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Report: District use of social networks up 44 percent over 2 years
THE Journal
The Center for Digital Education and the National School Boards Association have released key findings of the latest Digital School Districts Survey and have named top 10 districts in three classifications. Social networking is up significantly, according to the survey, with 74 percent of respondents reporting that their district maintains a presence on at least one social network, an increase of 44 percent over two years. Use of micro-blogging platforms such as Twitter increased 38 percent over the same period, according to the report, with 69 percent of those surveyed stating their district uses one.
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Boston schools reopen after vacation marked by marathon bombing, manhunt
The Huffington Post
After a week of April vacation bookended by a tragic marathon bombing and a manhunt that killed one suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and brought the other, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, into custody, it's the return to class for students of Boston Public Schools. While the district is focused on helping students cope and carry on, some teachers wonder if and how students in Boston's tougher neighborhoods will distinguish the bombing from what they see as the regular thrum of gun violence in their neighborhoods.
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Testing consortium releases draft accommodations policy
Education Week
What accommodations will be provided for students with disabilities and those learning English on the new common assessments? You can get an early glimpse of what half the states are considering by looking at the draft accommodations policy that one of the two testing consortia — the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers — has released.
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States pull back from Common Core
U.S. News & World Report
Lawmakers in some states hope to halt the transition to the Common Core State Standards, even as school districts across the country are rolling them out. In Alabama, senators are considering a bill to repeal the standards, which the state's Board of Education adopted in 2010. Alabama schools are already using the new math standards, which aim to give the subject context by teaching high school students to use mathematical models to analyze everyday situations, and are set to implement the English standards before the start of the next school year.
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Cyberbullying reaches beyond the playground
By Peter Martini
Bullying was once considered an essential part of growing up, especially during middle or junior high school, building character in the participants because it was believed the victim would put an end to it, usually in a physical altercation. Before the digital revolution of the past 15 years, being a bully or the victim generally had a lot to do with physical attributes and the physical proximity between the participants. The digital age has erased even that small barrier, making it possible for children to further invade each other's personal space to humiliate, demean and disenfranchise each other, in addition to creating a sense of fear in the victim.
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Program training teachers to be school leaders
Contra Costa Times
Claudia Velez, a third-grade teacher at Olinda Elementary School in El Sobrante, Calif., decided last year that she was interested in taking on the greater responsibility of being a school principal. She accepted the nomination of her principal to join a program called Emerging Leaders, which gives teachers the chance to ease into leadership roles in their schools before transitioning into administration. The sponsor of Emerging Leaders, a New York-based nonprofit, is convinced that strong leaders can help improve struggling schools in low-income neighborhoods.
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Administrators share top 10 thoughts on digital learning
eSchool News
More and more educators, parents and education technology advocates see the need for classroom technology and digital learning, but say that stagnant or shrinking budgets continue to impede progress in many cases. The 2012 Speak Up report, "From Chalkboards to Tablets: The Digital Conversion of the K-12 Classroom," completed by 466,000 K-12 students, parents, teachers, librarians and administrators, gathered input on education technology use, digital learning, policies and trends from stakeholders.
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In an era of global competition, what exactly are we testing for?
MindShift
In this era of global competition, test scores are used as the primary benchmark to call out which countries will produce "successful" students. Knowing that American students are competing against a global pool of the best and brightest has led education leaders to focus more on how they score on international tests compared to students from other countries. But high test scores don't provide a complete picture of students' success, according to Yong Zhao, world-renowned author, scholar and professor of education at University of Oregon.
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Schools' education technology budgets shrink as demand grows
eSchool News
While educators and parents continue to report a growing need for technology use in education and learning, schools are struggling to meet today's needs and tomorrow's expectations, according to "From Chalkboards to Tablets: The Digital Conversion of the K-12 Classroom," the latest report from the Speak Up 2012 survey. Given the budget realities — with 74 percent of respondents reporting that they have smaller technology budgets than they had five years ago — administrators are rethinking their opposition to the "bring your own device" approach and districts who are piloting such a program increased by 47 percent in just one year.
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How to foster collaboration and team spirit
MindShift
Once they get to the working world, most students, in almost any job, will collaborate as a member of a team. And every student needs to be prepared for that environment — partly for employment opportunity, but mainly because the deeply embedded mental model of learning and creating as an individual process is obsolete. Collaboration has become the chief way in which things are done. Powerful collaboration is driven by incisive communication — and out of that process come the very best expressions of innovation, creativity and critical inquiry.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    As standardized testing grows, parents opt out (The Washington Post)
To improve school climate, examine recess (Edutopia)
Forget prepping for the test — we should be teaching tenacity, self-control (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
Kids learn to listen while they chomp (NPR)
How districts are transitioning to digital content (eSchool News)

