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Baltimore WordPress Camp

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Baltimore WordPress Camp

 

It is a joy to see people teaching and learning together. 

The recent Baltimore WordPress Camp in Baltimore, Maryland was a great example of shared learning.   

My favorite part was the happiness bar–a table where you could ask experts your questions in one-on-one sessions. 

WordPress has a tremendous community of people driven to help each other maximize the power of the internet in sharing ideas and information.   The next local WordPress event is a meetup in Washington DC on Tuesday, October 17th at CHIEF.

https://www.meetup.com/wordpressdc/events/243880318/

 

Here are some images from the two day WordPress Camp in Baltimore. 

You can view additional images  by clicking on the following link:
Gallery Link
To download your images for your personal use, enter this password: WordCamp17Saturday

When School Budgets Don’t Add Up To Success

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A recent article in the Baltimore Sun, Small schools, high salaries behind district’s budget gap, pointed to higher costs of small schools and relatively higher costs of salaries for teachers in the district as the cause of the budget cuts and layoffs at Baltimore City Public Schools. This analysis demonstrates three major errors in how we develop school budgets.

First, we only calculate the cost side of the budget sheet.                                                                                                                                                                      In pointing out the slightly higher costs of small schools, the benefits of the close-knit school, high attendance rates and few suspensions are mentioned, but they are not assigned a value on the other side of the ledger.   If we don’t value high attendance and good school culture, what is it that we do value?  This cost-only accounting pervades our educational decisions, shuttering schools and programs that have real value for students and their success.

Second, comparing urban school district to suburban districts ignores the stark differences in their challenges.  This false comparison is invoked to justify giving urban districts fewer dollars than they need to help their students to succeed.  Can we sit every child in Maryland in a desk in a classroom for about the same price?  Sure.  But if we want our children in impoverished, highly segregated and unequal schools to achieve at levels we expect at suburban schools, we need different strategies and different budgets.

Third, we produce budgets that are unattached to goals.  A budget should be more than an apportionment of funds.  It should be an allocation of funds to achieve meaningful social goals. If we want to escape our legacy of failures in urban education, we have to invest in helping students escape the legacy of poverty and segregation.  We need to throw out the flawed accounting that perpetuates failure and invest in the education our children deserve. The waste in urban education is not small schools or teacher salaries. It’s that too many of our children are not prepared to reach their full potentials.

Students and teachers are working heroically to beat the odds against our streets. Is it too much to ask that we invest in them with the same eagerness that we invest in hotels, stadiums and development projects? This is the investment that will signal the comeback for Baltimore.

-shan

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Youth Summit

posted in: Healthy Schools, Home, News and Issues | 0

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Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD

Associate Dean, Public Health Practice & Training at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, talks with students about health disparities in Baltimore City during a Youth Summit at the Cylburn Arboretum. A recent report on health indicators in Baltimore found that there remains a 20 year disparity in life expectancy between neighborhoods in Baltimore City.

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New Baltimore City health report.
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Students demonstrate how to isolate DNA from strawberries during the Youth Summit in Baltimore.
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Students examine the strands of DNA, separated from strawberries during a demonstration at the Youth Summit in Baltimore.
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Planting flowers
Students at the Youth Summit in Baltimore plant flower seeds in a a small planter that they were given to take home.
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A walk in the woods
Participants at the Youth Summit in Baltimore take a stroll through the woods at the Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore.
You

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Lessons from Out of School

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Here is a peek at some moments from the 7th Annual MOST Conference.
This conference never fails to show me how these programs are bringing exciting and important learning to our children both in and out of schools. Great schools– and schools that want to be great–are wise to pursue partnerships with these programs. The less structured, more fun and experiential model of these programs can reach students which are overlooked or bored in classrooms.

Programs which range from nutrition to robotics to tennis offer students important information and mentors. These programs can fill gaps in the learning and health experiences which many schools no longer provide.

Think of three things that you learned as a child and that you love to do today. How many of those things were taught to you in a classroom and how many did you learn from a parent, friend, or out of school club or organization? Learning is everywhere. Our children will be more successful if we can connect them to their entire universe of learning and growth.

In three hours at the conference, I saw a guided conversation about racism, a session to promote STEM partnerships with the Applied Physics Laboratory, demonstrations of electricity, robotics and physics, a nutritional educational program, a presentation by students who created a world wide tutoring network, and a discussion on generational style differences.

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Ever thought about creating a world wide network of tutoring? You could ask these students how they did it.

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Remember recess? If your students don’t, talk with Playworks about how to get the most out of play at your school.

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If your students want to see how electricity and magnetism work, ask John Walstrum, PH.D at the National Electronics Museum for a demonstration. This piece shows how light striking solar panels can generate electricity to spin the motor and demonstrates polarity.

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Partnerships and collaborations are the best part of the conference. This session explored developing STEM partnerships with one of the premiere scientific laboratories in the world, the Applied Physics Lab.

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Want to see a room jammed with sweaty teenagers intent on only one thing? Go see a robotic competition hosted by Ed Mullin at the Baltimore Robotics Center at 1001 West Pratt Street in Baltimore.