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Amid limited research, educators find success with flipped classroom model

Education Dive recently reported on some success stories of schools using the flipped classroom model. According to a recent study published in AERA Open, a publication of the American Educational Research Association, the flipped classroom model has a slightly positive impact on student learning and satisfaction — but what are schools that have implemented the model seeing on the frontlines?

The authors of the meta-analysis suggest educators experience at least small positive impacts on student learning under flipped models, but that little is known about why it works well in some situations and not so much in others. They ultimately call for more strictly designed studies with more thorough reporting on the model.

Flipped classrooms’ star has been on the rise nationwide over the past decade, and Clintondale High School in Clinton Township, Michigan, implemented the concept for its entire 400-student school about that long ago.

In 2010, Principal Greg Green — now the district’s superintendent — was overseeing a failing public high school and needed to do something drastic to turn things around. He had heard about the flipped model and it seemed promising, but he was leery.

“We were taking something that’s been entrenched in society for 300 years and changing it,” he said, referring to the traditional sit-and-get teaching model. “But we weren’t being successful at what we were doing. Failure forces you to think outside of the box, and that allows for growth.”

Growth came in the form of flipping one class that included at-risk students. By the end of the year, that group was outperforming the students in traditional classrooms. So Green started expanding the program across the entire school.

While students in a traditional classroom passively receive a lecture in class and then go home to complete assignments around writing, math problems or science lab reports as homework, the flipped model sees teachers outsource their lessons to videos that students consume at home. What would have previously been “homework” is then completed at school under the guidance of teachers, who now have much more time to devote to individual guidance.

“The problem we kept hearing was that we weren’t offering enough support,” Green said. “We thought about how to give them support, and decided this was the best way to do it. Teach them the lessons at home and then use the class period to support them.”

Since flipping the entire school, he has seen an increase in attendance and college acceptance, and a drop in failure rates.

Green emphasizes that he didn’t build the model around any specific technology because that all changes. He explains that the school developed an “ecosystem” that allows for teachers to sit with the students, working with them through the learning process.

“If they have stumbling blocks, they don’t take it home and relearn the wrong information,” Green said. “The teachers are there to correct the problem immediately, allowing students to move more quickly and get immediate feedback.”

Green believes students aren’t well-supported when they have homework, and he points to evidence arguing homework doesn’t improve outcomes anyway. It took 18 months to flip the school, he said.

Teachers at Clintondale now follow an 80/20 model. That means students spend 80% of class time engaged in activities, and teachers only spend 20% of class time teaching. Early in a unit, the teacher may be doing more teaching, but students should be able to teach the unit themselves by its end.

But while few schools have completely “flipped” at large, many teachers are giving the model a go.

Kerissa Armstead, who teaches chemistry at Franklin County Early College High School in North Carolina, is launching a flipped classroom this year. Like those at Clintondale, the second-year teacher finds she has more time to work with students and more class time to devote to labs.

Since the students watch the video lessons at home on their own time, they are able to go slower or faster as necessary. Most videos are only about five to 10 minutes long and she finds them on YouTube. She also uses the program Edpuzzle, which allows her to embed questions into the videos and track who is watching and for how long.

“It’s going well so far,” she said. “I’m not only on track for the year, I may even be a little ahead. I also haven’t had any students complain about feeling rushed.”

Stephanie Anticona, a 7th-grade advanced math teacher at Hays Middle School in Texas’ Prosper Independent School District, is also launching a flipped classroom. She recorded videos while she taught lessons last year and is using them for her students to watch at home this year.

Unlike some teachers who find online content to provide the lessons, she opted to create the lessons herself because it took less time than searching online.

In her 11th year of teaching, Anticona opted to try the flipped classroom after learning about the concept in graduate school. She, too, is using Edpuzzle and hopes to win a grant to purchase the full version.

She has had no problems so far, she said, noting that test scores seem to show promise that the model is working.

“It’s a lot of work upfront, but once you have the videos, it’s easy,” she said. “And then you aren’t standing up there for 30 minutes doing the lesson. You can work alongside the students and help them.”

Here is a link the original story on Education Dive: https://www.educationdive.com/news/amid-limited-research-educators-find-success-with-flipped-classroom-model/564542/

If you are interested in learning more about the Flipped Classroom look for our feature story on this subject in the Spring 2020 issue of LINK for Counselors in February 2020.

Free Downloadable STEM Posters: Embed STEM in the School Culture

The first week of December is nationally recognized in schools as “Computer Science Education Week” or “CSEd Week.” This is a week dedicated to providing students in all grade levels with opportunities to learn about computer science (CS). Many schools get started with free curriculum from organizations such as:

These sites offer entertaining and engaging ways to introduce algorithms, loops, conditionals, and other CS concepts to students. While the hands-on coding activities foster a fun introduction and spark interest, many educators are looking for more ways to embed the value of CS into the school’s physical environment and highlight how CS intersects with other content areas.  Research about how the physical environment affects young women’s entry and persistence in computing indicates that “The décor of physical spaces conveys messages about the kinds of people who belong there and the kinds of activities that should be done there. Understanding this influence allows us to actively craft an environment that makes a broad range of people feel welcome in computing” (www.ncwit.org/physicalspaceuw). A free and easy way to get started is by printing and displaying CS posters throughout the school.

