Who Celebrates National School Choice Week?

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – With more than 32,000 independently planned events around the country, the week of Jan. 21-27 will be the largest-ever celebration of opportunity in education.
It’s the seventh annual National School Choice Week, a nonpartisan, nonpolitical awareness event that has grown considerably every year – it’s up from 21,000 last year and 150 events in its first year.
So who are the people leading the celebrations?
Some are parents who put themselves in the driver’s seat of their children’s education. They considered their children’s unique needs, learning styles, and interests. They looked at the available options – traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, homeschooling, online schools, or a combination of these options – and chose the education environments they considered best for their children.
Some tracked down publicly or privately funded scholarships; others checked waitlists; and many others decided that their local school was, in fact, the best fit for their children.
Some event organizers are teachers and school leaders, happy to be playing such a crucial role in the education and development of children across America. Different schools offer different curricula, different approaches to education, different perspectives – and this diversity is worth celebrating. Every child is unique; every family is unique. Children who are excited about violin or Mandarin, children who need an extra lift in a particular area, children who thrive in traditional classrooms and children who don’t – everyone should be given an opportunity to excel in whatever way best suits them. And great teachers and school leaders are an essential part of that excellence.
Some events are planned by community leaders hoping to help even more children have the opportunity to reach their full academic potential by creating new paths and raising awareness about the importance of continually expanding access to effective education options for children and families.
The participants in National School Choice Week may all be different, with unique perspectives, backgrounds, and stories. But they all believe one thing: that every child, given the right environment, can succeed. No matter what school your family has chosen, National School Choice Week provides an opportunity to celebrate students and the hope of a bright future for our whole nation.

National School Choice Week – Time to Start a Conversation

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – The world’s largest celebration of opportunity in education starts next week.
National School Choice Week 2018 begins on January 21, shining a positive spotlight on traditional public schools, public charter schools, public magnet schools, private schools, online academies, and homeschooling.
The goal is simple: to let parents know that they have choices when it comes to their children’s education, and to celebrate the many different and effective education options available for students.
For almost every parent in America, there are ways to get involved in this positive, inspirational week.
If you are looking to find a new school for your child and want to know how to start the process, use the Week as a time to research your options. Download a free school choice guide for your state at www.schoolchoiceweek.com/mystate.
If you want to learn more about the different schools and education environments in your area, consider using the week to attend a special event. More than 32,000 are being planned during National School Choice Week – everything from information sessions, school fairs, and open houses, to rallies. Find an event in your community by visiting www.schoolchoiceweek.com/map.
If you are happy with the choices you have made for your child’s education, take time during National School Choice Week to thank a teacher or school leader, or to brag about your child’s school in a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. You can also share your story with us at schoolchoiceweek.com/share.
If you think that your community or state needs more educational choices for children, use National School Choice Week to speak up and make your opinion known.
Making a difference is easier than it sounds. All it takes is starting one conversation.
You can start that conversation on social media (using #schoolchoice in your posts), or by talking with a friend, coworker, or member of your family.
“Did you know that this is National School Choice Week?” is a good question to get the discussion going.
When more Americans talk about opportunity in education, more parents will discover the options available for their children’s education. That means that more children will have the chance of being matched with schools that meet their unique talents, challenges, needs, and interests.
This National School Choice Week, all that it takes is one conversation to brighten the future of a family. Will you start one?

