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Turning data into action
District Administration Magazine
There's no doubt that data is power. But how do K-12 education leaders harness that power and use data to inform instruction and improve learning? Over the past decade and since the implementation of No Child Left Behind, the use of data in schools and school districts has evolved from being focused primarily on accountability and reporting up the chain of command to becoming a much more useful tool to innovate in education. While the focus has often been on the importance of student information systems and learning management systems, the conversation today has shifted to making those systems powerful tools and leveraging them to move the needle on education outcomes.
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3 ways administrators stay connected
eSchool News
While educational technology use should be modeled and celebrated throughout the year, Connected Educator Month highlights some of the nation's best ed-tech practices. In an effort to put into practice some of the valuable advice and tips shared during the most recent Connected Educator Month, we're sharing some of the strategies school administrators said they use to stay connected and collaborate.
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Do states need a Common Core check-up?
eSchool News
Resources and tools for Common Core abound, but it's time to gauge how implementation is really going, according to some stakeholders. Part of that motivation, according to the Chief Council of State School Officers, is to obtain an accurate picture of states' efforts amid the vigorous support for, and backlash against, the Common Core State Standards. CCSSO, which has led the creation of the Common Core along with the National Governors Association, partnered with four state education leaders to examine those states' progress.
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Math, science, history: Games break boundaries between subjects
MindShift
For far too long, school has organized learning into divided disciplines: English, science, history, math and so on. It seems fine because we're all used to it. The problem, however, is that students then internalize a divided conception of knowledge; they're conditioned into a view of life where specialization reigns. While categorized subjects made some sense for the industrialized 20th century, they may not be the best bet for this century.
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Why is the math gender gap so much worse in the US than in other countries?
The Huffington Post (commentary)
Could it be the boy crisis? A new international study released last week shows that during the past 100 years, the first in which girls have been educated en masse, girls have out-performed boys academically. I'm not going to write here about what that may mean in terms of what grades are rewarding or about how that fact hasn't led to the dismantling of institutional male dominance. This is just about math and what our persistent gender gap means.
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Survey: More educators think 'just the right amount' of time is spent on testing
Education Week
A survey finds that teachers and administrators are looking more favorably than they did two years ago on the amount of time that teachers and students spend on test preparation and testing. That's one of the surprising findings in the Northwest Evaluation Association's new study of educators' attitudes toward assessment. While most teachers still think too much time is spent on testing, fewer think so than compared with 2011, the last time the Portland, Ore.-based nonprofit did the survey. Two years later, more teachers think "just the right amount of time" is going into assessments.
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Nearly half of US public school students are minorities, teachers nowhere near as diverse
The Associated Press via Fox News Latino
U.S. teachers are nowhere near as diverse as their students. Almost half the students attending public schools are minorities, yet fewer than 1 in 5 of their teachers is nonwhite. New studies from the Center for American Progress and the National Education Association are calling attention to this "diversity gap" at elementary and secondary schools in the United States. The groups want more to be done to help teachers more accurately mirror the students in their classrooms.
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School districts get advice on 'doing more with less'
Education Week
With America's public schools unlikely to return to past funding levels in the near future, the District Management Council is set to release a policy guide to help districts thrive, rather than just survive, within the constraints of their new fiscal realities. In the main report, "Spending Money Wisely: Getting the Most From School District Budgets," the council lists 10 high-impact opportunities that it says helps school systems "do more with less."
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Q-&-A with Deborah Lowe Vandell: A million elementary students are on their own after school when they should be learning
The Hechinger Report
Nationwide, more than 15 million children are on their own after school is dismissed. Among them are more than 1 million students in grades K through five who are not involved in afterschool activities due to lack of programs, funding, or transportation issues. But new research shows the increasing importance of afterschool activities in boosting academic performance and work habits, especially for children from low-income families.
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Study examines achievement gap between Asian American, white students
Los Angeles Times
A growing achievement gap between Asian American students and their white classmates is due largely to greater work effort and cultural attitudes, not innate cognitive ability, researchers say. In a study published Monday in the journal PNAS, two sociology professors found that Asian Americans enter school with no clear academic edge over whites, but that an advantage grows over time. Even if they come from poorer, less educated families, Asian Americans significantly outperform white students by fifth grade, authors wrote.
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New research into bullying and its effect on children's mental health
Medical News Today
Increasing evidence shows that stigma — whether due to a child's weight, sexual orientation, race, income or other attribute — is at the root of bullying, and that it can cause considerable harm to a child's mental health. Experts in pediatric mental health, bullying and ostracism gathered for a symposium titled "Stigma, Ostracism and Bullying: Dangers, Prevention and Interventions" at the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia. Researchers will present evidence of stigma associated with various attributes and the harm it poses to children through bullying, ostracism, and discrimination.
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A conversation about tests that educators want to have, but can't
The New York Times
Let's talk about testing. "I want to," said Bob Bender, principal of Public School 11 in Chelsea. "I want my voice to be heard about how outraged I was about the exam." So by all means, speak up. He sighed. "I can't go against the state embargo," Bender said. By state order, teachers and principals may not disclose any contents of the three days of standardized English tests that were given at the beginning of April.
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Tracking students' grades minute-by-minute: Help or hindrance?
MindShift
Do student information systems — online services that track students' grade — help kids learn? It all depends on whom you ask. Experts on education and child development, parents, teachers, and students clash on whether or not web-based monitoring systems serve children's educational interests or actually hinder learning. Student information systems are Web-based software programs that schools buy to help manage student and teacher data.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Why principals need to 'get messy,' stop micromanaging instruction, and build capacity (Scholastic Magazine)
By not challenging gifted kids, what do we risk losing? (MindShift)
US schools make progress by limiting access to unhealthy foods (Medical News Today)
5 reasons schools still need desktop computers (THE Journal)
Is cursive handwriting slowly dying out in America? (PBS Newshour)

