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A big early schooling shift
The San Diego Union-Tribune
California's new transitional kindergarten is designed to give the youngest students two years to prepare for the first grade. Schools across San Diego County have discovered a hidden and unintended benefit to the program: a new source of help for struggling kindergartners and first-graders who are on the wrong end of the academic achievement gap. The Poway Unified School District offers half-day transitional kindergarten, freeing up teachers to work with underperforming students in regular kindergarten and first-grade on literacy skills in the afternoon. The San Diego Unified School District is considering a similar plan. Vista schools are also interested in tasking transitional kindergarten teachers to help older students who need it.
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Preventing gun violence in schools
By Mark Bond
Gun violence is a major social issue in America, and schools and university campuses have become targets of this gun violence. In recent years, dozens of students, faculty and staff have become victims of this gun violence while on campus, and the loss of life and serious injuries have been devastating to our communities. In response to recent campus violence, an idea to have schools adopt an armed security force to patrol campus grounds and buildings has been proposed to lawmakers, law enforcement and educational governing boards. This article will evaluate this controversial proposal and analyze the evidence to determine the benefits and concerns.
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What a Florida middle school has learned so far teaching Common Core Standards
StateImpact
Monroe Middle School teacher Dawn Norris hears a difference in her language arts classes since she starting using Common Core standards two years ago. It's how the 13-year teacher knows the new standards are working. Middle schools across Florida will begin using the new math and language arts standards when classes start this fall. But most middle schools in the Tampa area, where Monroe is located, are already using Common Core.
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Common Core gains backing of Jefferson Business Council
The Times-Picayune
The Jefferson Business Council has thrown its support behind Common Core as Louisiana's Legislature gears up for a potentially tumultuous discussion over the national education standards. In an open letter, the council's executive director, former state Rep. Tony Ligi, urged the Legislature to continue supporting Common Core's implementation and said "these standards will provide the children of Louisiana with an improved opportunity to succeed in life with a sound educational background."
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Woodhaven-Brownstown School District continues special kindergarten program
The News Herald
The Woodhaven-Brownstown School District in Michigan will continue running its "Young Fives" kindergarten program in two elementary schools this fall. And, once again, the program is open to students in and outside the district through the schools of choice program. With limited room available, enrollment will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
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Saratoga students benefit from STEM program
The Daily Gazette
Students at Lake Avenue Elementary School in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., call themselves engineers, thanks to a nationwide pilot program that boosts hands-on science and math lessons in the classroom. Lake Avenue is the only school in the Northeast involved in Project Lead The Way Launch. The goal of the new curriculum is to engage students in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — and provide an alternative for teachers to meet the Common Core language arts and math standards.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword SCIENCE.


Environmental program inspires elementary school students to think green
Woburn Patch
Change is Simple Inc., an environmental nonprofit, is implementing its education programs in all Woburn elementary schools this year. Every student in grades three through five will get four free environmental science lessons from the company, which is being sponsored by a grant from The Cummings Foundation.
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Enoch Elementary School: Consistently recognized as a high performing title I school
KCSG-TV
Enoch Elementary School's high standards for learning have earned them yet another year of recognition from the Utah State Department of Education for outstanding work by certifying them as a High Performing Title I School. Daniel Ekker, Enoch Elementary School principal, said the school received a letter in November congratulating them as a "recipient of the 2013 Utah High Performing Title I Schools Recognition."
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Leadership attitude(s)
Figuring It Out (commentary)
Johnny Bevacqua, a contributor for Figuring It Out, writes: "I have a style issue. No, I'm not walking around wearing my 1980′s acid washed jeans or rugby pants... (oh the good old days...) The 'style' issue I am referring to has to do with leadership. To be blunt — I don't think I have a leadership style. Instead, what I have come to see are some personal attitudes that have sustained me throughout my time in school administration."
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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.




