Monday, May 26, 2014

Dallas School Board Agrees to Tie Teacher Pay to Student Performance

Brandt School 8th Grade Class- 1974 Hoboken, NJ

DALLAS (AP) — The Dallas school board has voted to alter the way teachers are paid by approving an evaluation system that ties their pay to performance.
Teachers currently are paid based on years of service and advanced degrees. But the board voted late Thursday to determine their pay based on points accumulated in their two most recent evaluations.
Classroom performance will constitute 50 percent of an evaluation while student test scores will account for 35 percent and student surveys the resulting 15 percent.
The new system will be launched in the next school year, and changes to the salary structure the following year.
The Dallas Morning News reports ( ) the vote is considered a significant win for Superintendent Mike Miles' reform efforts.
Critics question whether the move will have any effect on student performance.
Information from: The Dallas Morning News,

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Petrosino Syllabus EDCF389R Mixed Methods Design Based Research (74265)

The following is the final syllabus draft for Mixed Methods Based Design Research (unique- 74265) offered during Summer 2014 Session 1.
Thanks to my colleague George Veletsianos, Ph.D.
Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology

Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day Thoughts 2014

While arguably, the Republicans might have their very first bona fide scandal regarding the Obama administration with the Veterans Administration mess, last night Jon Stewart pointed out the teeny weeny, slightly inconvenient fact that when it comes to taking care of veterans, Republicans in the Senate are giant hypocrites. Time and again, they have shot down bills which would bring real help and relief to those Americans who have fought and sacrificed in war. Just two examples include a bill that would have expanded healthcare and education for returning veterans that was shot down in the Senate, mostly due to lack of support from Republicans. And another in which Mitch McConnell tried to slip an "unrelated poison pill" of additional sanctions on Iran into a bill to help veterans, guaranteeing the bill's failure.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Confusion over Boston Public Schools to Eliminate History & Social Science Departments

Blimpie Base #1- Hoboken, NJ circa 1964
It was announced today that the Boston Public School department is "reorganizing" by eliminating all Departments of History & Social Sciences in all schools and folding the departments into the Department of English Language Arts as a "Humanities Department" with the currciculum determined by the ELA Common Core Standards.  Certified history department heads/chairs are being laid off and, apaprently, no certified history specialist will be hired to replace any of these teachers. This essentially eliminates history and the social sciences as one of the core academic departments in the Boston Public Schools and subordinates HSS to ELA.  

Today, there was a clarification to the original statement: CLICK HERE

Q: Is BPS really eliminating its History and Social Studies Department?
 A: No.

Here's what interim Superintendent John McDonough says: 
There is a lot of misinformation circulating online and I want to set the record straight.

History and Social Studies is remaining as a single Department. It is not being eliminated or folded into English Language Arts, which is also its own department and sits alongside History in our organizational structure. Both are crucial. They will remain as distinct departments, just as they do today.

History and Social Studies teachers will continue to teach History and Social Studies in our schools. Despite what you may have heard, English teachers are not being asked to take over the teaching of History and Social Studies.

Instead, we are improving and coordinating the use of instructional materials throughout all subject areas. This means we will improve our ability to support English teachers who wish to take advantage of historical lessons in their classes, and for History and Social Studies teachers who wish to take advantage of literature that frames an understanding of historical content. This is different than eliminating one course and asking another subject to take it over. This is about coordinating our curriculum at all levels and connecting the dots for students. To help us do this successfully, we are bringing these areas together under the Humanities umbrella. This allows us to maintain separate History and Social Studies, English Language Arts and World Languages departments while aligning ourselves academically to promote interdisciplinary cross-collaboration. This was one of the major recommendations offered in the Academics review we requested this spring from the Council of the Great City Schools.

We could have done a better job explaining our thinking from the start. Some of the confusion may have come from an earlier decision to hire an assistant director for History and Social Studies. This did not lead to a clear understanding of our priorities and mission, so we have decided to make that position a Director-level position. Our History and Social Studies Department will have the right staffing support to be successful.

