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JANUARY 04, 2016


from the publisher of The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine



Cover photo courtesy of Reading Rainbow PUBLISHER PRESIDENT AND CEO














Editorial Policy The Hispanic OutlooK-12 Magazine Inc.® is a national magazine. Dedicated to exploring issues related to Hispanics in K-12, The Hispanic OutlooK-12 Magazine Inc.® is published for the members of the K-12 education community. Editorial decisions are based on the editors’ judgment of the quality of the writing, the timeliness of the article, and the potential interest to the readers of The Hispanic OutlooK-12 Magazine Inc.®. From time to time, The Hispanic OutlooK-12 Magazine Inc® will publish articles dealing with controversial issues. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and/or those interviewed and might not reflect the official policy of the magazine. The Hispanic OutlooK-12 Magazine® neither agrees nor disagrees with those ideas expressed, and no endorsement of those views should be inferred unless specifically identified as officially endorsed by The Hispanic OutlooK-12 Magazine®. Letters to the Editor The Hispanic OutlooK-12 Inc. ® E-MAIL:

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Levar Burton’s first children’s book helps kids cope with tragic events



Veteran educator offers advice to teachers and parents


12 16 20

Student Organizes Food Pantry for Peers in Need


This month OutlooK-12 features book titles from the award-winning children’s television series “Reading Rainbow”

THE NATIONAL REPORT CARD’S FINDINGS Declines in key subjects for fourth and eighth graders



The latest education-related stories from across America



“READING RAINBOW” Photo courtesy of Reading Rainbow



t all began with a butterfly. When the award-winning children’s television program “Reading Rainbow” first premiered in 1983, the first “character” that children saw was an animated butterfly. Trailing a rainbow behind it, the magical insect transformed kids and their surroundings into such things as a king with a castle and astronauts flying through outer space, symbolically showing the impact of books on the imagination and development of young minds. Today, roughly three decades since it concluded its 155 episode run, “Reading Rainbow” has been updated for a new generation of 4 · January 04, 2016

Story compiled by Meredith Cooper children who will be trading in a butterfly for a digital hot air balloon. Created for children ages two – nine, the new Skybrary® is a webbased digital library of hand curated children’s books and story-driving educational video field trips. Available both online and through digital devices, young readers and pre-readers pilot their own personal hot air balloons among Skybrary’s seven uniquely themed islands: animals, music, adventure, science, heroes, friends and family. These engaging worlds feature over 500 books from esteemed authors and acclaimed publishers and are made available to children as “read by

myself ” or “read to me” and contain interactive elements that enhance enjoyment while preserving the reading experience. Returning to this latest version of “Reading Rainbow” is the show’s original host and Executive Producer LeVar Burton who hosts over 150 newly produced and classic video field trips to places like the White House, the Los Angeles Ballet, the Grand Canyon and Cirque du Soleil. “Our brand of storytelling, our way of reaching out to kids, our way of showing them that the world is of infinite experience and that you can literally go anywhere in the world in your imagination,

Photo courtesy of Reading Rainbow

go anywhere be anything, that’s a valuable message,” Burton said in an online video. Making the transition from television to digital media, however, created a challenge that took the 12-time Emmy award-winning actor out of his comfort zone. “We had done television. The brand had been incredibly successful on TV. And yet there was this new world developing of digital entertainment, and we knew that there was an opportunity to do something different,” Burton said. Taking advantage of this opportunity, nonetheless, would not be an inexpensive investment, so Burton turned to the popular crowd-funding website, Kickstarter, to try to raise the funds for Skybrary. “I had huge fear about the crowd funding move,” Burton recalled. “I was just not sure it was the right thing to do, however, at the time, it seemed like the only thing to do.” Despite his reservations, the “Reading Rainbow” Kickstarter campaign was a huge success with donations hitting the $1 million mark within the first 11 hours. Live video taken of Burton at the time shows him becoming choked up by the support. “I don’t know what to say. We’ve just crossed the million dollar threshold. It is our first day,” he said before his voice began to crack with emotion. “I am overwhelmed.” According to the rules of Kickstarter, campaigns must set K

