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GOOD Ideas for Cities: Increasing Involvement in Middle School

After elementary school, parental and community involvement takes a dive. How to improve the middle school experience during this critical time?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGqjYyaBtsc

Parents know they should be involved in their kids' education during elementary school, but as kids get older, parents become less engaged. The dropoff is greatest for the overlooked middle schools—even their names denote this neither-here-nor-there mentality. How to increase parental and community involvement during this extremely critical time for students? At GOOD Ideas for Cities RVA, the Kids Lead, Parents Follow team proposed several changes to the way parents think about middle school, and education in general. From eliminating middle school as a concept entirely and making all primary schools K-8, to creating a mentorship program that engages both elementary and high school students as advisers to middle schoolers. The team encouraged parents to ignore the imagined boundaries—school districts, grade divisions—and listen to their kids.

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Digital Boomtown: Online Learning Is on the Rise

A new report shows that the number of middle and high school students learning online has tripled over the past three years.

For today's middle and high school students, being online is nothing new—but there's a revolution happening when it comes to teens actually using the internet to learn. According to the just-released Learning in the 21st Century 2011 Trends report, the number of middle and high school students learning online is on the upswing and more than 40 percent of students now say online classes are an essential part of their school experience.

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Follow Florida's Lead: Why More States Should Switch to Digital Textbooks in Schools Now

All of Florida's public schools will switch to digital textbooks by 2015. Yes, it sounds expensive, but other states should be following suit.

It seems like digital textbooks have been the next big thing for years, but, with a few isolated exceptions, they haven't exactly been embraced by schools. That's about to change in Florida thanks to the gutsy passage of a law requiring all public schools in the state to make the switch to e-textbooks by the 2015-16 school year. Critics are a bit freaked out over this decision because education budgets are already tight and e-readers aren't free. But it's about time school districts make the move.

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Inquiring Minds Want to Know: The White House Fields Kids' Questions on Bin Laden

Our media-savvy White House hosted a webinar to give students a nuts-and-bolts backgrounder on 9/11, Bin Laden, and the raid.

Perhaps recognizing that talking about Osama bin Laden's death with school age kids can be tricky for teachers, the White House hosted a unique 30-minute webinar on Thursday specifically for middle and high school students. More than 2,000 teens listened to Ben Rhodes, deputy assistant to the President and deputy national security advisor for strategic communications and speechwriting, explain the nuts and bolts of 9/11, the 10-year search for bin Laden, and the raid that ended with his death. Rhodes then spent 15 minutes taking questions.

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