Posts Tagged ‘education’

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Minerva’s Ella Lynch: The Importance of Learning to Learn

2aEFLynch1925Ella Frances Lynch—well spoken, thoughtful, and passionate in defining the problems with America’s public school system—refused to back down from proposed reforms. She was right and she knew it. Newspapers featured Ella’s editorials regularly, but the biggest attention-getter was a series of articles she wrote for Ladies Home Journal beginning in 1912. The title: “Is the Public School a Failure? It Is; the Most Momentous Failure in Our American life Today.”

Said Lynch, “Can you imagine a more grossly stupid, a more genuinely asinine system tenaciously persisted in to the fearful detriment of over 17 million children, and at a cost to you of over $403 million each year—a system that not only is absolutely ineffective in its results, but also actually harmful in that it throws each year 93 out of every 100 children into the world of action absolutely unfitted for even the simplest tasks of life? … The public school system is not something to be proud of, but a system that is today the shame of America.” » Continue Reading.



Monday, August 4, 2014

Ella Frances Lynch: Minerva’s Maven of Early Education

1aEFLynchBeginning here is the story of an unknown but truly remarkable woman, an educator from Adirondack history. But first, some related information is helpful for perspective. For starters, here’s a sampling of complaints about our educational system: low graduation rates; undeserved diplomas; graduates lacking in real-world skills; students woefully unprepared for college; students without self-discipline, and more. Those are all issues today, but the very same items were also cited in 1970.

Since that time, our spending on education has risen by about 85 percent, but we’ve improved very little, still stymied by the same problems. In the meantime, we’ve fallen far behind many other countries, while still spouting that we’re the greatest country in the world. If we don’t find the answers soon, the hollow ring of that claim might well become deafening.

Since 1970, we’ve improved just about everything: civil rights, technology, weapons, communications, you name it—but in educating our youth, we’re failing over and over in so many ways. Sure, there are good kids, smart kids, geniuses, and prosperous citizens coming out of our schools, but consider a few shocking numbers that provide some balance. » Continue Reading.



Monday, August 4, 2014

Newcomb Central School Partners With Paul Smith’s College

signing_mou_crop_6174_12312_0Paul Smith’s College is partnering with Newcomb Central School this fall on a new advanced studies program.

Under the agreement, Newcomb students who pay tuition for the program can earn up to 45 college credits for certain high-school classes. During the upcoming school year, Newcomb will offer up to 10 advanced studies courses, including finite math, English composition 1, financial accounting, business law and physics.

“This is a huge opportunity for our students,” Skip Hults, superintendent of Newcomb Central School, said in a statement to the press announcing the partnership. “Programs such as this give students confidence and increase their chances of going on to grad school later. It’s also a much less expensive path to a baccalaureate degree.” » Continue Reading.



Saturday, August 2, 2014

Commentary: Toward a More Diverse Adirondacks

PrintSeveral months ago I wrote a series of columns on socioeconomic and racial diversity and the Adirondacks. The reception to these columns was even stronger than I expected. Much of it was thoughtful. Some of it was controversial. Some of it was ugly. But in total the columns and the reaction validated my point that for most people diversity in the Adirondacks is an under-the-radar issue even though it is arguably the most important issue facing the future of the park.

Since then the conversation has grown and led to action. Many stakeholders in the park recognize that human diversity – my new descriptor, for indeed the issue is bigger than just racial or socioeconomic problems – is just as important to the Adirondacks as plant and animal diversity is to a healthy Forest Preserve. » Continue Reading.



Monday, July 28, 2014

Cathy Dove Named 10th President of Paul Smith’s College

[ANNUAL EVENT TITLE]Cathy Dove, vice president of Cornell NYC Tech in New York City, will become the tenth president of Paul Smith’s College. Dove will succeed John W. Mills, who is retiring after 10 years as president, on September 1st at the college’s first woman president.

As vice president of Cornell Tech since 2012, Dove has lead Cornell University’s efforts to build a new, 2.1-million-square-foot campus for applied sciences on Roosevelt Island in New York City, expected to open in 2017. Dove has served in senior leadership roles at Cornell since 1989. Previous to Cornell Tech, her most recent positions were associate dean of its College of Engineering and, before that, associate dean at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Report: Adirondack Living Easier Than Most Places

NY Times Easy Living ReportRecent pieces (here and here) in the Adirondack Almanack stressed the importance of placing the Adirondack Park experience and condition in a national context, especially with the rest of rural America. National context is important when trying to ascertain trends in Adirondack Park demographics, economics or land use.

This past weekend, The New York Times data-crunching blog The Upshot published an interactive map that ranked the 3,135 counties in the U.S. by how hard or easy these places are to live. The indicators they chose to create this ease or hardship ranking were median income, unemployment, percent of population with a college degree, disability rate, obesity and life expectancy. The Upshot said these metrics were selected due to the availability of county level data across the U.S., which provided a profile of economic and public health conditions. Disability was not used as a health indicator, but as a data point for the non-working adult population, which was used in conjunction with unemployment. » Continue Reading.