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


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Digital divide, lack of certified librarians 'a national crisis'
eSchool News
Barbara Stripling, president of the American Library Association, said students, teachers, and librarians are facing "a silent dilemma." Imagine, she said, you're one of two students sitting next to each other in the same classroom, receiving the same assignment. The homework requires some online research. One student, who has had a computer as long as she can remember, goes home that night and gets to work. You, the other student, are from a lower-income family and have never had access to a computer. You eventually are able to sneak in an hour or two at the public library, but as you stare at the empty web browser, you don't even know where to begin.
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Homework, sleep and the student brain
Edutopia (commentary)
Glenn Whitman, the director at The Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, writes: "At some point, every parent wishes their high school aged student would go to bed earlier as well as find time to pursue their own passions — or maybe even choose to relax. This thought reemerged as I reread Anna Quindlen's commencement speech, A Short Guide to a Happy Life. The central message of this address, never actually stated, was: 'Get a life.' But what prevents students from 'getting a life,' especially between September and June? One answer is homework."
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Most students completely clueless about major changes happening in education
The Huffington Post
The political bickering surrounding standardized testing has all but drowned out one important group of voices: The students who are actually taking the tests. A report released Tuesday found that most students don't mind the testing, when they know the purpose and how the results will be used. The report, titled "Make Assessments Matter," comes from the Northwest Evaluation Association, a nonprofit educational services organization that produces one of the standardized assessments in question — the Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP test, used by U.S. school districts to track student growth in reading and math.
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Feds to districts: Policies must not chill enrollment of immigrant students
Education Week
Officials in the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education warned school district officials to cease using policies and practices that "chill" or discourage students from enrolling in school because they, or their parents, may not have legal immigration status.
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'ObamaCore'? Common Core ed reforms don't scare GOP voters, poll finds
The Christian Science Monitor
Among many Republican candidates gearing up for primaries or the November election this year, a regular talking point is opposition to Common Core — the national set of K-12 standards that have been adopted by 44 states. While less of a surefire way to rouse activists than the Affordable Care Act, the standards have a fierce group of opponents and have started to be known as "ObamaCore" in certain circles.
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3 ways administrators stay connected
eSchool News
While educational technology use should be modeled and celebrated throughout the year, Connected Educator Month highlights some of the nation's best ed-tech practices.

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5 common myths about school administration
eSchool News
It's not always teachers who face criticism in the U.S. Many school administrators say that misconceptions about their career motivations and the position in general still exist today — and many myths have survived for decades.

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How much teachers get paid — State by state
The Washington Post
How much do teachers across the United States get paid? Here is data, state by state, collected from the National Center for Education Statistics by Jon Boeckenstedt, associate vice president at DePaul University in Chicago.

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States spending less money on K-12 education get better results
Michigan Capital Confidential
Many who advocate for perpetual increases in education spending believe that greater K-12 funding leads to better educational results. But looking at states across the nation shows this is not the case. In fact, most states that spend less on K-12 education than Michigan perform better — many significantly better. And analyzing gains in the National Assessment of Educational Progress show that lower-spending states are making the largest educational gains.
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Elementary adds 'buddy bench' to encourage inclusiveness
Boulder Daily Camera
Students at Mesa Elementary in Colorado who are feeling lonely on the playground now have a way to ask to be included without having to say a word. The Boulder school recently became the first in the Boulder Valley School District to place a "buddy bench" on its playground. The idea is simple: A student who doesn't have someone to play with sits on the bench, and other students know to ask her or him to join them.
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NAESP orchestrates push for federal funding to support principals
NAESP
NAESP has joined forces with national organizations representing the nation's principals to advance its longstanding advocacy initiatives related to directing federal funds to better support principals. The groups have come together to push a proposal that would direct local education agencies receiving funds from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to allocate no less than 10 percent of the total Title II funds available for professional development for principals to improve instructional leadership.
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Rethinking recess
NAESP
Recess is a great time for students to take in the sunshine and fresh air, and enjoy well-deserved free time. It also provides an opportunity for teachers and students to socialize and form positive relationships. In the latest issue of NAESP's Communicator, a Virginia principal shares how a structured recess program can help accomplish that.
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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.
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