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Principals' efforts found key to fixing ailing schools
The Boston Globe    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A motivated principal able to galvanize teachers and foster a respectful school climate is a major factor in helping underperforming Massachusetts schools boost standardized test scores, but there is no hard evidence that replacing half the teaching staff makes a significant difference, according to an independent report commissioned by the state. The lack of concrete evidence on mass dismissals is rekindling debate about the strategy, which has stirred emotions in Boston, Springfield, and elsewhere. Two specialists at the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in presenting the report to that agency's board, said mass dismissals may not be making a measurable difference, and opinions among local school leaders are mixed. More

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Some schools don't let kids carry asthma inhalers
HealthDay News via U.S.News & World Report    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Although all 50 states have laws that allow children with asthma to carry inhalers at school and 48 states have laws that let youngsters carry epinephrine pens for serious allergies, experts say that some kids are still being denied access to these lifesaving medications during the school day. "Every school district handles this a little bit different, and for those who don't allow children to carry their medications, I think may be due to a lack of knowledge. School officials may not appreciate the risk that having epinephrine pens and inhalers in a locked office, instead of with the child, can pose," said Maureen George, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia. More



Common Core Standards drive wedge in education circles
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A high-profile effort by a pair of national education groups to strengthen, simplify and focus the building blocks of elementary and secondary education is finally making its way into schools. But two years ahead of its planned implementation, critics on both the right and left are seizing upon it. A few educators say the new standards, supported by the U.S. Department of Education, are untested, and one Republican governor wants to block the measure, saying it's a federal intrusion into local decisions. How did something so simple become so fraught? More

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Students want personalized learning, mobile technology
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
More and more students own mobile devices, including tablets, and indicate a strong desire to use those personal learning tools in school to increase collaboration and access to resources, according to the annual Speak Up Survey, which is facilitated by Project Tomorrow. This year's survey, "Mapping a Personalized Learning Journey: K-12 Students and Parents Connect the Dots with Digital Learning," explores how students want to take control of their learning and the tools they use to learn. It includes parent and administrator input on issues such as personal technology use in schools, online learning and top technologies. More

Common Standards ignite debate over prereading
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Sparked by the Common Core State Standards, teachers and literacy experts are arguing about the role of a time-honored pillar of English/language arts instruction: classroom activities designed to help students understand what they are about to read. The attacks on — and defenses of — "prereading" are unfolding largely in cyberspace, through online forums, blogs and email exchanges. What's triggering them is educators' reactions to the new standards and two key explanatory resources created by their architects: a set of "publishers' criteria" and videotaped sample lessons. More

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Rise in autism increases calls for awareness
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new report issued by the Centers for Disease Control in early April during Autism Awareness Month indicates that one child out of 88 is believed to have autism or a related disorder, prompting autism education advocates to call for better autism services. Advocacy groups seized on the new number as further evidence that autism research and services should get more attention, especially when tight school budgets often lead to the downsizing or elimination of much-needed special education programs. The increase in the rate is attributed largely to wider screening. More

Social media and video games in classrooms can yield valuable data for teachers
The Hechinger Report    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Social media, video games, blogs and wikis are playing increasingly important roles in classrooms across the country. Some worry that incorporating more social media and other technologies into education is leading to too much computer time, as well as to a generation of students deficient in the face-to-face social skills needed to survive in the workplace. Proponents say schools need to find ways to use these technologies to improve teaching and learning, or else risk losing the attention of digital natives. More

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All students thrive with proficiency-based instruction
District Administration Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The trend of personalized learning has caught on nationwide, but the entire state of Oregon has been using a similar method — proficiency-based instruction — since 2002 when it gave districts the option to award credit for proficiency. To earn credit, students demonstrate what they know based on clear learning targets defined by state standards. Students have intervention time built into their school day to work on concepts in which they aren't yet proficient. Once they master a concept, they move on. More

Making music together increases children's empathy
Pacific Standard    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Music education produces myriad benefits, strengthening children's abilities in reading, math and verbal intelligence. New British research suggests it may also teach something less tangible, but arguably just as important: the ability to empathize. In a yearlong program focused on group music-making, 8- to 11-year-old children became markedly more compassionate, according to a recently published study from the University of Cambridge. More

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Survey: 1 in 3 kids hurt playing sports
WebMD Health News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
About 1 in 3 kids who plays sports will need medical attention due to injuries sustained on the field or court, such as concussions, broken bones and dehydration, a new survey shows. While some of these injuries can be serious, some easy-to-follow prevention tips including drinking enough water and wearing protective sports gear that fits appropriately can help children play it safe and still receive all the benefits of regular sports and physical activity. More

