History Book Club starts up

Photo by Rebecca Deal

Fifteen Oakwood Junior High eighth graders participated in Mrs. Fiore’s first ever “History Book Club” on Jan. 2.  Students independently read a Thomas Jefferson biography, and then they met at her house to discuss the biography and participate in related creative activities. At the end, the students wrote and sang a Thomas Jefferson sing along under the direction of Cincinnati Folk Singer of the Year, Jake Speed. “Getting 15 kids to read a biography over Winter Break is a true teacher tingle,” said Mrs. Fiore.  The students reported having a great time and they look forward to the next History Book Club meeting.

Recent educational news raises issues

Too often when schools make the news, there are major educational issues involved. Again this week, I will share summaries of a few school news articles from around the nation and then a few comments about the issues involved.

TEACHER PREPARATION was the theme of an Akron Beacon Journal article last month. Good teachers have a major impact on better student learning but what has made these teachers so effective.  The easiest things to measure have not been found to make much difference (age, degrees, years teaching, etc.) Things that do count such as teacher responsibility and motivation  are vital but very hard to measure. When both the Feds and the State refuse to fund schools so that unfunded mandates can be provided, the responsibilities and motivations by teachers are hard to support.

ADD STUDENTS TO PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES was the theme of a late December article in the New York Times.  If we want students to take on the responsibility for their own success, then they need to be involved in the conference process.  To the extent that they accept ownership for both their successes and their problems/weaknesses, their future growth is dependent.  The issue is that this means that adults (parents and educators) will have to give up some of their power and authority in order to make room at the table for the children.  When and where this has been done, the results have been very positive.

TOO MUCH TESTING CUTS INTO LEARNING was the theme of a 12-25-08 Boston Globe article.  More and more testing takes up more and more time which used to be spent on teaching and learning.  Add to this loss for all students, when those who failed a part of a test must be gone to “retest”, the ‘community of learning’ is reduced.  Teachers must ‘slow down’ so that the absent ones do not get further behind.  Bottom line, the issue may be whether or not accountability is actually reduced as we test more to find it!

NARROW SEX EDUCATION PROGRAMS INEFFECTIVE was the headline in a 12-29-08 Washington Post article about a new study’s findings.  Over the past years our Federal government has insisted that schools that wanted federal funding had to adopt sex education programs that narrowly focused almost only on abstinence. The study found that this ideologically-based approach where stu
dents were asked to sign pledges to abstain from sex have not worked.  Those who failed to abstain ALSO failed more often to use any type of protection for themselves or their partners. This has put thousands of America’s youth at much more risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases.

MORE SLEEP NEEDED BY ADOLESCENTS was the clear theme of  the 12-23-08 Boston Globe article.  When Lexington, KY pushed back the start of school day for both middle and high schools two results were found.  The students actually reported that they did get more sleep—no surprise!  But the study also found that traffic accidents involving teenagers went down!  Over a two year period following the school-start time change, the average crash rates for 17 to 19 yr. old drivers in the county went DOWN 16% but for the rest of the state, they went UP almost 8 %.  The issues involve all of us as making such a time change will make changes in our normal adult lives as well.  Are the adults willing to make personal adjustments in order to help such health and learning actions for our children  take place?

I will continue to watch the news for items which have potential impact for us right here in downtown Oakwood, OH.  If you find something of interest, please send me a copy!

OHS Tech Team offers classes

The Oakwood High School Tech Team will be offering free computer classes for community members in January and February. The classes, which will be held in the high school computer labs, will cover different subjects each night.  

Seating is limited so please call the Oakwood High School office at 297-5325 to reserve your spot.  Please specify your choices when you call.

So I Have This Computer… Now What? 
Sunday, January 25 (4 pm – 6 pm)

This session will cover very basic skills such as creating folders, printing, using word processing software, getting on the Internet and using email. We will try to customize to fit the needs of the class. (25 people)

Finding Your Way Safely On The Internet
Sunday, February 1 (4 pm – 6 pm) 

The Internet is such a large place and there is so much information out there. How do you know where to go to find what you are looking for? How do you know when you get there that the information is accurate?  This class will look at using the Internet safely, finding what you need, and evaluating sites for accuracy. (40 people)

Surfing the Net
Sunday, February 8  (4 pm – 6 pm)

In this session we will look at all the things you can do on the Internet.  We will cover Internet safety, free email services, on-line chatting, video-conferencing, and cool sites to investigate. We hope to save some time for you to “surf” with the help of the high school students. (40 people)

Call Oakwood High School Office, 297-5325, to reserve your spot or for more information.


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January 6, 2009
Volume 18, No. 1

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'round town











A student on the winning team of the Harman School Battle of the Books was erroneously given the wrong name. In the paper he is listed as Matthew O’Neill.  His name is Andrew O’Neill.

















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