As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, we depend almost entirely on donations from people like you.
We really need your help to continue this work! Please consider making a donation.
Subscribe here and join over 13,000 subscribers to our free weekly newsletter

Inspiring: Reimagining Education News Stories

Below are key excerpts of inspiring news articles on reimagining the education system from reliable news media sources. If any link fails to function, a paywall blocks full access, or the article is no longer available, try these digital tools.

For further exploration, delve into our Inspiration Center.

Explore our comprehensive news index on a wide variety of fascinating topics.
Explore the top 20 most revealing news media articles we've summarized.
Check out 10 useful approaches for making sense of the media landscape.

Sort articles by: Article Date | Date Posted on WantToKnow.info | Importance

The School Day When No One Eats Alone
2024-02-12, Reasons to be Cheerful
Posted: 2024-03-04 13:38:41
https://reasonstobecheerful.world/no-one-eats-alone-day-2024/

Laura Talmus felt helpless when her then-11-year-old daughter Lili kept calling her from school in tears. After her daughter passed away from medical complications in her sleep at age 15 in 2009, Talmus put together a video celebrating her life. When she showed the video, Lili’s classmates were shocked to realize how isolated Lili had felt. The next year, Talmus ... and her husband channeled their grief into forming Beyond Differences, a nonprofit that focuses on raising awareness about social isolation in youth and providing solutions. Talmus believes the social isolation her daughter experienced is affecting students all over the country and contributing to serious health issues, mental health problems, suicide and school violence. Beyond Differences ... has now grown to reach over one million students in all 50 states. On February 16, 2,500 schools [participated] in No One Eats Alone Day, a day of action ... that encourages fifth through eighth graders to mingle, make new friends and become more aware and proactive about social isolation, especially at lunch. “No One Eats Alone is completely rooted in the experience Lili had,” Talmus explains. “For many children, the lunch break or recess are the worst parts, so we started with that.” Beyond Differences sends backpacks or “Belonging Boxes” with a lesson plan, games, toys, art projects, stickers and conversation starters to participating educators, at no cost to the schools.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


Can cooking and gardening at school inspire better nutrition? Ask these kids
2023-10-09, NPR
Posted: 2023-10-16 01:15:59
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2023/10/09/1204077086/can-cooking-a...

After a decline in nutrition education in U.S. schools in recent decades, there's new momentum to weave food and cooking into the curriculum again. Remember the hands-on cooking in home economics class, which was a staple in U.S. schools for decades? "I'd love to see it brought back and have the science around healthy eating integrated," says Stacy Dean, deputy under secretary for food, nutrition and consumer services at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dean told me she was inspired by a visit to Watkins Elementary, in Washington, D.C., where this idea is germinating. Students grow vegetables in their school garden. They also roll up their sleeves in the school's kitchen to participate in a FRESHFARM FoodPrints class, which integrates cooking and nutrition education. Evaluations show participation in FRESHFARM programs is associated with increased preference for fruits and vegetables. And, the CDC points to evidence that nutrition education may help students maintain a healthy weight and can also help students recognize the connection between food and emotional wellbeing. Given the key role diet plays in preventing chronic disease, the agency says it would be ideal to offer more nutrition education. Programs like FRESHFARM can help kids expand their palettes by introducing them to new tastes. At first, many kids are turned off by the bitter taste of greens. But through the alchemy of cooking, caramelizing the onions, and blending in fresh ginger, kids can be inspired.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


School Diet Change Brings Improved Behavior, Healthier, More Focused Students
2020-05-05, WantToKnow.info
Posted: 2023-09-15 11:59:47
https://www.wanttoknow.info/050520schooldietchange

"Before the Appleton Wisconsin high school replaced their cafeteria's processed foods with wholesome, nutritious food, the school was described as out-of-control. There were weapons violations, student disruptions, and a cop on duty full-time. After the change in school meals, the students were calm, focused, and orderly. There were no more weapons violations, and no suicides, expulsions, dropouts, or drug violations. The new diet and improved behavior has lasted for seven years, and now other schools are changing their meal programs with similar results."
  ~~  Jeffrey M. Smith, Author of Seeds of Deception

The informative article below clearly demonstrates the importance of a healthy school diet for our children. Diet is being shown to clearly influence both behavior and mood. A healthy diet fosters calmer, healthier, more focused behavior. Studies like the one below demonstrate that excessive amounts of fast food can lead to severe behavior changes, and suggest that avoiding genetically modified foods may be a very healthy option. Links at the bottom of the article provide lots more information on this topic for those interested.

