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Survey: 1 in 50 US school kids has autism
The Associated Press via CBS News
A government survey of parents says 1 in 50 U.S. schoolchildren has autism, surpassing another federal estimate for the disorder. Health officials say the new number doesn't mean autism is occurring more often. But it does suggest that doctors are diagnosing autism more frequently, especially in children with milder problems. The earlier government estimate of 1 in 88 comes from a study that many consider more rigorous. It looks at medical and school records instead of relying on parents.
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Green schools go on national display
Education Week
The impact and design features of the growing number of environmentally sustainable school buildings are on display at the National Building Museum as part of an exhibit on green school space. The exhibit also houses the first display of "Sprout Space," a new sustainable modular classroom designed by the Chicago-based architecture firm Perkins+Will. Featuring solar panels, a low-flow toilet fed by rainwater, and large glass doors and skylights, Sprout Space is designed to improve health and educational outcomes, the firm says, while also reducing the cost of construction and eliminating energy costs.
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What learning cursive does for your brain
Psychology Today
Dr. William Klemm, a Professor of Neuroscience at Texas A&M University, writes: "Ever try to read your physician's prescriptions? Children increasingly print their writing because they don't know cursive or theirs is unreadable. I have a middle-school grandson who has trouble reading his own cursive. Grandparents may find that their grandchildren can't read the notes they send. Our new U.S. Secretary of the Treasury can't (or won't) write his own name on the new money being printed."
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KKK in the classroom: What can hatred teach kids?
The Huffington Post
Popular knowledge suggests that hate is learned, like writing or reading. So who is the most effective teacher, and what happens when professors and teachers invite hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and the Westboro Baptist Church into the classroom? The answer, of course, isn't simple. An engrossing piece from the Washington Times' Tim Devaney describes the rise of this teaching tactic in some schools. Randy Blazak, a sociology professor at Portland State University in Oregon, told Devaney that he brings neo-Nazis into class because they humanize a hatred so extreme that students often consider it separate from humanity's capacity — like a relic of some past time that's carried to this day by people who no longer understand it.
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Read naturally has potentially positive effects for adolescent readers
Institute of Education Sciences
Read Naturally was found to have potentially positive effects on general literacy achievement for adolescent readers. Read Naturally is a supplemental reading program designed to improve reading fluency, accuracy and comprehension of elementary and middle school students using a combination of books, audio CDs and computer software. The program combines three main strategies: modeling of story reading, repeated reading of text for developing oral reading fluency, and systematic monitoring of student progress by teachers and the students themselves. Students work at a reading level appropriate for their achievement level, progress through the program at their own rate, and work (for the most part) on an independent basis.
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More teachers are grouping kids by ability
USA Today
New findings based on more than 20 years of research suggest that despite decades of controversy, elementary school teachers now feel fine placing students in "ability groups." The research, out Monday from the centrist Brookings Institution's Brown Center on American Education, finds that between 1998 and 2009, the percentage of fourth-grade teachers who said they created ability-based reading groups skyrocketed from 28 percent to 71 percent. In math, between 1996 and 2011, the practice rose from 40 percent to 61 percent. The practice remained fairly constant in eighth-grade math, rising from 71 percent to 76 percent. Data for other eighth-grade subjects was incomplete or inconclusive.
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Digital learning MOOC now open to school leaders
eSchool News
Enrollment opens for a first-of-its-kind Massive Online Open Course for Educators that will help school district leaders make the shift to digital instruction in their schools. This free online course is offered by the Alliance for Excellent Education in partnership with the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University.
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How to be the good guy with a gun at school
NPR
Ever since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, there's been a raging debate over how to keep America's schoolchildren safe. National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre proposed stationing an armed guard in every school in the country. Critics said that idea was impractical and would be too expensive to carry out. But many schools and school districts already have armed police officers. Since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, about one-third of the schools in the U.S. have added some kind of armed security, according to federal data.
