NYSSCA Today
Dec. 30, 2014

Promoting positive parent-teacher communication
By: Brian Stack
From Sept. 11: Ask teachers what they wish they had more time to dedicate to in their job, and better communication with parents will almost always be at the top of their list. The reality is that teachers want parents to be informed. But once the school year gets going, parent communication often takes a back seat. Teachers quickly fall into the habit of calling home only when they have bad news to report, and that makes for an unhealthy relationship between parents and teachers. More

Who is responsible for IEP goals?
By: Pamela Hill
From Oct. 16: As the beginning of autumn appears, public school is well underway for the more than 2 million students identified with learning disabilities in the United States. These students are being instructed by teachers whose responsibility is to assist them in meeting their Individual Education Plan goals. The IEP was first introduced in 1975 as part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The individualized education goals are a pivotal part of this legal document and are crucial to the student's success. Was it the intent of the designers of this document that decisions and educational goals be made for the student or with the student? More

Inclusion Corner: Encouraging our students to have a growth mindset
By: Savanna Flakes
From Sept. 25: Have you ever found yourself wishing that you could create a community of students who are self-motivated and persist with challenging tasks? Do you have a student that gives up after making one mistake? Why do some students give up so quickly? How do we encourage our adolescents who have undergone so many failures with math or reading? Carol Dweck, a leading researcher in the field of motivation, has posed there are two groups of people in the world: people with a "growth mindset" and those persons with a "fixed mindset." More

Changing school culture 1 step at a time
By: Steve Wehrle
From Jan. 9: Often physical education teachers feel there is a great number of difficulties and obstacles that can get in the way of creating a quality physical education program. These obstacles include physical education time being cut for standardized test subjects, overcrowding of classrooms, and sometimes even the general impression that physical education is not valued. This culture is present in many schools across the country, but it doesn't mean that it cannot change — one small step at a time. More

The 'new normal' life of a teacher
By: Brian Stack
From May 22: In the age of accountability, college readiness and the Common Core, the role of PK-20 teachers is changing dramatically in schools and communities across the country. We used to think of teachers as masters of their domain and rulers of their classroom. They took the standards and the curriculum frameworks that their school or district gave them and provided students with instruction and assessment to help their students master the content. Since then, accountability has come knocking on the doorsteps of schools and classrooms everywhere. More

Collecting IEP goal data: Students, teachers working in partnership
By: Pamela Hill
From Nov. 25: At the conclusion of an initial or annual IEP review, after everyone has shared information about the student and developed the best IEP plan for the student's success, everyone breathes a sigh of relief. The "save" button on the computer IEP program is pressed, and voila! The educational goals become active. These active goals become the crux for the student's special education instruction. The data collection for the goals begins almost simultaneously, as the data collection is evidence for how well the student is progressing toward meeting the educational goals. More

Administrations, school districts working to boost graduation rates
By: Archita Datta Majumdar
From May 1: In 2013, the U.S. Department of Education stated that the nation's high school graduation rate had risen by 2.7 percent, with more students graduating on time and fewer dropping out. These results are based on a specific measurement called Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate and show a positive picture of the nation's education scene after almost 30 years. If the positive trends persist, then America should also have more college graduates per capita and should easily meet President Barack Obama's goal to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. More

How bullying may physically alter our developing brains
By: Dorothy L. Tengler
From Nov. 20: It's no mystery that the brain develops before birth and continues throughout adulthood. But we may not have considered that brain development is analogous to building a house: laying the foundation, framing the rooms and installing electrical wiring. Obviously, laying a solid foundation builds a strong brain structure, while a weak foundation creates a faulty structure. At birth, we are born with billions of neurons, the same number as adults. These specialized cells have to be connected or "wired" to form circuits to control different functions from basic to biological ones. More

The online epidemic of cyberbullying
By: Ashley Welter
From July 24: Bullying has been a serious problem in schools and neighborhoods for as long as anyone can remember, and adolescents and teens are at the highest risk for becoming victims of this behavior. In junior high and high school, when kids are between the ages of 13 and 17, they often encounter malicious behavior from other students — either as a victim or an observer. In recent years, a new and even more damaging form of bullying has emerged — cyberbullying. Can you guess where a large portion of cyberbullying takes place? If you said social media, you're absolutely right. More

Is regular exercise the best treatment for ADHD?
By: Denise A. Valenti
From Aug. 21: As summer winds to a close, the long days of playing, running, swimming and biking cease and are replaced by hours of sitting at a desk, eyes ahead. For some children this is problematic, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is common among children of school age. The causes of ADHD are not known, but studies looking into how genetics, environment, social surroundings, nutrition and brain injury contribute to the process. Another line of research is the relationship of physical activity to the symptoms of ADHD. More