Florida Distance Learning Consortium
Girls Get IT! Newsletter Volume II Issue II
September 2007
In This Issue
:: Florida Adopts New Math Standards
:: Students Stuck!
:: The Power of Greenovation
:: Visit Girls Get IT!!
:: Danica McKellar Says "Math Doesn't Suck"
:: Apple Produces New iPods!
:: Florida STEM Program Directory
:: FSU's Physics Circus is Flying High
                                           Explore ~ Educate ~ Empower
Florida Adopts New Math Standards or Grades K-12 

On September 18, 2007 Florida's State Board of Education adopted a newly revised set of mathematics standards. These new standards are considered "world-class" because they have incorporated ideas from successful math programs around the globe. The standards of Finland and Singapore, two of the highest performers in math based on international testing, were examined and integrated into Florida's new standards.


To help revise the standards, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) sought information and advice from international and national experts in math fields and from experts on the development of educational standards. Feedback from Florida teachers, school administrators, curriculum specialists and parents was also taken into consideration and helped shape these new standards.


The new Florida math standards are a blueprint for how math will be taught from kindergarten through twelfth grade (K-12). The old standards were considered vague and have been replaced with clarity, coherence and minimal redundancy. The new standards provide specific detailed information on what should be learned at every grade level and what should be learned for each major math subject area in high school.


Todd Clark with the FDOE believes the new standards will have a major impact for K - 12 mathematics teaching and learning in Florida.  "Providing clear content standards that give our math teachers more time to teach to mastery and enable conceptual understanding for a smaller number of important concepts at each grade level is a major paradigm shift.  Our biggest challenge now is getting the word out and helping teachers realize that more time is available for helping students move from concrete examples to diagrams and models and to general algorithms and abstract representations.  This is not just 'covering' math skills anymore.  This is not just more time for practice," he stated.


The new standards are now organized by grade level for grades K-8, and the number of benchmarks have been reduced for these grades. K-8 had average of 80 benchmarks per grade and now has less than 20 per grade. The reduced number of benchmarks allows teachers more time to develop creative ways to teach and students more time to master content. The lower numbers of benchmarks also encourage teachers to provide more hands-on lessons.


In grades 9-12 the standards have been organized into bodies of knowledge instead of grade levels. The bodies of knowledge include: algebra; geometry; calculus; discrete math; and trigonometry.  And, for the first time in Florida history, financial literacy standards have also been included.


The new standards have been implemented to help improve Florida's math performance. Currently about half of high school graduates enrolled in Florida community colleges have to take remedial math. The revised standards aim to reduce this number and help students prepare for the increasingly high-tech workplace.


Parents and students can look forward to the new Florida math standards being taught beginning in the 2008-2009 school year and will be tested as part of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) math section starting in the 2010-11 school year.  For more information, Click Here!

High-Achieving Students from Lower-Income Families are Stuck in a Rut


Recent studies have concluded that even though the education community is

focusing on bringing all students to academic proficiency, there is a risk of leaving behind a group of kids with tremendous potential. This group is very ambitious, but there is a great possibility that they are being forgotten. The children from lower income families who don't have the resources to further their education are being left in the dust when it comes to a higher education. Civic Enterprises LLC, a Washington-based research and public-policy group, and the Lansdowne, Va. based Jack Kent Cooke Foundation were the pioneers in encouraging researchers and policymakers to better understand why high-achieving, lower income children fall behind, and second, how to offer more help for these children to succeed.

A specific test called "Achievement Trap" analyzed children who were from families with incomes below the national median, but who also scored in the top quarter on standardized tests. The findings were that these children begin school with weaker academic skills which in-turn makes it difficult for them to grow in their studies versus their peers from families who have higher incomes.


In addition to inhibiting these students to further their education, students from lower income families are more likely to drop out of high school therefore creating a wider spread of students who don't attend college. The differences are drastic between the students who are from economically fortunate families and those from the lower income families.


However, not everything is bad news. 93% of the higher-achieving students from lower income families graduate from high school in four years. This goes against the 97% of high school graduates that complete it in four years that are from higher income families.

