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Finding the funding for summer school
District Administration Magazine
Despite mounting evidence that summer programs drive student achievement, making ends meet is another matter. In 2011, there were 13,000 students in the Santa Ana Unified School District's new summer program, but its federal grant ran out, leaving the district to cull funding from its Title I and Title III (for ELL students) funding. And it forced Chief Academic Officer Michelle Rodriguez to reduce the number of summer students by almost 5,000. In the Portland Public Schools in Maine, administrators depend each year on renewed foundation funding.
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Plan would track students from preschool to workforce
USA Today
The New York Education Department is in the final stages of creating a system to share student data with colleges and a half-dozen other state agencies so that New Yorkers can be tracked from preschool to college to the workforce and, potentially, "throughout their lives." As education reformers push the power of data analysis, state officials say the new system will let researchers find the keys to student achievement and failure. What does prekindergarten background say about the likelihood of success in high school Advanced Placement classes? How did college students who fail science do in middle school? What are the links between applying for unemployment benefits as an adult and one's educational history?
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Teaching the essential skills of the mobile classroom
Edutopia
Think back 20 years. Pay phones still worked, and only doctors carried pagers. Laptops weighed as much as bowling balls, and few of us had Internet access. In fact, much of what we now consider commonplace — Google, email, WiFi, texting — was not even possible. If that was 20 years ago, where are we going in the next 20? We are all going mobile! Tablets, smartphones, Chromebooks — and yet, these devices only serve as the most recent iteration of mobile technology in the classroom. Remember Netbooks? How about those old-school Macbooks that looked like toilet seat covers? What if we go back further? What about chalk and slate?
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Great English teachers improve students' math scores
The Hechinger Report
Better English teachers not only boost a student's reading and writing performance in the short-term, but they also raise their students math and English achievement in future years. That's according to a working paper, "Learning that Lasts: Unpacking Variation in Teachers' Effects on Students' Long-Term Knowledge," by a team of Stanford University and University of Virginia researchers presented at the 7th Annual Calder Research Conference on Jan. 23.
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The importance of free play for learning
MindShift (commentary)
In an attempt to improve academic achievement, schools and districts are considering a variety of reforms including lengthening the school day, shortening vacation time and any and all interventions to improve test scores. But what is lost when a child's life becomes increasingly scheduled? Writing for The Independent, Dr. Peter Gray makes the case for free play, arguing that in those moments of fun and freedom kids are learning how to be creative, deal with fear and form emotional bonds.
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4 steps to making rigorous discussion a routine
Edutopia
For many of us who are intimidated by the idea of "rigor" and exactly what it means to make our lessons more rigorous, thinking about it as a routine can make it more real and doable for us. Because to really raise rigor and push our students, it's not about anything more that we can teach them, it's about setting up the right environment for them to think critically and engage in analysis and problem solving. Discussion is one fail-safe way to do this, no matter the content area. Our math teacher leaders have really been pushing discussion as a key to rigor. Here are some ways to set up a strong discussion routine in your class.
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Are e-books killing reading for fun?
NPR
Americans are reading differently than they used to: more e-books, more audio books and young people choosing not to read at all. Guest host Celeste Headlee looks at this country's changing reading habits with Pew Research Center's Kathryn Zickuhr and librarian Elissa Malespina.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    7 mid-school year reminders on finishing strong (Connected Principals Blog)
In age of school shootings, lockdown is the new fire drill (The New York Times)
PARCC releases fully functional sample test questions for Common Core (THE Journal)
Are gifted students slighted in schools? (District Administration Magazine)
Why teachers can't reach every child (The Washington Post)

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The evolving principal's office
District Administration Magazine
As secondary school principals guide their schools and teachers through a myriad of changes, it's becoming necessary for these leaders to reinvent themselves. No longer can principals succeed by operating only as a manager — the evolving school environment requires a more extensive approach. More rigorous Common Core testing and accountability measures mean principals must become instructional guides and teach teachers how to be effective in the classroom. And school security concerns mean principals must develop safe environments and the skills to quickly manage crises.
