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How BYOD programs can fuel inquiry learning
MindShift
Launching a Bring Your Own Device program can be both exhilarating and scary. The opportunity to extend access to technology in the classroom and at home is enticing, but school districts can get hung up on important details like providing a strong network, making sure each child has a device, and questions around distraction. Of course, no one answer will work for all teachers or students, but one guiding principle that’s shown to work is for schools to focus on how mobile technology will help shift instruction to be more collaborative, learner-driven and inquiry-based.
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30 states are raising pre-kindergarten funding
The Washington Post
Among states that fund early childhood education, three in four increased those appropriations for this fiscal year, according to a new analysis. Nationally, states raised pre-kindergarten funding by 6.9 percent for the 2013 to 2014 fiscal year. That amounts to about $364 million more, bringing the national total for pre-K funding to $5.6 billion, the state-formed Education Commission of the States reported. And while some states are still making up for ground lost during the recession, overall funding is actually $400 million more than it was before it even hit.
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10 interactive math apps for K-12 students
eSchool News
Research has proven that developing and sustaining students' interest in math at an early age leads to future success in more difficult and complex math courses. With the emergence of mobile and handheld devices through both one-to-one and bring-your-own-technology initiatives, students and teachers have more access to tools and apps to aid in math instruction and learning. Following are 10 such apps. Do you have a favorite? Be sure to let us know in the comments section.
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STEM needs a new letter
The Atlantic (commentary)
Jessica Lahey, a contributor for The Atlantic, writes: "My father, a retired industrial designer, claims that the seeds of his career were sown during the hundreds of hours he spent building soapbox derby cars with his dad. My grandfather taught his sons every step of building a car in their pursuit of a national soapbox derby championship. By the time they qualified — my uncle Steve in 1957 and my father in 1959 — they were skilled in every aspect of design and construction."
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10 innovative ways to bring STEM to schools
MindShift
As schools look for innovative ways to bring in STEM learning, here’s a possible road map for how to galvanize a school community. No.1. Organize a teacher research and development team to dig deep into STEM learning by having these teachers read widely on the topic, visit local businesses and industries engaged in STEM work to interview real-world practitioners to find out what students need to be successful in these fields. This group can be comprised of 6 to 8 people and can act as the steering group for beginning an exploration of STEM learning in a school community.
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5 best practices in online learning
eSchool News
Though still in its adoption infancy, online learning in K-12 schools and districts has been around long enough for tech-savvy education leaders to have key insights into what makes an online learning program successful. Thanks to a new national survey, most school and district leaders agree that there are five distinct best practices for online learning.
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The surprising reasons kids cheat in school
TakePart
Much like an unfaithful partner, a cheating student usually shoulders the entire blame for his misdeed, even when there might be other crucial dynamics at play. A recent story in The Atlantic highlights a new book by James M. Lang, associate professor of English at Assumption College, called Cheating Lessons: Learning From Academic Dishonesty, in which he explores these dynamics and sets out to rid his classes of cheating.
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Is your school leadership style ... outdated?
Education Week
It's 2014, and hopefully we are past pontificating about 21st century skills. At this point, we all should know it's the 21st century, and our students need those skills to survive in our present and future world. How can we deny the importance of technology in our everyday lives? Walk into a restaurant and you will see numerous people on their smartphones. Some of it may be overkill but it illustrates the importance of connecting to others.
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School iPads: Not a bust — but not yet a boon
eSchool News
"D" is the letter of the day in Maria Martinez's kindergarten class at Maywood Elementary. On a recent weekday, Martinez drew a capital and lower case "d" on the whiteboard. Her students used their fingers to form a "D" on the wide writing lines that appeared on their iPads. The 5- and 6-year-olds in this largely poor and Hispanic school in southeast Los Angeles County already know how to navigate many educational apps loaded onto tablets, some 10 million of which are in classrooms across the U.S., according to Apple Inc.
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Collaboration in schools
Connected Principals Blog (commentary)
What does it mean to collaborate? To me, collaboration is when learners share and work together to achieve a common goal. This means that everyone who is involved in the collaboration takes an active role and understands their own role, as well as the roles of others. Collaboration is an important skill to teach our students. But do we truly understand what it means? Just because a group comes together to work on a project does not mean that they are going to collaborate. For example, what happens when groups of students or teachers have to work on a project together?
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Encouraging teacher leaders to become principals
Edutopia
From where will the next generation of outstanding school leaders emerge? According to Building Pathways, a new report by Chris Bierly and Eileen Shay, school systems need to move from leaving great leadership to chance to strategically building an internal pipeline of new leaders. According to the report, the challenge to building that internal pipeline is this: More than 80 percent of teachers and 75 percent of teacher leaders nationally indicate they are not likely to pursue the principal role.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    US permanently relaxes rules aimed at healthier school meals (Reuters)
From the principal's office: Be present (Tech & Learning)
Should principals stop visiting classrooms? (The Washington Post)
Ease up on 'no tolerance' policies, US agencies tell schools (NPR)
4 concerns — and solutions — About online testing (THE Journal)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.