Let me be very clear: History and Social Studies remain a vital part of our organization both centrally and in our schools, as do the community partnerships in these areas that our students enjoy. History and Social Studies teachers will continue to provide a core element of instruction for students in History and Social Studies courses. It is not being folded into ELA. ELA is a different department. 

We all share the same mission: to eliminate achievement gaps. Only by ensuring every student clearly understands our past and the present can he or she truly help build a great future. This means all students must have access to geography, economics, government, history, civics and much more. All students must develop an understanding of civic engagement, cultural awareness and have the tools to think critically about our community. We value all of these things and – especially based on some of the online feedback we have seen -- we know you do, too.

History and Social Studies instruction is not going anywhere in BPS. The History and Social Studies Department is not being eliminated or folded into English Language Arts. I am sorry that so much misinformation has circulated so quickly online. I hope this helps us correct the record so we can move forward.

John McDonough
Interim Superintendent

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Latest Statistics on the College Student Debt Crisis- Kerry Anne

According to the Wall Street Journal and data compiled by analyst Mark Kantrowitz, the average loan-holding 2014 college graduate will have to pay back $33,000. That’s up from around $31,000 in 2013 and under $10,000 in 1993:
The chart above reveals that the average student loan debt has increased every year for at least the past two decades.  Not only is the average student loan debt increasing, but since 1993 (as shown in the image below), the percentage of students taking out loans for college has risen from around 46% to 70%.
According to CNBC:
Student debt is the only kind of household debt that rose through the Great Recession and now totals more than either credit card or auto loan debt, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Both the number of borrowers and amount borrowed ballooned by 70 percent from 2004 to 2012.
This has seen outstanding student debt rise to more than $1 trillion.
So why does this matter?
A recent paper by Barclays stated:
  • The growth of federal student loans outstanding in the past decade ($583 billion) is larger than the bank bailout package ($431 billion).
  • A larger portion of the student loan debt is falling on those who will not receive the financial benefits of earning a degree. Borrowers who graduated had a default rate of 3.7% in 2009, while those who dropped out had a default rate of 16.8%.
  • Barely half of all borrowers were making payments as of the third quarter of 2011; 47% were either still in school or in deferral, forbearance or grace periods.
  • Given the weak labor market and increasing dropout rates, there is little reason to think that future delinquency rates will be lower than the current national average (14%).
  • When combined with forecast growth in issuance, we estimate that the government will lose around $65 [billion] on student loans in the coming decade from subsidy rate re-estimates alone.
  • Between now and 2020, we think that IBR [the new income-based repayment programs] will cost the government a total of $190 [billion, due to write-offs].
In short, the debt first hobbles the graduates, and then the economy as a whole.
A006 - CopyA006
The $1trn student debt has been described as an economic time bomb set to explode in coming decades just as the sub-prime mortgage crisis did in 2001/8, as these over-burdened graduates fail to pay down their loans.
While the US government continues to blow its budget on moronic multi-billion dollar investments, including its massive prison system and the trillion dollar F-35 fighter jet program – colleges continue to hike up tuition fees beyond all reason.  In allowing such a state of affairs to continue at ever increasing scale, the US is cannibalizing its own economy.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Meta-Analysis: Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics (Freeman et al. 2014)

Ground Breaking Ceremony
Grogan/Marine View Towers 1973
The following post has been excerpted from a recent article in the ScienceInsider by Aleszu Bajak entitled, "Lectures Aren't Just Boring, They're Ineffective, Too, Study Finds" and can be viewed in its original form with comments by clicking HERE. -Dr. Petrosino

Are your lectures droning on? Change it up every 10 minutes with more active teaching techniques and more students will succeed, researchers say. A new study finds that undergraduate students in classes with traditional stand-and-deliver lectures are 1.5 times more likely to fail than students in classes that use more stimulating, so-called active learning methods.


