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4 key principles for NCLB rewrite that would help vulnerable kids
The Washington Post (commentary)
Congress is now attempting to rewrite the fatally flawed No Child Left Behind, the current version of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act. NCLB was supposed to be rewritten in 2007 but Congress never saw its way to getting the job done, so it and its impossible goals — such as having virtually all students scoring proficient in math and reading on standardized tests by 2014 — remained the law. The Obama administration offered waivers to state from the most onerous parts of NCLB, but those waivers came with controversial conditions.
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I'm a principal without teaching experience
Education Week (commentary)
Tim Dawkins, the principal of Oliver Winch Middle School in the South Glens Falls Central School District in New York, writes: "Peter DeWitt recently wrote a blog asking, How Many Years of Teaching Experience Should a Principal Have? This is a question I have asked myself many times. It is the question that, if we walked around like comic book characters with thought bubbles over our heads, would appear quite often in my own personal bubble while sitting at my desk considering how to impact learning, because I never formally taught in the classroom. I did, however, spend 8 years as a high school counselor before moving into the world of educational leadership."
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2 heads are better than 1 — in the right circumstances
By: Pamela Hill
As a special educator, I want to use well-researched practices with my students. The reasons are logical: I want my students to learn well, I want to try researched practices so I can share them with credibility with my educator peers, and best practice dictates that IEP goals are based on researched practice. One practice — cooperative learning — has been explored multiple ways with students in resource and inclusion settings. Students with special education needs can work cooperatively with other students when the correct supports are put into place.
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Feeling the power of oral communication
Edutopia
An estimated 75 percent of all people experience nervousness when speaking in public. In fact, surveys have shown that most people fear public speaking more than death. Every classroom, regardless of subject matter or grade, should help students feel comfortable speaking in public by assigning them speaking tasks once a month so that they can experience applause. It's just as important for learners to develop themselves as appreciative and empathetic audience members.
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Science, math, art valued more than technology in poll
eSchool News
Providing computers to public school students is important to California voters, but not as crucial as other factors affecting education, including a more intense focus on math, science and the arts, according to a new poll. In the USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times survey, voters were given a list of options and asked to select the top two that would have the most positive impact on improving public education in California.
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Standing desks simplify collaboration and get kids excited to learn
K-12 TechDecisions
Sitting at a desk for hours a day isn't good for your health. That's one reason the the standing desk phenomenon has taken off in the corporate world. Studies show standing throughout the day increases blood circulation, burns calories and helps to maintain insulin effectiveness. When the Belle Terre Elementary School of the Florida-based Flagler School District saw this trend, members of the technology staff thought, why can't we do that here? If standing desks benefit the health of employees, they can benefit the health of students too.
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Should every school class be a computer coding class?
The Hechinger Report
This spring, at St. Anne's-Belfield School in Charlottesville, Virginia, the fifth-grade Spanish class programmed computers to produce bilingual, animated photo albums. The seventh-grade science class rejiggered the code behind climate models. The first-graders programmed robots to run mazes. And that's just for starters. "We'd like everybody to be more comfortable with computer science, because it's running our lives now, and because it enhances what's possible in the classroom," said Kim Wilkens, a technology teacher at St. Anne’s and co-coordinator of the school's computer science initiative.
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Ten tips for improving playground safety
Dr. Melinda Bossenmeyer
Serious accidents which occur in schools typically happen on the playground, and often playground supervision is a contributing factor. In fact, approximately 200,000 accidents each year send children to the emergency room for treatment of an injury which occurred on the school playground. The following tips are designed to increase the quality of the playground supervision in your school, insuring that children are safe on your playground.
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Promoted by Dr. Melinda Bossenmeyer


