Meet Jyla and Citlali: kindergartener and high school senior offer lens into online learning

When the coronavirus pandemic shuttered schools last spring, teachers and families braced for a brief interruption of a few weeks.

Instead, the abrupt and often stumbling shift to virtual learning bled from one school year to the next. For half a year, students have entered classrooms through computer screens and connected with schoolmates on video conferences, while teachers improvised online lessons.

Schools scrambled to reimagine education for an era of quarantine, and entered the fall semester better prepared to stream math, science and reading lessons into millions of homes. Despite those ubiquitous live feeds, it’s unclear how well students are learning.

Are online lessons capturing their attention, or leaving their eyes glazed-over from long hours of screen-time? Do they understand teachers’ instructions, and know how to pose questions if they don’t? Do younger students and those with disabilities risk falling behind developmentally? And are those nearing graduation destined for uncertain

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PPHS preparing rising senior class to take a big step in their education

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Four years ago, Colten Lewis was a fledgling freshman starting a new school – a school that, at that time, had no track record. It was Purdue University’s grand experiment. Purdue Polytechnic High School is a unique charter school experience intended to offer hands-on education focusing on the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) areas.

Today, Lewis is a senior, and come spring, he will be part of a first: Purdue Polytechnic High School’s inaugural graduating class.

For Lewis, it has worked out just as one would map out the formative high school years. He entered thinking he wanted to be an engineer. At the moment, he is looking toward business and entrepreneurship. He credits the school’s hands-on opportunities for guiding him. 

The school has embraced his interest for management and entrepreneurship, letting Lewis and a fellow student work through the logistics of starting a school

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UAPB senior pushes for education abroad

As she plans for graduation in May 2021, Alyssa Smith, a senior majoring in political science at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, has been working to ensure her peers have access to and interest in the types of study abroad programs she has had.

After having pursued a number of international learning opportunities both in high school and during her studies at UAPB, last year she saw an opportunity to establish a program for UAPB students in the Central American country of Guatemala.

Smith first visited Guatemala when she was 13. Motivated by a deep-seated drive to see more of the world and improve her Spanish fluency, she leaped at the opportunity to attend a Spanish language program for high school students.

“After I returned home, I wrote an essay entitled ‘The Awakening,’” she said. “My eyes were opened to a lot of things. Before that trip, I

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University of Oklahoma cuts Senior Capstone Experience while adding mandatory diversity class


On September 2, University of Oklahoma Vice Provost for Faculty Jill Irvine sent an email to her colleagues announcing a change in curriculum: the campus would be adding a mandatory diversity, equity and inclusion course for all students beginning in fall 2021.

At the same time, OU would be removing the Senior Capstone Experience as a General Education requirement, a culminating course in which students complete a large-scale project in their major field, such as a 50-page research paper or a laboratory program.

“The General Education proposed changes will now be submitted to the Oklahoma State Regents of Higher Education (OSRHE) for approval,” wrote Irvine to faculty, adding, “We are hopeful that these changes will be approved at the upcoming meeting.”

But Irvine and other administrators had previously been warned against taking such actions by a cadre of department chairs in disciplines such as history, English, anthropology, philosophy, modern

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