Here is a list of where to go for free downloadable posters:  RobbotResources has free downloadable poster collections that cover a wide variety of topics in CS and cover the intersection of CS skills with specific content areas, such as art, music, humanities, PE, and others. These poster collections highlight that computing skills aren’t isolated to the CS class. Many schools print the collections to display the posters in corresponding content-area classrooms. The colorful graphics on the posters weave a common thread of a shared goal of providing pathways to careers and foster responsible digital citizenship skills.  Visit the website to view the collections. You can see the recommended grade level for each collection and read reviews and suggestions from other educators who have downloaded the posters.  Here are some sample collections that emphasize the variety offered by RobbotResources

CreateCodeLoad.com offers free classroom posters that combine a growth mindset with drag-and-drop coding. These posters appeal to elementary and middle school students and are ideal if your school uses Scratch. The set of nine posters are organized for social-emotional learning skills, such as perseverance, goalsetting, and more. The concepts bridge the gap between the computational thinking skills taught in the classroom and life skills. They highlight that teaching CS doesn’t detract from social-emotional learning but truly serves to enhance these skills. The posters can be printed on 8.5×11 or 11×17 size paper. To download the posters, go to the website, click the link to request posters, and enter your email address. Printable posters are immediately emailed to you!  Highlighting the diversity of contributors to advances in CS is important as many students (and teachers) aren’t aware of these key figures and their contributions. Many traditional textbooks and curriculums haven’t featured these influential leaders, and culturally responsive educators are strategically embedding their contributions into lessons to paint the full picture of all of the people who have contributed to the advances in STEM that we all benefit from today. 

How does what a student is learning during CSEd Week translate to a career? The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies has 15 free downloadable posters that spotlight the variety of cybersecurity careers, educational pathways, job descriptions, salary, and more. These posters would make an engaging display on a high school or middle school bulletin board. The graphics highlight inclusivity and representation in the field. These posters bridge the gap between the fun, gamified coding experiences to viable education and career pathways in CS.

Some exciting jobs profiled include:

Angela Cleveland, M.S.Ed., M.Ed., MA has 15 years of experience as a school counselor and is a Google Certified Educator. In 2017, she was recognized as New Jersey School Counselor of the Year. Angela co-authored Coding Capers: Luci and the Missing Robot and 50+ Tech Tools for School Counselors: How to Be More Engaging, Efficient, and Effective. Follow her on Twitter: @AngCleveland.

2019 State of College Admission Report

NACAC has released it’s 2019 State of College Admission Report. Here is a summary of what’s included from the Executive Report:

College Applications

The increase in the number of colleges to which each student applies continues an upward trend, which is reflected in college reports of increased application volume.

• Growth in Application Volume Continues: Between the Fall 2017 and Fall 2018 admission cycles, the number of applications from first-time freshmen increased 6 percent and international student applications increased by 7 percent. Transfer applications were up 2 percent overall, put public colleges experienced an average 1.7 percent decline in transfer applications while private colleges had a 4.7% increase.

Colleges Accept Two-Thirds of First-Time Freshmen Applicants, on Average: The percentage of applicants offered admission at four-year colleges and universities in the United States—referred to as the average selectivity rate— was 66.7 percent for Fall 2017. The national average acceptance rate has increased from a low of 63.9 percent in Fall 2012.

• Average Yield Rate for First-Time Freshmen Holds Steady After Long Decline: The average yield rate for Fall 2017 was nearly identical to Fall 2016 (33.7 percent and 33.6 percent, respectively). Over the past decade the average yield rate has steadily declined from 48 percent in Fall 2007.

• Transfer Acceptance Rate Slightly Lower than Freshmen Rate; Yield Much Higher: Among institutions that enroll transfer students, average selectivity for Fall 2018 was 61 percent, compared to 66 percent for first-time freshmen. However, more than half (52 percent) of transfer applicants who were admitted ultimately enrolled, compared to only 27 percent of freshman admits.

• International Student Acceptance Rate is Low; Yield Slightly Higher than First-Time Freshmen: At institutions that enroll first-time international students, the Fall 2018 admit rate for this population (52 percent) was lower than the rate for both transfer and first-time freshmen students. The average yield rate for international students was 29 percent.

Recruitment and Yield Strategies

College admission offices use a variety of strategies to recruit prospective students, particularly those who would be likely to attend if admitted. Colleges are broadening their recruitment efforts to bring in more transfer and international students.

• Top Recruitment Strategies: Colleges employ a broad range of strategies when recruiting high school students. Sending email, maintaining institutional websites, and hosting campus visits were the primary means by which colleges recruited first-time freshmen for the Fall 2018 admission cycle. Four other factors—high school visits, direct mail, and outreach to both parents and high school counselors—were each rated as considerably important by at least 50 percent of colleges.

• Early Decision and Early Action Activity Increases: Between Fall 2017 and Fall 2018, colleges reported an average increase of 11 percent in the number of Early Decision applicants and 10 percent in ED admits. The number of Early Action applications increased by 10 percent and the number of students accepted through EA increased by 9 percent.

• Wait List Activity Increases; Likelihood of Wait List Acceptance Remains Low: For the Fall 2018 admission cycle, 43 percent of institutions reported using a wait list. From Fall 2017 to Fall 2018, the number of students offered a place on an admission wait list increased by 18 percent, on average. Institutions accepted an average of 20 percent of all students who chose to remain on wait lists.

