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How bullying and abuse may age children prematurely
TIME    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A hard life can age you, literally, researchers say. In fact, children who are exposed to violence at a young age show changes in their DNA equivalent to several years of premature aging. That's the finding of an international group of scientists who analyzed data from the Environmental Risk Study, which tracked 2,232 children born between 1994 and 1995 in England and Wales. The researchers focused on 236 children whom they followed from age 5 to 10. Nearly half of the children had had some exposure to violence, either in the form of observing violent acts against their mother, being bullied themselves or being the victim of aggressive acts by an adult. More

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When spring fever strikes, help kids keep their focus
Chicago Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
With the arrival of the tail-end of the school year, Principal Rob Monson is not surprised by a rash of spring fever afflicting even the most well-behaved students in his Parkston, S.D., classrooms. "You have to embrace spring fever in the kids and understand that there is no way school should always be defined by four classroom walls," said Monson, the principal at Parkston Elementary School and president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. More



Accountability moving beyond math, reading tests
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As states seek waivers under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, one effect may be to chip away at the dominance reading and math have had when it comes to school accountability. Many state waiver applications include plans to factor test scores in one or more additional subjects into their revised accountability systems. Seven of the 11 states that won waivers in the first round intend to do so, and about a dozen of those that applied in the second round have the same intent. Science is the most popular choice, followed by writing and social studies. More

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Does the Holocaust matter to today's kids?
The Huffington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
President Barack Obama spoke at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to commemorate Yom Hashoah — Holocaust Remembrance Day. In a heartfelt speech he honored the 6 million Jewish victims and announced a new Atrocities Prevention Board to battle modern-day genocide in places such as Darfur and aid the ongoing hunt to bring "madman" Joseph Kony to justice. However, his most impassioned words were about our children: "I say this as a president, and I say it as a father ... Tell your children about it, and let your children tell theirs, and their children the next generation. That's why we're here. Not simply to remember, but to speak." More

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Language demands to grow for ELLs under new standards
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Putting the Common-Core Standards into practice in classrooms is a monumental change for teachers in the nation's public schools, but for educators who work with English language learners, the shifts in instruction are expected to be even more groundbreaking. That's because the new academic expectations for English/language arts and mathematics now adopted by all but four states require much more sophisticated uses of language than the mishmash of standards that have been in use for years across the states, say language-acquisition experts. More

Empowering students with digital reading
District Administration Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When Connie Dopierala was hired as the media services administrator for the Charleston County, S.C., School District, one of her tasks was to update the district's library books. "I was shocked by how dated some of the books were," she says. "One school had a biography on Nelson Mandela that was written while he was still in prison." Some of the younger librarians suggested buying digital books, but Dopierala was skeptical. "I wanted to prove that kids still love having books in their hands," she says. As a pilot program, the district purchased 206 digital books for the 2010-2011 school year and measured how often the books were read. Dopierala says the results blew her away. More

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Studies question value of early algebra lessons
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Mastering algebra is widely considered the gateway to higher mathematics and college readiness, but new studies question whether low-performing students benefit from exposure to the subject in middle school. Separate studies of urban middle schoolers in California and in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., schools suggest that placing struggling math students in algebra class does not improve their test performance on state math tests, and significantly hurts their grade point averages and the likelihood of their taking and passing higher math courses in high school. More

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In rush to evaluate teachers on student performance, districts struggle with special education
The Associated Press via The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Since the first day of class this school year, Bev Campbell has been teaching her students how to say their names. Some of the children in her class have autism. Others have Down syndrome or other disabilities. "People don't understand where they've come from," she says. "It's slow." Just one has learned how to say his name. Still, the South Florida teacher sees signs of growth in the nine kindergarten to second-grade students in her class. Those little steps are what teachers like Campbell consider major leaps for students with the most significant physical and cognitive disabilities — and what are the most challenging to capture on a test. Yet that will be a significant part of the way school districts in Florida and in many other states will evaluate teachers. More

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Measuring what counts
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The greatest scientist of our times, Albert Einstein, is often credited with saying that "not everything that counts can be measured, and not everything that can be measured counts." I think policymakers and educators alike should pay heed to this tidbit of wisdom. The National Association of Elementary School Principals is paying heed by teaming up with the National Association of Secondary School Principals on a project to develop principal evaluation guidelines. Like Einstein's message, the central premise guiding our work on principal evaluation is simple: Let's measure what counts. More

How should schools and parents be involved in kids' online lives?
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Parents are constantly grappling with how to deal with online privacy issues with their kids. Issues about whether to share passwords to email and social media accounts, whether to filter or monitor websites, and how much leeway to give kids of different ages as they experiment with their online identities. Because kids spend most of their time at school, it's not unusual when questions about these issues come up at school but have to be dealt with at home — and vice versa. More

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Short videos help students calm down, focus
The Salt Lake Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When Gale Brown senses the students in her class need a moment to refocus, she calls a two-minute timeout. The special education teacher turns to a DVD that captivates the students and hits the reset button on the day. "It really calms them down," Brown said. "One little boy actually doesn't pay attention to anything, but he does all the moves on the video. I think it helps the kids, too, with their eye-hand coordination. Especially my kids." MeMoves is a program created by Roberta Schref that uses music, images and movement to create a spa-like environment. More

