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Vaccination laws lead to more middle school immunizations
ABC News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
States that require immunizations for students entering middle school have significantly higher numbers of adolescents who actually get recommended vaccinations compared with states that simply require that parents be informed about the vaccinations, according to a new study. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices currently recommends pre-teens and teens receive the tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis vaccine, the vaccine against meningitis and the HPV vaccine. More

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School bake sales draw fire in obesity battle
NPR    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
An American tradition is in jeopardy. The bake sale, a staple of school fundraising for generations, is getting squeezed. The epidemic of childhood obesity is leading some districts to restrict the kinds of foods sold or to ban the sales altogether. The obesity rate for children and adolescents has tripled since 1980, and now many states have regulations that limit bake sales to nutritious food. Calories — and big money — are at stake. More



Researchers see potential for Common Core to boost learning
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new research paper offers what amounts to a spirited defense of the Common Core State Standards in mathematics, making the case that the standards are, in fact, consistent with those in high-achieving countries and suggesting their faithful implementation holds considerable promise to improve student learning. The paper bases that optimism about the new standards' potential on a look at the achievement of states whose prior math standards most closely aligned to the common core. More

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Nebraska social studies rewrite: Benjamin Franklin, Malcolm X optional
Omaha World-Herald    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The names of dozens of historical figures, including Benjamin Franklin and Malcolm X, would be stripped from Nebraska's public school social studies standards under a proposed rewrite. Draft standards made public emphasize essential skills and concepts rather than listing important people, dates and battles. Officials leading the rewrite say local districts should decide for themselves which historical figures and details deserve attention in the classroom. More

Students more likely to be fit when physical education is mandatory
Health Behavior News Service    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Fifth-graders in California public school districts that comply with the state's mandatory physical education requirement are more likely to have better fitness levels than students in districts that don't comply, according to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. More

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Be a behavior detective
Harvard Education Letter    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
About 10 percent of the school population — or 9–13 million children — struggle with mental health problems. In a typical classroom of 20, chances are good that one or two students are dealing with serious psychosocial stressors relating to poverty, domestic violence, abuse and neglect, or a psychiatric disorder. There is also growing evidence that the number of children suffering the effects of trauma and those with autism-related social deficits is also on the rise. More

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Mobile matters for blended learning
The Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Are bring your own device policies a high-tech classroom distraction, or are they key to broadening access and creating personalized blended-learning experiences for students? Early reports indicate some of both. The implications of schools allowing smartphones and iPads on campus differ significantly depending on whether schools use the devices to create technology-rich traditional classrooms or to extend access to transformative blended-learning models to far more students. More

The best ways to integrate special needs students
NPR    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Budget cuts in many school districts have some parents and teachers questioning whether they have the resources to support their students. NPR education correspondent Claudio Sanchez and Thomas Hehir of Harvard University talk about how to integrate special needs students into mainstream classrooms. More

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Teach black and Hispanic students differently
USA Today (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In late March, a panel of 10 education experts gathered in Washington to nominate four most-improved urban school districts for a national education prize. What should have been a routine review of student data, however, suddenly took a new direction. First one member on the review panel for the annual Broad Prize for Urban Education then another noticed the same thing: Plenty of large urban school districts nationwide were making solid progress with Hispanic students closing achievement gaps with white students. But African-American students continued to lag. More

Scholars say pupils gain social skills in coed classes
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Preschool teacher Jacque Radke started the school year at Kenilworth Elementary in Phoenix with a pretty typical bunch of 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds. Some of the girls had started to form cliques and "no boys allowed" lunch tables, while Radke and her instructional assistant worried that one quiet little girl was getting shunted to the sidelines by the boys. Generally, boys and girls become more polarized through their first years in school. Now, researchers have started to explore how to span that sex divide and are finding that more-equitable coed classrooms can have social and academic benefits for boys and girls alike. More

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Put away the bell curve: Most of us aren't 'average'
NPR    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For decades, teachers, managers and parents have assumed that the performance of students and employees fits what's known as the bell curve — in most activities, we expect a few people to be very good, a few people to be very bad and most people to be average. The bell curve powerfully shapes how we think of human performance: If lots of students or employees happen to show up as extreme outliers — they're either very good or very bad — we assume they must represent a skewed sample, because only a few people in a truly random sample are supposed to be outliers. New research suggests, however, that rather than describe how humans perform, the bell curve may actually be constraining how people perform. Minus such constraints, a new paper argues, lots of people are actually outliers. More



