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As sweeping layoffs loom, schools gird for turmoil
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
School authorities across the nation are warning thousands of teachers that they could lose their jobs in June, raising the possibility that America's public schools may see the most extensive layoffs of their teaching staffs in decades. Though many of the warnings may not be acted upon — school systems, their budget outlook unclear, routinely overstate likely layoffs at this time of year — when layoffs do occur, they cause a chaotic annual reshuffling of staff members. Thousands of teachers are forced to change schools, grades or subjects, creating chronic instability that educators call "teacher churn." More



Will anyone win in 'Race to the Top'?
NPR    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It's been one year since Delaware, along with Tennessee, won the first round of the Obama administration's Race to the Top competitive grant program. Funded by the Recovery Act and designed to spur bold education reform, the program makes $4.35 billion available to all 50 states — but only if they agree to certain guidelines for improving their education systems, such as raising academic standards and boosting support for the lowest-performing schools. Winners of the competition's second round, announced last August, include Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. More



Common state curriculum to yield more textbook choices
California Watch    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
An unexpected byproduct of 41 states adopting common curriculum standards is that California schools won't be limited to textbooks and other instructional materials developed specifically for the state. Some state education experts are saying that the "common core" standards, as they're known, could result in a new marketplace of instructional materials, which could yield learning products that are more creative and perhaps even cheaper than what the state has had access to in the past. More

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Wisconsin Governor launches 3rd-grade reading initiative
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Future students will have to show that they can read at a third-grade level before they can advance to fourth-grade as part of an initiative Gov. Scott Walker launched with the announcement of a task force that will help guide related legislation."A lot of kids, as they advance to upper grades, if they fail to get the essential learning skills that they need coming through third-grade, increasingly they become frustrated as they try to catch up," Walker said. "We do them no service by advancing them to fourth-grade and beyond if they're not equipped to read at a third-grade level." More

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Role of science learning outside of school grows
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When a fresh round of national and international data on student achievement in science came out recently, the results — widely seen as disappointing — prompted familiar hand-wringing from political leaders and education experts about the steps needed to improve science instruction in the public schools. What's often missing from the national dialogue on the issue is a concerted focus not simply on what happens in the classroom, but also on the opportunities to learn about science — and to inspire a passion for the subject — that come outside the school day and the formal curriculum. But many leaders in the field often referred to as "informal science education" say that is beginning to change. More

Boys prefer TV, video games to exercise
United Press International    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Less than 12 percent of U.S. sixth-grade boys meet federal recommendations for physical activity, mainly because they are not motivated, researchers say. Study leader Lorraine Robbins of Michigan State University's College of Nursing said the study involved a racially diverse set of sixth-grade boys from two public middle schools who were brought together in seven focus groups. The study, published in the Journal of School Nursing, found the main barrier for boys doing 1 hour of exercise daily was a lack of motivation, as well as environmental barriers such as a lack of equipment at schools and few neighborhood options with small yards and parks in disrepair. More

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Inclusive approach for special students
The Boston Globe    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The interview questions scribbled in the block-letter penmanship of an elementary school student were both profound and typical for a 7-year-old seeking input into the hiring of a second-grade teacher. The first question: "Have you taught people with disabilities like me before?" The second: "Will we do math in second-grade?" And the third: "If I find something challenging, what do you request that I do?" The questions, accompanied by six "good qualities for a second-grade teacher," show the continued growth of Anthony Curioso, a first-grader at the Henderson Inclusion Elementary School in Massachusetts. More

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Teachers, students see texting lingo popping up in school writing
Chicago Sun-Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The increased use of communication via text messages has resulted in a language full of abbreviations, something that at times has crossed over to the world of academics. The abbreviated words that often find their way into text messages also have been finding their way into papers students write for classes. More



Are school nurses disappearing?
Parenting.com via CNN    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Ten-year-old Mercedes Mears arrived at Clover Creek Elementary School, in Tacoma, Washington, short of breath. Her sister ran into the office to get help. According to later accounts, Mercedes was in a panic. The school knew she was both asthmatic and suffered from food allergies — a plan detailing emergency treatment was on hand, as was a supply of her asthma medication and an allergy autoinjector, which would deliver a shot of epinephrine to relax the muscles of the airways. The plan had been signed by the school nurse. But the nurse came to Clover Creek only a few days a week — and that day wasn't one of them. More

