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A New, Innovative Way to Help Children Master Social and Emotional Learning

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Meet Mose.

Mose is a highly functional 8 1/2 year old kid with Asperger syndrome who plays an adventure game called IF… to help him understand and manage his emotions.

Brendan, Mose’s father, says, “Mose, like a lot of aspie kids, is smart enough to recognize that he doesn’t totally fit in with everybody else, but doesn’t have the social and emotional intelligence to know what to do about it. I feel like the IF… game has given us tools to talk about his fears, and what is going on in his head when on the surface he gets angry at school, and how underneath he might be feeling guilty or insecure – like Cinda and her baby vim in the game.”

Watch below to hear more about how IF… has helped Brendan and Mose, straight from Mose himself:


Inequities and Challenges in Rural Education

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Advocates gathered on Wednesday for a Hill briefing in the Capitol Visitor Center to discuss a much-overlooked facet of education policy, rural education. The event was hosted by the Rural School and Community Trust, and focused on the release of the biennial report Why Rural Matters.

Remarks were made by Congressman Glenn “G.T.” Thompson (R-PA 5th District) and a representative of Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s office (D-WI). Congressman Thompson shared his views on the “flawed funding” inequities associated with Title I grants, proclaiming that funding should not be determined by a student’s zip code. Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) allocates funds to communities based on density of impoverished students, but Thompson argued that the flawed weighting systems used to determine grantees distributed funds to low-poverty areas. He promoted the concept of “fundamental fairness” and the “All Children are Equal” (ACE) Act, an amendment to ESEA that would change Title I’s funding formula to ensure that high-poverty communities with relatively small student populations would still receive funding.

Following the congressional remarks, Dr. Robert Klein and Dr. Daniel Showalter, both of Ohio University, presented their findings of the report. They discussed the “disturbing realities” of rural education. High transportation costs are very problematic in rural areas due to the vast distance between schools and residencies. Rural mobility (how many students change residencies within the school year) causes more issues for rural schools within the classroom. Klein and Showalter discussed the ranking system and a few of the gauges measured in the report, including student and family diversity, education policy context, educational outcomes, and socioeconomic challenges. The report also featured a new section on early education in rural areas.

Klein and Showalter ended their presentation with a few takeaway messages, emphasizing that the number of rural students in the

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Review: On the Rocketship

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In March 2006, John Danner submitted a charter school application to the San Jose Unified School District, which was filed accordingly by school officials without much comment or fanfare, marking the first attempt to launch what would eventually become the Rocketship charter network.

This seemingly nascent moment however, doesn’t take place until pg. 54 of On the Rocketship: How Top Charter Schools Are Pushing The Envelope written by veteran reporter Richard Whitmire.

To borrow an Internet meme, one does not simply apply to open a charter school, as Whitmire makes abundantly clear in this story full of successes, failures and the culmination of distinct personalities that built Rocketship to what it is today.

Whitmire structures the book with short chapters, in which a different part of Rocketship’s development is told. The eclectic, almost lyrical descriptions of each personality in the Rocketship saga provide the book with a vital human element.

In each section there are brief moments, some more innocuous than others, that piece together Rocketship’s founding, and what drove Danner, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, and other allies to send shockwaves through the American education system.

To be sure, the inspiring stories from Rocketship are characteristic of charter schools both large and small across the country, wherever an elevation of school culture positively affects students.

Arguably the book’s most heartwarming moment was the story of Daniella Martinez, a third grader reading at a first grade level, ambiguously labeled ‘special needs’ by the traditional school she attended prior to Rocketship. Upon first arriving to her new school, Daniella was understandably shy and rarely spoke. The Rocketship reading teacher had Daniella repeat three sentences: “I am smart. I am able. I will read,” creating an incredible turning point. The experience even galvanized Daniella’s mother Karen to become a parent leader and secure a better opportunity

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