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Report: Fewer elementary schools offering visual arts, drama, dance; poor students hurt most
The Associated Press via The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Elementary schools without drama classes. High schools with large numbers of poor students that do not offer music. Those are two of the bleaker pictures that emerged from a report by the U.S. Department of Education on the state of arts education. Fewer public elementary schools are offering visual arts, dance and drama classes than a decade ago, a decline many attribute to budget cuts and an increased focus on math and reading. The percentage of elementary schools with a visual arts class declined from 87 to 83 percent. In drama, the drop was larger: From 20 percent to 4 percent in the 2009-2010 school year. Music at the elementary and secondary school levels remained steady, though there were declines at the nation's poorest schools. More

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Food allergies up 33 percent in US kids
Family Practice News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Reports of U.S. children with a food allergy jumped by a third between 2003-2004 and 2007-2008. The finding is based on survey responses collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from more than 90,000 patients during each of the two time periods. An analysis of other data collected by the surveys implicated younger age, lack of health insurance, and eczema as three factors associated with the increased prevalence of food allergies in children, Dr. Karen A. DeMuth said. More



Common Core: Nobody said it was going to be easy
The Washington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Stephanie Day, director of teaching and learning at the Friendship Public Charter School in Washington D.C., writes, "As debate rings out on nearly every policy question, we are consistently seeing gridlock win out over progress. In this political climate, it is no small feat that 44 states have chosen to hold their students to the same set of high quality academic standards embodied in the Common Core State Standards. However, as with any meaningful change, nobody said it was going to be easy. Now that states are beginning to transition to the standards, the real work is kicking in. As a teacher, I certainly understand the frustration among my colleagues and everyone else participating in the implementation process. Yet with so much at stake, we can't let these growing pains get the best of us." More

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Governors urged to tap into 'informal' science education
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In a new issue brief, the National Governors Association identifies science learning outside the classroom — often called "informal science education" — as a frequently overlooked vehicle for helping states advance their STEM goals. The document urges governors to "explicitly" include informal science education on their action agenda to improve STEM learning among young people and have representatives from informal science institutions (such as museums and zoos) be a part of state STEM advisory councils. More

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School kids learn the art of the cafeteria, how to cook
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Joshua Clark, an eighth-grader at Virginia's Potomac Middle School, had to step back from dicing a red onion to wipe away tears brought on by the pungent bulb during a recent meeting of the school's Chef's Club. The 14-year-old said he enjoys cooking at home but usually leaves the onions for his mother to chop. The club is a little bit "Iron Chef," a little bit home economics. The result: plates full of healthful food choices made from scratch by students who are learning to become independent in the kitchen. More



CDC helps educators identify students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Yahoo News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Centers for Disease Control has just released startling new numbers: one in every 88 children is now identified with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD. Considering the rising prevalence of the diagnosis, up from 6.6 for each 1,000 children in 2002 to 11.3 in 2008, it's not surprising that teachers are increasingly among the first to identify students with autism. New tools from the CDC are making it easier for educators and parents to identify behavioral milestones earlier than ever, through play. More

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GreatSchools finds a niche in school ratings
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Plug a school name into any Internet search engine, and within a few pages, you're likely to come across the GreatSchools website. GreatSchools.org neatly ranks more than 136,000 traditional public, private, and charter schools nationwide on a scale of 1 to 10, based on state test scores. But what often draws readers are the gossipy insider comments posted by parents, students and teachers, and the star ratings those commenters contribute. The growth of online school rating services has gone hand in hand with the growth of the school choice movement: Parents need independent information on the array of educational options opening up to them. More

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Parents, educators want more from assessment
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Thanks to the federal No Child Left Behind Act, K-12 educators are spending more time than ever before on testing their students' skills — but is all this testing doing any good? The results from a new national survey reveal that both parents and educators would like to see a wider variety of school assessments that go beyond the high-stakes exams now common in schools &mdashl and they'd like to see a wider range of skills and subjects tested as well, including so-called 21st century skills such as problem solving and critical thinking. More

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End-of-month hunger hurts students on food stamps
Bloomberg    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It's the beginning of a new month, and that's a good thing in America's schools, because life seems to get worse there as a month goes by. Students get in more trouble toward the end of the month than at the beginning. New research suggests that's especially true for students from families on food stamps, perhaps because life at home gets more stressful as benefits run out. Modifying the food-stamp program so that benefits are paid out twice, rather than once, a month could help eliminate these cycles. More

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Training of out-of-school staff debated
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As out-of-school programs — and the expectations for them — grow, the field is struggling to identify the kind of training staff members need to meet those expectations. A variety of efforts have sprung up across the country to define and improve the quality of after-school staff, some of which bear resemblance to the quest to improve the effectiveness of classroom teachers. But given that many out-of-school programs face limited funding and their staffs tend to be young, part-time workers who rarely commit to the job for long, questions remain over how to provide professional development in a cost-effective way. More