One of the things that Burton said he was most proud of about the Skybrary app is that kids coming to the app are reading on average 194 thousand books a week. In addition, he has said that he is incredibly excited that Skybrary is also available on the web since anyone with an Internet connection can access the service’s library of books, regardless if they own a tablet computer. For Burton, using modern technology to allow more children to have greater exposure to books goes beyond its educational impact and touches on something both historical and personal. “I come from a people for whom reading was punishable by whipping or death just three generations ago,” he said. “And I am able to travel every week with any

book I choose at my disposal. And I live in a world where that’s possible. That’s a miracle as far as I’m concerned.” Burton went on to explain that he considers his work with Reading Rainbow and reading in general a luxury, which is something he would like to see change. “I guess why this work is so important to me is because I don’t want it to need to be a luxury,” he said. “I believe that if you can read in at least one language, then you are my definition of free. I want to make sure that there is a choice out there for children and for their parents that is good for kids. And that’s why I do what I do.” • For further information about Skybrary, including Skybrary options for classrooms, visit

Photo courtesy of Reading Rainbow

a minimum monetary goal. With contributions from a loyal fan base (including “Family Guy” creator Seth McFarlane who pledged to match dollar for dollar every donation made up to $1 million) “Reading Rainbow” not only met their Kickstarter goal but actually exceeded it by over 600 percent. This positive showing of support has opened the door to expanding the Skybrary concept to classrooms as well as internationally. “We are actually looking at contemplating moving to Latin America. We’ve got our eye on China. We’re really serious about ‘Every child, everywhere,’” Burton said, referencing “Reading Rainbow’s” mission of “bringing a passion for reading to Every Child, Everywhere.”

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Photo courtesy of Reading Rainbow

Photo courtesy of Reading Rainbow


Photo courtesy of Reading Rainbow


s the host of “Reading Rainbow,” Levar Burton is no stranger to children’s literature. During the show’s 26-year run, he introduced kids to a variety of age-appropriate book titles and continues to do so today with “Reading Rainbow’s” new digital Skybrary. Now, however, when a child picks up a book to read, they may see Burton’s name on the cover. For the first time, the award-winning actor has co-written his own children’s book. Titled “The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm,” the book stars talking animals and has a timeless quality, yet Burton’s inspiration for it came from the modern world. “Our children live in a world much more complex and dangerous than the one in which we ourselves grew up—a world of school shootings, bombings and natural disasters of every variety; and it’s impossible for children to escape repeated exposure

8 · January 04, 2016

Photo courtesy of Reading Rainbow

to these tragedies from an incessant 24-hour news cycle,” Burton writes in the book’s intro. “Our challenge as parents is to help put these tragic events into context for our children. That’s the inspiration behind ‘The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm.’” Following the story within a story format, the reader is first introduced to a little girl mouse named Mica (named after Burton’s daughter) who is afraid of a storm outside because a year earlier, her home was destroyed by a hurricane. Her father comforts her by reading her a book about a rhino whose home is also destroyed by a storm. The rhino manages to swallow the entire storm in what would normally be the heroic climax of the story. Instead, however, Burton takes the reader in a different direction with the rhino going on a journey to find a way to deal with the storm inside of him, which becomes a metaphor for emotional trauma and healing.

Right after swallowing the storm, for example, the rhino is spun like a tornado and winds up in a deep hole where he becomes trapped. This scene is figuratively and literally being stuck in a dark place, and it is only because other animals come to his aid that the rhino is able to get out of his selfmade dark hole. Later, the rhino’s journey takes him to a wallowing spot where he deals with both the physical pain of holding a storm inside of himself and the negative emotional impact of the storm coming into his life. “Stories make difficult issues more approachable for youngsters and give parents and their children a safe haven to discuss feelings and emotions that may be hard to express,” Burton writes. “For my first children’s book, I wanted to offer up a way for children to learn how to live in a world where bad things seems to happen to good people.” In addition to the struggles of the main character, the story also

shows how others recognize and understand the rhino’s struggle and help him as he deals with the storm. The animals who save him during the dark hole scene are symbolic of rescue workers and are referred to as heroic. The wallowing spot scene introduces both the reader and the rhino to the character of the tortoise whose advice is instrumental in helping the rhino take the next important step in his journey. In fact, every scene involving the rhino (and Mica for that matter) reinforces the main message of the book as stated by Papa Mouse: “You’re never really alone when bad things happen. There are family and friends and even people we don’t know who are always there to help us through the tough times.” • “The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm” is recommended for children ages five – seven. For more information visit K


Summer Program for Jr. & Sr. High School Students Spanish Conversation and more in Madrid, Spain

Hispanic OutlooK-12 will conduct its fiftieth SUMMER PROGRAM in Madrid, Spain. Based at the International House, it provides an ideal location for travel and study due to Madrid’s close proximity to major centers of Spanish culture, and its easy access to the rest of the country. The program consists of two weeks of Spanish conversation beginning June 26, 2016. You will attend classes in the morning, take part in city visits in the in the afternoon and the early evening as well as Saturday tours, Sunday cultural

Image licensed by Ingram Image

activities and evening “tertulias.”

