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Volume  4,   Issue 3        May 2018
Newsletter Editor:  Dr. John E. Holmes
Two studies point to the power of teacher-student relationships to boost learning
Hechinger Report | Jill Barshay | May 2018
Two studies on how best to teach elementary schools students — one on the popular trend of “platooning” and one on the far less common practice of “looping” — at first would seem totally unrelated other than the fact that they both use silly words with double-o’s. “Platooning” refers to having teachers specialize in a particular subject, such as math or English, and young students switch teachers for each class. “Looping” is a term used when kids keep the same teacher for two years in a row. They don’t switch teachers for each subject and don’t switch each year.
One economist found that platooning might be harming kids and two other economists found that looping is quite beneficial. The reason one doesn’t work and the other does may be related.
“These studies are important because they tell us that teacher-student relationships matter,” said Tyrone Howard, a professor of education at the University of California, Los Angeles, who is writing a book on the research about students’ relationships with their teachers and how well they learn. ”I think schools in many ways have put the cart before the horse. What they’ve done is they want to jump right into academics and really dismiss or minimize the importance of relationships.”
Continue Reading >>>
and Events
2018 Reaching the Wounded Student Conference
June 24-27, 2018 | Orlando, FL
19th Annual AAAE Conference on Alternative Education
July 8-10, 2018 | Rogers, AR
Missouri Alternative Education Network, July 15-17, 2018 | Lake Ozark, MO
Creating Alternative Pathways for Student Success
September 12-14, 2018 | Mobile, AL
Georgia Association of Alternative Educators (GAAE) State Conference
October 18-19, 2018 | Atlanta, GA
NAEA at the 2018 National Dropout Prevention Conference
October 28-31, 2018 | Columbus, OH
Regions IV & VI Symposium
December 6-8, 2018 | Montgomery, AL
Monthly Twitter Chat

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
Follow the NAEA Blog! 
NAEA Board
Dr. Pam Bruening
Kathleen Chronister
Vice President
Pat Conner
Dr. Ja'net Bishop
Kay Davenport
Past President
Justin DeMartin
Region 1 
Dr. Edward Lowther
Region 2
Dr. Michael Hylen
Region 3
Jacquelyn Whitt
Region 4
Glen Hoffman
Region 5
Coby Davis
Region 6
Sean Hollas
Region 7
Dr. John E. Holmes
Region 8
Valinda Jones
Region 9
Richard K. Thompson
Technology & Branding
Frances Gooden
Advocacy & Research 

Submit to the NAEA Newsletter!
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
Does Listening To Music Help With Studying?
Emily Southey | March 17, 2018 | via Grade Slam 
With a long study session ahead of you, your first instinct may be to whip out your headphones. However, recent psychological research suggests that we should think twice before tuning in to the first thing on our playlist. While research into the psychological effects of music is still in its infancy (and is often contradictory), here we're going to go over some generally accepted facts about music processing, and its effects on your cognitive performance.
Fact 1: Listening to music is never a completely passive activity
Sure, being at the receiving end of a song isn't nearly so demanding as solving a math equation or writing an essay, but your brain must still use energy to process all the sound signals entering your nervous system. 
Fact 2: Listening to music can create interference
Music not only uses up processing energy, but it can also create interference with other mental activities involved in studying. 
Fact 3: Music creates a context-dependent learning scenario

Research has found that people are better at recalling information in environments resembling those in which they learned the information.
Fact 4: Listening to music may be motivating and mood-elevating. But we're not sure.
A study published in "Psychology of Music" in 2005 concluded that workers listening to music had higher productivity levels than those who didn't. The researchers speculated that the music heightened the workers' mood, thereby increasing their motivation. Therefore, even though music may create some degree of interference with other tasks, and uses up mental processing resources, the net effect may sometimes be to improve concentration and motivation. 
Learn more about the research studies supporting these facts >>>
NAEA at the 
2018 National Dropout Prevention
October 28-31, 2018, Columbus, OH
Lowest Ever Black Jobless Rate
Is Still Twice That of Whites
New York Times
Natalie Kitroeff and Ben Casselman Feb. 23, 2018 
Should states use different methods to hold alternative schools accountable?
