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Volume  3,   Issue 8         August 2017
Newsletter Editor:  Dr. John E. Holmes
NAEA Summer
Regional Events
July 9-11, 2017 
Arkansas Association of Alternative Educators 18th Annual Conference
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July 10-12, 2017
TAEA 2017 Annual Conference
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July 16-18, 2017
Missouri Alternative Education Association
10th Annual Conference

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NAEA Region 4 Symposium
June 15-17, 2017
Montgomery, AL
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Our challenge is not to educate the children we used to have or want to have, but to educate the children who come to the schoolhouse door. 
H. G. Wells
NAEA Board
Dr. Pam Bruening
Kathleen Chronister
Vice President
Pat Conner
Dr. Ja'net Bishop
Kay Davenport
Past President
Jacqueline Whitt, Dr. John E. Holmes, Dr. Ed Lowther, Denise Riley, Richard Thompson, and Dr. Amy Schlessman
Board Members

Connect with NAEA!
Connect with your regional director today 

Every Student Succeeds ACT 
Read the NAEA statement and recommendations about the Every Student Succeeds ACT
NAEA Twitter Chat

#NAEACHAT Monthly Twitter Chats - (30 Minute) 

WHO : All Stakeholders in the field of Alternative / Non-Traditional Education
WHAT : A monthly Twitter Chat focused on NAEA's Exemplary Practices
WHERE : On Social Media - Twitter
WHEN : The last Tuesday of each month / 9:00 PM EST / 30 Minute Chat
WHY : To build capacity and awareness
HOW : Twitter
Follow @NAEA_Hope on Twitter and join in using #NAEACHAT
Share your Ideas!
Have an article you'd like us to include in the NAEA newsletter? Submit an article to Dr. John E. Holmes, Editor at
using “NAEA News” in the subject line. 
Read a previous issue here
9 Of The Best Math Apps and Games for High School Students
July 8, 2017 | Matthew Lynch | The Tech Advocate
Math has always been known as one of the less-glamorous subjects. Sure, some people love the rhythm and reason of mathematical concepts, but average Kindergartners won’t tell you that they want to be an engineer, or a mathematician, or even a computer scientist when they grow up. But if every Kindergartner grew up to be a fireman, or movie star, or race car driver, or pilot, our society would certainly suffer.
So, how can teachers make learning math more interactive and more fun, especially for high school students? True, teachers can make up games to teach a math concept that involves every student. But, when teachers need to help students in small groups or one-on-one, how can they make sure that other students are actively practicing math skills?
One of the great aspects of having iPads in the classroom is the availability educational apps. With these apps, students can individually learn, practice, and have fun with different subjects and concepts. Luckily, there are many good, quality math apps out there. To help high school educators find innovative ways to teach math, we decided to create a list 9 of the best math apps and games for high school students.
  1. CK-12
  2. PhET Interactive Simulations: Math
  3. CueThink
  4. Desmos
  5. Mathalicious
  6. Virtual Nerd
  7. Brilliant
  8. GeoGebra
  9. ExploreLearning Gizmos: Mathematics Grades 9-12
Continue Reading About Each of These Apps
College Scholarship Program: Jack Kente Cooke Foundation
Mark your calendar for the Jack Kente Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program. 
This scholarship rewards excellence by supporting high-achieving high school seniors with financial need who seek to attend the nation's best four-year colleges and universities.
Application Period: September-November. 
How To Apply: Visit
MSU offering alternative path to teaching certification
STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State University is offering people interested in going into teaching an alternate route to getting a teaching degree.
MSU is offering scholarships to help students with up to $5,000 in tuition, The Enterprise-Journal of McComb reports. In return, graduates who receive the Teacher Education for Rural Middle Schools scholarship must agree to teach middle school in one of the 72 designated school districts partnering with the program — including McComb and South Pike.
Outreach coordinator for the alternative programs at MSU Dekota Cheatham said the university also offers three different programs with a choice of emphasis. Programs include certification in upper elementary and middle school, high school and special education.
"We invite students to come to campus and meet their fellow classmates and professors soon after they are admitted," Cheatham said. "But students of the alternate route programs are never required to come to Starkville."
All of the alternate route programs lead to a state teaching license and can be completed online.
Cheatham said the program will also donate around $5,000 in technology to the school that hires a newly certified teacher. Those donations include laptops, printers, projectors and document cameras.
In 2015, the program provided $52,500 in scholarships and more than $50,000 in technology donations, Cheatham said. Since the program started, the university has provided $250,000 in scholarships and $250,000 in technology donations.
2018 NAEA Video Contest!
JOINING HANDS TOWARD ONE DESTINY”    Tell the story of your alternative program in a 2-5 minute video or rap. This contest is open to middle and high school students who attend alternative education programs. Your video should communicate the message and mission of your program and relate it to the annual national NAEA conference theme “Joining Hands Toward One Destiny.” Entries may express this theme in any genre or shooting style, but must be submitted by link containing a YouTube URL.
Winners will receive the following cash awards:
First Prize—$400.00     
Second Prize—$300.00     
Third Prize—$200.00
Up to five Honorable Mentions—$100 each
Entrants must be currently enrolled in and attending a middle or high school alternative education program at the time of the submission.
Entries will be judged on the following criteria:
  • overall impact
  • effectiveness of conveying theme
  • artistic merit
  • technical proficiency
A panel will make the final selection of winners. Judges’ decisions are final.
  • Entrants must be enrolled in and attending alternative education classes.
  • Entries must interpret some variation of the theme, “Joining Hands Toward One Destiny”.  All forms must be signed and may be photocopied.
  • Entries must be 2-5 minutes in length.
  • Entrants who do not obtain and cannot provide written documentation of all necessary rights and permissions for music, images, video clips, and any and all other non-original aspects of their entries will be disqualified.
  • Entries must be submitted by a link to a YouTube URL.
  • Each entry must be labeled with the entrant’s name, school mailing address, and telephone number, as well as the title and length of the entry.
  • Parent permission must be signed for every student participating in the video who is under the age of 18.
  • All entries must be postmarked by DECEMBER 18, 2017.
  • All entries become the property of NAEA. Entries cannot be returned.
  • Judges’ decisions are final. All prizes need not be awarded.
Full Rules and Information here >>>
School Accountability and Alternative Education

