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A new way to hire school personnel?
eSchool News
At first glance, the teacher hiring process might seem relatively simple. In fact, it can quickly become overwhelming, as school leaders sort through job openings and teacher candidates in an attempt to determine which educator is the best fit for a position. Talent management software can improve the K-12 hiring process, its advocates say. This type of software helps K-12 organizations advertise job opening to identify, and hire, effective educators who are the best fit for each school.
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Focus and growth on nutritious snacks for children
By: Archita Datta Majumdar
"Smart Snacks in Schools," the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new regulation, has found a stronger advocate. First lady Michelle Obama has just announced the "school wellness standards," which will determine healthier food availability in school cafeterias as well as establish stringent marketing regulations that will curb all junk food propaganda in and around schools.
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Next Generation Science enters new dimension
District Administration Magazine
A new approach to assessing students' three-dimensional learning should soon give teachers a clearer picture of the reasoning their students are using to grasp key science concepts. This more intensive level of assessment will be a critical tool for schools implementing the Next Generation Science Standards that are designed to boost STEM scores. 3-D learning means the student demonstrates proficiency in three areas: The science and engineering practices, the crosscutting concepts such as patterns or cause-and-effect associated with a particular performance expectation but also having connections to other fields of science and the disciplinary core ideas.
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Effective teacher training critical to success of Common Core math
The Hechinger Report
The quality of teacher training will be crucial to the success of the new Common Core State Standards in math, educators say, and the pressure is on districts to give elementary school teachers the skills they'll need to provide students with a firm foundation in early arithmetic. "My big worry is that we're not going support (teachers) and then we're going to say, 'See, the Common Core doesn't work,'" said UCLA education professor Megan Franke, who focuses on mathematics education.
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Common Core: Guilty by association ... or just guilty?
Education Week (commentary)
Peter DeWitt, a K-5 public school principal taking a leave of absence to be a trainer with Visible Learning, writes: "I'm having a hard time differentiating the Common Core State Standards from test-based accountability; especially after reading Marc Tucker's blog, which you can read here. Unfortunately for the Common Core, it is lumped in an era of test-based accountability, something that has defined education for the past decade. It makes me question whether the Common Core is guilty by association, or just plain guilty. Adding to the Common Core and test-based accountability debate is an interview I listened to on NPR's Diane Rehm show. Tom Gjelten was in Diane Rehm's place when he interviewed Michael Cohen of Achieve, Carol Burris of Southside High School and Catherine Gewertz of Education Week."
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Need for full-day kindergarten is lost in pre-K debate, critics say
The New York Times
Jennifer Simon has paid thousands of dollars for private preschool, she said, and it was worth every penny. Now her son Daniel is in public school kindergarten, and it costs nothing. But she cannot send him to school until midday because Huntington is one of 26 districts in New York State that offer only half-day kindergarten to a majority of their students. Like other parents of kindergartners here, she said she had no quarrel with offering free, full-day prekindergarten to all children in the state. But, Simon said, she and other parents in Huntington were wondering: "Why are we overlooking kindergarten?"
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The Common Core's unsung benefit: It teaches kids to be good citizens
The Atlantic
The Common Core has started to take political flak from the right and the left. Conservatives worry about the overreach of federal incentives, while unions don't want the standards connected to teacher evaluations. What is being lost? The standards' significant emphasis on reinvigorating the democratic purpose of public education. Making good on this promise presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to redefine and reprioritize the special role that schools play in preparing students for active civic participation.
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Social and emotional learning intervention can lead to academic gains
Medical News Today
Classroom programs designed to improve elementary school students' social and emotional skills can also increase reading and math achievement, even if academic improvement is not a direct goal of the skills building, according to a study to be published this month in American Educational Research Journal. The benefit holds true for students across a range of socio-economic backgrounds.
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7 steps to building strong school networks
eSchool News
Capable networks are an essential part of even the most straightforward school technology program, and now school technology leaders can follow seven steps to build strong and reliable school networks. The guidelines offer a look at education networks in general and examine how data, devices, and connectivity all impact networks' performance. The guide, which offers examples of how different districts are creating and sustaining strong networks, is part of the Consortium for School Networking's Smart Education Networks Design initiative, released in conjunction with Qualcomm Technologies.