To test the hypothesis that lecturing maximizes learning and course performance, we metaanalyzed 225 studies that reported data on examination scores or failure rates when comparing student performance in undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses under traditional lecturing versus active learning. The effect sizes indicate that on average, student performance on examinations and concept inventories increased by 0.47 SDs under active learning (n = 158 studies), and that the odds ratio for failing was 1.95 under traditional lecturing (n = 67 studies). These results indicate that average examination scores improved by about 6% in active learning sections, and that students in classes with traditional lecturing were 1.5 times more likely to fail than were students in classes with active learning. Heterogeneity analyses indicated that both results hold across the STEM disciplines, that active learning increases scores on concept inventories more than on course examinations, and that active learning appears effective across all class sizes—although the greatest effects are in small (n ≤ 50) classes. Trim and fill analyses and fail-safe n calculations suggest that the results are not due to publication bias. The results also appear robust to variation in the methodological rigor of the included studies, based on the quality of controls over student quality and instructor identity. This is the largest and most comprehensive metaanalysis of undergraduate STEM education published to date. The results raise questions about the continued use of traditional lecturing as a control in research studies, and support active learning as the preferred, empirically validated teaching practice in regular classrooms.
Universities were founded in Western Europe in 1050 and lecturing has been the predominant form of teaching ever since,” says biologist Scott Freeman of the University of Washington, Seattle. But many scholars have challenged the “sage on a stage” approach to teaching science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses, arguing that engaging students with questions or group activities is more effective.

To weigh the evidence, Freeman and a group of colleagues analyzed 225 studies of undergraduate STEM teaching methods. The meta-analysis, published online today in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concluded that teaching approaches that turned students into active participants rather than passive listeners reduced failure rates and boosted scores on exams by almost one-half a standard deviation. “The change in the failure rates is whopping,” Freeman says. And the exam improvement—about 6%—could, for example, “bump [a student’s] grades from a B– to a B.”
“This is a really important article—the impression I get is that it’s almost unethical to be lecturing if you have this data,” says Eric Mazur, a physicist at Harvard University who has campaigned against stale lecturing techniques for 27 years and was not involved in the work. “It’s good to see such a cohesive picture emerge from their meta-analysis—an abundance of proof that lecturing is outmoded, outdated, and inefficient.” 
Although there is no single definition of active learning approaches, they include asking students to answer questions by using handheld clickers, calling on individuals or groups randomly, or having students clarify concepts to each other and reach a consensus on an issue.
Freeman says he’s started using such techniques even in large classes. “My introductory biology course has gotten up to 700 students,” he says. “For the ultimate class session—I don’t say lecture—I’m showing PowerPoint slides, but everything is a question and I use clickers and random calling. Somebody droning on for 15 minutes at a time and then doing cookbook labs isn’t interesting.” Freeman estimates that scaling up such active learning approaches could enable success for tens of thousands of students who might otherwise drop or fail STEM courses.
Despite its advantages, active learning isn’t likely to completely kill the lecture, says Noah Finkelstein, a physics professor who directs the Center for STEM Learning at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and was not involved in the study. The new study “is consistent with what the benefits of active learning are showing us,” he says. “But I don’t think there should be a monolithic stance about lecture or no lecture. There are still times when lectures will be needed, but the traditional mode of stand-and-deliver is being demonstrated as less effective at promoting student learning and preparing future teachers.”
The current study didn’t directly address the effectiveness of one new twist in the traditional lecturing format: massive open online courses that can beam talks to thousands or even millions of students. But Freeman says the U.S. Department of Education has conducted its own meta-analysis of distance learning, and it found there was no difference in being lectured at in a classroom versus through a computer screen at home. So, Freeman says: “If you’re going to get lectured at, you might as well be at home in bunny slippers.”


The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has called for a 33% increase in the number of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) bachelor’s degrees completed per year and recommended adoption of empirically validated teaching practices as critical to achieving that goal. The studies analyzed here document that active learning leads to increases in examination performance that would raise average grades by a half a letter, and that failure rates under traditional lecturing increase by 55% over the rates observed under active learning. The analysis supports theory claiming that calls to increase the number of students receiving STEM degrees could be answered, at least in part, by abandoning traditional lecturing in favor of active learning.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

First Invitational Summit on Educational Visualization: May 6-7, 2014

Dr. Paul Resta
I was recently invited to attend the First Invitational Summit on Educational Visualization which was held at The University of Texas in Austin, TX. In Fall 2012 I taught a graduate seminar on Computational Reasoning and many of the activities and readings from class centered on issues of data mining, Big Data, and visualization so it was a pleasure attending and taking part in this event. -Dr. Petrosino

Over the past two decades, learning that takes place or is tracked within a computer-mediated environment has grown exponentially. As a result, a tremendous amount of data is being generated that has the potential to reveal powerful insights into the teaching and learning process. Turning this mass of data into such useful insights, however, requires new techniques that can effectively facilitate exploration and discovery. 