Factors in Admission Decisions

The factors that admission officers use to evaluate applications from first-time freshmen have remained largely consistent over the past 20 years. Students’ academic achievements—which include grades, strength of curriculum, and admission test scores—constitute the most important factors in the admission decision.

• Admission Offices Identify Grades, High School Curriculum, and Test Scores as Top Factors for First-Time Freshmen: The top factors in the admission decision were overall high school GPA, grades in college preparatory courses, strength of curriculum, and admission test scores. Among the next most important factors were the essay, a student’s demonstrated interest, counselor and teacher recommendations, class rank, and extracurricular activities.

• Student Background Information: Nearly one-third of colleges rated first-generation status as at least moderately important in first-time freshmen admission decisions. About one-quarter of colleges considered high school attended, race/ethnicity, and state or county of residence as either moderately or considerably important.

College Counseling in Secondary Schools

Access to college information and counseling in school is a significant benefit to students in the college application process. For many students, particularly those in public schools, college counseling is limited at best. Counselors are few in number, often have large student caseloads, and have additional constraints on the amount of time they can dedicate to college counseling.

• Student-to-Counselor Ratio: According to US Department of Education data, in 2016–17 each public school counselor (including elementary and secondary) was responsible for 455 students, on average. • College Counseling Staff in Secondary Schools: For the 2018–19 academic year, 29 percent of public schools reported employing at least one counselor (full- or part-time) whose exclusive responsibility was to provide college counseling, compared to 48 percent of private schools.

• Time Available for College Counseling in Secondary Schools: Some differences exist between the duties and activities of counselors employed at public schools versus those who work at private schools. On average, public school counselors spent 19 percent of their time on postsecondary counseling in 2018–19, while their private school counterparts spent 31 percent of their time on college counseling.

The complete 28 page report is available here: https://www.nacacnet.org/globalassets/documents/publications/research/2018_soca/soca2019_all.pdf

Resources for Mental Health issues, signs and where your students can seek help

Mental illness covers a wide spectrum of conditions that affect children, teens, and adults. Almost one in five U.S. adults are diagnosed with a mental illness. Mental illness can be broadly separated into two categories: any mental illness and serious mental illness. Any mental illness covers all mental illnesses that have been recognized to date, whether that’s occasional depression or another behavioral, emotional, or mental condition that causes upset but can be dealt with without extreme intervention. Serious mental illness encompasses conditions that are more severe, including severe versions of things such as depression. These are behavioral, emotional, or mental conditions that cause serious functional impairment, interfering with one or more major life activities. Addiction Counselor has put together a comprehensive guide that can provide some useful information to your students who may have mental health issues.

Common Mental Health Issues

Suicide

People struggling with suicidal ideation (thoughts) don’t usually kill themselves out of the blue. Instead, they often mentally prepare themselves for the moment, often keeping it secret. However, there are some signs to look for:

Verbal:

  • Feeling unbearable pain
  • Talking about killing themselves
  • Expressing hopelessness
  • Feeling like a burden to others
  • Feeling trapped

Behavioral:

  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves
  • Unexplained aggression
  • Being reckless
  • Giving away beloved possessions
  • Isolating behaviors

Mood:

  • Loss of interest in life
  • Depression
  • Feeling humiliated
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

Stressful life events may push someone over the edge. They may have experienced prolonged stress at home, school, or work. They may also have access to a means of committing suicide (drugs or weapons).

Gambling

Not everybody gets addicted to gambling. But if you think you know someone who has gotten hooked, look for these signs:

  • Missing school, work, or other commitments because of a need to gamble
  • Gambling more than they intended
  • Hiding signs of gambling activity (betting slips or lottery tickets)
  • Always talking about gambling—it has become their lives
  • Being criticized by others for their gambling behavior
  • Spending more time or money on gambling than they can afford
  • Increasing their gambling to win back their losses
  • Gambling to escape problems at home or work, or to relieve boredom, depression, or anxiety
  • Selling things, stealing, or borrowing money to get money to gamble or to repay gambling debts
  • Developing financial difficulties after gambling away money intended for bills

Chemical/Alcohol Dependency

If someone you know is becoming dependent on alcohol or drugs, you’ll see several signs:

  • They need more and more of the substance or alcohol to get the same effect they used to get with a smaller dose
  • Even though they know their substance use is affecting their family or themselves psychologically and physically, they still keep using
  • They experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using
  • They pull away from recreational or social activities they used to enjoy
  • They spend much of their time getting the substance, using it, and recovering from using

A few symptoms of dependence on alcohol or substances:

  • They get high or drunk regularly
  • They lie about how much they are using
  • They believe they need to drink or use to have fun

The Guide also covers Eating Disorders, Learning Disabilities, Depression, Anxiety and Stress Disorders, Schizophrenia/Bipolar and other Disorders & Autism

Finding Support

When someone realizes that their loved one is showing worrisome signs of mental illness, they may not know where they can turn. They may also feel confused about how to support them.

Before lining up support services, the person should show their own love and support, and find out if their loved one is already getting help. If not, they should let them know help is available. If the question of mental health comes up, they can respond to their loved one, listen to their ideas, and offer to help them with daily tasks. It’s also vital to include them in family gatherings.

They should treat those who have mental health issues with dignity and compassion. They should also educate others, so they know what mental illness is and what it isn’t.

Finding support may be a challenge. If their loved one is suicidal, they can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). If the situation isn’t an emergency, they can schedule an appointment with the loved one’s primary healthcare provider or pediatrician. Find a services locator online for behavioral health providers. There are several, with resources for specific types of mental health issues.