At our July meeting/retreat, the National Alternative Education Association (NAEA) Board of Directors approved a position statement about School Accountability and Alternative Education. 
The position statement recognizes that accountability for alternative education is a state policy decision.  NAEA’s Exemplary Practices support differentiated accountability for alternative/non-traditional schools and programs.  NAEA encourages consideration of certain indicators in its Exemplary Practices when developing a state or local accountability system.  We hope this position statement will be used by our members and others as accountability systems are created or revised.  The entire position statement is available on the NAEA website, Documents and Research, School Accountability & Alternative Education,
24th Annual Conference on Alternative Education
Teaching students of color: Looking race in the face
Derek Mitchell, Jesse Hinueber, and Brian Edwards | via Phi Delta Kappan

Schools that achieve strong results with black students address race directly and teach in ways that empower students to learn.
To promote equality, many educators try to be “colorblind.” They try to look past the race of their students to avoid bias and create a refuge from the racially charged atmosphere outside the classroom.
Although the impulse is understandable and the sentiment is admirable, the colorblind approach is misguided. We cannot avoid being affected by racial currents in society, whether we acknowledge them or not. We all aspire to a world in which race is not used to prejudge people. However, by confusing the pluralistic and embracing world we strive for with the racially divisive world we have, we decrease the likelihood of ever attaining our goal. Likewise, many educators espouse the mantra “all students can learn,” but they tend to avoid hard conversations about strategies that will help particular students learn.
Four focuses that work
Programs aimed at meeting the needs of “all students” — for example whole-school reform and school-accountability initiatives — don’t necessarily address the needs of black youth challenged by poverty. Typically, black students still perform at significantly lower levels than white and Asian students. Schools that do achieve strong results for black students address racial dynamics carefully yet directly, empower students to bring their whole selves to school, and teach in ways that leverage students’ experiences and cultures. In particular, these schools do four things to ensure success with black students:
  • They direct attention, strategies, and resources to black student achievement.
  • They provide opportunities for adult learning about race, culture, class, and power and about how those dynamics make certain communities vulnerable.
  • They foster strong relationships between educators and black students.
  • They create classroom environments that emphasize excellence and empower students to exercise agency over their own learning.
Continue Reading >>>
Call Me MiSTER – Mentoring
Jackson State University partnered with Clemson and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to establish the first Call Me MISTER® program in the Deep South, introducing the first cohort of five students at JSU in Fall 2012, followed by the second, third and fourth cohorts of five in Fall 2013, Fall 2014 and Fall 2015. To ensure that the effort continues, the JSU, Clemson University’s Call Me MISTER® program received $1.3 million from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to collaborate with the College of Education and Human Development to increase the number of African-American male teachers in Mississippi K-8 classrooms. 
June 25 – 28, 2017, 20 students and their mentor, Dr. John E. Holmes, and faculty academic coach, Dr. Tony Latiker, traveled to Clemson, SC to attend the annual Leadership Institute.  The Institute was designed to enhance personal development, to understand service-oriented leadership, and to gain a greater sense of empowerment within the context of black history, culture, and educational and spiritual legacy.
Dr. Roy I. Jones, director of Call Me Mister, Clemson, SC, with Dr. John E. Holmes, attending the Call Me Mister Leadership Institute, June 25-28, the theme: Champions for Children. 
Also "officially met" Anna Wilson, who is employed at Clemson University with the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network in the College of Education and produces the newsletter for the National Alternative Education Association.  
The mission of the Call Me MiSTER® (acronym for Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models) Initiative is to increase the pool of available teachers from a broader more diverse background particularly among the State's lowest performing elementary schools. Student participants are largely selected from among under-served, socio-economically disadvantaged and educationally at-risk communities.
The Call Me MiSTER® program collaborates with the Clemson University College of Education’s Charles H. Houston Center to pursue its research and evaluation goals. In this regard, the Charles H. Houston Center is responsible for designing and implementing the research and evaluation plan for the Call Me MiSTER® program. The purpose of the research and evaluation program is to assess the development and impact of preservice and inservice Call Me MiSTER® teachers, as well as study the development and effectiveness of preservice and inservice underrepresented male teachers.
