The Sun's new education blog seeks to connect readers with local, national school issues


May 06, 2007|By John-John Williams IV

Can't get enough education news?

Check out The Sun's newly launched education blog, Classroom Connections.

The blog features contributions from all nine of the paper's education reporters. From local school issues to national higher education, the blog will give you a better look at the inner workings of the education world.

The blog is also a chance for the public to interact with the paper's education team.

The team will field questions, raise issues for discussion and update you with the latest trends and reports from school systems, think tanks and advocacy groups.

In addition, we'll have school closings and links to the daily education stories printed in the daily editions of The Sun.

The blog will include:

"Education Q&A"

Each Monday, we'll invite readers to submit questions to be answered by local education enthusiasts, including school system administrators, teachers, students and parent advocates.

Sometimes, we'll look at a particularly hot topic in the news. Other times, we'll seek your questions about compelling education issues and trends.

The answers will be posted on the blog the next Monday.

"Educator Spotlight"

With your help, we'll spotlight outstanding educators from across the region.

To salute your favorite educator, please e-mail any of The Sun's education reporters this information: the educator's name, school, educational background and personal data, such as age, residence and family. This person may be anyone who works on the behalf of students, including teachers, principals and guidance counselors.

Then, answer this question: "How does this educator make a difference?"

"Talk Back"

From time to time, we'll toss out a question or raise an issue for discussion, and post your responses.

"Talk Back" is designed to spur discussion of topics in the news as well as trends and issues in education.

We believe this blog will serve as a powerful tool to bring together people who are passionate about the health of our school systems.

We invite you to visit Classroom Connections regularly at and weigh in with your questions, thoughts and ideas.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Author at school

Steven Kellogg, author of more than 90 children's books, will visit Clemens Crossing Elementary School on Friday as part of the school's revolving door of visiting authors.

Kellogg will give three speeches - to different grade levels - during the day.

Books written by Kellogg, best known for the Pinkerton series, Island of the Skog, The Mysterious Tadpole and Best Friends, have been featured on the PBS series Reading Rainbow more than those of any other author.

Kellogg's visit is funded by the Clemens Crossing Elementary School Patron of the Arts Fund.

In March, James Howe, author of the Bunnicula series, visited the school through funding from the program.

Youth summit

The first Howard County Youth Summit drew 129 students from across the county to Marriotts Ridge High School, where they learned how to have consistent advocacy groups at their schools and how to give teachers constructive feedback.

In addition, the students discussed food services.

County Executive Ken Ullman was the keynote speaker at the five-hour event, which was held April 27.

"There was a great diversity of kids," said Roger Plunkett, business, community, government relations officer for the school system. "Students from all subpopulations were there. They weren't all student government members."

The feedback has been positive, he said.

"I've got e-mails [from students] talking about `I'm so energized. What's next?" Plunkett said.

Multicultural night

Hammond Elementary was scheduled to hold its third multicultural night, "A Taste of Culture," on Friday.

The event has evolved into a major deal, and it attracted more than 300 participants last year.

This year's program was scheduled to feature Irish dance, the Korean fan dance, Indian dance, a fashion parade and folk songs performed by the Hammond Elementary School chorus.

In addition, the school promised a sampling of international cuisine.

"We at Hammond Elementary and our PTA believe that understanding and cooperation between people and nations around the world begins at home," organizer and parent Iby Ikotidem said in a statement. "What better way for our children to begin to appreciate the diversity and richness of world cultures than by learning from the lives of their friends and classmates?"

Honoring teachers

The Hispanic Families of Guilford Elementary will honor teachers Friday as part of Teacher Appreciation Week.

The program will run from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Organizers promise plenty of Hispanic cuisine, dancing, a raffle and student performances.

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