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Instructional leadership is about quality time, not quantity
Education Week
Principals set the tone for academic excellence in their schools, but researchers and policymakers are only just beginning to understand how their leadership affects student achievement. And for harried, time-crunched leaders nationwide, the results might be heartening: It's not quantity, but the quality of time spent on instructional leadership that makes the difference.
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10 keys to a successful school iPad program
eSchool News
It seems that every school is considering purchasing iPads these days, and Apple has reported that iPad sales to schools are currently outpacing MacBook sales by a very large margin. However, the rush to purchase iPads often precedes the careful planning and preparation that are so crucial to their success as educational tools. It's important for educators to understand that technology alone — no matter how full of potential it may be — is not the answer. Instead, iPads need to be integrated into the 21st-century classroom using a holistic approach. Teachers and administrators should identify the skills and abilities young people will need to succeed in our rapidly changing world and use technology to help students acquire them.
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Report: History teaching requirements in many states fall short
Education Week
Many states fail to set entrance requirements for history teachers that would help ensure that those who end up in U.S. high schools would actually be knowledgeable about the subject, a new report from a conservative think tank concludes. "Today, few states give so much as lip service to the idea that a major in history earned in a serious university department of history ought to be a prerequisite to teaching history to high school students," says the report. "Too often, state certifiers allow an array of alternatives that do not demand study of American and world history in any real depth."
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Cursive benefits go beyond writing
The New York Times (commentary)
Putting pen to paper stimulates the brain like nothing else, even in this age of emails, texts and tweets. In fact, learning to write in cursive is shown to improve brain development in the areas of thinking, language and working memory. Cursive handwriting stimulates brain synapses and synchronicity between the left and right hemispheres, something absent from printing and typing.
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Your child's brain on math: Don't bother?
Reuters
Parents whose children are struggling with math often view intense tutoring as the best way to help them master crucial skills, but a new study released suggests that for some kids even that is a lost cause. According to the research, the size of one key brain structure and the connections between it and other regions can help identify the 8- and 9-year-olds who will hardly benefit from one-on-one math instruction.
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Meeting the challenges of student writing in the digital age
ED.gov Blog (commentary)
Writing is an important part of the Common Core State Standards in English language arts, but what about students learning to employ the digital tools so natural to them outside the classroom to express themselves in school? The challenges to "going digital" with writing instruction range from choosing the best methods to employ the latest technological tools to accessing quality in-service and joining communities of practice to staying current with the changing definition of a "literate" citizenry.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    States pull back from Common Core (U.S. News & World Report)
Is the Common Core initiative in trouble? (The Washington Post)
Sorting kids at school: the return of ability grouping (Desert News)
Testing consortium releases draft accommodations policy (Education Week)
Common Core testing will require digital literacy skills (eSchool News)

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


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Rethinking difficult parents
Edutopia (commentary)
View difficult parents as misguided advocates. Keep in mind that even an angry parent is better than an absent parent. While they can be very unpleasant, their anger often conveys advocacy. Virtually all parents, including most whose actions border on irrational, will cooperate if they really believe you care about their child, have their child's interests at heart and respect them.
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Play-based interventions
District Administration Magazine
Mental health services for children are frequently provided by schools, especially when families are unable or unwilling to engage with often limited resources in their own communities. Therefore, if educators do not address the social-emotional health of their students, the difficulties will likely continue or increase, and school success and even completion may be jeopardized.
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Struggling Catholic schools strategize to draw new students
Reuters
For years, headlines about Catholic schools in the United States have told gloomy tales of falling enrollment and multiple closings. Between 2000 and 2013, 2,090 U.S. Catholic schools closed or consolidated and enrollment fell 24.5 percent, according to the National Catholic Educational Association. In places like Chicago's Leo Catholic High School for boys, student numbers have plummeted from 1,200 students in the 1950s to 157 this year. In New York, the Catholic Archdiocese plans to close 24 schools. This decline has implications for public schools throughout the nation, say Catholic school supporters. According to the NCEA, the 2 million U.S. students they serve save the nation approximately $21 billion a year in public school costs.
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You'll be shocked by how many of the world's top students are American
The Atlantic
When you look at the average performance of American students on international test scores, our kids come off as a pretty middling bunch. If you rank countries based on their very fine differences, we come in 14th in reading, 23rd in science, and 25th in math. Those finishes led Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to flatly declare that "we're being out-educated."
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Kids' smoking influences may change over time
HealthDay News via Doctor's Lounge
Peer pressure to smoke may be more influential for kids in middle school than for older students, a new study reports. Although their friends' smoking behavior may hold less sway for teens over time, researchers said parents seem to remain influential over their children's smoking behavior throughout high school. They suggested that smoking intervention programs focused on peer pressure to smoke would be more effective for students in middle (or junior high) school than high school, and parents could provide another possible anti-smoking strategy.
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A conversation on 'Cage-Busting Leadership'
District Administration Magazine
Recalling the myth of Sisyphus repeatedly pushing the same boulder up a mountain in his new book, author and educator Frederick M. Hess explains how the K12 education leadership is faltering, and how it can rise above. "Cage-Busting Leadership" (Harvard Education Press, February 2013) is a new book and consequently, a small, growing movement for educators trying to take a machete to administrative red tape and contracts that tend to paralyze district leaders from doing what's best and right for the students.
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Principal fires security guards to hire art teachers — and transforms elementary school
NBC News
The community of Roxbury, Mass., had high hopes for its newest public school back in 2003. There were art studios, a dance room, even a theater equipped with cushy seating. A pilot school for grades K-8, Orchard Gardens was built on grand expectations. But the dream of a school founded in the arts, a school that would give back to the community as it bettered its children, never materialized. Instead, the dance studio was used for storage and the orchestra's instruments were locked up and barely touched.
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School discipline survey finds challenges in making changes
Education Week
Many school districts are changing their codes of conduct in a way that limits the use of out-of-school suspension and expulsion and defines the role of law enforcement in school, a recent survey by the American Association of School Administrators found. But the resources — human and financial — needed to make those changes don't always match what districts can muster.
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TRENDING ARTICLE
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Meeting the challenges of student writing in the digital age
ED.gov Blog (commentary)
Writing is an important part of the Common Core State Standards in English language arts, but what about students learning to employ the digital tools so natural to them outside the classroom to express themselves in school?