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The 5 worst things a teacher can say to students
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It is much easier to destroy than to build. Teachers work with young people, and they are fragile works-in-progress. A rash or unfeeling word can undo so much of the trust and growth that we strive for. As the year winds down and spring fever kicks in, some of us may be feeling weary. Yet no matter what happens, there are some words so destructive that they should never be uttered by a teacher. More

Bully, climate at school, can affect overweight children for life
Medical News Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Kids can be really mean — especially to other kids — and school-yard bullying can have serious immediate and long-term effects. One area of increasing concern in this regard is the possibility that overweight or obese children shoulder the brunt of bullying. With childhood obesity rates reaching unprecedented levels, this may translate into even more negative behavior being experienced by today's kids. It is also possible that children who are disliked by their peers may respond by becoming less active and more likely to overeat — compounding the issue even further. More

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Family dinners healthier for kids
United Press International    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
More than 40 percent of the typical U.S. food budget is spent on eating out but family meals at home are linked to healthier eating, U.S. researchers said. Study co-authors Jennifer Martin-Biggers, Amanda Berhaupt-Glickstein, John Worobey and Carol Byrd-Bredbenner, all from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, said aside from negative effects on the family budget, eating out has been shown to be generally associated with poor food choices and bad health. The researchers evaluated results from 68 previously published scientific reports considering the association between family mealtime and children's health. More



SIG Grants — What happens when the money dries up?
District Administration Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The $3.5 billion in School Improvement Grants funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have undoubtedly made a positive impact in more than 13,000 schools deemed low performing around the country. The money, which is intended to close the achievement gap, improve graduation rates and overall student achievement, will run out by the end of the 2012-2013 school year, and what will happen to these improvement efforts is unclear. More

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Education slowdown threatens US
The Wall Street Journal (subscription)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Throughout American history, almost every generation has had substantially more education than that of its parents. That is no longer true. When baby boomers born in 1955 reached age 30, they had about two years more schooling than their parents, according to Harvard University economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz, who have calculated the average years of schooling for native-born Americans back to 1876. In contrast, when Americans born in 1980 turned 30 in 2010, they averaged about eight months more schooling than their parents. More



States move slowly toward digital textbooks
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Despite enthusiasm for digital textbooks at the national level, states have been slow to get on board. But the movement is gaining strength. Digital textbooks have gotten a lot of ink in recent months. In January, Apple attracted attention when it announced its foray into the field with the iBook, a multimedia-rich textbook for the iPad produced by the biggest educational publishers and costing less than $15. The next month, Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, unveiled the Obama administration's Digital Learning Playbook and called for all students to use digital textbooks by 2017. More

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Los Angeles Board of Education's new election boundaries approved
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The new election boundaries for the Los Angeles Board of Education will change minimally under new maps approved Wednesday, although they will offer something for each of the politicians who now hold those offices. The boundaries, which were approved on a 9-2 vote by the L.A. City Council, followed a process that, early on, looked as though it could end the careers of several school board members. Early proposals moved the homes of some outside their district, or left them with territories that would be difficult to hold in an election. More

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Ready or not, TCAP tests raise stakes for students
The Tennessean    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Fifth-grade science students at Lakeview Elementary School struggle with the word "composition." That's obvious, because their teacher is holding a test results chart lit up with green lines for right answers — except for that ugly red line at number 49: "A student is trying to determine if the composition of ice cubes affects the melting point. Which will be the best investigation to use?" "What it's composed of means what it's made of," science teacher Claire Baltz explains. "So what's the right answer?" The class agrees on B — freeze three different liquids. "Well, now you know," Baltz finishes before moving on to a practice test question fewer students missed. More

The digital teacher
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In every district, in every school, in every grade, there is that great teacher who all parents want for their children. So, parents cross their fingers and hope that their child is lucky enough to end up on that teacher's roster. What if every student in the class could get that terrific teacher rather than a fortunate few? That is one of the promises of online learning, said Bryan Hassel, co-director of Public Impact and a speaker at Thomas B. Fordham Institute's panel on Education Reform for a Digital Era. More

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Classroom tech tools inspire, enhance learning at schools
Hickory Daily Record    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Although you can remove a Tweet once it's been posted, the whole world can see it before you actually delete it. Fourth grade teacher Betsy Swann is teaching her students at Jenkins Elementary about the responsibility of social media by having them post what they would write on Twitter in the hallway outside their classroom, changing the message every week. Anyone in the school can read what's posted, as though it was in cyberspace. More

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Parents to help select new principals
New Haven Independent via The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In what may become a universal practice, parents will have a seat at the interview table as the school district looks for a replacement for a longtime principal. Cyra Levenson is 1 of 3 parents chosen to interview potential replacements at Edgewood Magnet School, where Bonnie Pachesa is retiring after 10 years as principal. Pachesa is one of two star principals leaving the district this year; Gina Wells, in her 16th year as principal of John C. Daniels School, also plans to retire. The district will have at least four vacancies for principals next fall. More



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'll be 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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See what's new at The Principals' Office blog
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Stop in The Principals' Office for the latest from NAESP, updates from Capitol Hill, and news you can use to strengthen your school leadership. See something you like? Leave us a comment, or tell us on Twitter or Facebook. More
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