Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Depression Test

By screening all teens, doctors hope to identify those with mental disorders

By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Soon after her sister committed suicide, Caroline Downing started doing poorly at school. During math tests she would freeze up, and she found her mind wandering constantly. Officials at St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac gently suggested that the high school sophomore get a mental health screening.

The idea of a psychiatric evaluation sent chills down the spine of Caroline's mother, Mathy Milling Downing, who believed that her younger daughter, Candace, had committed suicide because of an adverse reaction linked to a psychiatric drug -- the antidepressant Zoloft. Shortly after Candace's death, the Food and Drug Administration placed black-box warnings on several antidepressants to say they elevated suicidal thinking among some children. If Caroline were going to get the same kind of mental health care as Candace, Downing wanted no part of it.

Read more HERE.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Challenging America's Me-First Culture

By Colleen Carroll Campbell
Posted: Thursday, May 7, 2009
ARTICLE St. Louis Post Dispatch
Publication Date: May 7, 2009

When the Los Angeles-based Josephson Institute of Ethics recently released its 2008 Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth, the results were not pretty.

The survey of nearly 30,000 high school students nationwide found that 64 percent had cheated on a test in the past year (up from 60 percent two years earlier) and 38 percent had cheated more than once. More than a third had used the Internet to plagiarize. And lest they get credit for coming clean on the anonymous survey, which also tracked rising rates of teen lying and stealing, more than a quarter confessed to lying on at least one survey question.

Read more HERE

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Loudoun Schoolteacher's Past Comes to Light at Hearing

By Michael Birnbaum, Maria Glod
The Washington Post/ Loudounextra.com
May 19, 2009

A Loudoun County teacher became the focus of a congressional hearing today on restraining school children as government investigators reported that a child in her classroom at a Texas public school died seven years ago when she lay atop him after he refused to stay in his seat.

Dawn Marie Hamilton, a special education teacher at Park View High School in Sterling, was not criminally charged in the 2002 death of 14-year old Cedric Napoleon. But an administrative judge found the teacher used “excessive and unnecessary force,” according to Texas records, and upheld a decision to list her on a state registry of individuals found to have abused or neglected children.

Read more HERE.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bullying, Thefts Persist Despite Drop in Violence

Effects of Harm Can Linger, Report Finds

By Valerie Strauss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 11, 2009

Even though spasms of intense violence erupt on campuses occasionally and linger in the social consciousness, violence at schools across the country has been decreasing for a number of years.

That doesn't necessarily mean schools are safe havens. Consider:

-- Eighty-six percent of public schools in 2005-06 reported that one or more violent incidents, thefts of items valued at $10 or greater or other crimes had occurred -- a rate of 46 crimes per 1,000 enrolled students.

-- Almost a third of students ages 12 to 18 reported being bullied inside school.

-- Nearly a quarter of teenagers reported the presence of gangs at their schools.

Read more HERE.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Research suggests children can recover from autism

The Associated Press
Friday, May 8, 2009; 5:24 PM

CHICAGO -- Leo Lytel was diagnosed with autism as a toddler. But by age 9 he had overcome the disorder. His progress is part of a growing body of research that suggests at least 10 percent of children with autism can "recover" from it _ most of them after undergoing years of intensive behavioral therapy.

Skeptics question the phenomenon, but University of Connecticut psychology professor Deborah Fein is among those convinced it's real.

Read more HERE.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

REMINDER: Board Meeting 5/12/09

The Board of Education's next monthly meeting is Tuesday, May 12, at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building on Radio Station Road in La Plata. The public portion of the meeting begins at 1 p.m. and recognition begins at 4:30 p.m. The meeting is televised live on Comcast Channel 96 and rebroadcast throughout the week. Program schedules for Channel 96 are available at www2.ccboe.com/publicinfo/channel96/schedule.cfm. The agenda and reports can be found on BoardDocs

Executive session  12 p.m.

Call to order  1 p.m.

Pledge of Allegiance, Thomas Stone High School's JROTC unit

Reports of officers/boards/committees

  • Superintendent's report
  • Superintendent's redistricting recommendation
  • Correspondence/Board Member updates
  • Education Association of Charles County update
  • Student Board Member update
  • Maryland TELL survey
  • Educational facilities master plan update
  • Title I update
  • Out-of-county tuition fees
  • Budget update on state funding
  • Policy series 1000 update
  • Policy 5117, bullying update

Unfinished business

New business and future agenda items

Recognition  4:30 p.m.

  • Roger M. Smith Science and Engineering Scholarship awards presentation
  • Sheriff's Office presentation for teen driving initiatives
  • Students
  • Employees

Public Forum  6 p.m.

Action items

  • Minutes
  • Personnel


Sending of Explicit Photos Can Land Teens in Legal Fix

By Donna St. George
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 7, 2009

In Fairfax County, a teenage boy sent out a text message asking girls to send photos of their breasts. Word got out at his high school, police said, and when authorities tracked the teen down, they discovered a cache of naked images on his phone.

Thus began another investigation into "sexting" -- sending sexually explicit photos by cellphone -- and another deliberation about when adolescent impulsiveness and indiscretion become a serious criminal act. Some of the photos could qualify as child pornography, a felony in Virginia, police said.

Read more HERE.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Personal Best: The case for colorblindness in the age of genetics

By William Saletan
Posted Tuesday, May 5, 2009, at 9:11 AM ET

John McWhorter has attacked me.

Well, not really. He has actually written a very polite spanking of me in his blog at the New Republic. But I like to think of it as an attack, because coming from McWhorter, there's no higher compliment. I remember watching him give a talk on C-SPAN years ago. The subject was black underachievement and its politically correct apologists. It was like one of those action-movie scenes where the hero takes on 50 guys in hand-to-hand combat. He was fearless and funny and brutally incisive.

McWhorter believes in holding people to high standards. He despises excuse-making and wallowing in victimhood. I'm a huge fan of his argument and his attitude. As a prescription for underachievers, I think it's both the best medicine and the highest form of respect.

Read more HERE.

White House seeks comments on education law

The Associated Press
Tuesday, May 5, 2009; 8:01 PM

BUNKER HILL, W.Va. -- Special education teacher Lynn Reichard has a problem with the federal No Child Left Behind law: Some of her kids cannot read, never mind pass its required state test.

Reichard told Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Tuesday that she works all year long to boost the self-esteem of mentally impaired students at Bunker Hill Elementary, only to see them fall apart over standardized tests.

"They feel so good about themselves, and then they look at a two-paragraph reading passage, and they know six words," Reichard said. "I have one child here that's a nonreader, and she's going to have to take the test, and she's going to cry.

"There's just got to be another answer for that," Reichard said.

Read more HERE.

College-School Partnerships Offer Head Start on Higher Education

By Maria Glod
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mayra Avila is looking forward to her high school prom. She's also a college student taking government and English composition courses.

Avila, 18, isn't a Doogie Howser-esque superachiever. The West Potomac High School senior is among hundreds of thousands of teenagers getting a head start on an associate's or bachelor's degree -- and saving on tuition -- by taking college courses in high school.

Read more HERE.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Graduation 2009

Board of Education members participate in graduations as part of the academic procession, and along with the Superintendent confer diplomas to the graduating class.

If you wish to have your graduating senior presented their diploma by a particular board member, please contact that board member with the student's name and school as soon as possible.

Creationism rears its head in Texas schools

The Texas State Board of Education is using its powers to ensure that textbooks give a nod to creationist theories

"In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made school boards."

Mark Twain wrote that in 1897, and Americans still quote it, with feeling. It comes to mind for many observers of a current battle over science education in Texas.

Read more about it HERE.