Aleppo schools run by activist group move underground to avoid bombs

At the unofficial schools run by Syrian activist group Kesh Malek in opposition-held districts of Aleppo, the children don’t go outside to play during breaks in case a barrel bomb should drop from the sky.

With 110 teachers, most of them new to the profession, the organisation runs seven schools serving around 3000 children in the divided and war-ravaged city.

Syria’s largest city before the civil war, Aleppo is the scene of heavy bombardment as the Syrian army, backed by Russian air strikes, tries to encircle it and wrest control of the rebel-held areas that are home to around 350,000 people.

Marcell Shehwaro, executive director of Kesh Malek, said the group’s schools had closed for a holiday and had not re-opened due to the intensified bombardment in recent days. She said she did not know when they would re-open but had not lost hope.

(via Aleppo schools run by activist group move underground to avoid bombs | A World At School)

4

In which boys at Buchanan High School in California wore dresses to school – and girls wore collared shirts and button-downs – to protest a change in the dress code that would tighten gender-based clothing restrictions. 

To top it all off, no male students got in trouble for wearing dresses, whereas two girls were punished for wearing shirts that read “DRESS CODE SUCKS.” Keep up the good fight, y’all. Gender policing sucks. (via BuzzFeed)

We often hear about school districts that struggle with high poverty, low test scores and budget problems. But one district has faced all of these and achieved remarkable results.

In just over three years, Superintendent Tiffany Anderson, who oversees the Jennings School District in Jennings, a small city just outside St. Louis, has led a dramatic turnaround in one of the worst-performing systems in Missouri.

Anderson has embraced a holistic approach to solving the problems of low-performing students by focusing on poverty above all else, and using the tools of the school district to alleviate the barriers poverty creates.

The Superintendent Who Turned Around A School District

Photo: Bill MacDonald/Courtesy of Tiffany Anderson

i-d.vice.com
Feminism will be an official subject in australian schools

Come November 26th, that curriculum will become available across Victoria. Students will learn about “gender equality’s ties to domestic violence, media representations of gender, statistical breakdowns around the pay gap, and female visibility in sport” over 30 lessons.

Interestingly, the curriculum is aimed at female and male students. Briony O'Keeffe assures she’s “trying to get young men and women to think a bit more critically about the sorts of sexist behaviours they might either engage in or see on a daily basis.”

wyff4.com
Transgender student suspended for using bathroom at SC high school
A transgender student was suspended from Socastee High School after using the bathroom.

At Socastee High School in South Carolina, a trans student was suspended for using the bathroom that corresponds with his gender identity. 

The student, who is remaining anonymous, started transitioning in middle school. He and his family met with school administrators and decided he should use the boys’ bathroom, so throughout high school, he did. 

But recently, a teacher noticed the student walking out of the boys’ room. The next day, he was called into the administrative office and told to either use the women’s room or go to the nurse’s office. Most people at school don’t know the student is trans, so his family believes the teacher who saw him looked up his records, outing him to other teachers and students. 

Two weeks ago, the student left an assembly to use the bathroom and passed teachers along the way. Although a teacher said to use the closest bathroom, the child said it was dirty and went to the next one. The student said the teacher followed and the boy’s bathroom was used. The next day the child was suspended from school for a day.

“They did not give me a copy of the write up,” his mother said. “They did not talk to me.”  

The student is now enrolled in an online school. The mother said her child is missing out on everything else school offers.

“He had to stop drama,” the mother said. “He had to drop out of the play he was doing.”

The child’s mom worries about this happening to other transgender students in Horry County Schools.

“Let the transgender kids be themselves,” she said. “Let them be safe and let them be comfortable. Let them have their education in an environment where they are not harassed or felt to be unsafe.”

This school is refusing to cooperate with Title IX guidelines. They’re violating a student’s right to privacy. They’ve told the student he needs a doctor’s note in order to get the issue resolved. AND they’re taking an innocent child out of class – literally removing him from the opportunity to learn – because he had to pee? In what universe do these educators think this is okay? 

thinkprogress.org
A New School In Georgia Offers LGBT Students A Safe Haven From Bullying
It could be a "lifeline" for students plagued by harassment and bullying.

A new private school in Georgia that wants to provide a safe space for LGBT students, Pride School Atlanta, will open this fall. It will be the first school of its kind in the state and models itself after the Harvey Milk school in New York, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The K-12 school — founded by Christian Zsilavetz, a trans teacher with 25 years of experience in the classroom — will serve both LGBT students and cis straight students who may feel out of place. It’s an especially important resource given its location, according to some LGBT advocates, because LGBT youth living in the South and the Midwest often feel like they won’t be able to find support in their hometowns.

Water dispensers in NYC public schools associated with student weight loss

Making water more available in New York City public schools through self-serve water dispensers in cafeterias resulted in small—but statistically significant—declines in students’ weight, according to new findings.                                

