Monthly Archives

September 2018

“Character education: as important as academics?”

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In the words of a famous dialogue found in the “Laws” by Plato, “but if you ask what is the good of education in general, the answer is easy, that education makes good men, and good men act nobly.” At ResponsiveEd schools, we also believe that the goal of education is to produce not only strong academics but also virtuous students who act nobly.

As many schools have increasingly recognized, individuals of character and virtue are essential for the flourishing of society. In the article “Character Education: As Important as Academics,” the author addresses recent increases in the frequency of  violence at schools and the role such disturbances plays in refocusing schools on teaching character.

Many schools have come to the conclusion that promoting  character education results in a  more safer and more positive school environment, deeply dedicated students with strong academic habits, a reduction in discipline problems and—ultimately—good citizens. Bullying, disrespect, cheating, tardiness, vandalism, profanity and drug abuse are less prevalent where good character is actively reinforced. Without the distractions of bad behavior, teachers and students are able to focus on developing the discipline and habits that foster learning.

ResponsiveEd’s classical schools’ focus on the Good, the True, and the Beautiful through a classical curriculum. The natural outcome of this curriculum is students who understand and appreciate virtue. Virtue is primarily taught at the schools through the great literature and history of the classical curriculum as well as through the example of great teachers.

With a strong history and literature curriculum that exposes students to great heroes and villains, great teachers can also guide questions of about big ideas that challenge students to strive for excellence in both academics and behavior. It naturally leads to questions such as: What is justice? What does it mean to be a good person when no one is looking?

In addition to a curriculum steeped in virtue, many of ResponsiveEd’s classical schools have events and programs that reinforce virtue in thought as well as in action. ResponsiveEd sponsors a character program that emphasizes a different virtue in action each month. Several schools have launched a house system to encourages positive behavior. Founders Classical Academy of Lewisville most recent annual Bill of Rights Colloquium focused on the role character plays in safeguarding liberty.

Great teachers are instrumental to guiding all aspects of a child’s development: intellectual, emotional, social and ethical. Great teachers understand the value of high character and cultivate a classroom environment in which it can prosper. If you’re an educator or subject matter expert interested in sharing the rewards of virtuous behavior with students in a unique charter school setting, apply to be a ResponsiveEd teacher today.

Click here to read GreatSchools’ essay “Character education: as important as academics?

Figuring Out How to Excel in Mathematics

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Starting the year off right in mathematics is important because mathematical concepts build on each other. ResponsiveEd’s academic team has some tips for starting off the school year so that students build a strong mathematics foundation.

  • Always have notes from class, a textbook or other resources right next to the homework. If your children get stuck, they are likely to find a similar problem in one of these resources that can help them move forward.
  • Ensure students takes responsibility for their own learning by finding assistance independently; the ability to access help on their own is essential for student success in all areas of academics.
  • Never give children the answers to problems. By giving away answers, you are depriving your children of the chance to develop the mental processes required to learn a new concept. No parent enjoys seeing their children struggle, but providing answers could set them up for frustration when they have to tackle more difficult problems and might even stunt their progress as classmates move to more advanced lessons. Furthermore, your children’s teachers will not be able to address the misconceptions or areas of weakness that should be targeted in school if homework assignments do not reflect the students’ level of understanding.
  • Encourage your children to underline or highlight key words or phrases in situational problems, as these often help students set up a solution.
  • Realize that your children may struggle with abstract concepts if their brains are not quite ready to reason at an abstract level. Your children’s brains will mature in time, and success in math class is likely to accompany this development.
  • If your children are frustrated by mathematics, show them how to focus on concepts rather than procedural knowledge. This might help some students approach and solve problems in a different way—one that makes more sense to them. For instance, ask your children to explain one problem in their assignment each night. If possible, choose one that incorporates both words and computation. If your children are simply reciting step-by-step instructions, encourage them to elaborate by asking questions focusing on the “why” of the problem.

How to Make English, Language Arts, Reading and Foreign Languages a Breeze

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Starting the school year off on the right foot helps the rest of the school year to go smoothly. ResponsiveEd’s foreign language and English language arts reading academic teams have compiled some suggestions for students and parents to help them stay on track this school year.

