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Setting summer goals: Linking school years together
By: Pamela Hill
For many, just a few days remain in the current school year. Some educators are making final lesson plans for the school year, others are developing summer school lesson plans, and parents are making plans to fill the months of summer with activities. Just as students with Individual Educational Plans should be involved in meeting their school year goals, they should also be involved in setting their summer goals. Many research articles have been published that explain the importance of educational activities for the purpose of avoiding the "summer slide."
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A fresh look at school funding
Center for American Progress (commentary)
Historically, public education has played a key role in growing the middle class and ensuring that all children, regardless of their backgrounds, have an opportunity to achieve at high levels. Unfortunately, the nation's current school finance system — primarily based on local property taxes in many places — exacerbates rather than ameliorates resource disparities between high- and low-income communities. With income inequality continuing to rise and wealth becoming increasingly concentrated at the top of the income distribution, it is more critical than ever for districts, states, and the federal government to take seriously their responsibility to provide an excellent education for all students.
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Are new Common Core tests really better than the old multiple-choice tests?
The Hechinger Report
You are a congresswoman's chief-of-staff and she needs your help coming up with a position on whether a nuclear power plant should be built in the district. These are the kinds of prompts students across the country are being presented with during the first round of Common Core testing this spring. In this example — from Smarter Balanced, one of two state groups tapped by the federal government to develop tests aligned to Common Core — students would be given a mix of articles, videos and data charts to inform an argumentative essay for or against the construction of the plant.
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First-in-nation lawsuit in California: Must schools address student trauma?
The Christian Science Monitor
A group of students and teachers filed a first-of-its-kind class-action lawsuit to try to compel California's Compton Unified School District to take into account the needs of students affected by trauma. Researchers have found that childhood trauma — such as abuse or witnessing violence — can interfere with development and interrupt children's ability to focus on learning. But if students get appropriate help, the negative effects often can be overcome. At a time when many school districts across America are attempting to take the emotional needs of their students into account and craft discipline policies that touch on the root causes of troubling behavior, the case raises two key questions: To what degree should schools be expected to address the effects of childhood trauma?
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6 engaging end-of-year projects
Edutopia (commentary)
Rebecca Alber, a contributor for Edutopia, writes: "I don't know about your students, but so many of mine, coupled with Senioritis, were done after state testing. (The well had run dry, no blood from a turnip — all those sayings applied!) With just a few precious weeks left in the school year, what do you do to keep the kids energized and on board with learning?"
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Survey shows teachers, parents place value on music education
Education Week
Parents and teachers believe music education in schools is vital — so vital that they'd rather cut Advanced Placement classes or gym than music, according to a new study. They also believe music should be a required class in middle school and that students should have a chance to learn an instrument as early as elementary school. The study, "Striking a Chord: The Public's Hopes and Beliefs for K-12 Music Education in the United States 2015," aimed to document the attitudes and beliefs of parents and teachers about music education. It surveyed 1,000 teachers and 800 parents.
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Don't let class tech be just a garnish
MiddleWeb (commentary)
Cheryl Mizerny, a contributor for MiddleWeb, writes: "During my college years, I worked as a server at several restaurants to pay my rent. At the swankiest of these, I recall the chef once telling his sous chefs to take their time plating neatly and to remember the garnish. He was fond of saying, 'Do you know the difference between a ten-dollar dinner and a fifteen? Parsley.' In the current educational climate, where any lesson that utilizes technology is considered superior, I can't help but notice that a lot of what is being done is just adding parsley."
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Should personalization be the future of learning?
Education Next
Sprinkle the phrase "personalized learning" into virtually any conversation or speech regarding education, and you'll see heads nodding in happy agreement. Although some might view this as evidence of merit, I suspect that the personalization concept has become an empty vessel into which one may pour any number of competing theories or policies. What many people mean by "personalized learning" is using technology to give students more control over their education experience. "Blended learning involves leveraging the Internet to afford each student a more personalized learning experience, meaning increased student control over the time, place, path, and/or pace of his or her learning," declares the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
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How does your school garden grow?
By: Brian Stack
After a long winter, spring has finally arrived. For many — especially those who spent a season buried under record-breaking snowfalls — the warm weather means it is time to plant the family garden. Home gardens have been on the rise since 2009 when the White House announce plans to plant their own kitchen garden. Describing fruits and vegetables as "brain food," first lady Michelle Obama's personal fight to promote healthy eating habits for children has made its way to schools, and school gardens are now on the rise in America.
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Why school recess makes kids smarter
by Dr. Melinda Bossenmeyer
For decades most people have assumed that recess was unimportant, and it’s primary contribution was a “break” in the school day for teachers and students to get a drink and use the restroom. Going out to play was a way to extend the time needed to accomplish the above tasks. For students like 3rd grader, Allison Rincand, her favorite activity is “Recess because I get to play with my friends.” However, many educators and parents alike thought recess was of little value to the developing child. That seems to be changing as a growing body of research indicates that recess plays a critical role in healthy child development. more…..
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6 steps to a successful BYOD program
eSchool News
Bring-your-own-device and one-to-one laptop/tablet implementations on K-12 campuses usually sound simple enough in theory — but they can actually be quite complex. Lenny Schad, chief technology information officer at Houston Independent School District, has spearheaded a number of successful BYOD rollouts, and frequently distills advice to struggling districts.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keywords TECHNOLOGY.


