KLRU Kids Cake

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We aIMG_7854-KLRUre amazed at this three-tier “chocoflan” from the kitchen of Anacleta and her daughter Adriana. They made it to help celebrate their graduation from KLRU’s Play to Learn program at Padrón Elementary in Austin.
This school year, we have had over 200 participants in Play to Learn, a ten-week program for adults and their children ages 2-4 in which they explore a variety of ways to have fun together in activities that are great preparation for future school life. Along the way, they pick up lots of resources to continue the fun at home and on the go, including books, paints and markers, and a Samsung Galaxy Tab loaded with educational apps.

We love Play to Learn, we love Anacleta and Ana, and we love cake!

Austin Teacher Receives National PBS Recognition!

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2013 ADE North America InstitutePBS LearningMedia has just announced its 2016 National Digital Innovators, and for the second consecutive year, an outstanding faculty member from Westlake High School is on the list. Lisa Johnson is Westlake HS’s Educational Technologist, helping teachers fold cutting-edge digital media into instruction and student creations. Her passion for teaching + technology has resulted in her alter ego “TechChef.” As TechChef, Lisa maintains a TechChef4u blog, Co-hosts “Appy Hours 4 U” and “iVengers Radio”, and has co-authored the professional development ebook “Hot Apps 4 HOTS” with close to 20,000 international downloads.

As a LEAD Innovator, Johnson will travel to Denver to meet with Digital Innovators from across the country in order to share practices and advise PBS LearningMedia on effective uses.

Johnson’s own boys have grown up with Dinosaur Train, WordWorld, and Curious George. Her latest LearningMedia favorite is the Masterpiece Collection, both the original version and the Pinterest variation.

PBS-LearningMedia-Vertical-High-ResView the complete list of 2016 Digital Innovators here.

PBS LearningMedia provides PreK-12 educators with access to free digital content and professional development opportunities designed to improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement. Currently, the site has over 100,000 resources from the PBS Archives and other important sources such as the National Archives. Learn more about this program at klru.pbslearningmedia.org

 

Update (April 13, 2016): An additional five local educators have been named Digital Innovators as well for 2016-2017. They are:

  • Mitch Fairchild – Sci-Tech Preparatory, Austin
  • Claire Grant – Lanier High School, Austin ISD
  • Diane Hance – Grisham Middle School, Round Rock ISD
  • Angela Tackett – Harmony School of Political Science and Communication, Austin
  • Ryan Torbey – Harmony School of Science, Austin

This group will receive one free year of online professional development options from PBS LearningMedia.

File your FAFSA or TASFA before March 31st

Still haven’t submitted your Financial Aid?

The due date for Financial Aid is three days away and we are here to help!

What is Financial Aid?

Financial Aid are grants, scholarships and loans that are given to students to help with college expenses. There is more than $185 billion in aid available by federal government, state government, college/universities, and private organizations. This money can help you go to college. To apply for aid start at: https://fafsa.ed.gov/

Need in-person help?

Following websites and doing Financial Aid on your own does get tricky and sometimes having an extra set of eyes does give some assurance. Join The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce at Financial Aid Saturdays.They offer FREE help to students. Register at: https://www.financialaidsaturdays.org/

 

SXSW Film: AISD American Graduate Champions

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Students from various high schools in AISD produced the video above.


KLRU is thrilled to be a part of a collaboration with AISD through our American Graduate work. Seventeen student filmmakers from seventeen AISD high schools tell the stories about the “champions” who have supported, challenged and encouraged them in their academic and personal journeys.

The film captures the richness and diversity of life in AISD high schools and the dedication of the teachers, coaches, families, and community members who inspire students every day. The film will be premiered at the South Lamar Alamo Drafthouse and the student filmmakers will be part of a panel discussion with moderator Hema Mullur from KEYE. We are proud that youth is helping tell the story of American Graduate and the importance of shining light on “champions.”