  1. Come to school every day. Missing classes can leave gaps in a student’s knowledge base that will make it difficult to build on prior knowledge.
  2. Be on time for every class. One of the simplest ways to prevent knowledge gaps is to avoid missing out on important information.
  3. Establish a routine. School can be stressful, but having a familiar routine helps students combat that stress.
  4. Make reading part of the family routine. Practice is important for learning. One way to have fun while reading is to have your children read aloud as someone prepares dinner.
  5. Make sure to read the syllabus and/or class rules very carefully. It is important, especially for the high school grade levels, to stay on track with assignments. Completing assignments as directed is one of the best ways to avoid missing out on easy grade points.
  6. Surround your child with books. Put books in the car and in every room of the house. The number of books in a home often indicates the reading levels a student will attain.
  7. Ask the teacher if you don’t understand something. A student doesn’t have to give up on learning because they feel defeated.
  8. Communicate with your child’s teachers. The school year is a busy time for families and teachers, but the best way to avoid miscommunication is to establish effective communication channels with your teachers.
  9. Complete all assignments that you are given. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it needs to be done completely. The purpose of assignments is to help you learn and to help your teachers know areas where they can help you improve.

5 Jobs in Arts, A/V Technology and Communications

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hen it comes to jobs in the Arts, A/V Technology and Communications career cluster, a range of diverse jobs exist. Many positions and salaries depend on work experiences more than education levels. Several Premier High Schools, located in areas where there is a high demand for workers in Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications offer a CTE pathway in Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications. If you are interested in a job in this sector, getting the advanced experience through a CTE program can help you get ahead in pursuing the career of your choice. For information about more Arts, A/V Technology and Communications jobs, follow this link.

  1. Librarian
  2. Broadcast Technician
  3. Radio & Television Announcer
  4. Photographer
  5. Set and Exhibit Designer


  • Job Description: Administer libraries and perform related library services. Work in a variety of settings, including public libraries, schools, colleges and universities, museums, corporations, government agencies, law firms, nonprofit organizations, and health-care providers. Tasks may include selecting, acquiring, cataloging, classifying, circulating, and maintaining library materials; furnishing reference, bibliographical, and readers’ advisory services; and performing in-depth, strategic research.
  • Growth: 19%
  • Wage: $54,436
  • Openings: 430
  • Education: Master’s degree. The majority of employees have a four year degree or better.

Broadcast Technician

  • Job Description: Set up, operate, and maintain the electronic equipment used to transmit radio and television programs. Control audio equipment to regulate volume level and quality of sound during radio and television broadcasts. Operate radio transmitter to broadcast radio and television programs.
  • Growth: 8%
  • Wage: $32,714
  • Openings: 60
  • Education: Associate’s degree. The majority of employees have some college.

Radio & Television Announcer

  • Job Description: Speak or read from scripted materials, such as news reports or commercial messages, on radio or television. May announce artist or title of performance, identify station, or interview guests.
  • Growth: 3%
  • Wage: $49,476
  • Openings: 55
  • Education: Long-term on-the-job-training. The majority of employees have a four-year college degree or better.


  • Job Description: Photograph persons, subjects, merchandise, or other commercial products. May develop negatives and produce finished prints.
  • Growth: 7%
  • Wage: $32,568
  • Openings: 150
  • Education: Long-term on-the-job training. Most employees have a four-year college degree or better.

Set and Exhibit Designer

  • Job Description: Conduct research into fundamental computer and information science as a theorist, designer, or inventor. Solve or develop solutions to problems in the field of computer hardware or software.
  • Growth: 15%
  • Wage: $42,399
  • Openings: 30
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree. Most employees have a four-year college degree or better.

While only five occupations are highlighted here, students can find more information at America’s Career InfoNetCompetency Model ClearinghouseOccupational Information Network, and the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Back to School Science Tips for Parents

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Getting ready for the school year can seem like a feat to tackle, but ResponsiveEd’s science academic team believes that, with five simple goals, parents will be sure to help their children feel more equipped to conquer the academic year. The following information highlights simple tips for parents to include at home that promote scientific growth and nurturing.

  • Healthy Meals

Nutritious, well-balanced meals can help the mind flourish as well as stimulate a healthy lifestyle for growing students. Encourage your child to eat a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, whole grains, and to stay hydrated throughout the day while limiting their sugar intake when selecting meals and snacks. Also, try to include your child in making meals for themselves and the family in order to promote healthy choices. For younger children, try making balanced meals into a game at the dinner table (see Play with Food: A Game Teaches Healthy Diets). Who says you shouldn’t play with your food?

  • Sleep Schedule

Having the right amount of sleep can make a child’s mind more receptive to learning and participating in class as well as impact their emotional and physical health. Summer vacation may have altered your family’s typical sleeping pattern. To gain back control from the summer and shift sleep cycles for the school year, start gradually having your child go to sleep 15 minutes earlier every night until they get to the appropriate bed time in which they will get eight to nine hours of quality sleep (the amount typically recommended). In addition, limit the usage of electronics and screen time before bedtime.  At least 60 minutes prior to bed, have children powerdown their devices so that they can power themselves down for the night and have more productive days.