Local Services

  • Crisis hotlines and warm lines
  • Crisis assistance listening line
  • Kid Talk, a warm line children can call for support
  • Local domestic violence shelter and hotline
  • Mobile crisis services
  • Narcotics Anonymous, where they can learn about a family member’s substance addiction
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Support Groups, Hospital/Facility Care, Organizations, Emergency Care and who treats Mental Illness are covered in depth

If you have any students that exhibiting signs of mental illness this guide may help them. It may also help you recognize some of the signs as you counsel your students. Here is a link: https://addiction-counselor.org/resources/mental-health/

The Ten Most Common College Application Mistakes

  1. Cutting and pasting carelessly – when students forget to change the name of the college in their “why this college?” essay, frequently considered the most annoying error.
  2. Omitting information – colleges and universities have to wonder how interested a student really is if they don’t take the time to proofread their application and/or essay more carefully. Thankfully most electronic applications won’t allow students to move on to subsequent pages or to submit incomplete applications without calling out missing information.
  3. Lack of interest – essays that are too short or don’t fully respond to the prompt communicate that students really don’t care.
  4. Silly or immature email addresses – sexycheerleader@myemail.com – need I say more?
  5. Waiting until the last minute – it’s easy to spot the perennial procrastinator when error-laden applications are submitted.
  6. Assuming all colleges are on the Common Application – that’s a big mistake if you plan on applying to most state colleges and universities. The Common Application (commonapp.org) does count over 500 colleges as members, but the majority of them are the private liberal arts colleges.
  7. Forgetting about Common Application Supplements – most colleges on Common App have an additional supplement. Many will just ask college specific questions, but many more will have additional essay questions.
  8. Asking the wrong teachers to write letters of recommendation – many students feel compelled to ask the school’s most popular teacher or the teacher where they received the “Easy A.” The popular teacher is likely already overwhelmed with requests and you have to wonder exactly what the “Easy A” teacher will say about you.
  9. Asking the wrong non-teacher recommenders – high profile politicians or corporate executives won’t carry as much weight in the admissions office as a student’s club advisor, coach or youth director. Remember it’s not who you know, it’s how well the recommender knows you.
  10. Missing deadlines – Students need to be aware that deadlines vary not only college to college but there may even be multiple deadlines at the same college. Check to see the specific deadlines for applications and for scholarships. Students interested in being considered for an Honors College programs, merit-based or need-based scholarships will often find earlier application deadlines.

Lee Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte. Send questions to: lee@collegeadmissionsstrategies.com; www.collegeadmissionsstrategies.com

The Definitive Guide to Scholarships for Students with Disabilities

Intuit has put together a comprehensive guide to Scholarships for you students that have disabilities. College is expensive and when you factor in the additional healthcare costs that students with disabilities have (estimated to average $11,637 per year) any scholarship money they can receive should be very welcome.

What Are Scholarships for People with Disabilities? 

Scholarships for people with disabilities are any kind of scholarship that’s specifically aimed at someone with a type of disability. These can be physical, learning, speech, or any other number of disabilities. Some scholarships are for anyone with a disability, while others are for specific types of disabilities. 

Scholarships are a huge part of making college affordable, especially when it comes to those with disabilities. In fact, the percentage of college students with disabilities has increased from 10% in 2000, to 19% of undergrads and 11% of grad students in 2016. But, who exactly is eligible for these scholarships?

Who’s Eligible for These Scholarships? 

In general, you need to have some kind of disability to be generally eligible for disability scholarships. Beyond this, many scholarships will have very specific disability requirements, as well as a demonstrated need for financial aid. 

For example, the Anders Tjellström Scholarship requires that any applicant have a GPA of 3.0, use Cochlear implants for hearing loss, and be a U.S. or Canadian citizen. 

Because of their often very specific requirements, it can make your search a lot easier if you search specifically for scholarships tailored to your disability. 

21 Scholarships for Those With Disabilities

Scholarships for People with Autism

Dan Archwamety Scholarship

Amount: $500 toward course completion

Eligibility: Applicant must have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, be a resident of Nebraska, and be currently registered or enrolled in a post-secondary school.

Application requirements: Applicants need to fill out the application and provide documented proof of ASD and their enrollment or registration with a post-secondary institution. 

KFM Autism Scholarship

Amount: $500 for education costs

Eligibility: Any upcoming or current college students with autism can apply for the KFM Autism Scholarship. 

Application requirements: To apply, applicants need to create a cover letter, supply a resume, get reference letter, and write an essay that aims to inspire those with autism or improve understanding of autism for those outside the community. 

OAR Scholarship for Students with Autism

Amount: $3,000 for education costs

Eligibility: Any person that’s been diagnosed with autism and plans on attending a post-secondary institution in pursuit of a certification or accreditation is eligible to apply as long as they haven’t won this scholarship in the past.

Application requirements: Applicants must fill out an online application, answer three essay questions, and provide basic information about their diagnosis. If an applicant’s speaking or writing abilities are hindered, two letters of recommendation are required. 

Scholarships for People with General Disabilities

Auger & Auger Disabled Scholar Award

Amount: $1,000 for tuition and related expenses

Eligibility: Anyone with a disability that’s a graduating high school senior or already enrolled in an accredited higher education institution within the U.S. Applicants must also have a GPA of 2.8 at the time of applying.  

