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Electronic privacy: Do schools have a role to play?
District Administration Magazine
The age of textbooks and filing cabinets is coming to an end. Smart phones, tablets and cloud storage are the tools of the day. Most students probably have their own devices by the time they reach middle school and most school districts use cloud services for record retention and data analysis. Undoubtedly, these new technologies bring enormous benefits for administrators, students and teachers alike, but they come with risks, particularly to privacy and information security. And we are all too often in the dark when it comes to these risks.
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Restructuring is most common approach to improving low-performing schools
THE Journal
Most state education agencies have chosen to close or restructure low-performing schools rather than shifting more effective educators to those schools, according to a new report from the United States Department of Education. The report, "State Implementation of Reforms Promoted Under the Recovery Act," evaluated state-level adoption of educational reforms implemented under the Recovery Act in the years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. The Recovery Act required SEAs to commit to four key areas of reform in order to qualify for funding under the Act. One of those key areas was support for low-performing schools. The other areas were adoption of Common Core State Standards, establishment of data systems for performance improvement and improved teacher effectiveness.
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Common Core in action: The power of a checklist
Edutopia (commentary)
Heather Wolpert-Gawron, a middle school teacher by day, Tweenteacher by night, writes: "In Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury writes that the grandma's kitchen was warm, exciting, and full of 'organized chaos.' I like to think that my classroom environment is also like that. Well, at least it's a positive spin on the piles of books, the stacks of papers and the uneven bulletin boards that define my middle school classroom. But when teaching study skills and organization, it's vital that I model a more perfect world. One of the ways that I help my students — and myself — to organize our assignments is to create checklists."
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Study: Single-sex education does not improve girls' self-esteem, math achievement
The Huffington Post
Do students really learn better when separated by gender? New research indicates that they do not. Study results released this week by the American Psychological Association found that students do not perform better in math, science or verbal subjects when they attend single-sex schools, or single-sex classes within coeducational schools. The research, which analyzed 55 years worth of data, refutes theories that adolescent girls thrive when separated from boys, and that boys perform better when they have a curriculum specifically tailored to them. The research looked at data collected from 1.6 million students in 21 countries. A separate analysis of data from the U.S. was consistent with the rest of the findings.
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Supporting academic discussions for ELLs in Common Core classrooms
Education Week
A second wave of free, online courses is coming down the pike this spring for teachers looking for strategies and resources to support English language learners with the rigor and more sophisticated language demands of the Common Core State Standards. With a focus on how educators can foster student-to-student academic discussions, a team of language experts from the Understanding Language initiative will teach the massive online open courses, or MOOCs. The free series — called Constructive Classroom Conversations — was first offered last fall, with more than 2,000 teachers participating.
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The best and worst states for teacher policy
eSchool News
Teacher quality has been a hot, if polarizing, topic in education recently, with many states making what some perceive to be progressive steps in teacher policy. One new report gives grades to states in how well they're implementing these teacher policies, from teacher preparation to dismissal. The report, "State Teacher Policy Yearbook," by the National Council on Teacher Quality provides an analysis of every state law, rule and regulation that "shapes the effectiveness of the teaching profession," it says, from teacher preparation and evaluation, to compensation, professional development and dismissal policy.
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5 reasons schools hate snow days
CNN
The horror stories have been stacking up all winter: Students sliding and stomping through knee-deep snow on their walks to school, or trapped inside school buses, or nestling in for a surprise slumber party in the school gym. It happened last week in the Southeast, when a snowstorm hit during the school day. Parents were questioning it Wednesday when New York schools canceled all field trips, but didn't cancel classes, even as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a weather emergency.
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They learned it, but did they feel it?
Education Week (commentary)
Peter DeWitt, a K-5 public school principal taking a leave of absence to be a trainer with Visible Learning, writes: "Over the past few months I decided I would expand my repertoire when it came to cooking. I can grill a mean filet mignon, cook a good frozen pizza, put together some very fattening Buffalo Chicken, and order out like it's no one's business, but I can't really cook a lot of different meals. In education there is constantly a calling to end 'one-size-fits-all' pursuits. Whether it is the accountability measures that all schools must meet, the increased mandates they must negotiate their way through, or the way teachers teach, there is not just one method of teaching."
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Map: 'How much snow it typically takes to cancel school in the US' (The Atlantic)
5 big education technology trends worth knowing about (Edudemic)
Math and inquiry: The importance of letting students stumble (MindShift)
Kindergarten is the new first grade, researchers find (University of Virginia via Science Daily)
America's school funding problems, state by state (The Washington Post)