School Choice Is About Parents, Not Politics

(NewsUSA) – As tens of millions of people across the country prepare to celebrate National School Choice Week Jan. 21 through 27, our goal is to focus on parents and children, not politics or politicians.During National School Choice Week, schools of every type – traditional public, charter, magnet, online, and private – will join homeschool groups to celebrate the things that make their education environments unique and effective.As a nonpartisan awareness effort, National School Choice Week provides an opportunity to bring conversations about education out from the political sphere and to the kitchen tables and living rooms of parents in communities across America.This is important because, even though education is a matter of public policy, it is also deeply personal.At its core, school choice affirms the special bond between parents and children. School choice empowers parents to turn the love and concern they have for their children into action. It encourages them to talk to their children and make decisions together about what schooling environments fit the talents, interests, and challenges that are unique to every student. And it recognizes that while one school might be a good fit for some students, it isn’t necessarily a good fit for every child.By exercising school choice options, parents who want their children to learn Mandarin can send them to a school where they will learn Mandarin; parents who believe their kids need a lot of time outdoors or who want to affirm their faith tradition can follow that path; parents who didn’t go to college but want their kids to have that opportunity can find a college prep choice.Parents choose schools for a variety of reasons. For example, a survey of Indiana parents found that parents considered factors such as academics, morality, social skills, diversity, college preparation, an appreciation for nature, patriotism, the ability to enter the job force without a college degree, and an opportunity to learn another language.These choices reflect the diversity and individualism of our great country, and they should be respected and celebrated. After all, no matter where we fall on the political spectrum, we all share the same goal: to unlock the potential for success and happiness in every child through a great education tailored to who they are and who they want to be.

Encourage a Love of Reading During National Family Literacy Month

(NewsUSA) – For many parents, it’s a struggle to get kids to read outside of the classroom, but November is the perfect time to change that, because it’s National Family Literacy Month.The importance of reading goes well beyond acing a test or getting an "A" on a book report. It’s a lifelong skill that helps you to better understand the world around you and even yourself. And it’s becoming increasingly important to ensure that kids don’t become non-readers in their busy, over-connected daily lives."Reading opens up so many possibilities, from discovering a new interest to sparking untapped creativity. Best of all, it is a great way to spend time together as a family," says Emily Levitt, vice president of Education for Sylvan Learning.Here are a few suggestions to help kids to fall in love with reading, and to share fun, memorable reading experiences together as a family.* Read Aloud — The easiest way to get kids interested in reading and to build their vocabulary is for parents to read aloud to their children, no matter their ages. Kids will often skip over words they don’t recognize when reading alone, but if they hear their parents say the word, they may ask for the definition. Putting aside just 15 minutes a week to read aloud to kids can make a difference.* Start a Book Club — Starting a book club with a group of your kid’s friends and their parents is a great way to make reading fun. Give participants a month to read the selected book, then organize a party where everyone can chat and enjoy themed snacks.* Stick with What They Like — Kids will be more inclined to read if it’s about something they’re already interested in. And if you can share that interest with them, that’s even better! And because not everyone loves the same subjects or genres, try to at least hook them with engaging books on whatever they enjoy — be it baseball, magic or anything else.* Monkey See, Monkey Do — It’s important that kids see their parents reading. If they don’t, it’s an unspoken statement to your child that it’s okay not to read. From crossword puzzles to comic books, it’s easier than you think to build literacy as a family. Make a conscious effort to set time aside time for you and your kids to read together.* Deploy Backup — Not every child is a natural born reader and even kids who are great readers can use reading help.Sylvan Learning offers reading programs from Pre-K through Grade 12. And because no two children are exactly alike, they personalize reading tutoring for each child, giving kids the personal attention and confidence they need to thrive.For more information, please visit www.sylvanlearning.com