Application requirements: To apply, applicants must supply an unofficial copy of their transcript and complete one out of a selection of essays. 

BMO Capital Markets Lime Connect Equity Through Education Scholarship

Amount: $5,000 in Canada, $10,000 in the U.S. for school-related expenses

Eligibility: Must be a current undergrad or grad student with a visible or invisible disability and a 40% course load minimum. Applicant must also be pursuing a degree in business, commerce, computer science, engineering, math, physics, statistics or a related discipline.

Application requirements: Applicants must join the Lime Network, submit a current resume and transcripts, provide a letter of recommendation from a professor or advisor, and answer an essay on their career goals and why they should be chosen as the recipient of the scholarship.

INCIGHT Scholarship

Amount: The amount varies and is used toward tuition.

Eligibility: To be eligible for this scholarship, students must have a documented disability, attend a higher education institution during the scholarship period, maintain full-time enrollment throughout the academic year, and be a resident of Oregon, California, or Washington.

Application requirements: Applicants need to submit document proof of their disability as well as proof of residence in Oregon, California, or Washington. If selected, the winner will have to do 30 hours of community service or help work one INCIGHT event. 

Scholarships for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired 

AG Bell College Scholarship for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Amount: Varies, up to $5,000 toward college costs

Eligibility: In order to qualify, applicant must have bilateral hearing loss in the moderate to profound range. Additional specific hearing-related requirements apply. Applicants must also have an unweighted GPA of 3.25 and be pursuing a four-year degree or graduate degree at an accredited college.

Application requirements: Application for this scholarship requires a recent unaided audiogram, transcripts, a completed essay, and three referrals that can speak on your behalf. 

Cochlear Graeme Clark Scholarship

Amount: $2,000 per year for up to four years, applicable toward tuition.

Eligibility: Applicants must be a Baha or Nucleus recipient, a citizen of the U.S. or Canada, a graduating or recently graduated senior, or an undergrad in an accredited university. Applicants must also have a 3.0 or higher GPA when applying. 

Application requirements: To apply, applicants must send their official transcripts, provide proof of Baha or Nucleus implant, and complete the application form. 

Love-Peel Scholarship Fund for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students

Amount: Varies depending on individual, but must be used toward school.

Eligibility: Anyone that’s lived in Michigan for at least one year, has any form of hearing loss can apply.

Application requirements: Applicants need to supply a report card or transcript if enrolled in college already, attain two letters of recommendation, list out any community service activities if available, provide proof of hearing loss or deafness, and complete a number of questions on the form. 

Scholarships for People with Learning Disabilities

The Dottie R. Walker LEAD Scholarship

Amount: $1,500 for academic use

Eligibility: Must be a resident of Nevada or Colorado, plan on being enrolled in full-time higher ed the next year, and have a learning disability per the definitions of the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA). 

Application requirements: Letter of recommendation from a teacher or counselor, certified high school transcript, and certified proof of severe learning disability (SLD) required.

Joseph James Morelli Scholarship Fund

Amount: $500-2,500 for tuition, tutors, and research

Eligibility: Open to high school and college students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and/or dyscalculia. Applicant must be interested in STEM degree. 

Application requirements: Certified proof of above learning disability or disabilities required. 

Anne Ford Scholarship

Amount: $10,000 spread out over four years, must be used on tuition

Eligibility: Applicant must have a learning disability or ADHD, be a graduating high school senior attending college in the fall, have a 3.0 GPA or higher, and exhibit financial need. Ideally an applicant is interested in making life better for those with a learning disability or ADHD after they graduate. 

Application requirements: To apply, applicants need to fill out an application, have three letters of recommendation, and supply documentation of their disability.

Pine Cone Foundation Scholarship

Amount: Up to $5,550 over three years for community college expenses.

Eligibility: Applicants for this scholarship need to have a Specific Learning Disability, be a graduating senior, plan on attending a community college in California, have a GPA of at least 2.5, and be a citizen of California. 

Application requirements: To apply, applicants must provide their transcript, signed reference letter, documentation on their Specific Learning Disability, photo, and completed application. 

Scholarships for People with Mobility and Physical Disabilities

ABC Law Centers Cerebral Palsy Scholarship

Amount: $1,000 for tuition or general expenses

Eligibility: Applicants must be seeking or currently enrolled at a higher learning institution, have cerebral palsy, be a legal citizen of the U.S., and have a 3.0 GPA. 

Application requirements: All applicants must provide their transcripts, complete an essay, and describe what they plan on doing with the funds.

CHASA Scholarship

Amount: The amount varies but must be used on tuition

Eligibility: All applicants must have hemiplegia or hemiparesis prior to age 18, from any cause, including a stroke. Applicants must also currently be enrolled in an undergraduate program or post-secondary school, be under the age of 25, and be enrolled during the fall semester of their application.

Application requirements: Applicants must complete an essay, have their physician send verification of their disability, and fill out a complete application. 

The Claude S. Weiler Scholarship for Amputee College Students 

Amount: The amount varies but it used for tuition costs. 

Eligibility: Applicants must have a major amputation, meaning any loss of limb starting at or above the wrist or ankle. Applicants must also be attending a college or enrolled to attend, and in good standing.

Application requirements: To apply, applicants must provide a transcript, school or student ID number, and answer an essay about how their status as an amputee has impacted their life. 

