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OCTOBER 05, 2015


from the publisher of The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education Magazine

Goodbye, Maria


Cover and article photos courtesy of Sesame Workshop Cover photo by Richard Termine 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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Sonia Manzano reflects as she retires from her 45-year role as Maria




12 14 18

Veteran educator offers advice to teachers and parents


Univision Network Welcomes “Sesame Amigos” / La Cadena Univision Le Da La Bienvenida a “Sesame Amigos”


This month OutlooK-12 features “The World’s Spookiest Booklist” courtesy of Reading Is Fundamental


Hispanic students' scores up in U.S. history, geography from 2010; overall increases seen since 1990s




The latest education-related stories from across America

Finding and Leaving “Sesame Street” Sonia Manzano Reflects on Her Life as She Retires from Her 45-Year Role as Maria on “Sesame Street”

“Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?”


nyone who grew up watching the acclaimed children’s educational television program “Sesame Street” will fondly remember this question. Repeated several times during the show’s theme song, it’s really asking how to get to a place where there’s “sunny days” and “friendly neighbors” and where “everything’s a-okay.” But for one of Sesame Street’s most beloved residents, finding her way to this happy place was a difficult journey that challenged her own innocence. Emmy award winning Sonia Manzano has portrayed Maria on “Sesame Street” since 1971. Originally cast as the local librarian, her character eventually married,

became a mother and worked at a variety of jobs all while acting as a nurturing supporter and comedic foil to an array of colorful puppet characters. Now, after announcing her retirement at the American Library Association’s annual conference, Sonia reflects on her life in her new autobiography “Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx.” “It was a tumultuous childhood,” Sonia said in an online video on the America Library Association’s YouTube channel. “My father was an alcoholic, and he was violent, and my mother was battered, and it was a topsy-turvy world of hope and despair, hope and despair.”

The book, which explores Sonia’s life up until she auditioned for “Sesame Street,” describes a chaotic world where a father can be comforting one moment and then kicking in a television in a drunken rage in the next, where neighbors attribute a husband bashing his wife’s head into a radiator as a sign of loving her so much and where a little girl discovering that she has ten fingers and ten toes gives her peace that “there is order in the universe.” “And I found sanctuary on television, and I talk about that in my book,” Sonia said. “And I found sanctuary in stories when they were available to me. As I said, it was a very mean environment, and there was a lack of books.” K

Although her first role on “Sesame Street” was a librarian, Sonia explained that she had very little experience with libraries growing up since as she recalled there might have been a small library in her public school, but it had very few books. Instead, Sonia remembers teachers being the ones who helped her discover literature. “The teachers who showed us books are memorable to me,” Sonia said, recalling her fifth grade teacher’s expressions as he read “Charlotte’s Web” to her class. “I completely identified with Charlotte. I thought Wilber was just a…not my favorite character,” she smiled. Although books and television gave Sonia, a first generation New Yorker by birth, a safe haven growing up, they also initially reinforced a sense of not fitting in because her Puerto Rican ethnicity. 6 · October 05, 2015

Viewers watched Maria grow up on "Sesame Street"

For young Sonia, however, everything changed when she saw the 1961 movie “The West Side Story.” Set in New York City, the musical is a modern day retelling of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” where two rival gangs are fighting in large part because of racial differences. One of the gangs, The Sharks, was made up of immigrants from Puerto Rico, and for Sonia that was an eye-opening experience. “It was the first time I had seen Latin people or Latin culture, and it was particularly and specifical-

ly Puerto Rican culture, which is what I am,” Sonia said, adding that she is a New York Puerto Rican or Nuyorican. “And it was fascinating to me.” Beyond finally seeing her culture being depicted in a form of media, Sonia also began to understand what art is and how it can impact perceptions and sensibilities. “What used to be ugly neighborhoods all of a sudden beautified because certainly that movie is beautiful to look at, and I think I had my first inkling of what art was,” Sonia said. “Art is taking something that’s banal and making it glorious. You know, putting your own sensibility onto it.” Inspired by this knowledge and encouraged by her teachers, Sonia auditioned for the High School of Performing Arts, a place that Sonia described as being as alien to her as another planet. Photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop

Maria and Luis' wedding

Photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop

Photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop

“It’s very interesting for me and sometimes a challenge to get across to young people that when I was a kid there were no people of color on television,” Sonia said. “And there were no people of color in books either primarily. And I grew up wondering how I was going to contribute to a society that didn’t see me because I felt invisible somewhat. I mean, I couldn’t articulate that in my brain as a little kid, but that was the sensibility that I had.”

