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Newtown, Conn., children remain scared as school tries to move on from Sandy Hook shooting
The Associated Press via The Huffington Post
They relocated the entire student body to a new school unstained by blood. They brought in counselors to soothe shattered nerves, and parents to comfort the distraught. But authorities know they cannot erase the lingering effects of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School — students and faculty members still on edge, still traumatized by the sounds of gunshots and by the horrors they survived. In the new school building in the neighboring town of Monroe, Conn., police remain a presence. Signs ask people to close doors softly and not to drag objects across the floor.
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Study: State laws aimed at improving school meals help teens eat more fruits and vegetables
Medical News Today
Students' intake of fruits and vegetables increased when states required schools to offer them at lunch, especially among teens who had only unhealthy snacks available at home. Teens in states that required schools to offer fruits and vegetables as part of the meal program consumed more fruits and vegetables than those living in states with no such policies, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
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Study: Math, reading gaps by gender persist
Education Week
You've heard it before and a new international study drives home the point: Boys, on average, outperform girls in math, while girls tend to score higher in reading. However, the new study brings some further nuance to this topic. For one, it finds that the global reading gap for boys is three times as large as the math gap for girls. Also, the study finds the largest math gap is among high-achieving boys and girls. For reading, the gap for boys was most pronounced among the lowest-performing students. And, to add one further dimension, those nations with a smaller gender difference in math achievement tended to have a larger reading gap for boys.
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Inquiry, curiosity, exploration and the Common Core
Edutopia
The basic idea of the keys is prompting students to learn by asking questions. That means we must teach students to ask questions. We must also make it safe and acceptable to ask questions — questions that are relevant. If a student asks a question to take the class off task, just comment that it's a valuable question and you would love to answer it after school or put it on the list for questions on Friday.
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Expanded learning time linked to higher test scores
Education Week
Improved student performance was just one of the gains found after Tumbleweed Elementary School, a school in the Palmdale district north of Los Angeles, implemented an expanded learning time model, according to a new case study from the National Center of Time & Learning. The new brief is the second in a series released by the center that looks at schools that have recently added more time to the school day or year and seen early, positive gains.
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How are our children doing in math?
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Of 57 industrialized nations that participated in a 2011 Trends in International Math and Science Study, United States fourth-graders ranked 11th place. Not bad. Even better was that eighth-graders ranked 9th of 56 countries. But, by age 15, in a Program for International Student Assessment, American students were in 31st place out of 65 participating countries.
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Influx of school police raises worries
Education Week
With nightmare visions of a gunman stalking school halls, districts often rush to hire police officers to patrol their campuses after news of a school shooting. Critics of that impulsive response, which has been in high gear nationwide since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in December, acknowledge the concern for student and staff safety that drives the addition of school resource officers, as such police are often known. But they say the rarity of deadly school incidents must be weighed against the likelihood that an influx of officers will raise the stakes on school discipline and funnel students into the juvenile-justice system for matters administrators should handle in-house.
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Children with autism at greater risk for suicide
MyHealthNewsDaily
Children who have autism may be at greater risk for thinking about or attempting suicide than children without the condition, according to a new study. Researchers looked at data for about 1,000 children, including 791 kids with an autism spectrum disorder, 186 non-autistic children without a mental condition and 35 non-autistic children with depression. Parents gave numerical ratings describing whether and how frequently their children had contemplated or attempted suicide.
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Making digital libraries work, with or without BYOD
The Journal
Three years ago, when the nation's K-12 schools started thinking seriously about creating digital libraries, the Mesquite Independent School District in Texas purchased several Sony eReaders, loaded them with books, and circulated them to students. It didn't take long for the district to see the flaws in that initial attempt.
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Study points the way to better public schools
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (commentary)
For most parents, teachers and students in the St. Louis region, it's the start of spring break. It's a welcome respite from early morning bus rides, long days in class, homework and the other rigors of the school year. Loath as we are to interfere with your break, we'd like to recommend some reading, particularly for you adults: There's a study recently completed that examines the record of the highly touted Knowledge is Power Program charter schools. It should be mandatory vacation reading for education policymakers.
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Big bucks for blended learning in K-12: Where's the evidence?
The Hechinger Report
A San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit called the Learning Accelerator, started with funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has just scored a $5 million grant to expand its operations greatly and get more blended learning programs into more K-12 schools. "Blended learning is the transformative educational innovation of our time and has the potential to significantly improve K-12 education for all students across the country," Joe Wolf, president and founding board member of TLA, said.
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Where does a teacher's dues check go?
The Hechinger Report
Every two weeks, $49.89 is taken out of New York City teachers’ paychecks as union dues. Other jobs have different dues amounts, ranging from $24.95 for paraprofessionals to $51.08 for psychologists and social workers, but dues for the United Federation of Teachers are a flat fee determined by position, not salary. Of course, the UFT doesn't spend all of its money every year, or immediately, but since member dues and fees are spent on all facets of the union’s operation, it's reasonable to track dues to spending.
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The worst victims of the education sequester: Special needs students and poor kids
The Atlantic
The sequester's guillotine has little regard for good or bad programs as it unselectively slices spending across the country, but perhaps nowhere does its indiscriminate blade fall more harshly than within education. The students who will lose out will be the ones we should be most careful to protect: children from poor families and special needs kids. Federal funding for education will be slashed by 5.1 percent, until Congress can agree on a new budget. Though the federal government only makes up about 10 percent of the total education spending, this share is significant in every town budget.
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Children with autism at greater risk for suicide
MyHealthNewsDaily
Children who have autism may be at greater risk for thinking about or attempting suicide than children without the condition, according to a new study. Researchers looked at data for about 1,000 children, including 791 kids with an autism spectrum disorder, 186 non-autistic children without a mental condition and 35 non-autistic children with depression.