There are many recommendations that involve numerous aspects that we, as educators, parents, and students, should pay more attention to. For one, educators, researchers, and policymakers must understand why this is happening to their students. Also, federal, state, and local education officials should provide certain incentives and policies that would enhance the proficiency standards. Educators should also promote higher education to the lower-income children to motivate them to want to be active in school.  For more information, Click Here!

The Power of Greenovation


Schools around the nation are jumping on the environmental bandwagon and "going green," as they say By reducing waste and conserving energy, students and teachers can now do their part to help preserve the environment while incorporating science, math and engineering principles along the way.


Greenovation provides many ways to make a school environmentally friendly. At the University of Florida, even the roofs are "going green." UF Students have created a rooftop garden on top of one of their amphitheaters. The green roof helps absorb storm water runoff, reduces energy use and provides wildlife habitat. Though it may seem too expensive for many schools, green roofs absorb enough sunlight to substantially reduce the expense of air conditioning. "Going green" doesn't have to be a huge undertaking. There are small steps every school can take towards Greenovation. 


One of the easiest and most effective ways for schools to start "going green" is to reduce waste. Since most of the waste generated in classrooms is paper, placing a recycling bin in each classroom is a simple solution to this problem.


Teachers can also do their part to reduce waste by conserving paper. When making copies teachers should keep in mind that both sides of the paper can and should be used. Also, using more email and electronic forms of communications is not only convenient, it saves paper as well.


Schools and homes in all areas have the potential to jump on the environmental bandwagon.  For more information about how your school or your home can "go green" Click Here!

To visit GGIT! please click here

If you would like to forward this newsletter to a friend, Click Here!

How to Survive and Thrive in Middle School Math!


Actress Danica McKellar wants girls to know that numbers aren't nerdy anymore!


Actress, mathematician, and now writer, Danica McKellar, best know for her role as Winnie Cooper on the 90's hit series "The Wonder Years", has just penned the math help book "Math Doesn't Suck". The book features approaches to math problems through ways girls can relate to.  Whether it is how many more lip glosses you have than your friend or how much money you have left to spend at the mall.


McKellar went through periods of both struggling and excelling in math throughout her education and ultimately decided she loved it so much in college, she made it her major. After graduating with honors in the late 90's, she soon  became the first and only television actress to coauthor a groundbreaking mathematical physics theorem. It was published in the Journal of Physics and even bears her name!


McKellar says her reasons for publishing a book of her own are due to those tricky middle school years when the math work started getting harder. She got past it, and now wants to share her helpful hints and tips with young girls who are in the same situation. The book is not only jam packed with great ways to understand the subject, but also true life stories of other "cool" women in math, fun quizzes, and links to great tutoring websites. To find out more about this book, which recently made the Los Angeles Best Seller List, Click Here!
Danica recently appeared on the National Public Radio's (NPR's) Talk of the Nation: Science Friday program with the President of Harvey Mudd, Maria Klawe to discuss women and mathematics. To listen to the podcast, Click Here!

And The Beat Goes On...

Apple's Lineup of iPods Get Makeovers and Add a New Touch-Screen Version to The Family.


Apple's revamped family of iPods are sure to top Christmas lists this holiday season and what you will find under the tree will truly be quite impressive. The newly reintroduced gadgets feature larger screens, smaller widths, and fresh new colors that are sure to make a big splash with iPod lovers everywhere.


Starting at just $79, you can wear a badge of musical devotion with the clip on iPod Shuffle, letting you accessorize any outfit with up to 240 songs. The iPod Nano, the best-selling iPod to date, now lets you enjoy TV shows, movies, video podcasts, and more on a larger, brighter display screen. Both the shuffle and Nano are available in 5 refreshing colors: turquoise blue, sea foam green, periwinkle, the original silver, and the RED shade, which supports the Global Fund to fight AIDS in Africa.


The next step up following Nano is the original iPod, which Apple renamed the iPod Classic. The Classic has a new, sleek look and a version which features up to 160 gigabytes of storage!