T H E H I S P A N I C O U T LO O K -12 MA GA ZI NE w w w . k 12his pani c out l ook . c om / s pain- pr ogr am s um m erinm adri d@ his pani c out look . c om (201) 587- 8800


Q: We are a group of our teachers

Q: The administration in my elemen-

A: I very much advocate that all home-

A: My whole philosophy is based

‘Illustration licensed by Ingram Image

that use your classroom management methods. Although we are meeting with considerable success, our principal does not want homework graded. He claims homework is practice and should never receive a letter grade. Can you advise us?

work should be traditionally graded. My experience is that graded homework is taken more seriously. Since homework reinforces what students learn in class, the better a student pays attention in class, the better chance they will have to successfully complete their homework assignments. With this in mind, a student’s classwork and homework will both improve if a student knows that they will receive a letter grade for their homework. In fact, the letter grade can help form a clear connection in the student’s mind between their classwork and their homework and on how one directly impacts the other. Usually almost all students comprehend the importance of classwork and homework and tend to flourish in this environment. However, if a child is struggling with this method, by all means abandon this practice and find a suitable replacement method. In general, tests should have a much greater weight than a homework assignment. However, my more than 40 years of experience has been that eventually all students benefit from these practices.

tary school are not big fans of your methods. In particular, they feel that a student’s behavior should not impact report grades. A number of us use your prescribed practices but are meeting with administrators’ hostility. What should we do? on trying to reward students for their efforts and behavior. Never in my thoughts should students’ grades be lowered for poor decorum. In my eyes almost all children regardless of age enjoy receiving some benefits for doing the right thing. With regards to the report card grades, if done correctly, a student’s grade may only be elevated a small amount. Hypothetically, if a report grade is between B and C, I might consider elevating it to the higher grade of B based on effort and behavior. For the most part relatively few grades actually receive this treatment, but students’ work habits and behavior improve dramatically.

Q: I’m a kindergarten teacher, and

I have a student that I am very certain has autism. I am the parent of an autistic child, so I know the signs very well. But when I approached this student’s parents, they became furious and lashed out at me, saying that their son doesn't deserve to be "wrongly labeled" because I'm a "lousy teacher." They've also threatened to involve my principal and the school board and even sue me personally if I don't drop this. The whole situation is getting out of control, and in the meantime, my student is not receiving the help that I believe he needs. What should I do now?

A: Kindergarten teachers are the first

line of defense. It is their job to begin to identify learning and social issues that a child may be having. Often parents or guardians are unwilling to accept the possibility of potential problems with their child. If your school has a child study team, bring this concern to their attention. Give your principal a heads-up, if you haven’t already. In my opinion you have done your job, however, if you want to, you can also find information on the Internet about autism. A couple of good websites to start with are and Politely offer the parents of this child a copy of this information and let the chips fall where they may. Good luck, and you are living proof why I consider the kindergarten teaching position one of the toughest in all of education.

If you would like to write to Gary for advice, please email K


FOR PEERS IN NEED Story by Samm Quinn

12 ¡ January 04, 2016

ety and helps oversee a committee charged with giving time each month to restocking if it's needed, organizing the food and making sure it's ready for when students visit Friday during homeroom. Guidance counselor Jenn Lightcap said the Hancock County Food Pantry approached the

Photo by Jenn Lightcap

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Senior Lexi McMahan's teachers say she's an exceptional teenager, more compassionate than many of her peers and keenly aware of the world around her. It didn't surprise them when the senior at Eastern Hancock High School stepped up to coordinate the school's food pantry, which provides students at risk of being hungry with food to eat during the weekend when school-provided meals aren't available. What started as a project for the school's service learning class last year has turned into a way for McMahan to help her peers and to make a difference in her small community. Each week, 45 to 50 local high school and middle school students have the opportunity to visit the makeshift food pantry set up in a resource room at the school. Organizers hope by providing the service to students, they won't need to worry about the next time those in need will eat when the dismissal bell rings Friday afternoon. McMahan spends many hours a week coordinating the pantry to ensure it's filled with snacks her peers will enjoy. She's a member of the school's National Honor Soci-

school about setting up a pantry for students, and efforts began last year. The local food pantry provides the nonperishable goods, and students are responsible for picking up the food when the school's pantry needs to be restocked and for organizing the take-home items each week.