Two excellent, humorous videos also reveal important health-related information. First, "Store Wars" is hilarious! This incredibly well done, five-minute spoof on the movie Star Wars is available here. Have fun watching Cuke Skywalker battle Darth Tater and lots more. A second fun one is a spoof on the Matrix called "The Meatrix," available here. A little humor goes a long way in delivering a great message. Spread the humor and spread the news by forwarding this great information to your friends and family. Have a great day, and may the force be with you!

Why Schools Should Remove GE-Tainted Foods from Their Cafeterias

Institute for Responsible Technology
Newsletter on GM Foods, Spilling the Beans
By Jeffrey M. Smith, author of Seeds of Deception

Before the Appleton Wisconsin high school replaced their cafeteria's processed foods with wholesome, nutritious food, the school was described as out-of-control. There were weapons violations, student disruptions, and a cop on duty full-time. After the change in school meals, the students were calm, focused, and orderly. There were no more weapons violations, and no suicides, expulsions, dropouts, or drug violations. The new diet and improved behavior has lasted for seven years, and now other schools are changing their meal programs with similar results.

Years ago, a science class at Appleton found support for their new diet by conducting a cruel and unusual experiment with three mice. They fed them the junk food that kids in other high schools eat everyday. The mice freaked out. Their behavior was totally different than the three mice in the neighboring cage. The neighboring mice had good karma; they were fed nutritious whole foods and behaved like mice. They slept during the day inside their cardboard tube, played with each other, and acted very mouse-like.

The junk food mice, on the other hand, destroyed their cardboard tube, were no longer nocturnal, stopped playing with each other, fought often, and two mice eventually killed the third and ate it. After the three month experiment, the students rehabilitated the two surviving junk food mice with a diet of whole foods. After about three weeks, the mice came around.

Sister Luigi Frigo repeats this experiment every year in her second grade class in Cudahy, Wisconsin, but mercifully, for only four days. Even on the first day of junk food, the mice's behavior "changes drastically." They become lazy, antisocial, and nervous. And it still takes the mice about two to three weeks on unprocessed foods to return to normal. One year, the second graders tried to do the experiment again a few months later with the same mice, but this time the animals refused to eat the junk food.

Across the ocean in Holland, a student fed one group of mice genetically modified (GM) corn and soy, and another group the non-GM variety. The GM mice stopped playing with each other and withdrew into their own parts of the cage. When the student tried to pick them up, unlike their well-behaved neighbors, the GM mice scampered around in apparent fear and tried to climb the walls. One mouse in the GM group was found dead at the end of the experiment.

It's interesting to note that the junk food fed to the mice in the Wisconsin experiments also contained genetically modified ingredients. And although the Appleton school lunch program did not specifically attempt to remove GM foods, it happened anyway. That's because GM foods such as soy and corn and their derivatives are largely found in processed foods. So when the school switched to unprocessed alternatives, almost all ingredients derived from GM crops were taken out automatically.

Does this mean that GM foods negatively affect the behavior of humans or animals? It would certainly be irresponsible to say so on the basis of a single student mice experiment and the results at Appleton. On the other hand, it is equally irresponsible to say that it doesn't.

We are just beginning to understand the influence of food on behavior. A study in Science in December 2002 concluded that "food molecules act like hormones, regulating body functioning and triggering cell division. The molecules can cause mental imbalances ranging from attention-deficit and hyperactivity disorder to serious mental illness." The problem is we do not know which food molecules have what effect.

The bigger problem is that the composition of GM foods can change radically without our knowledge. Genetically modified foods have genes inserted into their DNA. But genes are not Legos; they don't just snap into place. Gene insertion creates unpredicted, irreversible changes. In one study, for example, a gene chip monitored the DNA before and after a single foreign gene was inserted. As much as 5 percent of the DNA's genes changed the amount of protein they were producing. Not only is that huge in itself, but these changes can multiply through complex interactions down the line.

In spite of the potential for dramatic changes in the composition of GM foods, they are typically measured for only a small number of known nutrient levels. But even if we could identify all the changed compounds, at this point we wouldn¹t know which might be responsible for the antisocial nature of mice or humans. Likewise, we are only beginning to identify the medicinal compounds in food. We now know, for example, that the pigment in blueberries may revive the brain¹s neural communication system, and the antioxidant found in grape skins may fight cancer and reduce heart disease. But what about other valuable compounds we don¹t know about that might change or disappear in GM varieties?