Do you know an American Graduate Champion? If so, take the time to recognize your champion at: http://www.klru.org/americangraduate/#recognize-a-champion

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Austin student wins Emperor Science Award

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KLRU is thrilled to announce that Mathilda Nicot-Cartsonis, a LASA High School (Austin ISD) junior, has been named a winner of the national Emperor Science Award, a joint initiative by Stand Up to Cancer and PBS LearningMedia.

In addition to receiving a cash award and a Dell Chromebook, Nicot-Cartsonis will be working this summer with Dr. Jenny Chang, Director of the Methodist Hospital Cancer Center in Houston, TX.  Chang’s primary work investigates how to target then eradicate chemotherapy-resistant, tumor-initiating cells.

Nicot-Cartsonis, a self-professed fanatic of viruses since the age of 11, has an additional motivation for this quest. Her longtime ballet instructor and mentor, Alexandra Nadal, a co-founder of the Slavin Nadal School of Ballet and 2009 inductee into the Austin Arts Hall of Fame, died in 2015 of a type of cancer being researched by Dr. Chang. Nicot-Cartsonis plans to keep her dual scientist/dancer roles in her university studies.

The Emperor Science Award contest received almost 1,200 applications from 10th and 11th grade students from 40 states. Nicot-Cartsonis is one of 100 inaugural winners.

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Update: Mathilda’s socks

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ELECTION CENTRAL outlines the political process

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As part of the overarching PBS Election 2016 initiative, today PBS LearningMedia announced details about ELECTION CENTRAL, an online destination for educators to teach students about the political process.

The new site, created in collaboration between PBS LearningMedia and PBS NewsHour, will help teachers engage students in the political process, provide virtual field trip ideas and share a collection of election-themed resources to support history, civics and English curricula throughout the election year.

Among the main features of ELECTION CENTRAL will be an interactive map of the United States, providing educators with opportunities to engage students in various aspects of the political process. The map will also display important historical facts about the candidates, laws and process.

Content in ELECTION CENTRAL will be refreshed on a weekly basis and when timely events occur — for example, after debates or after primary elections. Features include:

  • Tracking the campaign trail of candidates, including current and previous candidates
  • Fun facts – general and state-specific
  • The history behind the vote
  • An explanation of the nominating process
  • Candidate views on key issues
  • Election-specific news stories curated from PBS NewsHour
  • Build your ideal presidential candidate interactive
  • Access to hundreds of related resources through PBS LearningMedia

Additional student-focused projects will be announced throughout the election year, including the Meet Me in DC contest, for which K-12 students design an election poster focusing on issues that are important in their local communities. Two grand prize winners (one K-5 and one K-6) will win a trip for two to Washington, DC, to tour the White House, explore the National Archives, watch Congress in session and visit the set of PBS NewsHour. Another contest, 50 for 50 , encourages students to write open letters to the 2016 presidential candidates with ideas on what needs to change in government. PBS will provide Social Studies teachers in grades 6-12 with a toolkit with resources to host in-class debates and give students the opportunity to discuss important issues with their peers.

For more information and educational resources, visit PBS LearningMedia’s website.

AISD looks at affordable housing options for teachers

Austin ISD Looks for Housing Solutions to Stop Teacher Flight

Austin ISD is losing about 800 teachers each year. Many of those teachers are pushed out of Austin by rising housing costs, and opt to teach in the districts in which they live. The district is working collaborating with the City of Austin and Travis County to find ways to use the large amount of public land each taxing entity owns to create affordable housing options for those teachers and for AISD students and families.

“There’s a lot of land there, but I think that’s part of the task,” Vice President of the Austin School Board Paul Saldaña says. “We’ve all shared a list of inventory that we own and it’s just a matter of prioritizing. The longer we sit around and don’t have a plan of action we’re going to continue to be ranked as the most economically segregated city, and we’re going to continue to lose students and teachers as a result.”

Melissa Adams has been teaching in Austin ISD for 6 years. A few years ago she was tempted to leave the district because of rising rent. She decided to stay out of loyalty, but worries she’ll continue getting priced out.