Photo by Jenn Lightcap

Additionally, student organizations have raised money for the Hancock County Food Pantry and have conducted food drives with collected food being donated to the school's pantry. Some staff members at the school also have money taken from their paychecks and donated to the community pantry to help provide more funding to feed students and needy families throughout Hancock County. The county food pantry is in downtown Greenfield. Years ago, it started a program in local elementary schools that sent students home with a backpack full of food each week, but a similar program wasn't being offered to older students, according to Dawn Earlywine, school pantry coordinator for the Hancock County Food Pantry. She organized the program at Eastern but relies on students and staff at the school to keep it run-

ning. The lessons the students who organize the pantry learn are invaluable, she said. “They can help someone that might be their classmate in second period without ever knowing it,” Earlywine said. “It's amazing what they're doing.” Lightcap, who is one of the guidance counselors who shop with students each week, said she knows the food pantry makes a difference in the lives of students at Eastern Hancock. Those students wear gratitude on their faces, she said. “They don't always say (thank you), but I see it,” she said. “You see it in their reaction when they're in here.” For McMahan, it's gratifying to be making a difference in her small school; though the process is confidential — only guidance counselors know which students utilize the pantry — her heart swells when she

notices students eating the snacks she recognizes on the bus or in the classroom. McMahan wanted to be part of the service learning course that launched the pantry, but the class

“About 60 students in grades sixth through twelfth who would benefit from the food pantry. About 45 of those students utilize the pantry each week.” K

Photo by Jenn Lightcap

didn't fit into her schedule. Then she considered taking it over for her senior project – a course requirement for students preparing to graduate. When the National Honor Society took over the pantry, she stepped up to lead the effort, said Kelli Brown, the organization's adviser. “She was going to get credit for it, and now, she's just doing it because that's who she is,” Brown said of McMahan. She and Lightcap agree McMahan is empathetic and loving. It doesn't surprise them she puts so much effort into the food pantry when she could spend her senior year doing something else. “I would say Lexi is an exceptional kid,” Lightcap said. McMahan said she just wanted to find a cause through which she could see the impact she was mak-

ing; the food pantry proved a perfect fit. “I like to see a difference in our school,” she said. “I see it happen. I see the impact, and I think that keeps me going, and it makes me feel like I did something to help others.” The school's guidance counselors identified about 60 students in grades six through twelfth who would benefit from the food pantry. About 45 of those students utilize the pantry each week. Brown said the food pantry fills a gap. During the week, students can eat breakfast and lunch at school, but over the weekend, the school can't provide those meals, which might leave students hungry if there's not much food at home.

Most of the food in the pantry doesn't make a full meal but serves as something to eat between meals. Needy families can get ingredients to make meals at the community food pantry but might not have much snack food in the house, Brown explained; plus, most students don't want to make a whole meal. The students utilizing the food pantry look forward to visiting, Brown said. And administrators are happy they're not sending students home for a weekend when there isn't much for them to eat. “It provides the opportunity for us to make sure they're not hungry on Saturday,” Brown said. “School is a very safe place for a lot of students, and we want to try to provide that same safety at home if we can.” •

Source: (Greenfield) Daily Reporter, Information from: (Greenfield) Daily Reporter, Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. This is an AP-Indiana Exchange story offered by the (Greenfield) Daily Reporter. 14 · January 04, 2016


“SOMEWHERE IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW” by Stacey Schuett Illustrated by Stacey Schuett Publisher: Dragonfly Books ISBN-13: 978-0679885498

Time zones and the international dateline are at times confusing even for adults. In this imaginative book, children are taught how many very different things can be happening at the same moment but in different places all around the world. Whimsically illustrated and filled with maps, the story illustrates how while a baker slides bread into an oven in Europe, a herd of elephants is asleep in Africa, a pod of whales is singing near Antarctica where penguins huddle and a little girl is sleeping in Madagascar and dreaming about tomorrow. But still elsewhere, tomorrow isn’t a dream—it’s already here.

16 · January 04, 2016

“A CHAIR FOR MY MOTHER” by Vera B. Williams Illustrated by Vera B. Williams Publisher: Greenwillow Books ISBN-13: 978-0688040741

After a fire destroys their home and possessions, Rosa, her mother and her grandmother begin putting money in a glass jar, so they can save up enough to buy one big, comfortable chair. Her grandmother finds bargains on things like tomatoes and puts the savings into the jar. Her mother brings home her waitressing tips for the jar every night and is sometimes too tired to stay awake to actually see them go into the jar. Even Rosa helps out at the diner where her mother works by doing little tasks like filling ketchup bottles and peeling onions. But the jar is very big, and filling it all the way to the top is not going to easy.