Consider GM soy. In July 1999, years after it was on the market, independent researchers published a study showing that it contains 12-14 percent less cancer-fighting phytoestrogens. What else has changed that we don¹t know about? [Monsanto responded with its own study, which concluded that soy¹s phytoestrogen levels vary too much to even carry out a statistical analysis. They failed to disclose, however, that the laboratory that conducted Monsanto¹s experiment had been instructed to use an obsolete method to detect phytoestrogens results.]

In 1996, Monsanto published a paper in the Journal of Nutrition that concluded in the title, "The composition of glyphosate-tolerant soybean seeds is equivalent to that of conventional soybeans." The study only compared a small number of nutrients and a close look at their charts revealed significant differences in the fat, ash, and carbohydrate content. In addition, GM soy meal contained 27 percent more trypsin inhibitor, a well-known soy allergen. The study also used questionable methods. Nutrient comparisons are routinely conducted on plants grown in identical conditions so that variables such as weather and soil can be ruled out. Otherwise, differences in plant composition could be easily missed. In Monsanto's study, soybeans were planted in widely varying climates and geography.

Although one of their trials was a side-by-side comparison between GM and non-GM soy, for some reason the results were left out of the paper altogether. Years later, a medical writer found the missing data in the archives of the Journal of Nutrition and made them public. No wonder the scientists left them out. The GM soy showed significantly lower levels of protein, a fatty acid, and phenylalanine, an essential amino acid. Also, toasted GM soy meal contained nearly twice the amount of a lectin that may block the body's ability to assimilate other nutrients. Furthermore, the toasted GM soy contained as much as seven times the amount of trypsin inhibitor, indicating that the allergen may survive cooking more in the GM variety. (This might explain the 50 percent jump in soy allergies in the UK, just after GM soy was introduced.)

We don't know all the changes that occur with genetic engineering, but certainly GM crops are not the same. Ask the animals. Eyewitness reports from all over North America describe how several types of animals, when given a choice, avoided eating GM food. These included cows, pigs, elk, deer, raccoons, squirrels, rats, and mice. In fact, the Dutch student mentioned above first determined that his mice had a two-to-one preference for non-GM before forcing half of them to eat only the engineered variety.

Differences in GM food will likely have a much larger impact on children. They are three to four times more susceptible to allergies. Also, they convert more of the food into body-building material. Altered nutrients or added toxins can result in developmental problems. For this reason, animal nutrition studies are typically conducted on young, developing animals. After the feeding trial, organs are weighed and often studied under magnification. If scientists used mature animals instead of young ones, even severe nutritional problems might not be detected. The Monsanto study used mature animals instead of young ones.

They also diluted their GM soy with non-GM protein ten- or twelve-fold before feeding the animals. And they never weighed the organs or examined them under a microscope. The study, which is the only major animal feeding study on GM soy ever published, is dismissed by critics as rigged to avoid finding problems.

Unfortunately, there is a much bigger experiment going on one which we are all a part of. We're being fed GM foods daily, without knowing the impact of these foods on our health, our behavior, or our children. Thousands of schools around the world, particularly in Europe, have decided not to let their kids be used as guinea pigs. They have banned GM foods.

The impact of changes in the composition of GM foods is only one of several reasons why these foods may be dangerous. Other reasons may be far worse (see http://www.seedsofdeception.com).

With the epidemic of obesity and diabetes and with the results in Appleton, parents and schools are waking up to the critical role that diet plays. When making changes in what kids eat, removing GM foods should be a priority.


Note: For an inspiring video showing the dramatic results from a change in school diet, click here.


The above article about genetically modified foods was written by Jeffrey Smith. Individuals may subscribing to his excellent, free newsletter. For a powerful, engaging, ten-page summary of Jeffrey's book on GM foods, Seeds of Deception, click here. For more, see our information-packed Health Information Center.


Recovery high schools help kids heal from an addiction and build a future
2023-04-04, NPR
Posted: 2023-04-27 20:04:36
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2023/04/04/1167856499/recovery-high...

