Exploring the universe in high school
Charles S. Owen taught at Thomas Jefferson University for 25 years and was also an influential high school science teacher.
May 9th, 2012
04:06 PM ET

Exploring the universe in high school

Courtesy CNNBy Elizabeth Landau, CNN

Editor’s Note: In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week this week, we’re asking our colleagues at CNN to share their stories of teachers who have inspired them.  Elizabeth Landau is a writer/producer for CNN.com.

Last week, on the occasion of my 10th high school reunion, I caught up with some of the teachers who motivated me to become a better thinker and more confident person over the years. But the science corridor of the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania held a special sadness for me as I thought about a teacher who is no longer there, and to whom I would love to be able to say: “Guess what? I write about science for CNN!”

When I was 16, I had no idea what I was getting into when I signed up for physics with Charles Owen – I’d merely chosen it over biology for my junior-year science elective because the idea of frog dissections grossed me out. But physics felt natural to me, and exciting. Dr. Owen explained, with demonstrations and thoughtful diagrams, how aspects of the universe such as momentum, acceleration and gravity could be described with formulas. I was simply amazed that, in the absence of air (in a vacuum), a feather and a bowling ball would fall at exactly the same speed, and that I could use an equation to prove it.

Just when I felt comfortable with the year’s material, Dr. Owen approached me to ask if I wanted to take Physics B Advanced Placement exam. This seemed outrageous at first – his course was not specifically geared toward any standardized test preparation. But he assured me that if I read a few additional textbook chapters on my own, and met with him a several times after school, I would be fine. It was the first time I’d undertaken a real “independent study.” I enjoyed having one-on-one discussions with Dr. Owen about everything from relativity to circuits.
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Filed under: High school • Science • Teacher Appreciation • Voices
May 9th, 2012
03:02 PM ET

Bullied for months, teen kills herself

A 13-year-old girl killed herself after enduring months of alleged bullying at school. KARE reports.

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My seventh-grade teacher taught me to believe in myself
May 9th, 2012
12:45 PM ET

My seventh-grade teacher taught me to believe in myself

Courtesy Laura PriceBy Simit Shah, CNN

Editor’s Note: In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week this week, we’re asking our colleagues at CNN to share their stories of teachers who have inspired them. Simit Shah is a technical consultant at CNN.

When you’re 12 years old, you do what you’re told, and you pretty much believe what you’re told.

From the point where I could start writing complete sentences in elementary school, I was told that I wasn’t especially good at it. While I loved to read, especially anything involving the Hardy Boys or the sports section in the morning newspaper, my talents clearly resided in the realm of math and science.

So I came to accept this as fact with little to no power to change my path in life. I never questioned or challenged it; some people are good writers, and I wasn’t one of those people.

All that changed my first day of Mrs. Sallie Rainwater’s seventh grade English class at Marietta (Georgia) Junior High. I was fully prepared to accept that I’d muddle through another year of the standard book reports, spelling quizzes and sentence diagrams.

However, Mrs. Rainwater instead announced that we’d spend an entire year focused on writing – letters, short stories, poems. My heart sunk when I heard this, thinking that my chances at squeaking out an "A" were now slim to none.

I plotted ways to weasel out of this predicament, even requesting to switch to a traditional class, but Mrs. Rainwater would have none of that. As the year progressed, she pushed, prodded and challenged me to overcome my fears.
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What happened to modest prom dresses?
May 9th, 2012
07:52 AM ET

What happened to modest prom dresses?

By Carl Azuz, CNN

(CNN) The sparkly, sequined prom gowns that many of us remember from the 90s – like the Glamour Shots that sometimes accompanied them – might not have been the prettiest.  But most were pretty modest compared to what some young promgoers have been squeezing themselves into this year.

At David’s Bridal, there’s a prom dress line categorized as “Sexy,” and it’s accounting for about 35 percent of the retail chain’s sales, according to the Wall Street Journal.  Low-cut backs, high-cut hemlines, and skin-showing cutouts define the style.

Clothing retailer AMIClubwear, self-described as “the positive place for girls,” has options that would positively trouble more conservative fathers.  The company throws revealing and tight styles into its mix of party dresses.  Factor in the racier options at other retailers like promgirl.com and Jovani, and you have a veritable runway of the risqué.

There’s no doubt that the dresses offered have broad appeal to some of today’s high school students; after all, demand drives the market.  But their schools are implementing dress codes to ensure certain garments aren’t worn.

For example, anything that shows off the midriff, is too low-cut (in either the front or the back), or is see-through will not been seen through the doors at Milford High School in Massachusetts.  The line is drawn at the bust line at Alabama’s Opelika High School:  “If flesh touches flesh” below that point, the prom dress code says, “the dress is inappropriate.”  It also forbids midriffs as well as slits that rise more than three inches above the knee.

Video: Teen suspended over prom dress
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Filed under: Extracurricular • High school