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After-school program injects new life into physical education
Journal and Courier    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The music hadn't even started yet but Roman Bronson couldn't wait. Immediately Bronson, a student at Earhart Elementary School in Lafayette, Ind., began writhing on the gym floor, scissoring his arms and legs, eager to get started with the final Hip Hop Hustle class of the year. The classes are designed to inject a healthy dose activity into a student's day. More


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Speak Up survey highlights gaps in support of education technology
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In an annual national survey, more than half of parents said they support the use of mobile devices for academic purposes inside their children's classrooms and would even consider buying such a device for their children — while more than half of school administrators said they are not in favor of students using their own mobile devices in school. This was just one of the significant findings contained in the 2010 Speak Up National Report, which polled students, parents, teachers and administrators on their experiences and opinions regarding educational technology. More



Bipartisan effort will revise the No Child Act
The Washington Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The clock is ticking on former President George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind Act. Bipartisan negotiations are under way in the Senate with four members — two Republicans and two democrats — of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee beginning to craft a comprehensive overhaul to federal education policy. The discussions are a response to President Barack Obama's call for Congress to pass such legislation before the start of the next school year. The law would replace Bush's signature education initiative, which has become a punching bag for the Obama administration and some members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. More

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Washington, DC, charters tackle preschool
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At LEAP Academy, a public charter school in Southeast Washington, D.C., a roomful of 4-year-olds hunched over tables, quietly practicing their writing skills. Most can't actually write entire words yet, so they scrawled the first letter and supplemented their stories with pictures. When one boy instead covered his page with fierce black scribbles, Principal Laura Bowen leaned over his shoulder and told him to stop. "I don't want any more scribbles," she said. "I want a story." Such encounters are part of the new frontier as Washington, D.C.'s thriving charter-school movement expands into early childhood programs, where per-pupil funding is higher and, advocates say, early intervention might lead to bigger gains in academic achievement. More

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Pep rally brings home message of nutrition
Montgomery Newspapers    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At Pennsylvania's Springfield Township Middle School students convened to learn about nutrition, but they did not sit in a classroom. They also did not sit through a lecture about what they should and should not eat for lunch. Instead, cheerleaders, students dressed as fruit and vegetables and special guests from Comcast Sportsnet cheered and encouraged healthy eating in a pep rally titled "School Meals Rock." More

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Los Angeles elementary schools to switch reading programs
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Los Angeles school officials have scrapped the elementary school reading program that was a centerpiece of local education reform efforts for the last decade, calling it out of date and overly expensive. The shelving of Open Court, whose adoption generated controversy, caused barely a ripple when the Board of Education voted 7 to 0 to instead use a program called California Treasures. More

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Teaching little fingers new math tricks
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Gabi Bagley, 5, dug through a box of Kid K'Nex toys, bypassing rods and cylinders until she found a purple, teardrop-shaped object about four inches long. "Does that fit your hand just right?" said Cyndi Lopardo, her Preschool for All teacher. "Bring it over." Gabi was one of four children at Chicago's Onahan Elementary School learning a mathematical concept — measurement — by searching for items the same length as their hands. The lesson was developed by coaches from the Erikson Institute to hone the children's ability to compare and predict size — skills that researchers from Erikson say provide a foundation for success in elementary math but are often neglected in preschool. More



2011 NAESP Annual Convention and Exposition begins Thursday
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
NAESP's Annual Convention and Exposition begins Thursday and we have you covered. Read Convention News Online throughout the next five days to remain updated on all that's going on in Tampa, Fla. More

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Looking for answers? Check out NAESP's online research resources
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
NAESP offers a wealth of research-based information on issues, topics, and trends that affect elementary and middle-level education and the principalship. Access these resources to get the research and data you need to answer questions, explore the latest literature and investigate innovative ideas. More

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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 Cynthia Rosso at crosso@naesp.org.
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