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4 assessment questions every educator should ask
eSchool News
As many states begin to implement online assessments to gauge student learning under the Common Core State Standards, administrators are faced with a number of important considerations that accompany implementation. A new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education presents four important assessment questions that policy makers and educators should ask.
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When school discipline is unfair: 4 ways to do better
The Christian Science Monitor
A black boy in baggy pants is disciplined, while a white girl in a short skirt, also against the dress code, is left alone. A girl gets suspended for fighting, but the principal doesn't realize she's been repeatedly harassed for being gay. A new set of reports dives deep into the complex causes of such inequities in school discipline — along racial and other lines — and offers more details on what schools can do to create a climate that is both orderly and fair.
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Does teaching kids to get 'gritty' help them get ahead?
NPR
It's become the new buzz phrase in education: "Got grit?" Around the nation, schools are beginning to see grit as key to students' success — and just as important to teach as reading and math. Experts define grit as persistence, determination and resilience; it's that je ne sais quoi that drives one kid to practice trumpet or study Spanish for hours — or years — on end, while another quits after the first setback.
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Post script? Parents, lawmakers fear cursive becoming lost art
Fox News
Kids can text on tiny keyboards, convey their thoughts in 140 characters or less and use numbers for prepositions, but some states fear they soon may not be able to sign their own names. In this digital age of Internet acronyms, like "LOL," and emoticons, Tennessee is the latest state pressing for legislation that mandates students learn cursive writing in school. Lawmakers in the state are pushing for passage of House Bill 1697, which would require all public school students to learn how to read and write in cursive, preferably by the third grade.
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10 next-generation science apps for education
eSchool News
The Next Generation Science Standards are a new set of standards that provide consistent science education through all grades, with an emphasis on technology and engineering. eSchool News readers have shown a strong interest in learning more about how apps can help educators improve learning and deliver instruction more efficiently. One reader recommended using the OnScreen DNA Model, OnScreen Gene Transcription, and OnScreen DNA Replication for teaching DNA structure and function via interactive 3D simulations. Another reader shared a personal favorite science app called The Atomic Dashboard, which teaches about the chemical elements and the periodic table.
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Bill Gates comes to the defense of the Common Core
The Huffington Post
Bill Gates is rallying teachers to support an embattled cause, the Common Core State Standards. At a speech Friday afternoon in Washington, D.C., the Microsoft co-founder is lending his voice to save the standards. According to prepared remarks provided to The Huffington Post, Gates told educators at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards' Teaching and Learning Conference that the Common Core is the key to creativity for teachers. He also charged that the controversy around the Core "comes from people who want to stop the standards, which would send us back to what we had before."
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Children learning math have a powerful tool in hand gestures
Medical News Today
Children who use their hands to gesture during a math lesson gain a deep understanding of the problems they are taught, according to new research from University of Chicago's Department of Psychology. Previous research has found that gestures can help children learn. This study in particular was designed to answer whether abstract gesture can support generalization beyond a particular problem and whether abstract gesture is a more effective teaching tool than concrete action.
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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.


Smarter Balanced group delays field-testing
Education Week
One of the two state consortia developing exams aligned with the Common Core State Standards is giving itself an additional week to iron out any glitches before field-testing begins. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, which counts 23 states as members, had planned to begin field-testing March 18. Schools will now begin the process on March 25, according to a consortium official.
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What keeps students motivated to learn?
MindShift
Educators have lots of ideas about how to improve education, to better reach learners and to give students the skills they'll need in college and beyond the classroom. But often those conversations remain between adults. The real test of any idea is in the classroom, though students are rarely asked about what they think about their education. A panel of seven students attending schools that are part of the "deeper learning" movement gave their perspective on what it means for them to learn and how educators can work to create a school culture that fosters creativity, collaboration, trust, the ability to fail, and perhaps most importantly, one in which students want to participate.
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A study seeks to determine what makes prekindergarten successful
The New York Times
The teacher held up a card with a number on it, then looked at the 4-year-olds waving their hands eagerly in front of her. "Anderson," she said, calling on a small boy in a blue button-up shirt and a sweater vest. "Five," Anderson said, correctly. "Good boy, Anderson," the teacher said. Then she turned to the rest of the class. "Are you ready?" she said, and then, "Go!" At that, the children jumped up and down five times as they counted: "One! Two! Three! Four! Five!" This exercise, which held a prekindergarten class in Brooklyn riveted one morning last week, was not an effort to introduce high-impact aerobics into preschool. It was part of an ambitious experiment involving 4,000 children, lasting more than six years and costing $25 million, and designed to answer a fundamental question: When it comes to preschool, what actually works?
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    What the US can learn from Finland, where school starts at age 7 (NPR)
A new way to hire school personnel? (eSchool News)
Social and emotional learning intervention can lead to academic gains (Medical News Today)
A big early schooling shift (The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Lawmakers press for full funding of special education (Disability Scoop)

