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How school leaders set the stage for PBL success
Edutopia
What does the effective implementation of project-based learning look like within a school or across an entire system? There's no one right answer, according to superintendents and school leaders who have started down this path. Some leaders want to see wall-to-wall PBL, with students learning mainly through projects in every subject. Others set a more realistic goal, hoping to see students taking part in projects at least a few times during the school year. For strategic reasons, leaders may choose to concentrate PBL rollouts in certain subject areas, such as STEM, or launch PBL initiatives at specific grade levels or pilot sites.
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Why are so many states replacing Common Core with carbon copies?
The Hechinger Report
Getting a fresh set of standards should be easy in a state where Common Core is opposed 39 percent to 51 percent, right? Louisiana is poised to join the roster of states putting the Common Core standards under review. But in states that have scuttled the standards, namely South Carolina and Indiana, the replacement standards have been near carbon copies of the Common Core, critics have complained. So why is it so difficult to get standards that are a radical departure from the Common Core, even in a state where Common Core is incredibly unpopular?
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How schools maximize gifted talent
District Administration Magazine
The U.S. public school system's focus on struggling students leaves high-achievers — especially minorities, the economically disadvantaged and English language learners — without a challenging enough education, experts say. A lack of federal funding and patchwork policies across states often leave decisions on identifying and serving gifted students to district administrators. An estimated 3 million to 5 million academically gifted students attend K-12 schools, and it is unknown how many are receiving services, according to the National Association for Gifted Children.
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ELL writing skills: The challenges
By: Douglas Magrath
In light of the challenges presented by the latest methodological shifts, the question of how to teach writing and composition remains. Writing is an aid to total communication, as noted in the ACTFL Standards. The early introduction of composition in ESL instruction should improve proficiency. If writing is left to the more advanced levels of instruction, the learners will miss out on the early development of this useful skill.
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Out of the classroom and into the woods
NPR
Kids in the U.S. are spending less time outside. Even in kindergarten, recess is being cut back. But in the small town of Quechee, Vermont, a teacher is bucking that trend: One day a week, she takes her students outside — for the entire school day. It's called Forest Monday. Eliza Minnucci got the idea after watching a documentary about a forest school in Switzerland where kids spend all day, every day, out in the woods. "I would do that in a heartbeat," she thought to herself. Then reality hit. "We're in a public school in America. That's not going to happen." But her principal at the Ottauquechee School in central Vermont surprised her by saying: Try it.
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Reading: Brain waves study shows how different teaching methods affect reading development
Stanford University via Science Daily
Researchers found that beginning readers who focus on letter-sound relationships, or phonics, increase activity in the area of their brains best wired for reading.
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Testing overkill? Students, districts push back against high-stakes assessments
By: Cait Harrison
As testing season draws to a close, a whole new crop of issues is bubbling up. All 280 juniors at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle recently chose not to take a Common Core-aligned standardized test because they didn't think it accurately measured their skills. Even though those students won't receive credit for the test, most don't need it to graduate, according to Seattle Public Schools. That district is one of many taking a stance in a growing movement against high-stakes testing.
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IT spending on the rise in K-12 schools
K-12 TechDecisions
IT spending in K-12 schools is expected to hit 4.7 billion in the U.S. by the end of 2015, according to a new report by IDC Government Insights. The report, titled "The Pivot Table: U.S. Education IT Spending Guide", is the first of its kind and takes into account tens of thousands of data points to forecast IT spending in U.S. K-12 schools and higher education institutions. Much of the projected 4.7 billion in K-12 is expected to go towards purchasing PC's and investing in equipment and infrastructure upgrades. The report predicts spending on tablets and readers in K-12 to increase by eight percent, resulting in a spend of $522 million on devices in that category.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keywords TECHNOLOGY.


Study: Asthma intervention can lead to fewer school absences
Hartford Courant
Greater communication between school nurses and families on how to manage asthma could help reduce the number of school absences for children afflicted with the chronic disease, according to preliminary data from an ongoing study in Hartford. After screening at three city elementary schools, 67 Hartford students with high-risk asthma were enrolled in an intervention program last school year to try to keep symptoms under control.
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60 Alternatives to Withholding Recess
Dr. Melinda Bossenmeyer
Given the value of recess in a student’s physical and social development, and the need for periodic breaks from classroom instruction, withholding recess is prohibited in 44% of school districts across the nation. Educators and administrators alike are examining the use of recess as punishment. With the recent findings on the academic benefits of recess and physical activity withholding recess is becoming very unpopular with parents. Listed below are some alternatives to withholding recess.
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Promoted by Dr. Melinda Bossenmeyer