“BRINGING THE RAIN TO KAPITI PLAIN” by Verna Aardema Illustrated by Beatriz Vidal Publisher: Puffin Books ISBN-13: 978-0140546163

This rhythmically rhyming story describes the Kapiti Plain, a place so green it is like “a sea of grass” that is full of wildlife. But when a drought sends many of the larger animals migrating out of the area, it looks like the once picturesque plain is going to shrivel up. However, all is not lost when a large rain cloud appears overhead, but this cloud needs a little help to get a rainstorm started. And so it is up to Ki-pat, a young boy who takes care of a herd of cows, to figure out how to make the cloud rain, so the grass will be green and lush again, so his cows will not starve and so the Kapiti Plain will return to its former beauty.

Ilustration by © johny007pandp


by David Small Illustrated by David Small Publisher: Dragonfly Books ISBN-13: 978-0517562420 Young Imogene wakes up one morning to find that she has sprouted antlers. Unflappable, Imogene takes the whole thing in stride even though her new antlers are making everyday tasks like getting dressed and walking through doorways a great deal more difficult. And to make matters worse while there are those who like Imogene’s new “head gear,” her mother is not taking her daughter’s transformation very well at all and faints every time she comes into the view. The effervescent, softly colored illustrations incorporate all the humor inherent in this tale that teaches a subtle lesson about acceptance.


by Mem Fox Illustrated by Leslie Staub Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers ISBN-13: 978-0152060305 Everyday all over the world, there are children laughing and crying, playing and learning, eating and sleeping. They may not look the same. Their homes may look very different from each other’s. Their schools may also be set up and structured in completely dissimilar ways. And, yes, they may not even speak or write the same language. In fact, their lives may be quite different. But inside, they feel the same joy and sorrow and pain and love and have far more in common than at first it may seem. This folk art-inspired picture book reminds us to celebrate our differences while never forgetting how we are all connected.

“LIANG AND THE MAGIC PAINTBRUSH” by Demi Illustrated by: Demi Publisher: Square Fish ISBN-13: 978-0805008012

Long ago in China a poor boy named Liang earns money by gathering firewood and cutting reeds. His one wish is to paint, but he cannot afford a paintbrush. Liang’s luck seems to change one day when suddenly he finds himself the owner of a magical paintbrush. Now whatever pictures he paints come to life! Everything is going well for young Liang until a greedy emperor finds out about his special paintbrush. Now Liang must paint for the emperor who just wants to exploit the young artist. It will take more than just magic for Liang to free himself from the wicked ruler, but fortunately, he has a plan. K


by David M. Schwartz Illustrations by: Steven Kellogg Publisher: HarperCollins ISBN-13: 978-0688099336 Ever wonder just what a million of something means? How about a billion? Or even a trillion? Well, you do not need to wonder no any longer. Mathematician David M. Schwartz and illustrator Steven Kellogg join forces to knock complex numbers down to size with some help from Marvelosissimo the Mathematical Magician. Delightful illustrations fill this book where numbers become very visible, tangible concepts. For example, to illustrate how large a number a million is, the book’s pictures show that a tower made of a million kids standing on each other’s shoulders would reach higher than even airplanes can fly in the sky. It’s a math class you’ll never forget!

18 · January 04, 2016


Adapted and illustrated by Janet Stevens Publisher: Holiday House ISBN-13: 978-0823405640 Aesop’s fables are among the best known and most loved of children’s literature. In this retelling of the classic tale, cartoonish images and amusing visual touches give the story a modern feel without betraying its timeless messages of the importance of perseverance and the pitfalls of overconfidence. The tortoise, for example, now wears blue sneakers as he sweats and runs on two legs. The hare, on the other hand, sports a pair of brightly colored, striped running shorts. And as an extra learning lesson, many of the animals in the story have the first letter of their names on their shirts (T for Tortoise, H for Hare, etc).


by Amy Hest Illustrated by: Amy Schwartz Publisher: Aladdin ISBN-13: 978-0689716348 Every year in the fall when the leaves “start melting into pretty purples and reds and those bright golden shades of pumpkin” Gabrielle gets a new coat. And every year her coat looks the same—navy blue with two rows of buttons and a half belt in the back. But this year Gabrielle wants a purple coat. Her mama laughs at the idea, but Gabrielle is quite serious. Alone with “Grampa” in his cozy tailor shop, Gabrielle does some fast-talking. Still, even Grampa is dubious. His solution makes “The Purple Coat” a very special book, just right for every child who has ever wanted to try something different.