Maria becomes a mother

Photo by Richard Termine

“It might has well have been Planet X to go from the Bronx from an inner city school to this school in Manhattan that had kids from all over the city who had very good elementary school educations,” Sonia said. While Sonia had had limited exposure to books, she soon learned that her classmates had been around books their entire lives. “I really saw how lacking my inner city education had been,” she said. “I had to do a lot of catching up.” Although there were challenges, Sonia went on to excel at her career. In addition to being nominated twice for an Emmy Award as Outstanding Performer in a Chil-

dren’s Series, she currently holds 15 Emmy Awards for her former work as a member of the “Sesame Street” writing staff, wrote for the Peabody Award-winning children’s series “Little Bill” and has written four books one of which was chosen as a Pura Belpré Honor Book. Other accolades include receiving the Congressional Hispanic Caucas Award in Washington, DC; the Hispanic Heritage Award for Education and the New York Women in Film and Television Muse award for outstanding vision and achievement. Sonia was also inducted into the Bronx Hall of Fame in 2004 and voted one of the most influential Hispanics by “People Magazine en Español” in February 2007.

Maria, Elmo and Luis

My father was an alcoholic, and he was violent, and my mother was battered, and it was a topsy-turvy world of hope and despair, hope and despair.” Sonia Manzano K

Photo by Richard Termine Photo by Richard Termine

Maria, Luis, Oscar and Gordon

Photo by Richard Termine

Abby, Big Bird, Maria and Luis

Rosita and Maria 8 · October 05, 2015

And while the idealistic world of “Sesame Street” may seem far removed from Sonia’s chaotic childhood, the two are connected with the show being designed to help children who face unequal education opportunities like Sonia once did. “‘Sesame Street’ as everyone knows was set in the inner city, and there was a particular reason for that,” Sonia explained. “Our first target audience were children in the inner city who were under served, and we thought that if they learned they basic cognitive skills, they could start kindergarten on an even level with their middle class peers.” In addition, “Sesame Street” was designed so children would not feel that sense of “invisibility” that Sonia did growing up. One of the key gathering places on “Sesame Street” has always been the stoop, which as Sonia explained was purposely populated from the very beginning of the series with people of different races and backgrounds. She said this was done so the kids watching the show “could find somebody on television they could relate to and feel part of the community.” But as much as these basic lessons about shapes and numbers and friendship, Sonia said she wants children to take away from her life in its entirety that they have the power to live meaningful, happy lives no matter what challenges they face. “I didn’t become Maria in spite of my childhood. I became Maria because of my childhood,” she said. “Any life is worthwhile, and you can make something of it.” •

Change of Address

“Sesame Street” Moves to HBO Sonia Manzano retiring as Maria is not the only big change for the residents of Sesame Street. Big Bird, Cookie Monster and all of their friends will be appearing on HBO as early as later this fall. According to “The New York Times” Sesame Workshop, the non-profit that produces "Sesame Street," has licensed out the beloved children’s series to air on HBO before airing on PBS for the next five seasons. In addition, the series will also be roughly doubling its episode production from 18 to 35 per year and is currently working on additional educational programs for children. As a public television mainstay, “Sesame Street” has in the past not relied on commercials for funding and instead received financial support from such avenues as merchandising and PBS fund drives. In recently years, however, children have relied less and less on PBS to catch the latest episodes of “Sesame Street” and instead have been utilizing streaming and on-demand viewing. As a result, Sesame Workshop has had to cut back on the number of "Sesame Street" episodes produced and shelve other projects. As part of the deal, HBO has also licensed more than 150 past “Sesame Street” episodes as well as episodes from additional Sesame Workshop titles, including “The Electric Company” and “Pinky Dinky Doo.” Photo by Richard Termine

Chris, Alan, Snuffy, Big Bird, Leela, Mando, Maria, Luis, Bert, Ernie, Oscar, Abby, Elmo and kids K

Characters to Be Featured in Two New Museum Exhibits

Photo courtesy of the Center for Puppetry Arts

“Sesame Street”