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Kids' social media options are leaving parents behind
The Associated Press via Fort Worth Star-Telegram
After Friendster came MySpace. By the time Facebook dominated social media, parents had joined the party, too. But the online scene has changed — dramatically, as it turns out — and these days even if you're friends with your own kids on Facebook, it doesn't mean you know what they're doing. Thousands of software programs now offer cool new ways to chat and swap pictures. The most popular apps turn a hum-drum snapshot into artistic photography or broadcast your location to friends in case they want to meet you. Kids who use them don't need a credit card or even a cellphone, just an Internet connection and device such as an iPod Touch or Kindle Fire.
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Leadership in education requires walking a mile in students' shoes
LinkedIn (Commentary)
Michelle Rhee, founder and CEO at StudentsFirst, writes: "I suspect the saying 'never ask anyone to do something you aren't willing to do yourself' holds meaning for leaders in most industries — but I've learned that bit of wisdom is especially important when it comes to education. Too often, we find ourselves having an abstract discussion — about funding levels or test scores or education theories — and forget that what we're really talking about are classrooms full of children and those kids' ultimate success in life. I learned the lesson while I was chancellor of public schools in Washington D.C."
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Stop the abuse: Rethinking the vending machine model of budget leadership
By Dr. Harris Sokoloff (Commentary)
Battles over school budgets have become increasingly vitriolic, with parents treating school administrators and boards like vending machines. Parents put their money in — pay their taxes — and when they don't get the program or service they want and the way they want it, they kick the machine, scream at it and then kick it again. If we are to maintain public support for our public schools, we need to find a way to cut through the acrimony.
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Industry Pulse: Is it a good idea to engage the community about budget cuts?
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Educators share technology struggles: From tablets to Twitter
InformationWeek
Should teachers use social media? What are the best practices for flipped classrooms? How are educators in other countries using computers and networks? These were but a few of the 400 session topics at the 68th annual meeting of the ASCD in Chicago, where technology's impact on teachers, students and institutions dominated much of the discussion. This year, the nonprofit's three-day conference and exhibit drew more than 10,000 educators and administrators, as well as hundreds of vendors.
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Forced spending cuts slash hope for teachers
CNN
Inside her Oxford, Ohio, kindergarten classroom, Christine Milders has 24 cubbies, 24 tables and 24 seats. It's a perfect fit for her 24 little students, no more. But come next fall, she expects that number will grow to 30. That's when forced federal spending cuts, also known as the sequester, will kick in and start chipping away at education funding.
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The decisive element in the classroom
Psychology Today (Commentary)
Signe Whitson, a licensed social worker and author, writes: "Classroom teachers have everything to do with stopping bullying. There. I said it. I often hesitate to make this assertion so plainly when speaking to Educators, fearing my next move will have to be fending off rotten tomatoes lobbed at my head by teachers who won't stand for having yet another responsibility heaped onto their already-overflowing plates."
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Survey: 1-in-50 US school kids has autism
The Associated Press via CBS News
A government survey of parents says 1-in-50 U.S. schoolchildren has autism, surpassing another federal estimate for the disorder. Health officials say the new number doesn't mean autism is occurring more often. But it does suggest that doctors are diagnosing autism more frequently, especially in children with milder problems.

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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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Top universities will help train STEM teachers
Scientific America
A group of Tier 1 research universities — the Stanfords, Harvards and MITs of the world — will join the White House-led effort to train 100,000 new math and science teachers by the year 2022. A $22.5 million gift from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, announced by the White House, will make it possible to expand a successful teacher-training program called UTeach to 10 top research schools over the next five years.
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Arne Duncan spars with state K-12 chiefs over district waivers
Education Week
When U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan came to talk to state education chiefs in Washington today, one of his first acts was to apologize. More specifically, he apologized on behalf of the federal government — and Congress specifically — for not acting to prevent sequestration, automatic across-the-board spending cuts. Citing specific numbers that are particularly damaging for states, such as the $727 million in lost Title I funds for schools with high proportions of low-income students, Duncan said that federal lawmakers were not governing in the right way and could solve the problem immediately if they chose to.