The study, publishing January 19 in the online issue of JAMA Pediatrics, was conducted by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center, New York University’s Institute for Education and Social Policy, and the Center for Policy Research at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.

The research team reports on analysis of more than one million students in 1,227 elementary and middle schools across the city. The paper, which compares students in schools with and without the water dispensers, called “water jets,” is the first to establish a link between the program and weight loss.

“This study demonstrates that doing something as simple as providing free and readily available water to students may have positive impacts on their overall health, particularly weight management,” says study senior investigator Brian Elbel, PhD, MPH, an associate professor in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone and NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. “Our findings suggest that this relatively low-cost intervention is, in fact, working.”

Gun control. Climate change. Donald Trump. Affirmative action.

The first presidential primaries are just weeks away and with all these debates and issues in the headlines, there’s no question that students are going to want to talk about them.

But how should teachers handle these discussions?

Do politics belong in the classroom at all, or should schools be safe havens from partisan battles? Can teachers use controversial issues as learning opportunities, and, if so, to teach what? And then, the really sticky question: Should teachers share with students their own political views and opinions?

Politics In The Classroom: How Much Is Too Much?

Illustration: LA Johnson/NPR

mic.com
Atlanta will soon have a K-12 school for LGBT youth
Nine in 10 LGBT students in Georgia experience discrimination.
By Mic

In Atlanta, a transgender teacher is preparing to open a K-12 school for LGBT students who have been bullied or faced discrimination. 

Christian Zsilavetz will open Pride School Atlanta later this year, modeled after Harvey Milk High School in New York.

Set to open in 2016, Pride School Atlanta will open during a national conversation on how to make education more accessible for LGBT youth. Whether it be accommodating transgender students in bathrooms or in locker rooms or the problems that religious institutions make for LGBT students, 2015 was full of stories of LGBT students and their allies pushing back against discriminatory institutions, students and families. The nationwide problems have some students fleeing their districts in search of a better education experience. […]

“I think right now what a lot of [LGBT] students face is separate-but-equal education in the public schools,” Zsilavetz continued. “Because if you can’t go to the bathroom all day and you can’t use the locker room and you’re bullied in the classroom and the teachers aren’t standing up for you, you don’t have a full seat at the table.”

The topic of LGBT-only schools has come up multiple times, and every time, someone brings up a new point that makes me think about it a little bit differently. So, what do you think?

thinkprogress.org
Segregation Is Alive And Well In The Public School System, And These Students Are Dealing With It
"We’re just not appalled by the condition in which our disenfranchised children live."

HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT — The students of the Academy of Engineering & Green Technologies at Hartford High School are already giving serious thought to the kinds of careers they want to prepare for — not just four or six years down the road, but decades into the future.

Shyesha Washington has had several internship experiences, in offices, churches, and schools. She said she most enjoyed assisting a kindergarten teacher with special needs students.

theguardian.com
Brighton College alters uniform code to accommodate transgender pupils
School will allow boys and girls to choose between wearing a traditional blazer, tie and trousers or skirt and bolero jacket
By Richard Adams

A co-educational independent school is to scrap distinctions between boys and girls uniforms in an effort to accommodate transgender students.

Dysphoric or transgender pupils at Brighton College, a private day and boarding school that takes pupils from reception to sixth form, will be able to choose between wearing a traditional blazer, tie and trousers or skirt and bolero jacket.

The school said at least one pupil had taken up the option, and several families had made inquiries. The school said it was “reacting to a changing society which recognises that some children have gender dysphoria and do not wish to lose their emotional gender identities at school. Public schools are usually seen as bastions of conservatism but Brighton College feels it is time to break ranks.”

Richard Cairns, the headteacher, said the move followed discussions with a small number of families. “The college’s approach is different from most other schools that have tended to give transgender children personal leeway with uniform. Brighton College has instead decided to abolish the notion of boys’ and girl’ schools altogether,” he said.

“It ties in with my strong personal belief that youngsters should be respected for who they are. If some boys and girls are happier identifying with a different gender from that in which they were born, then my job is to make sure that we accommodate that. My only interest as headmaster is their welfare and happiness.”

Sixth-form pupil Amy Arnell said: “When the headmaster announced it, no one was really surprised – there is just no reason not to do it if it makes people feel more comfortable about themselves.”

The school said families with gender dysphoric children would need to write to the head to advise him of the situation.

Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person experiences a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity, according to an NHS website. It is not the same as transvestism or cross-dressing and is not related to sexual orientation. People with the condition may identify as heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual or asexual.

A 2014 survey by Pace, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender mental health charity, found that 48% of young people with gender issues had attempted suicide, while 58% had self-harmed.

Brighton College has a reputation for outstanding academic achievement, with fees ranging from about £21,000 a year for secondary day pupil and £33,000 for boarders.

The school hit the headlines recently after Cairns said women attending single-sex schools were at a huge disadvantage in dealing with men, and that single-sex education was “a deeply unrealistic world”.