Sonia Manzano’s former “Sesame Street” puppet costars will soon be part of two new museum exhibits, honoring the work of the late Jim Henson. One of the world’s most famous puppeteers, Henson helped to create new innovations in the art of puppetry. Best known for being the creative force behind the Muppets, his body of work also includes such television shows as “Sesame Street” and “Fraggle Rock” as well as movies like “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth.” Slated to open in mid November, the Center for Puppetry Arts’ new The Worlds of Puppetry Museum in Atlanta, Georgia will feature a wide array of Henson’s puppets and artifacts including “Sesame Street’s” Big Bird, Elmo, Grover, Bert, Ernie and Cookie Monster. Other Henson creations scheduled to appear in the exhibit include the former Muppet couple, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, as well as Red and Mokey Fraggle and Fozzie Bear. “Great museums are characterized by their ability to continually educate, inspire and evolve,” Vincent Anthony, Center for Puppetry Arts founding Executive Director, said. “Our team has been preparing for this day for many years, and we are thankful for the generous contributions from the Jim Henson family, our benevolent donors, generous members and the support of our community.” Also planning to open this year is The Jim Henson Exhibition and Gallery in The Museum of Moving Images in Astoria, New York. Like the exhibit in Georgia, the Henson family has donated items to be featured in the exhibit including costumes and production design materials as well as (of course) puppets. “Sesame Street’s” Elmo, Bert, Ernie and Count von Count will be part of the exhibition as well as “Fraggle Rock’s” Gobo Fraggle and Muppets Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Statler, Waldorf and the Swedish Chef. In addition, the museum will host educational programs and family workshops as well as a traveling version of the exhibit scheduled to launch in 2016. “It’s only fitting that this extraordinary collection of puppets, costumes, props and more should find a home in New York where imagination and free expression are part of the fabric of our city,” former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, adding that “anyone who’s watched an episode of ‘Sesame Street’ sees the inspiration provided by the vibrant neighborhoods and characters that make our city so extraordinary." For more information about these exhibits, visit and 10 · October 05, 2015


guidance counselor. Last year my district hired a full-time, in-house clinical psychologist. Many of my colleagues have questioned the need for my position. Do you have any thoughts about how I should respond?

A: In many ways you are comparing

‘Illustration licensed by Ingram Image

apples to oranges. Guidance counselors are in the “hope business.” Therapists are in the analysis business. True, the two fields overlap, but while psychologists are trained to remain aloof, most counselors are more directly involved in the learning process. Almost all counselors are former teachers and, as such, understand the classroom fairly well. Few therapists ever were full-time instructors and have a more theoretical approach to instruction. Research clearly demonstrates that in a school environment guidance counselors are far more successful than psychologists. Overall, having both professions in a school is a positive thing. But given a choice, I personally would rather have a good guidance counselor over a therapist in a school setting any day.

Q: My best friend became the school’s principal two years ago. In my opinion the level of discipline and academic achievement has diminished. She now has tenure, and I fear the school will get even worse. Should I convey my thoughts to her?

A: The history of education in Amer-

ica has been to often take excellent teachers and make them poor administrators. A simple analogy is that great athletes rarely make good coaches. What worked for them in their given sport does not easily translate to others. It is very easy to criticize another individual’s performance, but if you truly want to help your school and your friend, it is a far superior position to offer specific ideas to improve the learning environment. All teachers should try to be supportive of their administrative staff and at the same time have good lines of communication. All administrators need to have good listening skills and if something isn’t working, make effective changes. Give your friend more time. Two years is a brief amount of time to acquire all the nuances of running a school.

Q: Maybe you can help solve a wa-

ger that my former college roommate and I have. Both of us teach in the same community. I bet the most important school years are the high school years. My old friend feels the middle school years are more significant. We decided your vote will determine who wins our gentleman’s wager.

A: In my humble opinion it is actu-

ally the first years of school that carry the most importance. Your district’s kindergarten and first grade teachers probably have the hardest and most important task in the student’s development. A strong foundation in learning makes all later instruction much easier just as a shaky foundation makes every education who is to follow’s job much harder. Despite my opinion, however, teachers at all levels of education can have a very significant impact on their students to the point that they can be life changing for them. So my simple advice is to shake hands and consider it a tie because all educators despite grade level do the most important job in our society.

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



Univision Network Welcomes “Sesame Amigos,” “Sesame Street’s” First-Ever Spanish Language Show Especially Made for U.S. Audiences Kids Can Now Laugh, Play and Learn with Elmo, Rosita, Cookie Monster And Friends During The “Planeta U” Saturday Morning Children’s Block Latino Celebrities Include Diego Luna, Carlos Calderon, Tony Dandrades, Pablo Ramirez, Aislinn Derbez,Vadhir Derbez, and more!


et ready to aprender, bailar and jugar (learn, dance and play) with your favorite furry friends on “Sesame Amigos,” a brand new 30-minute Spanish-language show produced by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind “Sesame Street,” exclusively for Univision. Season 1 of “Sesame Amigos” is part of the award-winning Saturday children’s programming block, “Planeta U.” Through “Sesame Amigos’” 26 new episodes, kids will build their inner strength, develop their moral compass and learn important educational lessons with trusted and engaging characters that kids love and moms and dads count on. In each show, kids will play learning games and get up and dance with Elmo, who will encourage kids to participate throughout the show. They’ll travel to “The Furchester Hotel,” a hilari-

ous segment featuring Elmo, Cookie Monster and new friends that teaches creative problem-solving and working together. Next they’ll explore far off lands and learn about cooperation in “Bert and Ernie’s Great Adventures.” Finally they’ll laugh out loud with Cookie Monster, the star of “Cookie’s Crumby Pictures,” who proves that patience takes practice. Each show will also feature a segment where Elmo, Lola, Rosita and friends interact with a Univision celebrity in a fun setting. Featured Univision celebrities include “Sal y Pimenta” hosts Carlos Calderon and Lourdes Stephen, “Primer Impacto” correspondents Tony Dandrades and Jackie Guerrido, “Despierta América’s” Maity Interiano and William Valdez and Univision Deportes’ Pablo “La Torre de Jalisco” Ramirez. In addition to Univision talent, the show will fea-

