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Severe flu season prompts school closures
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A rough flu season is prompting schools around the country to shut down briefly because dozens of students, in some cases, have the illness or something like it. While no one tracks how many schools close because of the flu — or, in public-health parlance, "influenza-like illness" — stories of closures are cropping up nationwide. And flu season is only at about its midpoint. More

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A unique approach to school security: Bulletproof whiteboards?
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
What's lighter than a typical whiteboard, will stop multiple rounds of ammunition and is 2.5 times stronger than Kevlar? According to Hardwire LLC, a company specializing in ballistic protective solutions, it's the company's new education whiteboard. The whiteboard, which is only a quarter of an inch thick, reportedly can stop multiple rounds from a .44 magnum and above without any ricochet. It also can be used to charge an assailant, or as a floatation device. Could it help boost school security? More



Civic learning and engagement must become staples of American education
ED.gov Blog (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The importance of civic learning and a vision of citizenship and social efficacy must become the staples of every American's education, shared by higher education, K-12 schools, states and the federal government. In too many schools and on too many college campuses, courses and programs of study about the essence of a democracy and the importance of civic learning are peripheral to the core academic mission. More

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Program helps 8th-graders become savvy money managers
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As she punched numbers into a calculator, Luka Fernandez had a lot to figure out. How much could she afford to pay for a car? Should she buy cable? Where should she live? These are the types of questions facing many adults as they try to manage a household budget. But Luka isn't an adult, she's a 14-year-old pretending to be one as part of a reality-based financial literacy exercise at the Junior Achievement Finance Park in Fairfax County, Va. More

Game-based learning is playing for keeps
THE Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
There's a huge difference between playing a video game and watching someone else play a video game. That disconnect is thwarting the advancement of digital gaming in the K-12 classroom, according to FETC keynote speaker Katie Salen. "It's hard for educators or parents — who are usually standing over the student's shoulder — to see the learning involved with gaming," Salen says. "Because games are interactive, the learning only comes to the individual who is playing the game." More


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Top 10 skills children learn from the arts
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
You don't find school reformers talking much about how we need to train more teachers in the arts, given the current obsession with science, math, technology and engineering, but here's a list of skills that young people learn from studying the arts. They serve as a reminder that the arts — while important to study for their intrinsic value — also promote skills seen as important in academic and life success. More

Children still prefer print books to e-books
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Children are embracing e-books by the millions, but most say they still would choose the printed version, according to a survey. Scholastic's biennial survey of 6- to 17-year-olds found e-books soaring in popularity: Forty-six percent of the 1,074 children said they had read an e-book, compared with 25 percent who said they had in 2010. The e-book-reading numbers vary by only a few percentage points by gender or age group. But boys were slightly more likely to say that since they started reading e-books, they're reading more books overall. More

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How iPads can support learning for students with autism
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Education-technology advocates are discovering the numerous benefits that mobile devices, including iPads, can have for students. But a growing number of special-education teachers are finding that iPads can have a positive effect on their students with autism in particular. Students with autism often have trouble communicating and might struggle with transitions, such as changing classes, getting on a school bus, or taking a field trip. A report issued by the Centers for Disease Control last April indicated that one out of every 88 children is believed to have autism or fall somewhere on the autism spectrum. More

Moving education forward: It starts with school leaders
The Huffington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In his second inaugural speech, President Barack Obama stated, "We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more and reach higher." As we step forward with Obama into his second term, it is now, more than ever, time to re-evaluate our education policy, starting with the voice, tools and support that we provide for our school leaders, the principals and administrators responsible for overseeing the scholastic performance and physical operations of our schools. More


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No academic harm found in early retirement of teachers
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Boosting early retirement in cash-strapped districts doesn't hurt students' math and reading scores, according to new studies released at the American Economic Association meeting here, but pension-incentive programs may cost schools some of their most effective teachers. Separate studies of teachers in California, Illinois and North Carolina paint a complex picture of the choice increasingly faced by education leaders: Keep your most experienced — and expensive — teachers, or encourage them to retire to ease budget woes. More

Steps to achieving successful digital programs
District Administration Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Five years ago, the Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina went digital, with laptops and MacBook Air computers districtwide. The district has not purchased a textbook in over five years, with the exception of those required for high school Advanced Placement classes. And with that, graduation rates and test scores are rising. On state tests in reading, math and science, an average of 89 percent of students across grades met proficiency standards in 2012, compared with 73 percent four years ago. Graduation rates are up 10 percent over four years ago, to 90 percent and more graduates are attending college, the rate rising 8 percent to 88 percent in 2012. More

