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Are existing tech tools effective for teachers and students?
MindShift
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation just released a report detailing the results of 3,100 teacher surveys and 1,250 student surveys on the kinds of digital instruction tools that are useful and effective. The foundation has asked teachers and students what they need when it comes to digital instruction, aiming to close the communication gap between commercial developers and schools.
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Should students sit on school boards?
The Atlantic
For centuries, students have been agents of social change, their passion and idealism forming a critical part of the historical landscape; a lesson that, in education, teachers and administrators ignore at their peril. But figuring out how best to appropriate student interests raises difficult questions. Do students belong on school boards? Should they participate in budgetary evaluations and contract negotiations? Are teenagers — who can't vote in governmental elections or legally purchase cigarettes — equipped to make long-term decisions about their education, or will they inevitably sink to the lowest common denominator? These are issues policymakers have battled for decades, most recently in Los Angeles, the country's second largest school district, where students now have a voice on their local school board.
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How playful learning will build future leaders
The Christian Science Monitor
In order for our global society to develop solutions to pressing problems in an increasingly technology-driven and constantly changing world, we need to re-train our workforce to do what machines can't: to be enterprising, independent, and strategic thinkers — to be purposeful creators. This starts with changing the way students, especially the youngest ones, learn.
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Creating cross-curricular text sets for the middle grades
MiddleWeb (commentary)
Amanda Wall, a contributor for MiddleWeb, writes: "A text set is a group of texts that share a common theme. Text sets are frequently found in elementary school classrooms, and they can also be a great resource in the middle grades, across the content areas. In my own middle school classroom, I found that text sets encouraged students to explore different aspects of a topic using resources that differed in genre, format and complexity."
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Beyond worksheets, a true expression of student learning
MindShift
We live in a world where we are constantly connected to information. This vast ocean of information, the best knowledge of mankind — almost all of it — can be accessed at any time in just seconds. But simply being able to access information is not all that impressive. It in no way means that we can understand the information, evaluate it, or grasp its implications. Possession of facts is not learning. What is an important skill is the ability to sift through abundant information, identify what is valid and meaningful, then use it to create meaning and express it. This is why student creation is so important in the new economy of information.
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PBL and STEAM education: A natural fit
Edutopia
Both project-based learning and STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, art and math) are growing rapidly in our schools. Some schools are doing STEAM, some are doing PBL, and some are leveraging the strengths of both to do STEAM PBL. With a push for deeper learning, teaching and assessment of 21st century skills, both PBL and STEAM help schools target rigorous learning and problem solving. They are not exactly the same, but teachers can easily connect to them to teach not only STEAM content and design challenges, but also authentic learning and public, high-quality work. In fact, many know that STEAM education isn't just the content, but the process of being scientists, mathematicians, engineers, artists and technological entrepreneurs.
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Study: US 4th graders get more help with less homework
Education Week
U.S. 4th grade teachers assign less math homework than their colleagues in other nations but their students get more help with it. These are among the findings of a preliminary research study presented earlier this month at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in Philadelphia. The presentation, led by doctoral student Sakiko Ikoma of Pennsylvania State University in University Park, drew upon newly available data from the 2011 TIMSS, which included 608,641 students and 49,429 teachers in 63 countries.
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New study suggests comprehensive PD program positively impacts mobile classrooms
THE Journal
New research by ISTE and the Verizon Foundation suggests that for schools with mobile device initiatives an organized, comprehensive teacher training program can improve standardized test scores, at least somewhat, and lead to more one-on-one learning in the classroom. The study, conducted by ISTE in collaboration with the Verizon Foundation, looked at several schools across the country whose teachers were enrolled in the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program, focusing on professional development and mobile integration in the classroom. For each school, the professional development was individually tailored to address specific areas of improvement and consisted of on-site training, webinars, and one-on-one time with a tech coach.
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Dress codes are thorny subject for many schools
The Detroit News
They're called leggings — popular fashion items that are tight-fitting pants to some, and glorified tights to others. Younger girls often wear them as pants with little fuss. But as those same girls approach middle school, leggings have become a clothing accessory that's increasingly controversial — and seemingly, the favorite new target of the school dress code. Some schools have banned leggings outright. Others have set limits. Haven Middle School in Evanston, just north of Chicago, took what turned out to be a contentious stand: If you wear leggings, you need to have a shirt or skirt over them that reaches at least down to your fingertips. In other words, girls need to cover their behinds.
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Appreciate teachers by understanding what they do
Edutopia (commentary)
Mary Beth Hertz, a K-8 technology teacher in Philadelphia, writes: "Just this week, I asked some of my non-educator Facebook friends to tell me what responses they get when they describe what they do for a living."
