Environmental Factors Identified as a Primary Indicator Impacting Student Achievement

Imagine it’s the peak of the summer season, and you’re at your current place of employment. Here’s the catch: all the water fountains are broken, the air conditioning gave out, and most of the windows in the building are broken and cannot be opened.


Same goes for the windows on your transportation. Your employer has indicated that the budget cannot afford to purchase your team fans, nor can she do anything about the incessant, nearly deafening drilling and banging and yelling and crashing heard just across the street at a construction site working on a retail development.


How do you feel you would perform at this location on any given day? What might be your barriers? How would such an environment make you feel about your value as a contributor to the company? Your worth as an employee? How do such messages about our values influence our thoughts, our behavior, and our performance?


Truly, there exist a limitless number of factors that impact academic achievement in any school, at any grade level, on any given day. Not only are there literally thousands of factors influencing our children’s ability to learn, but these factors are all related and impact one another.


There are varying degrees of expertise, passion, and implementation from teachers and faculty. There is the role materials play in cognitive growth and academic achievement and the influence that available technologies have upon student learning mastery in any given domain.


There are policies and programming and curricula and coursework, but studies are finding that perhaps above all other contributors, the environment may be having the most significant impact.


A recent article in ChalkBeat explores the recent literature examining the role environment plays in the overall success of our students. It touches upon the potential that President Biden’s recent call to action for our nation’s educational infrastructure to improve the learning environments we provide our children.


The implications are enormous and thrilling for public servants across the country. Still, they will only hold promise if states and districts elect to utilize funding gains with fidelity and always, always with our children and their needs at the forefront of our minds.

A Quote From Steve Virgadamo

Steven Virgadamo – “Time to stop focusing on glass being half full when analyzing the impact of the pandemic on education. Time to realize our glass just might be half full. We have a moment in history – a friend and colleague refers to it as a Sputnik like moment in history – a moment I see as a gift to consider total educational reform in the United States.


New U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona is absolutely right when he says we would be missing a great opportunity if our goal is to reopen our schools to look exactly like they did a year ago today, before the pandemic. Better, he says, is to ask, “What do we want our system to look like?”


The answer to the last question needs to be an educational manifesto!!!”

The Benefits of Online Summer School

A section of students perceives the summer period as a break from coursework, but others see it as an opportunity to advance their education at their own pace. Most colleges offer a wide variety of courses over the summer, making it easier for students to select the courses of their interest. The following are some of the benefits of online learning over the summer:


Early graduation


Online summer classes help cover more classes within an academic year and graduate sooner than the expected time. It is possible to cut the time needed to graduate by a whole semester if one takes more credits over the summer.


Save money


Some colleges charge cheaper tuition fees for online summer classes than when attended in-person on campus. It is an excellent idea to take more credits over the summer and cut education costs.


More time for schoolwork


During the summer, one may take a bit challenging course and give it more attention; unlike other semesters, one takes several courses and juggles time and attention. One may also decide to take some specific courses from other departments to develop some knowledge and skills of interest.


Reduce course load


Taking online classes over the summer may help to reduce the course load for the Fall and Spring. That allows one to take a few credits over Fall and the Spring. That way, there is more time, and the coursework may not be overwhelming.


Schedule control


When taking online summer classes, the schedule is flexible. First, there is no required physical appearance on campus, and one can take classes in the comfort of his/her home. Students develop a skill of managing time so that assignments, quizzes, and tests can be done and submitted on time. Students further develop a sense of responsibility. They attend classes, work on the homework, submit their work, and sometimes form and work in groups on their own.


Students can manage the coursework and the work schedule since they are not required to travel to campus. Furthermore, some students take online summer courses offered in the first few months and leave enough time to enjoy their summer. Online learning provides an avenue for the students to control their learning without being pushed by their parents, guardians, or their instructors.


How Public Schools in America Benefit Disadvantaged Children

Just a year ago, schools all across the United States had to shut down suddenly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools were forced to build their online learning efforts at a moment’s glance in a time which many school systems didn’t even have the resemblance of a system running. This has caused many students to suffer in terms of learning and their social life. For disadvantaged children, the consequences of remote learning have seeped further into their daily lives.




Around 30 million children in the United States are given breakfasts and lunches provided free by their school system. When physical learning stopped a year ago, students weren’t able to quickly pick up the food they needed to make it through their day.


Some schooling systems realized this was a big issue, so they set-up pickup sites where students can come by to grab their free meals every day. Many students took advantage of this, but many others who couldn’t come to school due to not having the transportation to get there just were forced to starve. Some pickup sites closed down altogether for those continuing to use this program due to the further spread of COVID-19.