State, local groups press Congress to pass flexible education reform bill
The Hill    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Several associations of state and local government officials called on House and Senate leaders to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and to do so in a way that gives state officials more flexibility over how to spend federal dollars. In their May 3 letter, the National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, and eight other groups representing state and local authorities said the last reauthorization of ESEA came in the No Child Left Behind Act. But while they said that bill had a "commendable intent," it contained flaws that need to be fixed the next time around. More

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School discounts mandated by federal e-rate program largely neglected
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At the dawn of the Internet era, Congress set out to avert a digital divide between rich and poor students. In a landmark bill, lawmakers required the nation's phone companies to provide bargain voice and data rates to schools and to subsidize the cost of equipment and services, with the biggest subsidies going to the schools with the most disadvantaged children. More than a decade later, as schools struggle for funding amid widespread budget cuts, there is growing evidence that the program's crucial low-price requirement has been widely neglected by federal regulators and at least one telecom giant. More



Report: Some charters spend more than traditional schools
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new report concludes that charter schools operated by major charter management organizations in three states often spend more to educate children than the surrounding public schools. The study, published by the National Education Policy Center, compares per-pupil spending in charter schools run by major management organizations with local district schools in New York, Ohio and Texas. It says that in some places charter spending by major charter management organizations, known as CMOs, is less per student than in traditional public schools, but in other places, it is significantly more. More

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'No Child' waivers: Feds scrutinize Virginia, Maryland, D.C. plans
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
If Virginia wants permission to opt out of the most vexing parts of the federal No Child Left Behind law, it must produce a more rigorous accountability plan of its own. The U.S. Education Department delivered that message last month in response to Virginia's request for relief from the 2002 law, which set a target for all students to demonstrate proficiency in math and reading by 2014. More

Online tests in works to assess student progress in Michigan
The Detroit News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In two years, Michigan's students will take a test in which they'll succeed once they start getting half the questions wrong. Michigan, along with more than two dozen states, is radically changing how it measures student progress, ditching paper and pencil tests for online-only assessments that they hope will be more comprehensive and allow for greater classroom help. A major component: Tests that get harder when students get the correct answer and easier when they get the wrong one. The goal is to better define the student's achievement level. More

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Louisiana's school accountability plans get federal feedback
The Times-Picayune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
State officials have gotten both praise and pushback from the federal government on Louisiana's plans for reshaping the system it uses to hold public schools accountable. And it could result in some significant changes in how the state measures academic progress for students and schools. Louisiana is one of 26 states applying for a waiver from George W. Bush's signature education law, the No Child Left Behind Act, looking for more flexibility in how the state grades its schools and spends federal education dollars. So the U.S. Department of Education has been poring over the state's accountability system and the changes state officials hope to make. More



South Dakota district working out details of early release to implement collaboration and PD
Rapid City Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Rapid City, Iowa, schools will implement a weekly early release day next year to give teachers more time for professional development and student assessment. It is a tool used in what educators call a professional learning community. Horace Mann Elementary School is one of five schools that already incorporates weekly early release days into their school calendar. Principal Danny Janklow said the early releases and the collaboration time it has allowed teachers has improved student learning. More

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Great teachers are lifelong learners and value collaboration
The Florida Times-Union    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
During the past nine months, Susanna P. Barton, editor of the Resident Community News Group, and WJCT education reporter Cyd Hoskinson interviewed successful public school educators through a grant from The Community Foundation's Philanthropic Initiative. They found some common traits that great teachers share on education's front lines. These teachers are lifelong learners and recognize the importance of collaboration. More



Tune in for 'The Balancing Act' on Lifetime
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Tune in to "The Balancing Act" morning show to watch Rob Monson, president of NAESP, discuss after-school programming and the Dream School Challenge contest. NAESP has partnered with "The Balancing Act" for the show's Parent Teacher Corner segment, which provides information for parents about how to help their children succeed in school. More

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Free math webinar today
NASEP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The NAESP/Solution Tree webinar series kicks off Tuesday, May 8 with What Principals Need to Know About Teaching and Learning Mathematics, presented by author Timothy Kanold. He'll share how to achieve the vision of the Common Core State Standards in math with focused content, instruction and assessment. Visit our webinar page for more on this series, and other upcoming sessions from NAESP. 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.
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