"Sesame Amigos" - "The Furchester Hotel" 12 · October 05, 2015

ture other Hispanic celebrities such as Vahdir Derbez, Diego Luna and Leslie Grace. “‘Sesame Amigos’ is a new and innovative show designed specifically for Spanish-speaking families in the U.S.,” Alberto Ciurana, president of Programming and Content, Univision Communications Inc., said. “While versions of “Sesame Street” air in more than 150 countries, ‘Sesame Amigos’ will provide Spanish-speaking preschoolers the tools they need to succeed in the United States.” “We are thrilled to be debuting our first season of “Sesame Amigos” with our partners at Univision,” Steve Youngwood, Chief Operating Officer of Sesame Workshop, said. “Since our founding, ‘Sesame Street’ has revolutionized early learning by using media to make educational opportunities accessible to all preschoolers. ‘Sesame Amigos’ will further our mission of helping kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder by reaching new Hispanic audiences with our funny, furry content and characters in ways that reflect their language and culture.” “Planeta U” (Planet U) is an award-winning educational and informational (E/I) programming block aimed to appeal to kids of all ages, from pre-school to high school. This safe zone for all young viewers airs on Saturday mornings from 8:00-11:00 a.m. ET/PT (7:00-10:00 a.m. Central) on the Univision Network.”

La cadena Univision le da la bienvenida a “Sesame Amigos,” el primer programa de “Sesame Street” en Español especialmente para las audiencias en los Estados Unidos Los niños ahora pueden reír, jugar y aprender con Elmo, Rosita, Cookie Monster y sus amigos durante el bloque matutino de programación infantil de los sábados, “Planeta U” La lista de celebridades latinas incluirá a Diego Luna, Carlos Calderón, Tony Dandrades, Pablo Ramírez, Aislinn Derbez, Vadhir Derbez ¡y más!


repárense para aprender, bailar y jugar con sus amigos favoritos de peluche en “Sesame Amigos,” un nuevo programa de 30 minutos en español producido por Sesame Workshop, la organización sin fines de lucro detrás de “Sesame Street,” exclusivamente para Univision. La primera temporada de “Sesame Amigos” es parte del galardonado bloque matutino de programación infantil de los sábados, “Planeta U.” Gracias a los 26 nuevos episodios de “Sesame Amigos,” los niños aprenderán a tener seguridad en ellos mismos y desarrollar su integridad, además de aprender importantes lecciones con los personajes cautivadores y de confianza que les encantan a los chicos y con los que mamá y papá pueden contar. En cada programa, los niños aprenderán mientras juegan y se pondrán a bailar con Elmo, quien los animará a participar durante todo el programa. Viajarán al “Hotel Furchester,” un divertido segmento con Elmo, Cookie Monster y nuevos amiguitos que les enseñará a resolver problemas de manera creativa y a trabajar juntos. Luego explorarán lugares muy lejanos y aprenderán a cooperar en “Las fabulosas aventuras de Bert y Ernie.” Finalmente, se reirán a carcajadas con el Monstruo de las Galletas, la estrella de “Cookie’s Crumby Pictures,” quien prueba que tener paciencia requiere práctica. Cada programa también ofrecerá un segmento en el que Elmo, Lola,

Rosita y sus amigos interaccionarán con una celebridad de Univision en un lugar divertido. Entre las celebridades de Univision que se presentarán estarán los conductores de “Sal y Pimenta” Carlos Calderón y Lourdes Stephen; los corresponsales de “Primer Impacto” Tony Dandrades y Jackie Guerrido; Maity Interiano y William Valdez de “Despierta América”, y Pablo “La Torre de Jalisco” Ramírez de Univision Deportes. Además del talento de Univision, se presentarán en el programa otras celebridades hispanas como Vahdir Derbez, Diego Luna y Leslie Grace. “‘Sesame Amigos’ es un programa nuevo e innovador, creado específicamente para las familias hispanohablantes en los Estados Unidos,” Alberto Ciurana, presidente de programación y contenido de Univision Communications, Inc., dijo “Si bien se trasmiten versiones de Sesame Street en más de 150 países, ‘Sesame Amigos’ ofrecerá a los niños en edad preescolar que hablan español los recursos que necesitan para tener éxito en los Estados Unidos”. “Es un gran gusto para nosotros estrenar nuestra primera temporada de ‘Sesame Amigos’ con nuestros socios en Univision,” Steve Youngwood, funcionario principal de operaciones de Sesame Workshop, dijo. “Desde su incepción, ‘Sesame Street’ ha revolucionado el aprendizaje inicial usando medios de comunicación para hacer que las oportunidades educativas estén

