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School accountability: Where do we stand?
By: Archita Datta Majumdar
In the light of the raging debates on school accountability and the opposition to Common Core testing, a decade-old thesis has found new relevance. "Does School Accountability Lead to Improved Student Performance?" has reached an important milestone since it has singularly influenced major education reforms since it was published in 2005. When teachers and schools are held accountable for students' performance, grades have significantly improved. But more importantly, we've also seen how test results are ineffective in determining the real picture of student achievements and growth or potential.
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Doctors say head lice should not bar kids from school
HealthDay News via Medical Xpress
Outbreaks of head lice in kids can be effectively treated without banning infected children from school, new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics say. In fact, the AAP believes that doctors and other health care professionals should educate schools and communities that "no-nit" policies are unfair and should not be implemented. Children found to have head lice or nits can finish the school day, be treated and return to school, the AAP says.
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Few 8th-graders proficient in US history, civics
U.S. News & World Report
History, geography and civics have taken a back seat in American education, according to a new report. Results from the 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress showed that roughly a quarter or fewer eighth-grade students scored at or above proficient in geography (27 percent), civics (23 percent) and U.S. history (18 percent). The overall average score in each of the three subjects is unchanged from 2010, the last time the test was administered in these subjects, although scores have marginally improved since the 1990s. What's more, there remain wide, and in some cases increasing, gender and racial achievement gaps.
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Skip a grade? Start kindergarten early? It's not so easy
NPR
On the first day of school, the only person more discussed than the "new kid" is the "new kid who skipped a grade." Words like "gifted," "brilliant" and "genius" get thrown around a lot to describe these students. Education researchers generally refer to them as "accelerated." It's a catch-all term to describe students who've either entered kindergarten early, grade-skipped or taken single subjects above grade level. Part of the hype comes from how uncommon it is. Researchers estimate no more than 2 percent of students fall into these categories.
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Could Common Core help grow arts education in schools?
MindShift
Arts programs have long suffered cuts as schools adjust to meeting the growing demands of academic performance and standardized tests. Students are rarely tested on the arts, and arts knowledge is challenging to measure, so it becomes an easy target when schools are pressed for money and results. So how does one justify arts spending when test scores are at stake?
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Teaching handwriting more effectively using technology
eSchool News
Teaching handwriting to an entire class of students at the same time has always been a compromise. A teacher has always had to stand at a white board to show a class how to form letters, words and sentences. Usually a whiteboard marker is used; modern technology has sometimes replaced a whiteboard marker with a digital pen that uses an interactive white board or, more recently, an interactive projector.
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Giving books to kids before summer break can stem reading losses
American Academy of Pediatrics via Science Daily
It's common knowledge among teachers that when students return to school after the long summer break, they likely will have lost some academic ground — a phenomenon known as "summer slide." A new study, to be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies annual meeting in San Diego, shows that giving students books at the end of the school year can help stem losses in reading skills.
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Ten tips for improving playground safety
Dr. Melinda Bossenmeyer
Serious accidents which occur in schools typically happen on the playground, and often playground supervision is a contributing factor. In fact, approximately 200,000 accidents each year send children to the emergency room for treatment of an injury which occurred on the school playground. The following tips are designed to increase the quality of the playground supervision in your school, ensuring that children are safe on your playground.
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Promoted by Dr. Melinda Bossenmeyer


