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Dealing with Common Core backlash
District Administration Magazine
As debate over the Common Core continues to spread in major media outlets, local administrators must address parent and community concerns to keep the focus on student learning. "The need for parent communication with the Common Core caught many administrators by surprise, because this idea of having standards and revising curriculum isn't new for district administrators," says Sandra Alberti, director of field impact at Student Achievement Partners, a nonprofit started by Common Core creators to help educators implement the standards.
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The snow conundrum: How a school system decides whether to open
The Washington Post
Todd Watkins had been following the snow forecasts closely. By the time he climbed out of bed in the darkness of 2 a.m., he didn't think a storm would wallop the Washington region. But he thought it was possible that Montgomery's schools would open after a delay. How possible, he didn't know. By 3 a.m. Thursday, Watkins was driving his Ford pickup toward the nerve center of the county's snow decision-making operation, inside a modest office at a bus depot just off Shady Grove Road in Derwood, Md. He saw not a snowflake.
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Dissecting a frog: A middle school rite of passage
NPR
Among the Bunsen burners and petri dishes of Rob Glotfelty's life sciences lab sits a stack of curious packages: dead frogs, vacuum-sealed and piled five high. Once those seals are broken, these leopard frogs emit a pungent odor. And, even in death, they're remarkably slimy. Which is why some of the seventh-graders at Baltimore's Patterson Park Public Charter School are seriously grossed out. "I don't want to cut open no live animal," says student Taylor Smith, who is thoroughly hidden beneath a black smock, plastic goggles and rubber gloves. "I'm gonna throw up on it."
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Simple exercises to improve ELL reading skills
By: Douglas Magrath
Reading is an essential means of communication. Reading involves the recognition of large units — words and word groups — along with phonetic decoding. Reading is not just a passive activity; rather it is an active skill where the reader interacts with the text bringing many different skills into the process. Strategies are deliberate steps that the learners take when processing new material. The students must not only know about these strategies, but they must also be trained in their use.
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Teaching the Holocaust: New approaches for a new generation
NPR
Writer and philosopher Hannah Arendt once wrote that, with the German genocide of European Jews, human history "has known no story more difficult to tell." And there may be no topic more difficult to teach. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau. And the question of the most effective way to educate the next generation about the Holocaust has grown more acute as there are fewer and fewer living survivors. When they die, they take with them stories only they can tell.
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School implements standing desks to boost student engagement
eSchool News
As educators turn their attention to how physical learning environments can influence student learning, more companies are responding to the demand for flexible and innovative classroom furniture. Ergotron, Inc. placed LearnFit Standing Desks in a classroom at Dr. Kirk Lewis Career and Technical High School in the Pasadena ISD, a suburb of Houston, Texas, earlier this school year and is already receiving positive feedback.
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Study: Students in struggling schools more likely to attend, but misbehave
Education Week
As pressure increases for schools who miss accountability benchmarks, students become less likely to be late or miss class — but more likely to get into fights and get reported or suspended for misbehavior. That's the conclusion of a new study by Duke University researchers John B. Holbein and Helen F. "Sunny" Ladd, for the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, or CALDER.
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Not giving up on a student
Edutopia (commentary)
Ben Johnson, an administrator, author and educator, writes: "It was late Friday, just before the winter break. Since I was the principal of this school, I was meeting with a parent and her son. I watched the 15-year-old boy smirk when he was asked about why he did not attend school regularly. After the meeting, I talked with his mother privately for a few minutes to find out what was really going on. She shared that she was a single mother trying to raise a family of rebellious boys."
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Pre-K-12 digital market rises in value to $8.38 billion
EdTech Magazine
The growth in educational software and digital content for Pre-K-12 schools has grown in the past year from $7.9 billion to $8.38 billion, according to a new report. The valuation is based on data collected from 144 service providers and publishers nationwide for the "2014 U.S. Education Technology Industry Market: Pre-K-12 Report," from the Education Technology Industry Network of the Software & Information Industry Association. Testing and assessment, valued at $2.5 billion, was the largest single category in the report. It's no surprise, either. Common Core State Standards have been widely adopted in the past year, requiring schools to upgrade their assessment capabilities and hardware to support these systems.
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How Latino families use educational content and what that means for communities
MindShift
Technology has enabled the spread of options for how children can learn, but in many cases, the research has yet to catch up. When it comes to educational content, not all families consume media in the same way and differences can exist within ethnic and socioeconomic groups. The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop released the results of a survey that takes a deeper dive into how Hispanic-Latino families use educational content and the platforms by which they experience it. The Cooney Center surveyed 682 Hispanic-Latino parents of children ages 2-10, and the results may inform the development of educational content, policy and technology. According to the survey, "educational content was defined for the parent as 'products that teach a child some type of lesson, such as an academic or social skill, or are good for a child's learning or growth.'"
