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Honey Brown Hope Foundation Rakes in National, State and Local Recognition

Honey Brown Hope Foundation Rakes in National, State and Local Recognition

Honey Brown Hope Foundation

Houston, TX — The Honey Brown Hope Foundation, a nationally recognized, award-winning 501(c)3 non-profit that has served youth and their families for over two decades, announced today that it is thankful this holiday season for recently being recognized for its civil rights

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Community Empowerment: Black Chambers of Commerce Where Is My Patronage?

Community Empowerment: Black Chambers of Commerce Where Is My Patronage?

Peter Grear

Educate, organize and mobilize -- Back in September I wrote an article entitled, Voter Suppression: Creating Black Wealth.  The impetus for that article was a commentary written by Earl G. Graves, Sr., Publisher of Black Enterprise. 

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Employees of Small, Locally-Owned Businesses Have More Company Loyalty

Employees of Small, Locally-Owned Businesses Have More Company Loyalty

loyalty to employers

Employees who work at small, locally owned businesses have the highest level of loyalty to their employers — and for rural workers, size and ownership of their company figure even more into their commitment than job satisfaction does

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The Pawns of Politics: Where Is My Patronage?

The Pawns of Politics: Where Is My Patronage?

Peter Grear

Educate, organize and mobilize -- For more than a year leading up to the recently completed General Elections, I’ve written about Voter Suppression, gerrymandering, the Black vote and voters.  

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Verbal Abuse in the Workplace: Are Men or Women Most at Risk?

Verbal Abuse in the Workplace: Are Men or Women Most at Risk?

Abuse in the Workplace

There is no significant difference in the prevalence of verbal abuse in the workplace between men and women, according to a systematic review of the literature conducted by researchers at the Institut universitaire de santé mentale de Montréal

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The Decision to Handle Rejection

The Decision to Handle Rejection

Rev. Manson B. Johnson

The Big Idea: Endurance is the key to achieving challenging goals in life.“Man’s rejection can be God’s direction.  God sometimes uses the rejection of hateful people to move us to a new place or assignment–where we wouldn’t have thought of going on our own.  

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Subscribe to Get GDN Print Edition

Subscribe to Get GDN Print Edition

Print Subscription

 Greater Diversity News (GDN) is a statewide publication with national reach and relevance.  We are a chosen news source for underrepresented and underserved communities in North Carolina.  

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Building Schools Designed to Succeed

Written by Featured Organization on 23 September 2013.

By Dick Resch - Kids have just headed back to school. Unfortunately, many of them may be greeted by worn-out desks and broken chairs. More than three-quarters of U.S. schools are in need of repairs.

 

The federal government wants to respond by investing millions of dollars in school construction and modernization. Those dollars must be spent wisely. The schools of yesteryear, with their rows of desks and stair-stepped lecture halls, don't work for the students of today. Their stagnating academic performance proves it.

Educational leaders must embrace the technologically driven way that students learn today -- and design and build schools that support that shift.

The design of school facilities has an enormous impact on student performance. 

Researchers at the United Kingdom's University of Salford recently determined that a school building's design can affect student performance, for better or worse, by up to 25 percent. Seventy-three percent of students' change in performance was attributable to classroom design elements.

The study looked at several factors. Classrooms that received greater amounts of natural light, featured ergonomically advanced desks, and permitted teachers to easily change the classroom layout all correlated strongly with improved academic performance.

The difference in learning rates between students in the "better" classrooms and those in the "worse" classrooms was equivalent to a full year of educational progress.

These findings confirm what designers and educators have known for years.

Consider the Fuji Kindergarten, a Montessori school in Tokyo, Japan. It was designed to support the school's pedagogical approach by creating large, open areas where students can move around freely, despite the city's tight space restrictions. The oval-shaped building has no fixed walls, and furniture can be easily rearranged.

In its 2009 expansion, Virginia's Manassas Park Elementary School made ample use of glass -- to allow natural light to flood in -- and to create spaces outside the classroom where students could interact while still being supervised.

Architect Sean O'Donnell, whose firm EE&K recently completed a modernization project for Stoddert Elementary School in Washington, D.C., stresses the importance of size when designing school facilities. Properly child-sized environments that scale upwards as students get older can combat the perception of schools as large, uninviting structures.

The next generation of schools must also more adeptly incorporate technology. Today's students are more deeply steeped in technology than any previous group. Forty-three percent of teens find it easiest to learn from the Internet.

Teachers have noted as much. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 77 percent of teachers say that digital search tools have had a positive impact on student research habits.

Yet even as the impact of school design and new technology on student performance is becoming apparent, policymakers are investing less in educational facilities. Annual spending on school construction has declined by nearly half -- from an average of $20 billion a year between 2000 and 2008 to $11.7 billion this year.

Student learning styles have evolved dramatically, but young people are being educated in environments that haven't been rethought in decades.

The solution is to treat education infrastructure as a crucial component of education policy. Each school's design should complement the needs of its students as well as its teaching philosophy. Facilities should also be created with flexibility in mind, so that, as teaching methods, curricula, and students change, so too can learning environments.

Updating America's education system will involve more than changing what goes on in schools; it will require us to rethink school buildings themselves. As the new school year gets underway, educational leaders should respond accordingly.

Dick Resch is CEO of KI Furniture.