Postings for August 2012

Women wean early
A survey published in the journal Pediatrics shows that two-thirds of mothers nursing newborns are unable to manage breastfeeding for as long as they had intended. Researchers found that although 85 percent of mothers planned to breast-feed for at least three months, fewer than one-third managed to meet their own goal. Those who already had a baby and were married seem to have better chances. Breast-feeding within an hour of birth was also seen as an important factor in developing the mother-baby breast-feeding regime.

ADHD: What to look for
Most of us have heard of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and know it’s often diagnosed in kids, affecting about 3 to 5 percent of children worldwide. But what are the symptoms? Here’s a rundown of ADHD, from WebMD:

  • Difficulty paying attention to details and tendency to make careless mistakes in school or other activities
  • Easily distracted by irrelevant stimuli and frequently interrupting ongoing tasks to attend to trivial noises or events that are usually ignored by others
  • Inability to sustain attention on tasks or activities
  • Difficulty finishing schoolwork or paperwork or performing tasks that require concentration
  • Frequent shifts from one uncompleted activity to another
  • Procrastination
  • Disorganized work habits
  • Forgetfulness in daily activities (for example, missing appointments, forgetting to bring lunch)
  • Failure to complete tasks, such as homework or chores
  • Frequent shifts in conversation, not listening to others and not following details or rules in social situations

Teen drinkers lonely
Teen drinkers often feel like social outcasts, according to a study in June’s Journal of Health and Social Behavior. Researchers found a correlation between drinking and feelings of loneliness and not fitting in at school. The feelings were especially significant among drinkers in schools where other students tended to avoid alcohol and were tightly connected to each other.

The researchers, who adjusted for factors such as ethnicity, race, gender and socioeconomic circumstances, tracked the respondents’ grade point averages and found a direct link between feelings of isolation and declining grades. “In general, adolescents who feel as though they don’t fit in at school often struggle academically, even when capable and even when peers value academic success, because they become more focused on their social circumstances than their social and academic activities,” says researcher Robert Crosnoe, a professor of sociology at the University of Texas.

Big boost for ‘Thrive’
Thrive by Five Washington recently announced that $1.4 million in public-private funds have been awarded to 10 home visiting programs throughout the state. This means  the families of more than 300 infants in some of the state’s most at-risk communities will get support to give their children a better start in life. The home visiting programs that serve these families will share the funds over the next year. Home visiting, a voluntary service that brings trained professionals to at-risk families, increases the chance that children will be born healthier, less likely to suffer from abuse or neglect and will be better prepared for school.

No child left leaves
The Department of Education recently released Washington state from some of them most critical conditions of the No Child Left Behind law, which requires all students to achieve proficient math and reading scores by 2014, a goal that many educators claim is impossible and puts too much emphasis on testing. According to the New York Times, 26 states are now relieved from meeting this controversial goal. Additional waivers are pending in 10 states and the District of Columbia.
In order to get a waiver, each state had to promise to show other ways its students and schools are improving, and were required to more closely link teacher evaluations to student test scores. The waiver will also give Washington school districts more flexibility about how they spend some federal dollars.
Washington state school districts will need to show improvement in test scores for students who have historically had lower scores than average, such as those who qualify for free- or reduced-price meals.
    —Linda Morgan

Be part of the ‘Next 50’
The Committee for Children is sponsoring “Education in the Next 50,” a special event that will be held at 7 p.m. August 16 at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall in Seattle. Speakers will discuss topics such as: What is the future we hope to realize for our children 50 years from now? What are the skills today’s children need in order to become the architects of a better world tomorrow? How will we make innovations in education meaningful and accessible to all children in the Next 50?

The presenters will include Jane McGonigal, Ph.D., author of Reality is Broken and named by The New York Times as one of 10 scientists with the best vision for what’s coming next; Milton Chen, Ph.D., director emeritus of Edutopia/The George Lucas Educational Foundation; Betty Hyde, Ph.D., director of the Washington State Department of Early Learning; Roger Weissberg, Ph.D., CEO of Collaborative for Academic, Social & Emotional Learning (CASEL). The moderator is Kristen French, Ph.D., director of Western Washington University Center for Education Equity and Diversity. Tickets are available at

Giving Together
The Experimental Education Unit at the University of Washington

The Experimental Education Unit (EEU) at the University of Washington is noted for its programs that include typically developing children and children with various developmental delays or disabilities. The EEU offers an infant and toddler program, for newborns through kids 3 years of age, and the EEU Preschool, a half-day blended program for children ages 3–5.

The EEU strives to provide a positive educational experience for children with diverse abilities in a setting that enhances the strengths and supports the needs of all the children in the program. All EEU programs promote the development of children’s cognitive, motor, communication and social interaction skills with educational and therapeutic interventions.

We’re pleased to feature the Experimental Education Unit as our August Giving Together partner. And you can help as well: For every ParentMap Honey purchase made, 5 percent of the profits will be donated directly to support the EEU’s mission of helping children with diverse abilities.

School Scoop: superstar teacher
We love it when awesome teachers are recognized. And Kindra Clayton, second-grade teacher at Lake Hills Elementary in Bellevue, was recently honored as a 2012 Emerging Leader. The ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) chose Clayton for the award, which includes connecting her with an ASDC mentor, who will offer support and help guide her development. The ASCD Emerging Leaders program recognizes and prepares young, promising educators to influence education programs and policy on the local and national levels.

Team green
Three Washington state public schools and one private school won the U.S. Department of Education’s new Green Ribbon Schools Award, according to the Washington state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). The schools include Camelot Elementary School (Federal Way School District), Tahoma Junior High School (Tahoma), Secondary Academy for Success (Northshore) and The Overlake School (a private school in Redmond). The award recognizes public and private schools that excel in the areas of environmental impact and energy efficiency, healthy school environments, and environmental and sustainability education.

New superintendent for Seattle Public Schools
Seattle Public Schools has a new superintendent, who officially began his duties last month. José Banda, who was superintendent of Anaheim City School District, brings more than 30 years of experience in the field of education. He spent 13 years as a secondary administrator, including eight years as a high school principal before becoming superintendent of the Planada School District.

UW ups tuition
Next year’s University of Washington budget will include a 16 percent increase in undergraduate tuition. In-state undergrads will pay $12,401 for the year. The UW will allocate 30 percent of the increase for financial aid.

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