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Teachers flip for 'flipped learning' class model
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When Timmy Nguyen comes to his pre-calculus class, he's already learned the day's lesson — he watched it on a short online video prepared by his teacher for homework. So without a lecture to listen to, he and his classmates at Segerstrom Fundamental High School spend class time doing practice problems in small groups, taking quizzes, explaining the concept to other students, reciting equation formulas in a loud chorus and making their own videos while teacher Crystal Kirch buzzes from desk to desk to help pupils who are having trouble. More

Strong link discovered between personality and grades
Medical New Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In one of three studies, Pia Rosander carried out personality tests on 200 pupils in southern Sweden when they entered upper secondary school at 16. Three years later, when they received their final grades, she was able to observe a strong link between personality and grades. In personality psychology one talks of "the big five" — the five most common personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. These qualities influence how a person behaves and are relatively stable qualities, which means that they do not change greatly over time or in different situations. More


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White House: Schools must open sports to disabled
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Obama administration for the first time is telling school districts across the U.S. that they must give disabled students equal access to extracurricular sports, a move that advocates say has been years in the making. In a letter to schools, Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Seth Galanter of the Department of Education says schools should provide "reasonable modifications" to allow disabled students to participate — for instance, providing a deaf track athlete with a flashing light that goes off simultaneously with the starter pistol that others hear. More

Rubio calls for education reforms to focus on closing 'skills gap'
The Hill    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said there must be increased focus from lawmakers on solving the growing "skills gap" between available jobs and qualified applicants in the country. "The fact of the matter is that millions of our people do not have the skills they need for the 21st century, and complicating that further is that the acquisition of these skills is different than it's ever been," he told an audience at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The potential 2016 presidential candidate acknowledged that education reform wasn't the sexiest issue — and he said that was part of the problem. More

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Taking back teaching
Education Next    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In June 2012, a California judge ruled that the way the Los Angeles Unified School District evaluates its teachers violates state law because it does not factor in student achievement. He ordered the district and the local teachers union to come up with a reasonable way of doing just that. A few days later, Educators 4 Excellence, a group unaffiliated with the local teachers union, released a plan that called for student achievement to count for 40 percent of a teacher's score. The group then held a dinner, not a formal bargaining session, for teachers to discuss the issue directly with Los Angeles superintendent John Deasy. Writing on Twitter, Deasy described it as "one of the most thoughtful models that has been worked out." More

Center for Michigan report shows public wants to help teachers improve
Bridge Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The best way to improve schools is to improve the skills of the person standing in the front of Michigan classrooms. Teaching teachers to do their jobs better is the education reform Michigan residents believe will most improve our schools, according to the largest effort ever to collect and analyze public opinion on K-12 education in Michigan. More


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Oldham County, Ky., parents, students can see school menus on new app
WDRB-TV    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Packing your child's lunch is now as simple as the click of a smart phone app. The new program will tell Oldham County, Ky., parents exactly what's in school lunches. Leigh Anne Peterson with the Oldham County School Food Service notes, "We look around and everybody is tied to their smartphone or their tablet." That's why she decided to throw out the old style paper lunch menus at Oldham County Schools, to be the first in Kentucky to launch a mobile menu app: "We're leading with the nutritional choices that we're making for the menus and we want to be able to show that in a way that they're going to see it." More



Early bird conference registration ends this week
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Early birds get the worm for NAESP's 2013 Best Practices for Better Schools™ National Conference. Join fellow educators in Baltimore on July 11-13 for the ultimate professional development event for principals, featuring presentations on the Common Core, teacher recruitment, leading school change and much more. Register by Jan. 31 and save with the early bird rate. More

Countdown to Digital Learning Day
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
NAESP is joining more than 50 national organizations, 45 states plus the District of Columbia, and over 17,000 teachers to celebrate Digital Learning Day, taking place Wednesday, Feb. 6. Created by the Alliance for Excellent Education, Digital Learning Day is a nationwide celebration of innovative teaching and learning through digital media and technology that engages students and provides them with a rich, personalized, educational experience. More

 
 


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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.

Feedback about an article? Contact NAESP Liaison Cynthia Rosso at crosso@naesp.org.
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