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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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Student data: Moving past transparent to tangible
EdSurge (commentary)
Frank Catalano, a contributor for EdSurge, writes: "It's hard not to think about data security and privacy right now. NSA's electronic snooping. Target's financial data breach. Heartbleed's online security hole. Combine these developments with the current momentum in schools to move education data from isolated tanks to connected pipes with active flows, and you have a combustible mix. I contend if there's going to be a fire, let's at least ignite something specific — and not indiscriminately burn everything to the ground."
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IT leadership: Navigating technology in K-12 education
Government Technology
Want to know what's on the minds of school CIOs and CTOs? The Consortium for School Networking gives us a good glimpse with its 2nd Annual K-12 IT Leadership Survey. This year's survey found improvements, but ongoing challenges remain in school technology budgets, a priority to establish digital environments and mobile learning, and the need for succession planning in the face of large numbers of retiring district technology leaders over the next decade, according to the professional association's survey.
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Latest Investing in Innovation contest to start in full force
Education Week
On April 25, applications will be available for schools and nonprofits that want a shot at the largest awards available from this year's $135 million Investing in Innovation grant contest. Between 10 and 20 "validation" awards, worth up to $12 million, are expected to be awarded this year, and between as many as two "scale-up" awards, worth up to $20 million. The rules will be published in Wednesday's Federal Register, with applications available from the U.S. Department of Education. The deadline to apply is June 24.
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2 districts, 2 approaches to Common Core curriculum
Education Week
Three thousand miles apart, district leaders in Orlando, Fla., and Long Beach, Calif., faced the same problem: They needed to revamp their instructional materials to reflect the Common Core State Standards. They solved that problem in very different ways. The Florida group scoured the market and chose a suite of materials from a major publisher. Their colleagues across the country, dissatisfied with that same marketplace's offerings — and limited by their thin pocketbook — wrote their own curriculum. That tale of two districts reflects a dilemma of the Common Core era: How do schools find or craft good curricula that truly reflect the new standards when they have limited time and funds and when the market is overflowing with materials claiming they're "fully aligned" with the new standards?
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District attorney reviews report on Los Angeles iPad contract; no charges to come
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has reviewed an internal L.A. school district report on its iPad contract and concluded that criminal charges are not warranted. The report, which has not been released publicly, raises issues about the handling of the bidding process, according to L.A. Unified School District officials who spoke anonymously because they are not authorized to discuss the review. Apple's iPad was selected as the device to be provided to every student, teacher and campus administrator in the nation’s second-largest school system.
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Wyoming governor may have rejected new science standards over climate change concerns
The Huffington Post
After the governor of Wyoming took the unprecedented step of barring funds for a new set of science standards, a letter from his office suggested that his action was partially a result of skepticism over climate change. In early March, Gov. Matthew Mead approved a budget that prohibited the state from spending funds to review or adopt the Next Generation Science Standards, a set of new education standards that have been adopted by 11 states in an effort to make sure students are being taught rigorous, up-to-date information. The standards have proved controversial in some states because they treat climate change and evolution as fact. Wyoming is no exception to this controversy.
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New study suggests comprehensive PD program positively impacts mobile classrooms
THE Journal
New research by ISTE and the Verizon Foundation suggests that for schools with mobile device initiatives an organized, comprehensive teacher training program can improve standardized test scores, at least somewhat, and lead to more one-on-one learning 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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Nashville, Tenn., teachers, principals disagree on school conditions
The Tennessean
Nashville, Tenn., teachers don't think as highly about the conditions of their schools as their bosses do. Nevertheless, an anonymous survey of 4,912 educators employed by Metro Nashville Public Schools found teachers have a much more positive outlook overall than last year. Metro school officials are glowing at results from its fourth annual district-wide survey called Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning, or TELL, conducted by the national nonprofit New Teacher Center. With marks improving on every single question from the year before — led by spikes on questions related to instructional practices, time and support — a contractor who led the survey called the results "phenomenal."
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Recognize student excellence with the President's Education Awards
NAESP
Celebrate achievement in your school with the President's Education Awards Program. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with NAESP and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, PEAP offers principals a way to recognize and honor students' dedication to learning. Each award includes an embossed certificate signed by President Barack Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and you.
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Register for upcoming mentor trainings in Chicago and Nashville
NAESP
Being a principal is a tough job, especially with today's increasing demands on school leaders. Mentoring can provide crucial support to new principals. The NAESP National Mentor Program is designed to engage retired and experienced principals to give back to their profession by supporting new, newly assigned, or even experienced principals through mentoring. Ready to dive in? The next mentor training session is May 1-3 in Chicago.
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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.
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601   Download media kit
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