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Homeroom: February 2012 Archives

February 2012 Archives

Changing Behaviors of Children with ADHD, LD and NVLD

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Environmental factors are overlooked in managing and changing behaviors of children with ADHD, LD and NVLD. Class time and curricula are getting the focus of the scientists and those charged with improving our teaching methods for this group that has for generations slipped through the cracks of our traditional educational platform. Considering that most school days consist of no more than seven periods of 45 minutes, or 5 hours and 15 minutes of direct instruction, or 26 hours and 15 minutes over the course of a five-day week. There are 168 hours in a week.

So, how are we doing with our children during the almost 142 hours that exist around these academic time periods? What kind of consistency exists during the many hours that habits are being learned? For that matter, is there consistency in the academic model of our middle and high schools that promote the transference of novel learning experiences to long term memory storage by means of repetition and positive reinforcement?

Children need to feel connected. For young people, who we become as adults, is actually a compilation of the experiences that we encounter. Certainly, genes play a major role in predispositions to learning skills, social behaviors, and general mental and emotional wellness. However, the power of environment, around the clock and over the course of calendar years, can truly neutralize just about any flaw that our predisposed genetics suggest.

Keeping children connected with their educational and after school/weekend environments is as impactful as a sharp, responsive, tailor-made educational experience. “Does what I think or do matters? Am I valued and needed in my community? Do adults and peers expect the best from me?”

Once we understand the deep and powerful impact of a consistent, supportive and thoughtful environment on positive developmental growth of our children, then we will truly have solved the riddle of how to best educate and inculcate positive values into our children, making them healthy and productive citizens not only of our country, but of our global community. Twenty-six hours of classes is only 15 percent of the hours that our children live weekly.

It is in this 85 percent of time spent living and learning where I have experienced that boarding school environments have a large advantage in restoring positive life habits and self-image of our middle school boys who have experienced the damaging mismatch between their learning style and traditional education practices and environments. How to translate some of this consistency and control over these fragmented, inconsistent, and fast-paced lives of our children is a pressing issue that demands our attention in the discourse of how we best raise and educate our children to keep them, and ultimately our country, competitive and healthy.

—By James A. McDaniel, Headmaster of Linden Hill School

U.S. Bachelor's Degree Rate is Rising

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The Census Bureau annual Educational Attainment report was released last week, and depicted the percentage of bachelor degree holders in the United States is at a record level. In the United States last year, 30.4 percent of people over age 25 held at least a bachelor’s degree, and 10.9 percent held a graduate degree, which has risen from 26.2 percent and 8.7 percent 10 years earlier.

As women continue to pursue higher education, they will soon outnumber their male counterparts who hold bachelor's degrees. Figures also represented that all demographic groups have made strides, even though the gap between blacks/Hispanics and whites widened. The percentage of Non-Hispanic whites holding bachelor's degrees grew from 28.7 percent to 34 percent, whereas the black and latino demographic only experienced a three to four percent increase.

High School Completion Yields National Economic Benefits

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In a recent op-ed in the New York Times, Henry M. Levin and Cecilia E. Rouse argue that increasing high school graduation rates in the United States is vital for the country's well being and will even "pay for itself."

They write: "When the costs of investment to produce a new graduate are taken into account, there is a return of $1.45 to $3.55 for every dollar of investment, depending upon the educational intervention strategy. Under this estimate, each new graduate confers a net benefit to taxpayers of about $127,000 over the graduate’s lifetime. This is a benefit to the public of nearly $90 billion for each year of success in reducing the number of high school dropouts by 700,000 — or something close to $1 trillion after 11 years."
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