Before The Bell
Jan. 15, 2013

Training for tragedy
District Administration Magazine
School psychologists are often the first professionals to reach students with mental illness, and part of their role is to help identify threats that can lead to events such as the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 children and six adults dead, including school psychologist Mary Sherlach, who was one of the first responders. But as district budgets are cut and school psychologists retire, their difficult and crucial role working with troubled students may be endangered.More

Using digital media to strengthen the connection between school and home
EdTech Magazine
Educators have long understood that it's important to approach students' education holistically, both inside and outside of school. Anyone who has spent time in a classroom knows that what happens to children after the dismissal bell rings influences their behavior and performance in school. Over the years, educators, parents and policymakers have implemented strategies, practices and programs to bridge the gap between home and school. In 1897, the Parent Teacher Association was established to foster communication and cooperation between parents and educators.More

With new science standards draft out, early impressions roll in
Education Week (commentary)
Erik Robelen, a veteran Education Week reporter, writes: "With a second and final draft of common science standards issued, this is a critical time as the writers come into the home stretch. I have not gathered a lot of feedback yet from the field, mainly because several experts I contacted said they needed more time to digest the latest iteration. After all, this is a large and complicated document (and includes 11 appendices)."More

Study: E-games could be effective at combating youth obesity
Education Week
Among elementary school-aged children, active video games ("e-games") can have similar benefits as traditional physical education, suggests a study published in the journal Games for Health. The study, conducted by researchers at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, sought to determine if active video games could help inner-city children meet the recommended level of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per day. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans issued by the federal government recommend that children engage in at least 60 minutes of MVPA on a daily basis.More

Should students grade their teachers
The Hechinger Report
With all the debate in New Jersey and elsewhere about evaluating teachers on how well their students perform, another idea is starting to surface that could prove equally provocative: Judging teachers by what their students think of them. One of the options available to New Jersey school districts as they build teacher evaluation systems is including student surveys among the "multiple measures" of student achievement. The idea is gaining popularity, at least among policymakers.More

How to keep talented teachers from leaving
The Christian Science Monitor (commentary)
New teachers face high-pressure demands, with little support, such that more than half leave the profession within the first five years. These teachers need to see opportunities for career advancement, better compensation, and meaningful evaluation and professional development.More

Bullying takes toll on kids with autism
Disability Scoop
Children with autism are experiencing high rates of bullying and face significant emotional consequences as a result, a new study finds. In what's believed to be the largest look ever at autism and bullying, researchers found that 38 percent of children with the developmental disorder were bullied over a one-month period, in many cases repeatedly. What's more, of those who were victims, 69 percent experienced emotional trauma and 8 percent were physically harmed as a result. The findings were published this month in a study in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. They are based on a survey of parents of more than 1,200 kids with autism from across the country.More

How districts are preparing for Common Core and other online testing initiatives
EdTech Magazine
Aspire Public Schools of Oakland, Calif., has always focused on using student data to target and support learning, so the nationwide rush to prepare for the online testing component of the Common Core State Standards Initiative isn't keeping Director of Technology Operations Peter Estacio up at night. Devices must be acquired and the infrastructure must be upgraded, of course, but Estacio and his IT team are confident that the district, which comprises 34 charter schools in six California cities, will be ready.More

Why sleeping may be more important than studying
Getting enough sleep is an under-valued but crucial part of learning. Contrary to students' belief that staying up all night to cram for an exam will lead to higher scores, truth is, the need for a good night's rest is even more important than finishing homework or studying for a test. A recent study in the journal Child Development showed that sacrificing sleep in order to study will actually backfire.More

High-poverty, minority schools likely to have more U-rated teachers
New York teachers who received poor performance ratings during their previous work year are more likely to be found working in high-poverty and high-minority schools, revealed data in a new report titled: "Unsatisfactory: The Distribution of Teacher Quality in New York City." This might be indicative of a national trend. According to the research presented by StudentsFirstNY, the top 10 percent of 1,509 schools involved in the research had approximately 19 percent of teachers who were rated unsatisfactory.More

Could janitors be one school's line of defense?
eSchool News
A rural school district in Ohio is drawing attention with its plans to arm a handful of its non-teaching employees with handguns this year—perhaps even janitors. Four employees in the Montpelier schools have agreed to take a weapons training course and carry their own guns inside the district's one building, which houses 1,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, school officials said.More