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Teacher absenteeism
USA Today
New research suggests that teacher absenteeism is becoming problematic in U.S. public schools, as about one in three teachers miss more than 10 days of school each year.

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Survey finds rising job frustration among principals
Education Week
A new national survey finds that three out of four K-12 public school principals, regardless of the types of schools they work in, believe the job has become "too complex," and about a third say they are likely to go into a different occupation within next five years.

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Armed teachers bill: Florida Rep. Greg Steube meets opposition in school boards
The Tampa Bay Tribune
Your child's third-grade teacher might be packing more than a lesson plan in the classroom if a bill designed to make schools safer becomes law. In response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut late last year, Rep. Greg Steube wants to allow principals in Florida to select one or more teachers who would be allowed to carry guns at school. Those teachers would have to possess a concealed weapons permit and undergo extensive firearms training, the Republican from Bradenton says.
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Dispute on transgender rights unfolds at a Colorado school
The New York Times
Coy Mathis was born a boy. But after just a few years, biology succumbed to a more powerful force. A buzz cut grew into long hair. Jeans gave way to pink dresses. And the child’s big cheeks trembled with tears when anyone referred to Coy as male. Halfway through kindergarten, after consulting with doctors, Coy's parents informed their child's school that Coy identified as a girl and should be treated as one — whether that meant using feminine pronouns to describe her or letting Coy wear her favorite dresses.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    School climate: Missing link in principal training? (Education Week)
Schools close doors to voters for safety (USA Today)
States draw a hard line on third-graders, holding some back over reading (The Washington Post)
The 100th day: Learning's tipping point deep in the school year (The Christian Science Monitor)
Effectively maximizing teacher leaders at the elementary level (Connected Principals)

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


Alabama's governor signs education bill allowing school choice
NPR
Alabama's Gov. Robert Bentley has signed a sweeping education bill that gives tax credits to parents who want to transfer their children from a failing public school to another public or private school. The bill became law one day after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that a lawsuit against it was premature. The controversial Alabama Accountability Act was adopted by the Republican-controlled Legislature in a loud and contentious vote. Democrats and teachers' groups say the bill underwent massive changes during a late visit to a conference committee, transforming it from a measure allowing flexibility to school districts into a school-choice bill.
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Utah lawmakers pass teen suicide prevention programs
The Salt Lake Tribune
Two bills aimed at curbing teen bullying and suicide passed the full Utah Legislature. The two houses agreed on HB134, a bill that would require schools to notify parents of bullying and/or suicide threats. They also approved HB154, a bill to implement suicide prevention programs in Utah junior highs and high schools. That bill would also fund a suicide prevention coordinator at the State Office of Education and a state suicide prevention coordinator at the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. It would cost $178,000.
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Mississippi governor signs bill for student-led school prayer
The Associated Press via The Sun Herald
Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill that could lead to student-led prayer over school intercoms or at graduations or sporting events. The American Civil Liberties Union said the measure, which will become law July 1, is likely to prompt a lawsuit in the school year that begins in August. Republican Bryant was joined by about two dozen lawmakers, ministers and other supporters as he signed Senate Bill 2633. His grandmother's Bible, with a black leather cover and well-worn pages, sat on the desk of his Capitol office.
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Leaving another generation behind in failing schools to please special interests is wrong
Grand Rapids Press (commentary)
The status quo in some Michigan's schools is failing our students and costing far too many young people a legitimate shot at success. Something has to be done to rescue these kids and give them a lifeline out of our failing schools, and the Education Achievement Authority is doing just that in its pilot year in Detroit. A previous guest commentary called the EAA's efforts misguided and naïve, but if we think leaving another generation of kids behind in these failing schools in order to please special interests is much worse.
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Prepare to vote in NAESP election
NAESP
This spring, eligible NAESP members will elect a new president-elect as well as directors for Zones 3, 4 and 6. The election will take place April 1-30. Electronic ballots will be available on the NAESP website — but you will need to log in to access the ballot, which is members-only content. Visit the NAESP election page for candidate information and instructions for logging in.
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PD spotlight: Brain-compatible classrooms
NAESP
You don't need to leave your building to enhance your staff’s professional development — NASEP provides high-quality webinars for you and your teachers. On Tuesday, March 26, author David A. Sousa will present What Principals Need to Need to Know About the Basics of Creating Brain-Compatible Classrooms. In it, Sousa will explore how to apply the basics of educational neuroscience to build productive and successful brain-compatible classrooms. Register today!
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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.
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601   Download media kit
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