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Moving
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School principals share keys to success
eSchool News
What does it take to be an effective school leader, and how can school principals best support teaching and learning in their buildings? A new video series, built around the Wallace Foundation's "The School Principal as Leader: Guiding Schools to Better Teaching and Learning," examines these questions and more, through the eyes of school principals around the country.
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Report: Why it is hard to monitor bullying at schools
The Washington Post
A new report that reviewed years of research says that it is hard to accurately monitor levels of bullying in schools because there is still no consensus on exactly what it is and that educators and scholars "should not limit themselves to the traditional definition" as they seek ways to combat it. The report, called "Prevention of Bullying in Schools, Colleges and Universities" and just released by the American Educational Research Association at its 2013 meeting in San Francisco, is the work of a blue-ribbon task force that was charged with finding short- and long-term recommendations for institutions to address bullying of young people.
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Common standards set for federal education research
Education Week
As part of an effort to improve the quality of educational research and make it less balkanized, the National Science Foundation and the Institute of Education Sciences have introduced a common set of evidence standards for federally funded work. The criteria, rolled out at the American Educational Research Association's annual meeting, will guide all new research at the IES, the U.S. Department of Education's main research agency, and all NSF research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.
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How to train students' brains for the Common Core
eSchool News
The Common Core State Standards ask students to perform with higher levels of cognition and application, and brain training and specific teaching methods can help students succeed with these new standards, experts say. According to Margaret Glick, a neuroscience expert and educational consultant at the International Center for Leadership in Education, the Common Core State Standards and the accompanying assessments will cognitively require more than past standards.
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Survey shows cursive, on the decline, is taught in many classrooms nationwide
The Washington Post
About 75 percent of second- and third-grade teachers continue to include cursive instruction in their curriculum despite concerns that the artful writing is on the decline, according to a new national survey of elementary school teachers. The survey shows that cursive writing — once a staple of elementary instruction but long considered to be a dying script — is still alive in many classrooms across the country.
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  • Filling in the gap on climate education in classrooms
    NPR
    Polls show most U.S. students learn little about climate change at school, and even many adults have a fuzzy notion of what causes it. For the first time, new K-12 science standards issued in April include climate change. But the standards, written by a consortium of science and education groups in consultation with 26 states, are only voluntary and could take years to roll out. So Cy Maramangalam hopes to bring kids up to speed fast on a topic that scientists say must be urgently addressed.
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    Minimal standards required for technology in classrooms
    Wausau Daily Herald
    Change is sweeping like a tornado through the landscape of education, and most educators agree the force giving the twister much of its power is the use of technology in the classroom. The overwhelming wealth of information that can be found on the Internet, hand-held devices such as the iPad and recent innovations such as cloud computing are allowing teachers to help students learn in creative and innovative ways that most could only have imagined a decade ago.
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    School mental health providers play a critical role in early identification and referral for adolescents
    Medical News Today
    A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that mental health resources provided by schools are significantly associated with whether adolescents with mental disorders receive needed mental health services. In particular, adolescents with disorders attending schools that engage in early identification of emotional problems, are significantly more likely to receive mental health services.
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    Learning takes time: Growing movement seeks to expand length of school day
    Deseret News
    In most U.S. schools, the school day and year are the same length today as 100 years ago — 6 ½ hours, 180 days. Expectations for what schools must crowd into that time have risen sharply, though. Concerns that American workers need better preparation to keep up with global competition have increased school hours spent on math and English language arts, especially since the advent of the federal No Child Left Behind Act in 2002.
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    A failing grade for broadband
    New America via Slate Magazine
    The Internet is becoming as critical to student success as textbooks and blackboards — in many parts of the country, even basic homework assignments require access to the Web. This reflects not only a greater variety of educational resources available online to students, but also the rising importance of digital literacy as a fundamental skill. But even as companies create innovative new educational technologies — like cloud-based literacy programs, Skype-based tutors and virtual math games — many policymakers and entrepreneurs are overlooking a critical factor that stands in the way of widespread adoption of these tools: adequate and universal broadband infrastructure.
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    Report: Teacher pay hurt by recession
    The New York Times
    During the recession and its aftermath, public schools took a hit as both state coffers and local property taxes shriveled. That showed up in shrinking employment, but also in teacher salaries. According to a report, the vast majority of teachers in the nation's largest school districts took a pay cut or saw their pay frozen at least one year between 2008 and 2012. The report by the National Council on Teacher Quality, a nonprofit group that advocates for tougher teacher standards, looked at salary data across 41 of the country's 50 largest school districts.
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    Why a school is going beyond printed newsletters
    EdTech Magazine (commentary)
    Like many schools across the country, my school uses printed newsletters to share student learning with families on a weekly basis. Parents have responded positively to these communications for years, but are we reaching everyone? Probably not. Social media has already proved to be a powerful tool for communication and collaboration, and there is evidence to support its use in the K-12 environment.
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    Why teachers are battling against free breakfast in their classrooms
    TakePart
    Principal Susan Lasken said her students have a hands-down favorite day of the week: Waffle Day. That's when nearly all 635 kids arrive at Sunnybrae Elementary School in Winnetka, Calif., promptly at 8 a.m. They are giddy and seemingly ravenous, ready to relish every bite of the golden discs slathered in warm syrup behind their desks. "The kids just love it," said Lasken, "On those days you can count on kids showing up on time."
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    English teachers group opposes machine-scored writing
    Education Week
    One of the major assumptions underlying the common assessments is that the writing portions will be computer-scored. This capability is pivotal in managing their cost and producing results quickly enough to provide valuable feedback for teachers. The national association representing English/language arts teachers has come out against machine-scoring of student writing. Earlier this month, the National Council of Teachers of English issued a statement saying that machines just aren't able to score the aspects of writing teachers prize most.
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    A failing grade for broadband
    New America via Slate Magazine
    The Internet is becoming as critical to student success as textbooks and blackboards — in many parts of the country, even basic homework assignments require access to the Web.

