May 22nd, 2012
04:15 PM ET

Obama calls Joplin High graduates an 'inspiration,' urges them to lead America

by the CNN Wire Staff

Joplin, Missouri (CNN) - Calling the students an inspiration "to me (and) the world," President Barack Obama urged Joplin High School graduates Monday to heed the lessons they've learned and spirit they've shown to rebuild not only their tornado-ravaged Missouri city, but also their nation.

"America only succeeds when we all pitch in and pull together - and I'm counting on you to be leaders in that effort," said Obama. "Because you are from Joplin. And you've already defied the odds."

Minutes after 450 seniors from the same Missouri school got their diplomas last May 22, a monster twister tore through the community. More than 161 people were killed - the worst death toll for such a tornado since modern record-keeping began in 1950 - while dozens of buildings were torn to shreds by winds as strong as 200 mph.

One of them was Joplin High School itself, with the damage so severe that students ended up attending classes in a vacant section of the city's Northpark Mall.

Joplin 'on the mend' one year later

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Schools awarded $25K for helping kids move
Students at a middle school in Miami climb on a traversing wall in a Fit-Tech Wellness Lab.
May 22nd, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Schools awarded $25K for helping kids move

By Jacque Wilson, CNN

(CNN) - As the district director of physical education and health literacy for Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Jayne Greenberg's annual budget is $0.

That's right - $0.

It's almost unbelievable when you know the statistics - that one in six U.S. children are obese, that nearly one-third are overweight, and that these rates are even higher for Hispanic children (of whom Miami has a high population).

But Greenberg doesn't despair. "I've been in my position since 1995 - I've never had a budget," she says. "It's always been up to me to find my own money."

She has also found a way to encourage students to sign up for gym class again.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools is one of nine regional finalists in the Active Schools Acceleration Project's first annual Innovation Competition. ASAP is an initiative started by, an organization dedicated to reversing the trend in childhood obesity.

The requirements were simple: Schools had to show a way they were encouraging students to move throughout the day. The school's program had to be creative, include all fitness levels and be easy to duplicate in other districts.

Read the full story

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Filed under: Issues • Kids' health • Practice • Sports
Mistakes graduates make
May 22nd, 2012
12:17 PM ET

Mistakes graduates make

By Carl Azuz, CNN

(CNN) Graduates at both the high school and college levels can easily get lost in the complexities of money management, planning and work ethic. But let’s start with the big one. When it comes to common slip-ups by recent graduates, social media are a virtual black hole.

Social media missteps

By now, seniors have heard the warnings – that what they post online is rarely, completely private. You know how you wouldn’t want embarrassing photos or information about your last breakup appearing in a school yearbook? Well, think of Facebook and Twitter as a yearbook for the entire world. And if you're a college graduate whose profile picture reveals a funnel, a frothy drink, and the Jersey Shore (or Lake Havasu…or Daytona Beach…or a Caribbean cruise), there’s a possibility that the company you want to work for will see it.

But while some Facebook pictures and wall posts can be taken down, students won’t get the chance to take down their public tweets. They’re exactly that – public – and they’re now scheduled to stay that way forever.

The Library of Congress is keeping a Twitter archive for posterity. And no matter who you are, how old you are, or what you’ve ever written about in 140 characters or less, every single public tweet EVER is being archived. Does that mean that a potential employer/spouse/child/admissions officer will be able to read what you wrote back in 2009? Yes. Can you take your tweets back? No. The only thing you can do is make your future tweets private – a setting that will keep them from being archived. But everything that’s ever been publicly shared will stay that way.

Summer slacking

Social media aren’t the only danger zones for graduates, of course. Another potential stumbling block is the coveted summer break. Between the ninth and tenth grades, you might've kicked back, relaxed, worked only when needed (or convenient), and ruled the pool. But recent college graduates who stay in that pattern are almost certain to lose whatever jobs are available to those who started their search before they even donned a cap and gown.

And if you’re leaving high school for higher education, you don’t want to be lost when you land on campus. You’ll have to learn how to register for class. Larger campuses will have bus routes you won’t know, and there’s a lot of stuff in your bedroom and your bathroom at home that won’t be included in a dorm. So taking some time to get the lay of the land at college, to do some shopping in advance, or just to work up a transition plan will pay off – and give you more time to go to ice-cream mixers while your dormmates go to Target.


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Filed under: Carl Azuz • College • Graduation • Practice
My View: When it comes to school districts, bigger leads to bigger problems
May 22nd, 2012
06:15 AM ET

My View: When it comes to school districts, bigger leads to bigger problems

Courtesy Trish HowardBy Jim Redovian, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Jim Redovian is a father of six children, all educated in the public school system; he has two grandchildren attending public schools. He is a former board member for the DeKalb County School District, which covers much of the eastern half of the Atlanta metro area. It is the third-largest district in Georgia and one of the nation’s 30 largest.

Being a product of the public school system in Northern Ohio, my education came from a system that had less than 30,000 students and only one high school. It was governed by a Board of Education elected by the residents of our city and administrated by a superintendent hired by the board, all of whom were important parts of the community in which the students lived.

Fast forward twenty years and I am an adult with children of my own who are attending a system very similar to the one I was brought up in. As a young businessman, I couldn’t help but think that the duplication of services among the small cities would be more economical if systems were combined into larger entities to share such services as superintendent, management, bus service, food service, board of education and human resources. It just made sense to my business instincts.

I moved to Atlanta in late 1977 and was introduced to just that type of school system. I have learned a lot in the 35 years I have been involved as a parent, volunteer and ultimately a member of the elected nine-member Board of Education. Bigger is not always better.

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