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Districts experiment with partial homeschooling for gifted students
Scholastic Administrator
Gifted children are the fastest-growing group to leave traditional institutions for homeschooling, according to Kathi Kearney of the Gifted Development Center. In many cases, she says, school districts can't afford the resources necessary to meet these students' highly individualized needs. Rather than losing these children altogether, some districts have become more flexible, allowing for partial homeschooling. The students attend school for part of the day and then learn at home or at a tutoring center or other approved site for the rest of the day.
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Instead of arming teachers, hire police
USA Today
Despite calls from conservatives to arm teachers, a voice of reason and dissent has emerged from this reddest of states. Alabama Sen. Bill Holtzclaw, a conservative Republican, says it is "doubtful" that teachers here should be armed. Holtzclaw, a retired Marine, has something many of us don't: experience about what it means to use a gun in combat situations. He was a primary marksmanship instructor who trained other Marines.
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New education technology bill supports digital learning, Common Core
eSchool New
A new bill calls on Congress to fund $500 million in grants to states and districts for educational technology, and supporters say it could replace the old Enhancing Education Through Technology program, which died in 2011. The Transforming Education Through Technology Act was introduced by U.S. Rep. George Miller of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.
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Social media training for kids: A 60-minute class workshop
The Huffington Post
Worried about kids and social networks? While services like Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest are among the most public of online spaces, it may help to recall that a little education can go a long way towards teaching children how to behave and act more appropriately on these sites.
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New online assessments to include accommodations for students with disabilities
eClassroom News
One of the two state consortia developing next-generation assessments to be taken online is seeking comments on a draft policy that proposes accommodations for students with disabilities who need help expressing themselves in writing or typing on a computer. The proposal comes from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, a 22-state effort to develop new online assessments in English and math, aligned with the Common Core State Standards, that will test a full range of student performance on skills necessary for college or career readiness.
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'Lincoln' is coming to a school near you
Education Week
If you missed Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" at the cinema, you might be able to catch it at your local school sometime soon. That's because copies of the movie will be distributed for free to all middle and high schools in the United States, both public and private, as soon as it's made available on DVD, the organization Participant Media announced. Actually, schools will get a special DVD package that includes an "educator's guide" to help teachers develop lesson plans and engage students in discussion about Abraham Lincoln and that time period, a press release said.
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Smithsonian launches quests program to encourage discovery and collaboration
THE Journal
The Smithsonian Center for Education and Museum Studies has launched Smithsonian Quests, a digital badge program designed to foster project-based learning and inspire students to explore their own ideas and interests. To earn digital badges, students complete a series of online activities and submit their work for review by Smithsonian education experts. All quests engage students in exploring a topic of interest, either as part of a formal standards-aligned school curriculum or as a student-driven after school activity.
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Zero tolerance — or zero sense?
eSchool News
Waiting in line for the bus, a Pennsylvania kindergartener tells her pals she's going to shoot them with a Hello Kitty toy that makes soap bubbles. In Maryland, two 6-year-old boys pretend their fingers are guns during a playground game of cops and robbers. In Massachusetts, a 5-year-old boy attending an after-school program makes a gun out of Legos and points it at other students while "simulating the sound of gunfire," as one school official put it. Kids with active imaginations — or potential threats to school safety?
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Rise early and shine: Teachers and students try out longer school days
NPR
It's 7:30 a.m. on a recent weekday, the sun is still rising and the kids at Pulaski Elementary School in Meriden, Conn., are already dancing. They are stomping, hopping, clapping and generally "getting the shakies out," as fifth-grader Jaelinne Davis puts it. "If we're like hyper, if we do this, then we can get better at, like, staying mellow and stuff like that," she says. By 9 a.m., Jaelinne will be back at her normal school day with its core curriculum that is graded by a state test at the end of the year. But until then, she'll have 80 minutes of exercising, breakfast and enrichment classes. These classes such as math, computer games, robotics and hands-on science lessons are all meant to be fun, but still include a level of learning, extending the length of a typical school day.
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Why confusion can be a good thing
MindShift
We all know that confusion doesn't feel good. Because it seems like an obstacle to learning, we try to arrange educational experiences and training sessions so that learners will encounter as little confusion as possible. But as is so often the case when it comes to learning, our intuitions here are exactly wrong. Scientists have been building a body of evidence over the past few years demonstrating that confusion can lead us to learn more efficiently, more deeply, more lastingly — as long as it's properly managed.
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Schools confront digital textbook challenges
eSchool News
The federal education department has called for schools to use digital textbooks within the next five years, but what does that mean for school leaders? For one thing, it means figuring out how to deal with a number of challenges, including — but not limited to — ensuring equitable access, overcoming budget constraints, choosing preferred device and textbook platforms, and building infrastructure and capability.
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Robots help children 'attend' school despite illnesses
The Associated Press via Silicon Valley Mercury News
Devon Carrow's life-threatening allergies don't allow him to go to school. But the 4-foot-tall robot with a wireless video hookup gives him the school experience remotely, allowing him to participate in class, stroll through the hallways, hang out at recess and even take to the auditorium stage when there's a show.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Students must learn more words, say studies (Education Week)
Improving the effectiveness of our teachers will help student achievement (Center for American Progress)
Schools rethinking perfect attendance awards (KSEE-TV)
Cursive, written word decline as technology takes over (WXIX-TV)
Schools rolling out survey for parents, teachers and students (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