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Bilingual children switch tasks faster than speakers of a single language
Medical Xpress    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Children who grow up learning to speak two languages are better at switching between tasks than are children who learn to speak only one language, according to a study funded in part by the National Institutes of Health. However, the study also found that bilinguals are slower to acquire vocabulary than are monolinguals, because bilinguals must divide their time between two languages while monolinguals focus on only one. More

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Bullying resources for kids, parents and educators
msnbc    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The documentary "Bully" is generating a national conversation about bullying — a problem that transcends nearly every culture and community. “Nightly News” has compiled several online resources for kids, parents and educators seeking more information on how to stop — and prevent — bullying. The Bully Project, the film's website, features a viewing guide with discussion topics for watching the film with kids. It also offers ways to connect with the anti-bullying movement. StopBullying.gov, a website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, offers advice on how to get help, and ways to prevent bullying. More

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School environment has little effect on teen mental health
HealthDay News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
There is limited evidence that the school environment impacts adolescent mental health, according to a review published in Pediatrics. To investigate the importance of the school environment for adolescent emotional health, Dr. Judi Kidger, of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review. Cohort or controlled trial designs that reported emotional health outcomes and school environment exposure or intervention were included (age of participants, 11 to 18 years). More



Obama administration revamps anti-bullying effort with tips and advice
The Hill    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Health and Human Services Department has revamped its StopBullying.gov web site to focus on providing information the public can use to prevent and stop bullying rather than just raising awareness. The changes come as the issue has garnered newfound awareness thanks to the Cartoon Network's Speak Up documentary. The revamped site includes new tools and information about who is at risk of being bullied, how to tell if a child is bullying someone else, and concrete steps that individuals, families and communities can take to address bullying where they live, work, play and go to school. More

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Minnesota student's Facebook incident could help form schools' guidelines
Minnesota Public Radio    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Facebook's popularity among students has put school officials in a tough spot: When is it appropriate to police what students say on Facebook, especially outside of school time? A central Minnesota student was recently disciplined for something she posted online. The school district is now being sued for allegedly violating her right to free speech. The case shows the thin line school administrators walk when developing polices on social media. More

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Louisiana Senate approves teacher tenure restrictions, pay changes
The Times-Picayune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Louisiana Senate approved a sweeping overhaul of teacher tenure and compensation rules, along with shifting primary personnel authority in public schools from local boards of education to superintendents and principals. The 23-16 vote, which followed a handful of amendments, sends House Bill 974 back to the House of Representatives, which must ratify the Senate version or send the measure to a conference committee of three lawmakers from each chamber. More

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Study: Denver Public Schools can better improve through charter schools
The Denver Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Denver Public Schools may be able to more quickly improve performance through charter schools than by using federal turnaround strategies for the entire system, according to a report. The study by the nonprofit Donnell-Kay Foundation compared data from 36 schools that have opened since 2007. "One thing that's clear about what's working is high-performing charters," said Alexander Ooms, a Donnell-Kay Foundation senior fellow and the report's author. More



What's inside your computer? These 6th-graders can tell you
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Have you ever looked inside a laptop? Have you ever held a CPU or studied the components on a computer motherboard? Though we use computers everyday, many of us know little about the fascinating world inside. In the spirit of tech innovation that's defined Silicon Valley, every sixth grader in the Los Altos School District will be able to describe what goes on inside a computer. Students spend several classes studying a computer motherboard, drawing it in their notebooks and creating a 3-D model of the computer on the computer. This hardware lesson is part of a required weekly class in a program that teaches science, technology, engineering and math with a focus on creativity, collaboration and computer science. More

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Turning teacher-student roles upside down
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It's a typical school day in Oakland, Calif., and Aaliyah is about to show how to solve two-step equations. Circling the three numbers in the equation 4x + 10 = 30, she says, "So one, two, three? Is a hater. They're like haters ... We trying to get rid of those numbers, 'cause they hate on x. And we trying to have x protected." If that's an unusual way to characterize isolating the variable, that's because Aaliyah is an unusual teacher. In fact, she's not a teacher at all — she's a student at the Envision Academy of Arts and Technology. Her algebra lesson is being filmed and posted on the Web. More



NAESP elections now open
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
This spring, eligible NAESP members will elect a new president-elect as well as directors for Zones 5, 7 and 9. Voting opened last week and will close Tuesday, April 24. Electronic ballots are available through our website — click here to vote now or see our election page for candidate information and tips for logging in to the NAESP website. More

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Register for free webinars on Common Core
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Get ready to implement the Common Core standards at your school with two new, free one-hour webinars from NAESP. "PARCC 101," held Thursday, April 19 from 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., will provide an update on the current status of PARCC, along with tools and resources for school leaders. In "Dialogues on the Common Core," held Monday, April 23 from 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., a national expert on the standards and a principal preparing his school for them will offer their tips and tricks. Sign up now, and keep an eye out for future webinars from NAESP. More
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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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