Misconceptions About Conception

(NewsUSA) – As straightforward as the idea of getting pregnant may seem, there is still a great deal of confusion about infertility. A survey of 500 participants, conducted by The Stork Ib2C, Inc. uncovers the most prevalent misconceptions about conception.When asked how long respondents assumed it would take to see a positive pregnancy test, nearly 56 percent thought only three to six months. In actuality, most will take up to a year to conceive. Fertility is often out of our control, and these false expectations can lead to disappointment and stress early on, and that can negatively impact fertility and the conception process.The survey also revealed a psychological impact from fertility issues as 38 percent described feeling sad or upset that others were pregnant while they were not.Although friends and family are supporting the couple’s success, not being able to give those loved ones the news they want to hear causes the same percent to feel unwanted pressure.Thirty-three percent were concerned about financial barriers of fertility treatments, questioning how they would finance expensive treatments, particularly at a time they were saving for a new baby. Clinical fertility treatments vary in price, but most procedures are not covered by health insurance and can reach well over $10,000.More than 52 percent thought multiple births were the number-one risk associated with in vitro fertilization (IVF), and 67 percent said they would not try the most invasive of the clinically fertility treatments. Surprisingly, many did not recognize the risks associated with ovulation-stimulating hormones. The high price of clinical procedures doesn’t equate to greater success rates, a component only 13 percent cited as a risk they associated with treatments.The average cost of Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is $500, but yields only a 16-21 percent rate of success, similar to the 20 percent of cervical cap insemination, the technique the Stork OTC offers, but at a considerable lower price .The Stork OTC home conception device is a low-cost option that affords couples the opportunity to assist their chances of conception without engaging in invasive and costly treatments. The FDA-cleared, over-the-counter device provides a way to keep a higher sperm score concentration at the cervix compared to natural intercourse. For more information, visit www.storkotc.com

Fast Facts About Excessive Sweating at School

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – It’s back-to-school and sweat’s happening.
But while it’s “normal” to sweat with heat, exertion or anxiety, 4.8 percent of people — students included — experience sweating so excessive it’s a serious medical condition called hyperhidrosis.
To help these youngsters as they return to school, the International Hyperhidrosis Society, a non-profit that helps improve quality-of-life for those living with hyperhidrosis, is debunking excessive sweating myths with facts:
* Children, teens, and young adults can all suffer from hyperhidrosis that’s debilitating and life-altering.
* Hyperhidrosis often first manifests during school-aged years, bringing with it severe embarrassment due to sweat-drenched clothes and damaged school materials.
* Poor academic performance, social isolation, and depression can happen as a result.
* Individuals with hyperhidrosis sweat about 5 times more than what’s considered “normal” because they have overactive sweat glands, NOT because of moods, poor health, or lack of hygiene.
* Kids don’t outgrow hyperhidrosis; they need help to manage it.
* This condition can make basic school activities, such as holding a pencil difficult.
* Hyperhidrosis is as emotionally damaging as severe acne and shouldn’t be ignored.
* Young people with hyperhidrosis can find support, understanding, and treatment — but they need adults to help.
Learn more at www.SweatHelp.org.

Have A Dog Who Wets Her Bed? Your Vet Can Help

(NewsUSA) – As a pet owner, have you ever had a female dog who always finds the outdoor bathroom during the day, but wets her bed at night?Dogs who follow the house rules can be horrified when they realize that they’ve leaked — even though it occurs during sleep.Plastic sheets aren’t the answer, and most likely your long-suffering pet wouldn’t be happy alone outside.Urine soiling isn’t something pet owners enjoy discussing.Many assume it’s a behavioral problem, believing they’ve failed to properly train their pets.But poor bladder control following spaying is actually a physical disorder that’s seen mostly in middle-aged female dogs, and can occur any time after surgery.In addition, it’s more common in large breeds and those who struggle with obesity.To that end, a rolled-up newspaper won’t solve this problem, and won’t improve behavioral house soiling either. Leaking urine during rest or sleep is not your dog’s fault.There is value in spaying your female dog, but giving up their ovaries means the sphincter muscle in the bladder can be left just weak enough to relax and release urine. It may happen any time they drift off. The result is a tell-tale wet spot on their bed. About 20 percent of spayed dogs face this messy downside.For dog owners who want to try and help their pet, the answer may lie in a liver-flavored tablet.Proin tablets can be given twice daily, and make a difference in both a pet and an owner’s life because urine leakage can damage relationships. Consider this: 18 percent of the dogs in shelters were surrendered by frustrated owners because of house soiling.Alternatively, there are other possible causes, so it’s essential to allow your veterinarian to make an accurate diagnosis before medication is started.Urinary tract infections are common, especially for indoor girls. Bladder stones can also cause house soiling. And elderly dogs may urinate indoors because of senile brain changes, a problem called cognitive dysfunction syndrome. Pets with urinary symptoms need to see their doctors.If a thorough exam and urinalysis come up normal, a healthy female dog who leaks only when resting or sleeping most likely has urinary incontinence due to reduced estrogen. You can explain all of this to your dog, ending "the talk" by telling her that she has urethral sphincter hypotonus. With her leader so well-informed, she is sure to feel better.Veterinarians like to uncover these cases because almost all of them can be turned from frustration to success.Proin is often chosen because it is the only non-hormone treatment option, and also because it’s palatable and easy to dose.But in certain cases, due to pet irritability, restlessness, or medical conditions, Proin may be inappropriate.For those dogs, an old standby treatment — a synthetic estrogen called diethylstilbestrol (DES) — may be used.There are many undiagnosed female dogs struggling with nocturnal incontinence. The good news for spayed female bed wetters is that they can enjoy campouts and sleepovers just like everybody else.For more information on Proin, including important safety material, pet owners can visit www.proinforcanines.com.

