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Summer Math and Science Honors Academy

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The Summer Math and Science Honors Academy, known as SMASH, gives students of color guidance and exposure to STEM subjects. Many students of color don’t have such classes available in their schools, but academies like SMASH help give them the foundation they need to excel in STEM careers even if such programs are missing from their daily curriculum. The program takes places every summer for three years for each student but also offers benefits throughout the school year. SMASH students have access to special college counselors and receive tailored SAT prep classes.

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10 of the Most Incredible STEM Programs for Black Youths

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iUrbanTeen’s STEM Summit

iUrbanTeen’s STEM Summit is a unique program that not only focuses on introducing students to STEM careers and subjects but also gets them involved in the arts as well. The summits, which usually bring about 150 students together, helps students get hands-on experience in health care, environmental sciences, energy, transportation, cybersecurity, digital arts, mobile app development and more. The program’s website promises that the summits are not only educational and engaging but are also fun for the students involved. This not only helps keep them engaged during the summit but also dispels myths that STEM careers can’t be exciting or very creative.

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Wolfram Math World

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Wolfram Math World: Need help with a type of math? Don’t understand math terminology? Head to this site for all the guidance and materials you’ll need to master any mathematical problem.

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Professors Launch Initiative to Push For More Black Male Teachers

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| Posted by Taylor Gordon
A group of college professors and administrators in Pennsylvania have come together to launch a new initiative that aims to attract more Black men into the teaching profession.

The professors and administrators come from several universities and colleges, including Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Point Park University and Community College of Allegheny County.

Together, they have launched the Black Men Teaching Initiative, which is using workshops, mentorship programs and other resources to persuade more African-American men to attend college and consider a career in teaching.

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Mentoring Partnerships

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The backbone of mentoring’s infrastructure is the growing Mentoring Partnership Network that MENTOR helps build and support.

MENTOR is scaling impact by developing and supporting a national network of affiliate Mentoring Partnerships. Mentoring Partnerships are non-partisan, public-private organizations that galvanize local or statewide mentoring movements, providing the leadership and infrastructure necessary to support the expansion of quality mentoring relationships. Mentoring Partnerships serve a unique role as a clearinghouse for training, resources, awareness, and advocacy, providing the critical link between MENTOR’s national efforts and local organizations and programs that foster and support quality mentoring relationships. Mentoring Partnerships are designated MENTOR affiliates that inform and distribute our research and resources.

Mentoring Partnerships are focused on the following key priorities:

Advance the quality of the local mentoring field by building relationships with new and existing mentoring programs and provide capacity building trainings and technical assistance grounded in evidence-based approaches.
Engage a wide variety of public and private stakeholders to increase both the number of volunteer mentors as well as resources for the local mentoring field.
Collect data on a regular basis to describe the impact of mentoring in the broader community and identify gaps in the range of services needed.
Expand public and private support and investment in mentoring through public awareness and advocacy efforts that foster communities that prioritize quality youth mentoring. Mentoring Partnerships have developed solid, field-tested solutions to some of the mentoring movement’s greatest challenges.

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Smarter Balanced States Approve Achievement Level Recommendations

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Smarter Balanced members voted to approve the initial achievement levels for the math and English assessments that will be administered in 17 states and one territory this school year. The achievement levels help provide a more accurate picture of individual student performance, and the vote marks an incredibly important milestone in the development of the Smarter Balanced Assessment System.

Achievement Level Setting was an inclusive, collaborative process that involved an unprecedented level of educator and public input. More than 2,500 educators, parents, and other interested stakeholders provided input during the Online Panel. Their recommendations were shared at In-Person workshops in Dallas with nearly 500 teachers, school leaders, higher education faculty, parents, community leaders, and other stakeholders. Participants reviewed test questions and determined threshold scores for four achievement levels for each grade in both subjects. In addition, a cross-grade review committee comprised of 72 members took results from both the Online Panel and In-Person workshops into consideration as they developed recommendations aligned across grades to reflect student progress from year to year.

It’s important to remember that achievement levels are a starting point for discussion about the performance of individual students and groups of students. In addition to achievement levels, there are other ways to evaluate academic progress of students and schools. Smarter Balanced states unanimously approved a position paper that provides guidelines for how scores and achievement levels can be used and interpreted.

We know that new content standards set higher expectations for students. That’s why the new assessments are designed to evaluate student performance against those higher standards. It is therefore not surprising that we may see a decline in student scores this year. However, over time the performance of students will improve.

In the coming months, Smarter Balanced states will present the approved achievement level recommendations to policymaking entities that have the authority to formally adopt achievement levels in each state.This authority typically rests with the state board of education.

To learn more about the Achievement Level Setting process, visit the Achievement Levels page.

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Smarter Balanced States Approve Achievement Level Recommendations

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Members of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium have voted to approve initial achievement levels for the mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA) assessments that will be administered in 17 states and one territory this school year. The vote marks an important milestone in the development of the assessment system. READ THE PRESS RELEASE

LEARN MORE ABOUT ACHIEVEMENT LEVELS

Smarter Balanced Hires Deputy Executive Director

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (Smarter Balanced) has appointed Luci Willits as its deputy executive director. Willits joins the state-led consortium December 8. As deputy executive director, Willits will focus on strategy and state services, overseeing communications, policy, and partnerships with higher education. LEARN MORE

Field Test Report Now Available

A report on the Smarter Balanced Field Test is now available. This report presents results from state surveys given to students and adults in 13 Smarter Balanced member states. The Field Test or “test of the test” was administered in the spring of 2014 to more than 4.2 million students across the Consortium, and provided teachers and schools an opportunity to gauge their readiness in advance of the operational assessments in spring 2015. LEARN MORE

New Resources Available on the Support for Under-Represented Students Page

To prepare states across the Consortium for successful implementation of the Smarter Balanced Assessment System, a variety of updates have been made to the Support for Under-Represented Students page. Updated versions of the Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations Guidelines, Accessibility and Accommodations Factsheet, and Usability, Accessibility, and Accommodations FAQs are now available.

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