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


Does the Common Core demoralize teachers?
The Huffington Post
Sarah Brown Wessling, the 2010 Teacher of the Year, writes: "It's a serious question, with serious implications. It's a question that arises for me all too often when I see tired faces, confused looks or disheartened shoulders. It's a question that I feel a responsibility to wrestle with; after all, I've spent the last few years working to make sense of the Core, to put it in language that resonates with others, to make it accessible in ways that teachers won't feel like they're losing the integrity of their classrooms."
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Obama proposal reflects shift in views on early childhood education
The Washington Post
President Barack Obama's call for universal preschool in his State of the Union address underlines a national shift in thinking about early childhood education, driven by advances in neuroscience and a growing urgency about the need to close the achievement gap between poor and privileged children. A small but increasing number of states have invested tax dollars in preschool during the past decade, and millions of parents are walking their 3- and 4-year-old children into classrooms instead of keeping them at home or with a babysitter.

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Cheat sheet for the first days of school
Edutopia
For those of us in the field of educating young minds, we often find that summer does two things rather well. First, it helps us remember a time when our first names weren't Mister or Miss for the majority of the day and when we didn't have to break out into a vibrant soliloquy whenever the tenor of a room didn't feel right. Secondly, it abruptly breaks us out of our own routines for how we go about our days. We don't follow the bells or the crowds swooshing past the hallways to their next stations.

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Sunscreen forbidden at schools and camps
USA Today
When parents send children to school or camp, they may worry about many things, from bullies to bus accidents. But unauthorized sunscreen use? It turns out that many schools and camps do that worrying for parents, with policies that ban kids from carrying sunscreen without a doctor's note and warn staffers not to dispense it. Such policies are getting new scrutiny this week, thanks to Jesse Michener, a mother in Tacoma, Wash., who was horrified to see two of her daughters, ages 11 and 9, return from a school field day with severe sunburns.

