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Common Core promises new tests. Will they be better than the old ones?
The Christian Science Monitor
Tests that can assess students' mastery of skills and knowledge are as important as the Common Core standards themselves, say many educators and education reformers. Will the tests that accompany Common Core be any better than those states are using now? The hope is they will be, but it will be about two years before the answer is clear.
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New leaders don't have to 'fly solo'
Education Week (commentary)
It's a stressful time to be a new leader. With so many new mandates, accountability and budget cuts, leaders definitely have their challenges. At least new superintendents have administrative experience under their belts so, from an administrative level, they have seen these changes coming. New school leaders may not have that luxury. School leaders have to learn a new set of skills when they move from one level to the next. At the same time they are trying to acquire that new skill set, they are working through the emotional side of accountability that everyone is experiencing.
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Inquiry learning vs. standardized content: Can they coexist?
MindShift
As Common Core State Standards are incorporated from school to school across the country, educators are discussing their value. It may seem that educators are arguing over whether the CCSS will roll out as a substitute No Child Left Behind curriculum or as an innovative guide to encourage inquiry rather than rote learning. In reality, as time will prove, we're arguing over whether content standards are still appropriate.
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Math problem: Lack of skills has effects in region, country
The Keene Sentinel
One parent came because he could barely help his daughter with her eighth-grade homework. Another because math frightened her. And another because algebraic equations were as foreign as Chinese symbols. In the cafeteria, parents and business owners met to learn about new math standards their students face. During a series of sample problems, one woman joked that it would take her all night to solve one of the questions, a reasoning problem for fifth-graders. Everyone laughed with her.
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To encourage boys' reading, look to book clubs
Omaha World-Herald
Over a school lunch of spaghetti and meatballs earlier this spring, a group of fifth- and sixth-grade boys — and one girl who likes spy novels — discussed the ups and downs of youth author Jack Higgins' latest action-adventure novel. Tessie Boudreau, Golden Hills Elementary School's literacy coach, charted the nonstop action on an oversized sheet of paper. After giving "Sharp Shot" an all-thumbs-up rating, with a few toes for good measure, the youngsters voted on their next read and headed back to class. Yes, back to class.
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  • Does arts education matter?
    Education Week
    Does everything in education need to be measured? Do we need some sort of proof that everything taught in schools has to lead to student achievement? Not everything in the public school system needs to be tied to a number. There are numerous ways to show whether a program or subject is successful. Unfortunately, due to accountability, all subject areas are held under the same microscope and only the strong will survive.
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    How these amazing, kid-friendly languages are hooking tomorrow's programmers
    The Journal
    Forty years ago, when large mainframe computers roamed the earth, few experts gave much thought to how these mammoth machines could be used for education, and fewer still about how they could help young learners create, explore and learn through technology. At the time, highly trained programmers still worked in inaccessible languages that mainly processed numbers. But all that changed with a turtle. In 1967, MIT professor Seymour Papert and colleagues developed Logo, an early language for children. Its main innovation? A small robot — the turtle — that students could easily program to move or rotate. For the first time, young programmers got instant feedback and a physical manifestation of their commands.
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    With tech tools, how should teachers tackle multitasking in class?
    MindShift
    Important research compiled on the effects of students multitasking while learning shows that they are losing depth of learning, getting mentally fatigued, and are weakening their ability to transfer what they have learned to other subjects and situations. Educators as well as students have noticed how schoolwork suffers when attention is split between homework and a buzzing smartphone. Many students, like Alex Sifuentes, who admit to multitasking while studying, know the consequences well.
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    Schools add to test load, just to assess the questions
    The New York Times
    English tests? Check. Math tests? Check. Summer vacation? Not so fast. Students in New York State sweated their way through some of the toughest exams in state history this spring. Now hundreds of thousands of them will receive a reward only a stonyhearted statistician could appreciate: another round of exams. As school districts across the country rush to draw up tests and lesson plans that conform to more rigorous standards, they are flocking to field tests — exams that exist solely to help testing companies fine-tune future questions.
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    Do new exams produce better teachers? States act while educators debate
    The Hechinger Report
    It took less than a minute for Mario Martinez to finish the first six questions of the algebra exam that his professor, Ivan Cheng, had just handed to him. The high school-level test was supposed to be a good example of an exam, so that the graduate students in Cheng's math methods course at the California State University, Northridge's school of education would better understand what rigorous high school-level questions look like, and how to write tests for their own lessons.
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    What Adobe's move to the creative cloud means for schools
    EdTech Magazine
    Software maker Adobe surprised the tech world when it announced that it would stop selling box sets of its popular Creative Suite design software, including Acrobat and Photoshop, in favor of a subscription-based service available through its Creative Cloud. The announcement was big news for magazine publishers and graphic artist types. But it also stands to have significant implications for K–12 schools. Thousands of K–12 teachers and students use Adobe's Creative Suite products — the vast majority of whom own licenses for traditional off-the-shelf software boxes.
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    The surprising ways BYOD, flipped classrooms and 1-to-1 are being used in the special education classroom
    THE Journal
    The latest compilation from the U.S. Department of Education (from 2010-2011) reports that about 13 percent of public school enrollment consists of students served by special education programs. That count has pretty much stayed the same for the last 13 years. What's different now is that, as technology pervades all aspects of the classroom, special education teachers need to make a decision about whether they're going to stay on track with specialized assistive technologies or adopt some of the mainstream ones that general education students are using.
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    Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword BYOD.