Every weekday at 5280 High School in Denver starts the same way. Students in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction gather on the steps of the school's indoor auditorium to discuss a topic chosen by staff members. One recent morning, they talked about mental health and sobriety. The students attend Colorado's only recovery high school — one of 43 nationwide. These schools are designed for students who are recovering from substance use disorder and might also be dealing with related mental health disorders. Compared with their peers at regular schools who have gone through treatment, recovery high school students have better attendance and are more likely to stay sober, and their graduation rate is at least 21% higher, according to one study. Recovery high schools often weave components of treatment into the school day — activities like 5280's daily recovery program meeting. In the afternoon, the school offers wellness electives such as spiritual principles and journaling. The school also employs a director of recovery and recovery coach to work with and counsel the students individually. "The No. 1 step is just letting them know out of the gate, no matter what's going on, that we love them," said Brittany Kitchens, the school's recovery coach. "We are here for them." Kitchens teaches students how to navigate recovery and regulate their emotions. She likens herself to a hall monitor, constantly checking in with students and looking for changes in behavior.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Fights erupted at a high school in Louisiana. So these dads took matters in their own hands
2021-11-08, CNN
Posted: 2022-09-19 22:26:38
https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/29/us/dads-on-duty-louisiana-school-cec/index.html

A violent week of fistfights at a Louisiana high school led to the arrests of at least 22 students last month. So a group of concerned fathers decided enough was enough. They formed a volunteer group, Dads on Duty, and began roaming the halls of Southwood High School in Shreveport to calm students, spread positivity and keep the peace. So far it's working. The group of about 40 fathers, wearing Dads on Duty T-shirts, patrol the campus every weekday on different shifts, working as community leaders and liaisons. Since they started the initiative, there's been no fighting at the school. "I immediately knew that [this violence] ... isn't the community that we're raising our babies in," said Michael LaFitte, [one] of the dads. The dads showed up at the school at 7:40 a.m., balancing their work schedules to patrol the campus in the morning, during lunch and after school. Shreveport has seen an uptick in violence and crime in recent months [as a consequence of] socioeconomic issues made worse by the lingering pandemic. The city's mayor, Adrian Perkins, credits the fathers with helping to combat violence involving local youth. He turned up at the school for a Dads on Duty shift when the fathers first started, and said he was impressed by their commitment. Dads on Duty has been working closely with the Caddo Parish School Board and local law enforcement, LaFitte said. The dads say their focus is not criminal justice - they let sheriff's deputies handle that - but an additional layer of parenting. "We are armed with love," LaFitte said.

Note: To further explore stories that help create the world we want to live in, check out our inspiring news articles collection and our Inspiration Center.


Future Healers of Tomorrow
2020-01-15, Harper's Magazine
Posted: 2022-06-06 17:57:07
https://harpers.org/2020/01/future-healers-of-tomorrow-lily-dale-assembly-chi...

Don’t you remember having an imaginary friend? That friend was not imaginary—you were talking to Spirit,” said Patricia Bell. Bell, seventy years old with sinewy arms, aqua eyes, and straw-colored hair, is the director of Children’s Week at the Lily Dale Assembly, a hamlet in upstate New York that serves as the headquarters of Spiritualism, an American religion based on communication with the dead. Approximately twenty-two thousand pilgrims pass through Lily Dale’s guarded gate each summer. In July, when many American children go to soccer camp, or horse-riding camp, or coding camp, the Spiritualists of Lily Dale welcome kids for a week of animal communication, dream interpretation, body tapping, qigong, and contact with deceased ancestors. Founded in 2003, Bell’s camp is the only Spiritualist camp in the nation dedicated to teaching young mediums and psychics. Bell ... believes that the otherworldly abilities she’s nurturing in herself as well as the children aren’t rare gifts, but innate skills, as reflexive as breastfeeding. These skills are typically educated out of people as they age. She formed the camp to let kids exercise their craft and to make it less daunting for them to talk to those on the “spirit plane.” Kylie ... has been coming to camp for nine years. “They teach us how to focus,” she said. “We go into our heart and take a few breaths, and, like, you talk to God for a few seconds and say thank you. My hands start tingling a lot and that’s when I know where the pain of the other person is.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Free college is now a reality in nearly 30 states
2022-04-08, CNBC News
Posted: 2022-05-31 01:04:16
https://www.cnbc.com/2022/04/08/free-college-is-now-a-reality-in-nearly-30-st...

