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Schools coping with Common Core turbulence
District Administration Magazine
The rollout of the Common Core State Standards in classrooms nationwide this school year has been "bumpy" as states struggle to provide professional development for teachers, align curricular materials and create assessments that adequately measure the standards, according to the February report "Common Core in the Districts: An Early Look at Early Implementers" from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
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Report: Widespread racial disparities in public school punishments
NPR
A U.S. Education Department report finds what it calls a pattern of punitive policies and educational neglect that disproportionately hurt black, Latino and Native American students in public schools.
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Pros and cons of Common Core State Standards
By: Archita Datta Majumdar
As the name suggests, Common Core State Standards mean an even and consistent educational standard across the country that will pave the way for equal learning opportunities. The initiative was designed to keep in mind that students need to be prepared for the real world and this comprehensive education will be their ally. However, the Common Core State Standards have faced a lot of opposition ever since they were announced. The reality is that like every new idea, this too has its pros and cons and needs to be evaluated and assessed properly.
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More advanced math and reading in kindergarten benefits school performance
Medical News Today
A new study finds that when kindergarten teachers expose young children to advanced content in math and reading, the kids perform better at elementary school later on, regardless of their economic background. In fact, Amy Claessens, assistant professor of public policy at Chicago University's Harris School of Public Policy Studies and lead author of the study, says if anything, children tend to stagnate later in elementary school when kindergarten teachers neglect advanced content and only teach basic content.
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More than a veggie patch: School gardens help teachers, students with STEM
U.S. News & World Report
The idea of having a community garden is nothing new. It's a popular way to promote sustainability, healthy eating and camaraderie. But one organization has found it's also a powerful way to improve teacher effectiveness and boost student interest and engagement in science. REAL School Gardens, a nonprofit organization with offices in Washington, D.C., and Texas, partners with companies and nonprofits to bring learning gardens into low-income elementary schools. Schools are selected through a grant application process, says Jeanne McCarty, the organization's executive director, and students use math and art to develop a design for the garden. A few weeks later, they come together with REAL School Gardens staff members, corporate volunteers, parents and teachers to bring the ideas to life.
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Critics question Common Core's effectiveness
eSchool News
Common Core State Standards are a set of rigorous academic standards in math and English. The Common Core has been adopted in 45 states and the District of Columbia. Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, this academic initiative was intended to ensure that students graduate from high school with critical thinking skills to help them lead a successful life.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword COMMON CORE.




Common Core assessments: A principal's view
Principal (Commentary)
Principal Lucille McAssey writes: "In the state of New York, some are referring to the current atmosphere as the 'perfect storm.' No, I am not talking about Super Storm Sandy, a storm that devastated the northeastern coastline. I am talking about the convergence of the Common Core State Standards, high-stakes assessments, and our new teacher and principal evaluation system, referred to as annual professional performance reviews. Our school, like many others, is doing its best to weather this storm in positive and productive ways that will ultimately benefit the children we serve."
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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.


Don't help your kids with their homework
The Atlantic
One of the central tenets of raising kids in America is that parents should be actively involved in their children's education: meeting with teachers, volunteering at school, helping with homework and doing a hundred other things that few working parents have time for. These obligations are so baked into American values that few parents stop to ask whether they're worth the effort.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    4 assessment questions every educator should ask (eSchool News)
The administrative tightrope and finding balance (Connected Principals Blog)
When school discipline is unfair: 4 ways to do better (The Christian Science Monitor)
Testing to, and beyond, the Common Core (Principal)
Strategies to reach every student, regardless of language barrier (MindShift)