al alcance de todos los niños en edad preescolar. ‘Sesame Amigos’ promoverá nuestra misión de ayudar a los niños a desarrollar la inteligencia y ser más fuertes y bondadosos al trasmitir a nuevas audiencias hispanas nuestro contenido divertido y personajes de peluche de maneras que reflejen su idioma y cultura.” “Planeta U” (Planet U) es un galardonado bloque educativo e informativo de programación que se propone atraer a niños de todas las edades, desde la edad preescolar hasta la secundaria. Este lugar seguro para todos los pequeños televidentes se trasmite los sábados en la mañana, de 8:00-11:00 a.m. Este/Pacífico (7:00-10:00 a.m. Centro) por la Cadena Univision. •

‘Sesame Amigos’ es un programa nuevo e innovador, creado específicamente para las familias hispanohablantes en los Estados Unidos.” Alberto Ciurana, presidente de programación y contenido de Univision Communications, Inc. K

READ ANY GOOD BOOKS LATELY In the spirit of Halloween, we at OutlooK-12 are proud to present “The World’s Spookiest Booklist” courtesy of Reading Is Fundamental (RIF). The largest children’s literacy nonprofit in the United States, RIF’s mission is “to motivate young children to read by working with them, their parents and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life.”

“The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree”

“Happy Halloween, Stinky Face”

by Stan and Jan Berenstain ISBN-13: 978-0394839103 Publisher: Random House, Inc.

by Lisa McCourt Illustrated by: Cyd Moore ISBN-13: 978-0545285421 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.

For over 50 years the Berenstain Bear family has been entertaining and teaching children about such topics as manners, friendship, honesty and family. In this full-color illustrated book Mama Bear watches from the window of the bears’ home as three brave little bear cubs set off for an adventure. Bringing with them a flashlight, a stick and a rope, the three follow a dirt path into the woods to explore the inside of a mysterious old tree.

"Mama, what if Mrs. Petry doesn't know it's really just me at her door? What if she gets so surprised from my super-scary costume that she throws her candy bowl up, and it lands on her head, and candy spills all over?" It's almost time to go trick-or-treating, but first Stinky Face has just a few questions for Mama. As always, Mama lovingly addresses each and every one of her child's concerns.

14 · October 05, 2015

“There’s a Monster Under My Bed” by James Howe Illustrated by: David Rose

ISBN-13: 978-0689714092 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division Something is under Simon’s bed. He can hear it breathing. Is it a monster? Simon knows one thing for sure. He has to find out. He shines a flashlight under the bed to discover that there really is something hiding there—but just what is lurking under Simon’s bed in the dark? This warm and humorous story will delight any child who has ever envisioned monsters lurking in the bedtime darkness.

Ilustration by © johny007pandp

“Where the Wild Things Are”

“Bone: Out from Boneville”

“Goblins Don’t Play Video Games”

In this children’s classic, readers are introduced to Max, a little boy who likes to run around in a wolf suit and make mischief. When his mother sends her wild child to his room without dinner, Max embarks on a great adventure where he sails to the world of the wild things. But can a child survive in a place filled with monstrous creatures? In Max’s case, not only does he survive but also becomes their king!

In their first adventure the three Bone cousins, Fone Bone; Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone, are thrown out of Boneville and become separated and lost. One by one, they find their way into a deep, forested valley and reunite at a farmstead run by tough Gran’ma Ben and her spirited granddaughter, Thorn. But little do the Bones know that there are dark forces conspiring against them.

In this the 37th title in the “The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids” series, Melody is determined to win a hand held video game about goblins. Although her friend, Howie, says that goblins are not real, there are some pretty weird grown-ups living in Bailey City. Could the new computer teacher really be the Great Goblin from Melody's video game? The Bailey School Kids are going to find out!

by Maurice Sendak Illustrated by Maurice Sendak ISBN-13: 978-0064431781 Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

by Jeff Smith Illustrated by: Jeff Smith ISBN-13: 978-0439706407 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.

by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones ISBN-13: 978-0439043977 Publisher: Scholastic, Inc. K

READ ANY GOOD BOOKS LATELY “The Mystery of the Runaway Ghost”

by Gertrude Chandler Warner Illustrated by Hodges Soileau ISBN-13: 978-0807555514 Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny of “The Boxcar Children Mysteries” book series visit an old farmhouse and learn the legend behind a painting there. Long ago when a traveling artist painted a scene from the farm, he saw something that shouldn’t have been there. Did the artist see a ghost? And now the owner of the house has discovered a series of riddles and clues that the children must work hard to solve.