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Is the Education Department nitpicking states over NCLB waivers?
Education Week
There are some alarming revelations in the new No Child Left Behind Act waiver reports issued by the U.S. Department of Education. At least three states — Idaho, Mississippi, and New York — aren't faithfully implementing the turnaround principles in their lowest-performing priority schools, for example. And Delaware isn't ensuring that its focus schools actually implement interventions for struggling subgroups of students.
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Duncan at 'parent summit:' Press for better schools
Education Week
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan urged parents to demand more of policymakers and their local schools so that their children are well prepared to thrive in a competitive global economy. Addressing about 150 parents gathered in Washington for a "parent summit," Duncan focused his remarks on the countries that outscore the United States on international tests, saying that both their cultures and their policies support stronger education systems than in the United States.
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Transitional kindergarten expansion early education not included in Browns's budget proposal
EdSource
While Democratic leaders in both houses of the state Legislature have cited expanding transitional kindergarten as a top priority in the coming year, Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed 2014-2015 budget did not mention the program — or include additional funding for early education of any kind.
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Student safety in cold is a priority, Fairfax County, Va., school districts say
The Washington Post
Fairfax County's unprecedented decision to cancel classes because of frigid temperatures was partly out of concern for students who walk to school and for those whose parents might not be able to afford clothing that would be appropriate for extreme cold, school officials said. "When you have a large high-poverty community, you need to be thinking about those students and if they own coats," Fairfax County School Board member Ryan McElveen (At Large) said, referring to the system's 47,000 students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals, a federal measure of poverty. "That played a role in the decision."
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Encouraging teacher leaders to become principals
Edutopia
From where will the next generation of outstanding school leaders emerge? According to Building Pathways, a new report by Chris Bierly and Eileen Shay, school systems need to move from leaving great leadership to chance to strategically building an internal pipeline of new leaders.

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5 common myths about school administration
eSchool News
It's not always teachers who face criticism in the U.S. Many school administrators say that misconceptions about their career motivations and the position in general still exist today — and many myths have survived for decades.

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How much teachers get paid — State by state
The Washington Post
How much do teachers across the United States get paid? Here is data, state by state, collected from the National Center for Education Statistics by Jon Boeckenstedt, associate vice president at DePaul University in Chicago.