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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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    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.

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    Rifts deepen over direction of education policy in US
    Education Week
    In statehouses and cities across the country, battles are raging over the direction of education policy — from the standards that will shape what students learn to how test results will be used to judge a teacher's performance. Students and teachers, in passive resistance, are refusing to take and give standardized tests. Protesters have marched to the White House over what they see as the privatization of the nation's schools. Professional and citizen lobbyists are packing hearings in state capitols to argue that the federal government is trying to dictate curricula through the use of common standards.
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    National Charter Schools Week proclaimed by Obama
    U.S. Department of Education
    Charter schools play an important role in America meeting its obligation to "equip all our students with the education and skills that put them on the path to a bright future," according to President Barack Obama, in proclaiming May 5-11 as National Charter Schools Week, 2013.
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    Report: California working poor lack education opportunities
    Los Angeles Times
    California has the highest number of working poor families in the nation, but the state does an ineffective job of providing educational opportunities to boost them out of poverty, according to a new report. The report, "Working Hard, Left Behind," found that the state has the largest number of adults without a high school diploma or equivalent and ranks last among states in the percentage of low-income working families in which neither parent has a college education.
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    State school systems rethink Common Core standards
    The Washington Times
    The growing backlash against the nationwide K-12 school standards known as Common Core, bubbling to the surface in Indiana, Michigan and elsewhere, has become the hottest story in education. But for a handful of holdouts — including Virginia — it's old news. The commonwealth is one of four states to resist the system, billed as a state-led reform movement but seen by many critics as a death knell for local control over classrooms. A fifth state, Minnesota, has adopted half of the Common Core system by agreeing to implement the English language arts standards but rejecting the mathematics portion.
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    Virginia students suspended for pointing pencils and making gun noises
    Infowars.com
    A couple of second grade students at a Virginia elementary school were recently suspended for two days after violating the school's "zero tolerance" policy on weapons. The weapons in question? Pencils.
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    New state test results show 10 percent of Wisconsin kindergartners need reading help
    Wisconsin State Journal
    About 10 percent of Wisconsin kindergartners weren't prepared for classroom reading instruction, according to the results of a test administered for the first time statewide last fall. The main purpose of the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening, or PALS test, is to identify students who struggle with certain literacy fundamentals and need intervention, said Patrick Gasper, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Instruction. Teachers can use the results to tailor their reading instruction, he said.
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    Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

        iPads soar in popularity among K-12 schools (eSchool News)
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    Leaving no school behind: Can bad ones be turned around? (USA Today)
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    10 keys to a successful school iPad program (eSchool News)

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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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    Register before May 13 for NAESP conference and save $100
    NAESP
    Register today 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. Delve into topics from the Common Core to collaboration, creativity to cyberbullying and more. Hands-on workshops, keynotes, plenary presentations and over 100 concurrent sessions will offer expert guidance and information. Plus, register by May 13 — just days away! — and save $100.
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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.

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