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New twists on making up snow days
District Administration Magazine
The winter of record cold and heavy snow nationwide is finally over, but its impact persists even as students begin the countdown to summer break. School systems in at least 10 states and the District of Columbia used up all of the year's allotted snow days by mid-February, according to the Associated Press. Now, schools are making up lost time by cutting vacations and professional development days, logging online learning hours, and even holding Saturday classes, according to a survey from the Council of the Great City Schools, an organization of the nation's largest districts.
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Poll: More than half of students 'engaged' in school
Education Week
Students who have teachers who make them "feel excited about the future" and who attend schools that they see as committed to building their individual strengths are 30 times more likely than other students to show other signs of engagement in the classroom — a key predictor of academic success, according to a report by Gallup Education.
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More progressive ways to measure deeper level of learning
MindShift
How do we measure learning beyond knowledge of content? Finding that winning combination of criteria can prove to be a complicated and sometimes difficult process. Schools that are pushing boundaries are learning that it takes time, a lot of conversation, and a willingness to let students participate in that evaluation.
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Teachers, parents push for Common Core delay
U.S. News & World Report
An education advocacy group representing more than 10 million teachers, principals, administrators, parents and school board members nationwide said policymakers should give states more time to implement the Common Core State Standards and asked for a delay in the accountability measures linked to the aligned tests. The Learning First Alliance — which represents big-name education organizations such as the National PTA, the National School Boards Association and the nation's two largest teacher's unions (the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association) — said it would create a website dedicated to highlighting Common Core success stories to serve as a guide for further implementation.
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Students want more alignment of tech in and out of school
MindShift
Project Tomorrow's 2013 Speak Up survey of more than 325,000 students and 75,000 parents, teachers and administrators digs into how students and teachers are using technology in school and for learning outside of school, and comes up with some interesting insights about the pervasiveness of tech use. A quarter of students in grades 3-5 and a third of students in grades 6-12 report using a mobile device provided by their school in class. This trend is more pronounced in Title I schools. Still, as tech use proliferates, digital equity has risen to the top as a concern for district leaders. Forty-six percent of district technology leaders say student access to the internet outside of school is one of the most challenging issues they face.
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Violence continues as school security measures increase
By: Archita Datta Majumdar
Sadly, we live in an age where even the innocent are not spared from violence, and we see words like "lockdown" become an intrinsic part of the school lingo. The recent mass stabbing that injured 20 at a Pittsburgh-area high school is the latest example of this unfortunate trend. School officials and teachers are now trained to lock down the school at the slightest whiff of an emergency situation, and more and more schools across the country are preparing to invest millions of dollars to heighten their security measures. Recent bills in New Jersey and Delaware promise to lessen this gap between alertness and rescue.
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Pointing to your true north
Connected Principals Blog (commentary)
Sandra Trach, a contributor for Connected Principals Blog, writes: "Instructionally savvy educators know that personalized learning is the heart of student success. As schools strive to customize education through instructional design, technology efforts and professional learning, highly successful schools know that these initiatives in isolation are not nearly enough to improve and sustain student learning. Strong schools know that deep levels of personalization are found in an enriching and responsive system of teaching and learning, that stretches and supports learning in individual and flexible ways."
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5 must-haves for online assessments
eSchool News
As K-12 schools across the country begin to implement online learning, issues of cheating and lack of credibility are some of the main reasons why skeptics hesitate in supporting online learning — especially MOOCs. The answer to decreasing cheating, as well as giving more credibility to many less traditional forms of online learning, is in good assessments, say supporters.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    7 ways to evaluate educational games (eSchool News)
One size does not fit all: The need for variety in learning (MindShift)
Data: Education's new 'dirty' word (Connected Principals Blog)
More states require kindergarten entrance exams, database shows (Education Week)
Reimagining schools (Scholastic Administrator)