Karman Healthcare Scholarship

Amount: $500 for tuition

Eligibility: Any currently enrolled students that are 16 or older and have a mobility disability, do well in school, and advocate for disability awareness in America are eligible. 

Application requirements: Applicants must fill out an application and write an essay on how a single moment in their life influenced their development. Applicants also need to supply proof of disability, transcript or proof of GPA, and a photo to be used it they’re chosen as the winner.

Scholarships for People with Speech and Language Disorders

Bennett A. Brown Scholarship

Amount: Amount varies and is used toward tuition

Eligibility: All applicants need to have documented proof of any disability that inhibits their ability to read, write, or speak, and must be entering as a freshman or currently enrolled at Georgia State University.

Application requirements: In order to apply, applicants must be registered with the Margaret A. Staton Office of Disability Services at Georgia State University, supply documented proof of their disability, and demonstrate financial need. 

Scholarships for People with Visual Impairment

National Federation of the Blind Scholarship

Amount: $3,000-12,000 for tuition

Eligibility: Citizens in the U.S., District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico that are blind in both eyes and plan on pursuing a full-time degree at a U.S. institution can apply. Winners must also attend the National Federation of the Blind convention and any scheduled events. 

Application requirements: To apply, applicants simply need to prove they’re blind in both eyes and send in an application via email or post. 

American Foundation for the Blind Scholarships

Amount: $1,000-3,500

Eligibility: The American Foundation for the Blind offers a number of scholarships with varying requirements. For all of them, applicants must be legally blind or visually impaired to some degree and fit one of the course-related requirements of their multiple scholarships. 

Application requirements: Application requires an official transcript, two letters of recommendation, and proof of legal blindness. Additional requirements for application may be present depending on the scholarship offered by AFB. 

TSP Scholars Program

Amount: Varies, up to $5,000 toward college costs

Eligibility: Applicants must be legally blind and a citizen of New Zealand or the United States. Applicants must also be a senior in high school or graduate, who plans on attending or is currently attending an accredited university. 

Application requirements: The scholarship is relatively new and the application process may change in the coming year. To apply, go to their website when the application process reopens and complete it per the instructions. 

Intuit’s Guide includes additional information on:

  • Additional sources of Financial Aid for people with Disabilities
  • Tips for Applying for Disability Scholarships and Aid
  • Additional Resources with links

Check out their guide using this link: https://turbo.intuit.com/blog/relationships/scholarships-for-students-with-disabilities-3580/

Free Career Test Available for your Students

Career Enjoyment has created a free career test that your students might find of interest. A student can complete a quick online questionnaire and they will be matched to the best fit from more than 1000 well paying careers.

It takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. The results will be based on matching the users answers to match them to a specific career based on their individual personality.

Examples of questions that are asked:

Construct a piece of furniture – Not Enjoy – Not Sure – or Enjoy

Lay down a tiled bathroom floor – Not Enjoy – Not Sure – or Enjoy

Play any type of musical instrument – Not Enjoy – Not Sure – or Enjoy

Be a manager at a retail establishment – Not Enjoy – Not Sure – or Enjoy

One of the keys to having a successful life is for students to do something that they enjoy. This quiz can help point them in the right direction. It may even point them in the right direction as to what major to pursue in college. It’s free so have your students that are interested check it out using this link: https://www.careerenjoyment.com/career-test-free-aptitude-test-and-quiz

The quiz was authored by Matt Donatelle who is a certified career coach that has helped people around the world pick the specific career of their dreams.

Building Student Confidence through AI Writing Software

Counselors like you have busy and important jobs. In a given day there are always too many things to do, not enough time to do them, and a deeply important mission to help your students. Counselors prepare students to enter the world and to meet a variety of important milestones, from standardized tests to college applications. Too often, the realities of a busy schedule means that you are forced to cut short the crucial help you can provide.

This is a common challenge that educators face: how do you get everything done without sacrificing the attention your students need? This can be a difficult conversation because educators know an impossible dilemma: you want more than anything to help, but the reality of the job means you can’t realistically give that help to everyone.


Turning to Technology
To say that Artificial Intelligence (AI) may offer an answer might sound like we’re getting ahead of ourselves. When it comes to a unique relationship with each student, how can technology make a difference? It’s a fair question to ask and fortunately there’s an answer.

AI can help students with the important writing tasks that they are required to complete during high school. Those high stakes tests and college applications require students to write essays. Many students don’t feel confident as writers, so they want help. Unfortunately writing is a task that requires significant time for both the student to do and you, the counselor, to review.

Part of understanding how AI can support counselors, teachers and students comes with defining what AI can and cannot do. With respect to the latter, it’s crucial to state up front that AI is not a replacement for the educator. Technology can’t do everything a person can do. With this statement in place, a conversation about what AI can do becomes much more productive. AI does tasks that take up valuable human time. For example, common word processing tools have built-in AI functions that identify and fix spelling and grammar mistakes.


AI Writing Software

On a basic level, we know this practice produces cleaner writing, but what if AI could measure higher order concepts like essay argumentation, clarity, use of evidence, organization and more? Would you be surprised if we told you it can? When students use a dedicated AI writing software , they get fast feedback with real-time insights into what is written well, what needs minor work, and what needs major revisions.

Rather than focusing on the structure and multiple revisions, you are able to focus more time on the things that only you, a human, can do – like provide guidance on students ideas beyond the assignment. AI becomes a partner in this approach. Students get the best of what technology offers while counselors and teachers get to focus on the parts of your job that make the most difference.