Data visualization – long a staple of the physical sciences and engineering – offers a range of powerful tools with the potential to facilitate data intensive educational research, as well as to communicate – to students, parents, teachers, administrators, and policy-makers – valuable and actionable insights made possible by a data-rich learning environment. The Summit will bring together educational leaders and data visualization experts to understand the implications of big data in education and the increasingly important role of data visualization to help improve learning and educational decision-making, to support research and inform policy. The Summit is intended to identify the current state of the field, emerging trends, to share perspectives as to where and how visualization techniques will impact education going forward, and to develop recommendations to guide the future development of educational data visualization. 

Invitational Summit on Educational Visualization

May 6-7, 2014
AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center
The University of Texas at Austin | Austin, Texas


Paul Resta, Ph.D.
Ruth Knight Millikan Professorship
in Learning Technologies
College of Education
The University of Texas at Austin

Kelly Gaither, Ph.D.
Director of Visualization
Texas Advance Computing Center
The University of Texas at Austin


Paula Moeller, Ed.D.
Director of College Readiness
Institute for Public School
The University of Texas at Austin
The Institute for Public School Initiatives
         The University of Texas at Austin  
           5316 Hwy 290 West, Suite 510
         Austin, TX 78735

Dear Colleague,

We would like to invite you to attend the First Invitational Summit on Educational Data Visualization to be held in the ATT Executive Conference Center, The University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas on May 6-7, 2014.

As you know, education is facing a tsunami of massive data sets that offer both new opportunities as well as challenges in extracting meaning from the data in ways that can improve learning and inform policies, decision-making, instruction and research.

The summit will bring educational data visualization thought leaders and innovators, together with education leaders, policy makers and researchers to share perspectives on current trends, issues, opportunities, and challenges, of educational data visualization. The summit will offer recommendations that will be released nationally to help move the field forward.

This is an invitation-only event limited to 150 participants. We hope that you will join us, but if you cannot attend, we would welcome your recommendation of someone in your organization or institution to act as your representative. We would appreciate your responding by email to to indicate whether you plan on attending the summit and you may register for the summit at: by April 11th, 2014.

Warmest regards,  

    Dr. Paul Resta     
   Dr. Kelly Gaither

Sponsors Include
 ACT § Intel § Pearson § SAS § Tableau § College of Education, The University of Texas at Austin    
The Institute for Public School Initiatives, The University of Texas at Austin
Texas Advanced Computing Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Monday, May 12, 2014

Segregation? Deciding to Leave Town? Or Not Satisfied with the District? Disaggregated Data Tells A More Nuanced Story in Hoboken

Click to Enlarge
seg·re·ga·tion noun \ˌse-gri-ˈgā-shən\ the separation or isolation of a race, class, or ethnic group by enforced or voluntary residence in a restricted area, by barriers to social intercourse, by separate educational facilities, or by other discriminatory means

Recently, issues of intentional and unintentional segregation have been raised in the Hoboken School District. For instance, Board member Ruth McAllister compared the current segregation effects in Hoboken with that of Cape Town, South Africa at the May 6, 2014 Board of Education meeting (see 2:28:00mins). A few weeks ago the Board President referenced "white flight" occurring in the Hoboken public schools...and there have been other unfortunate descriptions. The issues are certainly complex but essentially boil down to some district leaders claiming charter schools having a segregative impact of the Hoboken Public Schools. 

