Weekend reads: A dog in the yearbook, helicopter parents on campus, it's OK to talk about weather

Kristin Tyndall's reads

There's a dog in the yearbook of Virginia's Stafford High School this year. His name is Alpha and he is a service dog for Andrew Schalk, a junior at the school who has Type 1 diabetes. Alpha alerts Schalk when his blood sugar goes too low or too high. "He has saved my life multiple times already, by waking me up in the middle of the night to extremely low blood sugars, which are very dangerous," Schalk says. He takes Alpha to school with him, so it only makes sense that Alpha would get a spot in the yearbook right next to his.

Stop being embarrassed for talking about the weather, argues Ann-Derrick Gaillot in a manifesto for The Outline. Not only does it affect everything we do, she writes, but it's also an "egalitarian topic of conversation" that anyone can contribute to. And at a time when the news and politics are distressing, the weather can be a comforting reminder that there are forces bigger than all of us and our daily problems. So "chat on," Gaillot encourages, and don't you feel a bit of guilt for it.

Seren Snow's reads

How do schools evaluate teachers when they have this dilemma: students in one class get lower standardized test scores despite having a high-performing teacher because of disciplinary issues, but students in another class have high standardized test scores despite having a low-performing teacher because they are gifted? A statistician named William Sanders, who died earlier this year, helped answer that question and revolutionized K-12 education in the process. He came up with the value-added student growth measurement, a way to evaluate teachers based on how much students are learning. His method inspired education reformers like Michelle Rhee and gained support from Bill Gates and the Obama administration. While the method has become a political football today, no one can deny the effect it's had on education. For this, “nobody will ever see the American teaching profession the same way again.”

Colleges have been scrambling to accommodate a rise parental involvement. This is partly due to the increasing focus on the ROI of tuition—parents want results. But there's also a fear that their child might have difficulty navigating all of the choices available in college today; there's a dizzying array of majors and courses available now. Parents want their child to be set up for graduate school, a career, and life’s challenges in general. I have always joked that I’ll one day be a “helicopter parent,” a parent who is extremely involved, perhaps excessively, in every part of their child’s academic life. While I may not go that far, I’m at least comforted that research shows this strategy results in a child being more likely to finish college and find a good paying job after graduation.

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EAB is celebrating the success of the Class of 2017! We’re here to help you create more #grads. This May on our social media, join the fun with our graduation-themed content using the hashtag #GraduatEAB to follow, view, and share our best resources on #studentsuccess.

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