SXSW Film: AISD American Graduate Champions

 

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

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

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.

KLRU’s Work Impacted by New Every Student Succeeds Act

Today President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act, the first major national education overhaul since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001. KLRU’s Educational Services work is impacted in two specific ways by the passage of this law.

First, the ESSA Act includes funding for Ready to Learn, the PBS Kids endeavor which leads to the production of high-quality educational shows, apps, online games, and additional resources, and which includes funds for KLRU and 10 other stations nationwide to pilot implementation and distribution of these assets.

Second, one of the new features of the ESSA is that high schools must use graduation rates as one of several measures of progress. KLRU is a participant in the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s American Graduate initiative, and as such, we have been working over the last two years to assemble a body of knowledge and resources about how to enable more students to stay in school and graduate, especially in those schools and among demographic groups with chronically high dropout rates.

In fact, tonight at 5:30 pm, KLRU is taping a student town hall, in which we have gathered well over 100 middle and high school youth for a televised forum on their perspectives on key issues – what challenges do they face on the road toward high school graduation, what resources have they found meaningful, and where do we adults continue to miss opportunities to support them in their journeys? You can RSVP for this event here. Plan to watch Stop The Drop: Engaging Students In Their Futures on December 17 at 9pm.

Stop the Drop

www.klru.org/americangraduate

Green School Carnival $500 Scholarship – Apply Now!

In Spring 2015, KLRU-TV, Austin PBS worked with Campbell Elementary of Austin ISD, the Austin ISD Sustainability Program and Keep Austin Beautiful to create a “Green” school carnival. Funds to support these efforts came from a PBS Kids Explore the Outdoors grant. Using remaining funds from the grant, we would like to help three schools interested in putting on their own “green” carnival this fall with three $500 grant opportunities. Watch the video for a glimpse of what Campbell did, then think about what you can do to “green up” your carnival. Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Whether you receive a grant or not, consider contacting Keep Austin Beautiful for free resources and activities.

Go to the application here

KLRU Education travels to the White House to share work on Play to Learn™

On Tuesday, August 18, 2015, KLRU took part in a White House convening around the ConnectHome initiative, the plan to provide low-cost/free high-speed connectivity in over 275,000 low-income residences across the US and on tribal lands. Austin has been selected as the mentor city for the project due to collaborations including the City of Austin, HACA, Google, Austin FreeNet, United Way for Greater Austin, and KLRU, among others.

KLRU’s role in the panel was to share our work on Play to Learn™, the United Way-led initiative that brings parents and youth ages 2-4 together for a variety of fun learning activities, including the use of digital tablets. Throughout the ten-week program, the families take home books and learning materials and upon successful completion of the program, they take home a digital tablet loaded with educational apps for the whole family. We utilize PBS resources to illuminate at-home learning experiences, including video from PBS Kids, apps like PBS Parents Play and Learn and Daniel Tiger’s Day and Night, and KLRU’s own Smart Screen Time®/La Pantalla Inteligente messaging. Play to Learn™ is a powerful example of the kinds of programs that can occur once a low-income community gets reliable and affordable access to the Internet.

 

KLRU congratulates Westlake HS Teacher Natalie Cannon!

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Central Texas educators continue to garner national attention from PBS LearningMedia!

Natalie Cannon is the latest educator to be named a PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator. Natalie teaches various levels of Latin at Westlake HS in Eanes ISD, and co-sponsors The WHS Latin Club. Natalie began teaching middle school at St. Gabriel’s Catholic School before moving to Westlake High School, where she has now taught for six years. Her favorite part of her job is finding productive uses for modern technology in order to enliven an ancient language for her students.

Over the next year, Natalie will take part in a professional development program that will prepare her to extend her influence as a digital learning ambassador in her school and community.

Natalie’s favorite PBS LearningMedia resource: A Roman’s Eye View

PBS LearningMedia is PBS’ digital archive of 100,000+ educational assets made available to educators and the US public – for free! In Central Texas, over 7,000 educators have to date created LearningMedia accounts for use in their classrooms and for their own interests. Teachers can build and archive lessons incorporating digital media, and a new student feature allows their students to create and display storyboards to demonstrate their knowledge.

Check out Central Texas’ prior LearningMedia Digital Innovator, Julie Hildebrand, here