NAESP Before the Bell
Nov. 12, 2010

School nutrition bill could be revived in Congress
The Associated Press via Google News
First lady Michelle Obama's campaign for healthier school lunches could be revived in Congress after two key Democrats said they will drop opposition to using funding from food stamps to pay for it. Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., and Jim McGovern, D-Mass., have said they will support House passage of a $4.5 billion child nutrition bill that passed the Senate earlier this year. Backed by some anti-hunger groups, the two lawmakers led opposition to passage of that version before the election because it is partially paid for with $2.2 billion taken from future funding for food stamp programs. Since then, a push from the White House, which promised to help restore the food-stamp money, and political reality after the midterm elections — the bill would probably not fare as well when Republicans take over the House in January — appear to have softened opposition.More

Full cost of professional development hidden
Education Week (commentary)
Cost. That would seem to be the most fundamental aspect of crafting a professional-development program. But as a number of researchers have discovered, school districts rarely have a good fix on how much they actually spend on such training — or on what that spending buys in the way of teacher or student learning. Because districts tend to characterize professional development as programming, they typically underestimate other investments in teachers' knowledge and skills — such as how much they spend on salaries during hours teachers attend in-service workshops, according to experts who study district budgeting on professional development. More

Agriculture-based curriculum turned a Kansas rural school into
a model of success

The Hutchinson News
Daily chores like gathering eggs and feeding goats are commonplace for Walton grade school students in Kansas, but their activities now will be featured on the U.S. Department of Education website. Newton Superintendent John Morton suggested the charter school concept as a way to save the school when Natise Vogt came on as principal at the district's elementary school in 2005. "We had the possible threat of being closed several times in the past," Vogt said, noting the idea was an effort to increase attendance and focus on the area's rural background. Thus, they developed a proposal to become a charter with an agriculture-based curriculum.More

The principal's dilemma
The Huffington Post (commentary)
There are many unique things about the education profession. The first is the expectation that supplies those in the corporate world take for granted would would have to be provided by the teacher. The second is the immediate supervisor, "the boss," would rarely make an appearance in the classroom. As long as the teacher kept up the appearance of being able to have good control of the classroom by not writing too many referrals.More

Parent Technology Institute: Cybersafety and the home/school connection (blog)
Schools must help empower parents to be the digital caretakers at home because we can only do so much. We must teach families simple tools to insist on, and have them extend the culture of cybersafety to the homes. Parents must work hand in hand with schools if our students are to function in this digital world. The school needs to have away to help educate parents with little computer knowledge in how to enforce tech standards at home. Without them, we will most definitely fail, and unfortunately, it is the school who will get blamed.More

De-legitimizing public education
The Washington Post (commentary)
The quality of American education is going to get worse. Count on it. And contrary to the conventional wisdom, the main reason isn't going to be the loss of funding accompanying economic hard times. Follow along and I'll explain: Step one: Start with what was once a relatively simple educational system. Step two: Close the school, build a big one, buy school buses, open a district office, and hire administrators to tell teachers what they can and can't do.More

North Carolina principal shares story of daughter hit by Jeep
The Associated Press via WRAL-TV
An assistant principal whose 14-year-old daughter was hit by a vehicle as she crossed the street to her school says he's unsure what to do to make more motorists slow down. Child pedestrian death rates are down in North Carolina and nationwide. But a study from Safe Kids USA showed one of every six drivers in school zones is distracted. Task force members suggested more pedestrian bridges for students and spending some of the money made from traffic fines for safety improvements.More

National Education Technology Plan puts technology at the
heart of education reform

THE Journal
United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released the final version of the Obama administration's National Educational Technology Plan, a federal policy statement that puts technology at the heart of proposed changes to the way education is delivered in this country. The secretary spoke to education leaders this morning at the 2010 SETDA Leadership Summit and Education Forum, an annual event of the State Educational Technology Directors Association. The plan, initially revealed in its draft form back in March 2010, emphasizes fundamental changes to classroom instruction, including the adoption of practices in use by business and the extension of learning (including both longer school days/years and access to learning via the Internet).More

