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Teacher evaluations: Principals need more support for effective implementation
THE Journal
Teacher evaluation systems are being foisted on administrators without the preparation, tools or support needed to make the systems serve their theoretical purpose — improvements in the practice of teaching. "If we expect teacher evaluation to lead to improved instruction and learning in schools, we must provide the tools, resources and knowledge that principals need to implement successful teacher evaluation models," according to Gail Connelly, executive director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
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At least 44 school shootings since Newtown — New analysis
The Washington Post
There have been at least 44 school shootings on K-12 or college campuses in 24 states — an average of more than three a month — since the deadly 2012 attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., according to a new analysis. Twenty-eight people have died and 37 have been injured. Twenty children and six adults working at Sandy Hook were killed in the December 2012 assault in Newtown leading to renewed calls around the nation for Congress to take action to prevent more gun violence. Legislators did nothing.
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Is kindergarten too young to test?
MindShift
In light of recent headlines around standardized testing for kindergarteners in Oregon and New York, the growing voice of opposition against bubble tests is gaining steam. According to the New York Daily News, multiple-choice questions and bubble answer sheets left New York's four- and five-year-old students feeling "bewildered," and some in tears. In one Washington Heights school, the standardized tests were cancelled for kindergarteners after 80 percent of parents decided to opt out. "My feeling about testing kids as young as four is it's inhumane," said PTA co-chairwoman Dao Tran in the New York Daily News article. "I can only see it causing stress."
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Common Core in action: Screencasting in the 4th grade math classroom
Edutopia
When it comes to solving word problems in the math classroom, children should be able to explain their thinking. This includes identifying the strategies they used and the thought process behind their decisions. Students should use grade-appropriate math vocabulary and models that demonstrate the steps they took to solve a problem. In this post, we're going to take a look at how screencasting can be used in a fourth grade classroom to meet a Common Core State Standard while addressing a 21st century skill: communicate clearly.
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Incorporating the 2014 Winter Olympics in the classroom
EdTech Magazine
What's more complex than solving a quadratic equation? Judging figure skating. If you're not a figure skating enthusiast, you might have missed out on the fact that the traditional six-point grading system was ditched in favor of a new measure, the ISU Judging System, which was rolled out during the 2006 Winter Olympics. While the main goal in updating the system was to prevent dishonesty in the sport, with the shift to the new system, judging the value of a triple axle went from an arithmetic process to a mind-numbing calculus formula.
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Historia: Game-based learning for middle school history
Edutopia
History is the greatest story ever told. However, what makes history so compelling a story too often gets lost in translation in the classroom. As a result, students start tuning out social studies — sometimes as early as middle school — despite their teachers' best efforts. As public school teachers turned game designers and entrepreneurs, my partner Jason Darnell and I know of what we speak. Like so many others in the teaching profession, we struggled to find ways to bring history and social studies to life for our middle school students.
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Principal supervisors targeted in $24 million project
eSchool News
A new $24 million initiative will help school districts better support principal supervisors as they enable school principals to support better teaching and learning. The five-year project from The Wallace Foundation aims to fund increased training and support for principal supervisors in up to six large, urban districts serving low-income students. Accompanying the project is a $2.5 million study to determine if, and how, additional support for supervisors creates more effective school leaders.
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Schools learn to outsmart ADHD
District Administration Magazine
When students are diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, approaches that were once excluded from the classroom are now considered a valid option for helping them focus and learn. While the most common solution is medication, school district leaders have become increasingly aggressive in using other measures to improve the learning experience. Exercise balls, sensory kits and exercise breaks are among the approaches schools are taking to support students with ADHD as diagnosis of the disorder continues to increase in U.S. schools.
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Online schools dip slightly as charter schools see largest enrollment increase in 14 years
THE Journal
Charter school enrollments grew 12.6 percent in the 2012-2013 school year, with nearly 6,440 total public charter schools serving 2.57 million students across the United States. That's up from 1.45 million in 2008-2009 and 0.79 million in 2003-2004, representing the largest increase in 14 years, according to a new report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. However, the number of online charter schools has dipped slightly from the previously reported figure. In 2012-2013, there were 212 fully online charter schools and 129 schools that were hybrid or offered some combination of virtual and face-to-face instruction. Combined, the two types of schools represented about 5.3 percent of the total number of charter schools in the United States.