Think of AI writing software as an assistant that takes away the part of your job that you just don’t like. I always think of my dishwasher when I go through this thought exercise. I hate washing dishes, so after dinner what do I do? I put those dishes in the dishwasher. The job gets done and I get more time to do what I want – like binge on Game of Thrones .


Solving Past AI Limitations
If this all sounds too good to be true, you might be aware that various companies have tried to apply AI to writing assessment over the last decade. The machine learning approaches that these technologies have been based on have lead to similar limitations across the board: Prohibitive writing prompt setup processes, mysterious and questionable grading patterns, and feedback that is too vague to be useful. In order to overcome these ubiquitous limitations, Ecree had to invent a new type of AI technology outside the umbrella of machine learning. The results are encouraging.
● Students work independently and can set up their own questions in about 10 seconds
● Students receive detailed feedback, updated every 5-10 seconds
● 92% of students say Ecree provides teacher-quality feedback
● 95% of students across academic levels improve their scores (9 points on average)


Unlimited Writing Help
For writing, AI fast feedback gives students as much early support on their work as they want, on their schedule, from any location, and any device. The tech is finally pushing that rock over the hill of previous limitations to where students can improve their writing independently. If students can build confidence and critical skills instantly with fast feedback, educators get to read better papers, engaging the content rather than the structure.

We’ve already seen firsthand tens of thousands of students using AI to strengthen skills, improve test scores, get into college, and become more confident writers. You can see it too – create a trial account at Ecree.com , upload a student paper, and see what happens.

Dr. Jamey Heit is a lifelong learner and lover of technology. He believes technology plays an essential role in solving big problems and insists that it is part of a broader solution, rather than a quick fix to a temporary challenge.

He holds a Ph.D. in Literature, Theology and the Arts from Glasgow University and has taught in a variety of Higher Education disciplines. By credit hours, Dr. Heit has over 25 years experience and has graded more than 30,000 papers (yes, he counted!).

During his time in the classroom, Dr. Heit saw limits in his ability to help students consistently improve their writing. So, in 2014 he left academia and founded Ecree, a technology company that specializes in a proprietary, interactive writing tool for students and teachers.

Dr. Heit is on a mission to nurture a generation of better writers and thinkers with widespread access to easy and adaptive writing software. With the Ecree technology, he’s found a way to provide consistent, timely, and quality feedback to students to ensure they develop lifelong skills for success.

The College Admissions Industry Podcast – Tests and the Rest

We recently came across a great podcast hosted by Mike Bergin and Amy Seeley. Twice a week on Tuesday and Friday they discuss the latest issues in testing, admissions, learning, and education with leading experts.

There have been 38 episodes so far (as of today’s date) and here is a list and direct links to each episode:

EPISODES

38. HOW TEST PREP TUTORING SHOULD WORK with Evan Wessler of Method Test Prep
37. BRINGING GRIT TO TESTING AND ADMISSIONS with researcher and author Laila Y. Sanguras, Ph.D
36. WHAT MOTIVATES STUDENTS AND HOW TO ENGAGE THEM with test prep professional Pranoy Mohapatra
35. ATTENDING A JESUIT UNIVERSITY with Xavier University Regional Recruitment Director Trace Althoff
34. HOW TO TEACH STUDENTS TO STUDY EFFECTIVELY with academic life coach Gretchen Wegner
33. PSAT AND THE NATIONAL MERIT SCHOLARSHIP PROCESS with test prep professional and author Brian Stewart
32. MAKING THE MOST OF COLLEGE VISITS with independent educational consultant Jodi Rosenshein Atkin
31. WHAT COLLEGE BOARD AND ACT ARE DOING RIGHT with Ben Sexton, founder of Sexton Test Prep
30. ATTENDING A LARGE PUBLIC UNIVERSITY with OSU Admissions Counselor Keith Lofton
29. HOW PARENTS CAN BEST SUPPORT STUDENTS IN TEST PREP with Alexis Avila, founder and CEO of Prepped and Polished
28. THE REALITY OF GRADE INFLATION with Brian Eufinger, president of Edison Prep
27. COMMON MYTHS ABOUT THE SAT AND ACT with Daniel Ascher, President of A+ Test Prep and Tutoring
26. ALL ABOUT THE ROTC SCHOLARSHIP with consultant and author Lieutenant Colonel Robert O. Kirkland
25. WHEN GIFTED AND TALENTED STUDENTS STRUGGLE with Shane Bybee, founder of Bybee College Prep
24. CHOOSING HIGH SCHOOL MATH COURSES STRATEGICALLY with author and educator Richard Corn
23. ATTENDING COLLEGE IN A BIG CITY with NYU Director of Admissions Billy Sichel
22. WHAT IS ACT SCIENCE ALL ABOUT? with author and test prep guru Michael Cerro
21. IMPLICATIONS OF AN ENVIRONMENTAL CONTEXT DASHBOARD with Travis Minor of Open Door Education
20. THERAPEUTIC SCHOOLS AND TEENS IN CRISIS with the CEO of Score At The Top Learning Centers, Jason Robinovitz
19. COLLEGE PRICE TRANSPARENCY with Dr. Mark Salisbury, co-founder of TuitionFit
18. USING MINDFULNESS FOR TEST AND SCHOOL SUCCESS with educator and author Logan Thompson
17. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SAT AND ACT GRAMMAR with author Erica L. Meltzer
16. HOW THE SAT IS ACTUALLY SCORED with Aaron Golumbfskie of Prep Matters
15. FINISHING A FOUR-YEAR DEGREE ON TIME with educational consultant Edie Steele
14. MATHEMATICAL MATURITY & TEST SUCCESS with author and test prep professional Dr. Steve Warner
13. THE RAMPANT COST OF COLLEGE with Paul Celuch, president and founder of College Assistance Plus
12. HOW SCHOOL AND PRIVATE COLLEGE COUNSELORS CAN WORK TOGETHER with counselor Cathy Charles Szendrey
11. TEEN ANXIETY AND SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS with psychiatrist Dr. Anthony Villani
10. DECIDING BETWEEN THE SAT AND ACT with Heather Krey, director of Test Prep for Success
9. COLLEGE ADVISING FOR UNDERSERVED POPULATIONS with Dr. Chris Tudico, school counselor at Saint Martin de Porres
8. BRINGING CRITICAL BALANCE TO HIGH SCHOOLERS’ LIVES with Eric Domroes, school counselor at Pittsford Mendon HS
7STATE OF THE TEST PREP INDUSTRY IN 2019 with Kevin Organisciak, founder of The Association for Test Prep, Admissions, and Private Tutoring (TPAPT)
6HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF ONLINE TEST PREP with Tom Ehlers, founder and president of Method Test Prep
5NEED BLIND AND NEED AWARE ADMISSIONS with educational consultant Jona Jacobson
4THE ROLE OF LIBRARIES IN TESTING AND ADMISSIONS with Deena Viviani, Young Adult Librarian at Brighton Memorial Library
3ACT SCORE REVIEW AND VALIDATION with Desiree Rodriguez-Gould, college counselor at St. Edward HS
2. PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF TESTING + Amy Seeley’s origin story
1. SAT & ACT TESTING TIMELINES + Mike Bergin’s origin story

