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Text Version   RSS   Subscribe   Unsubscribe   Archive   Media Kit February 27, 2015

Curriculum    School Leadership   Federal Advocacy & Policy   In the States   Association News   Buy Books   Contact NAESP


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Why principals matter
The Atlantic
Just earlier this year, Nadia Lopez was ready to quit her job at Mott Hall Bridges Academy. Lopez founded the public middle school in 2010, hoping to provide educational stability to students in Brownsville, Brooklyn — the poorest neighborhood in New York City. Four years later, though, she worried her work wasn't influencing the community. Then Vidal Chastanet, an eighth-grader at Mott Hall, was featured on the Humans of New York photo blog, where he praised Lopez as the most influential person in his life.
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Are school leaders comfortable with blended learning?
Scholastic Administrator Magazine
Blended learning has captured the attention of innovators, educators and students around the world. The growing question is how will educational leaders view this modern and technological approach to curriculum delivery and experience. Dr. Gisèle Huff's work, at the leadership level of education, currently focuses on blended learning and supporting those innovators fueling the cause.
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Will gifted education weather the Common Core?
THE Journal
According to a study by the Fordham Institute, education reform "gadfly," some districts and states believe that the Common Core gives them a reason to "ditch" services for gifted students, equating the standards with advanced education. "The Common Core was really meant to be a floor and not a ceiling," said Jonathan Plucker, a professor of education at the University of Connecticut and an expert in gifted education, who wrote the Fordham paper examining the situation for high-achieving students.
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Study suggests mental reflection and rest boost learning
Psychology Today (commentary)
Keep your "nose to the grindstone" is the advice we often tell young people is an essential ingredient of learning difficult tasks. A joke captures the matter with the old bromide for success, "Keep your eye on the ball, your ear to the ground, your nose to the grindstone, your shoulder to the wheel: Now try to work in that position."
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How can games support classroom practice?
eSchool News
A new study reveals that scoring systems and player progress dashboards are among common game traits that can help educators more effectively track student learning, but game design must improve to help inform teachers about the link between student play and academic gains. The study, the second in a series about games in the classroom, comes from the A-GAMES project, a collaboration between the University of Michigan and New York University that studies how teachers use digital games to support student learning and formative assessment.
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Making connections: Culturally responsive teaching and the brain
Edutopia (commentary)
Elena Aguilar, a contributor for Edutopia, writes: "Zaretta Hammond's new book, 'Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students,' fills a huge gap in my bookshelf. Hoping to get it into your hands and onto your shelves, I decided to do a Q & A with the author."
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Differentiated instruction: Top 5 low-prep strategies
By: Savanna Flakes
James R. Delisle recently wrote a controversial commentary for Education Week titled, "Differentiation Doesn't Work." But what Delisle may not realize is that differentiation is not a set of prescriptive strategies, rather a purposeful way of planning to account for student differences. Differentiation is a journey, not a one-stop fix or end point. To support teachers who are looking for some low-prep differentiation strategies, I have compiled the top-five strategies that take minimal planning time but can have a big impact in the classroom.
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Solving the school therapist shortage
District Administration Magazine
In rural Washington state, an occupational therapist might drive three to four hours to see a student — that is, if a district can find one to hire. Last year, an occupational therapist job posting went six months without a single application being submitted to Educational Services District 112, which provides special education services to 28 rural districts across six counties near the Oregon border. And that sent the district's special education director, Michelle Murer, searching to find another way to provide occupational therapies to rural students. She found the answer this past fall, which bypassed the difficulty of geography altogether: a burgeoning model known as telepractice, in which students receive services from therapists online.
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Steps to creating the conditions for deep, rigorous, applied learning
MindShift
Many school administrators, teachers and parents want the education provided to children to be high quality, rigorous and connected to the world outside the classroom. Teachers are trying to provide these elements in various ways, but a group of schools calling themselves the "Deeper Learning Network" have codified some of what they believe are essential qualities of deep learning (check out how students lead parent teacher conferences in this model). Some of these qualities include learning designated content, critical thinking, communication skills, collaborating effectively and connecting learning to real-world experiences.
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Photos of school lunches from around the world will make American kids want to study abroad
The Huffington Post