One of the key assertions is that there is a large disparity between the demographics of the charter schools and that of the traditional public schools. Various numbers are referenced. In general, there appears to be some consensus that the Hoboken School District population is 70% low income and about 30% non-low income and that the charter schools are much less low income and more non-low income. 

The problem is that this data is not disaggregated by grade level. When we look at the disaggregated data a much different picture emerges and a possible different explanation emerges as well. One reliable source of disaggregated data is the annual Application for State School Aid Report which is also known as the ASSA Report or the "October 15th Report" since all data in the report is based on October 15th enrollment data for that school district. 

For instance, when we look at the 2010 ASSA Report for the Hoboken School District we see only 31% low income students in Kindergarten. In 1st grade there were 36% low income students and in the 2nd grade there was still under 40% of the district was low income. In fact, it was not until the 5th grade where the percentage of low income students exceeded non-low income students (see chart). As the grades advance, an interesting phenomena develops-- we notice the enrollment by grade level decreases as we reach the higher grades and the percentage of non-low income students decrease as well (see ASSA Report). 
ASSA Report 2010- Hoboken School District
Is this segregation? Or is the district losing non-low income (middle class) students for other reasons? Perhaps due to relocation of parents? Perhaps due to other educational opportunities for the children? Perhaps due to the Board and the Superintendent not meeting the educational needs and expectations of the non-low income families and those families deciding to seek other opportunities? 

Click to Enlarge
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This is clear-- the Kindergarten grade of the Hoboken School District was made up of almost 70% non-low income students in 2010-11. Parents ARE choosing to send their children to the traditional public schools. But, the disaggregated data indicates that this percentage is almost flip-floped by 12th grade when only 31% of the grade is non-low income and 69% low income students. 

Before claims of segregation continue and the ugly, negative connotations such a term implies, it might be advisable to examine some of the data a little more closely and examine not why are non-low income parents not enrolling in the Hoboken Public Schools (because they are)....but why are parents taking their children and leaving the district? 

Monitor, Analyze, Correct.....

This data is not disaggregated

This is...

Hoboken Board of Education Meeting Agenda- May 13, 2014

Hola Dual Language Spanish Program Designated as a Model Program by the State of New Jersey

An HoLa teacher begins small group work
with her kindergarteners.
On April 7, 2014 the Hola Dual Language Spanish Program was designated as a model program for the 2014-16 period by the New Jersey Supervisors of World Languages Model Programs Initiative. The recognition highlights and acknowledges some of the best aspects of charter school legislation-- that is serving as a model for instructional innovation and responsiveness to community demand. Hola is only in its 4th year of operation but already the school seems to have acquired widespread community support and is now receiving some independent and outside verification for providing a quality curriculum for students attending the school.

According to the award letter, as model program Hola will serve as a resource for many other schools wishing to implement a dual language curriculum:

As a model program district, the school will serve as a resource for other school districts in the northern region and neighboring areas and will enable educators to witness firsthand examplary practices in world languages instruction and assessment. It will also enable administrators and teachers to dialog about issues of mutual concern, the discuss the potential for future collaboration regarding curriculum development projects, or professional development initiatives. -NJ Dept. of Education 

Recently, Hola's charter was renewed by the New Jersey Department of Education and its application to expand to the 8th grade was also approved by the same entity. The school has a 200+ long waiting list. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Building on Success...and the UTeach Program- The White House Announces New Initiative with UTeach as a Model Program for Teacher Preparation

On April 25, 2014 the White House released a communication entitled "FACT SHEET: Taking Action to Improve Teacher Preparation" and a new education project known as Building on Success. In the release the White House stated that providing all children in America with the opportunity to get a world-class education is critical for the children's success as well as of our nation. Furthermore, the release emphasized that President Obama believe that the country needs to give schools the resources to keep good teachers on the job and reward the best ones, and give teachers the flexibility to teach with creativity and passion. But...
"far too many teachers report they are unprepared when they first enter the classroom after completing their teacher preparation program. Today – continuing to use the power of his phone and his pen to make 2014 a year of action – President Obama is directing the Department of Education to move forward on a plan to strengthen America’s teacher preparation programs." -The White House 4/25/14
With this in mind, President Obama directed the U.S. Department of Education to lay out a plan to strengthen America’s teacher preparation programs for public discussion by this summer, and to move forward on schedule to publish a final rule within the next year. The Administration will encourage and support states in developing systems that recognize excellence and provide all programs with information to help them improve, while holding them accountable for how well they prepare teachers to succeed in today’s classrooms and throughout their careers. 