16 · October 05, 2015

“Dracula” “Vampires”

by Marc Tyler Nobleman ISBN-13: 978-1410925008 Publisher: Reed Elsevier, Inc. In this “Raintree Atomic” book series title, young readers can explore the fact and fiction behind one of the world’s most infamous monsters. Do vampires exist? What do they look like? What are their powers and weaknesses? Can they turn into anything besides a bat? What are they like in legends from other countries like Mexico and Bulgaria? Learn the truth—if you dare!

by Bram Stoker ISBN-13: 978-1503261389 Publisher: Dover Publications, Inc. During a business visit to Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, a young English solicitor finds himself at the center of a series of horrifying incidents. Jonathan Harker is attacked by three phantom women, observes the Count’s transformation from human to bat form and discovers puncture wounds on his own neck. Harker escapes home, but a friend’s malady involving blood loss and throat wounds initiates a frantic vampire hunt.


by Mary Shelly ISBN-13: 978-1435137684 Publisher: Barnes & Noble Dr. Victor Frankenstein never considers the consequences of his obsession. For years, he labors to create a new race of intelligent beings. He spends his nights scrounging body parts from graveyards, slaughterhouses and hospital dissection rooms. By day, he experiments in his secret laboratory, perfecting the creature that he believes will worship him as a god. But this hubris is not his sin.


“Uncle’s Trunk”

Isabella “Bella” Swan is positive about three things. First, her classmate, Edward Cullen, is a vampire. Second, there was a part of him (and she didn’t know how potent that part might be) that thirsted for her blood. And third, she had fallen unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him. The first book of the series, the Twilight saga has been adapted into movies and become a worldwide phenomenon.

Beverly Lawson and her two children, Rick and Lori, inherited a house from Beverly’s late Uncle George, a house that contains a mysterious trunk and a shadowy creature with red eyes. The family learns the shadow is the pirate Captain Ramos who has been sent by a witch to modern times on a mission. With the witch holding his daughter captive, Ramos needs two items to return home—but what are they?

by Stephanie Meyer ISBN-13: 978-0316015844 Publisher: Hachette Book Group USA

by Julie Austad ISBN-13: 978-0738899435 Publisher: Xlibris Corp K


in eighth-graders' performance in U.S. history, geography, civics since 2010 But Hispanic students' scores up in U.S. history, geography from 2010; overall increases seen since 1990s Story compiled by Mary Ann Cooper Editor’s Note: As Hispanic Heritage month, a yearly celebration of the history and culture of Hispanics, winds down for this year, the U.S. political season begins in anticipation of the 2016 presidential race. These two realities should remind students and teachers across the country how important it is to master history, civics and geography. As George Santayana wrote in "The Life of Reason" in 1905: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” That’s what makes the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as The Nation's Report Card, disappointing for the general population of eighth graders but encouraging for Hispanic eighth graders.


he overall academic performance of eighth-graders in U.S. history, geography and civics has remained unchanged since 2010, according to The Nation's Report Card: 2014 U.S. History, Geography and Civics, though Hispanic students have made gains in U.S. history and geography. Compared with the first U.S. history assessment in 1994 and first civics assessment in 1998, overall average scores are higher — but in 2014, three percent or less scored at the Advanced level in any of the three subjects. Geography is the only subject of the three in which there has not been a change in overall scores since its first assessment in 1994. The results are from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as The Nation's Report Card. NAEP 18 · October 05, 2015

reports performance using average scores and percentages of students performing at or above three achievement levels: Basic, Proficient and Advanced. The Basic level denotes partial mastery of the knowledge and skills needed for grade-appropriate work; Proficient denotes solid academic performance and Advanced represents superior work. The National Center for Education Statistics, which administers NAEP as a way to measure what American students know and can do in various subject areas over time, administered the three separate assessments to nationally representative samples of more than 29,000 eighth graders in total across the country. Each assessment was given to a different group of eighth grade students, and contained multiple choice and con-

structed-response questions. The 2014 results show that 27 percent of eighth grade students performed at or above Proficient in geography, 23 percent scored at or above Proficient in civics and only 18 percent did so in U.S. history. Among those students, a small percentage —three percent or less — scored at the Advanced level in any subject. "Geography, U.S. history and civics are core academic subjects that must be a priority. They represent knowledge and skills that are fundamental to a healthy democracy," Terry Mazany, chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees NAEP, said. "The lack of knowledge on the part of America's students is unacceptable, and the lack of growth must be addressed. As a country, we must do better."

