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Experts: Here's how to turn data into achievement
eSchool News
School systems are collecting a "tremendous amount" of data about their students, said Dan Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, but how can they use this information to improve instruction? That was the focus of a thought-provoking session at AASA's National Conference on Education in Nashville Feb. 13. During the session, panelists agreed that the answer to this question relies on changing the entire culture around school data use.
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Study: Adderall doesn't help kids get better grades
The Atlantic
More than 1 in 20 American children between the ages of 4 and 17 are medicated for attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder — up nearly 500 percent since 1990. Drugs like Adderall and Ritalin have a reputation as "good-grade pills" and "cognitive enhancers" that produce near-immediate improvements in the ability of children to pay attention in school. The thing is, studies tracing the impact of ADHD meds report no improvement in academic performance in the long term, as Nature reports in a new review of existing research, and kids taking the drugs are in some cases more likely to drop out of school.
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Schools should be teaching kids how to use the Internet well
The Atlantic
During this year's State of the Union address, President Barack Obama championed the goal of increasing bandwidth in schools across the country. The following day, a group of CEOs wrote an open letter encouraging the chairman of the FCC to "act boldly to modernize the E-rate program to provide the capital needed to upgrade our K-12 broadband connectivity and Wi-Fi infrastructure." These calls to action were answered with pledges from business leaders amounting to $750 million dollars, an influx of money that should help provide more enriching learning environments for students across the country.
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Reading, writing, catching and dancing
District Administration Magazine
As study after study finds students who exercise regularly perform better in the classroom, school systems like Los Angeles USD are working to enhance elementary and middle school physical education programs. LAUSD is funding a new program in which 17 physical education instructors are sent to five elementary schools to train classroom teachers to lead their students in an outdoor PE class, in addition to their regular classroom learning, says Chad Fenwick, the district's K12 physical education advisor.
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Read with me: 5 tips to foster a love for reading
Edutopia
Lisa Michelle Dabbs, a contributor for Edutopia, writes: "When I first became a teacher, I was excited to begin sharing the love of reading with my students. I grew up loving to read and couldn't wait to open up the children's literary book club pick that my Dad had on monthly order for me. The time I spent with books transformed my life and sparked my imagination. I wanted to create a similar experience for my students, but I found that it was sometimes a challenge due to their home life circumstances. In the end, though, it was well worth the effort. Fostering the love of reading in your class may take a little work, but there are plenty of resources available to support you in this effort. Here are five suggestions that can help you get started with leading the 'love for reading' charge."
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4 ways digital technology has changed K-12 learning
The Huffington Post
Digital technology has taken the world by storm — particularly in the past decade. It makes sense that this trend would have an impact on K-12 learning because there is nothing in modern American society that digital technology has not touched. While the names of the mobile applications and computer programs may change, there are some foundational ways that technology has already changed the face of education forever.
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10 elements of great digital content for young learners
eSchool News
Schools across the country are actively involved in the transition to digital content. But what does digital content look like for young learners? How can creating effective digital content impact young children and increase engagement? Digital content for young children has a number of characteristics that keep children engaged and motivate them to learn, said Mark Schlichting, a veteran children's interactive content designer and creator of Broderbund's Living Books series, during an edWeb webinar.
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Demand for computer science classes grows, along with digital divide
MindShift
A handful of nonprofit and for-profit groups are working to address what they see as a national education crisis: Too few of America's K-12 public schools actually teach computer science basics and fewer still offer it for credit. It's projected that in the next decade there will be about 1 million more U.S. jobs in the tech sector than computer science graduates to fill them. And it's estimated that only about 10 percent of K-12 schools teach computer science. So some in the education technology sector, an industry worth some $8 billion a year and growing, are stepping in.
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Common arts standards open for final public review
Education Week
The public can contribute to a final review of the preK-12 arts-education standards — in dance, media arts, music, theatre and visual arts — proposed by the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards. The drafts of the voluntary national standards were developed by a handful of arts-focused groups and educators and are, according to a press release, "intended to affirm the place of arts education in a balanced core curriculum ... and help ensure that all students are college and career ready."
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3 things we should stop doing in professional development
Connected Principals Blog (commentary)
George Couros, a contributor for Connected Principals Blog, writes: "Spending the last week in Oslo, Norway, with the visionary Ann Michaelsen and other school leaders here, I have really thought about the way that we deliver professional development, and to be honest, some of the practices that either don't make sense anymore, or we have to rethink. Although this is focused mainly on what we do as adults in our time together, many of these lessons have applications to the classroom."
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Snow day? That's great. Now log in. Get to class.
The New York Times
At 9 a.m. on Thursday the snow was piling high outside and officials had long since made the call to shutter the local schools. But Alexa H. Hirschberg, 17, was not curled up in bed, watching videos on her Netflix account or making plans on Facebook for sledding with her boyfriend. She was showered and dressed, seated before a laptop in her family's kitchen searching for the day's assignments her French teacher had left online. School was out, but she was in virtual class. As classrooms become more electronically connected, public schools around the country are exploring whether they can use virtual learning as a practical solution to unpredictable weather, effectively transforming the traditional snow day into a day of instruction.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    5 reasons schools hate snow days (CNN)
The best and worst states for teacher policy (eSchool News)
Restructuring is most common approach to improving low-performing schools (THE Journal)
Common Core in action: Screencasting in the 4th grade math classroom (Edutopia)
Is kindergarten too young to test? (MindShift)

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School shootings happen every 10 days since Sandy Hook, gun control groups find
New York Daily News
A stunning 44 school shootings have claimed 28 lives since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School shook the nation. Mayors Against Illegal Guns — co-founded by former Mayor Bloomberg — and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America compiled the grim tally of one shooting every 10 days since the Newtown, Conn., tragedy in 2012.
