Identifying, Instructing, Defining, and Decoding

Cooke Scholars work together to complete a scavenger hunt at the 2013 Scholars Weekend.

April 19, 2019 – Here’s our weekly roundup of education news you may have missed. Read about how public schools identify and instruct advanced students, plus new resources to define and decode financial aid award letters.

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Elementary & Secondary Education:

  • A new national survey of schools and district administrators finds a disconnect between how gifted students are identified and the curriculum they are taught. The Hechinger Report explains that content is often focused on “critical thinking and creativity” rather than more advanced subjects.
  • The New York Times and Chalkbeat provide updates on efforts to bring more socioeconomic and racial diversity to New York City public schools.


Higher Education:

  • Confusing jargon often goes undefined in the financial aid award letters that students receive from colleges and universities. NPR‘s glossary includes explanations adapted from a recent uAspire/New America report that was funded in part by the Foundation.
  • Unsure whether your financial aid package is listing a loan, work study, or grant? Upload a PDF to The Hechinger Report’s OfferLetterDECODER tool to help.
  • The World Bank reviews 75 studies on higher education interventions to support disadvantaged students and makes recommendations for policymakers to implement improved outreach and use financial aid more efficiently.
  • “Students who are trying to become the first in their family to attend college often don’t have anyone at home who can help. So it is especially critical for them to get the help they need at school,” writes Christine Rodriguez in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. “But most low-income students attend schools that don’t have a single staff member dedicated to college guidance.”


Student Voices:

  • “Conversations about spring break merely highlight the ways we … are insensitive to the unique personal situations of students in which many are not able to travel or even return home for breaks,” writes Anna Kramer in The Brown Daily Herald.
  • The Dartmouth speaks to current students, including Cooke Scholar Tamara Gomez, about their perspectives on the college admissions scandal.
  • The editorial board at El Camino College’s The Union emphasizes the need for overnight parking to accommodate students experiencing housing insecurity.


Cooke Foundation Highlights:

  • ESSENCE spotlights Cooke Scholar Rhiana Gunn-Wright’s achievements as a national policy expert.
  • Washington, DC’s WUSA9 interviews Preston Jones, a high school opera singer and Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist.
  • The Winchester Star details plans for the launch of STEM+ Academy at Clarke County Public Schools and financial assistance for students attending STEM+ Summer Camp. These programs are supported by a $20,000 Good Neighbor Grant from the Cooke Foundation.
  • Our recent “Persistence” research is cited in John Wood Community College President Michael L. Elbe’s commentary for The Herald-Whig and featured in a post by Ready Education.


Social Media Spotlight:

Photo header: Cooke Scholars work together to complete a scavenger hunt at the 2013 Scholars Weekend.