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Curriculum    School Leadership   Federal Advocacy & Policy   In the States   Association News   Buy Books   Contact NAESP


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Study: High-quality early education could reduce costs
The Washington Post
High-quality early childhood programs can reduce the number of children diagnosed with certain learning disabilities by third grade, according to a study published in the Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis journal. The study, conducted by Clara G. Muschkin, Helen F. Ladd and Kenneth A. Dodge of Duke University, could have significant implications for reducing the financial burden special education services place on municipal budgets.
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5 tech tools that help personalize professional development
THE Journal
Students aren't the only ones who can benefit from differentiated instruction. Teachers, too, have individual strengths and weaknesses, and they need different types of professional development at specific points of their careers. So why clump them all together in the same PD courses? Some school districts around the country are finding new ways to use social media and online offerings in combination with professional learning communities to empower teachers to develop their own personalized PD plans and reflect on how that PD is affecting the work they do in class. THE Journal spoke with leaders in several of these districts about the role of technology in personalizing the PD process.
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Creating the right classroom environment fit for ELLs
By: Alanna Mazzon
The classroom environment plays an important role in how the students and teachers in that environment feel, and how they will interact with the room and the materials. To a student whose native language is not the one used in the classroom, having a lot of labels without pictures, words on bulletin boards, and paragraphs on walls explaining what to do with the materials is both overwhelming and frustrating. Imagine you walked into a new room that you were going to spend eight hours in every day, but you couldn't understand a single thing in there. Would you feel comfortable?
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keywords ELL.


