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Principal evaluation: The next big reform?
eSchool News
As states and districts have worked tirelessly to implement teacher effectiveness initiatives, largely driven by new and more rigorous teacher evaluation systems, the topic of principal evaluation has begun to take a more prominent role in the conversation. And although principal evaluation is not a new concept, it is a fundamentally different conversation than it was several years ago. The field's conception of what is possible relative to evaluative processes (i.e., using student achievement data to evaluate effectiveness) has significantly changed how we approach the process of evaluating both teachers and school leaders.
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Strengthen your substitute pool
District Administration Magazine
The substitute teacher just became more valuable. Economic struggles and new federal education guidelines over the past five years have changed the environment for substitute teachers. When economic difficulties led to staff cutbacks in almost every industry, many laid-off workers signed up to be substitutes, allowing districts to be more selective. At the same time, new regulations have made it more important to staff every classroom with a qualified teacher, including substitutes. District leaders eager to have their students perform well on Common Core and other assessments are wary of losing precious instruction time when teachers are away.
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The history of Common Core State Standards
U.S. News & World Report
For some, the Common Core State Standards seemed to come from nowhere, and appeared to be a sneaky attack on states' rights to control local education. But for those involved in writing the standards, it was nothing short of an exhaustive and collaborative years-long effort aimed at raising the achievement levels of students across the country.
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English language learners and academic language
Edutopia
Helping English language learners develop proficiency in academic language has always been a priority for K-12 educators, and its importance has only been heightened with the advent of the Common Core. To better understand academic language, let's examine the distinction between two terms introduced by Jim Cummins, basic interpersonal communicative skills and cognitive academic language proficiency, that have impacted both policy and practices in second language education.
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STEAM tips and resources you can use right now
eSchool News
The need for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and proficiency is nothing new. But a movement is growing for STEAM education, in which the "a" stands for Arts. Cultivating scientific and mathematical viewpoints and experiences through arts education is a critical need in today's schools, STEAM advocates say. Each of these tips, resources or tools will help you as you attempt to integrate arts education and arts experiences into STEM education.
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Beyond knowing facts, how do we get to a deeper level of learning?
MindShift
As educators across the country continue to examine the best ways of teaching and learning, a new lexicon is beginning to emerge that describes one particular approach — deeper learning. The phrase implies a rich learning experience for students that allows them to really dig into a subject and understand it in a way that requires more than just memorizing facts.
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Use STEM education to improve civic literacy
The Olympian
During the past several legislative sessions, there's been a steady push for more and better education in science, technology, engineering and math — known as the STEM disciplines. The push comes mainly from companies such as Boeing, Microsoft and biomedical firms who need more educated employees. But there are other, perhaps even more important reasons to support better education in math and science. In the 21st century, science and math education are prerequisites to competent self-government.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword STEM.


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Do teachers still need classroom seating charts?
EdTech Magazine
Last year, when EdTech: Focus on K–12 reported on the trend of teachers getting rid of desks in the classroom, we heard from numerous educators who'd successfully gone deskless and loved it. Similarly, some teachers believe there should be freedom of choice and movement when it comes to seating arrangements in the classroom. These teachers are choosing to forgo the roll call–friendly seating chart and instead are empowering students to sit where they please.
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Brain differences between genders
Psychology Today
It's no secret that boys and girls are different — very different. The differences between genders, however, extend beyond what the eye can see. Research reveals major distinguishers between male and female brains. Scientists generally study four primary areas of difference in male and female brains: processing, chemistry, structure, and activity. The differences between male and female brains in these areas show up all over the world, but scientists also have discovered exceptions to every so-called gender rule.
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New rules would curb how kids are sold junk food at school
NPR
If you want to teach kids to adopt healthier eating habits, it's probably unwise to give them coupons for fast food chains at school. And those advertisements for sugary sodas on the gymnasium scoreboard? Seems like another mixed message schools are sending kids. That's why the White House and U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed new school wellness guidelines Tuesday aimed at cracking down on the widespread marketing of less-than-nutritious foods to kids on campus during the school day. Even though 90 percent of school districts are now meeting the overhauled nutrition standards for school lunches, students are still being flooded with advertising for junk food in schools, according to first lady Michelle Obama.
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Surveys differ on teacher preparedness for Common Core
Education Week
The results from two studies that examine teachers' perceptions on the Common Core State Standards were released this week, and they come to some markedly different conclusions on how ready teachers are for implementation. And while both studies show teachers want more co-planning time, they diverge on where else teachers see significant challenges.
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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 4, 2014. MORE.