One of the programs the President referenced is a program I Co-Founded at The University of Texas at Austin known as UTeach. Here is what the President's report said about UTeach

UTeach at the University of Texas at Austin are drawing more undergraduates with STEM majors into teaching. Ninety 90% of UTeach graduates enter teaching and of those, roughly 80 percent are retained after 5 years, and about half of UTeach graduates are in high-need schools. Recent replications of the UTeach model have meant that the annual number of UTeach candidates has grown from 519 in 2008 to nearly 7,000 in 2014, expanding the supply of teachers prepared to teach STEM subjects.

We are all looking forward to the challenges and opportunities working with the President on this new initiative. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Innovations That Have Endured in the Hoboken School District: The PreK/K Tools of the Mind Curriculum

Board Member McAllister discussing the 
district she inherited in 2009 
I brought Tools of the Mind into the Hoboken School District in Hoboken, NJ  during the 2008-09 academic year (beginning with PreK then next year in Kindergarten) as part of my Curriculum Project. I have spoken at length about "Tools" but here is a fairly grass roots description of the program-- "a day in the life" of the implemented curriculum in Hoboken. You can either look at the link to the "Tools of the Mind" in Hoboken by clicking HERE (including pictures!) or review excerpts of the text below.  

One cannot thank former Early Childhood Director Jessica Peters or former Superintendent Jack Raslowsky enough for their efforts or the many Pre-K and Kindergarten teachers and aides that were also responsible for "Tools" coming to Hoboken and making it a success. Notably, Tools of the Mind remains the Pre-K and Kindergarten curriculum as of this day in the Hoboken School District as well as in many innovative and research based programs around the State of New Jersey and the country. -Dr. Petrosino 

The Hoboken Public Schools began using a new curriculum model in September 2008.  The decision to make this change involved various teachers and administrators, included visits to other districts and was followed by many discussions.   This change coincided with the work of the curriculum committee headed by Dr. Petrosino and will assist our district in providing a seamless educational program, preschool through 12th grade.
The new curriculum is Tools of the Mind.  You can find more information about the program on their website .    
The document listed below as "Tools of the Mind pre-K overview for parents" was shown to parents at a previous parent information night.

During Buddy Reading two children read to each other as partners. One child has the ear card when they listen to the story and the other child has the lip card when it is his/her turn to read the story.

There are opportunities to socialize during snack and lunch each day.  

Before going to center time the children create a play plan.  The play plan includes the child's name, a picture of themselves carrying out their plan and a sentence dictating the child's plan.

Roles to act out are very important in play.  This allows children to increase their language skills, social/emotional skills, problem solving and planning skills. Here are two students taking on the roles of the postal worker and mother.  

Outdoor play occurs daily if the weather permits.

Graphics Practice is a game that allows children to work on self-regulation skills as well as fine motor skills.   

Stories are read repeatedly to work on comprehension skills and flannel board pieces are one of the ways students re-tell a story.

Science eyes is a game where children work with partners.  They look through their magnifying glass to investigate objects and expand their vocabulary.  

"In both my children (one son is in the 3 year old Mile Square program and one is in the 4 year old HOPES program) I have seen a marked increase in the use of their imagination and pretend play. I have also seen more structured thinking in the approach to play. Both boys come home each day with "play plans" complete with pictures drawn by them and a description of what they will be doing (I am going to sand area to play, I am going to play with table toys, I am going to make a circle).
Because of this my older son craves this same structure at home on his weekends and times away from the classroom. He will frequently ask me "what are we going to do today" and will then draw a picture of what our plans are. (We are going to the supermarket, Daddy and I are going to Dunkin Donuts.) For him this structure and pre-planning for play seems to be extremely beneficial as he has a tendency to be rather impulsive and unfocused. Drawing a picture and writing a simple descriptive sentence helps him stay focused and on track and allows him to play more effectively.
On the other end my younger son who has been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified also benefits from the planned play. He thrives in an environment that has structure so for him this program has been extremely beneficial. There are no surprises which allows him to focus better on the activity at hand. It also helps him work on his speech and his social skills.
Overall I am extremely pleased that Tools Of The Mind Curriculum has been implemented here in Hoboken. We are only half way through the year and I have already seen the beneficial results of the program. I look forward to what else is to come!"
- Diana Whittles