Benefits to students enrolled in Call Me MISTER® include tuition assistance, professional development opportunities, and academic and social mentoring provided by a program coordinator and a faculty academic coach. Call Me MISTER® participants major in Elementary or Early Childhood Education, and are required to maintain consistent, above-average academic engagement, including enrolling for at least 16 credit hours per term, maintaining a 2.75 GPA, following all attendance policies, developing an academic support plan, satisfying all requirements for the JSU Teacher Education program, and taking the PRAXIS exam by the end of their freshman year. The MISTER® are expected to serve as ambassadors to other students and the community-at-large by maintaining a high standard of self-conduct and acting as mentors and positive role models at all times.
MSU, new partners help facilitate access to AP classes for rural Mississippi school districts
Via Mississippi State University | By: James Carskadon
Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, the Mississippi Public School Consortium for Educational Access is implementing a pilot program to teach Advanced Placement subject matter in select rural and low-income school districts which currently do not offer the courses. As part of the program, over 20 students from seven participating school districts are taking part in a two-week preparatory summer academy for AP physics at MSU.
When the students return to school in August, they will take an AP physics course taught by Meg Urry of Yale College, an internationally renowned astrophysicist and director of the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics.
The AP classes this school year will be taught in a “blended” style, combining online and in-person instruction from teachers within the students’ schools and from Urry. The Yale professor will visit with students in-person while they are at MSU. Murrah High School and Yale graduate Travis Reginal also will meet with students.
With private support, including a grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the consortium is able to provide the preparatory summer academy and the advanced courses to students free of charge. The academy helps students who have the aptitude and work ethic needed to succeed at a high level reach their full potential. MSU faculty members and researchers, with input from local high school math and physics teachers, designed the curriculum for the preparatory academy. The students are taught math and science methods in the morning and get to see practical applications of the lessons in the afternoon. Program participants were selected by the participating school districts, which include Aberdeen, Booneville, Coahoma County, Holmes County, Pontotoc County, Quitman County and Scott County.
State Ed Dept. proposes new high school diploma options
Via Mississippi Today | Kayleigh Skinner | July 13, 2017
The 2018-19 class of freshmen in Mississippi public schools could be the first to be offered new diploma options, officials announced Thursday.
The State Board of Education approved the first step in revamping diploma options available to high school graduates during its monthly board meeting held here.
If approved, high school seniors will graduate with a new traditional diploma with new course requirements. The Mississippi Department of Education also will offer diploma endorsements in academic, distinguished academic and career and technical categories. Students with significant cognitive disabilities who are unable to earn a traditional diploma will have the option of an alternate diploma, officials said.
“The proposed diploma options will give students more opportunities to demonstrate their strengths and achievements and will clearly communicate that they are well equipped for their next stage in life,” state superintendent of education Carey Wright said in a release.
“These options will provide all students, including students with disabilities, with meaningful opportunities to succeed.”
The state currently has five diploma options for students. Those include career pathway, district option, early exit exam, traditional pathway and the Mississippi Occupation Diploma option, only available for students with special needs.
A Senate bill passed during the 2017 legislative session did away with both the career pathway and occupational diploma options, beginning in the upcoming school year.
Students who are sophomores, juniors, or seniors during the 2018-19 school year will finish out their high school careers with the existing diploma options, MDE executive director of secondary education Jean Massey told reporters during a conference call on Monday. Students on the occupational diploma track need parental permission to continue with that option, according to the release.
Continue Reading >>>
5 Ways to Help Teens Build Self-Awareness (this is important!)
Dennis Trittin | July 10, 2017 |
“It takes endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives.”  Marianne Williamson