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Survey finds rising job frustration among principals
Education Week
A new national survey finds that three out of four K-12 public school principals, regardless of the types of schools they work in, believe the job has become "too complex," and about a third say they are likely to go into a different occupation within next five years.

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States pull back from Common Core
U.S. News & World Report
Lawmakers in some states hope to halt the transition to the Common Core State Standards, even as school districts across the country are rolling them out.

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Report: Federal rules impede competency-based learning
MindShift
Competency-based learning, which allows students to progress at their own pace after they've shown mastery of a subject, rather than by their age, is quickly gaining momentum. Already, a few states like New Hampshire, Maine and Oregon are moving towards implementing competency-based learning models throughout the entire state. What's more, 40 states have at least district experimenting with the model. But despite this growth, its proponents say federal policies for accountability and assessment are holding the movement back.
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Interactive map: The United States is getting beat on preschool
Center for American Progress (commentary)
High-quality early childhood education is essential to student success, yet compared to other countries around the world, the United States lags far behind on preschool. The United States enrolls less than 70 percent of 4-year-olds in preschool, trailing more than two dozen countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD. We also lag behind in 3-year-old preschool participation, the typical age children begin early childhood programs, our teacher-to-child ratios, and our investment in early childhood. If we are to stay competitive in the global economy, we need to ensure all our children are ready for school.
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In other states, letter grades drastically affected communities
The Portland Press Herald
States that have assigned letter grades to schools, as Maine's Department of Education has begun to do, have seen wide-ranging effects on everything from home values to community support for schools, say experts who have studied the issue. The grades may also affect the educational quality of each school. Although the data on Maine schools' report cards was publicly available previously, people will probably respond to it in a new way, now that it's summed up in a simple letter grade, said David Figlio, professor of economics and of education and social policy at Northwestern University.
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Gunfire and moments of fear as a rural Oregon school tests its readiness
The Oregonian
Two masked men wearing hoodies and wielding handguns burst into the Pine Eagle Charter School in this tiny rural community. Students were at home for an in-service day, so the gunmen headed into a meeting room full of teachers and opened fire. Someone figured out in a few seconds that the bullets were not drawing blood because they were blanks and the exercise was a drill, designed to test Pine Eagle's preparation for an assault by "active shooters" who were, in reality, members of the school staff. But those few seconds left everybody plenty scared. Principal Cammie DeCastro said it became clear very quickly just how many of the school's 15 teachers would have survived. The answer: "Not many," she said.
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Elementary students get a lesson in deposits, withdrawals and saving
The Washington Post
At first glance, Neha Pai thought working at a bank would be boring. "But once I started being a teller, I realized it's really fun," the fourth-grader said. Over the past few months, Pai has gotten a first-hand look at the inner workings of a financial institution, thanks to a program hosted by Sandy Spring Bank at her Fairfax, Va., public school.
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Rethinking the achievement gap
NAESP
The University of Maryland, Baltimore County has made a name for itself empowering minority students in science and engineering. Freeman Hrabowski, president of the university since 1992, has shown that the achievement gap can be closed. How did he do it? In the latest edition of NAESP Radio, Hrabowski — a keynote speaker at NAESP's conference this July — shares with NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly his strategies for understanding and addressing the achievement gap.
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4 days of 'Aha!' moments
NAESP
Register now for the biggest professional development event of the year for principals. NAESP's 2013 Best Practices for Better Schools™ National Conference kicks off on July 11, bringing together engaging speakers and like-minded colleagues to share solutions on the Common Core, teacher recruitment, leading school change and much more. Maximize your time in Baltimore by coming a day early and catching exciting pre-conference workshops by Bob Marzano and Alan November, the annual Service Day, and the Jeans and Jerseys bash.
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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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