Linda Jacobson | May 2018 | EducationDive
The California State Board of Education has approved a change to its accountability system that would allow alternative schools — such as dropout recovery schools — to report one-year graduation rates instead of the percentage of students who earn a diploma within four years.
Beginning this fall, the change would apply to the category of schools — known in California as those with Dashboard Alternative School Status (DASS) — that enroll students behind on credits for graduation, but who are expected to complete the requirements within a year.
At a meeting last week, the board approved a method for calculating a one-year rate as part of a larger effort to create a set of measurements that better capture what takes place in DASS schools. 
Continue Reading >>>
Exemplary Practices in Alternative Education Recognition Program
The Tennessee Department of Education, in partnership with the Governor's Advisory Board for Alternative Education, established the Exemplary Practices in Alternative Education Recognition Program to recognize the efforts of schools who exemplify high-quality alternative education services. The exemplary practices provide a framework for schools to develop and implement a standards-based approach to high-quality alternative education programs that stress the importance of meeting the educational and social and personal needs of all students.
Eleven alternative schools/programs from across the state made application to the recognition program. Schools/programs that applied not only submitted an application but also received a site visit from members of the department and the governor’s advisory board.
Awardees participated in a formal recognition ceremony in Nashville where Commissioner Candace McQueen awarded the honor.  Schools that received exemplary recognition for alternative education for 2017-18 are Richard Yoakley Alternative School, Knoxville; Jefferson Academy, Jefferson City; and, G.W. Carver College and Career Academy, Memphis.
Congratulations to the faculty and staff of each school for exemplifying high-quality alternative education for their students. For questions about the recognition program, contact Pat Conner, Tennessee Department of Education and NAEA board member, at
G.W. Carver College and Career Academy 

Richard Yoakley Alternative Schoo
Jefferson Academy
NAEA Region Map
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High School Diploma Criteria Fall Short, Study Finds
Lower bar trips students at college door
Catherine Gewertz | April 10, 2018 | Via Education Week
Most state high school graduation requirements are so poorly designed that they trap students in a "preparation gap," where they don't qualify for admission to public universities, according to a new study.
In its April 2 report, the Center for American Progress analyzed how states' requirements for a standard diploma match up with the admissions criteria at their respective state universities. The think tank found that in most states, in at least one subject area, students must exceed their state's high school graduation requirements in order to cross the threshold of the public four-year institutions in their state.
The CAP study describes two big problems. Most state diploma requirements:
  • Don't meet admissions criteria for the state's public universities. Noted by other researchers as well, this "preparation gap" can form a barrier to college when students find that the diploma requirements they completed fall short of the ones their state colleges and universities expect for admission.
  • Leave too much up to the student. In many states, students can decide which core courses to take in order to fulfill graduation requirements. That means they could finish high school with a relatively weak lineup of classes, or courses that don't match well with their postsecondary goals.
Against the backdrop of a series of graduation-rate scandals—like the recent one in the District of Columbia, where schools bent the rules to let students get diplomas—the CAP report is a call to keep expectations high, and make sure all students get what they need to meet them.
Continue Reading >>>
(Image via Education Week.)
What Happens to Student Behavior When Schools Prioritize Art
April 9, 2018 | Sir Ken Robinson and Lou Arnica
Excerpt from You, Your Child, and School: Navigate Your Way to the Best Education by Sir Ken Robinson, Ph. D and Lou Aronica, published on March 13, 2018 by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright by Ken Robinson, 2018.
Room to Maneuver
There’s more room to make changes within the current education system than many people think. Schools operate as they do not because they have to but because they choose to. They don’t need to be that way; they can change and many do. Innovative schools everywhere are breaking the mold of convention to meet the best interests of their students, families, and communities. As well as great teachers, what they have in common is visionary leadership. They have principals who are willing to make the changes that are needed to promote the success of all their students, whatever their circumstances and talents. A creative principal with the right powers of leadershipcan take a failing school and turn it into a hot spot of innovation and inclusion that benefits everyone it touches.
Take Orchard Gardens elementary school in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Ten years ago Orchard Gardens was in the doldrums. By most measures, it was one of the most troubled schools in the state. The school had five principals in its first seven years. Each fall, half the teachers did not return. Test scores were in the bottom 5 percent of all Massachusetts schools. The students were disaffected and unruly and there was a constant threat of violence. Students weren’t allowed to carry backpacks to school for fear that they might use them to conceal weapons, and there was an expensive staff of security guards, costing more than $250,000 a year, to make sure they didn’t. Remember, this was an elementary school.