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




Arne Duncan: Universal preschool is a sure path to the middle class
The Washington Post (commentary)
President Barack Obama put forward a plan to make access to high-quality early learning a reality for every 4-year-old in America by making full-day preschool available to families with incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. Parents, teachers and principals nationwide agree that we need to do more to ensure that children from disadvantaged families begin kindergarten at the same educational starting line as do children from better-off families. The president's plan includes a cost-sharing arrangement with states, with the entire federal investment of $75 billion covered by a new cigarette tax, and with incentives for states to make programs available for even more middle-class families.
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GOP senator: No more federal money for Common Core
Education Week
Congress wouldn't pump another penny into encouraging states to adopt the common core standards, or overseeing their implementation, at least if Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, has his way. Grassley wrote a letter to Sen. Tom Harkin, a Democrat who also hails from the Hawkeye State, asking him to include language in the bill that funds the U.S. Department of Education prohibiting the education secretary from using any of the money in the measure to oversee state implementation of the standards, develop tests to go along with the standards or give a leg up in any federal competition to states that adopt the standards. Harkin, who will retire after this Congress, is the chairman of the panels overseeing K-12 policy and spending — Grassley isn't a member of either of them.
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US Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools announced
U.S. Department of Education
Chair of White House Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley and Acting Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Bob Persiacepe joined U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to announce the U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools award honorees. Sixty-four schools were honored for their exemplary efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, promote better health, and ensure effective environmental education, including civics and green career pathways. In addition, 14 districts were honored for the first-ever District Sustainability Award. Duncan, Persiacepe and Sutley made the announcement at Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School, in Washington, D.C., one of the 2013 honored schools.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword GREEN RIBBON SCHOOLS.


PTA and education department team up to improve school safety
ED.gov Blog (commentary)
In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school, President Barack Obama has called for a collaborative effort to keep our children safe at home, at school, and in the community. The National PTA and U.S. Department of Education have joined together to support schools and communities as we work towards this goal. To kick off this joint effort, National PTA President Betsy Landers recently joined Secretary Arne Duncan for a town hall meeting to discuss school safety at Loch Raven High School in Baltimore, Md. The event included an open conversation with students, parents, teachers and community members about school safety in the community.
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Michigan bills would allow districts to spend sinking fund money on technology, transportation
AnnArbor.com
Ann Arbor, Mich., Democrat Adam Zemke and Dearborn Heights Democrat David Knezek introduced the legislation. If passed, the bills would permit sinking fund dollars to be used for technology purchases and upgrades, as well as transportation-related spending and busing repairs. House Bills 4483 and 4515 are in addition to legislation introduced by Zemke in March that would allow sinking fund expenditures to include security equipment and other school safety measures.
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Education roundtable emphasizes teacher training, data
The Tennessean
The importance of good teachers and good data dominated the conversation at a recent roundtable discussion on education in Nashville, Tenn. A diverse panel of 12 Middle Tennesseans talked their way toward a consensus that teacher training is crucial and good data important in making quick assessments of student needs.

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What learning cursive does for your brain
Psychology Today
Dr. William Klemm, a Professor of Neuroscience at Texas A&M University, writes: "Ever try to read your physician's prescriptions? Children increasingly print their writing because they don't know cursive or theirs is unreadable."