  • Promoting Curiosity

Encouraging your child to question and to explore will foster success in science.  Lead enthusiastic conversations with your child at home about what they observe outside and what they see occurring at home. Children should explore the world around them and bring what they learn in science to life. Prompting your child to ask questions will help build confidence in class as well as develop skills on how to formulate questions and solve problems.

  • Science Journals

While having your child explore their own curiosities of the world, suggest to your child to create an observation journal for home. Recommend that learning is continuous and have your child make discoveries to share with the family while outside of school to develop lifelong learners as well as advance writing and reflective skills.

  • Scientific Events

Discuss one of this year’s amazing scientific events, the 2017 Solar Eclipse or landfall of Hurricane Harvey, with your child. Click on this link to see a calendar of upcoming astronomy events for this school year or click on this link to visit The Weather Channel online . Having your child incorporate scientific news into family conversations will help develop passion and build connections on concepts taught in class.

Become a Master of History This Year: ResponsiveEd’s John Heitzenrater Tells You How

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As the school year begins for students attending ResponsiveEd schools, parents may be curious about what they can do to encourage learning and inquiry in their students. It’s time for a history lesson that starts with ideas for parents and students to incorporate during the coming year to ensure success in their studies.

While it is sometimes difficult for students to see the big picture in the details, no historical study can take place without learning the details. When students get bogged down from memorizing dates and names, encourage them to make a game out of it. The use of music and songs can be beneficial when learning chronological events, much in the same way music and songs can help students remember grammar and languages.

Encourage students to narrate what they are learning in class. While they may forget particulars, especially as they are learning, they will remember the stories they are hearing. Encourage them to share their knowledge with you. Who knows, they may be able to enlighten you.

Encourage wonder and imagination with your students. We should treat history like a great mystery that needs Sherlock Holmes (the parent/teacher) and Watson (the student) to solve it. Every student’s contribution is essential if the mystery is going to be solved.

Focus on subject mastery. The goal of history instruction is to make future historians, i.e. students who love a good story and can understand how on Earth we arrived at where we are today. Students who master history will be the students who make history. Let’s encourage them in their quest!

5 Jobs in Architecture and Construction

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Career and Technical Education (CTE) cluster in health science is offered at select Premier High Schools. There are a range of job opportunities in health science, while some require education beyond college, many occupations are open to those with certification or some college.

Below, we provide information about a few of the occupations within health science taken from the Texas Workforce Commission. When looking at a job it is important to understand that the required education level demanded for the role and the number of openings will determine the wage and eligibility. Growth in an industry often means there are more opportunities for students. The number of openings can determine the wage. Even if a job does not require extensive education, but has few openings, the job can be more competitive and pay a higher wage. For more information, visit Achieve Texas’ Health Science Magazine.

Below is a sampling of jobs in the area of health science.

Psychiatric Technician

  • Job Description: Care for mentally impaired or emotionally disturbed individuals, following physician instructions and hospital procedures. Monitor patients’
    physical and emotional well-being and report to medical staff.
  • Growth: 22%
  • Average Wage: $27,134
  • Openings: 100
  • Education: Requires moderate-term on-the-job training. Most employees have some college.

Massage Therapist

  • Job Description: Massage customers for health or restorative purposes.
  • Growth: 23%
  • Average Wage: $36,694
  • Openings: 300
  • Education: Requires a postsecondary certification. Most employees have some college.

Medical Records and Health Information Technician

  • Job Description: Compile, process, and maintain medical records of hospital and clinic patients in a manner consistent with medical, administrative, ethical, legal, and regulatory requirements of the health care system.
  • Growth: 30%
  • Average Wage: $37,020
  • Openings: 920
  • Education: Requires an associate’s degree. Most employees have some college.

Physical Therapist

  • Job Description: Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and decrease or prevent complications among patients suffering from disease or injury.
  • Growth: 32%
  • Average Wage: $90,897
  • Openings: 660
  • Education: Requires a master’s degree.

Dentist, General

  • Job Description: Represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, and manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.
  • Growth: 13%
  • Average Wage: $186,517
  • Openings: 340
  • Education: Requires doctoral/first professional degree.

