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Carrot juice instead of Coke? USDA proposes new school snack rules
NPR
The Department of Agriculture has proposed a new "Smart Snacks in School" rule that aims to promote more healthful options in school vending machines, snack bars and cafeterias across the country. The USDA's updated regulations, which are open to public comment for 60 days, will set nutrition standards and calorie limits for snack foods that are sold in schools.
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7 elements for effective community-school partnerships
eSchool News
The phrase "It takes a village" is at the heart of a school reform movement called partnerships for learning, which aims to integrate community resources with local schools to educate the "whole child." Now, a new report reveals the keys to successful community-school partnerships. According to the Harvard Family Research Project report, "Partnerships for Learning: Community Support for Youth Success," data collected from a community schools initiative called Elev8 show what successful partnerships for learning look like — and the effects these can have on learning.
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Pressure mounts in some states against Common Core
Education Week
Opponents of the Common Core State Standards are ramping up legislative pressure and public relations efforts aimed at getting states to scale back — or even abandon — the high-profile initiative, even as implementation proceeds and tests aligned with the standards loom. Critics of the Common Core have focused recent lobbying and media efforts on Colorado, Idaho and Indiana, all of which have signed on to the standards. Forty-six states have adopted the standards in English/language arts, and 45 have done so in math.
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4 US states considering laws that challenge teaching of evolution
The Guardian
Four U.S. states are considering new legislation about teaching science in schools, allowing students to be taught religious versions of how life on earth developed in what critics say would establish a backdoor way of questioning the theory of evolution. Fresh legislation has been put forward in Colorado, Missouri and Montana. In Oklahoma, there are two bills before the state legislature that include potentially creationist language.
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DOE releases school-level reading and math assessment data
U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education announced the release of student performance data in reading and math for all schools in the country for school years 2008-2009, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. This is the first time the Department is releasing school-level state assessment data. The data are being released as part of the department's ongoing transparency efforts.
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Taking PLC work to the next level
Connected Principals (commentary)
Jonathan VanderEls, a contributor for Connected Principals, writes: "Five years ago, our school undertook the monumental challenge of dedicating ourselves to a system which placed 'Learning for All' at the forefront of our work. Donna Johnson, our assistant principal and special education coordinator, and I recognized from the beginning that this would require a substantial time commitment on our part to ensure we continued to move in the direction we envisioned in August of 2008. We both felt strongly that to ask our teachers to do something a specific way, it was imperative that we model these same behaviors and demonstrate that we were committed to this work ourselves."
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20 must-use education technology tools
The Huffington Post (commentary)
Educators may feel sometimes like they're on an island with little help in sight. But as technology teaching resources go, it may encourage you to learn that there are a number of online solutions available to help promote education from teaching reading basics to organizing classroom activities and encouraging civic involvement. Here are 20 of the most promising new apps, websites and online education technology tools or services every teacher should be using to help improve classroom learning.
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School considers copyright policy that takes ownership of students' work
The Washington Post
A proposal by the Maryland's Prince George's County Board of Education to copyright work created by staff and students for school could mean that a picture drawn by a first-grader, a lesson plan developed by a teacher or an app created by a teen would belong to the school system, not the individual. The measure has some worried that by the system claiming ownership to the work of others, creativity could be stifled and there would be little incentive to come up with innovative ways to educate students. Some have questioned the legality of the proposal as it relates to students.
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The Web revolution: This is just the beginning
THE Journal
"Take a look at the smartphone in your hand," Jaime Casap, Global Education Evangelist for Google, told the crowd during his keynote at the FETC 2013 conference in Orlando, Fla. "That smartphone is just a phone to a kid. And to many kids, it isn't even a phone." Casap pulled his own phone from his pocket. "What you have in your hand is going to be their Commodore 64. It's going to be their Apple IIe. When they're in their twenties, it's going to be the thing they buy at a thrift store and put on a shelf in their hipster apartment just because it's cool to have one." That's the generation, he said, that's coming into our schools, and we need to be ready for that.
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School district officials to propose 'late start' for teacher collaboration
The Oregonian
Elementary schools and high schools in the Tigard-Tualatin School District in Oregon could start school an hour late on Wednesdays starting next year. School leaders say the move toward "school improvement Wednesdays" gives teachers more collaboration time in light of the new rigorous common core state standards, which measure college and career readiness. And while parents agree, some are concerned it will take away instruction time in the classroom.
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How educators are explaining Common Core to students and parents
StateImpact Indiana
Indiana students aren't the only ones adjusting to the Common Core, a set of nationally-crafted academic standards adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia. Their teachers have been tasked with explaining key changes of the new standards not just to students but to parents, too. "One of our new standards for teaching is if an administrator or someone walks in, they should be able to ask a child what are you working on this week, they should be able to find it in the room and be able to tell you," says Stacey Falls, a first grade teacher at East Side Elementary in Brazil, Ind.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Study: What makes a good teacher (The Washington Post)
Study: Highly effective principals raise student achievement (The Huffington Post)
DOE announces 16 winners of Race to the Top-District competition ( U.S. Department of Education )
Teacher absence as a leading indicator of student achievement (Center for American Progress)
Cheat sheet for the first days of school (Edutopia)

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


Website taps into kids' curiosity
USA Today
All parents know that kids ask a lot of questions as they wonder about the world. Curiosityville, a new learning website for kids ages 3 to 8, hopes to tap into that natural curiosity to help kids learn. The subscription-based website invites kids to explore the city of Curiosityville by playing with its charming residents made up of animated animals. They include Artist Pablo the frog, Teacher Ruby the cat, Mayor Joe the monkey and Scientist Rosie the mouse. Additional residents, including Policeman Jack the dog, are set to be released shortly. By playing games and doing activities with these characters, kids can explore 10 core learning areas.