The reports also include responses from eighth graders about their experiences studying the three subjects. For example, students reported that they read material from a textbook less frequently while listening to information presented online and using computers at school for social studies more frequently in 2014 than in 2010. "The way students are absorbing information is changing," Chasidy White, an eighth grade geography and history teacher in Brookwood, Ala., and a National Assessment Governing Board members said. "Instruction needs to meet students where they are to improve learning. In my classroom, that means embracing technology and incorporating discussions about current events. I encourage


all teachers to use these reports to spark new ideas for their classroom practices." One of the bright spots in these reports is the increase in performance among Hispanic students whose scores in 2014 across all three subjects are higher than the scores seen in each subject's first assessment year. Caucasian students are the only other racial/ethnic group with this improvement trend. The Governing Board plans to have the U.S. history, geography and civics assessments administered to eighth and twelfth grade students next in 2018. For the first time, these three assessments will be entirely computer-based — a model by which all NAEP assessments will be administered. Highlights from each subject are:

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The way students are absorbing information is changing. Instruction needs to meet students where they are to improve learning.� Chasidy White, a National Assessment Governing Board member K

U.S. history – This assessment asked questions in four themes: democracy, culture, technology and world role. For example, a democracy-themed question asks students to identify the effect of a Supreme Court case: The Supreme Court's 1803 decision in Marbury v. Madison established the court's power to: A. Impeach a president B. Decide whether a federal law is constitutional C. Resolve conflicts between states D. Resolve conflicts between the president and Congress The correct answer is B, which 41 percent of students selected. Both male and female Hispanic students have made gains since 2010. The average score for female Hispanic students is up four points; male Hispanic students scored five points higher. Scores are higher in all themes except technology since 1994. In the context of the U.S. history assessment, technology focuses on the transformation of the American economy from rural frontier to industrial superpower and its impact on society, ideas and the environment. A score gap between male and female students did not exist in 1994; however, it did exist in 2014, with male students scoring four points higher than female students. Geography – Questions on this assessment measured students' knowledge in space and place; environment and society; and spatial dynamics and connections. For 20 ¡ October 05, 2015

Image licensed by Ingram Image

Image licensed by Ingram Image

example, an environment and society-themed question asked students to use a map to explain the impact of ocean currents on a continent: The Brazil and the Peru currents affect the climate of South America. Explain what effect each of these currents has on the temperature and rainfall of their adjacent land areas. Seven percent of students received the highest score rating of "Complete." Since 1994, lower-performing students have made gains, resulting in four percent fewer students below the Basic category and five percent more at the Basic level. Since 1994, score gains for African American and Hispanic students (11 and 10 points, respective-

ly) have been larger than those for Caucasian students (four points). Since 2010, Hispanic students have made a four-point gain; however, their achievement gap with Caucasian students did not change significantly. There has been no statistically significant change in the gender gap since the assessment began in 1994. Civics – Students were asked about civic life, politics and government; the foundations of the American political system; government embodiment of American democracy; the relationship of the U.S. with other nations; and the roles of citizens. For example, a short-answer civics question about world affairs asked students to explain the benefits of international interactions as they relate to trade, treaties and agreements, and hu-

manitarian aid. In 2014, 62 percent of eighth graders' responses were rated as "Complete." Hispanic students' scores have increased since 1998, narrowing the achievement gap with Caucasian students by eight points. Although there have been gains among lower-performing students since 1998 with a higher percentage of students scoring at Basic and a lower portion below Basic, there has been no change in the percentage of students overall scoring at or above the Proficient level since 1998. The scores of African American male students have increased by six points since 1998. Civics is the only subject without a significant gender gap: The fourpoint gap between male and female students in 1998 has closed. • K

News and Trends in K-12 Education from Across America New Study Finds “Sesame Street” Improves School Readiness


ashington, Wellesley, Mass. and College Park, Md. -Research coauthored by Wellesley College economist Phillip B. Levine and University of Maryland economist Melissa Kearney finds that greater access to “Sesame Street” in the show's early days led to improved early educational outcomes—supporting that television can have a positive societal impact.

22 · October 05, 2015

"With so much emphasis on early childhood interventions these days, it is quite encouraging to find that something so readily accessible and inexpensive as ‘Sesame Street’ has the potential to have such a positive impact on children's school performance in particular for children from economically disadvantaged communities,” Kearney said. “Drs. Kearney & Levine's research

reaffirms the intention Joan Ganz Cooney and the team that created ‘Sesame Street’ set out to accomplish. We are thrilled to see the positive effects of ‘Sesame Street’ as a population-based intervention – especially for those less privileged," Dr. Jennifer Kotler Clarke, Vice President, Research and Evaluation, Sesame Workshop, said. •

MGA Entertainment Launches New Project Mc2 S.T.E.A.M.Based Franchise


an Diego, Van Nuys, Calif. - MGA Entertainment, the world's largest private toy company, has unveiled its new, S.T.E.A.M.-inspired property, Project Mc². The franchise includes a spy-themed Netflix original series produced in partnership with AwesomenessTV; short form digital content airing on AwesomenessTV and DreamWorksTV YouTube

channels; and a toy line comprised of fashion dolls alongside authentic S.T.E.A.M. experiment kits. "My goal with the Project Mc² franchise is to encourage girls everywhere to be interested and pursue S.T.E.A.M-based careers, so in my lifetime, I can see the CEO of Apple, Amazon or Intel be a woman," Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment, said.