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




The administrative tightrope and finding balance
Connected Principals Blog (commentary)
Tom Martellone, a contributor for Connected Principals Blog, writes: "This morning I was on the phone with a principal colleague from Boston when I realized what I would write about this week for my blog. It's funny how an ordinary conversation can take a turn and help bring clarity and focus to a situation. Both of us were talking about our hours at work and what it takes to be an elementary school principal. I was sharing how for the past couple of weeks at least, I've been working almost 12 hour days at school and then coming home and trying to work at night, in addition to working on weekends as well. My colleague shared that she, too, had been working long hours at school and that she often went in for several hours on the weekend."
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword ADMINISTRATIVE.


What do teachers want even more than new technology? Training on how to use it
The Hechinger Report
With apps for everything from annotating poetry to understanding literature through hip hop, it might have seemed teachers in attendance at the sprawling South by Southwest.edu festival last week were hungry for new tools and technology. After all, a dizzying menu of new classroom technology prevailed; there was even an interactive playground to try it all out. The RobotsLab was on hand to demonstrate math and science concepts using what else? Robots. New products like ClassroomIQ promised to give teachers their time back by helping them grade. From Berlin came a new way to learn languages called Unlock Your Brain.
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Too much technology and not enough learning?
Edutopia (commentary)
Ben Johnson, a high school principal, consultant, author and instructional learning coach, writes: "I was reading the book The Smartest Kids in the World by Amanda Ripley and couldn't help wondering what our schools would be like today if we were forced to teach without the technology (including copy machines). She describes three school settings in South Korea, Finland and Poland as being devoid of the technology U.S. teachers take for granted, and how, especially in math and science, their best students outperform our best students by a wide margin. I agree with the premise of her book: good teaching and high expectations make the difference, and technology is icing on the cake. My concern is that we are at a point where our students spend more time using technology and less time actually learning."
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Should students be grouped by 'content level' instead of by grade?
Fox News
A California school district is grouping students by "content level" instead of grade. The model is based on the idea that students learn at their own pace and should advance when they have mastered the material. So, is content-based learning a good idea? Former high school academic dean Jedidiah Bila says the new plan means students have different lesson plans and more individualized learning.
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Passion-based learning: How to do one thing really well
Powerful Learning Practice (commentary)
Wisconsin Principal Matt Renwick sponsors an afternoon enrichment computer club. He writes: "I was walking the hallways, like I do every day as the school's principal, when a 3rd grader caught my eye. While heading the other way with his class, he whispered: 'I can't wait for computer club!' I smiled and responded, 'Me either!' Very nice, especially since it was Monday, and our next session was Tuesday evening."
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Technology leadership evolved
THE Journal
Years ago, typical K-12 IT leaders came up through the administrative ranks and focused on keeping computers and business applications running. Whether they were called CTOs or CIOs, they had compartmentalized skill sets that tended to favor technology over teaching. In 2014, however, the role of chief information officer or chief technology officer is just as likely to go to a former teacher or principal with an interest in finding new ways to harness technology to collaborate with curriculum and assessment leaders.
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Obesity linked to lower grades among teen girls
NPR
Childhood obesity has made it to the forefront of public health issues, both in the United Kingdom and in the United States. Now researchers at the Universities of Dundee, Strathclyde, Georgia and Bristol say that not only does obesity affect a child's overall health, but it may also lead to poorer school performance among teenage girls. Among boys, the link is less apparent.
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Letter grades deserve an 'F'
The Atlantic (commentary)
Letter grades are a tradition in our educational system, and we accept them as fair and objective measures of academic success. However, if the purpose of academic grading is to communicate accurate and specific information about learning, letter or points-based grades, are a woefully blunt and inadequate instrument. Worse, points-based grading undermines learning and creativity, rewards cheating, damages students' peer relationships and trust in their teachers, encourages students to avoid challenging work and teaches students to value grades over knowledge.
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As clock ticks, experts propose online assessment to-do checklist
District Administration Magazine
At least one midwestern district is ready — or at least thinks it's ready — for what most states are calling Common Core assessments. The Metropolitan School District of Warren Township, Ind., an urban district in Indianapolis, had a jumpstart on technology and assessments thanks in part to a three-year, $28.5 million Race to the Top grant. The funds allowed the district last year to buy every student in grades one through 12 a Chromebook, a purchase that was in line with the grant's focus on personalized learning.
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Post script? Parents, lawmakers fear cursive becoming lost art
Fox News
Kids can text on tiny keyboards, convey their thoughts in 140 characters or less and use numbers for prepositions, but some states fear they soon may not be able to sign their own names.

