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Rhonda H. Lauer

Today’s Premier Principals: Leading by Doing

by Rhonda H. Lauer November 17, 2011
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Late last month, sixty-one leaders representing both public and private schools from around the nation gathered in Washington, D.C., to be honored as 2011 National Distinguished Principals. Since 1984, the National Association of Elementary School Principals has recognized and celebrated outstanding elementary and middle-level principals who set high standards for instruction, student achievement, character, and climate for students, families, and staffs.

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Reading for Life: Parents & Cyber Learning, A Virtual Commitment

by Rhonda H. Lauer October 5, 2011
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According to the U.S. Department of Education, online learning is one of the nation’s fastest growing trends. All but two states now offer online courses to at least some students. In most cases, online courses are blended with in-school courses, but twenty-seven states allow students to attend virtual schools full-time. Believe it or not, three states – Alabama, Florida, and Michigan (and soon, perhaps Idaho) – actually require online learning for their students.

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Reading for Life: Parenting and the Achievement Gap

by Rhonda H. Lauer June 22, 2011
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Approximately 3 million young people in this country are graduating from high school this month. As a former teacher, principal, and school superintendent, I applaud their achievement. But, here’s the flip side: over 1 million of their peers will not graduate, more than half of them minorities. Boys dropout at a higher rate than girls. And, as my colleague Michele Rodgers noted in her recent blog, African-American males face a double-whammy: only 47% of them will obtain a high school diploma.

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Reading for Life: Entertainment Media

by Rhonda H. Lauer May 25, 2011
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Last week I had the opportunity to participate in the Joan Ganz Cooney Center’s 2011 Leadership Forum. This year’s Forum – Learning from Hollywood: Can Entertainment Media Ignite an Education Revolution? – was held in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Along with other educators, I joined with leaders from the entertainment industry, technology, research, policy, and philanthropy, to explore new ways to support young people’s learning with and through media.

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Reading for Life: Writing for Life

by Rhonda H. Lauer April 28, 2011
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A few weeks ago I came across a fascinating interview with Keren Taylor, the founder of the non-profit organization WriteGirl that pairs professional women writers with high school girls in Los Angeles. Local English teachers help the organization identify girls who would most benefit from the program, both low and high achievers, from a variety of cultures and family backgrounds.

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Reading for Life: What it Means to be Literate

by Rhonda H. Lauer April 6, 2011
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Recently, I’ve been thinking about the meaning of the word literacy. The definition has become a bit muddled lately; these days we talk about computer literacy, cultural literacy, and environmental literacy. Used in this sense, it means “knowledge of a particular subject or field.”

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Reading for Life: Beyond School Hours

by Rhonda H. Lauer February 23, 2011
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This week in Atlanta, Georgia, Foundations is holding its fourteenth annual Beyond School Hours (BSH) conference. BSH is a nationally recognized gathering of educators and thought leaders who are committed to improving teaching and learning in school, afterschool, and in our homes and communities. Once again, this year’s focus is my number-one issue: grade level reading.

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Reading for Life: Striving Readers

by Rhonda H. Lauer February 2, 2011
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It’s no secret that reading is crucial to academic and life success. It’s also no secret that even young children comprehend its significance: students who read below grade level frequently suffer from low self-esteem, which can snowball into behavioral and social problems. At Foundations, we refer to students who are not reading at grade level as “striving readers.” We prefer to use the word “striving” (rather than struggling) because it connotes hopefulness, diligent effort, and desire to achieve.

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Reading for Life: Technology for Reading – It’s Elementary!

by Rhonda H. Lauer January 12, 2011
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Recently, on behalf of The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections initiative, I had the opportunity to visit Harrington Elementary School in Denver, Colorado. In one third-grade class, I was excited to see students using iPods to build literacy skills. And although teachers just started using the devices in the classroom, they are already starting to see progress.

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Reading for Life: Tweens, Teens and Technology

by Rhonda H. Lauer December 16, 2010
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Today’s young people ages 8 to 18 years use entertainment media (computers, television, video games, etc.) an average of 53+ hours per week; that’s 7 hours and 38 minutes every day. Instead of bemoaning such statistics, let’s embrace this reality. Modern technology and digital media afford educators a unique opportunity to engage tweens and teens in more active, participatory learning.

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