Taking girl empowerment to the next level, the dolls were designed to represent real girls. Each character has a unique cultural backstory, face sculpt and is engineered to stand at a different height. In addition, the line features activity kits like Grow-Your-Own Rock Sugar Jewelry and Make-YourOwn Soda Can Robot. •

Photo courtesy of MGA Entertainment K

News and Trends

I&I Announces Launch of Immersive Language Game: “Think Bilingual!”


an Francisco, Calif. -- Interact and Immerse, Inc. (I&I), an iPad application development company, has launched its new game, Think Bilingual! Available for iTunes download, Think Bilingual! takes a unique approach to language learning. In the storyline, the user helps a family of space aliens on earth. In each sitImage courtesy of Interact and Immerse

24 · October 05, 2015

uation, the user plays the game by listening to the target language. “Other apps show a flashcard of a fried egg,” Christopher Loux, co-founder of I&I, said. “In our game, you fry an egg in a pan. To learn directions, you drive a car in the gameplay. You learn by doing, by playing, just as a child acquires language. Genuine immersion

guides the learner to think in the target language.” Established in 2012, I&I has the company mission to “break down the walls between gaming and education.” Since its launch Think Bilingual! has featured lessons in English, Spanish and French. Additional languages are scheduled for development. •

Image courtesy of Interact and Immerse

Arizona Dairy Farmers Give Back to Community by Supporting Education Through Milk Mustache Contest


hoenix, Ariz. -- With the launch of Arizona Milk Producers annual scholarship program, Arizona high school seniors and college students can win one of three scholarships by taking a milk mustache photo and uploading it to Instagram or the Arizona Milk Producers website. Scholarships will be awarded as follows: • First place--$12,000 scholarship

• Second place--$10,000 scholarship • Third place--$8,000 scholarship Throughout the program, students will also be awarded tickets to ASU, NAU and UofA football games. To enter, students need to upload a photo of their best milk mustache to Instagram while tagging @azmilkproducers and using

the hashtag #ampscholarshipcontest. The photo must feature a dairy product, such as milk, yogurt or cheese, and the student must also specify which college football tickets they want by using the following hashtags: #asu, #uofa or #nau. Official rules, details and drawing dates are posted on the official sweepstakes at •

Last year's first-place winner was Meaggan, a senior at Young Ken High School in Buckeye K

Horatio Alger Association Officially Opens Applications for Its 2016 Scholarship Programs Nationwide


ashington -- Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization, has announced that applications are open for its 2016 scholarship programs. With the goal of awarding more than $10 million in undergraduate and graduate scholarships in 2016, the association operates one of the largest privately funded, need-based

scholarship programs in the country. Applications for national- and state-level scholarships are being accepted through October 25, 2015. Students interested in applying for scholarships must meet a series of requirements related to education, character and family income. Once chosen, Horatio Alger Scholars are provided with resources to ensure a successful higher educa-

Source: Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc.

News and Trends

26 ¡ October 05, 2015

tion experience, including financial aid advice, access to guidance and crisis counselors, mentoring programs, channels to interact with other scholars, tools to manage the disbursement of funds and access to educational staff for assistance with their scholarships. For more information or to apply for a scholarship, visit https:// •

VIF Partners with A+ Schools to Develop Arts-Integrated Professional Development


hapel Hill, N.C. -- VIF International Education, a global education partner of K-12 schools and districts, has partnered with A+ Schools to provide globally themed arts-integrated professional development to teachers through the VIF Learning Center. The A+ Schools Program was established in 1995 by the Kenan Institute for the Arts and now is

administered by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources. The program’s goal is to help schools build enhanced, arts-integrated learning opportunities for all students. By doing so, students in A+ Schools develop innovative ways of thinking, learning and presenting information.

“Both VIF and A+ have years of experience incorporating global and arts into instruction,” Anamaria Knight, VIF’s director of curriculum and instructional design, said. “It’s powerful that these two organizations with such long histories of working in education can come together to create a unique partnership that will benefit both students and teachers.” • K

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The Hispanic OutlooK-12 Magazine 10/05/2015  

OutlooK-12 Magazine is designed for the outstanding individuals who devote their lives to shaping the next generation of Hispanic leaders....

The Hispanic OutlooK-12 Magazine 10/05/2015  

OutlooK-12 Magazine is designed for the outstanding individuals who devote their lives to shaping the next generation of Hispanic leaders....