Even though the Biden administration’s plan to make community college tuition-free for two years was stripped from the federal Build Back Better bill, the push for free college is alive and well in many parts of the country. While the White House has turned its focus to extending the student loan payment pause, states have been quietly moving forward with plans to pass legislation of their own to make some college tuition-free. Most recently, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, signed the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship Act, establishing the most extensive tuition-free scholarship program in the country. Like New York’s Excelsior Scholarship, it covers four years of tuition, including career training certificates, associate and bachelor’s degrees. But New Mexico’s Opportunity Scholarship goes a step further by opening up access to returning adult learners, part-time students and immigrants, regardless of their immigration status, in addition to recent high school graduates. Maine’s Gov. Janet Mills ... has proposed a plan to make two years of community college free for recent high school graduates. If passed, that would bring the total number of statewide free-college programs to 30, which means 60% of states would have free tuition opportunities. “If we get to 50, it’s mission accomplished,” said Morley Winograd ... of the Campaign for Free College Tuition. Most are “last-dollar” scholarships, meaning students receive a scholarship for the amount of tuition that is not covered by existing state or federal aid.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Why Finland’s schools are great (by doing what we don’t)
2011-10-13, Washington Post
Posted: 2022-02-27 19:27:08
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/ravitch-why-finlands-s...

For the past decade, 15-year-old Finnish students have consistently been at or near the top of all the nations tested in reading, mathematics, and science. And just as consistently, the variance in quality among Finnish schools is the least of all nations tested, meaning that Finnish students can get a good education in virtually any school in the nation. That’s equality of educational opportunity, a good public school in every neighborhood. What makes the Finnish school system so amazing is that Finnish students never take a standardized test until their last year of high school, when they take a matriculation examination for college admission. There is a national curriculum — broad guidelines to assure that all students have a full education — but it is not prescriptive. Teachers have extensive responsibility for designing curriculum and pedagogy in their school. Teachers are prepared for all eventualities, including students with disabilities, students with language difficulties, and students with other kinds of learning issues. The schools I visited reminded me of our best private progressive schools. They are rich in the arts, in play, and in activity. Finland has one other significant advantage over the United States. The child-poverty rate in Finland is under 4 percent. Here it is 22 percent and rising. It’s a well-known fact that family income is the most reliable predictor of academic performance. Finland has a strong social welfare system; we don’t. It is not a “Socialist” nation, by the way. It is egalitarian and capitalist.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Amazing Facts About Finland's Unorthodox Education System
2011-12-14, Business Insider
Posted: 2022-02-27 19:25:39
https://www.businessinsider.com/finland-education-school-2011-12

Finland's school system has consistently come at the top for the international rankings for education systems. So how do they do it? It's simple — by going against the evaluation-driven, centralized model that much of the Western world uses. Finnish children don't start school until they are 7. Compared with other systems, they rarely take exams or do homework until they are well into their teens. The children are not measured at all for the first six years of their education. There is only one mandatory standardized test in Finland, taken when children are 16. All children, clever or not, are taught in the same classrooms. Finland spends around 30 percent less per student than the United States. 30 percent of children receive extra help during their first nine years of school. 66 percent of students go to college. The difference between weakest and strongest students is the smallest in the World. Science classes are capped at 16 students so that they may perform practical experiments every class. 93 percent of Finns graduate from high school. 17.5 percent higher than the US. Elementary school students get 75 minutes of recess a day in Finnish [schools] versus an average of 27 minutes in the US. Teachers only spend 4 hours a day in the classroom, and take 2 hours a week for "professional development". Teachers are effectively given the same status as doctors and lawyers. In an international standardized measurement in 2001, Finnish children came top or very close to the top for science, reading and mathematics.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Forest schools flourish as youngsters log off and learn from nature
2021-10-31, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2022-02-07 12:24:45
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2021/oct/31/forest-schools-flourish-as-...

After more than a year of lockdowns, with limited access to nature, Magdalena Begh was delighted when her six-year-old daughter came home from forest school and informed her she had found three rat skeletons. Since Alia and her sister Hana, nine, started going to the Urban Outdoors Adventures in Nature after-school club in north London in June, they have used clay, learned about insects and made campfires, marmalade and bows and arrows. They are part of a wave of children across the UK who have joined forest schools since the start of the pandemic. Of more than 200 forest schools surveyed by the Forest School Association (FSA), about two-thirds said demand for their services had increased since March 2020. Among the reasons cited were increased awareness of the benefits of the outdoors, especially in relation to stress and anxiety, Covid safety, and dissatisfaction with the school syllabus after months of pandemic homeschooling. Forest schools, which centre around unstructured play, exploration and intrinsic motivation, arrived in the UK in 1993. Inspired by the outdoors culture – or friluftsliv – of Scandinavia, sessions are usually held either entirely or mostly outdoors and are intended to supplement, rather than replace, traditional education. State schools are increasingly putting on forest school sessions for pupils within the school day because they are considered to be beneficial to mental and physical health, behaviour and academic attainment – as well as being relatively “Covid-proof”.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


San Francisco public schools add mindfulness meditation to curriculum
2021-09-08, KCBS News
Posted: 2021-12-12 15:48:42
https://www.audacy.com/kcbsradio/news/local/san-francisco-school-district-add...