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Parents worry student data will be used for marketing, not education
U.S. News & World Report
A large majority of American adults are becoming increasingly concerned that student data collected by school districts could be used by third-party companies to market to students, rather than being used to enhance academic achievement. In a recent survey from the nonprofit organization Common Sense Media, 89 percent of 800 adults polled said they were at least somewhat concerned about advertisers using students' personal data to market to them.
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This hybrid innovation is about to change your school forever
eSchool News
Hybrid innovations are technologies that bridge tradition to the future, fundamentally changing how an entire industry performs and according to education experts, K-12 is experiencing one hybrid technology that will reshape classrooms for the future. The hybrid's name? Blended learning.
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Sibling relationships tied to children's vocabulary skills
Reuters
In large families, young kids can't always get a lot of individual attention from parents — but healthy interactions with an older sibling might help compensate for that, a new study suggests. How older children interact with their siblings is tied to the younger children's development, Canadian researchers found. "The idea is that here is this effect of being in a large family where you don't get that many resources, but if you get an older sibling that's really attuned to your needs that would be a modifying effect," Jennifer Jenkins told Reuters Health.
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New technology aims to bring security and transparency to the school bus
EdTech Magazine
When it comes to advances in school-bus technology, they tend to trickle rather than gush into the mainstream. While car manufacturers are tinkering with connected and self-driving vehicles, the manufacturers of school buses are just now getting on board with GPS tracking. The main intent of equipping school buses with technology is to allow parents to track where their children are and to verify they boarded the bus. In Rockford, Ill., the city's school district rolled out a GPS solution along with electronic swipe cards that are linked to each student, according to a report from the Associated Press.
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How schools can benefit from embracing meditation
The Atlantic
Each year, meditation becomes more of a trend. Celebrities like Jerry Seinfeld and Goldie Hawn, businessmen like Bill George of Goldman Sachs and Exxon Mobil, and News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch, have publicly discussed practicing it. Techies and others in the corporate world have begun using mindfulness, a type of meditation, to combat the stress and overstimulation of their jobs. Even the Marines have used it to "improve mental performance under the stress and strain from war."
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How do parents think 'educational' screen time affects learning?
MindShift
As media becomes more prevalent in kids' lives, parents are grappling with the potential benefits and pitfalls of screen time — what's just the right amount, what's truly educational, what's beneficial, and what's detrimental. To get a better understanding of parents' attitudes around kids' educational media, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center surveyed 1,577 parents of kids ages 2 to 10 years old, including a representative group of African American and Latino parents. They defined educational media as content that's "good for a child's learning or growth, or that teaches some type of lesson, such as an academic or social skill," and includes TV, DVDs, video games, books, e-readers, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices used at home.
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How does educational media impact children?
eSchool News
While 78 percent of screen media consumed by children ages 2-4 is educational, that figure drops drastically as children age, down to 39 percent among 5- to 7-year-olds and 27 percent in children ages 8-10, according to a national survey released on Jan. 24. "Learning at Home: Families' Educational Media Use in America" analyzes parents' experiences and opinions of the educational media their children use. The survey aims to identify the subjects parents think their children learned most about from educational media, what platforms they think are most effective and what are some obstacles to more widespread use of educational media.
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US cites evidence of anti-Semitism in school district
The New York Times
Federal authorities say evidence collected in a lawsuit filed by three Jewish families against an upstate New York school district "is sufficient for a jury to find that the district failed to respond to pervasive anti-Semitic harassment in its schools" by taking required action under a civil rights law. That conclusion appears in a memorandum prepared by the United States attorney's office for the Southern District of New York, which was filed on Friday night in federal court in White Plains, N.Y., where the lawsuit against the Pine Bush Central School District is pending.