Lawmakers press for full funding of special education
Disability Scoop
Even as President Barack Obama called for virtually no change to special education spending in his budget proposal, members of Congress are pressing forward with efforts to fully fund the program. A bill introduced this week with bipartisan backing in the U.S. House of Representatives calls for increases in spending over the next decade in order to bring special education up to a level known as "full funding." A similar proposal is expected to be introduced in the U.S. Senate in the coming weeks, sources say.
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School days to get longer for Spokane students
The Spokesman Review
Longer school days in Spokane, Wash., are coming, whether students like it or not. Washington already has one of the shortest elementary school days in the United States, and the school day in Spokane Public Schools is shorter than most others statewide. Additionally, a new court-ruled definition of basic education requires K-6 students to spend at least 1,000 hours in school each year. Students in grades 7-12 must spend 1,080 hours.
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Flobots project produces stay-in-school arts curriculum in Colorado's largest school district
Star Tribune
The Flobots, a Denver hip-hop band that gained fame with the hit single "Handlebars," are known for social activism and supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement. Drew Elder, a senior vice president of the investment firm Janus, is more familiar with the cello than with Chuck D. And while it might seem like Elder and the Flobots would be natural opponents, they've come together to form an unlikely partnership.
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Number of Illinois school districts in financial distress doubles
Chicago Tribune
A disturbing number of Illinois school districts are in poor to dire financial shape, with 121 getting low or dismal ratings in the state's annual financial report card for schools. That's more than double the number of districts in the two lowest categories just two years ago, the result of districts struggling with less state aid, higher costs and a weakened economy.
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Lawmakers press for full funding of special education
Disability Scoop
Even as President Barack Obama called for virtually no change to special education spending in his budget proposal, members of Congress are pressing forward with efforts to fully fund the program.

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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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Cape May elementary school windmill going up in April
The Cape May Gazette
Later this year, students at Cape May City Elementary School in New Jersey, will use wind as a hands-on educational tool. They'll be able to chart energy and measure wind speeds, among other things. A small windmill is due to be placed at the edge of the school parking lot on Lafayette Street in Cape May during the week of spring break, April 14-21. "I think it offers a lot of opportunities for the students," Superintendent Victoria Zelenak said in an interview March 11. Cape May city manager Bruce MacLeod said the project will be more beneficial to education than any type of energy savings.
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Oklahoma House passes education standards reform
Broken Arrow Ledger
The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed reforms that they say places control over common education standards solely in the hands of Oklahomans. House Bill 3399, authored by House Speaker Jeff Hickman, calls for the state of Oklahoma to opt for Option B under No Child Left Behind. Option B allows states to create elementary and secondary school standards that are certified by state higher education institutions to be college and career ready.
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Quality performance assessments are trending in New Hampshire
By Brian Stack
In a meeting at a highly-effective school near you, a group of math teachers are working as a professional learning community to analyze their students' work on a recent performance assessment in their Algebra 1 classes. By regularly collaborating in this way each week, they are aligning, designing and analyzing these performance assessments in an effort to increase student achievement and equity of outcomes. As school districts and states around our nation reflect on ways to strengthen their Common Core implementation, performance assessments are becoming a necessary component of classroom experiences.
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New York City's charter school showdown reignites national debate on privatized education
Democracy Now
The battle over charter schools is heating up after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio blocked three privately run charter schools from using rent-free space inside public schools. The city also announced it will cut $210 million in charter school construction funding and use the money toward universal pre-K and after-school programs. The moves have set off a fierce debate in New York and the country and have even pitted de Blasio against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat. We are joined by former public school teacher Brian Jones and Steve Barr, founder of the Green Dot Public Schools, a charter school network.
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Nevada gets $3.7 million for struggling schools
Las Vegas Sun
Nevada is receiving $3.7 million in federal grant money to continue "turnaround" efforts at its lowest-performing schools, the U.S. Education Department announced. Nevada is one of 10 states sharing in more than $95 million in School Improvement Grant funding for next school year. To receive the grant, schools must be among a district's bottom 5 percent, based on test scores.
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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)
Skipping a grade is rare, but it might just save the world (The Washington Post)
Brain differences between genders (Psychology Today)

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


California lawmakers take aim at elementary school truancy
Reuters
California lawmakers took aim at truancy among elementary school children with a package of bills that would help families bring their kids to school and keep them there, but it would not remove the threat of arrest if they refuse to comply. The bills were developed in the wake of a report by Attorney General Kamala Harris, showing that an estimated 250,000 elementary age children miss 10 percent or more of each school year in the most populous U.S. state.
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City to take input on school start times
C-Ville Weekly
The Charlottesville, Va., School Board considered changing school start times for the 2014-2015 school year so the elementary school day would begin before the middle school day. Under the proposal, students in grades pre-K through four would start school at 7:50 a.m., rather than at 8:30 a.m, and fifth through eighth grades would start at 8:20 a.m. instead of 7:40 a.m. The thinking behind the switch, Assistant Superintendent James Henderson said, stems from community feedback, increased traffic in the city, and research that shows that adolescents benefit from the additional sleep that a later school start time allows. In Albemarle County, grades six through 12 have long started classes around 9 a.m., the time that Charlottesville High School begins each day.
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Registration for 2014 NAESP conference now open
NAESP
There's no other event like the NAESP National Conference and Expo, held this year from July 10-12 in Nashville, Tenn. Only here can you make the contacts, share the ideas and discover the solutions that will inform your entire school year. Don't let it happen without you! Register today.
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NAESP election opens 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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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.

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