- Over the past decade, a program called Young Scholars has tried to address the wide disparity in the number of low-income and minority students in gifted and talented programs in Fairfax County schools by identifying promising students at a very young age (WaPo, 4/10):
Experts have put forth a variety of theories to explain why bright students in some groups fail to excel: They may enter kindergarten less ready; lack access to enriching resources or activities; face pressure from peer groups that stigmatize high achievement; or contend with instability at home. A lack of basic skills may mask their potential, and teacher bias may creep in.
As Carol Horn, Fairfax County Public Schools’ K-12 program coordinator, made the rounds at schools with high low-income and minority populations in 2000, she learned that bright students were often perilously behind by third grade, when most decisions about gifted services were made.
“The principals said, ‘You really need to start looking in kindergarten and have something for those students,’ ” Horn says. After a pilot program that included a three-week summer camp, Young Scholars was up and running. Today it has expanded to 82 Fairfax schools, serving 5,266 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, with roughly half coming from low-income families and half identified because they speak English as a second language.
- As DCPS implements the Common Core Standards, teachers say students are learning to read better. (WAMU, 4/14)
- Community college-university pipeline eases higher-ed route (WaPo, 4/10)
- The Post has announced 20 winners of the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award at schools throughout the region. (WaPo, 4/10)
- The region’s population growth has finally started cooling off. Economists point to federal budget cuts for the slowing growth. D.C. proper, on the other hand, is still attracting swarms of new residents. (WaPo, 4/11)
- Speaking of budget cuts: the national parks in the area, which are huge sources of revenue for jurisdictions across the region, are feeling the pinch as Congress has cut spending on them over the past few years. (WAMU, 4/14)
FOOD | Lindsay Smith, consultant for the Washington Regional Food Funders, reflects on Michael Twitty’s message about why the cultural heritage of food is as important to consider as environmental sustainability and other related issues at the kickoff of WRAG’s Brightest Minds series. (Daily, 4/14)
HOMELESSNESS | Since Mayor Gray launched the 500 Families, 100 Days initiative two weeks ago, 26 families have moved out of the homeless shelter at D.C. General. (DCist, 4/11)
HOUSING | Md. gubernatorial hopeful Brown calls for major increase in affordable housing program (WaPo, 4/14)
WORKFORCE | At Potomac Job Corps Center, working to bridge the skills gap (WaPo, 4/13)
ENVIRONMENT | DC-area transportation is not on track to meet climate change goals (GGW, 4/11)
NONPROFITS | Catching up with Patty Stonesifer (WaPo, 4/13)
Who would have thought that this super famous and super boring Microsoft desktop image would actually be kind of interesting?