School bullying: To end it, we must change our culture
The Huffington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As written by Jon Siebels, "When I was given the opportunity to write this piece, the subject of bullying was fresh in my mind. Just weeks earlier a student at my former high school leapt to his death from the top of a building during lunch time, in front of his fellow students; immediately came the debate of whether or not he was bullied. I cannot say for sure, but there is a reason that bullying was the first thing on everyone's mind. These tragedies have become far too common in our country." More



Federal grants to fuel arts education
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Poetry workshops. Composing and performing operas. Studying sculpture and still-life painting. Staging Shakespeare in the schools. Creating an animated film. Even getting an introduction, yes, to "theatrical circus arts." These are among the activities inside and outside schools slated to get an infusion of federal support under a new round of federal grants announced by the National Endowment for the Arts. More

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Tech funding in the 2013 proposed budget remains integrated
District Administration Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Federal technology funding for K-12 school districts has been integrated into various other funding streams. According to Karen Cator, director of the Office of Educational Technology for the Education Department, the technology marketplace will subsequently be more efficient in addressing various school and student needs in the coming school year. More



State waiver plans expand test menu for accountability
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Test scores in reading and math may not have as much of a monopoly over school accountability anymore, based on the plans some states have put forward to win waivers under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Of the 11 states to already gain a waiver, seven say they will factor achievement in extra subjects in revising their accountability systems. In a second round of waiver applications awaiting a final decision by the U.S. Department of Education, nearly a dozen states are looking to do the same. More

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Michigan school funding plans don't reconcile
The Associated Press via The Detroit News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The education budgets proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder and those passed by the Michigan Senate and House significantly differ, which means lawmakers will have plenty to work out before a plan can become law for the budget year beginning in October. The House passed a kindergarten-through-12th-grade school-aid budget with per-student funding between $6,846 and $8,019 — unchanged from last year and the same proposed by Snyder. The Senate bill passed proposes increasing per-student spending by between $116 and $232, to $8,135 and $7,078, respectively. More

Ohio may alter plan for grading schools
The Columbus Dispatch    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Columbus School Superintendent Gene Harris and others took issue yesterday with a new state plan to hand out letter grades to Ohio schools — significantly below current levels, in most cases — and they might get some of what they want. Although Harris didn't challenge the letter grades themselves, she told state legislators that the proposal does not give schools enough credit for students making significant improvement even if they don't pass standardized state assessments. She also questioned the lack of consideration given to graduation rates and the push to start the new setup this fall. Columbus' grade would drop from a C to a D if the system were started next school year. More

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Verbal abuse of autistic student sparks calls for change
Cherry Hill Courier-Post via USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When harsh words flew in a classroom for autistic children here, the school employees who spoke them likely thought no one in authority would ever hear. "Shut up," shouted one staffer, unaware that a digital recorder was hidden in the pocket of 10-year-old Akian Chaifetz. "Go ahead and scream because guess what? You're going to get nothing until your mouth is shut. "Oh Akian, you are a bastard." But after the boy's father, Stuart Chaifetz, released excerpts of the tape in an online video last week, millions of people learned what was said at the Horace Mann Elementary School in New Jersey. Now, educators and others are trying to figure out just what the incident means. More

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Tennessee kindergarten bill would require 'maturity test' for thousands, shift age cutoff date
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Thousands of Tennessee children would be required to pass a "maturity test" every year to enter kindergarten under a new bill passed by the state House of Representatives. Under current law, Tennessee children must be 5 years old by Sept. 30 to enter kindergarten. House Bill 2566 would shift the cutoff date forward to Aug. 31 in fall 2013 and Aug. 15 beginning the year after, ensuring that all kindergarteners are at least five years old upon matriculation. Children who are still 4 years old by the cutoff dates could enter kindergarten with their same-year peers only if they show the maturity of a 5-year-old on a standardized test. More



Science comes alive for Jacksonville, Fla., elementary students in partnership with MOSH
The Florida Times-Union    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Make no bones about it, second-graders at River City Science Academy Elementary School in Jacksonville, Fla., know about skeletons and other science of the human body. "The skeleton protects all the squishy parts," Lewis Clark told a visitor as he and classmates Eren Apalan and Mustafa Idris correctly pieced together the cardboard bones of a skeleton during a class exercise. The three 8-year-old boys and their classmates are the first to participate in a learning partnership between the Jacksonville school and the Museum of Science and History. More

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Free Common Core webinar this Thursday
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Join us Thursday, May 3 from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for "Leadership for the Common Core: Synthesize, Strategize, Maximize!," the next webinar in our special series on the Common Core standards. Sponsored by NAESP and PD 360, this webinar will highlight how to support teachers as they make instructional shifts to the new standards. Click the "More" link for information on other upcoming webinars. More

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Address bullying at your school
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Prepare to talk with your school community about the controversial new documentary, "Bully," with resources from NAESP. Visit the Bullying Prevention Resource Page for tools to combat bullying, including articles, books, videos, a downloadable bookmark and handouts. 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.
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601   Download media kit
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