As the pandemic continues, it’s feared that students will continue to go without meals that can help them get through their remote learning and the rest of their day.


Social Care


Students living in abusive homes can find their time at school a little bit comforting in that they don’t have to be around family members who abuse them. These students can also use their time to talk to adults in their school about what’s going on at home and to figure out the right solution to get out of those situations.


With the move to remote learning, disadvantaged children have no longer been able to get the time or resources they were getting at school. This has led students to dip down in their grades or develop significant mental health issues like depression.


It’s feared by many that these types of abusive solutions have progressed in the past year. Households have seen themselves having to stick closer together or lose jobs that provide households with food and rent money.


Overall, it’s clear that disadvantaged children won’t get the social care they need until schools open up again.             

Make a New Year’s Resolution to Plan for Possible Taxmageddon

Supporting Students through a Pandemic

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, teachers, counselors, and administrators alike are left grappling with keeping students safe and engaged among a myriad of new restrictions. These restrictions vary from school to school but likely include wearing masks when indoors, social distancing in already cramped classrooms, and little to no daytime movement. While these restrictions have been designed for a student’s physical safety, all too often, these regulations restrict the lessons teachers can give.

For example, the need for a socially distant classroom has lessened group work, which cuts down on differentiated instruction, social, emotional, and time management skills. While group work can be emulated through virtual methods, those activities cannot replace the real-world application of hands-on, in-person group work.

Even more importantly, in the socially distant classroom where group work and small group instruction have become virtually impossible, students’ social, emotional needs are at risk. Teachers need to adapt to this change in circumstances and allow students opportunities for academic growth and emotional growth.

Also, teachers must be keenly aware of the physical toll the virus can take on a student. Despite the restrictions given to any given school, teachers must develop their own methods to identify at-risk students and get them the help they need. Even more than that, they must develop a language for discussing these issues in the classroom that is developmentally appropriate for their students.

While it is important to monitor students for the physical signs and symptoms of COVID 19, it is also imperative to monitor their mental health. No matter the situation – a virtual, hybrid, or in-person – students are not receiving the same amount of socialization they once enjoyed in the classroom, so consider these warning signs when working with students.

Warning signs develop differently depending on students’ age level but often include a withdrawal from both adults and their peers and a general decline in student behavior. Younger students might begin sucking their thumbs or wetting their beds, whereas older students might develop a lack of concentration irritability.

To learn more on how to support students through the ever-changing rules and regulations of the coronavirus pandemic, visit the
National Association of School Psychologists

Important Values to Teach Your Child at a Young Age

“Values are like fingerprints. Nobodies’ are the same, but you leave them in everything you do,” Elvis Presley. As much as parents desire their children to have the best in life, they should also ensure that they have values to help them get through in life and live with others. With this in mind, values, not vises, should be incorporated in the child early in life. There are many values a child can learn, and some they know as they grow old; these include;

Values to Teach Children

1. Respect

It is often said; respect is earned, which is true. However, children should be taught the value of respect to those older than them like teachers, regardless of their background. They should also learn to respect those under them, irrespective of age, and not look down on anyone.

2. Honesty

Honesty is the best policy. Teach a child to be honest and truthful in all their undertaking, like playing with friends at home and school. Teach them to be honest even when in the wrong; they should tell the truth always.

3. Justice

There are different means to teach values to your children. In terms of fairness, you could teach them at home to take turns when doing some chores with their siblings, if any. They should learn not to be oppressive to others even when deciding who gets to have the remote. For justice, teach them to speak up when they feel there is wrongdoing somewhere they are being punished wrongly.

4. Empathy

Teach your child to walk in other people’s shoes, to understand them, and to connect with their feelings. Teach them not to be judgmental and always understand what others go through and why they choose.

5. Kindness

We live in a society where there different classes that often divide people. Teach your child to be kind to everyone regardless of their social status. Let your child learn acts of kindness, like sharing with their friends.

6. Education

As a parent, incorporate a love for knowledge in your child. Teach them to be zealous about different things and to pursue wisdom with outermost curiosity. “Teach them about how to count and also teach them about the things that do count.” Anonymous


As mentioned, there are different ways to teach a child, and each one has a unique learning technique. Identify the best way to teach your child to incorporate these values like honesty and respect in their lives.

Homeschooling Tips for Parents from Catholic Educators

While growing up, children dreamed of becoming astronauts, lawyers, doctors, superheroes, actors, lawyers, etc. However, no one ever dreamed of becoming an emergency homeschooler. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, people from different parts of the world have learned to appreciate real-life superheroes such as parents and healthcare providers.

