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Virginia Journal of Education

Your Classroom

Ensuring Our Schools Are ‘Built to Code’

Almost 40 years ago, delegates to the National Education Association’s annual convention, including a group of Virginia educators, adopted a “Code of Ethics of the Education Profession.” It remains an essential and honored document today. Educators adhere to it because, as the Code’s preamble states, we “believe in the worth and dignity of each human being, recognize the supreme importance of truth, devotion to excellence, and the nurture of democratic principles. Essential to these goals is the protection of freedom to learn and to teach and the guarantee of equal educational opportunity for all.”

The Code is organized under two principles.

Principle 1:  Commitment to the Student
The educator strives to help each student realize his or her potential as a worthy and effective member of society.

The educator therefore works to stimulate the spirit of inquiry, the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and the thoughtful formulation of worthy goals.

In fulfillment of the obligation to the student, the educator:

1. Shall not unreasonably restrain the student from independent action in the pursuit of learning.

2. Shall not unreasonably deny the student's access to varying points of view.

3. Shall not deliberately suppress or distort subject matter relevant to the student's progress.

4. Shall make reasonable effort to protect the student from conditions harmful to learning or to health and safety.

5. Shall not intentionally expose the student to embarrassment or disparagement.

6. Shall not on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, national origin, marital status, political or religious beliefs, family, social or cultural background, or sexual orientation, unfairly –

     a. Exclude any student from participation in any program. 

     b.  Deny benefits to any student.

     c.  Grant any advantage to any student.

7. Shall not use professional relationships with students for private advantage.

8. Shall not disclose information about students obtained in the course of professional service unless disclosure serves a compelling professional purpose or is required by law.

Principle 2:  Commitment to the Profession
The education profession is vested by the public with a trust and responsibility requiring the highest ideals of professional service.

In the belief that the quality of the services of the education profession directly influences the nation and its citizens, the educator shall exert every effort to raise professional standards, to promote a climate that encourages the exercise of professional judgment, to achieve conditions that attract persons worthy of the trust to careers in education, and to assist in preventing the practice of the profession by unqualified persons.

In fulfillment of the obligation to the profession, the educator –

1. Shall not in an application for a professional position deliberately make a false statement or fail to disclose a material fact related to competency and qualifications.

2. Shall not misrepresent his/her professional qualifications.

3. Shall not assist any entry into the profession of a person known to be unqualified in respect to character, education or other relevant attribute.

4. Shall not knowingly make a false statement concerning the qualifications of a candidate for a professional position.

5. Shall not assist a non-educator in the unauthorized practice of teaching.

6. Shall not disclose information about colleagues obtained in the course of professional service unless disclosure serves a compelling professional purpose or is required by law.

7. Shall not knowingly make false or malicious statements about a colleague.

8. Shall not accept any gratuity, gift or favor that might impair or appear to influence professional decisions or action.


Myths About Stuttering

Here are some of the most common myths about young people who stutter, provided by the Stuttering Foundation of America:

Myth:  People who stutter are not smart.
Reality:  There is no link whatsoever between stuttering and intelligence.

Myth:  It helps to tell a person to “take a deep breath before talking,” or “think about what you want to say first.”
Reality:  This advice only makes a person more self-conscious, making the stuttering worse. More helpful responses include listening patiently and modeling slow and clear speech yourself.

Myth:  Stress causes stuttering.
Reality:  Many complex factors are involved. Stress is not the cause, but it certainly can aggravate stuttering.

More stuttering myths—and the truth that unmasks them—are available in the Stuttering Foundation of America’s flyer, “Myths About Stuttering,” which can be downloaded at, click on Resources.


Push Your Limits

Your life’s course will not be determined by doing the things that you are certain you can do. Those are the easy things. It will be determined by whether you try the things that are hard. The classes that seem impossible on the first day, but you study hard enough to pass. The jobs you want, realize you are not qualified for, and then work like crazy to get the necessary skills. The moments when you feel alone, ask for help, and create a bond with someone because working together helps them as well as you. The times when you see things nobody else sees, and fear speaking out, but you speak out anyway ... and convince everyone else. Those are the moments where you can have real impact.
 --Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer, Facebook, in a high school commencement speech last June


Virginia History Available
in Classic TV News Clips
Virginia educators and their students can now get a unique look at some state history through a new online archive of television news clips and anchor scripts from the civil rights era, housed at the University of Virginia. The footage, from Roanoke’s WSLS-TV, is thought to be the only surviving original TV material from Virginia’s often-tumultuous Massive Resistance period.

According to an estimate by the Library of Congress, less than one-tenth of local news film from those years is available today.

Educators can get to the clips through the UVA online catalog, Virgo, by visiting


One Way to Put
Your Students In
Touch with Nature
The world of nature surrounds our students, and yet many know so little about it and don’t appreciate it much. Nature is much more than just a faraway beach or mountain; it’s right here, right now—and we need it every day. The natural world serves as the factory that makes the very building blocks of life – food, drinking water, the stuff we own and the air we breathe.

That’s why The Nature Conservancy and its 550 scientists have created a new initiative, called Nature Works Everywhere, to help students learn the science behind how nature works for us, and how we can help keep nature running strong.

Nature Works Everywhere ( gives teachers and students everything they need to start exploring and understanding nature’s factory – videos, interactive games and interactive free lesson plans that align to standards. And the scenery is fantastic, from coral reefs to bee gardens, and from Maine’s snowy forests to Africa’s grasslands.


You Snooze, You Don’t Lose!
Here are a few reasons your students may be looking a bit heavy-lidded in class, according to sleep researchers:

• A 2011 study by the Centers for Disease Control found that almost 70 percent of high school students are not getting the recommended 8.5 hours of sleep on a school night. Of that 70 percent, about 40 percent get 6 or fewer hours of sleep per night, which increases their chances of getting sick.

• The National Sleep Foundation says that a full four-fifths of U.S. students in grades 6-12 fall short of recommended sleep time, and that over-tired young people struggle with depression, weight gain and lower grades. Some begin using caffeine to wake themselves up during the day, which sometimes only keeps them up more at night.

• While most youngsters fall asleep pretty easily around 8 or 9 p.m., puberty shifts a teen’s sleep pattern and most adolescents can’t fall asleep until after 10, according to the Mayo Clinic.

• A 2010 study by Colby College in Maine found that starting school an hour later led to gains in math and reading of 3 percentile points.

• Many school divisions in the U.S. have used research like this as a basis for instituting later school start times, especially for high school students.


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