Virtual field trips spice up learning
MiddleWeb (commentary)
Virtual field trips are a great way to excite your students and incorporate technology into instruction. In today's budget-conscious and time-stressed schools, this is particularly helpful. Imagine the activities you can integrate into your classroom with, for example, a virtual tour of one of the Smithsonian Institution's many museums, galleries or past exhibitions.
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3 simple strategies to increase student engagement
By: Savanna Flakes
One way to increase student engagement is to use structures that illicit a response from all students and provide teachers formative data on student learning. In order to meet a variety of students' needs, educators should work to also incorporate the use of a variety of multiple intelligences in their classrooms. Here are my top three low-tech and low-prep strategies to increase student engagement and provide teachers real-time data to adjust and differentiate instruction. All three assessment strategies are quick, inexpensive and easy to teach.
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Leaders gather to chart future for games in education
EdTech Magazine
With technology in classrooms more pervasive than ever, what's the future for games in education? To help decipher that riddle, game developers, public officials and education leaders gathered for the Games for Learning Summit, a one-day event during the 12th annual Games for Change Festival. The event, organized by members of Games for Change, the U.S. Department of Education and the Entertainment Software Association, featured two keynotes and several sessions, allowing attendees to gain insight and learn strategies for developing video games for educational settings.
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If teachers feel undervalued it's because they are
Forbes
Teachers are used to being on the sharp end of public criticism, but even by these standards the results of a recent survey are disturbing. According to the survey, eight out of 10 teachers do not feel their profession is valued by society. Among school leaders, the proportion who feel teaching is undervalued rises to 90 percent. But the survey, carried out by the U.K.'s Times Educational Supplement with polling organization YouGov, does no more than reflect a widespread perception of the teaching profession.
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Education tech funding soars — but is it working in the classroom?
Fortune
From iPads in kindergarten to virtual classrooms in high schools to online graduate degrees, technology has captured the American education system. As it does, the money keeps flowing in — and so do questions about its impact. In 2014, venture funding for education technology reached $1.87 billion dollars. It's expected to hit $2 billion this year. That's a big jump from $385 million in 2009, according to CB Insights, the first year the venture capital research firm started tracking education funding.
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A clearer view of the classroom
District Administration Magazine
The classroom video camera saw it all. Watching the playback, one teacher realized that she gave her students too little time to answer the questions she posed. Another teacher finally understood why her supervisor found her pacing was too slow. A third teacher used the footage to seek help managing a disruptive student who had spent the lesson bouncing a golf ball off the chalkboard. Those educators were among hundreds participating in Harvard's recently concluded Best Foot Forward Project, which studied a new approach to teacher evaluation: Using teacher-selected classroom videos instead of the traditional drop-in observation by a principal.
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For kids, bullying by peers is worse than abuse from adults
Healthline
A long-term study shows that children who were bullied have more trouble in adulthood than children mistreated by their parents. Peers may be worse than parents when it comes to the psychological effects of disparaging words and harassment. A study published in The Lancet Psychiatry reports that children who were bullied by peers had significant mental health problems as adults — even more significant than children who were mistreated by their parents or caregivers.
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Report: Teacher leadership is key to Common Core success
THE Journal
A new report from the Center for American Progress examines districts throughout the country where collaboration between management and unions has given teachers a meaningful voice in implementation of the Common Core State Standards. The report, "Teacher Leadership: The Pathway to Common Core Success," is itself a collaboration between CAP and the Teacher Union Reform Network, which helped identify districts that provide opportunities for teacher input into Common Core implementation.
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Federal aid formulas a sticky issue in ESEA debate
Education Week
When the Senate education committee marked up and approved a bipartisan rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act earlier this month, one of the few issues members sparred over was changing a formula used to distribute federal funds to states and school districts for activities such as teacher preparation. Meanwhile, the committee didn't touch another complex, long-standing, and politically sensitive issue: the way Title I money for low-income students flows to states and districts.
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New federal student-data-privacy bill targets loopholes
Education Week
After an extended delay prompted by sharp criticism from privacy advocates, new federal legislation aimed at better protecting students' sensitive information is likely to be introduced in the U.S. House. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., and developed with involvement from the White House, would prohibit ed-tech vendors from selling student data or using that information to target students with advertisements. The bill would also require vendors to meet new requirements related to data security, breach notification and contracts with third parties.
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Indiana budget deal includes modest school spending hike
Indianapolis Star
House and Senate Republican leaders were set to unveil a roughly $32 billion, two-year budget that includes modest increases in school funding, with more money for suburban schools and some charter schools but less spending on Indiana's urban schools. House lawmakers were expecting to receive the final budget proposal after days of negotiations. House and Senate leaders and Gov. Mike Pence and staff bounded from office. House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, provided the broad outlines of the new budget to reporters.
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New Digital Learning Report Card describes promising practices for states
Education Week
In 2014, 422 digital learning policies were implemented across the country, with over 1000 digital education bills debated in recent years, according to a new Digital Learning Report Card from the Foundation for Excellence in Education. That represents an "unprecedented surge of activity at state level over past four years," said John Bailey, vice president of policy at ExcelinEd, a Florida-based national nonprofit focused on education policy, including technology use in the classroom.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    As student tests move online, keyboarding enters curriculum (The Associated Press)
5 tech tools that support Common Core State Standards (The Journal)
A new era in teaching: The rise of personalized learning (By: Brian Stack)
Simple exercises to improve ELL reading skills — Part 3 (By: Douglas Magrath)
Administrators: How to get out of the office and into classrooms (Edutopia)

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




Principals join president to commend outstanding teachers
NAESP
Principals joined President Barack Obama to honor outstanding teachers. The president welcomed finalists for the 63rd annual 2015 National Teacher of the Year award during a White House ceremony. A delegation from NAESP, including President Mark J. White, was in attendance. Obama was eager to praise the finalists for their dedication. "I want to thank all the teachers who are here today for your outstanding contributions to the life of our nation," he said. "We couldn't be prouder of you."
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Advocacy update: Bipartisan support of Senate ESEA bill
NAESP
This April, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously approved a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as the "Every Child Achieves Act of 2015." Overall, principals support many of the bill's provisions, which make significant improvements over current law.
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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.

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