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Moving
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Moving to
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Teachers and school staff turn to self-defense training
USA Today
As school professionals nationwide re-evaluate plans for keeping schoolchildren safe, more teachers, staff and parents turn to self-defense training, defense instructors across the country say. Pelting rain blurred Celenea Mitchell's windshield as she drove through Battle Ground, Wash. A few weeks had passed since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, and Mitchell, a mother of two and a PTA volunteer, was determined to help get Battle Ground teachers trained in self-defense.
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Teaching emotions: A different approach to ending school violence
The Huffington Post (Commentary)
In the wake of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, the media has trumpeted the predictable calls for tighter gun controls and widespread speculation about the shooter's mental health. But those calling for change have done remarkably little soul-searching about the education system that allowed such a disturbed individual to wander through its hallways speaking little and avoiding eye contact, apparently completely ignored.
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How the Common Core is redefining math instruction
eClassroom News
What does teaching math look like under the Common Core standards? Lots of classroom interaction and more inquiry-based approaches to learning, according to experts who are helping schools integrate the standards into instruction. As schools prepare for Common Core assessments beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, curriculum directors are working with math teachers to make sure their practices encompass the standards' core concepts.
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Which path for the Common Core?
Education Week (Commentary)
As educators across the country implement the Common Core State Standards, we see two paths emerging ... and diverging. The first path treats the common core as just another set of standards to implement and assess. Educators jump straight to the grade-level requirements and map them to their curricula in a compliance-driven exercise. It starts to look a lot like what we've been doing with the No Child Left Behind Act for the last 10 years — a narrowed curriculum focused more on test scores than on college and career readiness.
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5 tools to help students learn how to learn
MindShift
Helping students learn how to learn: That's what most educators strive for, and that's the goal of inquiry learning. That skill transfers to other academic subject areas and even to the workplace where employers have consistently said that they want creative, innovative and adaptive thinkers. Inquiry learning is an integrated approach that includes kinds of learning: content, literacy, information literacy, learning how to learn, and social or collaborative skills. Students think about the choices they make throughout the process and the way they feel as they learn. Those observations are as important as the content they learn or the projects they create.
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Teachers, students, digital games: What's the right mix?
MindShift
When St. Louis fifth-grade teacher Jenny Kavanaugh teaches history, she uses her laptop to look at a map, or to give kids a virtual tour of the historical landmarks they're studying. "Students can interact with history in very cool ways online," she said. But when it's time for math, she puts the computer away. Even though Kavanaugh thinks technology is a great tool to enhance and deepen certain lessons, for drill and practice of key concepts in class, she finds one-on-one practice to be much more effective than its technological equivalent — digital practice games.
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Fast ForWord was found to have positive effects on alphabetics
Institute of Education Science
Fast ForWord is a computer-based reading program intended to help students develop and strengthen the cognitive skills necessary for successful reading and learning. The program, which is designed to be used 30–100 minutes a day, 5 days a week, for 4–16 weeks, includes three series. The Fast ForWord Language series and the Fast ForWord Literacy series aim to build cognitive skills such as memory, attention, processing and sequencing.
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Teaching students to analyze complex nonverbal texts
Edutopia
Teaching students, or anyone, to analyze a complex text is not easy. There is no silver bullet. No elaborate interpretive procedure exists that best helps students to analyze all texts, because text uniqueness is comprised of an endless combination of interactions between: content, reader's gender, age, culture and life experience, the text style and many more.
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How would mental-health screening for kids at school work?
Palm Beach Post
Children routinely have their vision, hearing and sometimes even the curve of their spines checked at school. For more than a decade, everyone from the American Academy of Pediatrics to the U.S. surgeon general has urged that all children also be screened for mental health — but it's not happened. No state in this country and only one country in the world — Chile — systematically screens all of its children for mental health in schools. Now in the wake of several high-profile shootings — many with troubled young adults behind the trigger — everyone is rehashing the conversation.
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Debate on school security ramps up
The Washington Post
Hoping to head off a push to expand police presence in the nation's 100,000 public schools, a national civil rights group plans to issue an alternative to beefing up school security. The plan focuses on counselors, campus safety teams, secure entrances and communication. It does not support adding more armed police. "Law enforcement officers provide the appearance of security, but should not be part of a holistic, concerted effort to ensure that children are safe," says the report by the Advancement Project, long active on school issues.
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Efficient vs. effective meetings
By C. Fredrick Crum
There is a major difference between an efficient meeting and an effective meeting. An efficient meeting addresses the process of the meeting. Having an effective meeting speaks to the results of the meeting. You can hold a very efficient meeting, but the goal of having an efficient meeting may result in a poor decision or plan for your organization. Efficient meetings are often neat and clean, and often have ineffective results. Effective meetings are often messy with passionate discussion and debate that fosters the best result.
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Same-sex-marriage cases hold implications for schools
Education Week
For Kristin M. Perry and Sandra B. Stier, the schools their children have attended have been one more place to be involved parents and a visible same-sex couple. "I have been a PTA president and I volunteered in the classroom all the time," said Perry, who noted that the family of two lesbian mothers and four boys — ages 18 to 24 — has had mostly positive experiences in the liberal enclave of Berkeley, Calif.
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The downside of superstar schools
Los Angeles Times
You could say that Carpenter Elementary in Studio City, Calif., owes its survival to students from other neighborhoods. A generation ago, their presence kept the campus from being shut down, after local families fled to private schools to avoid Los Angeles Unified's mandatory busing program. By the time busing ended in 1981, fewer than 50 of Carpenter's 450 students were children from the neighborhood. Former Principal Joan Marks spent years going door-to-door, luring locals back with the promise of a school they could be proud of.
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Will funding flexibility for schools come with sequestration cuts?
Education Week
So now that school districts are coping with a 5 percent across-the-board cut to all federal programs, thanks to sequestration, many advocates are asking the department for what they see as the next best thing to more money: Greater flexibility with the funds they actually have. For instance, advocates are wondering how the cuts will affect maintenance of effort, which requires states and districts to keep their own spending up at a certain level in order to tap federal funds. Do they get a break because they're getting less Title I and special education money?
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How the Common Core is redefining math instruction
eClassroom News
What does teaching math look like under the Common Core standards? Lots of classroom interaction and more inquiry-based approaches to learning, according to experts who are helping schools integrate the standards into instruction.

