Category Archives: Education

Happy Leap Day 2016!

Leap Day 1Happy Leap Day 2016!

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Kami Cotler aka Elizabeth from ‘The Waltons’: Common Core and American education

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Just about everyone remembers Kami Cotler, better known as Elizabeth from the beloved Virginia-based “The Waltons” television series from the 1970s that centered on Depression-era life and World War II in Nelson County’s Rockfish Valley. She was the youngest, the red-headed little sister who grew up in front of our eyes.

Ms. Cotler has a public Facebook page made up of more than 76,000 “Waltons” fans where she answers questions and chats with admirers. Now 49 years old and married with two children, she left acting after “The Waltons” and became an educator who has taught math in middle and high school.

Recently on her Facebook page, she posted a video (see above) and left this comment about the math program, Common Core:

Here’s a pretty sweet explanation of the idea behind the new math standards. The trick is you need to have math teachers with real, profound number sense. It’s hard to find good math teachers who teach math the old way…

Even though she got a thumbs-up from 1,000 followers and had 492 shares, she also received plenty of push-back, some in the form of rude comments from those opposed to Common Core. Wading through the hundreds of comments, Ms. Cotler patiently responded to the nay-sayers, some who turned the discussion political by posting links to various pundits who has expressed disapproval of the math program.

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Former U.S. Secretary of Education William Bennett explains Common Core

Common CoreBy Lynn R. Mitchell

In the midst of the contentious debate over the Common Core State Standards, many critics have lost perspective on its purpose.

Why did so many governors, educators and policymakers across both parties join together to create the standards in the first place? A brief look at Common Core’s history would help explain its significance and counter some of the criticisms.

In 1983, then Secretary of Education Terrel Bell commissioned the seminal report, “A Nation at Risk,” which highlighted American students’ falling SAT scores and awakened the nation to its educational malaise. Among many of the report’s recommendations, which eventually became a platform for modern education reforms, were calls for “more rigorous and measurable standards.” American students were victims of low expectations and inconsistent learning goals.

William Bennett explains Common Core in an op-ed that lays out the what and why of this misunderstood educational tool (see Common Core has no better alternative). He further explains that not much has changed since 1983 despite billions of dollars spent on education and adds, “Thanks to benchmarked national and international exams, like the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) or Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), we know that American students continue to fall short.”

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Back in the homeschool classroom: Reading out loud to our children

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Reading

My kids and I spent much more than 15 minutes a day reading out loud over the 16 years that I had the wonderful opportunity to educate them at home. We read countless books out loud at home by the wood stove in winter and outdoors in the yard during the summer, while picnicking and camping along the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway, at the Outer Banks, traveling across the country to Colorado and Wyoming — anywhere and everywhere, and the memories are priceless. Read, learn, bond.

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Lynn Mitchell educated her children at home for 16 years and was part of leadership in North Carolina’s Iredell County Home Educators (ICHE) and Virginia’s Parent Educators of Augusta County Homes (PEACH). Her son graduated from Harrisonburg’s James Madison University (JMU) in 2007 with a BS in Computer Science and a minor in Creative Writing. Her daughter graduated from Staunton’s Mary Baldwin College in 2012 with a BS in Sustainable Business and a minor in Marketing. Lynn and her husband live in Augusta County located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. The story of how she began her homeschool journey can be found here (see Back in the homeschool classroom: Blazing new trails).

Other titles in the “Back in the homeschool classroom” series by Lynn R. Mitchell:

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Yorktown to host free tours of historic replica ships Hermione, Godspeed

Ship 1

Hermione

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Next week the replica of the 18th century ship, Hermione, will be in Yorktown  as well as Jamestown Settlement’s Godspeed. Cultural events, exhibitions and educational programs also are part of this special event to take place Friday, Saturday, and Sunday — June 5-7. Following is information about this historical event.

Event Parking

  • Friday, June 5 – Arrival Ceremony

General Public Parking – Endview Plantation, 362 Yorktown Road (intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Yorktown Road), Newport News.  Use I-64 Exit 247.  The parking lot will open at 7 a.m.  Free bus transport from Endview to the Yorktown Victory Center will be available until 2 p.m.  Return trips from the Yorktown Victory Center to Endview will run throughout the day until 6:30 p.m.

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Staunton’s Mary Baldwin College to change name to university

By Lynn R. Mitchell

There’s news to share with SWAC Daughter, Mary Baldwin College Class of 2012. Her college announced on Monday that they would be changing the name to Mary Baldwin University effective this August.

In a press release and on Facebook, the college shared the news:

Dear Mary Baldwin students, faculty, and staff:

I am delighted to share important news with you.
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Grace Christian School’s 16th annual Boots and Bandana Auction

By Lynn R. Mitchell

2It was Grace Christian School’s 16th annual fundraising auction that pulled out hundreds of supporters. The gymnasium was busy with silent auction lookers while those in the barbecue line (background) waited for BBQ dinners. The wait seemed longer than in the past with some standing an hour as the line crept toward the food.

As usual, we saw many friends from the community. That is one reason we have attended this event for the past 12 years — to support Grace Christian School and to reunite with friends at an event that is a kind of homecoming and reunion, all rolled into one. It was good to see folks like Dr. Kurt Michael, Jim and Marilyn Rimel along with Charlie and Lauren Rimel, Patti Lam, Don and Debbie Reid, Peggy Bell, Susan Wenger, Seth Gardner, and many others.

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Kami Cotler aka Elizabeth from ‘The Waltons’: Common Core and American education

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Just about everyone remembers Kami Cotler, better known as Elizabeth from the beloved Virginia-based “The Waltons” television series from the 1970s that centered on Depression-era life and World War II in Nelson County’s Rockfish Valley. She was the youngest, the red-headed little sister who grew up in front of our eyes.

Ms. Cotler has a public Facebook page made up of more than 76,000 “Waltons” fans where she answers questions and chats with admirers. Now 49 years old and married with two children, she left acting after “The Waltons” and became an educator who has taught math in middle and high school.

Recently on her Facebook page, she posted a video (see above) and left this comment about the math program, Common Core:

Here’s a pretty sweet explanation of the idea behind the new math standards. The trick is you need to have math teachers with real, profound number sense. It’s hard to find good math teachers who teach math the old way…

Even though she got a thumbs-up from 1,000 followers and had 492 shares, she also received plenty of push-back, some in the form of rude comments from those opposed to Common Core. Wading through the hundreds of comments, Ms. Cotler patiently responded to the nay-sayers, some who turned the discussion political by posting links to various pundits who has expressed disapproval of the math program.

Continue reading

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