The San Francisco Unified School District has introduced mindfulness meditation as part of its curriculum this year. Susi Brennan instructed first graders on Wednesday at Daniel Webster Elementary School in Potrero Hill. Mindfulness focuses on slow and deliberate breathing, and Brennan's students sat on the floor as they listened to her calming voice. "When we’re focusing on our breath, we can use it as an anchor," Brennan told the students. "So if our mind starts to wander away, we just gently bring it right back and notice our breathing." Over 57,000 students attend school in the district, and each of them will learn about mindfulness this year. The district said it introduced the technique into every grades’ curriculum for the 2021-22 school year. Dr. Vincent Matthews, the district’s superintendent, joined in on Wednesday’s lesson. He took deep breaths alongside a class of 6-year-olds, participating in a social and emotional learning technique Matthews said is focused on the whole student. Brennan said teachers and staff also benefit from this calming technique. “It’s an opportunity for them to also sit with their thoughts, and also for them to notice sounds and their breath,” she told KCBS Radio. “It’s a moment of pause for the teachers as well.” You can learn more about the mindfulness meditations practiced in the San Francisco Unified School district by clicking here.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


North Texas High School Opens Its Own Grocery Store For Students And Their Families
2020-11-18, CBS News (Dallas, Texas affiliate)
Posted: 2021-03-23 01:44:28
https://dfw.cbslocal.com/2020/11/18/texas-high-school-opens-grocery-store-stu...

Linda Tutt High School in Sanger opened up a grocery store inside the school. It’s meant to help put extra food on the table for students and their families. But the store doesn’t accept money, just good deeds. “How often can a school say they have a grocery store inside their walls?” said principal Anthony Love. With the help of local partners like Texas Health, Albertsons and First Refuge Ministries, the school was able to complete the grocery store in an extra room. Students can shop using a point system. “A lot of our students, they come from low socioeconomic families.” Love said. “It’s a way for students to earn the ability to shop for their families. Through hard work you can earn points for positive office referrals. You can earn points for doing chores around the building or helping to clean.” Paul Juarez, the Executive Director of First Refuge Ministries said he hopes the idea is implemented in other rural areas. “These points were actually given by the students, so we walked through here and decided that a can of green beans was one point,” said Juarez. “It gives us a picture of what can be. So if we can do this inside other schools it will do a whole lot to help other small towns.” Students will learn about having sales when they have too much product, and of course, what to expect in their own first jobs. The store will also hold food drives weekly for the community and act as a supplement to other food insecurity programs in the area.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Schools in England Introduce a New Subject: Mindfulness
2019-02-04, New York Times
Posted: 2019-04-15 19:49:41
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/04/world/europe/uk-mindfulness-children-schoo...

Students in England already learn about mathematics, science and history, but hundreds of schools are preparing to expand the traditional curriculum with a new subject: mindfulness. In up to 370 English schools, students will start to practice mindfulness as part of a study to improve youth mental health. They will work with mental health experts to learn relaxation techniques, breathing exercises and other methods to help them regulate their emotions, the government said. The study, which will run until 2021, is one of the largest of its kind in the world. As a society, we are much more open about our mental health than ever before, but the modern world has brought new pressures for children, Damian Hinds, the British education secretary, said. Children will start to be introduced gradually to issues around mental health, well-being and happiness right from the start of primary school, he added. The initiative comes months after a survey commissioned by the National Health Service found that one in eight children in England between the ages of 5 and 19 suffered from at least one mental disorder at the time of their assessment in 2017. Dr. Jessica Deighton ... who is leading the government trials, said that the new initiative was intended to offer more than quick fixes. There is a tendency to think that the solution is mental health intervention, she said. We will try to reduce the stigma against mental health problems, by making the school environment literate in mental health.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


A high school government class wanted to help solve civil rights crimes. So they drafted a bill that is now law
2019-02-26, CNN News
Posted: 2019-03-11 17:52:54
https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/26/us/new-jersey-students-civil-rights-bill-trnd/...

