Marciene Mattleman, 89, a feisty advocate for Philadelphia’s children who created a legacy of programs to promote literacy and afterschool activities, died Friday, March 29, after a four-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. “No one in this city has done more for the schoolchildren of Philadelphia and our region than Marciene Mattleman,” former Governor Ed Rendell said in 2015 when she retired as board chair of After School Activities Partnerships, one of the organizations she created.
As the desire to improve social emotional learning for all students grows, it is increasingly important to measure its effectiveness. But the field has lacked an organized method of identifying, choosing and using the best assessments to measure students’ competencies. Two newly developed tools can help.
Consider these ideas: Some kids are STEM kids and some are not. Students need to master science and math basics before moving on to STEM concepts. STEM focuses on future jobs, so educators should concentrate instruction in middle and high school.
Wrong, wrong and wrong, say the experts. In fact, such myths contribute to many students’ STEM struggles. Add to these a 2016 study that found kids show up for kindergarten with uneven exposure to STEM. That gap, which can dog students through middle school, is so real that researchers can more consistently predict future academic achievement based on preschool math abilities than on early reading or attention skills.
There is a remedy: Expose all children as early as possible to STEM and the gap narrows. Yes, you read that right. Researchers believe the science-math gap is really a pervasive early opportunity gap.
PSAYDN held their annual legislative advocacy day in Harrisburg on Wednesday, March 27. More than 200 advocates – including parents, program providers, youth, educators, faith-based leaders, community and business leaders from across the state – came together to highlight the importance of out-of-school time opportunities in our state. The advocates visited with legislators, attended legislative sessions and rallied in the Rotunda of the Pennsylvania State Capitol.
Photo: Advocates on the steps of the Rotunda at the Pennsylvania State Capital in Harrisburg, rallying for better out-of-school time opportunities.
Photo: Front left to right: Savannah Bonson, Caroline Scheckter, Skye Ritter, Timmy Hamilton, Sylvi Gaisior, Ryder Jones, Katey Kwiterovich; Back left to right: Rita Zielonis, Ray Desmit, Quinn Stanford, Josh Wagner, Becky Namet, Michelle Russell
When you ask American teenagers to pick a single word to describe how they feel in school, the most common choice is “bored.” The institutions where they spend many of their waking hours, they’ll tell you, are lacking in rigor, relevance or both. What would it take to transform high schools into more humanizing and intellectually vital places? The answer is right in front of us, if only we knew where to look. Debate, drama and other extracurricular provide the excitement many classrooms lack, and they can help overhaul the system.