Monday, June 16, 2014

Tahawus Center Offering Summer Science Lab

one catapultThe annual Summer Science Lab at the Tahawus Center in Au Sable Forks is expanding to 5 days, July 14 through 18, 2014. The five-morning workshop accommodates two different age groups in separate sessions: middle school (12-14 years old) and elementary school (9-11 years old). The focus will be on magnetism and electricity for both age groups, with activities in other subject areas, including physics and using microscopes.

Science is always more than a set of explanations,” says instructor Gary Dreiblatt. “Our electricity activities will have students make simple circuits, complex series and parallel circuits, and experiment with the concept of electrical resistance to ultimately build a working fuse. Students will have a far better understanding of electricity and safety through these activities. They will be able to take their electrical kits home to teach a family member and continue their own investigations using d cell batteries.” » Continue Reading.



Friday, May 30, 2014

Laurie Davis: Connecting Local Farms And Schools

School to Farm InitativeMany North Country schools are exploring the various scenarios of incorporating locally grown food into their menus.

Can you remember what your favorite school cafeteria meal was? Maybe you didn’t have a favorite meal. Maybe you dreaded finding out what was going to turn up on the steam table each day. It’s a common story, complaining about institution food, and the barbs are often undeservedly thrown at the cafeteria staff.

Fact is it is only in recent history that schools have started to realize the importance of not only good nutrition for kids, but food that is fresh, local, tasty, and visually appealing. Seems like a no-brainer, right? That sort of food is what we all want and deserve to eat. Our farmers are looking for local sales outlets, too. So why isn’t this just happening everywhere? The challenges are numerous, but not completely prohibitive. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Adirondack Farm To School Festival Friday

Saranac Lake students snack on kale while on a field trip to Fledging Crow FarmThe Adirondack Farm to School Initiative has announced its second Farm to School Festival, to be held at the Lake Placid High School and Olympic Oval on Friday, May 30, 2014 from 4-7 pm.  From 4 pm – 6 pm the event will feature area farmers, organizations, dinner with fresh local ingredients, live music from Big Slyde, student environmental groups from the Tri-Lakes, educational booths and activities.  The event concludes with a special presentation by Mark and Kristin Kimball from Essex Farm from 6-7 pm in the Lake Placid High School Auditorium.

The Adirondack Farm to School Initiative is working with schools and communities to rebuild a healthy food system in the Adirondacks and create connections between classrooms, cafeterias, communities, and local farms. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Paul Smith’s College Announces Lay-Offs, Restructuring

Paul Smith's CollegePaul Smith’s College President John W. Mills announced a series of measures Tuesday to address significant fiscal challenges faced by the institution.

“I am deeply saddened that we must let go of several people as we restructure our operations,” said Mills in a statement issued to the press. “These are good individuals who have done excellent work for Paul Smith’s, and this is a very difficult step to take. But we must, in order to strengthen the college for the future; I’m confident that these changes will position us to weather a very difficult time in higher education.” Mills said smaller-than-expected enrollment will impact the college. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, May 1, 2014

Homeschool Day At The Wild Center May 8th

Adirondack Wild CenterOn Thursday, May 8th, The Wild Center will offer a day designed exclusively for homeschoolers with programs normally available to school groups.

Live Animal Encounters, Otter Enrichments and an assortment of feature films, programs for all ages, are scheduled. Special programs featuring Planet Adirondack are planned for Pre-K to 4th grade (Owl Moon) and 5th grade and up (What in the World?). » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Springtime Adirondack Nature Programs for Children

NewcombVICspring_newApril is a tricky time of year to be accessing Adirondack paths and trails, though not impossible.  Some places still have snow enough for skiing while other trails are already knee-deep in mud. Staying off trails during mud season is always the best option as it allows trails to rejuvenate, alleviates trail erosion and protects native plant life.

There are options available so families can choose to still get out in nature without damaging trails or harming themselves. Spring is the perfect time to try the low trails and have a different experience looking for spring wildflowers or migrating birds.  I understand “wanting to get” that elusive 46er, but please make sure that springtime trail conditions are agreeable. » Continue Reading.



Monday, April 7, 2014

Archaeological Volunteer Opportunity on Lake George

excavatingVolunteers are being sought to help excavate at Wiawaka Holiday House at the southern end of Lake George to help document the early years of the Holiday House by looking at the materials the visitors, staff, and organizers left behind.  Wiawaka Holiday House was founded in 1903 to provide affordable vacations for the working women in the factories of Troy and Cohoes, New York. The work is being directed by Megan Springate, a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland working on her dissertation looking at the intersections of class and gender in the early twentieth century.

No previous archaeological experience is necessary. Participants will learn archaeological techniques hands-on at the site. All equipment will be provided.  Accommodation and meals are available at Wiawaka Holiday House for a fee.* There is no charge to volunteer.  Those without previous archaeological experience are asked to volunteer for three or more days. You must be 18 years of age or older. Excavation Dates:  Monday to Friday, June 16 through July 11, 2014 » Continue Reading.