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How free play can define kids' success
MindShift
Free, unstructured playtime gives kids a chance to discover their interests and tap into their creativity. It's a crucial element for building resilience in children, an attribute they'll need in order to become happy, productive adults. That's Kenneth Ginsburg's thesis and the core of his book "Building Resilience in Children and Teens." Ginsburg, a pediatrician at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia who also works with homeless children, has spent a lot of time trying to help young people build tools they'll need to succeed — even when trauma has marred early lives.
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A dress-code enforcer's struggle for the soul of the middle-school girl
The Atlantic (commentary)
Jessica Lahey, a English, Latin and writing teacher in Lyme, New Hampshire, writes: "There's one lovely aspect to the deep, dark winter in New Hampshire: It is a reprieve from The Season of Dress Code Enforcement. I teach middle school. And for as long as I have been a teacher, I have worried that my female students are so concerned with their newfound sex appeal that they forget to appreciate all the other gifts they offer to the world. I know it sounds petty, this interest in whether or not the girls in my classes show their legs, or shoulders, or breasts, to the world. My concerns sound like something a repressed, puritanical schoolmarm would worry about over her evening Earl Grey tea."
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Urban school-based asthma treatment cost-effective
HealthDay News via Doctor's Lounge
A program to administer asthma medication each day to urban children with asthma reduces symptoms and is cost-effective, according to research published online Feb. 11 in Pediatrics. Katia Noyes, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the University of Rochester in New York, and colleagues analyzed data from the School-Based Asthma Therapy program, a study involving 525 children (3- to 10-years-old) with asthma attending urban schools who were randomized to receive either usual care or one dose of preventative asthma medication at school each school day.
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Obama proposal reflects shift in views on early childhood education
The Washington Post
President Barack Obama's call for universal preschool in his State of the Union address underlines a national shift in thinking about early childhood education, driven by advances in neuroscience and a growing urgency about the need to close the achievement gap between poor and privileged children. A small but increasing number of states have invested tax dollars in preschool during the past decade, and millions of parents are walking their 3- and 4-year-old children into classrooms instead of keeping them at home or with a babysitter.
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Obama visits Georgia to promote education
USA Today
President Barack Obama plans to promote early childhood education during a visit to a suburb of Atlanta. In a second day of follow-up to his State of the Union speech, Obama visits a pre-kindergarten class at an early childhood learning center in Decatur, Ga.; he will discuss proposals for universal preschool, expanded Head Start and other education programs.
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New report continues the dialogue on testing integrity
ED.gov Blog (commentary)
Academic assessment plays an important role in making decisions about the education of our children. We — parents, educators and administrators — all depend on valid and reliable data. Yet a series of high-profile cheating incidents over the last several years has raised concerns about the integrity of those testing data. And even though every state has made an effort to prevent cheating, states haven't always had access to a library of test security strategies that are most likely to work.
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North Carolina State Board of Education opposes use of corporal punishment in public schools
The Fayetteville Observer
The State Board of Education passed a resolution opposing the use of corporal punishment in public schools. The board's action would not affect local school boards' policies on paddling as a disciplinary method. State law gives local boards the authority to make those decisions, and a law would be required to impose a statewide ban. The vote was intended to show the state board's stance on the issue, said a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Public Instruction.
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Virginia schools pilot blended math program
THE Journal
A grant funded by Cisco Systems is supporting implementation of a pilot that uses math games in Virginia to help raise math proficiency in that state. The Cisco Foundation is providing $250,000 to Mind Research Institute, an education nonprofit, to make its ST Math programs available to 6,000 elementary and middle school students at 22 public schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2011, 54 percent of Virginia's students were at or below the level of proficiency in achievement for math.
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Mississippi public schools: Innovation in the classroom
The Clarion-Ledger
Some fourth-graders at Madison Avenue Upper Elementary grinned and a few pumped their fists in the air when they were told the day's lesson. They were playing a race car game. The car's acceleration is based on how quickly students correctly type the letters shown on screen, explained Catherine Newsome, the school's computer technology teacher.
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Mock paycheck aims to teach budget skills
The Toledo Blade
Eighth-grade students in Oregon's Fassett Middle School have received a "paycheck" of sorts. Call it a virtual paycheck. That's because it was part of an online personal finance course called Banzai that technology teacher Amy Sweet is conducting. The idea is to introduce the youngsters to how a checking account works and the importance of not spending more than you earn.
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Collaboration can strengthen afterschool programs
NAESP
Principals know that engaging afterschool programs can yield positive outcomes for students. A new compendium on how to leverage the power of afterschool programs includes an article co-authored by NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly. She explores how collaboration between school leaders and community organization can unlock the doors to excellent afterschool opportunities.
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Help your teachers be their best with Principal magazine
NAESP
The January/February issue of NAESP's magazine is packed with ideas to help you with staff development. Read Todd Whitaker's tips for supporting teachers and psychologist Adam Sáenz's strategies for bolstering wellness. Plus, discover innovative approaches for mentoring, working with parents and building a professional development library.
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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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