Rooting for Potatoes: The Spud Makes A Comeback

(NewsUSA) – Holiday entertaining can be stressful. What to cook? Which wines pair well? But with a few tools and a bit of planning, you can breeze through the holiday season like an entertaining pro.Janice Mondavi knows this all too well. As a mother of four girls and a member of the iconic C. Mondavi wine family, Janice hosts her large, extended family throughout the holidays. She gets through the season by keeping some go-to recipes on hand and a few quick tips for the perfect wine pairing.Janice’s go-to’s include her favorite roast recipes and easy, no-nonsense wine pairings. She finds that roasts and steak recipes feed her large family without breaking the bank. Her favorite holiday recipe is the family’s "Steak Sliced Thin" New York Strip Steak recipe that was created by Rosa Mondavi, the wife of Cesare and the family matriarch who started the Mondavi wine legacy in the Napa Valley in 1943.When pairing wines, Janice says it’s all about pairing similar flavors together. For instance, Janice pairs sweet wines with spicy foods, simple fare with lighter wines, and bold flavors together. She also points out that rules are made to be broken, even with wine."Wine is simply a matter of personal preference and sometimes it’s fun to mix things up, especially during the holidays," she adds. Some people prefer to pair opposite flavors together, and will pair a dry, acidic wine with a rich creamy sauce.Janice loves a good cheat sheet for pairing wines and that’s why she and her team at CK Mondavi and Family wines came up with this handy wine-pairing sheet, "The CK Mondavi and Family Wine Pairing Made Simple," which can be downloaded here: www.ckmondavi.com/ckm-pairings.This Christmas, Janice will be making the Steak Sliced Thin Recipe for her family. "It is one of my husband Marc’s favorite dishes, is easy to make and everyone enjoys it," she says. Janice will pair this recipe with CK Mondavi and Family Cabernet Sauvignon or Scarlet Five (their red blend).Grandma Rosa’s Mondavi Steak Sliced Thin RecipeIngredients:- 1-2 lb New York strip sliced by your butcher to 1/2" or thinner- 6-8 Garlic Cloves- 1/4 cup CK Mondavi and Family Sauvignon Blanc- 2 tbsp. Olive Oil- Steak seasoning (The Mondavis prefer a simple seasoning of oregano, salt and pepper)Directions:Pound both sides of the steak slices until they are somewhat thin. Season each slice with oregano, salt and pepper (or your steak seasoning of choice). Set aside. Slice the cloves of garlic. Heat 2 tbsp. of the olive oil in a frying pan on very low heat. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or so. Be sure not to burn the garlic slices. Add the wine and cook until the wine has evaporated. Turn up the heat to medium and begin to sauté the steak slices for about 2 minutes on each side for medium rare, a bit longer if you like your meat well done. Place on a serving platter and pour the excess sauce on top. Serve hot with any of your favorite side dishes.Meet the Mondavis: Click here to view video.