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Forgiveness
Connected Principals Blog (commentary)
Dan Kerr, a contributor for Connected Principals Blog, writes: "So one of the reasons that I love spending all day with Middle School kids is because they are constantly reminding me about what really matters in life. A day doesn’t go by without me being inspired by their openness, their honesty, their awkwardness, or their desire to do the right thing. The learning that happens at this age is so pure, and I think it's beautiful that they live their lives so eager to find their place in this world. I marvel at how innocent most of them are, and how accepting, and how easy it is for them to move on, and to learn from situations that we as adults seem to regularly struggle with."
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What the US can learn from Finland, where school starts at age 7
NPR
Finland, a country the size of Minnesota, beats the U.S. in math, reading and science, even though Finnish children don't start school until age 7. Despite the late start, the vast majority arrive with solid reading and math skills. By age 15, Finnish students outperform all but a few countries on international assessments. Krista Kiuru, Finland's minister of education and science who met with education officials in Washington recently, chalks success up to what she calls the "Finnish way." Every child in Finland under age 7 has the right to child care and preschool by law, regardless of family income. Over 97 percent of 3- to 6-year-olds attend a program of one type or another. But, says Kiuru, the key to Finland's universal preschool system is quality.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Strengthen your substitute pool (District Administration Magazine)
Principal evaluation: The next big reform? (eSchool News)
The history of Common Core State Standards (U.S. News & World Report)
Beyond knowing facts, how do we get to a deeper level of learning? (MindShift)
States that spend the least on students are growing the fastest (The Atlantic)

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


Socialization technique helps in academic achievement, trial study finds
The Washington Post
A popular teaching technique to help elementary students develop emotional and social skills also leads to academic achievement, according to a study. In a randomized, controlled trial that examined the technique known as Responsive Classroom, researchers found that children in classrooms where the technique was fully used scored significantly higher in math and reading tests than students in classrooms where it wasn't applied.
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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.


When choices are disguised threats
Edutopia
Years ago, one of teachers' biggest fears was that they were losing control of their classrooms, and steps were taken to give control back to the teachers. Reward/punishment programs flourished, including escalating suspensions and public humiliation by writing names on the blackboard with checkmarks for offenders. Many wonderful educators fought hard to change this state of affairs. Nowadays, most educators understand the need for student choice and that things work better when control is shared between students and teachers. The influence of this change in thinking can be seen in the popular topics of Edutopia posts about student empowerment and involvement, empathy, inclusion and student-centered classrooms.
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Some disappointed with White House special education funding proposal
Education Week
Special education advocates might be feeling a bit of bridesmaid's syndrome right now. Early education continues to get attention from the White House (though whether administration plans will come to fruition in a skeptical Congress is another story). But the funding for special education, about $11.5 billion for fiscal 2014, is proposed to remain at $11.5 billion for fiscal 2015.
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What does Obama's budget say about education?
The Atlantic
President Barack Obama released a relatively unambitious, largely partisan proposal for funding the federal government for fiscal year 2015, which begins on Oct. 1. In recent years, the president's budget request has included proposals that have driven successful education policy reforms, including a debate and new funding for early education programs and reforms to student loan interest rates. This year's budget request, though, has been widely disparaged as dead on arrival.
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Next Generation Science enters new dimension
District Administration Magazine
A new approach to assessing students' three-dimensional learning should soon give teachers a clearer picture of the reasoning their students are using to grasp key science concepts.

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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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11 key questions on standardized testing for Congress to answer
The Washington Post (commentary)
The nonprofit Network for Public Education, a coalition of education organizations fighting the privatization of public schools, has asked key congressional committees to hold formal hearings on the overuse of high-stakes standardized tests as a result of federal and state laws. The advocacy group was founded by activists including education historian Diane Ravitch, who has become the leader of a national movement opposing corporate-inspired school reform in which student standardized test scores have become the chief metric for evaluating students, educators and schools.
