Education

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

The Sunroom: A Place For Young Miami Poets

May 3, 2017
Priscila Serrano / WLRN

Elementary students from three Liberty City schools spent the last two months meeting once a week to write poetry, and some of it has ended up in some unusual places. Like gas stations. And buses. 

“Poetry asks kids to come up with innovative ideas. It encourages them to think outside the box instead of asking them to zero in on a definition or answer to a test question,” said Laurel Nakanishi, teacher and coordinator of the program that added poetry to the kids’ curriculum.

In the hills of southern New Hampshire, there's a stately old bell atop the Academy Building at Phillips Exeter.

With each toll, it signals passing periods between classes. The sound of the bell — much like the rest of the sprawling prep school's campus — evokes centuries of tradition. But next year, the school is trying something new.

It's all happening in an inconspicuous wood-framed building: Kirtland House. Right now, Kirtland House is a girls' dorm, but a sign on the first-floor bathroom hints at the future. It reads: "gender-inclusive restroom."

Rowan Moore Gerety / WLRN

On a Wednesday afternoon at Lorah Park Elementary School in Brownsville, a half dozen 4-year-olds are clustered on the carpet trying to keep up with a song on Spanish greetings.

“Y como están?,” their teacher asks once the music stops, slowing things down so they have time to enunciate.

“MUY. BIEN. GRA-CI-AS,” they reply in a chorus. “¿Y USTED?”

In another room, second graders try their hand at a series of dizzying Spanish tongue twisters—“Como poco coco como, poco coco compro.” (Since I don’t eat much coconut, I don’t buy much either.”)

This week and next is a national rite of passage for stressed-out overachievers everywhere. Nearly 3 million high school students at 22,000 high schools will be sitting down to take their Advanced Placement exams.

Created by the nonprofit College Board in the 1950s, AP is to other high school courses what Whole Foods is to other supermarkets: a mark of the aspirational, a promise of higher standards and, occasionally, a more expensive alternative.

Two years ago, when Amanda Gomez could not get financial aid for community college, she decided to enroll part time at El Paso Community College in Texas. This gave her time to work to pay for her courses.

Being a part-time student has its pros — mainly a lighter course load. But Gomez feels like she misses out on some important experiences, like being able to stay back after class to talk to her instructors, or study in libraries on campus.

She says the difference was notable when she took a semester as a full-time student.

A white principal of a predominantly black elementary school who told her staff to put white students in the same classrooms is no longer at the Florida school.

South Florida middle schoolers are folding paper to teach their communities about Florida’s River of Grass.

Origami Everglades is an art project creating life-sized sculptures of the region’s endangered species.

Hear how the project uses a technique called “modular origami” to create the animals.

Origami Everglades is a 2016 Knight Arts Challenge winner. The Knight Foundation is accepting ideas for its 2017 grants through Friday. For details, click here.

For only the third time ever, the government released today a national report card examining the knowledge, understanding and abilities of U.S. eighth-graders in visual arts and music.

And in many ways, the numbers aren't great, with little progress shown in most categories since the last time the assessment was given in 2008. One bright spot: The achievement gap between Hispanic students and their white peers has narrowed. But Hispanics and African-Americans still lag far behind white and Asian eighth-graders.

Courtesy Freddie Young

The iconic images of school integration show determined black students making their way through jeering white crowds, just to take their seats in class. And at the head of those classes, teachers who were part of a workforce every bit as segregated as the student body.

It could become easier for parents and residents to challenge school textbooks under a bill passed by the Florida House.

Proponents like the bill’s sponsor, Naples Republican Bryon Donalds, say the legislation will better equip parents to contest material they feel is unsuitable for their children.

But critics contend that it could lead to censorship.

A specialized institution of higher learning has opened a new, permanent home at Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base.

The Joint Special Operations University, or JSOU, has been educating special forces for 16 years, but it is now housed in an airy, glass and steel-framed building with a sunny courtyard.

WJXT

The state Senate is considering a $200 million program passed by the House that would speed up the process for closing underperforming public schools and funding charter schools in their place.

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