LearningMap 2008 Postings

Introducing TAF Academy

There’s a new school in town. It’s called TAF Academy — the TAF stands for Technology Access Foundation — and it’s part of Federal Way Public Schools. TAF offers a grades 6–12 program that features a STEM curriculum (science, technology, education and math) and focuses on keeping students involved in their education.

According to the school’s Web site, the TAF Academy’s goal is “to create students who graduate ready to shape public life in constructive ways, whether in the neighborhood, city, state, country or global community.”

Middle school students wear uniforms and high-schoolers must dress in “business casual” attire. Body piercing and visible tattoos are not permitted. Classes, which hold no more than 25 students, began in September.

Drinking waterHigh scorers

Our state’s students rocked the SAT. At least the College Board says so — though not in those exact words. For the sixth year in a row, Washington state SAT averages rank highest in the nation among states in which more than half of the eligible students took the test. That data is based on students who graduated in 2008. The average scores in the state, including those of private-school students, were 526 in reading, 533 in math and 509 in writing, according to the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

We’ll drink to that

The water at Seattle Public Schools is becoming more drinkable. According to a report released by the district, 93 percent of water sources in the 31 schools tested this past year passed all drinking-water policy requirements. That’s up from 60 percent in 2004. The Seattle School Board adopted the water-quality policy four years ago after parents expressed concern about unhealthy elements — such as lead, cadmium and copper — lurking in school water supplies.

How to nurture readers

We know that good readers make good learners — and that savvy parents find ways to make sure their youngsters catch the reading bug. How can you help preschool kids develop an interest in reading? Visit the library with them, bring books on outings and make reading fun. Here are some more tips for cultivating young readers, put together by the Talaris Institute:

  • Be enthusiastic, playful and animated while reading a story. Let your child finish sentences or fill in the word that comes next.
  • Sound out the letters or the words. Ask your preschooler to help.
  • Help preschoolers see the word that matches the picture.
  • Try not to discipline your child during reading times as he may learn to associate books with negativity.
  • Talk to your child about the story and ask questions.
  • Let your child have a special place for books.
  • Don’t limit your reading to books. Read magazines, recipes or even cereal boxes.
  • When you are in a store, let your child know that letters and words are everywhere by pointing out labels and signs.Little readers
  • Introduce writing and allow them to scribble, draw, paint or write a story in their own way.
  • Help them to learn to print the letters in their name — and don’t expect perfection.
  • If your child is bored with reading, then it’s time to stop. You can start again another time.

What is bullying?

With school back in session, your kids can face challenging social dilemmas. Are other kids picking on your child? Is your child tormenting others? The Committee For Children, a Seattle-based international program that develops curricula for violence prevention, says to watch for these signs of bullying:

  • Bullying includes behaviors such as hitting, teasing, taunting, spreading rumors and gossip, stealing and excluding someone from a group. Bullying actions are carried out on purpose with the intent to harm someone.
  • Bullying happens when individuals or groups hurt, frighten, threaten or exclude another person on purpose. It’s often a repeated activity, with a particular child singled out over and over again.
  • Bullying involves an imbalance of power, where the child who bullies has more power (because of factors such as age, size or higher social status) than the targeted child.
  • There’s not just one profile of a child who is bullied — any child can be singled out for any reason.

  — Linda Morgan

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