Regardless of your family or career role, you probably know some teenagers you’d like to see thrive. And what is one key character trait that generally leads to a happy, healthy, and successful adult life? Unfortunately, one that often takes a back seat as we navigate the busyness of life? Self-awareness.
As consumed as teens are with schoolwork and activities, home responsibilities, jobs, college prep, family, social life, and more, self-reflection is probably the last thing on their minds. However, being self-aware and cultivating healthy self-esteem will help them in life more than they can fully realize. Here a few suggestions to help encourage the teenagers in your life to become more self-aware:
  1. Does your teen journal? If not, encourage them to take a couple moments a day to quietly reflect. Have them write down what they’re passionate about, what they value, who they aspire to be. Suggest they write about their emotions, too. They’ll be surprised at how beneficial it can be!
  2. Set them up with a mentor. We all need mentors! Mentorship relationships provide great learning opportunities for people both young and old. They allow us to model our life after someone we admire and aspire to be like, and learn practical life wisdom from the pros. Your teen’s mentor could be a relative, friend, youth leader,, or someone in their desired career field.
  3. Be open about your own life experiences. A huge part of being self-aware is the ability to identify key people and events that played a role in creating our worldview and life perspective. Talk to your teen about the people who played essential roles in your own life (i.e. your parents, grandparents, a favorite college professor, an author, etc.). One of the greatest gifts we can give the young people in our lives is encouragement and wisdom from our own life experience (the good and the bad!).
  4. Don’t always gloss over mistakes. When your teen messes up in a relationship or in school, it’s easy for us to overlook the shortfall and boost their self-esteem because we want to see them happy again. However, it is important for our teens to know their strengths AS WELL as their weaknesses. Knowing areas of needed improvement will help your teen improve his or her character and mature. Reflective conversations after the fact cement those valuable life lessons.
  5. Have them develop a “Personal Balance Sheet” of their assets (special qualities they have to offer) and their constraints (things holding them back). This exercise is both revealing and inspirational as teens reflect on themselves and receive invaluable input from others. The assignment is found here. 
Continue Reading >>>
How Do You Know When A Teaching Strategy Is Most Effective?
John Hattie Has An Idea
June 2017 | Katrina Schwartz | KQED News
Untangling education research can often feel overwhelming, which may be why many research-based practices take a long time to show up in real classrooms. It could also be one reason John Hattie’s work and book, Visible Learning, appeals to so many educators. Rather than focusing on one aspect of teaching, Hattie synthesizes education research done all over the world in a variety of settings into meta analyses, trying to understand what works in classrooms.
He has calculated the effect sizes of every teaching technique from outlining to project-based learning, which often tempts people to believe the strategies with low effect sizes don’t work and the ones with large effect sizes do. But Hattie — who is director of the Melbourne Educational Research Institute at the University of Melbourne — is the first to disavow this interpretation of his work. Instead, he and colleague Gregory Donoghue have developed a model of learning that proposes why different strategies may be effective at different stages of the learning cycle.
In a presentation at Learning and the Brain in San Francisco, Hattie noted that most studies measure academic achievement in very narrow ways, so while some strategies have high effect sizes for producing test results, they may not lead to sustained learning. “We do at the moment privilege surface level learning,” Hattie said.
But in their Science of Learning article “Learning strategies: a synthesis and conceptual model,” Hattie and Donoghue note that the underlying philosophy of the day-to-day activity of many schools indicates that the “purpose of schooling is to equip students with learning strategies, or the skills of learning how to learn.” Hattie is more concerned with this later definition than of the more narrowly defined achievement, which is why he has attempted to come up with a model of learning that takes into account students’ skills and knowledge, learning dispositions and motivation.
Hattie thinks of the three inputs students bring to learning as “skill, will, and thrill.” And, while what a student already knows may be one of the most important parts of academic achievement, learning dispositions and motivation are also crucial ingredients and worthy goals in and of themselves.
“In fact, if we can increase their sense of love of learning, the thrill, we can increase their sense of self,” Hattie said. In other words, skill, will and thrill, the three inputs students all have, sometimes work in harmony, but even when that doesn’t happen each aspect of a student is worth developing individually, too.
Continue Reading >>>
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