The information provided about a sampling of occupations within health science is taken from the Texas Workforce Commission and provides averages that can vary with location and time spent working. For more information, visit Achieve Texas’ Health Science Magazine. While only five occupations are highlighted here, students can find more information at America’s Career InfoNetCompetency Model ClearinghouseOccupational Information Network, and the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Five Helpful Career Resources

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Finding your perfect job can require extensive research. Texas Career Check provides helpful information for students starting their search. Take a moment to look over some of these resources and see if there are any careers that interest you.

  1. Occupation Information This website provides information on more than 1,000 jobs. In addition to job descriptions, annual wages, job growth rate and education level, this site provides informational videos, information by region, certification opportunities and many other resources.
  2. Occupation Trends This resource provides a list of the top 25 occupations making above the Texas median wage of $34,550, ranked by highest projected number of jobs added due to growth for the period 2014 – 2024. Students can sort jobs based on the their region in Texas and see the best projected jobs, salary and projected annual openings.
  3. Occupation Comparison Report Students can see a side-by-side comparison of thousands of different jobs based on wages, education level, job description, special skills, labor market information and academic strengths necessary.
  4. Interest Profile If students are not sure what career they might be interested in, this resource provides a list of questions that give a better sense of career areas they might be interested in or best suited for.
  5. Pop-a-Job Have fun playing this game and exploring new jobs you might not have heard about before.

How to Act in your First Interview (Part 2)

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You know how to prepare for your interview, but you aren’t sure what the interviewer is looking for. On the day of your interview, there are a couple of things that will help you look your best.

You know about the company, you know about the job, you have prepared for the interview, now what?

How about dress for success. It’s important to look as professional as you can for the job in which you are applying, but not all jobs are equal and require the same clothes. So what do you wear?  A good general rule to follow is to dress one step up from the role you are applying for.  For example, if you are applying to be a waiter or waitress, you should dress business casual for the interview. It would not be appropriate or necessary for you to wear a suit. If you were applying for a position in an office that normally would require business casual, then take it up one step and wear a suit. Simple plan really, and don’t over think it.

Another question that gets asked, “What should I bring with me?” All you should have is extra copies of your resume. They will likely already have this, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

One of the very first things they will notice about you is your punctuality.

I have been interviewing people for a very long time now and I can tell you first hand, the easiest way to not get the job is to be late for the interview. This tells the company that you are not serious about preparing and that you don’t value their time. It’s not important to arrive exactly on time to the parking lot, only to the interview. So get there early and sit in your car, (or your ride’s car) and go over your interview questions and answers. When it’s about time, head on in. I think 10 minutes early is the best amount of time to arrive. If you have never been to the location before, make sure you know where it is. This may mean going the day before to scope it out. Also, if your interview is first thing in the morning or at the end of the day, don’t underestimate rush hour traffic, it can double your drive time. If the unthinkable happens, and you get a flat tire, make sure you have their phone number so you can call well ahead of time to let them know. Remember, you want them to know you value their time.

You will only ever get one first impression with anyone, so make it count.

First thing of course, is you being on time. Next will be the introduction.  When they come out to greet you, or you are led away to the meeting place, make sure you are standing to firmly shake their hand and look them in the eye. Anything else would give a less than favorable impression. When seated in the interview, be conscious of your body language. Communication takes on all forms and if you realize it or not, your body language is communicating for you too. Building rapport with the interviewer will help them remember you. Overall, be friendly and smile, it will even help you feel more at ease. Your body should show that you are relaxed and friendly, so sit up straight, face them, and maintain eye contact.

A last item to remember is that if you know anyone else that works there, don’t be afraid to speak up and tell your interviewer about it.

Showing that you already have friends that work there will ease the hiring manager’s mind that you can fit in on the team. Also, it gives the manager an opportunity to ask them about your work ethic, skills, and personality. You can never have too many friends when it comes to making a good impression.

During the interview, try and remember these seven simple tips for success. Even if you do not have the experience or skills to perform the job on day one, you can always control these in the interview:

  1. Stay cool and collected – Being visibly too jittery or nervous is a symptom of being unprepared.
  2. Be confident – It’s better to not know the answer confidently, than to know the answer timidly in an interview.
  3. Be honest – Honesty will demonstrate you have a good sense of integrity, something every manager wants.
  4. Be flexible – Managers need people that can be available to help whenever and wherever.
  5. Make eye contact and avoid distractions – A sign of an engaged participant is strong eye contact, and for goodness sake, keep that phone in the car!
  6. Listen and take notes – A sign of a good future employee is one that can take directions, learn from them, and act on them.
  7. Thank the interviewer – Their time is as valuable to them as yours is to you and you should be appreciative of it.

Enjoy this experience, it only happens once!