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From kindergarten to high school classes to schools of law and medicine, educators are offering mindfulness as a strategy to enhance students’ academic performance and to support their physical and mental health. Mindfulness, an antidote to the wandering mind, is focused awareness in the present moment. The most common mindfulness practice is to focus on breathing while holding thoughts and sensations in nonjudgmental awareness.
History class should be a space where students learn to think and reason, not just memorize. We want students to be able to answer not only “What happened?” but “How do you know?” and “Why do you believe your interpretation is valid?” Such questions align with the Common Core State Standards, which specify that college-ready students be able identify an author’s perspective, develop claims, and cite evidence to support their analyses.
Who actually leads in a school? Traditionally, the answer has been the people with titles and offices. Principals and superintendents do wield formal power, but research tells us that many people actually influence the core work of successful schools.
Before joining the University of Pennsylvania as the Dean of the Graduate School of Education in January 2015, Pam Grossman, jumpstarted Stanford University’s Hollyhock Fellowship program. The renowned program is designed to keep talented, early-career high school educators working in underserved schools from leaving the field.
[[image|left|faculty=4987|caption=Dr. Yasmin Kafai]]What if instead of just learning about biology, students could design synthetic genetic circuits that would enable microorganisms to change color, smell, and shape?
[[image|left|faculty=5049|caption=Dean Pam Grossman]]Penn GSE Dean Pam Grossman has done extensive research in the New York City Public Schools evaluating the effectiveness of teachers, including uncertified ones.
In this interview, Grossman shares her apprehension about the Michigan legislature's move. “There’s no research I’m aware of that shows uncertified teachers are the solution,” she said.
In 2014, the York City School District was in crisis. Its budget was busted, and student performance had bottomed out. A proposal to convert the district to all charter schools fizzled, but the glaring problems remained.
[[image|left|caption=John DeFlaminis works with administrators across Pennsylvania|width=400|src=https://www.gse.upenn.edu/system/files/u225/deflam.jpg]]
One afternoon last summer, as she listened to Dr. John DeFlaminis tell eight educators how he was going to transform their schools with distributed leadership teams, Danielle Brown felt a surge of adrenaline. This is what effective schools do, Brown remembers thinking. She had worked at such schools before, but not since moving to the York City School District to become principal of the McKinley K–8 School. Brown saw educators in York working hard, but not together, to serve their students.
[[image|left|width=200|caption=Michael Farrell|src=https://www.gse.upenn.edu/system/files/u225/Farrell%20Pic.jpg]] On June 1, the School District of Philadelphia announced the appointment of Michael Farrell as the next principal of the Penn Alexander School (PAS), a partnership school with Penn’s Graduate School of Education.