Category Archives: school


We’ve moved into the second-biggest retail season of the year: back to school. (BTS)

The two key factors in purchase decisions are students’ desire to look “cool” and discounts.

What started last year has really geared up now: location-based messages so deals pop up when you’re in the store – sometimes in a specific section of the store – in real-time.

Saving money is a big deal considering the average household spends more than $600 on back to school. But don’t let dad shop: he’ll spend 37% more than mom.

Exercise + academics = achievement

Researchers have shown that integrating physical activity into the school day improves academic performance.

Although the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity, schools struggle to meet the standard.

That won’t get any easier now that we’re in the heart of the “teaching year,” or these weeks before annual academic testing.
And that’s part of the challenge: schools are held accountable for academic achievement, so math and reading are emphasized. Extra time for gym or recess simply doesn’t happen.

Adding physical activity would mean massive overhauling of personnel, space and schedules. Will this happen during the 2017-18 school year?

Fake news flurry

The flurry of fake news skyrocketed last fall, but the shadows linger.

Standard University researchers discovered that middle school students can’t distinguish between “sponsored content” and a real news story. Most high school students accept photos without verification.

Although media literacy is taught in our schools, it appears there are many lessons to be learned.

“Makers” meet the science fair

Students who have been influenced by the Makers Movement during the past several years will find creating science fair projects relatively easy.

Science fair season has been the traditional low point of the school year for non-creative parents and kids.

But students who have mixed art with science, technology, engineer, math assignments will find it easier to sew an LED light into fabric or create a new form of solar-powered toy.

Even four-year olds are starting to play with gadgets and gizmos in preschool. These kids who want “real” might sound a death knell for the plastic toys of previous generations.

Disruption fatigue

“Disruptions” is a popular strategy used by marketers to get attention, but many school parents are suffering from disruption fatigue this fall…and that was even before today’s Halloween parties and parades.

The average number of public school closings each school year has hit 29 days. That means parents must scramble to find short-term child care arrangements for school age students on nearly 30 days.

In some districts, even more days are designated for professional development, conferences, seasonal holidays and designated religious holidays. Of course, this doesn’t include summer vacation, snow days or early dismissal days.

There’s a huge gap between academic scores of US students and those educated in other countries, yet we respond by giving our children more school holidays! Something’s wrong here.

The Maker Movement goes to school

As an early childhood educator, “teaching the whole child” is included in my professional philosophy.

That’s probably why one of the most encouraging signs this fall has been schools which have “rediscovered” the arts.

In spite of the “Maker Movement” and remnants of the Recession which still crop up in DIY projects, only a quarter of Americans consider themselves as creative. That’s a horribly low percentage, considering that eighty-eight percent of us value creativity!

I’m hoping that the benefits of creative expression will be so significant in classrooms, that next year every school will join the Maker Movement.

BTS take-aways

The strongest take-away from the back-to-school(BTS)season:

1. It’s stressful and more expensive every year. Nothing new there.
2. A mom’s network is best for buying shortcuts. Well, of course!
3. Moms block digital ads. Traditional advertising continues to lose effectiveness.
4. BTS deals lasted through the end of September. The season lasted longer than ever before, especially with online deals.