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How public schools can fight back against inequality
The Atlantic
Rising income inequality over the past 40 years has imposed a double burden on schools serving low-income children. First, the technological changes and globalization that have fueled inequality have also increased the skills required for good jobs — which means that schools need to teach higher-level skills if their graduates are to secure jobs that pay middle-class wages. And second, increasing income inequality has led to residential changes that have concentrated poor children in one set of schools and higher-income children in another.
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10 questions to ask when choosing education technology
eSchool News
Put a child in front of an iPad and they'll be learning, right? Not exactly, say two early childhood experts. Thanks to extensive research, experts now know that choosing the right education technology is about pedagogy and creativity, not ways to quiet kids down. "One of the best things you can do when choosing technology is to turn off that autopilot," explained Fran Simon, chief engagement officer for Engagement Strategies and cofounder of the Early Childhood Technology Network. "Be intentional and select tools that align with your curriculum objectives. Plan technology use as another tool to get the job done, like books or crayons."
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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.


Think big: How to jumpstart tech use in low-income schools
MindShift
The challenges of rural schools are many of the same (though not all) that low-income public schools face across the country: inadequate access to technology and broadband, tight budgets, and educators who have not been trained in using technology in meaningful ways. But these hurdles did not deter Daisy Dyer Duerr, Prek-12 Principal of St. Paul Public Schools in St. Paul, Arkansas. "Every child deserves an amazing education no matter who they are, no matter where they come from," said Duerr, who was recently named National Digital Principal. She's been working hard to bring new devices and related pedagogy around technology use to teachers. "If you don't have relationships you can have every bit of tech in the world and it won't matter," Duerr said.
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Report: Families have few resources to fight restraint, seclusion of children
Education Week
Families are often not told if their children are being secluded or restrained in schools, they often have problems getting information about the frequency or duration of such occurrences, and current regulations make it hard to fight such practices, according a majority staff report from the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee. The report was released at the same time that the committee's chairman, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, re-introduced a bill that would ban the use of seclusion in schools and severely restrict the use of restraints. He introduced a similar bill in 2012 and 2011.
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Virtual Judges Needed for eCYBERMISSION

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.


Safer Internet Day stands up against bullies
The Christian Science Monitor
What do a high school student who's a bullying prevention activist, two criminology professors, and Safer Internet Day have in common? They're all sending the same message that safety and wellbeing online takes all of us. Aidan McDaniel, the student activist, says school safety happens from the ground up, starting with students. Social cruelty both online and offline isn't a student problem that administrators and teachers can fix from the top down, he told Public News Service. It's "everybody's problem" and the solution doesn't happen "without working with each other." In a presentation he gave last November at the International Bullying Prevention Association conference, Aidan spoke inspiringly about how he and other students train peers to mentor younger students in bullying prevention.
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School-violence tip lines get a second look after Sandy Hook
Education Week
Youth tip lines, which were widely used after the 1999 shootings at Colorado's Columbine High School, are getting renewed interest from a handful of states and districts that are seeking to strengthen violence-prevention efforts following the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Supporters say tip lines provide a safe, confidential way for students to alert authorities about information that may be useful in preventing school attacks, bullying, and suicidal behaviors.
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Teachers have mixed feelings on using social media in classrooms
Denver Business Journal
Just 18 percent of U.S. school teachers use social media to connect with students and parents, and only a quarter of teachers report they would like to make it part of their lesson plans, according to a recent survey. That’s largely because many of those surveyed expressed concern about using social media as an education tool, seeing it as a place that can invite inappropriate behavior. The online survey — conducted by Rochester, N.Y.-based Harris Interactive Inc., a market research firm — asked 1,000 full-time K-12 teachers about using social media in their classrooms.