Principal number six, Andrew Bott, arrived in 2010. People had told him that becoming principal at Orchard Gardens would be a career killer. He knew its reputation as one of the worst-performing schools in Massachusetts and admits that when he arrived it did feel like a prison. He had a radically different solution to its problems, which shocked many observers. He decided to eliminate the security staff altogether and invest the money in arts programs instead.
The school was enlisted as one of eight pilot schools for a new plan created by President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities (PCAH). In the next two years, Bott replaced 80 percent of the teachers and recruited others with special expertise in the arts: teachers who believed in his new vision for the school. “This was a far better investment,” said Bott, than “spending a quarter of a million dollars on six people to chase a few kids around who are misbehaving.” Together they introduced strong systems to support students as individuals. They lengthened the school day and started a data-driven approach to school improvement from monitoring attendance to test scores. And they focused on reinvigorating the school culture as a whole. They bought instruments, invited artists to come into school to work with the children, and ran creative workshops for the teachers and parents. The arts classes gave the students fresh enthusiasm for learning, and the walls and corridors were soon covered with displays of their work, which itself created a more stimulating environment and sense of ownership by the children. “Kids do well,” Bott said, “when you design and build a school that they want to be in. Having great arts programs and athletics programs makes school an enjoyable place to be and that’s when you see success.”
Continue Reading >>> 
(Image via Penguin Random House.)
March 23, 2018 David November
New York Times columnist David Brooks recently penned an op-ed on the importance of excellent principals.  Among his chief assertions is the notion that great principals are the key driver of school improvement: “…structural change and increasing teacher quality don’t get you very far without a strong principal.”
There’s just one problem.  We don’t have enough great principals, those principals don’t stick around long enough to yield the greatest results, and the most inexperienced principals are often placed in the areas of greatest need:
Research suggests that it takes five to seven years for a principal to have full impact on a school, but most principals burn out and leave in four years or less.
This is not surprising, given the fact that principals are teachers first, and there is a nationwide teacher shortage as many flock from the profession due to structural and financial issues that show little sign of abetting, the recent strikes notwithstanding.  Coupled with the pressures implicit in the instant accountability era, it should be of no shock that there is a dearth of excellent school leadership –even as we know that, along with great teaching, it is the factor that can make the most significant difference.
Brooks is partially correct when he begins his article by stating, “The solutions to the nation’s problems already exist somewhere out in the country; we just do a terrible job of circulating them.”  But the main problem isn’t necessarily that great ideas aren’t circulating – it’s that we don’t have enough quality people who want to spend their lives creatively applying those ideas in schools across the country.
Continue Reading >>>
Attention, Students: Put Your Laptops Away
James Doubek | via NPR
As laptops become smaller and more ubiquitous, and with the advent of tablets, the idea of taking notes by hand just seems old-fashioned to many students today. Typing your notes is faster — which comes in handy when there's a lot of information to take down. But it turns out there are still advantages to doing things the old-fashioned way.
For one thing, research shows that laptops and tablets have a tendency to be distracting — it's so easy to click over to Facebook in that dull lecture. And a study has shown that the fact that you have to be slower when you take notes by hand is what makes it more useful in the long run.
In the study published in Psychological Science, Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles sought to test how note-taking by hand or by computer affects learning.
"When people type their notes, they have this tendency to try to take verbatim notes and write down as much of the lecture as they can," Mueller tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "The students who were taking longhand notes in our studies were forced to be more selective — because you can't write as fast as you can type. And that extra processing of the material that they were doing benefited them."
Mueller and Oppenheimer cited that note-taking can be categorized two ways: generative and nongenerative. Generative note-taking pertains to "summarizing, paraphrasing, concept mapping," while nongenerative note-taking involves copying something verbatim.
And there are two hypotheses to why note-taking is beneficial in the first place. The first idea is called the encoding hypothesis, which says that when a person is taking notes, "the processing that occurs" will improve "learning and retention." The second, called the external-storage hypothesis, is that you learn by being able to look back at your notes, or even the notes of other people.
Continue Reading >>>
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