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Mobile apps move K-12
District Administration Magazine
School administrators are using mobile software applications to remain highly productive no matter where they are. These same apps also are making it easier to create learning communities where leaders can share a wide range of information with other districts. Using mobile apps to tap into various school data — from finance and human resources figures to professional development and asset information — ensures that administrators will be able to complete their tasks even when they're away from the office.
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Parental involvement in schools: How much is enough?
By: Brian Stack
In a school near you, an elementary school principal is asked to predict which adults will have the greatest impact on a child's educational success later in life. Most would place parents very high on that list. It is no surprise that parental involvement is significant in many elementary schools. Most have strong PTA or PTO clubs that organize parent volunteers for work in the classroom, the playground and on school trips. These groups plan silent auctions, BINGO nights and pancake breakfasts to help school programs.
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Inventive games that teach kids about empathy and social skills
MindShift
Play is nothing if not social. Games organize play, allowing us to wrangle and experiment with the world. When we play games, more often than not, it's us under the microscope. Video games, however, have been a bit of an aberration in the history of play and games. Many of them have been solitary experiences. That's changing, though. We're in the midst of a multiplayer video game renaissance that's bringing people together. Equally exciting is the trend in design toward video games that build social skills and encourage players to reflect on themselves and their relationships.
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Common Core: Honoring the societal contract of success through education
U.S. News & World Report (commentary)
With the adoption of Common Core, teachers actually have more freedom than ever before on how to teach. The standards allow for multiple representations of concepts and place teachers in the role of facilitators while students create and discover their own learning. Not all educators are on board with Common Core. Some point to a lack of teacher training, and others express uncertainty about assessments. While both concerns are valid, neither warrants putting a stop to the amazing impact these standards will have on our students’ development.
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Can you teach students to be visionary?
Edutopia
Can you teach students to be visionary? Can visionary thinking even be taught? Most of us might believe that being able to imagine possibility in the way that moves and inspires people is a mystical or unknowable human quality. Yet, by helping our students see themselves as agents of imagination and members of communities larger than themselves, teachers can create a foundation for a visionary curriculum.
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Studies offer insights on implementing Common Core
Education Week
In 2013 alone, state legislators introduced nearly 300 bills related to the Common Core State Standards. This year, they are on track to do the same, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Yet in a series of meetings convened last year by the Center on Education Policy at George Washington University, lawmakers, advocates, and educational leaders said they were starved for research that might help them make evidence-based decisions about the standards.
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Blended learning revolution: Tech meets tradition in the classroom
The Christian Science Monitor
Blended learning combines the best of online learning with traditional teaching. The educational trend is showing results — higher test scores, happier teachers and students — as more schools adopt and adapt it.
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3 end-of-the-school-year reminders
Connected Principals Blog (commentary)
William Parker, a contributor for Connected Principals blog, writes: "This is the time of year where we have almost reached the end of our school year 'race.' Our high school track coach told me that runners often ignore important factors that can make them healthy competitors. Healthy food choices, solid sleep patterns, smart warm-up and cool-down routines, and correct technique can play big roles in helping runners finish strong. If you're like me, you may be feeling the edge of fatigue as you look down the road to the finish of school. But the same advice that enhances a runner's ability may also apply to us."
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3 ways to use QR codes to connect school and home
EdTech Magazine
For Boss's Day, my office staff at Howe Elementary in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., gave me the book "QR Codes in Education" by David Hopkins. In it, Hopkins describes those ubiquitous squares we see everywhere as being "like a barcode, but [containing] more data than just a number string." When scanned, QR (short for "Quick Response") codes connect users to websites, phone numbers, videos — nearly anything that can be digitized. Throughout his book, Hopkins provides several examples of how schools can utilize these codes to provide a link "between the printed world and the online electronic one."
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School libraries urged to embrace the digital — cautiously
eSchool News
Technology might make some parts of libraries obsolete — but librarians won't be among them, panelists contended at the annual Texas Library Association conference in San Antonio, which drew 7,200 attendees. As the popularity of electronic books continues to rise, schools are emerging as a dynamic area of how libraries adjust, they said. Educators and administrators, struggling to figure out how much to spend on their campus libraries amid state funding cuts, have reduced library staff and pondered the potential savings of buying digital books over printed ones. But concerns that students will increasingly be left with a self-service method of accessing books and research materials stem from the realization that today's students are more tech-savvy than their predecessors.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Research on children and math: Underestimated and unchallenged (New York Times)
Schools use student data to find signs of trouble, help struggling kids (MindShift)
7 guidelines for building a STEAM program (EdTech Magazine)
If a student says homosexuality is a sin in school, is it bullying? (The Atlantic)
Grades are in: Digital learning gets more state attention (District Administration Magazine)