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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.

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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."

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Senate Republicans push federal voucher program in budget debate
Education Week
Parents would be able to take their child's Title I dollars to any school of their choice — including a private school — under a budget amendment written by two very high profile Republican senators: Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a tea party darling, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, the top GOP lawmaker on the Senate education committee. Does the policy sound familiar? It should if you were following the presidential election. It's very similar to the policies Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, pushed during the 2012 election.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Newtown, Conn., children remain scared as school tries to move on from Sandy Hook shooting (The Associated Press via The Huffington Post)
Making digital libraries work, with or without BYOD (The Journal)
Inquiry, curiosity, exploration and the Common Core (Edutopia)
Expanded learning time linked to higher test scores (Education Week)
Study points the way to better public schools (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

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




Sequester could hit special education, poor Texas students
The Texas Tribune
Aurora Ramirez-Ford, a fifth-grader with Down syndrome, needs speech classes and occupational therapy, services that are guaranteed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. But looming federal financing cuts could affect Aurora and her peers, because they may mean bigger classes and fewer teachers next year. "If you take away staff, it's a given that the quality of education will decrease," said Stacy Ford, Aurora's mother and a special education advocate in Leander. "It doesn't take a Ph.D. to figure that out."
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Boulder Valley, Colo.'s, higher teacher salaries force charters to evaluate pay
The Denver Post
Keeping up with Boulder Valley, Colo.'s, teacher pay has been an ongoing challenge for the district's charter schools — one that is now more difficult, thanks to the district's recent salary increases. In response to the school district paying more, local charter schools are reworking their own pay scales to stay competitive. Charter schools traditionally haven't been able to pay their teachers as much as their district school counterparts. Charters are public schools that usually are overseen by school districts but operate independently, don't usually participate in teacher unions and set their own salaries. The often-small schools also don't have the same economies of scale or resources as a large district.
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Mayor: Chicago school closings tough but necessary
The Associated Press via Yahoo News
Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded Saturday to widespread criticism of his plan to close 54 Chicago Public Schools, saying he wasn't interested in doing what was politically easy and that the pain of the closings doesn't compare to the anguish of "trapping" kids in failing schools. "If we don't make these changes, we haven't lived up to our responsibility as adults to the children of the city of Chicago," Emanuel said in his first public statements since Thursday's announcement. "And I did not run for office to shirk my responsibility."
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Oregon district adds online school, courses to provide student flexibility
THE Journal
In an effort to provide students with more flexibility, Lebanon Community Schools has launched an online school for K-12 students, dubbed Oregon iSchool, as well as online instruction for special education, enrichment, advanced studies and alternative education in its brick-and-mortar schools. Located in rural Oregon and facing "high unemployment, homelessness, and other related issues that can make going to school a challenge for many students," the district "decided to implement an online learning program that would allow for scheduling and pacing flexibility," according to a news release.
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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, 2013. 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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Apply now for NAESP's Dissertation Competition
NAESP
Here's your chance to share your dissertation research and win up to $1000. NAESP is offering the first Elementary School Dissertation Competition, open to doctoral students who have completed and successfully defended their dissertation between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012. But hurry — the deadline for competition applications is April 30.
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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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