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Research suggests professional development delivers better student scores
THE Journal
When teachers participate in professional development, students do better in assessments. That's the conclusion of a study undertaken by researchers at the University of Utah and Brigham Young University. In "Multi-State, Quasi-Experimental Study of the Impact of Internet-Based, On-Demand Professional Learning on Student Performance," the researchers examined math and reading scores for students before and after teachers in their schools began using a commercially available online professional development program.
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Is school funding fair? States may be failing needy students
eSchool News
The stimulus package that provided funding for states as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act may have done more harm than good, suggests a new report. Instead of continuing to invest in crucial parts of education post-stimulus, many states have sacrificed fair school funding.

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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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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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K-12 and higher education often fail to collaborate effectively, survey says
The Hechinger Report
College and K-12 administrators know they need to work together to move the dial on student achievement, yet a new report shows many acknowledge they are not collaborating effectively. Only about one-third of superintendents and postsecondary leaders they say work together extremely or very effectively, it finds. Hart Research Associates and edBridge Partners conducted a telephone survey last fall of 104 public school district superintendents and 101 public and private two- and four-year college university system leaders, based on a national sample. Working with American Association of State College and Universities and American Association of School Administrators, the findings were compiled in a recent report, The Collaborative Imperative.
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Duncan says 'preschool education is ultimate bipartisan issue'
The Huffington Post
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan joined Bloomberg Radio's Jane Williams last week to talk about the state of education in this country. "Early childhood education has become the ultimate bipartisan issue," said Duncan. "We actually have more Republican governors than Democratic governors investing." In addition, Duncan discussed parent-teacher and community partnerships, Common Core State Standards and high-speed Internet access for students. Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission announced plans to revamp the E-rate program which provides discounts of up to 90 percent to help eligible schools and libraries in the United States obtain affordable telecommunications and internet access. President Barack Obama announced the initiative during his State of the Union address last month.
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Spate of GOP bills take aim at Common Core
Education Week
Add yet another anti-Common Core bill from Congress to your tally. Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., a moderate who is facing a tough primary challenge, has introduced a resolution that makes it clear education is a state issue, and that the U.S. Secretary of Education should not coerce states into adopting common education standards. The resolution — introduced Feb. 5 — also states that the federal government shouldn't give states who adopt Common Core an edge in any future grant competitions.
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Is school funding fair? States may be failing needy students
eSchool News
The stimulus package that provided funding for states as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act may have done more harm than good, suggests a new report. Instead of continuing to invest in crucial parts of education post-stimulus, many states have sacrificed fair school funding. During the beginning of the U.S. economy's recession in 2008, the federal government created a stimulus package to support public schools and prevent major layoffs and cuts in essential programs and services through the ARRA.
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School districts helping young readers
The Columbus Dispatch
Many Ohio school districts are working harder than ever to help tens of thousands of youngsters improve at reading so they won't have to repeat the third grade. Lancaster schools have added after-school and summer reading programs for students not reading at grade level. In Mechanicsburg, teachers have received literacy-intervention training, with more classroom time devoted to reading. The Cleveland Heights-University Heights school district hired 20 more elementary-school teachers to allow smaller classes for students needing help with reading and is keeping school libraries open in the evening for students and their parents.
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Teacher evaluations: 7 policy recommendations
NAESP
This week, NAESP and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) released a set of joint policy recommendations on how federal, state and local lawmakers can best assist the nation's principals with the many challenges they face implementing new teacher evaluation systems. Shaped by the latest research, these recommendations were drafted by a team of practicing principals.
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Top digital safety strategies from #digisafety tweetchat
NAESP
In honor of Digital Learning Day on Feb. 5, NAESP hosted a tweetchat on digital safety and citizenship. Guided by guest moderator (and Massachusetts principal) Sandra Trach, participants explored Acceptable Use Policies, how to engage parents on safety issues, and modeling safe tech use to students and teachers. Discover the highlights and top tips on NAESP's Storify page.
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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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