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


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Can technology predict teacher success?
THE Journal
Inundated with job applications and short on time and human resources, school districts across the country are turning to technology to help them sort through possible candidates and determine their potential effectiveness in the classroom. Here's how three districts are using software to predict and track teachers' impact on student learning. With 160 schools to staff and 145,000 students to serve, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina gets a high volume of applications for teaching positions every year. To help streamline the hiring process, the district's principals have long relied on technology to filter and prioritize candidates before any interviews or follow-up calls take place.
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Setbacks aside, climate change is finding its way into the world's classrooms
The New York Times
From Mauritius to Manitoba, climate change is slowly moving from the headlines to the classroom. Schools around the world are beginning to tackle the difficult issue of global warming, teaching students how the planet is changing and encouraging them to think about what they can do to help slow that process. Strapped school budgets, concerns about overburdening teachers and political opposition to what in some places is a contentious subject have complicated the spread of lessons on climate change. Nonetheless, many nations are adding or expanding such offerings, convinced that young people must learn about a phenomenon likely to have a big impact on their lives.
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4 questions every tech leader should answer
eSchool News
As schools continuously work to construct digital learning plans that will help transform teaching and learning, it is essential that school technology leaders are updated with the latest policies and practices that could impact their district's future decisions. Technology has changed the way students learn, and more importantly, it has changed school and district leaders' roles. But technology and its capabilities are changing at such a rapid pace that even chief technology officers require constant "updates" to solve some of the post pressing questions in schools this year.
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Race To The Top: A road map
Education Week
When President Barack Obama leaves office in early 2017, the No. 1 phrase that's likely to be associated with his education policy is Race to the Top. The competitive-grant program has flooded states and districts with federal aid and has expanded to about a dozen variations, including proposed competitions that still need the congressional seal of approval.
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Republicans see political wedge in Common Core
The New York Times
The health care law may be Republicans' favorite weapon against Democrats this year, but there is another issue roiling their party and shaping the establishment-versus-grass-roots divide ahead of the 2016 presidential primaries: the Common Core. A once little-known set of national educational standards introduced in 44 states and the District of Columbia with the overwhelming support of Republican governors, the Common Core has incited intense resistance on the right and prompted some in the party to reverse field and join colleagues who believe it will lead to a federal takeover of schools.
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Banning chocolate milk in Oregon schools causes waste, lower milk consumption, study finds
The Oregonian
Researchers at Cornell University discovered in a study conducted in Oregon that removing chocolate milk from schools had some unintended consequences. The scientists removed chocolate milk from 11 schools and then studied the reaction. They found that students tossed nearly 30 percent of the white milk that was offered and that some kids even stopped eating school lunches. They also said that while many children switched to white milk, overall milk consumption dropped by 10 percent.
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Can technology predict teacher success?
THE Journal
Inundated with job applications and short on time and human resources, school districts across the country are turning to technology to help them sort through possible candidates and determine their potential effectiveness in the classroom.

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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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Obama administration approves NCLB flexibility request for Illinois
U.S. Department of Education
The Obama administration approved Illinois for a waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act, in exchange for state-developed plans to prepare all students for college and careers, focus aid on the neediest students and support effective teaching and leadership. Since fall 2011, 45 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Bureau of Indian Education have requested waivers from NCLB in order to implement next-generation education reforms that go far beyond the law's rigid, top-down prescriptions. The U.S. Department of Education has now approved requests from 43 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., with other applications still pending.
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Legislature's push to weaken public schools hits a snag
The Arizona Republic
The Arizona Legislature ran into a pothole in its march to dismantle Arizona's public schools. The House rejected a bill that would dramatically expand the number of students eligible to get taxpayer funding to go to private schools. Eight Republicans joined Democrats in rejecting a proposal to make 112,000 children living in lower income areas eligible for Empowerment Scholarship Accounts.
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Register for EdWeek webinar on principal evaluation
NAESP
Join NAESP and Education Week for an April 24 webinar on principal evaluation and leadership. Presenters Gail Connelly, executive director of NAESP, and Matthew Clifford of the American Institutes for Research will draw on the recommendations presented in the report "Rethinking Principal Evaluation" to explore how states and districts can partner to build principals' leadership.
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Don't miss Denim and Dancing at the NAESP Annual Conference
NAESP
Join the NAESP Foundation on Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at Denim and Dancing in Nashville, Tenn. It's a star-studded evening of live music and fun aboard the General Jackson Showboat. Come in your favorite pair of jeans and experience great food and drink, a photo booth and much 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 Meredith Barnett at MBarnett@naesp.org.
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