What undocumented students bring to the classroom
The Atlantic (commentary)
Andrew Simmons, a contributor for The Atlantic, writes: "Teaching requires flexibility, the ability to manage a class that could be made up of English language learners, half-comatose stoners and confident National Merit semi-finalists alike — and somehow inspire all factions. At the California public school where I currently teach, the population is roughly two-thirds Latino; the ratio was far larger on my last campus. Some of these students are undocumented and, in my experience, likely to have language-acquisition needs, contend with family and work obligations, and feel alienated in the school community."
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After-school programs feel heat from Congress, critics
Education Week
Brent Cummings' goal for the 400 low-income, at-risk students in the after-school programs he directs in Walla Walla, Wash., is to kindle their interest in learning with the same spark that lit his imagination years ago, when his high school chemistry teacher kicked off a unit on the periodic table of elements by filling a balloon with pure oxygen and igniting it. Now, the programs in Walla Walla and at more than 11,000 other schools and community centers across the country are in limbo because of a congressional tussle over federal funding for after-school programs. The budget talks have reopened a decade-old debate on whether research shows any academic benefits for students enrolled in the programs.
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Report: Use of cloud-based services places kids in range of tracking and ads
THE Journal
Legislators and district leaders are the last bastion for protecting students from the third parties that want to profit from access to information about them collected through schools. That's the conclusion of a new report on "student commercialism" funded in part by the Consumers Union. According to "On the Block: Student Data and Privacy in the Digital Age," when schools send their students online, they're actually "offering up these children to be tracked for the purpose of serving them ads for products that algorithms predict what they will want to buy."
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K-12 print needs persist despite digital growth
Education Week
The massive shift in school districts from print to digital content is widely viewed in education technology circles as inevitable — and highly desirable. In many school systems, however, the reality is that the transition is playing out incrementally, and that teachers will be relying on printed materials for years to come, for a host of financial and technological reasons. Recent surveys and data, interviews with educators and industry officials, and K-12 companies' development of new products underscore the enduring, widespread demand for textbooks and other paper-based materials in the nation's schools.
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5 ways to create a safer digital environment at your school
eSchool News
In "Securing the Connected Classroom: Technology Planning to Keep Students Safe," authors Abbie H. Brown, Ph.D., and Tim D. Green, Ph.D., outline a process that education leaders can follow to develop a secure environment for learning with technology. According to Brown and Green, "the book guides educators, administrators and IT staff through a step-by-step process for creating a district-wide blueprint for keeping students safe while maintaining an appropriate level of security."
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Stay balanced as the school year intensifies
MiddleWeb (commentary)
Elizabeth Stein, a contributor for MiddleWeb, writes: "It's the time of year when our teaching responsibilities are mounted high. We may find ourselves feeling stretched thin by the hectic pace of things we must do and things we should do. If we're lucky we get to do some things we want to do. But it isn't easy. We continue with our regular routines of lesson planning, co-planning, faculty meetings, parent communications and professional development opportunities. IEP's must be reviewed and new IEP's must be written. We can add the testing season, which far too often brings unnecessary stress"
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For special needs students, custom furniture out of schoolhouse scraps
The New York Times
Whenever Michael Konstalid visits a school, he makes sure to pay a visit to the basement. There, Konstalid, a roaming physical therapist for the New York City Education Department, gives his phone number to a custodian and asks that no broken furniture be thrown away until he is called. This protocol keeps him in the supplies he uses to build custom physical therapy equipment, out of things that would otherwise end up in the trash.
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Teachers more likely to label African-American students as troublemakers
Association for Psychological Science via Science Daily
Teachers are likely to interpret students' misbehavior differently depending on the student's race, according to new research findings. Racial differences in school discipline are widely known, and African-American students across the United States are more than three times as likely as their white peers to be suspended or expelled, according to the researchers.
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Senate Committee makes progress on updates to education law
The Associated Press via The Huffington Post
A Senate committee made progress on a bipartisan update to the No Child Left Behind education law with a final vote expected soon. In all, the committee has passed 24 amendments and defeated six. Dozens more amendments were debated but withdrawn as lawmakers sought to find common ground and leave some of the tougher fights for later. Lawmakers are intent on ensuring that schools continue to use annual standardized tests to measure student performance. But they are moving toward letting states determine how much weight to give the tests in evaluating school performance. The move is in response to frequent criticism that the federal government is playing too great a role in shaping what is taught in the classroom.
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Education advocates chime in hot and cold on No Child Left Behind rewrite
THE Journal
As the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions began markup of the Every Child Achieves Act today, education advocacy groups are making their thoughts on the proposed legislation known. Designed to update and fix the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left behind, a draft version of the Every Child Achieves Act was released last week. Reaction to the draft legislation has been mixed, as exemplified by the comments of Mary Kusler, government relations director at the National Education Association.
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Texas teachers upset about bill that would change compensation
KXAS-TV
Thousands of teachers have expressed opposition to a piece of legislation in the Texas House that would change the way raises are structured. The proposal has already passed the state Senate and is now in front of a House committee as H.B. 2543. It changes teachers' compensation from a step system of raises, which are determined by number of years of service. State Rep. Marsha Farney, R-Georgetown, is the bill's sponsor and said there is a lot of misinformation about the bill. Farney said it was meant to empower teachers.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Wanted: A great principal (Center For Teaching Quality)
Creating a visitor management system (Scholastic Administrator Magazine)
Should teachers have a national standardized text? (By: Archita Datta Majumdar)
Reading by 3rd grade: Impacts of early education extend beyond classroom (Holland Sentinel)
Well-designed classrooms can boost learning progress in primary school pupils by up to 16 percent in a single year, research reveals (University of Salford via Science Daily)

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




Register for April 28 webinar on fostering growth mindset
NAESP
What is your leadership mirror reflecting to your community? Have you asked yourself this question lately? During the webinar, we will explore how leadership sets the tone for effectiveness. We will discuss how leadership cultivates and empowers the work of educators which develops the culture. Furthermore, we will discuss how to shape school culture and foster growth mindsets. Participants will be able to reflect on what their leadership is reflecting every day and how it is impacting growth.
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Find fresh ideas at NAESP 2015 Conference
NAESP
Top-notch principals know what's happening in education now and what's coming next. NAESP's 2015 Conference — Best Practices for Better Schools™ will showcase both. On June 30-July 2, school leaders from around the country will convene in Long Beach, California, to learn together, swap best practices and explore exciting new ideas. The roster of expert speakers includes Todd Whitaker, Robert Marzano, Erik Wahl, Heidi Hayes Jacobs — and more. Register today!
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