Summer Snack Hacks: Three Creative Tips for Simple Summer Snacking

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – School’s out for the summer, which means family fun time and hungry kids home all day. From camp lunches to days by the pool — and all of those lazy days in between — kids have one thing on their minds: snacks. To assemble the perfect snack and keep kids satisfied and smiling throughout the warmer months, follow this simple guide.
* Involve Kids in the Kitchen: All those years of cooking for the kids will soon come to an end when you enlist them as mini-master sous chefs. Whether your kids are two or 10, they’ll love learning and creating their own concoctions. Fruit skewers made from fresh fruit and toothpicks or straws make for the perfect teaching opportunity. Have your kids rinse strawberries, grapes and any other desired fruit, and slide them onto a colorful straw. For a frozen treat to beat the summer heat, pop them in the freezer for a few minutes before watching your kids enjoy their own creative snack creations.
* Colorful Creations: Hungry kids are grumpy kids, and grumpy kids tend to be unhappy. The best way to keep your kids happy is to feed them well. A proper snack time means an array of options, and something for everyone. By presenting snacks in a creative way, kids will get to choose what they want to eat, providing an increased sense of individuality. Try separating dry snacks from fruit and veggie bites to present a colorful spread.
If you’re looking to add that mid-day protein boost for a sluggish kid, a great healthy option is Deli Snackers from Land O’Frost, a baked meat snack made from high-quality, oven-roasted meats. This convenient and flavorful choice offers more than 10 grams of nourishing protein per serving with less than 400 mg of sodium, making it the perfect treat to pair with crackers and cheese cubes to appeal to the pickiest eater.
* Tasty Twist: Instead of those sugar-loaded popsicles that often spark temper tantrums after the inevitable sugar crash, consider making DIY popsicles. These frozen treats will eliminate the added sugar, while still providing the juicy, refreshing dessert your kids crave. Pop your favorite juice and fruit mixture into a blender, freeze until solid and serve to the kids guilt-free.
With these simple tricks in mind, grab the kids and get ready for a summer filled with simple snacking. For coupons and more information about Land O’Frost, visit www.landofrost.com.

Hunger Still Has Hold on America Despite Economic Improvement

(NewsUSA) – While America may not appear to have the kind of hunger that is pervasive in other countries, that’s not to say it doesn’t exist.Hunger remains a concern for millions of Americans, and for people who are "food insecure," the average reported need for food has increased, based on data from Map the Meal Gap 2017, a new report released by Feeding America, a non-profit hunger-relief organization.The report describes the cost of food and food insecurity in communities across the United States.Food insecurity is defined by the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a lack of access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all members of a household.According to the USDA, the number of Americans identified as food insecure decreased from 50 million in 2009 to 42 million in 2015. Still, Map the Meal Gap finds that the individuals who are food insecure report needing an average of nearly $530 more per person in 2015 to afford enough food, representing a 13 percent increase since 2008."This is grim news," says Diana Aviv, CEO of Feeding America, in a statement. "It is disheartening to realize that millions of hardworking, low-income Americans are finding it increasingly difficult to feed themselves and their families at the same time that our economy is showing many signs of improvement, including a substantial decline in the number of people who are unemployed."The online version of the report features an interactive map, and key data points include estimates of the number of food-insecure individuals at the community level, the percentage of these individuals who may or may not qualify for federal nutrition programs, such as SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, as well as information about average cost of a meal in these areas.Consider this: According to the report, even states such as North Dakota, where the rate of child food insecurity is lowest, 1 in 11 children are estimated to live in food-insecure households. In addition, food insecurity tends to be more common in rural areas versus urban areas."Feeding America is particularly concerned about children who struggle with hunger because of the devastating and sometimes life-long consequences caused by lack of adequate nutrition," Ms. Aviv says. "Children are our most vulnerable citizens."The report uses data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as food price data and analysis from the information company Nielsen, a global provider of information and insights.The study was supported by The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, Conagra Brands Foundation, and Nielsen.Visit feedingamerica.org for more information about hunger, local member food banks, and opportunities to help.