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The Common Core has not killed literature
The Atlantic (commentary)
By now almost every teacher in the country has experienced the Common Core State Standards. We're teaching and assessing them; we're advocating for them or pushing against them. We're explaining them and giving them a chance, or we're passing them off as the latest educational trend to come and go. In short, the Common Core State Standards are specific, high-quality benchmarks in English and math for students in grades kindergarten through 12.
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Kids' exercise guidelines need more focus on brain development
Reuters
Sports medicine experts say physical activity guidelines for kids should address the best types of exercise, not just the duration. Most guidelines — including those of the World Health Organization and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — recommend that kids and teens get 60 minutes each day of moderate to vigorous exercise. Many don't specify what kind, but imply that aerobics should be the focus, with additional "strength training" three times per week. The current emphasis on exercise quantity limits considerations of quality, the authors write in a review article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.
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Students most effectively learn math working on problems that they enjoy, not drills or exercises
Phys.org
Students learn math best when they approach the subject as something they enjoy, according to a Stanford education expert. Speed pressure, timed testing and blind memorization pose high hurdles in the youthful pursuit of math. "There is a common and damaging misconception in mathematics — the idea that strong math students are fast math students," said Jo Boaler, a Stanford professor of mathematics education and the lead author on a new working paper. Boaler's co-authors are Cathy Williams, cofounder of Stanford's YouCubed, and Amanda Confer, a Stanford graduate student in education.
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Education reform is driving teachers out of the classroom
Forbes (commentary)
Policymakers love to tinker with schools, but there are growing signs that education reform is driving teachers out of the classroom. The number of teachers leaving the profession is at its highest level for 10 years, as more and more experienced practitioners are voting with their feet. And it is hard not to see this as a direct reaction to a combination of endless reform and a sustained attack on teachers' integrity and professionalism.
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    1. WHICH ONE IS YOU?
       A. I have to push students through the basic language art skills.
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Can being a connected educator distract from meaningful work?
Center for Teaching Quality (commentary)
Paul Barnwell, a contributor for Center for Teaching Quality, writes: "As connected educators, we get a positive jolt when our ideas are retweeted. When we come across an inspiring blog post, we feel great about our engagement in self-directed professional growth. After attending a worthwhile conference, we often feel as if we've finally met dozens of our long-lost cousins from the pedagogy family tree."
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Tanya always forgets. What's wrong with her?
By: Howard Margolis
On Friday, Tanya's teacher sighed sorrowfully, "Tanya forgot all six sight words she knew on Monday. I spent 30 solid minutes teaching them to her. This always happens. What's wrong with her?" What's wrong? Maybe nothing. Maybe she just needs the right kind of practice. So what to do? How can you increase Tanya's chances of remembering these and other words for a lifetime? One way is distributed practice, also known as spacing.
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5 overlooked money-saving ideas for education technology
eSchool News
As the chief management analyst for the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team in Bakersfield, Calif., Michelle Plumbtree has gotten up close and personal with a number of educational technology professionals and departments — many of which were struggling to balance classroom technology and infrastructure needs against limited institutional budgets. And she says ed tech departments should consider rethinking a few things as technology becomes a larger part of school budgets.
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Nutrition association: Lunch rules pushing students to 'junk food'
The Hill
The School Nutrition Association is lobbying to relax rules for healthy school lunches as Congress prepares to reauthorize first lady Michelle Obama's prized Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The SNA is asking Congress to give the schools funding to hire nutritionists that can plan creative, appealing menu options for kids. "SNA supports strong federal nutrition standards for school meals, including calorie caps and mandates to offer a greater quantity and variety of fruits and vegetables," SNA CEO Patricia Montague said in a statement.
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ESEA would see $2.7 billion increase under FY 2016 budget
eSchool News
President Barack Obama's FY 2016 budget request includes four focus areas for education, including increasing equity and opportunity for all students; expanding high-quality early learning programs; supporting teachers and school leaders; and improving access, affordability and student outcomes in postsecondary education. Education Technology State Grants would receive $200 million to support models that use technology to help teachers improve instruction and personalize learning for students.
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Testing burden on ELLs needs easing, federal officials say
Education Week
Libia Gil, the head of the U.S. Department of Education's office of English language acquisition, says she's working with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to ease the burden of testing for English learners and their teachers. "We do believe in annual testing, but we also believe there's overtesting. It's coming from all over. You have state assessments, you have local assessments, you have classroom assessments — some for different purposes, not all for accountability," said Gil, a veteran bilingual and dual-language educator who came to OELA in September 2013.
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Red flags raised on plan to let Title I aid follow students
Education Week
Education groups are fighting a proposal on Capitol Hill that would allow federal funding to follow disadvantaged students to the public schools of their choice — an idea that school district advocates see as a pit stop on the highway to Voucherville. The policy — known as "Title I portability" — is included in a draft bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act introduced by U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Tennessee Republican who chairs the Senate education committee.
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From testing to big brother: 'No Child' debate moves to federal oversight
U.S. News & World Report
As lawmakers continue to move toward a compromise on updating No Child Left Behind, they appear to be slowly steering the conversation away from standardized testing and toward federal oversight of public education. While there's a growing consensus that the federal role needs to be scaled back, it's unclear whether Democrats and Republicans can agree on how far that reduction in power should go. Over the last few weeks, key members of the Senate and House — including Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., who chairs the House education committee, and Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio — have come out in support of maintaining annual testing requirements.
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Common Core-linked tests spur schools to teach typing
The Wall Street Journal
Patti Poff usually teaches math, science and engineering, but this year she also is drilling her students in posture, finger placement and keyboard accuracy. "We were just finger-pecking before," said Poff, of Byram Lakes Elementary School in rural New Jersey, where starting this school year, students learn typing in kindergarten through fourth grade as part of a class that combines math, science, engineering and the arts. "Because of testing, we needed to do something a little bit more serious with our keyboarding," she said.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    How schools are tackling truancy (District Administration Magazine)
Find, keep, cultivate the best teachers (District Administration Magazine)
5 essential multimedia skills every educator must master (THE Journal)
Should we use digital technology to 'drill' children? (THE Journal)
Mindfulness exercises improve kids' math scores (Time)

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


What happens when the Common Core becomes less ... common?
The Washington Post
The Common Core State Standards were envisioned as a way to measure most of the nation's students against a shared benchmark, but education experts say political upheaval and the messy reality of on-the-ground implementation is threatening that original goal. "Part of the whole point was you were going to have commonality that would let you compare schools in Chicago to schools in Cleveland," said Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, who supports the concept of common standards but has been critical of efforts to implement the Core.
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New principals: Early education resource roundup
NAESP
More and more principals are leading preschool programs — but only one in five new principals feel prepared to do so. Each month, NAESP surveys the nearly 900-member National Panel of New Principals on the principalship's most pressing challenges. The findings are summarized in the Rise and Shine brief. Here are the latest brief's findings on early childhood education.
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Find fresh ideas at NAESP 2015 Conference
NAESP
Top-notch principals know what's happening in education now and what's coming next. NAESP's 2015 Conference — Best Practices for Better Schools™ will showcase both. On June 30-July 2, school leaders from around the country will convene in Long Beach, California, to learn together, swap best practices and explore exciting new ideas. The roster of expert speakers includes Todd Whitaker, Robert Marzano, Erik Wahl, Heidi Hayes Jacobs — and more. Register by Feb. 20 and save with the early bird rate.
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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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