TripAdvisor, a well-known travel website, recently named Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo the world’s best in its Travelers’ Choice awards for Zoos and Aquariums. The Zoo provides a number of educational programs for youth including camps, classes, interactive activities and clubs, as well as a variety of educational initiatives.
As discussed in last month’s BSB newsletter, BSB is partnering with NET Learning Services, Nebraska Children and Families Foundation and Nebraska Loves Public Schools, to produce The State of Education in Nebraska—the two-year series of programs exploring issues related to educating Nebraska youth.
July’s program will feature a conversation regarding the future of education with top educational leaders in Nebraska and Dr. Paul Reville, a professor of Education at Harvard University. On Monday, July 14, these leaders will participate in a panel discussion: Nebraska State Senator Kate Sullivan, Chairperson of the Education Committee; Dr. Matt Blomstedt, Nebraska Commissioner of Education; Rachel Wise, President of the Nebraska State School Board and Dr. Paul Reville, professor of Education at Harvard University and former Secretary of Education for the state of Massachusetts.
The State of Education in Nebraska offer a series of broadcast, online, and community engagement activities. The series informs viewers about emerging practices being adopted to address the achievement gap, especially focusing on topics and solutions that involve citizens across the state. The ultimate goal is to improve achievement and adopt a unique approach to greater educational equality. Please visit the NET website to get more information about the series and view previous program: http://netnebraska.org/basic-page/learning-services/state-education-nebraska
During the final days of the 2014 session of the Nebraska Legislature, the Education Committee authorized Legislative Resolution 546. This bill lays out parameters for an interim study that will provide Senators with a detailed report on Expanded Learning Opportunity (ELO) programs in Nebraska.
The study will examine important issues related to Nebraska’s ELOs including program quality, access, funding, staffing and sustainability. Sponsored by Senator Rick Kolowski, LR 546 promises to give ELO program advocates and supporters multiple opportunities to lend their voices to discussions about how we can grow and sustain these important school-community partnerships in communities across our state.
On May 18th Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET) will air the next segment in their two year series State of Education in Nebraska: Fit to Learn. Fit to Learn focuses on a growing body of research showing that youth who regularly exercise do better in school. Fit to Learn follows last month’s segment, The Whole Child, which showed examples of Nebraska schools instituting comprehensive health and wellness programs. Fit to Learn shifts the focus to the out of school time and features local experts showing what communities across our state are doing to create partnerships to provide youth with more opportunities to adopt healthy lifestyles and exercise and how these collaborations can help reach our collective goal of eliminating the achievement gap. Go to the State of Education website to learn more about this program and to view the other programs that make up this ground breaking series exploring how communities can support Nebraska youth. http://netnebraska.org/basic-page/learning-services/state-education-nebraska
While most Nebraska youth (and many teachers) are eagerly counting down the days until the onset of summer, for far too many youth the summer months have been a period where learning stagnates – and, sadly for many low income youth, frequently takes a step back. The National Summer Learning Association wants to stop this troubling “summer slide” in learning and is coordinating Summer Learning Day on June 20th to spread awareness about the importance of summer learning in helping close the achievement gap and support healthy development in youth in communities across the country.
It is not too late to organize a summer learning day in your community. The National Summer Learning Association has a website full of resources you can use to organize and register your community’s activities. The website also includes tips for organizing Summer learning activities in your community.
Nebraska 4-H Extension recently launched http://www.click2sciencepd.org/ a unique on-line professional development tool designed to support afterschool and summer professionals develop specific skills needed to lead high quality informal Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) experiences for youth. This major national initiative builds on a growing body of research about the skills it takes to lead high-quality in informal STEM experiences (hint – it doesn’t require a degree in physics) and uses video and sequential instruction to illustrate those concepts in action. This is a long awaited tool that promises to meet a national need for on-line professional development to support ELO professionals.
Nebraska 4-H Extension received a multi-year national grant from Noyce Foundation, a California-based foundation that is also funding Beyond School Bells efforts to advocate for more STEM in Nebraska’s afterschool programs, to develop Click2SciencePD. While this tool is still in development (they have posted 7 of the 20 skills that they eventually envision making up the entire site) we are excited about working with Extension to expand Click2SciencePD’s reach in Nebraska so more providers have the confidence they need to support high quality STEM experiences in all our ELO programs.