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


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5 ways to cultivate a culture of acceptance
Connected Principals Blog (commentary)
William Parker, a contributor for Connected Principals Blog, writes: "The other day, I sat in a conversation with a student and a DHS worker who had come to take her into custody. She was no longer able to stay at her host home and would be moving back to a shelter till a new home could be found. In the meantime, she would go to a different school. As she sat in tears listening to the news, she said to the DHS worker, 'No offense, lady, but DHS has done nothing for me. I've been from home to home, in and out the shelter, and from school to school. This was supposed to be my fresh start.'"
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How can busy teachers learn next-gen skills?
Edudemic
Most of today's classroom teachers are digital immigrants, who need to not only learn the latest technologies but also help students learn skills for workplaces that don't yet exist. This imperative, compounded by the advanced skills of their digital native students, creates a daunting task for the best of teachers. Most teachers work very hard to keep up with today's technology and related jargon, with mixed success.
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Links explored between physical activity, learning
Science Daily
The association between physical activity and learning has been evidenced in many studies. The results have suggested that being physically active produces positive effects on many cognitive functions, such as memory, attention, information processing and problem solving. Unfortunately, these previous studies have used fairly small datasets and have yielded fairly little information on the actual underlying mechanisms.
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A truly socially inclusive school benefits everyone
Edutopia
Can a school have a positive culture and climate when its special needs students are not strongly included in the mainstream of all of its activities? This is a question that is not posed often enough in the social-emotional and character development worlds, but it is asked constantly in the offices of Special Olympics International. Within SOI, Project UNIFY is tasked with creating programming that brings differently-abled students together in various forms of shared activities and purposes, focused on the mainstay of SOI, sports.
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eCYBERMISSION, a web-based STEM competition for middle school students and sponsored by the U.S. Army, is seeking dedicated individuals over the age of 18 with a background or interest in STEM—to serve as a virtual judge for the program. Virtual Judge registration closes on Saturday, March 1, 2014. MORE.


Schools reprioritize playtime to boost concentration and teach social skills
PBS Newshour
As schools days grow longer, so do the academic burdens being imposed on students. But, at the same time, school systems are cutting back on the arts, physical education and even recess. Some researchers say that is counterproductive, depriving students of exercise that can help them learn.
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Schools run short on snow days, adjust schedules
The Associated Press via The Huffington Post
The first snow day of this brutal winter left teacher Christopher Crabtree almost as tickled as it did his three children, but delight is giving way to dread as school cancellations pile up — a whopping 15 days off so far in his southern Ohio district, with more snow in the forecast. Now, even his 12-year-old daughter and 9-year-old twins are missing friends and tired of being stuck at home, he said. "We really need to get to back to school and some normalcy," said Crabtree, who teaches American studies at Waverly High School, which lost much of January's class time to cancellations and two-hour delays. He wonders how he'll get students ready for state standardized tests next month.
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The future of learning environments: An issue that concerns the students
Core77 (commentary)
Moa Dickmark, a contributor for Core77, writes: "What do I believe will be the future for education and education facilities? Einstein, who said something to the effect of 'If you can't explain the problem simply, you don't understand it well enough,' would not be happy with my answer. The question seems so simple, but the answer, as most of you probably have noticed, is oh-so complex. More and more, we see that newly designed schools around the globe is that the majority of architects rely on the teachers and the school administrators' feedback regarding their work environment as the basis of their designs. Like most of you, I agree that this is an important part of developing a more multi-faceted school then what we have seen in the past."
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Today's students need mobile learning
eSchool News
It's no secret that technology is seamlessly integrated into the lives of today's students. And while students want and use technology in their personal lives, they're not always able to use technology in classrooms. But students today want mobile learning opportunities, because mobile technologies enable students to personalize their own learning experiences. The key, then, is showing educators and administrators that today's mLearners — mobile learners — learn differently from students 50 years ago and have different learning needs.
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The best and worst states for teacher policy
eSchool News
Teacher quality has been a hot, if polarizing, topic in education recently, with many states making what some perceive to be progressive steps in teacher policy. One new report gives grades to states in how well they're implementing these teacher policies, from teacher preparation to dismissal.