Parents, despite their many duties, still find time to educate their children. They have to prepare meals, do house chores, exercise, and raise their children. Apart from encouraging sharing and modeling good behavior, parents have to homeschool their children during this pandemic.

Despite the pandemic, teachers continue to offer their services using online tools and interactive technology. They continue to prepare lesson plans and give assignments to their students. To parents, monitoring and directing online learning can be challenging. However, it doesn’t mean that homeschooling is impossible. Here are homeschooling tips for parents from catholic educators.

Parents Need To Understand Their Role

Parents aren’t trained or qualified to teach students professionally. However, they need to understand that God has given them the responsibility to nurture and educate their children. According to the Catholic Church’s Catechism, nurturing and educating kids is a duty that parents should accept with pride.

Have a Plan and a Routine

When parents ask their children to sit down for a homeschooling session, the chances are that the kids will complain or resist. Therefore, parents should come up with a plan or a routine to avoid resistance. As a result, the kids get to understand what needs to be completed within a given time frame.

Parents should ensure that the plan or routine is attainable and have realistic objectives. A plan with realistic objectives can boost the kid’s confidence or give them a sense of accomplishment. The goal of homeschooling should be to engage children to achieve success and not discourage them from learning. Parents should ensure that they have several routines to prevent boredom.

Ease Up a Little

Even though a structured schedule can help students remain focused, allowing them to enjoy breaks and various activities has its advantages. For instance, activities such as stacking blocks and Legos are both educational and entertaining.

Parents need to focus more on the success of their children instead of failures. While homeschooling, parents should also encourage creativity. Following the above tips can help parents raise their kids better and develop their academic skills.

The Benefits of Receiving a Catholic Education

Catholic education can benefit children in a number of ways, including instilling spiritual values, building a base of ethics, and exposing them to the rich tradition of Catholicism in the arts. Through Catholic education, students learn to sense the presence of God all around them in the world.


Catholic education helps students understand the role of suffering in a person’s life as well as the importance of a community that both challenges its members to be better and supports them. It gives them a profound understanding of scripture and how it applies to their everyday life as well as a framework for understanding the part played by both success and failure.


The strengths of Catholic education are not limited to building an inner spiritual life. Private school attendees tend to grow up to be adults who are more civically engaged, and one survey has found that Catholic school graduates are the most likely of all private school students to become active in this way. This civic engagement includes volunteering, political involvement, and donating to charity. 


Because Catholic schools strongly promote service, students tend to carry this regular practice into their adult lives, where they can continuing helping others in God’s name. Students also develop a strong sense of self-discipline. 


This is the result of a clear moral vision that they create as they study scripture. Their ethics are underpinned by theology, not a list of rules. However, they are taught to conduct themselves in accordance with the example of Christ, the gospel of love, and the Ten Commandments.


The Catholic church has a long and proud history of art, music, and literature created to glorify God as well as a rich tradition of ritual. Students in Catholic schools have the opportunity to be exposed to this tradition.


Catholic education is rooted in the belief that excellence in the conduct of one’s life and achievements that reflect God’s glory. This is the point of striving for success, both academic and otherwise, and not the success itself. 


Furthermore, in the Catholic tradition, the students who graduate from Catholic institutions are considered the Church’s greatest product. They are charged to go out into the world and change those around them as well as the world itself. 

2020 and the Catholic Church

Some say the Catholic Church is in decline and yet others say it is a Church in hospice. It is true the U.S. Church has experienced about a 3% decline in the last ten years confirmed by two massive PEW studies … and a decline in religious vocations, but don’t be too quick to rush to judgment without carefully considering the data. Most of the Church closures are old inner-city parishes where the demographics are changing. Many of these inner city parishes were established in close proximity in the late 1800’s as each was founded to minister to a particular immigrant population – Irish – Italian – Polish etc. Today, 49% of Catholic adults have a graduate college degree, make an above average income and very few experience protracted periods of unemployment. And, most do not live in the inner cities.


Catholics in the suburban parishes are doing just fine … and there has been no aggregate decline in the number of baptized Catholics who routinely attend Mass in the last 50 years. All these demographics correlate neatly with Catholic fertility rates … the aggregate baptized Catholic population fluctuates over decades between 23% to 27% of the U.S. population.


Catholic schools continue to maintain a presence in the inner cities to serve the urban poor and often the new immigrant population because they are Catholic and education is a path to breaking a cycle of poverty.