“It’s kind of sad when you go to apartment hunters and tell them your price range and they laugh,” Adams says.

She calls the Austin ISD Board “very pro-teacher” and appreciates their efforts on this issue. But, she thinks the district-owned land could be better utilized by selling it, making a profit, and using that money to pay Austin teachers more.

“Let’s let teachers choose where they want to live,” she says. “I think all of us have the right to safe affordable places to live when we’re providing a service to our city.”

According to Saldaña, some Austin teachers are now able to qualify for subsidized housing. Adams says she finds that fact insulting.

“I’m college educated, I got my Masters so I could be a better teacher, I love what I do,” she says. “I don’t want to say ‘Oh , I’m totally opposed,’ or ‘It’s totally nice,’ it’s just, isn’t there a better solution than this? That professionalizes and humanizes teachers more?”

Texas Tribune Political Roundup: Harris County grand jury indicts the people behind undercover videos of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast

In this week’s Texas Political Roundup from Alana Rocha of The Texas Tribune, the founder of the Center for Medical Progress, David Daleidan, who secretly recorded video of the Houston clinic last summer, is accused of “unlawfully, intentionally and knowingly” offering to buy fetal tissue via email. Daleidan faces a class A misdemeanor charge.

Rocha also reports on Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s final push in Iowa before Monday’s Caucuses and a UT Austin professor who says it’s within his rights to ban guns in his classroom.

Outside the Box: Teens challenge gender stereotypes

Outside the Box, a collection of stories that profile teens challenging gender stereotypes, is available to watch online now! The stories were made by the NewsHour Student Reporting Lab. This series introduces viewers to Shantell, the 16-year-old commanding officer of her high school’s JROTC program. We discover Zack’s passion for designing clothes, which ultimately lands the teen a spot on “Project Runway Junior.” And we get to know youth like Semra and D.J., who by exploring their identities challenge those around them to think #outsidethebox. Watch all the Outside the Box videos now.

Two videos were produced by area schools as part of KLRU’s work with the NewsHour Student Reporting Lab.

Fix all of it from Student Reporting Labs on Vimeo.

Produced by Luisa Garcia and Karen Lopez, students at Manor High School in Manor, Texas.

What’s it like to be a female mechanic? Sofia Rodriguez is an 18-year-old Texas native who currently works at both Jiffy Lube and Dynamic Motor Repair. Working in a male-dominated field can be challenging, however, Sofia says, “bring it on.”

Gamemaker from Student Reporting Labs on Vimeo.

Produced by Patrick Cadet, Isaiah Cavanaugh, Andrew Duncan, Alyssa San Miguel, Ashley Tamez, students at Pflugerville High School in Pflugerville, Texas.

Despite what many people assume because of her gender, Jazsmin Burton enjoys coding and wants to study game design in college so she can develop games herself.

Students and educators discuss dropout crisis

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Texas has ranked high in recent years for its low dropout rate, but there are still some students who don’t make it to the graduation ceremony. The Texas Education Authority reports that roughly six students out of a hundred don’t graduate. But what causes a student to drop out? In early December, students, educators, and community members joined together in Studio 6A to discuss that for a special Civic Summit taping titled Stop the Drop: Engaging Students in Their Futures.

The hour-long special delved into different aspects of the dropout crisis, including what makes students lose interest in school, what barriers prevent students from re-enrolling, and what adults can do to help motivate students to stay in school. Host Judy Maggio discussed solutions with experts and educators in the studio, and student host Ronald Elliot talked with student audience members about difficulties that kept them from engaging in school, and what adults did that either dissuaded or motivated them to pursue an education.

This Civic Summit was part of KLRU’s American Graduate initiative. As an American Graduate station, KLRU is seeking a clearer understanding of the nature and impact of the dropout problem in our region, and is partnering with organizations working to increase graduation rates. You can find more information about the initiative by visiting: klru.org/americangraduate.