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


How to dispute one-to-one, mobile learning criticisms
eSchool News
Ed-tech initiatives will always have critics. But administrators can take action and leverage resources to ensure that their one-to-one and mobile learning initiatives are implemented carefully and successfully. A panel of four ed-tech experts discussed how recent criticisms have questioned the effectiveness of one-to-one initiatives after several initiatives encountered much-publicized bumps in the road.
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6 essential R's to reduce school-wide bullying
Edutopia (commentary)
Dr. Michele Borba, an educational consultant, social-emotional learning and bullying expert, writes: "The best way to reduce bullying is not with a one-time assembly or a poster campaign, but with homegrown, data-driven, sustained efforts by a caring, committed staff — a model I call the six R's, a blueprint for effective bullying prevention. I've shared this model with hundreds of educators worldwide, and on U.S. Army bases. Each 'R' is crucial in creating what our students deserve — a safe, caring learning environment that breeds acceptance and respect."
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What to do when there are too many students?
The Hechinger Report
The state of Oregon has indicated that by 2025, roughly 11 years from now, it wants 80 percent of adults to hold a college degree or a post-secondary certificate. If Oregon achieves its goal, just over three million people will hold a credential. While there are a number of political options on the table to help make this a reality, most address cost and access. On the other hand, none of the proposed solutions address how to implement a system that manages and educates the flood of tens of thousands of incoming students.
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Snow and severe winter take a toll on classroom learning
The Washington Post
This winter's frequent snowstorms have reshuffled lesson plans and testing schedules at schools across the Washington region, and the days off have left students worried about being ready for spring exams. Teachers wonder if first-graders will make their reading goals as they lose ground on snow days, and parents have been surprised by extra homework.
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Homework loads haven't changed much in 30 years
U.S. News & World Report
The idea that American students spend hours on end toiling away with burdensome amounts of homework is unfounded, argues a new report from the Brookings Institution's Brown Center on Education Policy. In fact, homework loads haven't changed all that much in the past three decades. The center's annual report on American education examined student-reported homework levels in the National Assessment of Educational Progress from 1984 to 2012 and found that for some students, such as those in middle school, homework loads actually have lightened slightly. For all three age groups examined — 9-year-olds, 13-year-olds and 17-year-olds — most students reported having less than an hour of homework each night, and just a small percentage said they had more than two hours.
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Finding peace in the classroom
Edutopia (commentary)
Ben Johnson, a high school principal, consultant, author and instructional learning coach, writes: "After a hard day of teaching, I often plop down on my desk chair at home and gaze up at a framed drawing hanging on the wall above my desk that a dear friend of mine gave me. It is a detailed depiction of a pair of wood ducks serenely floating on a calm pond. One of the ducks is male that has brightly colored feathers and beak; the other is female that is plain gray and nondescript. Yet both are at peace and comfortable with each other. Struggling to help students to learn can sometimes destroy our internal peace and serenity, especially when students resist our best efforts."
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Critics question Common Core's effectiveness
eSchool News
Common Core State Standards are a set of rigorous academic standards in math and English. The Common Core has been adopted in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

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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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Unmeasured success: What standardized testing doesn't assess
Connected Principals Blog (commentary)
Tom Martellone, a contributor for Connected Principals Blog, writes: "This year, I've been working with my school staff to implement strategies that will raise student achievement and be reflected on MCAS, our state standardized assessment. The staff members have been working diligently to support student learning, and I am confident that we'll see increased scores as one measure of our success."
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Center for American Progress: Race to Top states making good progress
Education Week
It's the final year of Race to the Top, so how are the dozen winners doing when it comes to the four main areas of the program, including turning around low-performing schools, improving teacher effectiveness, beefing up state data systems, and bolstering standards and assessments? Overall, states have made great progress in a short amount of time, but there have been bumps in the road, according to a report by the Center for American Progress, a think tank in Washington that many consider to be closely aligned with the Obama administration.
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Sandy Hook design required special reverence
News Times
The challenging terrain and the trauma attached to the former Sandy Hook Elementary School is not lost on the architects selected to build a new school that is safe without becoming a fortress and incorporates the beauty and sanctity of the 12-acre site off Dickinson Drive. Principals Barry Svigals and Judith McFadden of Svigals + Partners of Orange, credit the community — some 200 or more voices — with providing the "creativity, intelligence, compassion and diligence" that they translated into designs for the institution's next generation.
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New Orleans charter schools scramble to teach non-English speakers
The Hechinger Report
Every school night, Ramon Leon helps his older son, a third grader at a New Orleans charter school, with his homework. Typically, they speed through the math worksheets. Word problems take longer because Leon's son has to translate them into Spanish for his father, who speaks little English. Grammar worksheets sometimes stump them both. Leon, who moved to New Orleans from Mexico with his two sons just before the start of the school year, is an involved parent: He attends all report card conferences — using his third grader as an interpreter. On the nights when he can't help his older son figure out an assignment, he won't sign the homework form. Instead, he writes "No entiendo" — Spanish for "I don't understand."
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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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To implement new literacy standards, collaboration is key
NAESP
For a new report, the National Center for Literacy Education surveyed educators on their experiences with implementing new literacy standards. The report, "Remodeling Literacy Learning Together: Paths to Standards Implementation," reveals that literacy instruction is far more effective when educators share responsibilities and best practices.
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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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