Girls and games: What's the attraction?
Games are increasingly recognized by educators as a way to get kids excited about learning. While the stereotype of a "gamer" may evoke the image of a high school boy holed up in a dark room playing on a console, in reality 62 percent of gamers play with other people either in person or online, and 47 percent of all gamers are girls.More

The pros and cons of computer labs
Edutopia (commentary)
Mary Beth Hertz, a K-8 Technology Teacher in Philadelphia, writes: "I have spent six of my almost nine years of teaching in a computer lab. Over that time, my feelings about computer labs have fluctuated. It may seem silly for me to be in opposition to my own job, but there are times that teaching in a lab can be frustrating and isolating. On the other hand, there are times when I realized that there is no other place that my students would be learning how to program, edit videos, create music or format text documents."More

Tips for understanding copyright rules
eSchool News
With headlines about tough copyright rulings fresh in their minds, educators across the nation might hesitate when it comes to using copyrighted material in their lessons or sharing copyrighted works with students. But according to the American Library Association, educators should not worry about using such material to boost student knowledge if it falls under the scope of fair use.More

Longer school year: Will it help or hurt US students?
The Associated Press via The Huffington Post
Did your kids moan that winter break was way too short as you got them ready for the first day back in school? They might get their wish of more holiday time off under proposals catching on around the country to lengthen the school year. But there's a catch: a much shorter summer vacation. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, a chief proponent of the longer school year, says American students have fallen behind the world academically.More

Texas lieutenant governor calls for state-funded weapons training for teachers
The Associated Press via The Huffington Post
Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst called for state-funded, specialized firearms training for teachers and administrators to guard against school shootings. Dewhurst, a Republican, said school districts would nominate who they wanted to carry weapons on campus. The training would be more extensive than what is currently required for a Texas concealed handgun license and include how to react in an active shooter situation.More

To lock classroom doors or not?
Los Angeles Times
Behind a locked classroom door, a Los Angeles third-grade teacher purportedly committed lewd acts against students. The charges spurred demands for classrooms to remain open during the school day. But after the shooting deaths of 20 first-graders in Connecticut, calls were made to keep classrooms locked. The intent of both efforts is to keep students safe. But as school districts nationwide examine their security measures following the Newtown, Conn., massacre, the question of locked versus unlocked classroom doors is in debate. Should teachers and administrators use their secured doors as a shield from an outside danger? Or does a locked door conceal a potential danger inside?More

PLCs 'very effective' for honored school
Pacific Daily News
Tamuning Elementary School, in Guam, was recently recognized for its selection as a Success For All Foundation ambassador school. Principal Kathy Reyes said part of the reason the school received the honor was due to the success it had by implementing many Success for All Foundation programs. These programs included professional learning communities, during which teachers collaboratively reviewed student progress.More

How 1 STEM school aims to lower the achievement gap
PBS NewsHour
The U.S. is suffering from a shortage of applicants in the science, technology, engineering and math fields — or STEM. This is especially true for non-Asian minorities and low-income students, who are statistically less likely to be exposed to STEM professionals, have access to STEM education and hold STEM jobs. According to a recent study by Change the Equation, a nonprofit initiative to improve STEM education in the United States, there are two job openings for every unemployed STEM professional. A 2011 report from the Department of Commerce projects that STEM jobs will grow by 17 percent by 2018, compared to 9.8 percent for non-STEM occupations.More

Tap the experts at the 2013 NAESP National Conference
Come to Baltimore this July and get real-world tools, applied knowledge and concrete solutions that you can translate into a better-run building next school year. At NAESP's national conference, from July 11-13, you'll have almost one hundred sessions to choose from and inspiring keynotes from Michael Fullan, Mike Schmoker and more. Early bird registration is open through Jan. 31.More

Enhance your school's culture with NAESP resources
Turn to NAESP's National Principals Resource Center for resources to help you promote student achievement and a collaborative culture. Check out "Creating Physical and Emotional Security in Schools" for strategies to craft a secure learning community, or "Building School Culture One Week at a Time" for ideas to motivate your staff and students. Browse the bookstore — where members always get a discount — for more of the best books for principals.More