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States struggle to make school report cards useful
U.S. News and World Report
School report cards published by state education agencies are a staple for parents deciding which schools their children should attend, but many states are still struggling to collect and report key accountability information and make it easy to understand for parents, a new report finds. The Education Commission of the States asked researchers, parents and education experts for their thoughts about school accountability systems: whether the report cards are easy to find, whether they are easy to understand and which measures are essential to include in them, such as student achievement, student academic growth, achievement gap closure, graduation rates, and college and career readiness.
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5 resources to help principals excel
eSchool News
School principals juggle a multitude of responsibilities each day, as they attempt to balance building-level tasks with administrative and district-level duties. Now, school leaders have access to a free online learning guide, based on research about principals' best practices, to help them strengthen their skills and leadership.
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Closing out vs. fading out: 5 steps for ending the year strong
Edutopia (commentary)
If you've been supporting and/or evaluating teachers all year long, don't let that work just fade out as summer approaches. Make sure that you and your teachers get the most out of the year by having a formal close-out conversation. If you're a teacher and not an instructional leader, you can initiate this important conversation, too. Following are five steps that can help guide you through this critical exchange of information.
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America has a STEM crisis — and this is how to solve it
eSchool News
Products that use principles of science, technology, engineering, and math can be found in many of our children's most valued possessions — from video game systems to computers to the smartphones attached to their hands. Unfortunately, their interest in these items does not often equate to an interest in these subjects. It is a fact underscored in the most recent study by the Program for International Student Assessment.
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Robots in the classroom: What are they good for?
MindShift
Talk of robots in the classroom may have seemed far fetched a few years ago, but it's safe to say that the future has arrived — at least in some classrooms. Educators are beginning to experiment with how robots can add value to their classrooms, and while it's by no means common — they're still quite expensive for many school budgets — robots paired with specific software and curriculum are offering interesting new learning opportunities.
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Starting off right: States are investing in early education
By: Archita Datta Majumdar
In the last two years, the education world has seen a focus on ensuring that the figures for high school graduates and college attendees maintain an upward curve. In many states they have, but not as much or as quickly as expected. But this progress needs to be uniform, or the learning gaps will be more lopsided than ever. What is actually needed is an improved education right from the elementary level, and quality early-childhood education programs provide the right foundation for learning.
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How much it will cost to connect (almost) all schools
EdSurge
How much will it cost to "Keep calm and connect all schools"? Try $3.2 billion. That's how much CoSN and the EducationSuperHighway say it will cost to equip and update public K-12 schools' existing infrastructure in order to meet President Obama's goal of connecting 99 percent of students by 2018.
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Longer school days mean better grades, studies say
Deseret News
Underperforming schools are raising student-performance levels by lengthening their school day from six-and-a-half hours to eight. Concerns over how to successfully improve failing schools have lead researchers to look at the benefits of longer days with a more varied curriculum. They found that when students in low-income areas are given more time, test scores improve between 11 and 24 percent.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    3 ways to avoid summer 'brain drain' (eSchool News)
Reading experience may change the brains of dyslexic students (The New York Times)
6 shifts in education driven by technology (THE Journal)
The new separate and unequal (U.S. News & World Report)
The do's and don'ts of flipped classrooms (EdTech Magazine)

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


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Instead of framing 'failure' as a positive, why not just use positive words?
MindShift
In recent months, authors, school districts and big thinkers have promoted failure as a valuable experience for young people, specifically students. The premise behind this argument could be valuable, as evidence exists showing students do best when they have space to wrestle and struggle when engaged in trial and error, design-based or problem-based learning. These research-defined terms and approaches have a long and successful history in educational practice and outcomes. But if that's the case, why are we pushing the use of such a loaded work like failure in our societal discourse on education? What does using a negative term such as failure as a way of indicating positive traits do to students and schools?
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3 must-knows about teachers and copyright
eSchool News
Schools and districts are increasingly urging teachers to use digital content for instruction, with many teachers taking innovative steps by creating their own digital content. But when it comes to copyright, ownership, and sharing, that's where it gets tricky. "In the era of digital publishing, which includes teacher-created, -refined, and –remixed materials, an important question has arisen: who owns this digital content?" asks a policy brief from the State Educational Technology Directors Association, titled "Clarifying ownership of teacher-created digital content empowers educators to personalize education, address individual student needs."
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6 technologies that will have a major Impact on K-12 Education
THE Journal
What do learning analytics and wearable gadgets have in common? They're both technologies that will have a have an important impact on K-12 education within the next few years, according to a new report. The report — a preliminary version of the NMC Horizon Report, 2014 K-12 Edition — identifies six technologies that will have a major impact on education. Some are nascent; some are already fairly well established; some are a bit abstract. These technologies are categorized by time to adoption: near-term, mid-term and long-range.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword K-12.


