Nationwide, as much as 530,000 tons of food may be wasted each year in US schools, according to a report from the World Wildlife Fund. Efforts are underway to curb cafeteria waste, including the Food Waste Warriors program, which helped participating schools cut food waste by an average of 3%, with the top three schools slashing food waste by more than half.
Saniya Vashist, a senior at River Hill High School in Maryland, founded a nonprofit when she was 13 to help other girls learn to code. Her organization, codeHER, recruits high-school girls to teach coding to middle-school girls in Maryland and has since expanded to two cities in Morocco.
A school district in Texas that is at-risk of closing is working to improve with a focus on teachers' professional development and the integration of "diagnostic teaching," which uses performance data to improve teaching and learning. The district has fallen short of state standards since 2010, and received an "F" rating based on last year's student test scores.
Public libraries can play a key role in developing literacy among preschoolers. The three libraries in Chatham County, N.C., hold story time and other activities year round to encourage preschoolers to read, play, sing and talk.
Kansas high-school senior LaKaia Smith is working on a project that explores ways to prevent school shootings as part of an Innovation Academy class. For the project, Smith is raising money to bring Kristina Anderson, a survivor of the Virginia Tech shooting, to speak to the school.
At the Oak Park School in Sarasota, Fla., students with special needs spend much of the year creating handicrafts to be sold at the school's annual Holiday Bazaar. School officials say the process of creating ornaments and other decorative items, along with the experience of interacting with customers at the bazaar, helps students prepare to transition from school to the workforce.
A primary school in California aims to make school feel like a second home to students, in part, by providing support to students' families. Each family receives a coach who conducts regular check-ins and supports parents' personal goals and well-being, with the idea that if parents are doing well, their children will, too.
Petteri Elo leads his students in Finland through nine-week interdisciplinary projects called "phenomenon-based learning," in which students have control over the project, use transferable skills and explore topics that interest them. Elo says teachers using this technique must shift between traditional teaching and hands-off based on student needs, and provide fundamental knowledge so students can develop their own research questions.
Students in special education at Pico Canyon Elementary in Stevenson Ranch, Calif., take a field trip into the community each week, visiting Ralph's grocery store and PetSmart. Teacher Michele Merrill says the field trips are a chance for students with disabilities to take a short walk, practice life skills, and build relationships with community members.
The Kalamazoo Public Schools Board of Education in Michigan voted Dec. 5 to add Women's Studies to the curriculum at district high schools. The course will teach students about women's achievements and impact on history in the U.S. and around the world.