Friday, March 14, 2014

DEC Expands Summer Camp at Pack Forest

DEC LogoCampers will be able to enjoy an additional week of summer camp at Camp Pack Forest in Warrensburg, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced. Youth ages 11 through 13 years old can attend the new Outdoor Skills Adventure Week to be held August 17-23.

This special week of camp will offer opportunities for youth to hone their outdoor skills through a variety of activities. Areas of instruction and demonstration will include: a fishing seminar, turkey calling, a muzzleloading demonstration, field archery, wildlife identification, fly casting, casting competition, a hunting dog demonstration, electronic wildlife tracking, a field dressing demonstration, night-time animal tracking, fur handling and preparation, orienteering, Global Positioning System cache searching, demonstration and safe use of fire arms and environmental conservation officer and forest ranger career explorations. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, March 13, 2014

Students Exploring Local Climate Change Impacts

climate_class_at_TWCAs climate change comes to the Adirondacks, how will it change our lives?  A $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation and a Pennsylvania-based science-education center will help Paul Smith’s College and The Wild Center answer that question by putting it to groups and individuals likely to see the change first.

Prof. Curt Stager of Paul Smith’s and Rob Carr of The Wild Center are collaborating on a new class this spring, Communicating Climate Science, that will ask members of fish and game clubs, medical experts, musicians and other North Country residents to project what current and future changes in local climate may mean to their communities. By the end of the project, students in the class will use that input to suggest how climate change may be most relevant to each group – the effort hopes to provide the tools to make informed decisions about handling climate changes. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, March 13, 2014

Foundations Partner to Provide Books to Pre-schoolers

Dolly PartonThe Glenn and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Foundation has partnered with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to bring free books monthly to preschoolers throughout the Adirondacks.

The Imagination Library program was established in 1995 in Parton’s hometown in Sevier County, Tennessee as a way to improve preschool literacy. It is now available to all preschool children in the state of Tennessee and is expanding throughout the United States. » Continue Reading.



Monday, March 10, 2014

Lawrence Gooley: Old Values and Modern Education

SnowshoeingAdkAlmRecently announced changes in the college SAT test have elicited all sorts of opinions from experts, lay-people, and students. Some laud the changes, and some decry them. Most everyone agrees that change was needed, but it’s also clear that modifying the tests was a business-based decision to compete with the more popular ACT. The testing of college aptitude isn’t just a means of judging students’ capabilities: it’s also a billion-dollar business.

One change involves dropping the essay requirement (the essay will now be optional). As a person who enjoys good writing, I also realize the limitations imposed on professionals who are less than literate. A research scientist must be able to clearly communicate their experiments and results, and write scientific papers. Investigative reporters must ably report their findings. Company managers must convey messages to tens or hundreds of employees. On and on it goes. Strong writing skills are critical to professionals (although many rely heavily on very literate secretaries or assistants). » Continue Reading.


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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Diversity and the Adirondacks: Moving Forward

DiversityToday I wrap up my series on Diversity and the Adirondacks.  The response has exceeded my expectations, even as it has – not unexpectedly – raised some troubling voices.

I have always believed that the initial step in addressing a deep and difficult issue – especially one that is controversial – is recognition: we must first understand that something matters; that it is real; that it affects people’s lives.  Without recognition, without an embrace of the importance of an issue, we risk what will likely be at best a display of sturm und drang when we try to talk about it, signifying nothing but ego and personality.  Yet despite the sometimes perfunctory dismalness of on-line comments, I am convinced by the experience of writing these columns that the issue of diversity in the park is headed for a substantive future, not just shouting and rhetoric. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, February 26, 2014

$1M Campaign to Endow Paul Smith’s College Position

Paul Smiths CollegeA $1 million campaign to endow a position for an internationally recognized climate expert at Paul Smith’s College has been staked with a major matching gift according to an announcement made by the college Monday.

Caroline Lussi, a 1960 graduate of Paul Smith’s and a former college trustee, has offered a matching challenge of up to $500,000 to establish the college’s first Endowed Chair in Lake Ecology and Paleocology. The first recipient will be Curt Stager, a press release said.

Lussi has pledged $500,000 if the college can raise an additional $500,000. More than $250,000 has been contributed so far officials of the college said. Both Paul Smith’s College and the Adirondack Foundation are accepting donations. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

School Fundraising: Why Not Sell Local Foods?

ShipmanFamilyFarmStandCJenkins5We’re big supporters of our sons’ school, and I enjoy helping out and participating in most school events, probably more than my kids would actually like. But there’s one thing that has never been particularly appealing to me (and other parents, judging from the courtside conversations) and that’s class fundraisers in the form of products for sale.

Sure, some of them are fine and I do enjoy my Christmas wreath. But many of the other items seem cheaply made and sometimes totally useless. I’ve been known to skip the tchotchkes entirely and just send in money. » Continue Reading.



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