Friday, January 20, 2012

DPS Magnet Fair this Saturday, January 21st

It is the time of year in Durham when families have the opportunity to take a closer look at their choices for public schools.  The choices can seem overwhelming.  There is a lot of information available to help families make decisions.  DPS highlights magnet and year round schools at the annual DPS Magnet Fair this Saturday, January 21 at Hillside High School.

From 9-12noon, visit all elementary magnet and year round schols
From 2-5, visit with ALL middle and high schools.

2012-13 DPS Lottery Applications can be submitted Saturday, January 21 - Friday, February 17

Check out lots of information about Magnet and year-round schools at the DPS choice website.  You can find applications and information about open house opportunities.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Facilitator Training for PFAST and LPFAST Parent Advocacy

We have some spaces remaining in our PFAST facilitator training starting next week…… Cooperative Extension is hosting a special training for individuals interested in facilitating or co-facilitating our popular  PFAST or LPFAST trainings.   We  welcome parents, community volunteers, educators and other professionals with an interest in parent advocacy and education.  There is a particular need of folks who are bilingual in Spanish and English to support Latino parents.  Check out the details at the flyer links below.

As you may know, Parent & Family Advocacy and Support Training (PFAST) and Latino PFAST (LPFAST in Spanish) are a six session series of workshops designed to help parents and other caring adults better navigate our public schools (including charter) to help their children succeed.   

Here are the two options— EveningTuesdays, January 24 AND January 31, 5:30-8:30PM  OR Daytime—Thursdays, January 26 AND February 2, 9:00AM-12:00PM.

The flyer 
The registration form

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rethinking the role of praise in student learning

This is an interesting Washington Post article about the effects of praise and self-esteem building on students and learning. There is a more scientific and precise approach to praise shared here.  The article reminds me of a lecture I heard from a gifted education specialist a few years ago who talked about the importance of praising effort and the process of learning versus praising the results.  The outcome, to this speaker, was that students who are primarily praised for results or for 'being smart', sometimes through quick and less than thoughtful work, end up without a solid work ethic and and little emphasis on the process of learning, which would serve them better in the long run.  This article cites research from Carol Dweck at Stanford at how our focus on self-esteem has backfired.  I've also attached a second article from the Wall Street Journal a few years back.  See what you think.

In schools, self-esteem boosting is losing favor to rigor, finer-tuned praise

The Praise a Child Should Never Hear

Friday, January 13, 2012

DPS SAT Prep Classes and online resources

If you know a student who needs help preparing for the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Tests) DPS has two more SAT prep classes coming.  The deadlines are January 20 and 26, so students need to sign up now.  To learn more check out the brochure here at .

There are also links for free online resources on the DPS website too.  There are some really good ones.

Common Core Standards Coming to NC!

You may be aware of the changes to our state standards coming in 2012-2013 School Year.  NC is one of more than 40 states who have signed onto the Common Core State Standards Inititiave.  This initiative brings the same standards to each state in  language arts and math for K-12.  These standards are considered more rigorous and more connected to real life skills and prepping students for the future.  You can look at the new standards for yourself at .  The core standards will bring changes to the classroom and testing content, so keep your ears and eyes open.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


This Blog is for Parents and Grandparents of Children and Youth in Durham's Public Schools with news, tips, and resources from Durham County Cooperative Extension's Strengthening Families Coalition--the folks that bring your the popular PFAST parent advocacy program.  We will post information that is timely and relevant for parents navigating our education system with the goal of improving the success of all children and building positive relationships with our schools. 

Plese note, when we say "parents," we include all adults (guardians, aunts & uncles, etc.) that have a significant role in the life of a child.