A high school class in Hightstown, New Jersey, has found an impressive way to shed light on unsolved civil rights crimes from the 1950s and '60s. The AP class, studying US government, drafted a bill that would create a board to review, declassify, and release documents related to such cases. The students ... went to Washington, walked the halls of Senate office buildings and passed out folders with policy research and information about their bill, said former student Joshua Fayer. Their efforts caught the attention of Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois, who introduced the bill - modeled after the JFK Assassination Records Act - in March 2017. Later Sens. Doug Jones of Alabama and Ted Cruz of Texas signed on. The House and Senate versions ... passed late last year, and President Trump signed the bill into law on January 8. Former student Jay Vainganker said the class was initially trying to solve unresolved hate crimes from the [civil rights] era. They filed public records requests for information from the FBI and Department of Justice, and they got back redacted responses from the government. In some cases, entire pages were redacted. That's when their focus changed, Vaingankar said. They decided to draft a bill that would make the government "a little bit more transparent." The Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act creates "a board that would be authorized to look at these documents and see what should be redacted, what isn't relevant, what should be released," he said.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


These Kids Are Learning How to Have Bipartisan Conversations
2018-12-04, Greater Good
Posted: 2018-12-10 21:12:11
https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/these_kids_are_learning_how_to_...

Dozens of high schoolers and their teachers are flowing into the University of Southern Californias Galen Center, dressed in their debating best and bantering in various languages. All of these students are members of the Junior State of America (JSA), and theyre used to spirited exchanges about government. But theyre here today to practice a different diplomatic skill: having thoughtful conversations across political boundaries. People say, When I try to have these kinds of conversations, they go really badly, [workshop leader Brooke] Deterline says. Such verbal blowouts often breed simmering resentment and fracture relationships. Deterline wants to teach people how to cultivate compassion for others even when they dont agree with them, which she sees as necessary for a divided country to find a shared vision for its future. From the start, Deterline makes clear that what shes about to teach is the conversational equivalent of tai chia philosophy focused on holding back, not charging forward. I used to think courage was giving somebody a piece of my mind, she tells the students. Its acting with an open heart in the face of conflict. It is a choice, and it also is a muscle. What often shuts down conversations across the political aisle, she explains, is when our brains go into what she calls the red zone. When were stressed, our natural compassion is cut off, she says. Deterlines core message is that when you notice your brain heading into the red zone, you can take steps to divert its course.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Meet The White Nationalist Who Walked Away From It All
2018-09-24, Huffington Post
Posted: 2018-09-30 21:56:07
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/rising-out-of-hatred-derek-black-white-n...

Derek Black was the heir apparent to Americas white nationalist movement. He was the son of Don Black, the founder of the hate site Stormfront and the godson of David Duke, a former grand wizard of the KKK. The kingdom was Derek Blacks for the taking. One day, seemingly out of nowhere, he walked away from it all. In the new book Rising Out of Hatred by Washington Post investigative reporter Eli Saslow, the story of how Black came to leave it all behind is told. Saslow dives deep into Blacks transformation, which took place at a small liberal arts college. When members of the student body discovered a white nationalist living in their midst, many of them publicly shamed him. But a handful of students did the opposite, practicing a form of extreme acceptance. "When I first found [Derek Black], he was unequivocal that he did not want to be written about," [said Saslow]. "He naively thought he could leave it all behind. Meanwhile, white nationalism was seeing a rise in the political space. There were ... phrases he had helped popularize becoming mainstream. Derek felt increasingly culpable. He was haunted by it. Thats when he decided he needed to start talking about it more openly." Derek was on a campus that was ... social justice minded. Students were smart enough to be able to explain concepts like systematic oppression and privilege. But coming from people he respected, those ideas suddenly had real merit to him. He took time to engage and really think about it."

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


A Lesson in Kindness Finds New Life on Internet
1999-02-07, Los Angeles Times/Associated Press
Posted: 2018-06-04 00:27:01
http://articles.latimes.com/1999/feb/07/news/mn-5664

Sister Mrosla [taught] junior high. She and Mark met ... in eighth-grade math class. One Friday after a tough week of algebra, she sensed that her students were struggling. She told them [to] pull out a sheet of paper. On every other line, she said, write the name of each student in class and next to the name write a kind word - a sincere compliment. That weekend she compiled the lists for each student on yellow legal-size paper, adding her own compliment at the end. She handed the papers back during the next class. On Mark's paper, among other simple compliments, somebody had written, "A great friend." On Judy Holmes Swanson's list, someone noted that she "smiles all the time." "No one ever said anything about the exercise after that class period," Sister Mrosla wrote. "It didn't matter. The exercise accomplished what I hoped it would - the students were happy with themselves and one another again." Years passed. Mark was killed in Vietnam. At Mark's funeral, [his parents] were waiting for the nun. "We want to show you something. They found this on Mark when he was killed," [James Eklund] said, gently taking out a worn piece of paper that had been refolded many times. "I knew without looking at the writing," Sister Mrosla wrote, "that the papers were the ones I had listed all of the good things each of his classmates had said about Mark." A few of Mark's school friends who were gathered around also recognized the paper, and one by one they told her they still had theirs.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Want kids to listen more, fidget less? Try more recess... this school did
2016-08-24, Today.com
Posted: 2018-05-15 06:33:20
https://www.today.com/parents/want-kids-listen-more-fidget-less-try-more-rece...