by James Stevenson Illustrations by: James Stevenson Publisher: Greenwillow Books ISBN-13: 978-0688070359 To Mary Ann and Louise, Grandpa is pretty boring. Every day he always eats the exact same thing for breakfast and reads the paper. And no matter what happens, he always says the same thing: “Could be worse.” The dog ate the sofa cushion? “Could be worse.” Getting a splinter? “Could be worse.” The bike has a flat? “Could be worse.” A sneaker has a hole in it? “Could be worse.” Lost a kite in a tree. “Could be worse.” Then one day he surprises them with a story so amazing and so incredible, there’s only one thing they can say about it—and they do and never quite see their “boring” grandpa the same way again.


by Karla Kuskin Illustrated by: Marc Simont Publisher: HarperCollins ISBN-13: 978-0064431248 It is Friday evening. The sky is getting darker and darker, and lights are starting to come on in the houses and the apartment buildings. Here and there, uptown and downtown and across the bridges of the big city, 105 people are getting ready to go to work. Some of them take showers while others prefer to bathe and will even take bubble bathes. Some shave or trim their mustaches nice and neat. Others put on dusting powder and a little jewelry. Then they all get into special black and white clothes and travel to midtown with their musical instruments. There, at 8:30, they will meet up and work together playing beautiful music in an orchestra.


by Molly Bang Illustrated by: Molly Bang Publisher: Greenwillow Books ISBN-13: 978-0688073336 A restaurant owner is proud of his busy roadside diner. He’s hardworking and loves cooking and serving food to his many customers. But ever since a new highway replaced the old road, fewer and fewer customers stop to rest and eat. In fact, days sometimes go by with no customers at all. Soon, the restaurant owner is poor and spending his time polishing empty tables. Then one day a poor stranger appears at the door. His clothes are ragged, but he has an “unusual gentle manner,” and the restaurant owner feeds him. For his kindness, the stranger gives him a gift that will change his fortunes, a magical paper crane.


by Aliki Illustrated by: Aliki Publisher: HarperCollins ISBN-13: 978-0064460859 In this humorous look at the world of book publishing, a cartoonish kitten who likes books suddenly wonders who created the book that he is reading. What he learns is it is not just one person (or cat in the this case) who is responsible for making his book but a team of professionals including: an author-artist (illustrator), an editor, a publisher, a designer, a copyeditor-proofreader, a production-director, a color separator, a printer, a publicity and promotion director and a salesperson. Filled with funny moments, the story talks about the collaborative effort to create books in a way that children will be able to understand and enjoy.

“BORREGUITA AND THE COYOTE: A TALE FROM AYUTLA, MEXICO” by Verna Aardema Illustrated by: Petra Mathers Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers ISBN-13: 978-0679809210

In many stories lambs are portrayed as gentle but meek characters who are more often than not the victims that need to be rescued from a larger predator. But in this tale, the lamb (borreguita) is ready to take on her foe no matter how big or dangerous he might be or how much the odds are against her! A large but oafish coyote is ready to have lamb for his next meal, but the borreguita uses her wits to trick the carnivore and stay off his menu. Bold, colorful illustrations compliment the energetic narrative where brains are definitely more powerful than brawns. In addition, the book has a Spanish glossary to help with pronunciation. K


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Fourth- and Eighth-Grade Mathematics and Eighth-Grade Reading Scores Decline Compared to 2013; Fourth-Grade Reading Score Is Unchanged


ASHINGTON, DC – Average fourth- and eighth-grade mathematics scores and the average eighthgrade reading score declined between 2013 and 2015, according to The Nation's Report Card released today. The average fourthgrade reading score was unchanged over the two-year period. In both grades, national mathematics and reading scores in 2015 are higher than those from the first assessments in the early 1990s. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) – also known as The Nation's Re20 · January 04, 2016

port Card – is the largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what students in the United States know and can do in various subject areas. NAEP is administered by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). It is frequently referred to as the “gold standard” of student assessments. “Since the early 1990s, we have seen progress especially in mathematics,” said NCES Acting Commissioner Peggy Carr. “In 2015, however, we saw declines in mathematics in both grades and in reading at grade eight. The findings were different for fourth-grade

reading, which held steady from 2013. We also see some bright spots in the scores of individual states and urban districts.” National Results In fourth-grade mathematics, the average scale score in 2015 was 240, a decline of one point from 2013. In eighth-grade mathematics, the average scale score in 2015 was 282, a decline of two points from 2013. The NAEP scale ranges from 0 to 500. “For the first time, we see score declines in mathematics, but we don't yet know if this is a trend

downward,” Carr said. “We need to exercise caution until we see the results from the 2017 assessment. The Nation's Report Card also reports data by different demographic groups, such as Black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native. None of the achievement gaps between White students and students in any of the other groups changed by a statistically significant margin from 2013 and 2015. Although national results showed decreases in mathematics and grade eight reading, the achievement of children in cities had no statistically significant changes since 2013 in either subject or either grade level. Student performance on NAEP is also reported by achievement levels. There are three NAEP achievement levels: Basic, Proficient, and Advanced. Proficient on the NAEP scale represents competency over challenging subject matter. In 2015, there was a decrease in the percentage of students scoring at or above Proficient at both grades in mathematics and for eighth graders in reading when compared to 2013:

“For the first time we see score declines in mathematics, but we don't yet know if this is a trend downward.”

