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Shaping a culture that includes every family
District Administration    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
If we as educators could successfully teach all children by ourselves, then it seems that we would have already done so. We haven't, and that should be all the motivation to promote family engagement in districts nationwide. The culture of public districts is the idea that we can do this without working with every family. Millions of dollars are spent each year on implementing school reform models with the hope of improving academic outcomes for all children, but especially those that have traditionally been left behind. More

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Where does teacher time go?
Education News Colorado (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The complaints are familiar. Teachers want more time. Time for instruction, time for planning with colleagues and time to learn and develop as professionals. The public is skeptical. More time? What about the average 175, seven-to-eight-hour days per school year spent with students? The additional 10 days built into a teacher's contract for in-service, professional learning and work days? The shorter summer breaks and summer school opportunities? Where does all of the time go? More



Advocates worry implementation could derail Common Core
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In less than three years, the Common Core State Standards have vaulted over three key hurdles, surprising more than a few naysayers. In June 2009, governors and education chiefs in 46 states pledged their support for the idea. A year later, panels of experts unveiled the completed standards. By last November, all but four states had formally adopted them. Now, the standards face what experts say is their biggest challenge yet: faithful translation from expectations on paper to instruction in classrooms. The implementation stage brims with possibilities both promising and threatening, depending on one's perspective. More

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Playgroundology: An emerging social science
The Huffington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Few of us think much of pulling up to the playground at the end of the day, swinging open the car doors and letting loose the wild children in the back seat. But what happens on the playground — the social, emotional and physical development, as well as the old fashioned fun — is something that has turned into a bit of science for one play advocate. Alex Smith of Halifax, Nova Scotia runs Playgroundology, a website whose name derives from a term which he describes as "an emerging social science." More

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Initiative taps arts, celebrities to help turn around schools
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A set of eight academically troubled public schools spanning the nation will get a big dose of arts education support to help them turn around — not to mention access to a little star power from the likes of Yo-Yo Ma and Sarah Jessica Parker — under a new public-private partnership announced by a White House advisory panel. The effort aims not only to assist the struggling schools but also to serve as a test bed for the idea that high-quality, integrated arts education can play a valuable role in motivating students, improving school climate and improving academic achievement across disciplines. More

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Texas Education Board approves new math curriculum
The Associated Press via KTRK-TV    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The State Board of Education approved math curriculum standards for all K-12 students in Texas for the next 10 years, despite concerns by an influential business group that the new requirements weren't strenuous enough to train the future workforce. The unanimous vote came with little fanfare or debate, even though the issue has sparked strong feelings among supporters and critics. The new curricula for students in kindergarten through eighth grade are expected to take effect in 2014, and high school math standards should begin the following year. More

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When pineapple races hare, students lose, critics of standardized tests say
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A reading passage included in one of New York's standardized English tests has become the talk of the eighth grade, with students walking around saying, "Pineapples don't have sleeves," as if it were the code for admission to a secret society. The passage is a parody of the tortoise and the hare story, the Aesop's fable that almost every child learns in elementary school. Only instead of a tortoise, the hare races a talking pineapple, and the moral of the story — more on that later — is the part about the sleeves. More



Where's the joy in learning?
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
"A school is not a desert of emotions," begins an article by Finnish educators Taina Rantala and Kaarina Määttä, published in the journal Early Child Development and Care. But you'd never know that by looking at the scientific literature. "In the field of educational psychology, research on feelings is lacking," the authors note, "and the little that does exist has focused more on negative rather than positive feelings." Rantala, the principal of an elementary school in the city of Rovaniemi, and Määttä, a professor of psychology at the University of Lapland, set out to remedy this oversight by studying one emotion in particular: joy. The researchers followed a single class through first and second grade, documenting the students' emotions with photographs and videos. More

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Alone in the classroom: Why teachers are too isolated
The Atlantic    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
On the first day of their first year teaching, new teachers walk into their schools and meet their colleagues. They might talk about the latest state assessments, textbooks that have just arrived or the newest project the district is spearheading. Some veteran teachers may tell the newcomers "how things are done" at the schools. And then, as teachers have done since the founding of public education in the U.S., they take leave of one another, walk to their classrooms to meet their students and close the door. More

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School breakfast programs panned for feeding kids twice
ABC News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Breakfast programs in New York City schools have come under attack for feeding schoolchildren who might have already eaten at home. While the programs provide healthy choices such as cereal, yogurt and fresh fruit, they also offer French toast and syrup and huge New York style bagels with cream cheese. On top of that, some kids admit to eating twice — once at home and once at school — which experts say reflects a national culture of consumption and could be contributing to childhood obesity. More