Tests and the Rest is perfect for school counselors, educators, test prep professionals, college consultants, and just about anyone engaged in the college admissions process. You can subscribe to this podcast using this link: https://gettestbright.com/tests-and-the-rest/ or stream it via your favorite podcast app, including iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Overcast. At around 25 minutes per episode, you can enjoy Tests and the Rest just about any time.

THE HOSTS

Mike Bergin is the president of Chariot Learning and founder of TestBright. Amy Seeley is the president of Seeley Test Pros. Between them, expect over 50 years of industry insight, expertise, insider news, and maybe a bit of sarcasm.

The Time I Screwed Up as a College Essay Coach

I have been working with students on college essays for decades. But I wasn’t as good at it in the beginning as I am now. As the writer-in-residence for my friends, family members and neighbors, my dining room became a coffee shop office for anyone applying to college who needed help with an application essay.

I was flattered. It felt good to be asked to help them with their college essays.

I knew how to tell a story; I knew how to write one. But I had no experience working with students applying to college, and I had never set foot inside an admissions office. (Not yet).

I was a writer and journalist, and I felt up for the challenge. I made brisket for my young friends. They loved me; I loved being loved. Even better, it made me feel good to see how happy they were, and how satisfied their parents were with the results.

I wasted a lot of time because I had no process; I was winging it. And these kids were at my house all the time. Rather than teach them how to write meaningful essays in their own words and their own voices, I helped too much, made myself too available, and worse than anything, I over-edited. At first, I didn’t even know how much I had needlessly marked up their essays.

Sound familiar? As a high school counselor, you might not get a chance to see a student essay till the end of the process. Or students might come to you to talk about their ideas, and then you won’t hear from them again until they think they are done. And they are not…

Sometimes the essays sound like those 5-paragraph essays composed in English class. Other times, they read like clichés (winning the competition, working as a camp counselor, going on a mission trip).

You might not be sure what to do or what to suggest. You become frantic, anxiously wanting to help. So, you might start marking up their essays with that red pen.

It’s not your fault, but that red pen won’t help the students, either.

In my former life as a journalist, and basically someone who liked helping out my friends and neighbors, my voice became way too prevalent in student essays. I was a writer without a teaching process. I knew what a good story sounded like. I had a knack for getting a story out of anyone. But I did not know how to help a student write a story.

When I read a final essay and heard my words in it, I knew I had overstepped: I stopped.

I evaluated what I was doing. I called Susan Knoppow; we had already done many writing projects together. I asked Susan if she could develop a curriculum for college essay coaching.

Susan said yes. She taught me how to teach and review without overstepping my role. That was more than 10 years ago. And that’s how Wow began.

I do things completely differently today. My students get the same me, just better qualified, hands-off and a lot more efficient. That’s because our Wow Method works, and I am living proof of that!

Want to learn more? Join Our Free Monthly Pro Chats

Every month, we host a free professional chat (it’s a short, 30-minute webinar!) for counselors and other professionals. She talks about timely matters and answers pressing questions.

If you can’t make it, don’t worry. Just sign up, and we’ll send you a recording.

Next up:

  • November 13: What can I expect from my students? Balancing willingness and ability


Register here.

About the Author

Kim Lifton, a 2018 Top Voice in Education, LinkedIn, is President of Wow Writing Workshop. We are a team of professional writers and teachers who understand the writing process inside and out. The Wow Method has been used by students to write application essays and resumes; by professionals to develop college essay boot camps and improve their essay coaching practices; and by English teachers to improve student writing skills.

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