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Holding states and schools accountable
The New York Times
As Congress contemplates rewriting No Child Left Behind, President George W. Bush's signature education law, legislators will tussle over a vision of how the federal government should hold states and schools accountable for students’ academic progress. At a Senate education committee hearing to discuss waivers to states on some provisions of the law, Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, forcefully urged the federal government to get out of the way.
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Treatment for traumatized kids? Best way to help children heal is unknown
The Associated Press via The Huffington Post
Shootings and other traumatic events involving children are not rare events, but there's a startling lack of scientific evidence on the best ways to help young survivors and witnesses heal, a government-funded analysis found. School-based counseling treatments showed the most promise, but there's no hard proof that anxiety drugs or other medication work and far more research is needed to provide solid answers, say the authors who reviewed 25 studies. Their report was sponsored by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
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Common Core technology requirements outlined
Education Week
One of the two consortia designing tests for the Common Core State Standards recently released new guidance on the minimum technology standards states will need to meet to give those tests, beginning in 2014-2015. The Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, says the guidance is meant to provide direction to states and districts on the extent to which current technology meets testing standards, or whether upgrades will be required.
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Why can some kids handle pressure while others fall apart?
The New York Times
Noah Muthler took his first state standardized test in third grade at the Spring Cove Elementary School in Roaring Spring, Pa. It was a miserable experience, said his mother, Kathleen Muthler. He was a good student in a program for gifted children. But, Muthler said, "he was crying in my arms the night before the test, saying: 'I'm not ready, Mom. They didn't teach us everything that will be on the test.'" In fourth grade, he was upset the whole week before the exam. "He manifests it physically," his mother said. "He got headaches and stomachaches. He would ask not to go to school."
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Schools avoid saying, 'Go see the principal'
The Associated Press via Winona Daily News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Often the last resort of frustrated teachers, the command "Go to the principal's office" is dreaded by students. But Minnesota schools are trying new ways to keep students in the classroom and out of trouble. State education officials are training teachers to better help students understand how to behave in school and encouraging principals to come up with alternatives to suspension. It's all part of a Minnesota Department of Education initiative called Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports, or PBIS, Minnesota Public Radio reported. More

Why educators' wages must be revamped now
Education Week (commentary)
It is no secret that some school districts spend their money better than others. One can easily find groups of districts with the same student demographics and with the same expenditure levels producing very different levels of student achievement. Put another way, some districts are spending more than they need to spend, based on what other districts show is possible. Economists would summarize this as indicating the existence of considerable inefficiency in the operation of schools. But does this excess spending imply that we can simply cut back on spending without harming students?
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Digital Learning Day aims to change education's direction
eSchool News
With an overwhelming 25,000 educators participating in Digital Learning Day on Feb. 6, ed-tech supporters used technology-based projects, lessons and enthusiasm to mark what they called a perfect time to launch a national digital learning campaign. "Every day should be Digital Learning Day," said Karen Cator, director of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Educational Technology.
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Can breakfast make kids smarter?
University of Pennsylvania via Science Daily
New research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing has found that children who regularly have breakfast on a near-daily basis had significantly higher full scale, verbal and performance IQ test scores. In one of the first studies to examine IQ and breakfast consumption, researchers examined data from 1,269 children six years old in China, where breakfast is highly valued, and concluded that children who did not eat breakfast regularly had 5.58 points lower verbal, 2.50 points lower performance, and 4.6 points lower total IQ scores than children who often or always ate breakfast after adjusting for seven sociodemographic confounders.
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Education chief says rule waivers free up funds for states
Reuters
By waiving certain requirements in the education law known as No Child Left Behind, the U.S. government has been able to send some states an additional $2.8 billion in total for schools, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said at a Senate hearing. "We've tried to free almost $3 billion in ... money under No Child Left Behind that was prescribed by Washington," he told the Education Committee.

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School dress codes aren't just for students anymore
USA Today
When kids in one Kansas school district return to class this fall, they won't be seeing cutoff shorts, pajama pants or flip flops — on teachers. The Wichita School District is just one of a growing number in the nation cracking down on teacher apparel. Jeans are banned in at least one elementary school in New York City. A school district in Phoenix is requiring teachers to cover up tattoos and excessive piercings. And several Arizona schools are strictly defining business casual.

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Study: Highly effective principals raise student achievement
The Huffington Post
It's indisputable that great teachers lead to successful students, as the presidential candidates have touted, but what about students' connection to their school principals? A study published in Education Next has found that the effect of highly effective principals on student achievement is equivalent to 2-7 months of additional learning each school year, while ineffective principals negatively impact student achievement by a comparable amount.