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Texas spoke too soon: US education still working with state on waiver
Education Week
It turns out Texas jumped the gun a bit last night when it announced that federal education officials had denied the state's request for a testing waiver. The U.S. Department of Education tells us today that its officials are still working with the Lone Star state on the issue. "The U.S. Department of Education has not denied Texas' double-testing flexibility request," department spokeswoman Dorie Nolt said in an email to reporters. "Department staff have been in contact with the state commissioner to discuss this request.
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Key lawmaker says report shows Michigan may not be ready for online testing
The Detroit News
A key state lawmaker says Michigan may not be ready to move to a statewide assessment that is all-technology based, after a report shows less than half of Michigan's school districts are "technology" ready for online testing. "There are all sort of alarm bells going off about these assessments. This report might suggest serious trouble. I continue to meet with vendors about tests," said Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, chairman of the Senate Education Committee.
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Report lauds Utah's computer science education
The Salt Lake Tribune
While Utah lags in teaching computer science to underrepresented groups, a new report applauds steps the state has taken to get more kids in-depth education on the subject. Utah is among 17 states and the District of Columbia that clearly allow students to take computer science classes to fulfill core math or science requirements for high school graduation, a path the Association for Computing Machinery says more states should follow. The report also singles out Exploring Computer Science, a more in-depth ninth-grade class offered at small but growing number of schools, and says the state could serve as an inspiration for the rest of the country.
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Kids, it's time to ride the bus/subway to school
The Boston Globe
School transportation officials in Boston want to give 4,500 middle-school students a taste of independence and recoup millions of dollars at the same time by replacing yellow school buses with MBTA passes. It's the kind of bold proposal that springs up during tough budget debates. And it's a good idea on both counts. By age 12 or 13, the average student in Boston is more than capable of riding a bus or subway without adult supervision. Even a savvy 11-year-old should have no trouble navigating the T. Middle school students may suffer a reputation for moodiness and surliness. But neither personality trait is a barrier to getting on a subway car. If a sunny attitude were required, then the trains would be empty during rush hour.
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Georgia cites 'educational sovereignty' in move to abandon Common Core
The Christian Science Monitor
Georgia Republicans, rebelling against what they see as a federal schoolhouse grab, may succeed in a first-in-the-nation bid to derail the so-called Common Core school standards while returning more control of math, social studies, and science curricula to local school districts in the Deep South state. Common Core, the new standard for public schools in 45 states and the District of Columbia, began as a push by state governors and business interests to encourage better-educated public school graduates, and Georgia was among the leaders.
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Educators to Colorado: Let's go above Common Core
The Denver Post
Douglas County, Colo., educators are among those who don't want the state to implement the national Common Core standards, but their objections have less to do with money and local control than with high standards. As in, the Common Core State Standards aren't high enough. "We feel like there's a problem with it being the beginning of the conversation and not to the rigor that we want our students to aspire to," said district superintendent Elizabeth Celania-Fagen. For example, in language arts the top level for those standards might be for a student to demonstrate they can compare and contrast.
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Kansas school funding declared unconstitutional by State Supreme Court
The Huffington Post
The Kansas Supreme Court ruled the state's funding of public schools to be unconstitutional, a declaration likely to have effects beyond the state's borders. The decision ordered the immediate reversal of recent education cuts, but told a lower court to reconsider the potential $1 billion question of whether Kansas provides enough education funding to adequately prepare students for the future. The 110-page opinion's immediate effect on schools isn't clear. Much depends on the actions of Gov. Sam Brownback, who after the ruling promised to work with the legislature to "fix this." Earlier, conservative state lawmakers had threatened to defy the court, arguing that school funding is the business of the legislature, not courts.
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Prepare to vote in the NAESP election this week
NAESP
On March 15, the NAESP Board of Directors election opens. Eligible NAESP members will elect a new president-elect and directors for Zones 1, 2 and 8. To prepare for the election, watch speeches by the candidates for president-elect, and review voting information. The election takes place through April 15.
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Recognize student excellence with the President's Education Awards
NAESP
Celebrate achievement in your school with the President's Education Awards Program. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with NAESP and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, PEAP offers principals a way to recognize and honor students' dedication to learning. Each award includes an embossed certificate signed by President Barack Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and you.
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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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