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Schools move toward software-defined data centers
EdTech Magazine
The transition to a software-defined data center brought immediate benefits to Volusia County Schools, in DeLand, Fla. "It used to be that 80 percent of the effort was focused on physically getting computing power up and running," says Alex Kennedy, assistant director of infrastructure and technical services. "Now, it is less than 10 percent physical work, and the rest we can do from our desks using software. I haven't had to add any new physical servers to the data center in two years."
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Tackling eating disorders with school-based initiatives
U.S. News & World Report
Advocates are pushing for school-based initiatives to raise awareness about the dangers of eating disorders, which kill more Americans than any other psychiatric illness. "Educators have a real opportunity to disseminate healthful messages and address issues that are impairing the quality of life of many students," says Rebecca Puhl, deputy director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut and co-author of a study that found strong public support for school-based strategies that address eating disorders and weight stigmatization.
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Protecting student data: 6 things to look for in a terms of service agreement
K-12TechDecisions
Student data continues to be a hot topic in education. Last year we saw the FTC get involved in the debate after Ed-tech company ConnectEDU filed for bankruptcy, potentially putting 20 million student records at risk for sale. The California legislature also entered the fray by passing a bill that prohibits companies from targeting ads to students based on school information and reinforces schools' ownership of student data regardless of where it is stored or managed.
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Encouraging the growth of a global citizen: Travel and service work for tweens and teens
By: Katherine Dayton
Any educator who works with middle school and high school students knows how challenging it can be to understand exactly what kids are going through during these complex stages of life. It's an exciting time of tremendous growth, both physically and emotionally. For the thriving, the struggling and those in between, traveling to other countries or communities within one's own country to perform impactful service work can be an enlightening, exhilarating and empowering experience that helps shape their future and sense of self.
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House Republican leaders defer No Child Left Behind vote
The Christian Science Monitor
In a political embarrassment for Republicans, House GOP leaders abruptly cancelled a vote on a bill to update the George W. Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law after struggling to find support from conservatives. The bill would keep the annual testing requirements on schools but would give more freedom to states and districts to spend federal dollars and identify and fix failing schools. But conservative opponents said it doesn't go far enough to let states and districts set education policy. Such conservative groups as Heritage Action for America and Club for Growth are among the opponents.
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Can an NCLB rewrite still happen this year?
Education Week
House Republican leaders delayed a vote on rewriting the No Child Left Behind Act. So is an NCLB update all-dead for the year, or just mostly dead? As any fan of the 1987 movie The Princess Bride knows, there's a big difference between "mostly dead" and "all dead." After all, you can go from being "mostly dead" to storming the castle in a matter of minutes, as long as you have a chocolate-coated miracle pill from Miracle Max. If we're in "all dead" territory, there's nothing left to do except go through the bill's clothes and look for loose change.
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Colorado pushes for concealed guns in K-12 schools
NPR
Patrick Neville was a 15-year-old sophomore at Columbine High School in 1999. He was on his way to a fast food lunch when the shooting started. Two students, armed with guns and pipe bombs, had stormed the Colorado school, on their way to killing one teacher and 12 students — some were Neville's friends. Neville, now a Colorado state representative, says many of Columbine's teachers and faculty acted heroically that day. But, he says, "I truly believe that had some of them had the legal authority to be armed, more of my friends might be with me today." That's part of the reason that Neville, a Republican, has proposed legislation in Colorado that would give anyone with a concealed weapons permit — "any law-abiding citizen," Neville says — the right to carry firearms in public schools.
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As Common Core testing is ushered in, parents and students opt out
The New York Times
Recently, a few hundred students will file into classrooms at Bloomfield Middle School, open laptops and begin a new standardized test, one mandated across New Jersey and several other states for the first time this year. About a dozen of their classmates, however, will be elsewhere. They will sit in a nearby art room, where they will read books, do a little drawing and maybe paint. What they will not do is take the test, because they and their parents have flatly refused.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Hard steps not yet taken: Ending bullying in our schools (Edutopia)
These are the states that suspend students at the highest rates (The Huffington Post)
How does your school use social media to connect with families? (By: Brian Stack)
Why principals matter (The Atlantic)
Are school leaders comfortable with blended learning? (Scholastic Administrator Magazine)

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




2015 National Leaders Conference: Principals take ESEA action
NAESP
On Monday, Feb. 23 — the first day of NAESP's National Leaders Conference — communication coach Nan Tolbert gave principals a piece of advice for meeting with lawmakers: "The main thing," she said, "is to keep the main thing the main thing." That main issue during this year's National Leaders Conference is the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, currently being reworked by both the House and Senate. The two-day conference brought nearly 200 principals from across the country together to Washington, D.C., to engage with top education thought leaders.
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Vote in the 2015 NAESP election
NAESP
Online voting is currently taking place for the 2015 NAESP election, with polls closing 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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