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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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Beyond the ban: Revisiting in-school Internet access
Edutopia (commentary)
Where are we today with banning the Internet in schools? It was all the rage about three years ago. It would seem that technology has taken us farther away from the dark ages of the scary Internet. Mobile devices have underscored the fact that people have access to the Internet almost anywhere and at any time. Social media has gained a much larger acceptance with the public. Learning through social media has achieved a legitimate place among educators. Even the airlines have revisited their policies on in-flight Internet access. It is becoming more and more apparent to educators and parents that kids can gain access to the Internet without the help and guidance from schools.
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Duncan proposes teacher-leadership initiative
Education Week
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is pledging to begin an initiative with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards to promote teacher leadership throughout the United States. The announcement about "Teach to Lead" came at the inaugural Teaching & Learning conference, hosted here by the National Board. "Our aim is to encourage schools, districts and even states all across the country to provide more opportunities for authentic, genuine teacher leadership that doesn't require them to leave their daily role in classrooms," Duncan said to an audience largely composed of board-certified teachers.
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States show improvement on the 2013 Digital Learning Report Card
THE Journal
Digital Learning Now has released the 2013 Digital Learning Report Card, which grades K-12 education policy in each of the 50 states against the group's 10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning. This year only two states, Utah and Florida, received As, while 14 states received Fs and another 13 received Ds. "In 2013, more than 450 digital learning bills were debated and 132 were ultimately signed into law, bringing the total of enacted legislation since 2011 to more than 360," according to a news release from Digital Learning Now. "More than 20 states advanced an entire overall letter grade as measured by the Report Card."
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Bill to enhance authority of principals approved
The Advocate
Despite a rift in the education community, a state Senate panel approved a bill Wednesday that supporters said would give Louisiana's top-rated principals new authority. The Senate Education Committee passed the bill and sent it to the full Senate. Backers included officials of the state Department of Education, the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and Stand For Children, an advocacy group. Opponents included the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, the Louisiana Association of Educators, the Louisiana School Boards Association and the Louisiana Association of School Principals.
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Undercover TV reports on school security raise ethical questions
The New York Times
The three news reports followed the same format: Television reporters walked into schools with hidden cameras, under the premise of testing the security measures. Each time, the anchors provided a sobering assessment of the findings. "One of the more depressing reports I've seen in a long time," said Matt Lauer, the "Today" show host, after a report showed unsettling lapses in security.
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NAESP election now open
NAESP
Each year, NAESP members elect a president-elect and zone leaders to serve on the NAESP Board of Directors. The Board is NAESP's governing body, dedicated to leading the Association efficiently and effectively. Eligible members may vote for the president-elect. Eligible voters in Zones 1, 2 and 8 may also vote for a director of their zone.
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Celebrate Middle Level Education Month with resources from NAESP
NAESP
March is Middle Level Education Month. NAESP is working with NASSP, the Association for Middle Level Education, the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform, Adolescent Success and Let's Move Active Schools to promote middle-level education nationwide. Check out these middle school-focused articles, activities and ideas.
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