For education, the post-election questions
The San Francisco Chronicle (commentary)
Now that the election is over, the question now becomes: What do the new majorities in Congress and the new administration in California mean for education reform? At the Federal level, it seems unlikely that the Obama Administration is going to reverse course on its Race to the Top agenda (though the newly-Republican House will probably cut the budget); it also seems unlikely that there will be a major shift in the direction we've been heading on the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.More

Kansas school board discusses anti-bullying steps
The Associated Press via The Kansas City Star
Kansas should do more to combat bullying in its public schools, State Board of Education members said, but most were wary of imposing new programs or standards on local districts. The board directed the Department of Education's staff to develop proposals for collecting statistics on bullying and ensuring that parents and students can get an independent review of alleged bullying incidents in each district. Board members expect to tackle the issue again at their December meeting and appear likely to start compiling statewide statistics on bullying. But one member wants the board to set statewide standards for anti-bullying programs.More

Grant will make 3 Indianapolis elementary schools the hub of
their communities

The Indianapolis Star
A $2.5 million federal grant will transform three of Indianapolis' Martindale-Brightwood into veritable community centers with programs geared for parents, Saturday activities and other initiatives to improve the lives of students. The grant, received by IUPUI's Community Learning Network, will support health and social service programs at Indianapolis Public Schools 51, 56 and 69. The money will pay for programs such as tobacco cessation classes and immunizations, transportation for parents who can't get to the school, mental health counseling and free summer programs for students.More

US Dream Academy opening second site in Baltimore
The Baltimore Sun
In Baltimore, the gospel song "We Shall Overcome" that rang through the halls of Pimlico Elementary/Middle School signaled a new beginning for the Park Heights neighborhood, city and school leaders said. Maryland and local leaders joined the community at the Northwest Baltimore school to celebrate the opening of the second site in the city to host a U.S. Dream Academy. The academy, founded by Grammy-nominated gospel singer Wintley Phipps, serves students in third through eighth grade who have incarcerated parents or family members who have been in the prison system, live in at-risk communities and attend schools that fail to meet yearly academic progress goals. The program provides a hot meal and three hours of after-school mentoring to students.More

Study finds child gains from New Mexico's pre-kindergarten program
The Associated Press via KWES-TV
A university study of New Mexico's pre-kindergarten program says the initiative has helped children improve their math, vocabulary and early literacy skills. The National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University conducted the study and sampled more than 1,300 children in the 2008-2009 school year. However, it serves less than 1-in-5 of the state's 4-year-olds. New Mexico is spending about $15 million on pre-kindergarten this year.More

Cal Ripken Jr. launches nationwide math challenge
The Baltimore Sun
Cal Ripken Jr. announced a nationwide education challenge that is geared toward helping students knock their math skills out of the park. Through his organization, Ripken Baseball, the Baltimore "Iron Man" launched a Grand Slam Math Challenge, which will ask students in grades K-12 in every state to play the online and board game TiViTz to improve their math skills. The six-month challenge is open to students across the country, who can vie to be one of 50 to receive a trip to Washington to compete in the national TiViTz championships. A grand prize valued at $350 million will be awarded to the state with the most online games played per capita. The prize is a premium online membership to the TiViTz games for every K-12 student in the winning state.More

Register for Convention and bring your family to Tampa, Fla.
There's a lot for your family to do in and around Tampa, Fla., while you're soaking in new knowledge and networking with colleagues from around the nation at NAESP's Annual Convention & Exposition, April 7-10. April is a beautiful month to be in the Tampa Bay area — moderate temperatures and plenty of sun. And nearby your family or guest will find many ways to fill their days with fun and wonder.More

Principal magazine focuses on math and language arts
In case you missed it, the November/December issue of Principal magazine has been posted on our website, giving you access to all the articles published in the printed version, as well as links to the many Web resources where you can gain more information about the topics covered in the issue.More

Grants, opportunities, & resources
Learn about upcoming grant deadlines and information about free resources that can be useful to your school.More