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Study to compare coaching and online collaboration for teachers' PD
The Commercial Appeal
As the nation pushes to improve the quality of its public school teachers, it's pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into professional development with little way to measure the results. In a small study, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is testing two ways to help, then measuring their effects on test scores. One group of teachers is getting eight rounds of one-on-one coaching. The second has constant access to an online learning community to talk and collaborate with other site members. The research will continue two years. Results will be released in 2014
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For libraries, the Common Core presents extraordinary opportunity
Publisher Weekly
The Common Core State Standards are poised to bring some of the most meaningful changes to our education system in a generation, some observers say, and with the emphasis on literacy, resources and critical thinking, it's no surprise that librarians are embracing the Common Core as an extraordinary opportunity.
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Anxious about tests? Tips to ease students angst
MindShift
As any parent or teacher knows, tests can create crippling anxiety in students–and anxious kids can perform below their true abilities. But new research in cognitive science and psychology is giving us a clearer understanding of the link between stress and performance, and allowing experts to develop specific strategies for helping kids manage their fears. These potential solutions are reasonably simple, inexpensive and, as recent studies show, effective. Some work for a broad range of students, while others target specific groups. Yet they're unfamiliar to many teachers and parents, who remain unaware that test anxiety can be so easily relieved.
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From Twitter to Edmodo: Schools collaborate with social media
THE Journal
Eric Sheninger, the principal at New Milford High School in Bergen County, N.J., is well-known in education technology circles as an evangelist for the use of web 2.0 tools in K-12 education. New Milford has made collaboration a pillar of its educational platform, and Sheninger believes that social media helps students learn how to collaborate. In fact, he argues that many students are already collaborating with technology — and schools need to catch up. "In many ways, school has been the opposite of real life," he says. "Kids are collaborating and connecting all the time outside school. It's time to experience a shift in schools and mirror that real world within the walls of our school."
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School-based physical activity and nutrition programs effective against childhood obesity
Medical News Today
Community-based efforts to change the environment are proving to be an effective way of encouraging more physical activity and nutrition among school-age children, according to findings announced from Kaiser Permanente. Researchers examined a series of Kaiser Permanente community-based obesity prevention interventions in adults and children and found that the more effective obesity prevention interventions were those that were "high dose" — reaching large populations with greater strength — and those that focused specifically on changing child behaviors within the school environment.
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Duncan to Congress: Giving states flexibility is working
U.S. Department of Education
Secretary Arne Duncan testified on Capitol Hill Thursday during a hearing on ESEA flexibility. Official Department of Education photo by Leslie Williams. States and their schools are breaking free from the restrictions of No Child Left Behind and pursuing new and better ways to prepare and protect all students, Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a Senate committee.
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Education chief says rule waivers free up funds for states
Reuters
By waiving certain requirements in the education law known as No Child Left Behind, the U.S. government has been able to send some states an additional $2.8 billion in total for schools, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said at a Senate hearing. "We've tried to free almost $3 billion in ... money under No Child Left Behind that was prescribed by Washington," he told the Education Committee.
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Police spending more time at schools as safety measure, to reassure students
The Associated Press via The Huffington Post
Stunned by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut, police and school officials in one Colorado county felt they had to do something to reassure students. Their solution: Have police officers on patrol do their arrest reports and other paperwork in school parking lots, rather than simply pulling off the road or returning to the police station. It's had an immediate calming impact at a time when the nation is embroiled in the emotional debate over gun control and gun violence.
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How a C-rated school can be full of effective teachers
StateImpact
In January, Florida's Senate President Don Gaetz raised eyebrows when he questioned the accuracy of Florida's new teacher evaluations. The evaluations are based on a complex statistical formula which weighs Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test scores and other factors to calculate how much a teacher influences student learning. The evaluations will eventually contribute to how much a teacher is paid, despite complaints the results have large margins of error and can change significantly from year to year.
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Teachers' ratings still high despite new measures
Education Week
In Michigan, 98 percent of teachers were rated effective or better under new teacher-evaluation systems recently put in place. In Florida, 97 percent of teachers were deemed effective or better. Principals in Tennessee judged 98 percent of teachers to be "at expectations" or better last school year, while evaluators in Georgia gave good reviews to 94 percent of teachers taking part in a pilot evaluation program. Those results, among the first trickling out from states' newly revamped yardsticks, paint a picture of a K-12 system that remains hesitant to differentiate between the best and the weakest performers — as well as among all those in the middle doing a solid job who still have room to improve.
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Prepare to vote in NAESP election
NAESP
This spring, eligible NAESP members will elect a new president-elect as well as directors for Zones 3, 4 and 6. The election will take place April 1-30. Electronic ballots will be available on the NAESP website — but you will need to log in to access the ballot, which is members-only content. Visit the NAESP website for candidate information and instructions for logging in.
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12 key Common Core steps: Action steps for principals
NAESP
For school leaders and counselors, implementing the CCSS is not about thinking out of the box — it is about transforming the box itself. A new action brief explores the principal's role in leading Common Core change. "Implementing the Common Core State Standards: The Role of the Elementary School Leader" offers a primer on the standards and twelve key schoolwide changes that must occur with implementation.
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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.
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601   Download media kit
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