Why school leaders need the support of specific feedback to improve schools
Connected Principals Blog (commentary)
Every school has its own set of problems, there's no denying it. Many school leaders really value feedback from their teachers about areas for improvement. Even when leaders may not be seeking feedback, there is always a strong chance that someone will tell them what they think, or what "a group of people think", or even what "everybody" thinks. In many schools, processes have been put in place to support the gathering of feedback to assist school improvement.
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Grade levels could be a thing of the past in schools focused on competency
PBS Newshour
In a suburb just outside of Denver, principal Sarah Gould stands outside a fifth-grade classroom at Hodgkins Elementary School watching students work. This classroom, she explains, is for students working roughly at grade level. Down the hall, there are two other fifth-grade classrooms. One is labeled "Level 2 and 3," for students who are working at the second and third-grade levels. The other is for students who are working at a middle-school level. But some of these students won't necessarily stay in these classrooms for the whole school year. The students will move to new classrooms when they've mastered everything they were asked to learn in their first class. This can happen at any time during the year.
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61 years after Brown v. Board Of Education, many schools remain separate and unequal
The Huffington Post
Decades after the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education ruling declared segregated schooling of black students unconstitutional, many American schools with high minority populations continue to receive fewer resources and provide an education that's inferior to schools with large white populations. For Sunday's 61st anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, which proclaimed "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal," The Huffington Post takes a look at the state of education for black students in 2015.
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E-rate funding applications total $3.9 billion for 2015
EdTech Magazine
E-rate applications for the next school year's technologies are in, and educators have taken full advantage of the Federal Communication Commission's 2014 reforms, according to a blog posted by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. The E-rate program provides discounts on telecommunications and Internet services to schools and libraries. Last July, the FCC updated the program to include an additional $1 million to target wireless connectivity in these institutions. The reforms were also aimed at easing the application process for schools and libraries and lowering the barrier of entry for high-poverty applicants. And in December, the commission voted to raise the spending cap from $2.4 billion to $3.9 billion.
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How are ELL programs funded across states?
District Administration Magazine
English language learners perform better academically and achieve greater language proficiency when they have high-quality English language instruction, according to a 2014 study in the American Educational Research Journal. These extra programs require additional funding above the average per-student amount. The federal government provides grant funding to states through Title III to help ELLs with language acquisition and with meeting content standards.
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State educators hail budget boost but say schools are still struggling
Los Angeles Times
California educators hailed the $6-billion windfall in funding for elementary, secondary and community college students by Gov. Jerry Brown — but cautioned that it would not make up for devastating cuts over the past several years. The budget largesse will boost per-pupil spending by $3,000 next year over 2011-2012, a 45 percent increase. It will also provide more money for training in new state academic standards, adult and career technical education and support for students who are low income, in foster care, challenged by limited English or special needs.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    New read-aloud strategies transform story time (Education Week)
The pathway to Common Core success (Center for American Progress)
There's an unexpected downside to more kids getting free meals at school (TakePart)
Physical education takes a hit: Schools' emphasis on testing is making kids sick (Truthout)
Friends or frenemies? Understanding bullying in schools (Psychology Today)

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




Elementary Principals Support Strong Start Bill
NAESP
The National Association of Elementary School Principals joined advocates from the early childhood community today to support bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress that will significantly expand the nation's investment in early childhood education. The Strong Start for America's Children Act of 2015 was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, together with the Ranking Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Rep. Richard L. Hanna. R-N.Y.
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Register for May 26 webinar on creating environment for improvement
NAESP
"The Power of Building Capacity: Connecting Climate and Instruction for Improvement" will explore a comprehensive system for improvement that allows teachers, administrators, and districts to actively and reflectively respond to student outcomes in order to provide quality teaching and learning for all. Practical examples of one school's journey from state sanctions to success will be showcased to help principals envision and plan for innovation in their own school. Donna Snyder, Director of Early Childhood and Elementary Education in Arlington County Public Schools, Virginia, will be presenting Tuesday, May 26, from 4 – 5 p.m. ET.
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