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5 hot homework tips for parents
ED.gov Blog
Learning doesn't stop when the last bell rings at school. When students bring work home, it is a great time for parents to play a role in their child's education. Homework has many benefits, such as providing extra time for research or practice, helping students develop study skills and teaching time management skills. Here are five tips to help your child benefit by the time spent on assignments and maximize their learning.
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Top K-12 leader in Congress sets retirement date
Education Week
The retirement in two years of the most powerful lawmaker in Congress when it comes to education policy and funding — U.S. Senator Tom Harkin — will create a major leadership turnover on everything from the future of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to special education issues, which the Iowa Democrat has championed for decades. Harkin sits at the top of both the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee — which oversees education legislation — and the Senate appropriations subcommittee that deals with K-12 funding.
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States continue progress during 2nd year of Race to the Top
U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education released state-specific reports for 12 Race to the Top grantees, detailing their progress on transforming education at the local level. The reports highlight the second-year work and accomplishments of states awarded funding through the first two phases of Race to the Top: Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Tennessee.
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House of Representatives historian launches website
ABC News
Looks like the House of Representatives has officially caught up with the times. Imagine it is Dec. 8, 1941. President Franklin D. Roosevelt has just addressed Congress in order to request declaration of war after Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Which congressman fought in favor of war and who was vehemently against it? You don't need to head to a museum to find out. A new website allows history buffs to hear the arguments and first-hand accounts of these events in the comfort of their own living rooms.
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Educators take Common Core workshop
Hispanic Business
New Mexico is among states that have adopted a single set of standards — developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators and experts around the country &mdash designed to emphasize critical thinking skills and ensure students leave high school with the necessary skills for college and/or a career. The initial emphasis is on English language arts and math, though the benchmarks will affect all disciplines, including history, science and visual and performing arts.
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Race to the Top: DC Maryland and Georgia way back in the field
The Washington Post
In the second year of Race to the Top, the Obama administration's signature effort to improve public schools, nine of 12 jurisdictions that received $4 billion in federal grants made good progress. But three — the District, Maryland and Georgia — have stumbled, federal officials said. "We have a lot of good news in this report and also some challenges," Education Secretary Arne Duncan told reporters.
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Alaska lawmakers consider school voucher proposal
The Associated Press via State News
Parents will be able to send their kids to private or religious schools using public education funds if a new constitutional amendment passes. Wasilla Republican Rep. Wes Keller has renewed his efforts to create a school voucher program, which would be significantly different from the state's limited charter school system, even as the state teachers union stands in opposition.
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Cuomo: New York might impose NYC teacher evaluations
The Associated Press via Yahoo News
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo vowed to impose a teacher evaluation system on New York City if Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the teachers' union can't agree on one. Conflict between the mayor and the United Federation of Teachers has already cost city schools $250 million in state aid and millions more in federal aid for the past year. The evaluations are required under a federal grant aimed at improving instruction and by a 2010 law pushed by Cuomo, but New York City failed to reach an agreement by the deadline.
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Middle school teachers push accelerated lessons to bridge prior shortfalls
Indianapolis Star
Pencil behind his ear and clipboard in hand, David Teeghman steps before his class at Indianapolis' Emma Donnan Middle School and activates a timer. He sets it to five minutes and promptly attaches it to a chalkboard. Teeghman has no clock in his room; he has little interest in the actual time of day. But when it comes to minutes — the 49 he is allotted for each class — Teeghman is keenly interested. Like a train conductor with a pocket watch, he has a schedule to keep.
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Drama teachers: Using theater techniques, future educators learn how to reach students
Wisconsin State Journal
Sixteen 5- and 6-year-olds cluster around UW-Madison student Danielle King, waiting for the invisible teleporter that will take them to the faraway village of Mazatika. The people of Mazatika lack clean water, King has explained. Many are sick. It's the job of her pint-sized companions — all of them participants in the university's Drama in Education lab class — to find a way to help them. Soon the elementary school students are digging a well (or pretending to dig, with invisible shovels) and singing a song (taught by King on the spot) about being good global citizens.
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Celebrate Digital Learning Day this Wednesday
NASEP
Join NAESP, 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.
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Considering a career move? Check the Career Center for opportunities
NASEP
The NAESP Career Center, supported by Job Target, is the only dedicated national job bank for principals in public and private elementary and middle schools. With more jobs and powerful career coaching tools, the Career Center is your go-to resource for finding and landing your perfect position.
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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 Cynthia Rosso at crosso@naesp.org.
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