Carlee Gomes's Blog

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Swine Flu Update: Schools Closing as Outbreak Continues

Thursday, April 30th, 2009 by

As swine flu continues to tally new cases each day, it’s impacting not only those who come down with the H1N1 virus, but also over 150,000 schoolchildren whose schools have been shut down due to confirmed or suspected cases. And many parents who are already concerned about the virus have another problem to contend with: taking care of kids who would otherwise be at school during the five or more days schools are recommended to stay shuttered after a student falls ill.

In Fort Worth, Texas, the entire school district closed down today, leaving about 80,000 students from 140 schools at home. Fort Worth schools are expected to stay closed for at least 10 days.

“Our public health officials have recommended that schools with confirmed or suspected cases of this flu strongly consider temporarily closing,” President Obama said yesterday, just hours after the World Health Organization raised the Pandemic Alert to Level 5, indicating that a pandemic may be imminent. “And if more schools are forced to close,” Obama continued, “we’ve recommended that both parents and businesses think about contingency plans if their children do have to stay home.”

Parents should consider staying home themselves or finding a babysitter or relative to watch the kids, and should not place their children in a day care center, which could mean quicker transmission of the virus between children. Vice President Biden urged yesterday that “a parent whose child’s school is closed out of a precaution or because there’s been a confirmed case of flu should not take the child then to a day care center. They’re going to have to take them home.” He also urged employers to be considerate of the special circumstances. “The hope is that the employers will be generous in terms of how they treat that employee’s necessary action of taking that child home and not being at work,” he said.

Still, most schools remain open, and while officials urge parents to keep sick kids at home, they ask that healthy students go to class as usual, while taking the following precautions: minimize exposure, wash hands frequently, and cover up coughs and sneezes.

Special Edition: Bullying at School and Online

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 by

Many adults still remember the taunts and pranks of school bullies from their childhood, and most have relegated those memories to the past. But school bullying, as well as the increasingly pervasive online variety, is still a destructive and far-reaching problem for children, affecting kids from all racial, socio-economic, and age groups. Parents and school administrators continue to struggle to address the phenomenon, and’s new Special Edition on Bullying at School and Online is the powerful resource that they have been looking for.

Created in partnership with the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) and guest editors Dr. Shelley Hymel and Dr. Susan Swearer, Co-Directors of the Bullying Research Network, and sponsored by Symantec, makers of Norton security software,’s Special Edition on Bullying is a premier web destination on bullying information and prevention based on research, not myth or outdated preconceptions. Containing over 30 original and cutting-edge reference articles, plus video clips, quizzes, community forums and parent checklists to prevent bullying, parents no longer need to search for information in the far corners of the web. From 10 Actions Parents Can Take to Help Reduce Bullying to a spotlight on the dangerous new phenomenon of cyberbullying, these new tools and resources are designed to help parents understand why bullying happens, and what they can do to prevent it.

As research into bullying uncovers more information about its causes and long-term effects, bullying is emerging as a top indicator of academic and emotional problems that can follow many children into adulthood. That’s why it’s important to stop bullying in its early stages, and why has created this authoritative new online resource. Physical and psychological bullying are not “just kids being kids,” and need not be the norm in our schools and online environments. By giving parents the tools they need to help end bullying, we hope to build stronger and more informed children and families.

Announcing our New Worksheets and Printables

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 by

Here at, we’re always looking for ways to give parents what they are searching for to help their children succeed in school. That’s why we’ve designed our new worksheets and printables portal. With this free new tool, parents can browse by grade and the subject area to find the perfect printable to support their child’s learning at home. Find worksheets from preschool through fifth grade, in subjects as diverse as math, reading, science, social studies, and games and coloring.

We’ve paired up with workbook publishers to share hundreds of pages on at no cost to our users, and we’ll be publishing hundreds more original worksheets in the weeks ahead. So stay posted, and get printing! Choose from hundreds of worksheets to keep learning going!

What’s Missing from Your Back to School List?

Friday, September 5th, 2008 by

Back to school season is upon us, and with it comes a flurry of activity – and healthy dose of worry, too. Is my child going to make friends? Will he like his teacher? Are his backpack, his clothes, or his haircut going to signal “nerd” or normal?

For all the overstressed moms and worried dads out there, I have a cure. And it involves taking a minute to stop thinking about your child’s lunchbox, desk partner, and hairdo.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and picture this: kids around the world with no Jonas Brothers backpacks, no Miley Cyrus erasers, and no MP3 players. No pens or pencils. No teacher. No school. (more…)

Scripted Teaching: When Zombies Lecture?

Monday, August 18th, 2008 by

There are certain things in life that are supposed to inspire us with a sense of humanity and connection. Things like listening to an inspiring politician speak, or interacting with an engaging teacher. But the words of politicians are increasingly rote and “teleprompted,” and the spontaneous political speech seems to be going to way of the dodo. Could the teacher-student connection be on the endangered list as well?

The answer, in short, is yes. In her recent article, “Is Your Child Being Taught from a Script?”, M. Lee introduces the phenomenon of scripted teaching. Yes, you heard me right. And no, this isn’t something out of drama class. Scripted teaching means that actual teaching materials are manufactured to give teachers a uniform teaching formula, right down to the what to say, when to say it, and how to answer students’ questions. (more…)

Spanky panky

Thursday, July 31st, 2008 by

Since joining the staff of as an editorial assistant and staff writer, I’ve found out a lot about the wide world of education in this country. I’ve written about what kids are and aren’t learning in Sex Ed class, whether standardized testing is hurting our students, and the debate over extending the school day. (To be fair, I’ve also extolled the virtues of roller coasters and outlined how to throw a medieval birthday party: the stuff of journalistic dreams). But in my most recent article, I found something out that I would never, ever have guessed: remember how misbehaving children used to get paddled by school administrators, oh, mid-century or so? It’s still legal in over twenty states.

Yep, that’s right. Somewhere in our great nation an assistant principal is rolling up his sleeves and preparing to take aim at some child’s rear end with a wooden paddle or the deceptively soft palm of his bare hand. Does the image surprise you, disgust you, or give you the vague satisfaction of knowing that justice is being done? (more…)