High Tech Makeover at Ohio School is Working


REYNOLDSBURG, OH—After a recent high-tech makeover at Reynoldsburg City Schools in this working-class suburb of Columbus, many staples of traditional education are gone.  There are no desks permanently lined up in rows and, in one building, no bells signaling the end of class. College isn’t some far-off place: Students can take classes from a community college on school premises. Most students don’t even have to take gym in high school.At the heart of the overhaul that is aimed at all grades is a personalized learning model combining computer-based and in-person instruction that the district says has held down costs, sustained above-average test scores and put students in greater control of their learning.    http://on.wsj.com/1RYF5at



Turn a Summer Vacation into a Great School Year!


Tuesday, June 30 – Thursday, August 27th


       For most children, summer is a time to leave classes and homework behind.  However, when they return to school in the fall after the long summer break, students can find themselves struggling to catch up.

       Skills and knowledge gained throughout the school year fade during the summer months.  Experienced educators all agree that loss of retention begins within a few days of the end of school unless the new information is reinforced for applied within a reasonable amount of time.  After a month without some form of reinforcement, a significant percentage of what students learned during the year can be lost.

A break from school is great for recharging your children’s batteries, but if they are not using some of the skills and knowledge that were learned in the classroom, they could find themselves lagging behind when the school year starts up again.

       Sylvan’s nine-week summer program begins on Tuesday, June 30th with individualized classes in most academic subjects and test prep. Classes are offered Tuesday and Thursday mornings and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons Additional days/hours are available by special appointment.  Before enrolling in a Sylvan Summer Program, students are given an individualized assessment to determine academic strengths and weaknesses so that a personalized learning profile and program can be developed for each student. 

       For additional information about how Sylvan can give your child a head-start on the next school year, please contact Gwynne or Kathy weekdays between 9 am and 3 pm.or log on to the Center website at www.sylvandarien.com.


Study Tips for Final Exams!



It is that time of year again! What time? Time for students to start preparing for their end-of-year FINAL EXAMS.  Darien High School exams begin Tuesday June 9th and will continue with two exams each weekday with an additional make-up day on Monday, June 15th.  We have helpful organizational and study tips to promote more efficient and effective use of a student’s study time. By following the suggested steps below, students can not only reduce the stress of studying for their finals, but also be better prepared to tackle their exams with confidence and adequate preparation. The following steps explain how students can avoid that “last-minute cram” by being better organized and having a practical and effective study plan.

  1. The most important thing to do is to ASK your teachers  in the next few weeks what will be covered on the exam. Will the exam cover both semesters, or just quarters 3 and 4? Find all the NOTES you took in and outside of class. If you outlined each chapter and filled in with class notes (Cornell/SQ3R format is the best) you are already organized. IMPORTANT: Make sure you find out if the test is CUMULATIVE (the entire term) or just partial (only the most recent quarter).
  2. Gather all the OTHER MATERIALS you have that relate to the topic you are going to be tested on:

  Arrange these materials, together with your notes and outlines BY DATE.

  1. Now that you have some idea where to start, begin REVIEWING AT LEAST 10-14 DAYS BEFORE YOUR EXAMS. Go back to the first chapter to be tested and look over the vocabulary and the review questions at the end of each unit. Make FLASH CARDS for vocabulary you have forgotten, and make outlines for the questions you were not able to answer without looking back.
  2. REPEAT the previous step for all material being tested in each class. We know it sounds like a terrific amount  of work, but that is why you are starting EARLY to avoid last-minute cramming  Use a calendar and create a daily ACTION PLAN to plot out all your individual study times over a seven-ten day study period. 
  3. FORM A STUDY GROUP. Technical subjects that require a large amount of memorization and tedious outlining are often best studied in a small group in which each student responsible for providing the group with specific outlines and review questions.  Group members can then quiz each other and provide support during a stressful time.
  4.  Be sure to ask your teachers about the FORMAT of the test. Will it be primarily essay (long or short), multiple  choice or a combination?
  5. Ask your TEACHERS for extra help. Go early to school or use your study hall or lunch periods to seek out help with reviewing your subjects. Take advantage of every REVIEW CLASS that is offered.
  6. SYLVAN can also provide extra help when preparing for your exams. Our English, math, history, science and Spanish teachers are here to provide support and to answer your study questions or concerns.

 By following the above steps, we are confident that students will be better prepared their exams his year. Be sure to give us a call if you want to schedule additional exam prep classes for your child. Good luck!!





Students are opting out of Common Core testing in large numbers


Two recent articles on students dropping out of common core testing. Are the standards too high?  Are teachers forced to teach to the tests and not developing skills at the approriate age and level for kids?


The term “soccer mom”—political shorthand for the upscale suburban women President Clinton courted so successfully in the 1990s—may have fallen out of use with the Beltway set in more recent years, but this swing voting bloc is still around. Just ask Arne Duncan.

As President Obama’s education secretary and the administration’s head cheerleader for the new Common Core academic standards, Mr. Duncan has spent four years trying to convince the country that the biggest problem with K-12 schooling is insufficient federal intervention. His problem is that the more parents learn about this federal effort to impose uniform math and reading standards across state lines, the less they like the idea. And women, who are more likely than men to rank education as “very important” in political surveys, seem to harbor a special disdain for Common Core.

A national poll released by Fairleigh Dickinson University earlier this year put approval for the new standards at 17%, against 40% who disapproved and another 42% who were undecided. A breakdown by gender had Common Core support at 22% for men and only 12% for women.


Common Core jeopardizes foundation of learning (By Wendy Lecker)

Fellow Connecticut educate advocate Wendy Lecker has been one of the most powerful and important voices on behalf of public education and against the corporate education reform industry’s unending assault of public school teachers, public schools and the rights of students and parents.  While many policymakers, education administrators and even the organizations responsible for protecting and promoting public education have turned a blind eye or engaged in the politics of appeasement, Wendy Lecker has continued to speak the truth and promote the notion that a just society strengthens not undermines its commitment to a comprehensive public education system.





Toward Better Teachers


Frank Bruni writes in the NYT  about  Joel Klein’s forthcoming book (former chancellor of New York City’s public schools). Klein zeros in on what he calls “the biggest factor in the education equation.”

It’s not classroom size, school choice or the Common Core.   It’s “teacher quality,” he writes, adding that “a great teacher can rescue a child from a life of struggle.”     http://nyti.ms/1vqwW17


Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time?


Timely article on limiting screen time for toddlers   http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/12/us/is-e-reading-to-your-toddler-story-time-or-simply-screen-time.html?_r=0


Heavier Babies Do Better in School


Interesting article and chart in the New York Times  http://nyti.ms/1qlxqDO  10 pounds at birth is near the peak of the chart.

“Birth weight matters, and it matters for everyone,” says David N. Figlio, a Northwestern University professor and co-author of the study, which will be published in the American Economic Review.