In fourth-grade reading, 36 percent of students scored at or above Proficient (no significant change from 2013, and an eight percentage point increase since 1992). In eighth-grade reading, 34 percent of students scored at or above Proficient (a two percentage point decline from 2013, and a five percentage point increase since 1992). In fourth-grade math, 40 percent of students scored at or above Proficient (a two percentage point decline from 2013, and a 27 percentage point increase since 1990). In eighth-grade math, 33 percent of students scored at or above Proficient (a two percentage point decline from 2013, and an 18 percentage point increase since 1990).

“Since the early 1990s, we have seen progress, especially in mathematics. In 2015, however, we saw declines in mathematics in both grades (fourth and eighth) and in reading at grade eight.”

State Results State results are varied with some states making gains though the majority of states saw declines in either one or both grades in mathematics. In fourth grade two jurisdictions (the District of Columbia and Mississippi) made score gains in both subjects between 2013 and 2015. The District of Columbia, Mississippi, and the U.S. Department of Defense schools (DoDEA) saw score increases in fourth-grade math in 2015, and 16 states saw score declines when compared to 2013. In fourth-grade reading scores in 13 states increased and scores declined in two states. At grade eight no state made score gains in mathematics and 22 states saw score declines. One state (West Virginia) made score gains in reading between 2013 and 2015, and eight states saw score declines.

Urban District Results The Nation's Report Card also measures progress in some of America's urban school districts through the Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA) program. Fourth- and eighth-graders in 21 urban districts participated in the mathematics and reading assessments in 2015. Average scores for large cities, used as a benchmark for comparing results for districts, held steady over the two-year period since the last assessment in both grades and subjects. Average scores increased in both subjects in three districts at either grade four or grade eight – the District of Columbia (DCPS), Miami-Dade and Chicago: Average scores for the District of Columbia Public Schools increased between 2013 and 2015 in both subjects in fourth grade. K

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Average scores for Miami-Dade increased in fourth-grade math and eighth-grade reading. Average scores for Chicago increased for eighth-grade math and fourth-grade reading. The 2015 math and reading assessments were given to fourth- and eighth-graders in public and private schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. Department of Defense schools. State scores are for public schools only. In 2015, 279,000 fourth graders from 7,900 schools and 273,000 eighth graders from 6,200 schools participated in the assessment. Samples of schools and students are drawn from each state and from the District of Columbia and Department of Defense schools. 22 ¡ January 04, 2016

Visit http://nationsreportcard. gov/reading_math_2015/ to view the report. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is a congressionally authorized project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The National Center for Education Statistics, within the Institute of Education Sciences, administers NAEP. The Commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics is responsible by law for carrying out the NAEP project. The National Center for Education Statistics, a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, is the statistical center of the U.S. Department of Education and the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to educa-

tion in the U.S. and other nations. NCES fulfills a congressional mandate to collect, collate, analyze and report complete statistics on the condition of American education; conduct and publish reports and review and report on education activities internationally. The National Assessment Governing Board is an independent, bipartisan board whose members include governors, state legislators, local and state school officials, educators, business representatives and members of the general public. Congress created the 26-member Governing Board in 1988 to set policy for NAEP. • SOURCE: The National Center for Education Statistics

25 YEARS serving the unique needs of the Hispanic community in higher education The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine (201) 587 8800 Image licensed by Ingram Image

News and Trends in K-12 Education from Across America First Lady Michelle Obama Honors The Telling Room


ASHINGTON – Ibrahim Shkara, 19, of Portland, Maine received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program award from First Lady Michelle Obama on behalf of The Telling Room. “Accepting this award from the First Lady on behalf of The Telling Room is an experience that I'll never forget,” Shkara said. “It shows

me that people recognize and value the power of programs that can change the lives of children.” When he was eight years old, Shkara and his family fled a war-ravaged Baghdad and moved to Cairo. He was uprooted again in 2012 when his family moved to Portland, Maine. There, he joined the nonprofit writing center, The Telling Room.

