News on the Rural Learning Interchange:
Gates Millennium Scholars
Open to students enrolling for the first time at a college or university as a FULL-TIME degree-seeking freshman in the Fall of 2009.? It is required that students applying have a minimum GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale (unweighted), and demonstrate leadership skills. To qualify, students must demonstrate financial need (Pell Grant eligible). There are 1,000 new Gates Scholars selected every year. Information and application:: http://www.gmsp.org/
Submission Guidelines for Classroom Site Fund ?Pay for Performance? Compensation Plan, ? School Year: 2008-2009
Reminder:? District Pay for Performance (301) plans must be submitted by December 31, 2008. Please refer to the Pay for Performance rubric on the ADE website for suggested evidence for each of the fourteen elements. A district?s submission should include a summary of district?s compensation system which highlights but is not limited to how your plan addresses all fourteen elements on the rubric. A member of the task force will be available to answer questions or provide further information to the district if need be. For assistance, contact Beth Driscoll at Beth.Driscoll@azed.gov or 602-364-2191.
APS and Phoenix Suns Mini-Grants
APS and the Phoenix Suns are offering education mini-grants of up to $500 to K-12 educators statewide who teach in public schools within the APS service area. The objective of the grant is to improve student achievement in the areas of energy, the environment, reading, mathematics or character education.? The application is short and concise and will be accepted on an ongoing basis through Friday, January 31, 2009.? The grant will apply to programs and projects completed during the 2008/2009 school year.? This has been closed.
Infinite Thinking Machine
ITM provides educators with a way to share ideas and innovative teaching strategies for 21st century skills. The 24-hour active blog discusses topics of interest to innovative teachers. WestEnd produces the Internet TV show, and each podcast episode features a topic about one tool that can be used immediately in the classroom. The Stuff contains free education product guides (Blogger in the Classroom, Google Earth in the Classroom and more) as well as presentation handouts.? For additional information: http://www.infinitethinking.org
Volunteer Website from Arizona Department of Education Seeks
Schools in Need of Volunteers
Too often, schools find themselves in need of a few people to do things like read to students, or help in a classroom during a science experiment or even be chaperones for a dance.? ADE houses an ?adult volunteer? website which offers two ways to approach volunteering: FIND one and/or BE one. Currently, ADE is soliciting schools in Arizona in need of volunteers; clicking on the following link: http://www.volunteersolutions.org/azde/volunteer/ will connect you to this resource. There?s a master calendar describing volunteering opportunities by date, and a list of volunteering opportunities to browse by topic ? from all over the world. When a school registers, it completes a profile which helps match its needs to volunteers available.
Christopher Columbus Awards
The Christopher Columbus Awards program asks students to use the scientific process to solve real-world problems and change their community. The challenge is for teams of three to four middle school students to identify a community issue and apply the scientific process to create an innovative solution for the problem. Comprehensive online project resources include a Student Guide, Coach/Teachers Guide and instructional tips on brainstorming, inquiry-based learning, scientific methods and national standards. Winning teams and their coaches will receive a trip to Walt Disney World for National Championship Week and a $2,000 U.S. Savings Bond for each team member.
Deadline: February 9, 2009
For more information, visit: http://www.christophercolumbusawards.com/
Do We Need National Standards?
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Nov. 12
ATLANTA, Ga. — The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has spent billions to improve high schools and now the group is taking on other issues. … The issue of national standards could be the hardest to achieve. Others have argued for this and failed. But few have the power of Bill Gates.? The foundation?s director of education programs said the group hopes to write its own standards and its own national test. Once these are developed, the foundation said any state can get the materials for free.