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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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GAO: Half of nearly $1 billion in i3 funds being spent on professional development
Education Week
Deep within a new Government Accountability Office report about the federal Investing in Innovation program is an interesting nugget of information: "The majority of i3 projects use teacher and principal development as one method to achieve goals." Sixty-two of 92 i3 projects awarded money in 2010 through 2012 by the U.S. Department of Education use teacher and principal professional development as a key strategy, the GAO found. Of those, half of the projects use professional development as the "primary or sole method underlying their innovations," the report says.
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What happens after fed-up parents take over a school
The Atlantic
Chrissy Guzman chucked the old bottle of paint across the classroom, aiming for the large trash bin that the custodian had wheeled in earlier that summer day. As she and fellow parent volunteer Lori Yuan cleared out the PTA meeting room, the two mothers vented their frustration over the looming takeover of the district-owned campus by an outside charter operator. They lamented losing their neighborhood school, Desert Trails Elementary School, to a controversial education law they’d fought so hard against: the so-called parent trigger.
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With reservations, Massachusetts schools begin to adopt Common Core
The Hechinger Report
The metal detector at Dorchester's Jeremiah Burke High School beeped softly as students passed through it on a cold November morning. An unmanned wooden table sat nearby. Four years ago, passing a search at the metal detector was a morning ritual at the Burke, as locals call it. Now, used only as an infrequent spot check, it's becoming a relic. The school has been attempting to turn itself around for the past four years with a host of internal strategies and policies. It has focused intensely on fostering relationships with students and improving school safety — "setting the table" for learning as principal Lindsa McIntyre refers to it. Test scores have risen and discipline problems are down.
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Tennessee teachers push back on evaluation process
The Associated Press via ABC News
When Tennessee was competing for a half-billion dollars in federal education money, teachers agreed to allow the state to ramp up its use of student test scores for evaluating educators. But since winning the $500 million Race to the Top competition in 2010, teachers say the state has gone too far in using student test scores to assess their performance. Teachers say that isn't what they signed up for when the state was competing for the prestigious and lucrative Race to the Top grant. They are now calling for legislation to place a moratorium on the use of so-called TVAAS scores until a special committee can review them. Teachers also want legislation that prohibits the scores from being tied to teacher licensing.
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Second thoughts about principal evaluations
NAESP
Finding appropriate, valid ways to evaluate principals is a high-priority task. In the latest edition of NAESP Radio, NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly and scholar Joseph Murphy explore the evolving direction of principal evaluations.
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New Common Core briefs highlight instructional shifts
NAESP
Find the answers to your most pressing questions about the Common Core State Standards in two new briefs from the K-12 Center at ETS. These timely, informative briefs — "Seeing the Future: How the Common Core Will Affect Mathematics and English Language Arts in Grades 3-12 Across America," and "Coming Together to Raise Achievement: New Assessments for the Common Core State Standards" — were released in May and June, 2013, respectively.
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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.

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