Veterans transition from war zone to classroom
Todd Kennedy and Holly Shaffner both retired from the Marine Corps in 2011 and now are student veterans at San Diego State University.
December 14th, 2011
11:28 AM ET

Veterans transition from war zone to classroom

By Sally Holland, CNN

San Diego (CNN) - "When I got out of the Army, I did not want to talk about my war experience," said Angela Kozak, currently a speech pathology student at San Diego State University.

The transition from war zone to classroom was not easy for the 30-something-year-old veteran.

"The first semester I came here, I was kind of stand-offish. I didn't get involved in anything. I wasn't really clicking with the people in my classes. They were 19, 20, 21 years old," she said.

Things changed when she discovered the SDSU Veterans Center, where she met men and women with similar life experiences.

"It's made my college experience a hundred times better," she said.

San Diego State University is one of the first in the country to provide a single location on campus where veterans can access their benefits, meet others with common military backgrounds, and even relax and play Xbox. The staff at the Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center does everything from helping coordinate psychological counseling for veterans who might need it, to managing the nation's first on-campus housing reserved exclusively for veterans.

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Filed under: After High School • College • Practice
Student scores are up in many urban school districts
December 7th, 2011
10:15 AM ET

Student scores are up in many urban school districts

By Sally Holland, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Math scores in some urban school districts are improving faster than the nation as a whole according to a report released Wednesday by the National Assessment Governing Board that compares math and reading scores for fourth and eighth graders.

"We continue to narrow the differences between urban school districts and the nation at large," said Michael Casserly of the Council of the Great City Schools.

Large city school districts tend to have higher numbers of students considered to be at risk than their suburban counterparts because the students often come from lower-income households or are from black or Hispanic families, groups that traditionally score lower than whites on standardized tests.

"Despite their distinct challenges, many of these districts are making steady progress in math. But, like school districts nationwide, they need to find ways to raise student achievement in reading," said David Driscoll of the National Assessment Governing Board. Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Baltimore and Philadelphia improved their scores in grade four mathematics, while Atlanta; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago; Detroit; the District of Columbia and Jefferson County, Kentucky, improved their grade eight mathematics scores when compared to the last assessment two years ago. Charlotte also had an increase in its eighth grade reading scores compared to the 2009 assessment.

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Filed under: Policy • Practice • Testing
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