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Home   Knowledge Center   Professional Development   Advocacy   Middle Level Leadership   Awards March 2, 2010

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Charting the Course From Middle School to College
The New York Times    Share   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Public schools have long offered their students the same basic academic program, with little real choice aside from foreign languages or an occasional elective in what was a one-size-fits-all approach that drove many families to seek private and charter schools. But this year, all 428 sixth graders at Linwood Middle School in North Brunswick, N.J., are charting their own academic path with personalized student learning plans — electronic portfolios containing information about their learning styles, interests, skills, career goals and extracurricular activities. More

It's Snowing: Fire the Teachers
Principal Difference Blog    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Much of the country has gotten hit by big snows this season, prompting districts to scramble to remake calendars. While the school year is technically the same number of school days, more of those days now fall after high-stakes state assessments. What impact will that have on academic performance? This year students are losing days and weeks of preparation, not only for state assessments, but also for Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams, which are administered in the first week of May. An under plans currently being implemented, many teachers and principals will be fired because of dropping academic performance due to lost snow days. More

Ensuring New Teachers Become Old Ones
Principal Difference Blog    Share    Share on
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In this second of a three-part series, teacher leader Stuart Singer offers a few ideas for how principals can overcome the bubble of the first five years and retain teachers in the profession for the long haul. More

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March is National Middle Level Education Month
NASSP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
NASSP is marking National Middle Level Education Month by providing expert advice on what it takes to be a successful middle level leader. Check out the podcast interview with Vicki Petzko, a former middle level principal turned educational leadership professor, and much more! More

NASC National Conference
NASSP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Students and advisers can get behind the wheel this summer to "Start the Engines of Leadership" at the 2010 National Association of Student Councils (NASC) National Conference, June 26-29, in Indianapolis. The NASC National Conference provides leadership training, civic engagement and community service learning opportunities. More

Education Secretary Questioned on Move to Cut Funding for 'Teach for America'
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Education Secretary Arne Duncan faced unusually sharp questioning from House Democrats over the Obama administration's proposals to eliminate a grant for the Teach for America program and hold the line on new funding for many other education programs. The House Budget Committee hearing on the $50.7 billion education budget proposed for the fiscal year that begins in October provided an early glimpse at congressional reaction to the Obama administration's plan to put more emphasis on competitions for federal funding, including its signature Race to the Top initiative that will reward states and school districts whose education policies are in line with Obama's. More

More High-Schoolers Reinvent or Skip Their Senior Year
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Jack Trimble is part of a small but growing group of students who are tinkering with their senior year. A few observers say the quiet experiment has the potential to reinvent high school altogether. Already, 21 states allow early graduation, according to the Education Commission of the States. And among the other 29, it's not entirely clear whether state law actually prohibits it. Thirty-five states allow students to finish high school based on mastering proficiency standards in state tests rather than satisfying course credit requirements or years spent in school. More

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    Business Principles Won't Work for School Reform, Former Supporter Ravitch Says
    The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    For those who believe that performance pay and charter schools pose a threat to public education and that a cult of testing and accountability has hijacked school reform, an unlikely national spokeswoman has emerged. Diane Ravitch, an education historian, now renounces many of the market-oriented policies she promoted as a former federal education official with close ties to Democrats and Republicans. In large part because of her change of heart, Ravitch's critique of the reform ideas that prevail in government, philanthropies and think tanks is reverberating in the world of education. More

    Best Practices in the Middle Grades Identified
    Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    Using students' test scores as one part of evaluations for teachers, principals, and superintendents is associated with better academic performance at schools serving the middle grades, a report released this week has found. Linking students' test scores with evaluations was one of the "best practices" that high-performing schools serving students in grades 6 to 8 have in common, the report found. More

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    Teachers Face Consequences, Support Reform at Failing Schools
    The Associated Press via USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    Even in a school system known for its academic troubles, the numbers at Vaux High School are jaw-dropping: More than 90 percent of 11th-graders tested last year could not read or do math at grade level. But next fall, at least half the teachers at Vaux and 13 more of Philadelphia's worst schools could be gone. And the school day, school week and school year could be longer. While federal law has long allowed the overhaul of chronically failing schools, such extreme makeovers are likely to become more common because of more money from Washington, a growing consensus in America on education reform, and newfound willingness on the part of teacher unions to collaborate, experts say. More

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    Peer Reviewers Winnow Race to Top Hopefuls
    Education Week    Share    Share on
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    In the competition for $4 billion in Race to the Top grants, states have made their best pitches, a secret jury has debated and scored their applications-and now U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan must decide who's good enough to make it to the final round. Mr. Duncan's announcement of the Race to the Top Fund finalists, which is expected as early as this week, caps a dash by the Department of Education to recruit, vet, and train peer reviewers who wield tremendous power in determining who will win this high-stakes education reform competition. More

    Obama Focuses on School Dropouts
    The Associated Press via The Dallas Morning News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
    President Barack Obama is offering $900 million in grants to states and school districts to turn around low-performing schools — but recipients would have to take drastic action, such as replacing principals, reopening schools as charter schools or closing them outright. Obama announced the plan at an education event sponsored by the America's Promise Alliance, the youth-oriented organization founded by former Secretary of State Colin Powell and his wife, Alma. More

    Study: Too Few Schools Are Teaching Cyber Safety
    eSchool News    Share    Share on
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    Students aren't getting enough instruction in school on how to use technology and the internet in a safe and responsible manner, a new poll suggests. Released by the National Cyber Security Alliance and supported by Microsoft Corp., the survey found fewer than one-fourth of U.S. teachers have spent more than six hours on any kind of professional development related to cyber ethics, safety, or security within the last 12 months. More

    National Forensic League

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    Plan Would Allow Electronic Learning on Snow Days
    The Associated Press via the Dayton Daily News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    Ohio students who may be used to sledding or playing video games on snow days could instead be given schoolwork via computer, under a proposal from state lawmakers. A bill offered by a bipartisan group of legislators would let schools use online lessons so as many as five school days called off for bad weather or other calamities would not have to be made up. Districts could immediately post assignments on their Web sites for students to complete within two weeks. More

    Many Schools Won't Issue Web-cam Laptops
    Philadelphia Inquirer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    When he heard about alleged spying on school-issued laptops in Lower Merion, Benedict Tantillo quickly checked with technicians in his Bergen County, N.J., school system. "We don't have that capability, right?" asked Tantillo, superintendent of the Pascack Valley Regional High School District. He breathed a sigh of relief. "Our people knew about the software, but decided there were other ways of providing security," Tantillo said. More

    The Myths and Mechanics of Innovation
    THE Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
    Innovation is the new watchword in education. The President has called for more of it. His administration is pumping literally billions of dollars into it. And you as educators, administrators, and technologists are charged with doing it. But how much do we know about it? Do we even grasp what it is? How can it be achieved? And on the off chance we manage to accomplish it, will we ever be able do it again? Innovation is an abstraction to many of us, a word vaguely hinting at something new and good arising through inspired creativity, some invention born of "outside the box" thinking. But that perception — and the approach to innovation that it implies — is just one of the many reasons most of us fail at it. More

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