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• ## Pi Day Learning: Collages, Play Dough, and Number Books

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From our Project Literacy partners at the Parent-Child Home Program, 3 number games to play with your kids for Pi Day, Monday—3/14:

Making collages is a great way to support early math development.

Cutting out paper shapes with your child provides opportunities to count the number of sides on each shape.
It helps them become more familiar with number names and early-stage counting.

You can help your child think about how the pieces fit together, similar to the way you might approach puzzles—or ask them how various shapes are similar and different.

Cutting out shapes, manipulating small pieces, and gluing will also help support your child’s fine motor skills.

Who doesn't love play dough? Plus—making it—opens a door to sensory play and learning.

You and your child can practice math skills by counting the steps in the recipe, measuring ingredients, and discussing the concept of part(s) versus whole.  Challenge your child to make familiar shapes with the play dough and compare sizes, introducing the concept of big versus small.

Creating and manipulating the dough will strengthen your child’s fingers and enhance fine motor development, essential to school readiness.

Helping your child create a 0-10 booklet is a fun and engaging way to develop early numeracy skills.

Each page of the booklet features a number, with a corresponding amount of items glued to the page.  Once your child becomes familiar with larger numbers, you can add on!

As you glue and fill out each page, invite your child to count items and practice recognizing the names of each number in a way that helps them become familiar with numbers.

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## Higher Education in the 21st Century

Eduardo Manzano was invited with two other college students this week to share their experience in 21st century higher education.

One student panelist was approaching his 30th birthday. The second panelist started a successful business to help pay for her college education. And Eduardo comes from a community where more than a third of residents live below the poverty line and, until recently, large numbers of the city’s high school graduates never applied to college.

Their stories were part of a panel discussion called "Confronting the Skills Gap" presented by The Atlantic and sponsored by Pearson.

## Eduardo's Hopes for the Future

During an exchange on the panel with Pearson CEO John Fallon, Eduardo explains how a low-cost college education has been a "great experience," setting him up for a career he hopes to land in biomedical engineering.

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• ## 14 Arizona Mayors Trying to Change the Educational Outcome of More than 18,000 Students

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This is the second in a series highlighting the unique ways states and local groups are helping young people finish high school and stay on the road toward college or a career.

## A Massive Challenge

Every year, about 20 percent—or more than 18,100—of Arizona students leave high school without graduating. That’s 20 percent of Arizona’s students who will likely struggle to find a career and financial security once they drop out.

And, Arizona is not the only state where students are struggling with this challenging economic and education reality. Every year, nearly 500,000 students nationwide leave high school before earning a diploma.

## Lifting Graduation Rates

To try to turn this tide, America's Promise Alliance and Pearson developed the GradNation State Activation Initiative, a three-year collaboration to increase U.S. high school graduation rates to 90 percent by 2020.

To make this effort a success, Pearson and America’s Promise Alliance went straight to the people at the state level who are working with young people every day.

Together, Pearson and America’s Promise Alliance invested in three organizations from different states—WestEd, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Minnesota Alliance With Youth. All three groups are looking for new ways to keep their community’s students in school.

## The Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable

WestEd is an organization that specializes in conducting research on high school graduation rates and works with policymakers and practitioners to ensure large-scale improvements and innovative changes to a range of education issues.

In Arizona, WestEd has invested three years of its expertise in the Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable, also funded by the Helios Education Foundation. The Roundtable is a unique convening of mayors from across the state who not only come together to talk about the education in their communities, but also do something active to make a difference.

What sets apart the Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable is the commitment of its members to work in a bipartisan way.

Members hail from different communities, backgrounds and political affiliations, which can cause challenges—but each mayor is willing and open to work across party lines.

## A Two-Part Plan

The Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable has two main areas of focus in increasing the graduation rates:

Economic Success: A student who finishes his or her education is more likely to land a job, leading to greater economic success—not only for that individual, but the entirety of the state. The lifetime economic loss of the 18,100 students each year who leave high school in Arizona is estimated to be \$7.6 billion.

Hispanic/Latino Graduates: Arizona is one of six states that collectively educates more than 70 percent of the nation’s Hispanic/Latino students. This group of students have seen a decrease in graduation rates previously in 2010-2011 and 2012-2013.

## Arizona's Step to Success

In February, the Arizona mayors met to talk about their priorities and educational initiatives and discuss what’s working in their communities and what’s not. And while there was playful banter highlighting differing points of view, the mayors were genuinely able to see eye-to-eye.

As an example of this work, Mayor Jonathan Rothschild (D) of Tucson, Arizona, spoke to his peers about Steps to Success, a local program aimed at bringing students back to school.

Often when a student leaves high school, a counselor or caring adult from the program reaches out with a home visit to try and get them back to classes. Even the mayor himself sometimes makes a house call visit to encourage student attendance.

That’s what Steps to Success is all about. Reaching out in a personal and high-touch way to young people who are struggling—to express empathy and actively encourage them to be bold and finish their education.

“It’s a great program and it started from a very simple concept,” said Mayor Rothschild. “It’s probably been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done as mayor.”

## Spreading What Works

Mayor Rothschild's next home visits won’t be conducted until the summer when the program makes its outreach efforts.

And many of the other mayors see Steps to Success as a community program for more than just one city.

They all remember what it was like to be a student—and they're equally resolved to help driving change for their communities to grow.

The best part is they are doing it together.

You can read more about the GradNation State Activation Initiative and our grantees here on LearnEd.