More than one-third of kids in America are obese or overweight. In 2013, the National School Lunch Program, a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools, served 5.1 billion lunches, Bloomberg reports. The quality of these lunches must somehow correlate to the health of America's youth, considering more than 32 million children are served NSLP every day. Parents could model better eating habits and stock their crispers with fresh fruit and vegetables, but a viable starter solution might begin at lunchtime. Sweetgreen, a healthy quick-serve restaurant that values local and organic ingredients, clarified disparity between American student lunches and those of other countries by photographing typical school lunches from around the world. The visuals are eye-opening.
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Weather-battered schools turn to virtual days for students
Reuters
Hundreds of thousands of U.S. students stayed home this week due to snow and freezing temperatures, but some kids were not able to spend the day sledding or watching TV. School districts from Oklahoma to Kentucky to Massachusetts kept students busy in virtual classrooms by assigning work online that was monitored by their teachers. Younger students or those without computers were not left out. Many of those students received paper materials on the day before bad weather was forecast.
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More conflict over cutting federal role in education
The New York Times
As the House of Representatives prepared to take up a Republican proposal for the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, Congress and the White House inched toward a confrontation over the federal role in education. The House is expected to pass a plan this week that would cut back federal regulation of education from kindergarten through 12th grade and give state and local authorities more discretion over everything from assessing teacher and student performance to the flow of Title I money, the largest stream of federal funding for low-income students.
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Title I portability for private schools to get no floor vote in House NCLB debate
Education Week
When the U.S. House of Representatives considers amendments to the Republican-backed No Child Left Behind Act rewrite, members will not get a chance to vote on a measure that would have allowed Title I money for low-income students to be used at private schools. The ruling is a big win for those House Republicans, including education committee Chairman John Kline, R-Minn., who want to pass the NCLB overhaul bill without any snafus, and for House Democrats who don't want to see the rewrite become any more conservative.
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As House prepares to vote on NCLB, advocates push for preschool funding
U.S. News & World Report
As the House of Representatives prepares to vote on Republican legislation to update the No Child Left Behind Act, a coalition of education professionals and advocacy groups is urging lawmakers to consider adding dedicated funding for preschool in the bill. The groups — including both national teachers unions, a national principals association and groups that advocate for education equity — are releasing a proposal to add funding for early childhood education as a new title to the overarching education law formally known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
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The biggest losers in the No Child Left Behind rewrite
The Hechinger Report
Rural school districts and states with large, rural populations are poised to lose a disproportionate amount of funding and opportunities to innovate under a bill proposed by House Republicans, according to a report by the Obama administration. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke at an on-the-record breakfast with reporters to further detail his concerns with the bill, which would rewrite No Child Left Behind, the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Duncan and the White House have been vocal opponents to the proposed bill, which faces a House vote.
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In Los Angeles, missing kindergarten is a big deal
NPR
In kindergarten, kids are learning really important stuff. Basic reading skills. Numbers and math concepts. And to keep from falling behind, one of the major things they need to do is make it to school every day. In Los Angeles, the nation's second-largest school district, kindergarten absence is a big problem, with some students missing 10, 20, 30 days or more. In 2012, district officials say that almost 10,000 students were chronically absent from kindergarten. Last year that number improved, but only slightly. It's a problem around the country as well, and research confirms the academic peril chronic absence creates for the youngest students.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Are iPads the solution to snow days? (The Atlantic)
The power of observation (By: Pamela Hill)
'Fraction phobia': The root of math anxiety? (Education Week)
Report: Fewer kids are frequent readers (The Boston Globe)
The 5 most important terms for transforming schools (eSchool News)

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




Polls open today in 2015 NAESP election
NAESP
Voting will take place Friday, Feb. 27 through Thursday, March 12. Eligible NAESP members may vote for the President-Elect and Vice President during this voting window. New Zone Directors will also be elected in Zones 5, 7 and 9 in accordance with their zone process. If you have questions about your zone election, please contact your zone director. Members can learn about the candidates and find instructions on how to vote at www.naesp.org/2015-naesp-election.
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Politics, passion & principals: NLC kicks off
NAESP
Indiana principal Adam Drummond writes: "Urgency. Passion. Commitment. Determination. These are some of the emotions I and nearly 200 fellow principals felt during the first day of NAESP's National Leaders Conference. As a first time attendee of NLC, I have to admit that part of my anticipation included feeling a little overwhelmed. The 2015 conference kicked off on Monday, Feb. 23, leaving principals ready to tackle Capitol Hill visits on Tuesday, Feb. 24."
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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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