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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.


Report: ESEA reauthorization could be trouble for waiver states
eSchool News
A new report surveying states that have applied for and received No Child Left Behind waivers finds they are worried that reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act could hinder progress painstakingly made in school reform over the past year. The report, released by the Center on Education Policy, notes that last year Education Secretary Arne Duncan began to grant states waivers on key NCLB accountability requirements. The waiver guidelines let states depart from some of NCLB's more strict requirements, such as judging school performance against a goal of 100 percent of students reaching reading and math "proficiency" by 2014, and implementing specific interventions in schools that fall short of performance targets.
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i3-funded curriculum transformation documented and shared
U.S. Department of Education
Edutopia.org released a new video featuring one of OII's i3 grantees — Bellevue School District's Sammamish High School in Washington state. The video documents the transformation from the school's use of traditional curriculum to problem-based learning. The district was awarded an i3 Development grant in 2010 for the development and implementation of a scalable, sustainable, 21st century, skills-based program. This type of learning allows teachers to facilitate conversations and provide more effective classroom instruction; it also allows students to take more ownership in the learning process — how they connect to and learn the material, and how they put new knowledge into practice.
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More states consider 'parent trigger' laws
Education Week
The push for the "parent trigger" option for turning around struggling schools continues, with new laws under consideration in 12 states' legislative sessions, even as such laws already on the books remain unused in all but one of the seven states that have them. Many education advocates opposed to what they view as efforts to privatize and corporatize public schools are watching with trepidation as lawmakers in Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma and elsewhere review parent-trigger bills. Opponents argue that the mechanism ultimately hurts schools and ruptures communities. Meanwhile, as of mid-March, three other states — California, Indiana and Texas — were also considering revisions to their existing parent-trigger laws.
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Teachers facing achievement gap try cross-race connections
Minnesota Public Radio
All the bleak statistics about Minnesota's achievement gap became personal to fifth-grade teacher Jen Engel, when she realized that gap was playing out in her own classroom. "It stares you right in the face. It's real." Engel teaches at Echo Park Elementary School in Burnsville, Minn., where about half of the students are racial minorities, many of them struggling academically. The 43-year-old, who is white, has heard about the factors that can contribute to the racial achievement gap, including poverty, unstable living conditions and troubled families.
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Elementary students take a bite out of obesity
Naples Daily News
School days just got healthier for more elementary-age schoolkids in Collier County, Fla. Three days a week, kids in Collier County such as second-grader Christopher Lacross are now eating nutritious fruits and vegetables because of a newly established health and education program. The pilot program allows children to snack on foods during designated breaks. Florets of crunchy multicolored cauliflower, a juicy Clementine, or a crisp sweet apple wedge, were served instead of candy bar or chips.
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School principal kisses pig as students reach reading goals
Centreville Patch
Sharon Smith Williams will do anything it takes to get her students at Poplar Tree Elementary in Chantilly, Va., to read more. And she proved that recently, when to excited cheers and applause from her students, she puckered up for a pig. As part of a program called "Pig Out on Reading," Williams promised the students that if they read 5,000 books in just over a month, she would kiss a pig. Inspired by the popular children's book, "Our Principal Promised to Kiss a Pig", Williams enlisted the help of Farmer Minor, who travels with his pig Daisy and two pug dogs to schools around the country for similar events.
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4 days of 'Aha!' moments
NAESP
Register now for the biggest professional development event of the year for principals! NAESP's 2013 Best Practices for Better Schools National Conference kicks off July 11, bringing together engaging speakers and like-minded colleagues to share solutions on the Common Core, teacher recruitment, leading school change and much more. Maximize your time in Baltimore by coming a day early and catching exciting pre-conference workshops by Bob Marzano and Alan November, the annual Service Day and the Jeans and Jerseys bash.
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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 (PEAP). 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.
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601   Download media kit
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