Home connection
Scholastic Administrator Magazine
For several years, three educators from Elk Grove High School in Illinois met regularly with families living in local mobile home parks to provide parents with progress reports on their children. The meetings were necessary because the mobile home parks lacked Internet access, a situation that presented multiple problems for Township High School District 214, where the 2,000-student school is located. Parents couldn't log on to school websites for progress reports or to learn about school accomplishments, initiatives, or staff and operational changes.
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The ongoing struggle of teacher retention
The Atlantic (commentary)
Paul Barnwell, a contributor for The Atlantic, writes: "Standing in front of my eighth-grade class, my heart palpitated to near-panic-attack speed as I watched the second hand of the clock. Please bell — ring early, I prayed. It was my second day of teaching, and some of my middle-school male students were putting me to the test. In a span of three minutes, the group in room 204 had morphed from contained to out of control. Two boys were shooting dice in the back of the room, and as I instructed them to put their crumpled dollar bills away, several others took off their shoes and began tossing them around like footballs. Before I could react, one boy broke into my supply closet."
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How do we help our least motivated, most disruptive students?
The Washington Post
Urban public school teachers, parents and students often tell me if we got rid of disruptive students and made sure everyone did their work, more kids would learn. Is there a way to do that?
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The organized kindergartener: Squared away for success
ADDitude Magazine
Kindergarten is a wake-up moment for many kids with ADHD. Suddenly, they run into demands to "sit still and listen." Many encounter rules for the first time. Not only do they need to learn the rules, they also need to make new friends, learn new skills, get along with students from other backgrounds, and work in large groups. Parents are shocked by that first phone call from school. At home, their child is manageable, but children with ADHD often lag behind their peers by as much as 30 percent in mastering life and social skills. Structure and support will prevent them from stumbling.
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What's your end-of-year device collection strategy?
EdTech Magazine
The academic year for many school districts across the country is coming to a close. That means it's collection time for districts with one-to-one device policies. This can be stressful for IT departments without a solid footing on how to go about the laborious task of ensuring each device from every class, grade level and school has been returned properly. But using tips from more experienced districts can help make that process easier.
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Can prizes motivate kids to show up at school?
MindShift
It seems like a no-brainer: Offer kids a reward for showing up at school, and their attendance will shoot up. But a recent study of third-graders in a slum in India suggests that incentive schemes can do more harm than good. The study, a working paper released by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, looked at 799 boys and girls. The kids, mostly age 9, were students in several dozen single-classroom schools run by the nonprofit Gyan Shala in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city of Ahmedabad.
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1 in 5 US schoolchildren are living below federal poverty line
The Washington Post
More than one out of every five school-age children in the U.S. were living below the federal poverty line in 2013, according to new federal statistics. That amounted to 10.9 million children — or 21 percent of the total — a six percent increase in the childhood poverty rate since 2000. Childhood poverty rates were on the rise for every racial group, ranging from 39 percent for African Americans and 36 percent for Native Americans, 32 percent for Hispanics and 13 percent for Asians and whites.
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Education Department grants one-of-a-kind NCLB leeway to tribal school
Education Week
First it was states. Then it was a collection of districts. Now the U.S. Department of Education is taking the unusual step of giving a single, tribal school flexibility from the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act. To be sure, the waiver for Miccosukee Indian School in Florida looks pretty different from the comprehensive flexibility that the Education Department has granted at the state, and, in one isolated case, district levels. The waiver will allow the school to come up with its own definition of adequate yearly progress or AYP.
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Educators are concerned about students going hungry this summer
The Huffington Post
While most kids are counting down the days to summer, low-income children are dreading the sound of the final bell, which signals hunger season is setting in. Across the U.S., 83 percent of 1,100 educators who were recently surveyed said they're worried that their students won't have enough to eat over summer break, according to No Kid Hungry. But it's hardly a new concern. During the 2012-2013 school year, 21.5 million students received free or reduced-priced lunch, according to the Food Research and Action Center. While the need remains the same when school's out, the resources aren't as readily available because of the bureaucracy involved in starting a food program and because struggling parents often can't access the sites that do serve meals.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Coding in the classroom: 16 top resources (Edudemic)
Teaching students the skills of expert readers (Edutopia)
What do you do with a student who fidgets? (NPR)
7 ways principals can support instructional coaches (Scholastic Administrator Magazine)
Why cursive mattered (The Atlantic)

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




Apply by June 28 to Principal magazine advisory board
NAESP
To keep NAESP's publications at the forefront of education issues and trends, the Association has established a group of editorial advisors. This group assists NAESP by suggesting themes and articles for Principal and other publications; writing articles and one book review per year; contributing to conference news; and providing honest feedback on publications and other NAESP services. Interested NAESP members are encouraged to submit on NAESP's website using the form provided.
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What's new at #NAESP15 Annual Conference?
NAESP
In a response to feedback from last year's conference attendees, this year NAESP has added several exciting new events to the Best Practice for Better Schools Annual Conference experience. To be held in Long Beach, California, June 30-July 2, the conference includes more than 100 educational opportunities and networking events, as well as the following additions to the program.
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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.

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