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How can schools develop transformational leaders?
District Administration Magazine
Districts looking for transformational leaders to turn around schools may find more success by rigorously training their own teachers and assistant principals for leadership roles, according to a recent report. But most districts lack an effective model for identifying, encouraging and developing an internal pool of qualified future leaders, according to a December 2013 leadership survey from Bain & Company, a global management consulting firm that works with businesses, nonprofits and governments.
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How K-12 leaders can cope with a 'stunning' power shift
eSchool News
Technology is transferring power from institutions to individuals — and this shift has huge implications for K-12 leaders, says Nicco Mele, a faculty member at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Mele, author of the book "The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath", spoke to senior school district leaders during the American Association of School Administrators' National Conference on Education in Nashville, Tenn., Feb. 13. "We're living in this time of incredible opportunity, but it's also kind of scary, because it opens up new issues — and our institutions aren't equipped to keep up with these changes," he said.
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Promoting a culture of learning
Edutopia
Learning is a culture. It starts as a culture with the students as human beings needing to understand their environment. And it ends as a culture with students taking what we give them and using it in those physical and digital environments they call home. Even the practices that promote or undermine the learning process itself are first and foremost human and cultural artifacts. Literacy, curiosity, self-efficacy, ambition and other important agents of learning are born in the native environments of students' homes. Further, learning is ongoing, perishable and alive — just like culture.
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10 common misconceptions about the flipped classroom
Teaching Thought
What have you heard about the flipped classroom? That it's just the latest education fad? That it only works for certain academic subjects? It's not uncommon to come across references in the web media to poorly informed and misconstrued ideas like these. Given the value and many benefits inherent in this powerful form of blended learning, it is important that these misconceptions be addressed and dispelled.
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Bullying affects children's long-term health, study shows
Medical News Today
In the first study of its kind to assess the compounding effects of bullying over 5 years, researchers have found that a child experiences more severe and lasting health implications the longer he or she is bullied, suggesting that early interventions could reverse the "downward health trajectory" that victims of bullying may experience. Results of the study were recently reported in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
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A push to boost computer science learning, even at an early age
NPR
A handful of nonprofit and for-profit groups are working to address what they see as a national education crisis: Too few of America's K-12 public schools actually teach computer science basics and fewer still offer it for credit.

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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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Obama's ConnectED initiative gets major FCC, corporate financial support
Education Week
It almost sounded like President Barack Obama's ConnectED initiative won a lottery. In the same speech, he announced $2 billion in repurposed funding from the Federal Communications Commission's E-rate program to connect more than 15,000 schools and 20 million students to high-speed broadband, and a donation of $750 million in goods and services from seven companies for schools and students.
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Indiana district issues alerting buttons to teachers
THE Journal
An Indiana school district is adopting a wireless panic button system that allows teachers to alert others to safety problems. The Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District, with an elementary, middle and high school, is testing out the Real-Time Location Systems Safety Alert by Ekahau. The Ekahau product is a location-aware badge worn on a lanyard around the neck by teachers. When a problem surfaces, they pull down on the badge to alert others, including police dispatchers. Via Ekahau Vision software, security and police teams see the location of the teachers who sent the alert. They can communicate by two-way text, receive alarms when people enter restricted areas and send mass notifications that are "directionally intelligent" to warn people away from danger areas.
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Snow day for many kids, but not in New York City schools: How officials make the call
The Christian Science Monitor
New York City's public schools were open Thursday morning, and the flurry of negative feedback from parents was as icy as the snowstorm pelting the city. With eight to 12 inches of snow forecast, comments on the school system's Facebook page suggested children would be injured or would show up to a school with few teachers and end up watching movies. United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew called the Wednesday night decision by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña "unwarranted" and "a mistake" in a statement.
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Schools in 14 cities work to expand arts education
The Associated Press via ABC News
In an effort to expand arts education for all K-8 students, 14 cities and school districts have now joined a program linking local arts groups with nearby schools to improve programs amid strained budgets. School and arts leaders from Sacramento, Calif., to Baltimore met near Washington to compare notes on what's working in the initiative run by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The "Ensuring the Arts for Any Given Child" program began with Sacramento in 2009, and officials said it has quickly expanded to now reach 1 million students this year.
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States want kids to learn a lot — Maybe too much
NPR
Jean Leising admits she's no expert on brain development, but she still hopes to do something about the way kids learn. Leising serves in the Indiana state Senate. Last month, she convinced her Senate colleagues to pass a bill that would restore instruction of cursive writing to the state's educational standards — the set of skills and knowledge kids are expected to master in each grade level. Even in the email age, teaching cursive might be a great thing. But when legislatures impose mandates on instruction, professional educators get nervous. It's not just controversial topics such as creationism, which is still a matter of debate in states such as Texas, Louisiana and Missouri. When legislators insist that students master certain material, whether it's a specific historical event or a set of writing or math skills, it can interfere with the overall program that schools are guiding kids through.
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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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Registration for 2014 NAESP conference now open
NAESP
There's no other event like the NAESP National Conference and Expo, held this year from July 10-12 in Nashville, Tenn. Only here can you make the contacts, share the ideas, and discover the solutions that will inform your entire school year. Don't let it happen without you! Register and make your housing reservations today.
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