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United Way
An online collection of education, income and health news by and for United Ways and their community partners
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United Way Brings Diabetes Awareness to the State House

United Way Brings Diabetes Awareness to the State House | United Way | Scoop.it

The United Way of Central Massachusetts partnered with the American Diabetes Association, MassBio, Novo Nordisk, and Joslin Diabetes Center on Wednesday to bring Changing Diabetes Day to the State House for World Diabetes Day.

 

 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

GolocalWorcester News Team

 

The United Way of Central Massachusetts partnered with the American Diabetes Association, MassBio, Novo Nordisk, and Joslin Diabetes Center on Wednesday to bring Changing Diabetes Day to the State House for World Diabetes Day.

 

Local Senators and Representatives, including Senate President Therese Murray and Representative Aaron Michlewitz, participated in an important informational briefing on the diabetes epidemic in Massachusetts. Diabetes poses a serious threat to individuals and families across the Commonwealth. The morning event consisted of a speaking program highlighting the impact of diabetes and provided an opportunity to share critical information with legislators.

 

November 14th is also recognized as World Diabetes Day by events around the globe to highlight the importance of diabetes awareness and increase education about diabetes worldwide. The State House was lit blue on Wednesday as a shining example of diabetes awareness. The goal is to raise awareness of the disease to policy makers and the general public.

 

"We need to close the gap—in order to prevent future cases of diabetes, and to ensure that the public makes this health issue a priority," said the organization.

 

Approximately, 557,200 Massachusetts adults, or a staggering 8.38 percent of the state’s population, are estimated to have diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes, according to the Institute for Alternative Futures. 280 million people nationally have pre-diabetes – including 1,693,600 Massachusetts residents – a condition that puts them at the highest risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

 

For more information on the United Way of Central Massachusetts click here.

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Afterschool Alliance :: Making the Case for STEM Afterschool - Advocacy Toolkit

Afterschool Alliance :: Making the Case for STEM Afterschool - Advocacy Toolkit | United Way | Scoop.it

We know afterschool programs are a great way to get children and youth excited about STEM and should be integral partners in STEM education.  But far too many of our leaders (and even our neighbors!) think of afterschool programs as child care, unaware of all the incredible learning opportunities programs are creating for our students.  They have no idea that innovative and engaging STEM learning is occurring in afterschool programs across our country or how it is inspiring our next generation of scientists, engineers and mathematicians.

 

This is why educating our leaders and the public through advocacy is so important!  It is vital that all of us make the case to a variety of stakeholders about the importance of including afterschool programs in STEM education reform efforts.

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Sen. Katherine Clark: Focusing on literacy will help every student succeed

Sen. Katherine Clark: Focusing on literacy will help every student succeed | United Way | Scoop.it

If a child is a proficient reader by the end of third grade, he or she is more likely to finish high school.

 

Senator Katherine Clark sponsored legislation to address the challenge of third grade reading proficiency.   "The Massachusetts Early Reading Council will advise state education officials on  early age language and literacy strategies. It will ensure that our curriculum  is language-rich, engaging and rigorous. It also will sharpen our focus on  assessment strategies that are comprehensive, developmentally appropriate and used to inform practice."

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States Target 3rd Grade Reading

States Target 3rd Grade Reading | United Way | Scoop.it

Many states now require the identification of struggling readers and, in some places, retaining them until their skills are up to par.

 

 

States Target 3rd Grade Reading By Erik W. Robelen

 

    At the same time that thousands of school districts nationwide are beginning to implement the Common Core State Standards in English/language arts, many also face new state reading policies for the early grades that call for the identification of struggling readers, require interventions to help them, and, in some instances, mandate the retention of 3rd graders who lack adequate reading skills. A number of states recently adopted such policies, many of which have echoes of a long-standing Florida measure for reading intervention and retention for those who lack adequate reading skills. In all, according to the Education Commission of the States, 32 states plus the District of Columbia now have statutes in place intended to improve reading proficiency by the end of 3rd grade.  