Backpack bans, sealed lockers latest efforts to keep schools safe
Fox News
A New York high school is the latest in the nation to ban backpacks following several bomb threats, and has even taken extra steps, including sealing up students' lockers. For the last two weeks of the school year, students at Wantagh High School — located about 34 miles east of New York City — are being forced to carry their books and belongings in plastic bags, sign in and out to use the bathroom and submit to searches when entering the building. But the sealing up of lockers took school security to a new level.
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Reading Rainbow rises from the millennial nostalgia graveyard
The Atlantic
Anyone who grew up in the '90s will recognize LeVar Burton. If you're a Gen Xer, he may be more recognizable to you as Geordi La Forge from Star Trek: The Next Generation. But if you're a millennial, he will always be the soothingly voiced host of Reading Rainbow, which ran on PBS from 1983 to 2006. Now, Burton is picking up the torch for literacy once again. Using the crowdfunding site Kickstarter, Burton wants to bring reading tools to parents, teachers and children around the country — for free. The Reading Rainbow program would allow students to practice their reading skills at home or in the classroom, and comes equipped with a library of free e-books and "digital field trips."
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Survey highlights teacher concerns about class size
Statesman Journal
Large class sizes and not enough instructional time to meet the needs of all students were among the top concerns of Oregon's Salem-Keizer educators, according to statewide survey results. But the data also showed that the district's teachers and administrators were more satisfied with professional development than the statewide average. Overall, 82.3 percent of Salem-Keizer educators who responded to the survey agreed that their school was a good place to work and learn. There were 1,541 educators in the district who responded to a new statewide survey about the teaching and learning conditions in their schools, representing a response rate of 72 percent. The district's participation rate was higher than the state's average.
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New school choice bill targets military families, special needs students
Education Week
U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., is introducing a bill that, in part, aims to increase school-choice programs for students in military families and students with disabilities. The CHOICE Act (Creating Hope and Opportunities for Individuals and Communities through Education) would also make some tweaks to the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, which gives need-based scholarships to District of Columbia children to attend private schools. Rokita is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education. U.S. Senator Tim Scott, R-S.C., introduced the Senate companion bill earlier this year.
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FCC to continue plan to improve rural Internet access
Education Week
The Federal Communications Commission will be able to continue its plan to subsidize high-speed Internet service in rural areas, according to a recent article in The New York Times. The FCC's plan, Connect America, is part of a larger FCC program that provides telecommunications services to schools, libraries, and rural health care facilities. In 2011, the FCC announced plans to focus on providing broadband Internet access to rural areas. Several phone companies challenged the plan in court out of fear that they would lose subsidies they were receiving if the program's focus shifted to Internet access.
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TRENDING ARTICLE
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5 resources to help principals excel
eSchool News
School principals juggle a multitude of responsibilities each day, as they attempt to balance building-level tasks with administrative and district-level duties.

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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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School spending increases linked to better outcomes for poor students
Education Week
In districts that substantially increased their spending as the result of court-ordered changes in school finance, low-income children were significantly more likely to graduate from high school, earn livable wages, and avoid poverty in adulthood. So concludes a working paper published this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research, or NBER, a private, nonpartisan research organization with headquarters in Cambridge, Mass. The provocative results provide new fodder for long-running debates over whether more education spending translates into improved outcomes for children.
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States intervene when school districts hit financial trouble
USA Today
Pushed to the brink of financial ruin, the Normandy School District in Missouri will officially breathe its last breath on June 30. The district's finances buckled this year under the weight of a state law that requires school districts that fail to meet certain academic standards to pay tuition and transportation costs for students who want to transfer to other districts. Normandy, which lost its state accreditation in 2013, saw about 1,000 students, or 25 percent, of the district's students move to other schools this year at a price tag of about $8 million.
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Education innovator Charles Best to speak at 2014 Annual Conference
NAESP
Charles Best founded DonorsChoose.org 14 years ago when he was a history teacher in the Bronx. Since then, the site has raised $225 million and helped more than 175,000 teachers fund projects for their schools. Hear Best's story of strategy and innovation at his closing keynote session for the 2014 NAESP Annual Conference in Nashville. Don't miss it!
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Principal magazine explores the broad spectrum of principal leadership
NAESP
Visit the online edition of the May/June magazine for articles that address the principal's ever evolving — and expanding — role. Explore how to boost teacher evaluation, lead tech transformation, and craft messages to various audiences about the Common Core. Plus, download the digital edition to read on mobile devices.
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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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