School security expert says one third of threats to schools done via social media
WEWS-TV
A study of violent threats to schools shows nearly a third of those incidents were delivered by social media and other electronic means. Ken Trump, an internationally recognized expert in school safety and security based in Cleveland, studied threats to schools over a six month period from August 2013 through January 2014. The number of bomb threats, shootings, acts of violence and hoaxes sent via electronic means accounted for a third of the 315 nationally documented threats.
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Skipping a grade is rare, but it might just save the world
The Washington Post
When Linda McVeigh began second grade at Kit Carson Elementary School in Lawndale, Calif., her teacher saw she was far ahead. She had learned to read at age four from her 12-year-old aunt. The blonde 7-year-old from a rural Oklahoma family was funny and talkative. Her math scores were very high. The school recommended she skip ahead to third grade. Her parents, aircraft factory workers who had not gone to college, were surprised by the suggestion but agreed. The promotion went smoothly, her lively personality and athletic talent making up for the age gap.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Class size matters a lot, research shows (The Washington Post)
The Common Core is tough on kids with special needs (The Atlantic)
Online learning softens impact of snow days (District Administration Magazine)
Taking the temperature on school climate and discipline (Ed.gov Blog)
The side of learning disabilities no one considers (Psychology Today)

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


Teachers wish more people would listen to them
The Atlantic
Teachers overwhelmingly say they aren't being listened to on matters of education policy at the state or national level. At the school level, however, 69 percent of teachers said their opinions carried weight, according to the third edition of the "Primary Sources" survey by Scholastic and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. That figure dropped dramatically as the size of the sphere increased. Only one in 20 teachers said they were being heard statewide, and one in 50 teachers felt they had a voice nationally. It would be tough to find a profession facing greater scrutiny by policymakers at every level than what teachers currently experience, which makes it notable that so many of them perceive themselves as not being heard at the levels where most of the major policy decisions are made.
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White students predicted to be in the minority in US public schools by fall 2014
The Hechinger Report
The National Center for Education Statistics released its "Projections of Education Statistics to 2022" with data on enrollment, teachers, graduates and expenditures.
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Teachers still needed with self-paced blended learning
eSchool News
Some teachers initially view self-paced blended learning as a process where the "computer does the teaching" and the role of the teacher is diminished. Practical experience with this style of learning with middle school students over several years indicates that this is not the case. The teacher is still very important; however, the role changes. In short, this change could be described as a teacher moving from a lecturer to a facilitator, explainer to intervener, generalist to specialist and thus from content focus to content skills and mind-set focus.
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Strengthen your substitute pool
District Administration Magazine
The substitute teacher just became more valuable. Economic struggles and new federal education guidelines over the past five years have changed the environment for substitute teachers.

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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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New Child Trends study highlights approach for closing achievement gaps
District Administration Magazine
More than 60 percent of America's black and Hispanic school children are living in poor or low-income families, and more than one in five children overall are in poverty, putting many of these students at risk for educational failure. Child Trends reported today on a promising strategy for providing at-risk students the academic and non-academic supports necessary for educational success.
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New E-rate funding will take time to reach schools
Education Week
Schools are under increasing strain to provide fast, reliable Internet access for teachers and students, and federal officials insist that help is coming. But will it arrive quickly enough? Those familiar with the E-rate program predict that proposed changes to its funding — expected to pump an extra $2 billion into high-speed broadband over the next two years — are likely to produce significant benefits for the nation's schools over time, thanks in part to a new focus on supporting the use of new technologies.
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New Jersey releases school aid figures
The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Christie administration released proposed school-aid figures Thursday that include additional per-pupil funding in discretionary spending and technology — about $20 per child — and a $5 million innovation fund to explore initiatives such as longer school days. The total proposed direct school aid is $9 billion, up nearly $37 million from last year. An additional $3.9 billion will go toward other costs, such as retirement benefits, pensions and construction.
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New Orleans goes all in on charter schools. Is it showing the way?
The Christian Science Monitor
Ever since the floods from hurricane Katrina demolished large swaths of New Orleans nearly a decade ago, the city has been reinventing itself — perhaps nowhere more radically than in its schools. In so doing, New Orleans has become a sort of district-less school district, the first of its kind in the nation, in which the vast majority of students attend charter schools — free public schools that operate independently through a contract with the state or local board. The results are drawing national attention.
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Classroom spending continues to slide in Arizona schools
Arizona Daily Star
The share of education tax dollars that actually winds up in Arizona classrooms slid again last year, to the lowest level in the 13 years the state has been monitoring. New figures from the Auditor General's Office show less than 54 cents out of every education dollar went into actual classroom spending — 7.4 percentage points below the national average. Auditor General Debra Davenport said that shows up largely in more students being packed into fewer classes. The average class size in Arizona is larger than the national average, Davenport said, and has increased in the last two years.
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Guns at school proposal returns to Indiana legislature
Journal and Courier
Controversial legislation that would allow teachers, parents and others to bring guns to school parking lots was revived in the Indiana House of Represenatives. The measure, which would require the concealed guns to be left in locked cars, passed the House Public Policy Committee on an 8-2 vote and now heads to the full House for consideration. The provision was added to Senate Bill 229, legislation that also would prohibit law enforcement agencies from conducting firearm buyback programs with public money.
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Hidden successes, public shortfalls and a make-or-break year for one Newark, NJ, school
The Hechinger Report
Erskine Glover was home recovering from hip replacement surgery last summer when the scores arrived. The principal of Quitman Street Renew School knew based on internal assessments that more than 80 percent of his students had shown growth during the 2012-2013 academic year. But he also knew that most were still not performing at grade level, and the New Jersey's standardized tests are grade-level exams. And so he was hoping for the best but bracing for bad news.
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Principal is now digital
NAESP
In case you missed it, Principal is now available in digital format. Check out the latest issue, which focuses on how school leaders can bring data pieces together for positive outcomes.
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10 tips for effective classroom management
NAESP
Keeping a classroom under control is often a teacher's biggest challenge — but a new report suggests that teacher preparation programs aren't doing enough to help aspiring teachers learn classroom management.
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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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