Arizona tightens up a recently adopted policy for retaining 3rd graders who score “far below” their grade level on a state reading test, closing what advocates called a “loophole” that allowed parents to override the retention. The state policy calls on districts to provide one of several options to assist both retained students and struggling readers in earlier grades, including assignment to a different teacher  for reading instruction, summer school, or other “intensive” help before, during, or after the school day. Passed: 2012

 

Colorado is requiring schools—in partnership with parents—to craft individual plans for struggling readers to get them on track. For 3rd graders with significant reading deficiencies, the parent and teacher must meet and consider retention as an intervention strategy, but the final decision must be jointly agreed to and approved by the district. A special per-pupil fund was created to support specific reading interventions, such as summer school and after-school tutoring. Passed: 2012

 

Connecticut instructs the state education agency to develop new K-3 reading assessments for districts to use in identifying struggling readers. It also mandates that K-3 teachers pass a reading assessment each year beginning in 2013. And it compels the state to devise an intensive program that includes “scientifically based” reading instruction, intensive reading-intervention strategies, summer school, and other features that will be offered for a limited number of schools to use. Passed: 2012

 

Indiana identifies 3rd grade retention as a “last resort” for struggling readers. A state board of education policy says students who fail the state reading test at that grade would be retained, though technically, the state is only requiring that they be counted as 3rd graders for purposes of state testing. The policy allows for midyear promotions and has several good-cause exemptions. Districts must provide a daily reading block  of at least 90 minutes to all students in grades K-3 and additional strategies and interventions for those identified as struggling readers. Passed: 2010

 

Iowa requires 3rd graders with an identified “reading deficiency” either to attend an intensive summer reading program or be retained, except for those eligible for several good-cause exemptions. The law also requires, if state funds are appropriated, for districts to provide such students in grades K-3 with intensive instructional services and support to improve reading, including a minimum of 90 minutes of “scientific, research-based” reading instruction and other strategies identified by the district, such as small-group instruction, an extended school day, or tutoring and mentoring. Passed: 2012

 

North Carolina schools must retain 3rd graders not reading on grade level, based on a state assessment, unless they meet one of several exemptions, including demonstration of proficiency through an alternative assessment or portfolio. Prior to retention, students must be provided summer reading camps and have one more chance to demonstrate proficiency. The measure also stipulates regular diagnostic assessments and early interventions for struggling readers beginning in kindergarten. Passed: 2012 (overriding governor’s veto)

 

Ohio requires 3rd graders to meet a certain threshold on the state English/language arts test to advance to the 4th grade, but the law makes exceptions for some students. Districts must annually assess and identify students reading below grade level, and develop a reading improvement and monitoring plan for each pupil. Such students must receive at least 90 minutes of daily reading instruction and be taught by  a “high-performing” teacher. Passed: 2012

 

Oklahoma calls for schools to retain 3rd graders who score “unsatisfactory” on the state reading test, though they may qualify for several good-cause exemptions.  The new policy calls for districts to offer a midyear promotion for 4th graders who show substantial improvement. The law also calls on districts to identify and provide extra reading support and instructional time for students in K-3 reading below grade level. Passed: 2011

 

Virginia mandates that local districts provide reading-intervention services to 3rd graders who demonstrate deficiencies on a state reading test or other diagnostic assessment. The measure does not include any requirements for retention. Passed: 2012

 

Vol. 32, Issue 12, Page s4

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United Way of Northern Arizona backs education measures

October 24, 2012,

To the editor:

 

United Way of Northern Arizona's Board of Directors recently endorsed the Arizona Sales Tax Renewal Amendment, Proposition 204, and the Flagstaff Unified School District bond request, as part of United Way's ongoing efforts to support the three important "building blocks for a good life": Education, Income and Health.

 

Investing in education is important to the future of our state and the success of our children. Arizona continuously ranks as one of the worst states for education and that's a clear indication that we need to do something differently. Proposition 204 is our opportunity for change that will strengthen Arizona's economy by providing children with the tools they need to succeed in the classroom. The FUSD Bond measure funds books, technology and facilities required for our students to succeed.

 

In addition to investing more resources to help schoolchildren and their classrooms at a critical time, Prop. 204 will prevent the Legislature from making any further cuts to K-12 education. The approximate $1 billion in Arizona's operating account to be provided by Prop 204 essentially equates to what was defunded from Arizona education since 2008. The sales tax rate will not increase as a result of Prop. 204, the rate is a continuation of the one-cent sales tax overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2010.

 

Your vote for education is very important this year, and on behalf of UWNA I'd like to urge you to vote "YES" on Proposition 204 and "YES" on the FUSD Bond. We all win when the education of our children is our top priority.

 

KERRY BLUME

President and CEO

United Way of Northern Arizona

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