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Let's have a national conversation on school choice
The Hill (commentary)
When young Americans apply to college, they have access to our country's full slate of higher education options — public and private schools, major research universities, liberal arts colleges, community and technical colleges, and so forth. Young adults are free to apply to any college or university that fits their learning style and social needs, with the confidence that the federal financial aid system that they and their parents pay into with tax money will follow them to whichever school they choose.
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Plan would track students from preschool to workforce
USA Today
The New York Education Department is in the final stages of creating a system to share student data with colleges and a half-dozen other state agencies so that New Yorkers can be tracked from preschool to college to the workforce and, potentially, "throughout their lives."

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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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Education spending balloons, but students in some states get more money than others
The Washington Post
There is disagreement within education circles over whether spending more money per pupil leads to better results. But there is no disagreement that the amount of money states spend on education has erupted in recent years. In almost every state, the amount of money spent per pupil has more than doubled in the last 40 years, according to a new report. States spent an average of $4,221 per student in the 1969-1970 school year, in 2010 dollars. That number jumped to $10,643 in the 2009-2010 school year.
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Public school students' lawsuit challenges tenure, seeks to ban bad educators
Fox News
Amidst ongoing national debate, nine public school students in California are suing the state over its laws governing teacher tenure, seniority and other protections they say keep bad educators in the classroom. The Los Angeles Times reports the lawsuit — filed on behalf of the students and their families by a group called Students Matter — argues such laws violate the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection because they lead to a "gross disparity," in the quality of education received by all students.
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Protect good teachers, fire bad ones
Los Angeles Times
State laws that make it nearly impossible to fire even the worst teachers make for poor educational policy. The same is true of laws that require teacher layoffs to be decided on the basis of seniority, and that give principals only a year and a half to decide whether a new teacher deserves the extraordinary protections of tenure. It seems pretty obvious: Incompetent or uncaring teachers shouldn't be allowed to keep their jobs.
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DC school system forms task force to study student testing
The Washington Post
After years of complaints from parents and teachers about too much testing in D.C. public schools, Chancellor Kaya Henderson on Thursday announced that a new task force will work to "help put testing in the proper perspective." The move comes amid national debate about the role of standardized tests and in the wake of a newly signed D.C. law that requires the city's traditional and public charter schools to create policies limiting the number of practice tests they administer to students.
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South Carolina democrats back school prayer bill
The Huffington Post
A group of South Carolina lawmakers have renewed a push to allow students to pray in public schools. The measure, originally introduced last spring, would require schools to provide a moment of silence each day, during which teachers would be allowed to lead students in prayer. Under the legislation, students who do not wish to participate in prayer would be allowed to leave the classroom.
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De Blasio's challenge: Paying for middle schoolers to stay late ... and getting them to show up
The Hechinger Report
When she heard last fall that she would have to stay in school until nearly 5 p.m., sixth grader Jenaba Sow tried to get out of it by telling her mom she had "after school-itis." Although the new after-school program at P.S. 109 in Flatbush, Brooklyn, was presented as mandatory, Jenaba managed to skip the first three days. But then the reviews starting coming in from her friends. There were snacks, one day even pizza. There were activities like science experiments and dance — appealing to a girl who hates sitting still. Besides which, her mom's work schedule at the nursing home had changed, and if not at school, Jenaba would have to bounce around between her uncle's house and a babysitter's.
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Registration for 2014 NAESP conference now open
NAESP
There's no other event like the NAESP National Conference and Expo, held this year from July 10-12 in Nashville, Tennessee. 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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Tricky topic? There's a Report to Parents for that
NAESP
If strong parent communication is one of your 2014 resolutions, make sure to keep copies of NAESP's Report to Parents on hand. Report to Parents is a family-friendly bulletin that's ready to distribute to parents and members of your school community. Each month, Report to Parents explores relevant parenting topics from health to homework to behavior to bullying, offered in both English and Spanish.
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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.

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