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Education department seeks to bring test-based assessment to teacher prep programs
The Washington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Obama administration wants to expand the use of standardized test scores as an accountability tool from K-12 into higher education. The Education department just tried — and failed — to persuade a group of negotiators to agree to regulations that would rate colleges of education in large part on how K-12 students being taught by their graduates perform on standardized tests. As part of this scheme, financial aid to students in these programs would not be based entirely on need but, rather, would also be linked to test scores. More

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Call to states: Revolutionize teacher and principal preparation
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
States must recognize that they have some heavy-duty work to do before they can put the Common Core State Standards into practice. But they hold key powers that could prove pivotal in making the necessary changes: the authority to regulate teacher preparation and licensing and the ability to collect and publicize data that show how well those programs are doing. More

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Chicago wants longer school day; foes want details
NPR    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Most kids in Chicago's public schools spend just five hours and 45 minutes in school a day. It's one of the shortest school days in the country. That's why more than half of the city's public elementary schools have no recess. At those that do, it's shockingly short. "We have a 10-minute recess and a 10-minute lunch at our school," says Wendy Katten, mother of a third-grader at Burley Elementary School in Chicago. "It's not sufficient." The city's mayor, Rahm Emanuel, wants to change that. Since taking office last year, he has been pushing to lengthen the day to 7 1/2 hours in every school, which would make Chicago's elementary school days among the country's longest. More

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Falling enrollment projection means $61 million less for Washington state schools
The Associated Press via The Oregonian    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Washington state's public schools will get less money than anticipated from the state in the coming school year, but don't call it a budget cut. As state lawmakers have trumpeted since passing a bipartisan spending plan earlier this month, it is the first budget in three years that includes no new cuts to K-12 education. But because of a lower-than-expected increase in student enrollment, schools will be forced to make do with $61 million less than what had been earmarked by the state in the two-year budget passed in 2011. More

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Report: Education for poor students threatened by exclusionary housing policies
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Tanya McDowell, a Connecticut mother, made headlines last year when she was accused of stealing — specifically, of stealing an education for her son. McDowell, who was homeless, was accused of felony larceny by authorities who said she sent her child to a stronger school in Norwalk, instead of the one she was zoned to in Bridgeport, her last permanent address. More

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Schools find active kids make smarter students
Minneapolis Star Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When students at Meadowview Elementary in Farmington, Minn., needed to improve their reading scores last fall, they were turned over to physical education teacher Joe McCarthy. Each morning for months, McCarthy had the students spend 15 minutes running or shuttling from side to side in the gym. It wasn't any type of punishment, but part of a growing trend in education that focuses on increased physical activity to improve learning. The students were selected based on their scores on fall state assessments. When the kids took the tests again earlier this year, after McCarthy's exercise regimen, they showed the greatest improvement of any students at Meadowview, double the school average, McCarthy said. More



Rain garden brings outdoor classroom and innovative learning to students in Collingswood, New Jersey
Sharing the Dream Grant Program    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Students from Zane North Elementary School in Collingswood, New Jersey, will challenge their minds and get their hands dirty this spring as they engage in the creation of an ecologically sustainable, community enhancing rain garden on school grounds as part of a collaborative project between Perkins Center for the Arts, Rutgers University and the students and community of Zane North School. This innovative project kicked off on April 20 to coincide with the celebration of Earth Day and will be one of the region's first in-school residencies that implements the educational initiative known as STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math), highlighting the important role of art and design education as a catalyst for creativity in all disciplines. More

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Calvin U. Smith Elementary tackles traffic safety woes
The Corning Leader    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Calvin U. Smith Elementary in Riverside, New York, has launched Operation Safe Stop, a program focused on stopping vehicles from passing school buses during drop-off and dismissal times. The safety program, which begins this morning, was designed by school officials with the help of Painted Post State Police, said Michele Wright, school principal. "We are very excited for this positive change for our school," Wright said. More



NAESP elections close today
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Have you voted in the NAESP elections yet? If not, voting closes today, April 24. Eligible NAESP members are electing a new president-elect as well as directors for Zones 5, 7 and 9. 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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Invite a colleague to join NAESP and win free creative products
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When you sign up to support NAESP membership growth by recruiting JUST ONE new member, you are automatically entered in a drawing to win $100 in free Crayola products for your school. But hurry — the April drawing closes midnight Monday, April 30. Join the JUST One team now. 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 Cynthia Rosso at crosso@naesp.org.
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