Monumental changes ahead for how Virginia students learn Black history

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Right now, educators are working on a monumental change to Virginia’s Standards of Learning in history and social science by adding more African American history to the curriculum framework.

The Virginia Board of Education approved a list of recommended edits in October, but that does not mean the work stops there.

“It just warms my heart that here in Virginia, we’re looking to get it right ,” said Dr. Crystal M. Edwards, superintendent of Lynchburg City Schools.

The “it” Edwards is referring to is history no longer being taught to elementary, middle and high school students from one perspective. Now, lessons on African American history aren’t going to start with slavery. For information on why educators in Southwest Virginia believe this is beneficial for students of all backgrounds, click here.

Shifting the perspective was the main priority of the Virginia African American History Education Commission

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Hands on learning: Hands on learning | News

Students and teachers are adapting to a changing environment this year as the field of education tries to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Distance and hybrid learning means a lot of subjects that depend on hands-on work aren’t getting that valuable in-person learning time. Luckily for Kennedy Secondary School science teacher Ted Kohorst, 544 Education Foundation stepped up to help his students engage in hands-on learning digitally by helping to fund a subscription to Gizmos.

Gizmos, by ExploreLearning, are interactive math and science simulations that span subjects like how to build topographic maps or create circuits, as well as explaining things like magnetic induction and energy of a pendulum.

“Last spring we used it and they had the kids build a simulated digestive system, and they had to work their way through it and at the end they got to send burgers and food through it, and it told them, ‘You

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Three candidates vie for at-large seat on Portland school board

Three candidates are vying for an at-large seat on the Portland Board of Public Education, with two of the three saying the issue of police in schools was a motivating factor in why they’re running.

The election to be held Nov. 3 includes Nyalat Biliew, a Deering High School alum and recent graduate of the University of Southern Maine; Stacey Hang, a school nurse with two children in Portland schools; and Yusuf Yusuf, a mental health case manager who has worked with Portland students and their families.

The three are competing to replace Mark Balfantz, who is not seeking re-election after serving one term. Candidates in all three contested school board elections this cycle have cited the school resource officer issue that came before the board this past year as a reason they’re running.

Nyalat Biliew Submitted photo

Biliew, 25, is a first-generation immigrant who was born in Ethiopia

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Fear of mass teacher retirements due to COVID-19 may have been overblown

Jan Robertson has taught “pretty much everything” over the past 40 years: outdoor education, science, and teacher coaching.

But the coronavirus pandemic has meant Robertson, like colleagues across the country, has had to weigh whether to prioritize her health or the job of her dreams. After being told she would probably be teaching in a classroom in the fall, she made the “heart-wrenching” decision to leave her job as a science instructional coach at a Northern California school district. 

At 64, she “did not want to return to a classroom where I am old enough that I’m in that list of (high-risk factors),” she said.

Robertson isn’t alone in feeling boxed into a decision – one-third of teachers told Education Week in July they were somewhat or very likely to leave their job this year, compared with just 8% who leave the profession in a typical year. 

But while

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