The newest and most exciting feature of the lineup is the iPod Touch. This revolutionary edition to the iPod family is identical to the iPhone, minus the telephone capability.
You can find out more about any of the newly refurbished models and even take a tour of the new touch model at their website. Click Here!

Florida STEM Program Directory- Register your Program Today!

The online Florida STEM Program Directory lists organizations and programs that focus on motivating girls to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The purpose of the directory is to help organizations and individuals network, share resources and collaborate on STEM-related projects for girls. 
Organizations that serve young women and are interested in bringing more STEM resources to them are also encouraged to sign up!
The Directory contains program descriptions, resources available within each organization, program and/or organization needs, and contact information.  What better way to promote your program, resources and find other organizations in your area to collaborate with?

Having Your Program Listed in the Directory Has Several Advantages:

  1. Anyone with internet access can find out about your program. You can view other programs in your area and across the state. Your organization can do a search and compare needs and resources in your area and across the state.
  2. Your organization is eligible for a mini-grant for innovative projects.

Don't wait - Sign up today! Here's How:

 Use the following instructions to create a new user account and then enter a program's information into the NGCP program directory.

  • Click Here!! Click "Register New User" which is located on the far left. Fill out the form and click "Submit" On the next page, click "New Program"
  • Fill out the form and click "Submit"

That's it!  Your program will be listed and can be searched by anyone with access to the internet.  It's that easy!


Once a new program's information has been submitted and approved,  it will appear in the public Directory for anyone to search. 


What better way to highlight the great work in STEM that you are doing in your community!



In order to be eligible for mini
-grant funding, your program MUST be listed in the Program Directory.  Once listed, you are encouraged to submit a proposal for consideration of funding.  For mini-grant submission guidelines, Click Here!

FSU'S Flying Circus of Physics


No elephants and acrobats here but lots of other just as exciting acts!


The physics department at Florida State University recently put on their bi-yearly Flying Circus of Physics. The event aims to prove to children of all ages that physics is Fun! With hands-on science, multimedia events, demonstrations, a planetarium presentation and a paper airplane contest, kids from around the area experienced the exciting side of physics earlier this month.


The Circus of Physics featured science demonstrations that have been proven popular with kids. "The Physics of Sports" exhibited the science behind popular sporting events, while a planetarium show revealed many mysteries of the universe. Hands-on demonstrations allowed children to experience strange and stimulating physical phenomena while answering the hundreds of "why?" questions that inevitably resulted.


Other activities included tours and even a paper airplane folding and flying contest that entertained children and adults alike. For more information, Click Here!

What is Girls Get IT?
Florida Girls Get IT is a partnership between Florida Distance Learning Consortium, Cisco Systems, Inc.,  Florida's Community College and University system to create gender equity in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) & Information Technology (IT).
Why does Florida need this initiative?
To remain competitive, Florida must offer a highly trained workforce. Nearly 75% of future jobs in the United States will require the use of technology, yet fewer than 33% of students in computer courses are female and women comprise only 20% of IT professionals and 13% of engineers.
Contact: Leah Cook, Project Director
Phone: 850.922.3359
Fax: 850.922.3109
Useful Links for Teachers, Parents and Students

Busy Teachers
This website offers teachers many different activities to do in their classrooms. Check it out! Click Here!
Teachers' Domain
Enjoy what this website has to offer including courses and collections that help teachers engage their students learning experiences. Also, enhance and advance your teaching skills! Click Here!

Kinetic City

An amazing collection of science experiments, games, activities, challenges, and more! Click Here!

How Stuff Works

It's good to know how stuff works. Learn how anything and everything works at this cool site! Click Here!

This website is a great tool to use if you have preteen or teenage children. There are links for meeting new people, transitioning back into school, and even quick tips for parents. There is also a link for different books and such that help parents guide their children through middle and high school. Click Here!
Parenting a Preteen

Parenting a Preteen concentrates on the age level between middle and high school. The goal is to inform parents how to guide and not overpower their child into becoming an adult. They say that it takes time, patience, and commitment to achieving that goal. For more information, Click Here!

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Florida Distance Learning Consortium | Girls Get IT! | Tallahassee | FL | 32310