    Up to 1 in 5 children suffer from mental disorder: CDC
    Reuters
    Up to 20 percent of children in the United States suffer from a mental disorder, and the number of kids diagnosed with one has been rising for more than a decade, according to a report released by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In the agency's first-ever study of mental disorders among children aged 3 to 17, researchers found childhood mental illnesses affect up to 1 in 5 kids and cost $247 billion per year in medical bills, special education and juvenile justice.
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    Preteens' use of Instagram creates privacy issue, child advocates say
    The Washington Post
    On the photo-sharing app Instagram, search the keywords #Fairfax, #Rockville or #DC and up pops hundreds of photos from children. Among them, until recently, were many from Kyle, a 12-year-old. His full name, Gaithersburg middle school and favorite Montgomery County hangouts were on public display before his parents put a stop to it. Technically, Kyle was not supposed to be on Instagram, the mobile app owned by Facebook. The company's policy sets the minimum age at 13. But Kyle said he was able to join easily, no questions asked. Within minutes of setting up his account this past fall, he was uploading "selfies" of his cherubic face and blond mop top and tagging photos of friends with their names.
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    Sequestration forces Indian land, military base schools to make drastic cuts
    The Huffington Post
    Military families are always moving around, and those shifts can be tough for children who have to adjust to new surroundings. School districts that serve these students often try to ease the transition by providing counselors for them to talk with. But thanks to sequestration, the Lemoore School District in central California has had to get rid of that service. "These [military parents] go out on crews on a ship for nine months. The kids don't see a parent or two for that long. So they have to deal with that," said Jack Boogaard, the assistant superintendent of schools in Lemoore, Calif.
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    Sequestration forces Indian land, military base schools to make drastic cuts
    The Huffington Post
    Military families are always moving around, and those shifts can be tough for children who have to adjust to new surroundings. School districts that serve these students often try to ease the transition by providing counselors for them to talk with.

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    Sorting kids at school: the return of ability grouping
    Desert News
    A new report shows that ability grouping in schools is on the rise, and prior research shows that teaching students in groups of like ability improves success for low and high achievers. There are important caveats, though.

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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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    40 states probed alleged cheating on tests, federal report finds
    Education Week
    A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office has found that most states have looked into allegations of cheating by school officials on state tests in the past two years. The study found that 33 states confirmed at least one such case of cheating, and 32 reported invalidating test scores as a result of cheating. The report was prompted by several high-profile cases of cheating on tests, such as the recent one in Atlanta. The federal government has an interest in the security and validity of state tests results because it helps fund the development of tests used for federal accountability. The GAO report says the U.S. Department of Education has funneled $2 billion toward such projects since 2002.
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    Obama administration approves 3 more NCLB flexibility requests
    U.S. Department of Education
    The Obama administration today approved three more requests for waivers from No Child Left Behind, in exchange for state-developed plans to prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students, and support effective teaching and leadership. The approved states include Alaska, Hawaii and West Virginia.
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    House revises reading plan for Ohio schools
    The Columbus Dispatch
    Gov. John Kasich and state legislators last spring created a new reading guarantee designed to identify young students with reading problems, get them help and keep them in the third grade if they do meet certain standards. But supporters admitted the requirement was passed in haste, and officials have since discovered a significant problem — only 12 percent of Ohio's 34,000 teachers in grades K-3 qualify to provide new reading services.
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    Microsoft donates $1 million to help expand 'blended learning' in DC schools
    The Washington Post
    Microsoft has donated $1 million to help D.C. teachers redesign their classrooms using a "blended learning" approach that combines online learning with face-to-face instruction. Blended learning has drawn both excitement and skepticism as it has exploded in popularity in recent years. Boosters believe that technology could transform schools and give students a more personalized learning experience, while critics fear that when executed poorly, blended approaches reduce learning to clicks on a computer.
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    US Department of Education announces Arizona will receive $10.4 million to continue efforts to turn around its lowest-performing schools
    U.S. Department of Education
    U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced that Arizona will receive $10.4 million to continue efforts to turn around its persistently lowest-achieving schools through the Department's School Improvement Grants program. Arizona is among the 25 states that have received continuation awards for the third year of implementing a SIG model.
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    Students learn to care, help others
    The Daily Journal
    Alexis Nappa and Rachel Piccione ponder the puzzle pieces scattered across the school desk, trying to assemble a bigger picture. Like an older sister, Alexis doesn't do the work but she offers gentle guidance when the 9-year-old pauses. The fifth-grader's classmates are at recess. Alexis said she could be playing in the sun but she's happy spending time with the students in teacher Kristi Holt's class. The reason is simple. "I like to help," Alexis said.
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    Make an impact on Principal — become an editorial advisor
    NAESP
    NAESP is seeking candidates for its editorial advisor board. Editorial advisors provide feedback on the magazine, write book reviews, suggest themes or articles, and contribute to conference news. Editorial advisors are asked to make a three-year commitment. If you are a current principal and interested in becoming an editorial advisor, the deadline to apply is May 31.
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    Recognize student excellence
    NAESP
    Celebrate achievement in your school with the President's Education Awards Program. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, in partnership with NAESP and the National Association of Secondary School Principals, PEAP offers principals a way to recognize and honor students' dedication to learning. Each award includes an embossed certificate signed by President Barack Obama, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and you.
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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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