"This is Sonia Petrocelli, the mother of Yasmine who did two years of Abbott with Hopes at Brandt and the mother of Giulio who's doing his first year Abbott with Hopes at Brandt. I love the early childhood Abbott program and have seen my two kids flourish due to this program.
My daughter attended two years and my son is in his first. It is such an important investment as my kids have gained more from all the social skills, developmental skills, training centers and more.
We are so lucky that Hoboken can offer this kind of program. See your child grow through a program you will trust. You can tell that the people who put such a program together really care about the school experience and knowledge the child gets from it.
So far, we are happy with what it offers. Thank you."
- Sonia
"I want to thank you for all the work you are doing in respect to early childhood, using the new program. My son has been attending Mile square for 2 years prior to new program; I really see the difference between the two.
Thank you for your vision and I am so excited that Andrew is part of it. The new program is building a strong academic foundation for his future! Thank you for showing your commitment to children!"
 - Vivian Teran

"We are very pleased with the Hoboken public school early childhood development program.  Our son has progressed significantly in the time that he has participated in the PreK-4 program.  We can see that the Tools of the Mind curriculum has helped our son to think about planning ahead and communicating. 
Overall we are very pleased with the education and experience he is getting at Hoboken public school. Thank you for all of the positive things that you are doing to make it a great experience for parents and children."
- Lori Knight and Rich Lucken

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

President Obama Visits "Tools of the Mind" Classroom

 Our condolences to the family of  Mr. James Vallejo
On March 4, 2014 the founders of the early childhood program entitled TOOLS OF THE MIND were honored that the President of the United States decided to visit a Tools of the Mind Preschool classroom. The President participated in Message of the Day and stayed for Play Planning and Play Centers. Here you can see him getting a check up from a student during the Hospitial Theme. The classroom is located in Powell Elementary School,which was one of the first schools in Washington, DC to adopt the Tools of the Mind curriculum 4 years ago. 
President Obama in "Tools" Classroom
Regular readers will recall that TOOLS OF THE MIND was brought to the Hoboken Public School by former Early Childhood Director Jessica Peters, Superintendent Raslowsky and myself as part of my PreK-12 Curriculum Project for the Hoboken Public Schools. This award winning preschool program has been a part of the Hoboken Early Childhood (PreK-K) program since 2008. 

Click here for more information

Here is a quick primer on the attributes of a Tools of the Mind classroom, a Tools of the Mind teachers, and a Tools of the Mind student. 

Tools Classroom

• combines activities specifically designed to promote self-regulation with activities that focus on academic skills, while also giving children the opportunity to practice self-regulation/executive function skills;
• ensures children meet state and national standards by emphasizing research-based activity content;
• promotes mature play—make-believe in preschool to dramatization in kindergarten—which is the most beneficial context for young children to develop self-regulation, cognitive, and social-emotional skills.

Tools Teacher

• systematically scaffolds the development of students’ self-regulation, from being “regulated by others” to engaging in "shared regulation” to becoming "masters of their own behavior";
• teaches early literacy and mathematics, with an emphasis on building underlying cognitive competencies, such as reflective thinking and metacognition.

Tools Student

• gains control of their social, emotional, and cognitive behaviors by learning how to use a variety of mental tools;
• practices self-regulated learning throughout the day by engaging in a variety of specifically designed, developmentally appropriate self-regulation activities;
• learns to regulate their own behaviors, as well as the behaviors of their friends, as they enact increasingly more complex scenarios in their imaginary play in preschool and in learning activities in kindergarten.