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To improve school climate, examine recess
Edutopia (commentary)
As we look at ways to create environments that allow teaching and learning to thrive, it's time to take a long, hard look at the critical role of recess in our schools.

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Teacher groups fail bills tied to new evaluations
San Antonio Express-News
While many states in recent years have started to change the way they evaluate teachers, Texas has largely avoided that controversy. Bills attempting reform failed in the last legislative session, and the state declined to join the federal "Race to the Top" funding competition, which would have required it. But that is changing as lawmakers prepare to debate Senate Bill 1403, proposed by Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, and House Bill 2977 by Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, both of which would dramatically restructure the 15-year-old framework used by most Texas school districts for teacher evaluations.
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Education roundtable emphasizes teacher training, data
The Tennessean
The importance of good teachers and good data dominated the conversation at a recent roundtable discussion on education in Nashville, Tenn. A diverse panel of 12 Middle Tennesseans talked their way toward a consensus that teacher training is crucial and good data important in making quick assessments of student needs. Jesse Register, director of Metro Nashville Public Schools, set the tone when he said investing in professional development for teachers and administrators is the key to success.
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Utah seeks to be heard in a new world economy
The New York Times
In this deeply Mormon state, the school day is being translated into Chinese. Strains of Taiwanese pop songs float through the hallways. School cafeterias serve dumplings. Third-graders pass notes in Mandarin. And when visitors enter a classroom, the students shout, "Ni hao!" "If I close my eyes, I see a room full of Chinese children," said Colleen Densley, the principal of Wasatch Elementary School here in central Utah, recalling the words of one amazed teacher.
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Missouri school will gear up with iPads
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Hannach Rupprecht will be one of almost 130 seventh-graders who will carry an iPad to school every day next year at Westminster Christian Academy in Missouri. The Town & Country school's move to make iPads as common as books in the seventh grade enjoys the support of parents, even though the digital devices can cost as much as $500. "Parents have said 'OK, great, tell us what we need to get,'" said Peggy Johnson, director of admissions at the independent Christian school.
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Middle school student starts clothing line to combat bullying
Lacrosse Tribune
Heather Merrill remembers the day vividly. She walked down the driveway as her son Max, a fifth-grader at the time, got off the school bus and crumpled to the ground. He had just endured what seemed like the longest bus ride of this life, the whole time being verbally and physically abused by a bully. It wasn't the first time Max was the target of another student's malice, and it wouldn't be the last. "I'll never forget the day he got off the school bus and dropped to his knees, puts his head in his hands and just starts sobbing," she said. "He was getting beat up on the bus ... He was getting his head slammed into the bus window by this younger kid sitting with him."
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Investing in stocks can be educational
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
After his day's work is completed, investor Trey Natili logs onto his computer to check his investments on the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ stock markets. "Stocks are more than buying and selling," he said. "You have to research and spend your money wisely or it could cost you a lot." His partner, Ryan Leibscher, is leaning toward adding Best Buy to their portfolio. "Samsung is coming out with a new phone and the economy is getting better," he said. "People will have money for electronics and will go to Best Buy to buy it." Unlike their professional counterparts on Wall Street, the novice investors approach their buying and selling as a game. But what separates the men from the boys in this instance is that these boys are actually boys.
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NAESP election closes April 30
NAESP
NAESP's election is now open. Eligible NAESP members will elect a new president-elect as well as directors for Zones 3, 4 and 6. Voting will be open through April 30. Electronic ballots are available on the NAESP website — but you will need to log in to access the ballot, which is members-only content. Visit the NAESP election page for candidate information and instructions for logging in.
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Don't miss Jeans and Jerseys
NAESP
Join NAESP for Jeans and Jerseys, a star-studded bash to kick off the 2013 NAESP Conference. On Wednesday, July 10 at 7:30 p.m., the Center Club in Baltimore will come to life with music, food, drinks, a silent auction and a book signing with bestselling author James Patterson. Proceeds from the event will support NAESP's student leadership programs. Visit the conference website for more information about Jeans and Jerseys, along with other exciting preconference festivities.
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