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


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Could school stabbings be the next great threat?
U.S. News & World Report
The mass stabbing at a Pennsylvania high school that left at least 20 individuals injured — at least four of whom are reported to have serious injuries — highlights the fact that schools need to be prepared for many different forms of attack, not just shootings, one school safety expert says. A male student at Franklin Regional High School — located in Murrysville, Pa., near Pittsburgh — entered the school campus armed with a knife and began making his way through several classrooms and hallways, reports said. Emergency crews were called to the school around 7:15 a.m., a local NBC affiliate reports.
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Exposure to arsenic in well water lowers IQ scores of US schoolchildren
Medical News Today
Researchers at Columbia University report that schoolchildren from three school districts in Maine exposed to arsenic in drinking water experienced declines in intelligence. While earlier studies conducted by the researchers in South Asia (Bangladesh in particular) showed that childhood exposure to arsenic in drinking water is negatively associated with intelligence, this is the first study to examine the issue in the U.S. Findings are reported online in the journal Environmental Health.
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American teachers feel really stressed, and it's probably affecting students
The Huffington Post
American teachers feel stressed out and insignificant, and it may be impacting students' educations. Gallup's State Of America's Schools Report, released Wednesday, says nearly 70 percent of K–12 teachers surveyed in a 2012 poll do not feel engaged in their work. The study said they are likely to spread their negative attitudes to co-workers and devote minimal discretionary effort to their jobs. At the same time, nearly half of teachers reported feeling daily stress. When compared to 12 other occupational groups, teachers were least likely to report feeling like their "opinions seem to count" at work. The survey also found, however, that teachers tend to be satisfied with their lives overall.
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Cultivating the habits of self-knowledge and reflection
Edutopia
Once it's begun, you can't fully separate the person from the task. When the artist is painting, the painter and the act of painting become a single "thing." The emerging artwork becomes a part of it all, too. As a teacher, your "self" is embedded within your teaching — which is how it goes from a job to a craft. The learning results are yours. You probably call those young people in the classroom "your" students. The same goes for students as well. There is a pleasing kind of string between the eight-year-old playing Minecraft and his or her digital creation. This is the magic of doing.
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Almost 70 percent of teachers are not engaged. Here's why that matters so much
The Hechinger Report
Gallup released a major report on the State of American Schools. Their data paints a picture of schools performing as a complex ecosystem, with the wellbeing, engagemen, and performance of teachers, students and principals all intertwined. The report combines decades of surveys of 5 million American teachers and principals with the results of the Gallup Student Poll, now billed as the largest survey of American students with 600,000 5th through 12 grade participants, and several large follow-up studies. Gallup's also drawing on its background developing the Employee Engagement Survey, which has been administered to a total of almost 30 million people in all professions.
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Here's how digital content and teachers align
eSchool News
As digital content becomes more commonplace in districts across the nation, some school leaders and educators wonder: what's involved in a digital content transition? During the 2014 National School Boards Association conference in New Orleans, a panel of experienced educators sought to answer that very question.
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Many states left key NCLB flexibility on the table
Education Week
Amid a nationwide backlash against testing, states were expected to jump at the chance to design accountability systems that judge schools on measures other than test scores alone — from specific offerings such as Advanced Placement courses to systemic factors such as school climate. But while 42 states plus the District of Columbia have these waivers under the No Child Left Behind Act, only 18 took advantage of the opportunity to use multiple measures that went beyond the NCLB-era factors of test scores, participation in the assessments, and graduation rates in high school.
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Could school stabbings be the next great threat?
U.S. News & World Report
The mass stabbing at a Pennsylvania high school that left at least 20 individuals injured — at least four of whom are reported to have serious injuries — highlights the fact that schools need to be prepared for many different forms of attack, not just shootings, one school safety expert says.

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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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Georgia cites 'educational sovereignty' in move to abandon Common Core
The Christian Science Monitor
Georgia Republicans, rebelling against what they see as a federal schoolhouse grab, may succeed in a first-in-the-nation bid to derail the so-called Common Core school standards while returning more control of math, social studies, and science curricula to local school districts in the Deep South state. Common Core, the new standard for public schools in 45 states and the District of Columbia, began as a push by state governors and business interests to encourage better-educated public school graduates, and Georgia was among the leaders.
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North Dakota residents most positive about their schools
Gallup
Nearly nine in 10 North Dakotans rate the quality of their state's public K-12 education as excellent or good — the highest ratings nationwide. Public school systems in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota trail behind North Dakota closely, with at least 80% of residents rating their states' schools this highly.
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Initiative to reduce class sizes would cost billions, no funding plan proposed
KIRO-TV
A new push for smaller class sizes in the state of Washington would require 15,000 new teachers statewide. Proponents of Initiative 1351 just started collecting signatures for a November ballot measure. KIRO 7 found out the measure would cost billions of dollars, but there is currently no plan on how to fund it. After identical bills in the state House and Senate failed to make it out of hearings, the issue of reducing school class sizes would go to the voters with I-1351. The measure would reduce class sizes in K-12.
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Chicago charters do no better than traditional public schools, new study finds
The Washington Post
An examination of every score that Chicago students earned on state-mandated standardized tests last year reveals that charter schools — which Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been promoting — don't perform any better than traditional public schools. The analysis, conducted by the Chicago Sun-Times and the Medill Data Project at Northwestern University, reviewed the 2013 scores of nearly 173,000 students in the traditional school district as well as more than 23,000 students in charter schools and a very small group enrolled at contract schools.
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NAESP election closing soon; Vote now
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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Join the National Panel of New Principals
NAESP
Calling all first- and second-year principals! The National Panel of New Principals is the only initiative of its kind that is dedicated to principals in the first or second year of their principalship. By participating, new principals will contribute to a dynamic knowledge base about what it's really like to be a new principal today.
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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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