Weekly NewsBrief 10/5/20 - 10/11/20

News Clip


Million Girls Moonshot aims to bring 1M girls into school STEM programs – By Shawna De La Rosa – Education Dive

As schools continue working to better engage girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, a number of STEM-focused foundations are partnering to form the Million Girls Moonshot initiative to hook one million more girls on these subject areas over the next five years. The organizations — which include the Intel Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, STEM Next Opportunity Fund and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation — will provide grants and in-kind resources to Mott-funded afterschool networks to increase access to STEM learning experiences.

“The purpose of the Million Girls Moonshot is to work towards closing the gender gap,” said Dr. Penny Noyce — founding board chair for STEM Next Opportunity Fund and daughter of one of the Intel founders, Robert Noyce. “We are trying to pull together a cross-section of technology companies, government organizations, state and afterschool providers to provide grant funding, in-kind resources and access to resources and STEM mentors.”

Though women make up half of the U.S. college-educated workforce, they continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields. For example, they make up just 16% of engineers, according to a press release. And Black and Latina women only make up 2% of that field. With a STEM professional shortfall of about 1 million workers in the near future, industry leaders say engaging girls and minorities is critical.

There were very few women and minorities in engineering when Gabriela González, deputy director of the Intel Foundation, launched her engineering career at Xerox in the early 1990s. By 2005, lack of diversity was an industry concern. Yet five years later, nothing had changed.


With too few school nurses and too much to do, Tennessee looks at COVID testing in schools – By Marta Aldrich, Chalkbeat

One of two registered nurses covering nine schools in a rural Tennessee district, Jennifer Patterson tends to the healthcare of about 2,500 students whose needs have only increased during the coronavirus pandemic.

Her days are full — from answering questions about COVID and providing routine care to keeping up with immunization records and sometimes helping with medically fragile special education students.

Now the prospect of giving a new rapid coronavirus test to symptomatic students and staff has the veteran nurse thinking about how she could manage that additional responsibility.

“I think it would be very tough,” said Patterson, who works for McMinn County Schools, a sprawling district south of Knoxville. “We’re a rural county and our schools are far apart. I think my phone would be going off all the time. And if I’m dealing with seizures or a tube feeding, I couldn’t drop that to go do a COVID test.”


Special education funding should be less isolated, have more accountability, report finds – By Carolyn Jones. EdSource

Special education funding should be more transparent, more flexible and more integrated with other streams of school funding, according to a report published Monday.

The report, by researchers at the education consulting firm WestEd, is the first of a two-part study on how California can improve its funding for students with special needs without increasing money from local, state or federal sources. The second part will be published in January.

“We wanted to study how California can build a system that gets the right money to the right agencies and the right students,” said the study’s co-author, Jason Willis, director of strategy and performance in the Comprehensive School Assistance Program at WestEd.

Special education is one of the most expensive programs at a school, because students with disabilities often need extra services, such as speech therapy or one-on-one aides.


No more snow days? Connecticut education officials consider online learning in event of inclement weather – By Russell Blair – Hartsford Courant

Snow days could be a thing of the past in Connecticut schools this winter as the state Department of Education is developing guidelines on how students may learn online from home instead of missing class due to inclement weather.

Jessica Mirtle, legal director for the state education department, told members of the State Board of Education Wednesday that the unique circumstances of education during the coronavirus pandemic — with many school districts including an online component as part of students' learning — have led to many questions about whether students could simply learn from home in the event of snow rather than having to make up a day at the end of the school year.

“It’s only because of these circumstances that we would consider this something that needs to be ... allowed for," Mirtle said.

State education Commissioner Miguel Cardona said with winter approaching “this is a timely conversation” for the board to be having.



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