the classroom and at home.

Many schools and districts sign themselves up to take the survey because they recognize the need to counteract the idea that technology is harmful to education. Adults assume that children use technology in the same way that adults use technology (as entertainment or to keep in touch with friends), but this survey demonstrates the many innovative ways that children and young adults are benefitting from the use of technology in their classrooms. Computers and tablets are

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