The IDRA Newsletter is published 10 times a year. Each edition focuses on issues in education, striving to provide many different perspectives on the topics covered and to define its significance in the state and national dialogue. The IDRA Newsletter can only be mailed to U.S.addresses, but pdf and web copies are available online.

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August 2012 Issue ~ Articles 


August 2012

Focus ~ Student Engagement

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Newsletter Executive Editor
María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel, Ph.D.

ISSN 1069-5672

Visual Interpretation in Science – Strategies for English Language Learners
Visual development in science requires students to interpret all types of information from images, charts, graphs, pictures and scenes. Teachers can help students identify how that process takes place. Paula Johnson, M.A., and Veronica Betancourt, M.A., share ways teachers can provide intentional opportunities for students to engage in visual interpretation with increased processing time for ELs, deliberate modeling and use of science genres to practice scientific communication skills, and whole class dialogue so students can evaluate their own justifications as they listen and compare their ideas with others. One of the most powerful resources they describe is the Interactive Student Notebook (ISN), a tool for tackling the large amount of content students must process to demonstrate proficiency over the duration of a course.

Immigrant Students’ Rights to Attend Public Schools –
School Opening Alert
Many educators are not aware that the education of undocumented students is guaranteed by the Plyler vs. Doe decision or that certain procedures must be followed when registering immigrant children in school to avoid violating restrictions on obtaining personal information without obtaining prior parental consent. See IDRA’s School Opening Alert for details. You can also download the alert as a bilingual flier (English-Spanish) to share with others.

Serving Low-Income Students – Applying Research and IDRA’s Quality Schools Action Framework™
Kristin E. Grayson, M.Ed., showcases how the current scholarly research regarding education of low-income students aligns with IDRA’s Quality Schools Action Framework™. The framework takes into account the many facets required at the system level for student success. Grayson emphasizes that it is never acceptable to expect students from low-income backgrounds to be low-achievers. By reviewing the IDRA Quality Schools Action Framework, one can see that individuals (teachers, assistants, counselors, parents, etc.) and organizations (school districts, community organizations, civic groups, etc.) can each make a difference in the lives of all students.

Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program High School Winning Essay
Lanala Hayes, a ninth grader at Phillis Wheatley High School in
Houston received first prize in the high school category for her essay. In it, she describes how the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program helped her do better in school and how she had helped her tutees to do better: “I was a kid with no thought of what I would be doing after high school, a kid who didn’t care about my grades… But soon enough the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program helped to change me. I was starting to think of what would happen if I didn’t get my high school diploma or if I didn’t get enough credits. What type of job or college would I get into? If I didn’t go to a good college would it affect the type of job I could apply for? Would I have to work at a fast food place all my life?… I started trying harder in school, striving for A’s and B’s, and my teachers took notice.

August 2012 Issue ~ Newsletter Plus 

Classnotes podcasts on teaching science to ELLs:

Data and Vocabulary in Math and Science – Episode 103

Science for English Learners #1 – Episode 104

Science Success for English Learners – Episode 93

Pitfalls and Promises of Interactive Science Notebooks – Episode 79

Teaching Opportunities through Discovery on Science – Episode 34

Science is a Key to Life – Episode 22

Science in Early Childhood Bilingual Classrooms – Episode 20

Read all of the winning student essays
IDRA’s Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program is a research-based, internationally-recognized dropout prevention program that has kept 98 percent of its tutors in school. Learn more about the program and how to bring this program to your school.

Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program Tutor Goes on YouTube to Share His Experience as a Tutor
Kwame’ Weatherall, of the Houston Independent School District, is featured in a YouTube video talking about how the Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program made a difference in his life. He received first place in IDRA’s high school tutor essay contest last year. In his essay, Kwame’ wrote: “Ever since I joined this program, my attitude has changed toward helping people who are in need or struggling… When I see a smile from my tutees, it gives me the sign that I am a great person as a role model and as a growing man.”

Letter from the U.S. Dept. of Justice and the U.S. Dept. of Education regarding education of immigrant student
The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education published in May 2011 a letter advising school officials that activities that deny or discourage students to attend school are unlawful. The letter begins, “Under federal law, state and local educational agencies are required to provide all children with equal access to public education at the elementary and secondary level.” Along with the letter, there is a factsheet and a Q&A handout.

Classnotes Podcast: Immigrant Children’s Rights to Attend Public Schools – Episode 94
IDRA’s director of policy, Albert Cortez , Ph.D., whose work has influenced landmark education litigation, clarifies that the education of undocumented students is guaranteed by the Plyler vs. Doe decision. He also reviews the certain procedures that must be followed when registering immigrant children in school to avoid violation of their civil rights.  

Repository of Resources for Undocumented Students,
by the College Board

IDRA Science Smart!™ Professional Development Program
Customized to strengthen your existing science curriculum and pedagogy, Science Smart! helps teachers engage diverse learners through an authentic inquiry-based curriculum that is aligned with state standards. Science Smart! deepens students’ conceptual understanding of science, keeping the “why” in scientific discovery.

Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework
At a time when public education makes a world of difference to our students, communities and economic success, many are looking for strategies that will work for them and that will last. Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework shows how communities and schools can work together to strengthen their capacity to be successful with all of their students.