Four times a day, the doors of Eagle Mountain Elementary in Fort Worth, Texas, fling open to let bouncy, bubbly, excited kindergarteners and first-graders pounce onto the playground. The youngest kids at this school now enjoy ... three more breaks than they used to get. Students are less fidgety and more focused. They listen more attentively, follow directions and try to solve problems on their own. There are fewer discipline issues. Were seeing really good results, [noted Donna McBride, a first-grade teacher]. Eagle Mountain Elementary is ... trying out LiiNK, a new program that boosts the amount of recess for the youngest students. It gives the platform for them to be able to function at their best level, said Debbie Rhea, a kinesiology professor ... who created the project. The American Academy of Pediatrics agrees, calling recess a crucial and necessary component of a childs development. LiiNK was inspired by Finlands education system, which produces students who get some of the best scores in the world for reading, math and science. Finnish kids [enjoy] 15 minutes of unstructured outdoor play every hour. Children in the U.S., on the other hand, might get one 15-minute recess a day. Thats not enough for kids. Theyre not built that way, Rhea said. [Recess] reboots the system so that when they go back in, theyre ready to learn. They key is unstructured play, which Rhea described as kids being allowed to run, play and make up their own games.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Going to School for Empathy
2017-12-20, US News and World Report
Posted: 2018-05-08 00:36:08
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2017-12-20/canadian-class...

In a Toronto classroom, a group of 10-year-olds sit in a circle around a green felt blanket cheering on a baby as he tries to roll over. The baby's classroom visit is part of a program designed in Canada to foster empathy among children and, in the process, reduce aggression and bullying. Founded in 1996 by Canadian educator Mary Gordon, the program, Roots of Empathy, has found receptive audiences at home and abroad. In an age of polarized politics in many democracies, where social media often is seen more as a tool of cyberbullying than a bridge to increased understanding, Roots of Empathy has expanded to the U.S. and in Western Europe by using a 20th-century technique: face-to-face interactions. "The students learn that each person has a particular disposition, that there are differences between individuals - but that we all share the same menu of feelings," Gordon says. In 2001, the government of Manitoba commissioned a three-year follow-up study of Roots of Empathy, measuring positive social behavior, physical aggression, and indirect aggression. The results showed an improvement in all three areas immediately after the program and three years later. Studies commissioned by the University of Missouri and the University of Toronto had similar findings. The program has expanded from Canada, where it is delivered in English and French, to the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland ... Costa Rica, [and the] the U.S..

Note: Read an interview with the founder of this great program.


Tennessee makes community college free for all adults
2017-05-11, CNN
Posted: 2018-05-08 00:34:19
http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/11/pf/college/tennessee-free-community-college/i...

Tennessee is about to become the first state in the nation to make community college free for all adults. Lawmakers approved legislation Wednesday that will expand the Tennessee Promise program that launched in 2014. It made tuition and fees free for recent high school graduates enrolled in a community college or technical school. Now, adults who don't already have an associate's or bachelor's degree can go for free, too, starting in the 2018 fall semester. Governor Bill Haslam is expected to sign the bill into law. He proposed the legislation in his State of the State address earlier this year. It's a cornerstone of his initiative to increase the number of residents with a college education to 55% by 2025. Last year, less than 39% of residents had gone to college. "If we want to have jobs ready for Tennesseans, we have to make sure that Tennesseans are ready for jobs, and there is no smarter investment than increasing access to high-quality education," Haslam said in a statement. To be eligible, students must have been a state resident for at least a year before applying, maintain a 2.0 GPA, enroll in enough classes to be a part-time student, and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Expanding the free-tuition program will cost about $10 million. It will be funded by the state's lottery account. More than 33,000 students have benefited from the Tennessee Promise program in its first two years, raising enrollment among first-time freshmen by 30%.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.