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Report: Maine schools with higher percentage of poor students typically have lower academic performance
Bangor Daily News
A new study concludes that the percentage of a Maine school's student population who live in poverty is the single best predictor of academic performance. Lead author David Silvernail of the Maine Education Policy Research Institute at the University of Southern Maine presented the findings to the Legislature's Education Committee on Thursday. He told the committee that the percentage of students whose families live in poverty, along with per-pupil regular instruction spending and teacher education levels, account for 70 percent of the difference in student performance between schools in poorer and more affluent communities.
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Number of failing Texas schools nearly doubles
The Associated Press via Houston Chronicle
Texas education authorities said the number of schools falling short of minimum standards and placed on the Public Education Grant list doubled from 2012 because of newer, higher standards. The list released by the Texas Education Agency includes a total of 892 schools in 2013, up from 456 in 2012.
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New York City study tracks transfers by charter school students
The New York Times
Addressing a common criticism of New York City charter schools, a study released on Thursday said that in general their students were not, in fact, more likely to transfer out than their counterparts in traditional public schools. But the study, conducted by the city’s Independent Budget Office, concluded that special education students left charter schools far more often. The findings shed light on a sector that mushroomed in the 12 years of the Bloomberg administration, with 150 charters now operating in the city. Though they serve just 5 percent of pupils, charter schools garner an outsize portion of debate because they are financed by taxpayers but privately managed, they often take space in public schools, and their teachers are usually not unionized.
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Los Angeles tries a new approach to discipline in schools
NPR
Rosa Solache was fed up with getting teased every day before school, between classes, and even on the way home, so one day she punched her antagonist in the face. "I was really sick of it and I had told the teacher, but no one was doing anything, so I said, 'What the heck, I'm going to take care of this by myself.'" Solache was an eighth-grader at the time, 12 years old, and until that day, she says, "I had always been a good girl." But despite her previously unblemished record at Belvedere Middle School in East Los Angeles, that brief skirmish, one she claims to have won, ended with a suspension, a ticket and a court date in front of a juvenile court judge.
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Teacher evaluation fight may prove costly
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
After the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded Pittsburgh Public Schools $40 million in 2009 to help improve teacher quality, the district and its teachers have received national attention for working together. Now the two sides have been at an impasse for months over scores to be used to determine teacher ratings — distinguished, proficient, needs improvement and failing — in a new teacher evaluation system going into effect this school year.
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CPS watchdog targets faked school attendance, grades
Chicago Tribune
The wrongdoing laid out in the latest report from the inspector general for Chicago Public Schools includes cases of school administrators faking data, a problem the district watchdog said has been a particularly troubling development in recent years. "We do have a concern about CPS data as evidenced by the cases we had this year," said Jim Sullivan, who's been the district's inspector general for nearly 11 years. "The system has incentivized how performance is evaluated based on data, and much of that data is created and can be manipulated at the school level."
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Schools eager for men to read to kids
Houston Chronicle
Men from varied backgrounds and ages volunteer one hour a month to do something that at first took them out of their comfort zone — entertaining a roomful of youngsters at Elrod Elementary School by reading books aloud. Part of a program called "Real Men Read," the eight men are among 300 who read to kids in the second, fifth and seventh grades in selected schools in Houston Independent School District. David Zugheri, 43, is married with two children, but he didn't know what was in store when he read "My Havana: Memories of a Cuban Boyhood" by Rosemary Wells, Secundino Fernandez and Peter Ferguson to 35 Elrod fifth-graders. He read for about 30 minutes.
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Principal magazine is now digital
NAESP
IPad devotees, get ready: Principal has gone digital! Reading the magazine in the way that works for you just got that much simpler. The new digital edition is easy to read, searchable and even bookmarkable. NAESP members will continue to receive the print edition, which will still be available on the NAESP website with printable PDFs.
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Registration now open for the 2014 NAESP conference
NAESP
There's no other event like the NAESP National Conference and Expo, held this year from July 10-12 in Nashville, Tenn. Only here can you make the contacts, share the ideas, and discover the solutions that will inform your entire school year. Don't let it happen without you! Register today and make your housing reservations before Jan. 31 for optimal savings.
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Before the Bell is a benefit of your membership in the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). For information about other member benefits, visit www.naesp.org or contact us at naesp@naesp.org.

Before the Bell is a digest of the most important news selected for NAESP from thousands of sources by the editors of MultiBriefs, an independent organization that also manages and sells advertising. The presence of such advertising does not endorse, or imply endorsement of, any products or services by NAESP. Neither NAESP nor Multiview is liable for the use of or reliance on any information contained in this briefing.

Feedback about an article? Contact NAESP Liaison Meredith Barnett at MBarnett@naesp.org.
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