Since its founding in 2004, The Telling Room has engaged more than 12,000 youths in various programs, including their creative youth development program, Young Writers & Leaders, which has served teens from around the world, including Africa, Asia, Central America and Russia. •

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24 · January 04, 2016

1200+ High Schoolers to Participate in Innovative Problem Solving Program


HICAGO – The Illinois Science and Technology Institute (ISTI) announced the expansion of its Research & Development (R&D) STEM Learning Exchange. Now in its third year, this public-private effort connects students to future STEM careers. This school year, through STEM Challenges and the Mentor Matching Engine (MME), the R&D STEM Learning

Exchange will reach more than 1,200 students at 29 Illinois high schools. The STEM Challenge program matches participating schools with leading corporations and research institutions. From January through May 2016, students will work alongside experts from Illinois companies and together spur real-world innovation. Their work will be showcased May 19, 2016.

Students will also work with industry and academic mentors on research projects through the Mentor Matching Engine (MME). This invitation-only, web-based platform was developed in partnership with the Illinois Math & Science Academy (IMSA), connects Illinois high school students and teachers to STEM professionals who serve as online mentors. •

Photo source: The Illinois Science and Technology Institute (ISTI) K

News and Trends

National Geographic Launches 'Find Your Park, Love Your Park' Activities, Interactive Map and Curriculum to Celebrate National Park Service Centennial with Support from Subaru of America


ASHINGTON – To celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service in 2016, the National Geographic Society with support from Subaru of America, Inc. has launched the “Find Your Park, Love Your Park” educational initiative, developed to teach fourth graders across the United States about the importance of U.S. national parks

26 · January 04, 2016

and to empower students to preserve and protect them. National Geographic has developed five free downloadable activity modules for educators, including an interactive map of all U.S. national parks. These modules provide educators with activities for students, including documenting animal tracks, geocaching scavenger hunts, using digital maps to explore differ-

ent parks and discussing concrete ways students can help solve challenges facing national parks. The “Find Your Park, Love Your Park” educational initiative complements the National Park Service and National Park Foundation's Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque movement to celebrate and share inspirational stories from national parks nationwide. •

Eric Carle’s Beloved Children’s Books Brought to Life on Stage Gets US Premiere


EW YORK – Acclaimed children’s author and illustrator, Eric Carle has delighted three generations of readers with his books featuring his distinctive collage art and iconic characters. His most famous book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” which was first published in 1969, has sold more than 41 million copies worldwide.

This January, Jonathan Rockefeller’s critically acclaimed production of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show” will get its U.S. premiere. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show,” features a menagerie of 75 puppets during a 60-minute show that faithfully adapts four of Eric Carle’s beloved books for the stage: “The Artist Who Painted a Blue

Horse,” “Mister Seahorse,” “The Very Lonely Firefly” and, of course, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” “The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show” will begin performances on January 30 and will celebrate its opening on Sunday, February 7 with an initial run through March 27, 2016 at the 47th Street Theatre (304 W 47th St.). •

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STEM Ecosystem Leaders Meet with White House Officials


ASHINGTON, DC – Leaders from 27 local and regional networks for STEM learning came together to exchange strategies for building all students’ STEM knowledge and expertise through multi-sector “ecosystems” that bring together schools, out of school programs, businesses, institutions of higher education and STEM-rich institutions such as museums.

The education, business and community leaders who participated also met with White House officials to discuss equitable STEM education and federal STEM policy. “The President has called for all of us to think of creative and effective ways of getting all of our students engaged in STEM education,” noted John Holdren, Assistant to the

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News and Trends

28 · January 04, 2016

President for Science and Technology, and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “It’s heartening to see so many communities working locally and together in response to the President’s call to action.” Each of the 27 STEM Learning Ecosystems that gathered in Washington, D.C. received hands-on, individualized technical assistance. •

Jobs for Kentucky's Graduates and Integrity Staffing Team Up to Help Louisville Students Succeed


OUISVILLE, Ky. – Jobs for Kentucky's Graduates (JKG) and Integrity Staffing Solutions are working together to ensure more students graduate from The Academy @ Shawnee in West Louisville and are better prepared to enter the workforce. JKG is one of 32 state affiliates of the Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG) national nonprofit. The

program is designed to help underserved students overcome obstacles to graduation and career success through mentoring, tutoring, academic support and engagement with employers, and links to social services, among other interventions. Some Jefferson County high school students attending Shawnee, for example, are earning their pilot's licenses, working on experi-

ments that will be flown into space or preparing to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. Once students earn a high school diploma or General Educational Diploma, JKG mentors work with them for 12 more months to ensure they transition successfully into post-secondary education, entry-level careers or the military. • K



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