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Surveillance cameras gain ground in schools
Education Week
They've been watching the world from malls, gas stations and other public places for decades, but now, surveillance cameras are becoming a standard, even expected, fixture in school hallways. And technological advances and violent incidents such as the recent Newtown, Conn., school shootings seem to be hastening their installation across the country, according to experts. Some critics argue that pervasive fear might be clouding reasoned judgment, as schools rush to amp up their safety and surveillance measures.
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Sandy Hook Elementary School: 6 months later
District Administration Magazine
Last December, the small town of Newtown, Conn., was forever changed. The students, staff, parents, and community members of Newtown, Conn., Public Schools were traumatized on Dec. 14, 2012, when lone gunman and former student Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School. After months of nightmares, anxiety, second-guessing, what if's and therapy sessions, everyone in town is still trying to move on. At press time, a task force had recommended razing the school building and rebuilding a new one. The proposal was to go to the local school board and residents were expected to vote at a referendum.
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Common Core online practice tests unveiled
Education Week
Students, parents and teachers who are anxious or merely curious about the coming online assessments matched to the Common Core State Standards will now have the opportunity to go through a test run of sorts. The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, one of two major coalitions of states designing the tests, has released sets of online sample test questions for grades 3-8 and 11 in both English language arts and math, the first two subjects to be tested. The Common Core tests will be delivered online in participating states during the 2014-2015 academic year.
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Teachers prioritize literacy from math to history
District Administration Magazine
With the Common Core standards comes an increasing focus on literacy across subjects: today, 77 percent of educators believe developing students' literacy is one of the most important parts of their job, a new survey found. "It's much more widely understood today that every educator has a responsibility to improve student literacy, which is the gateway to learning in all disciplines," says Kent Williamson, director of the National Center for Literacy Education, which conducted the survey of 2,400 educators nationwide.
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Students can learn by explaining, studies say
Education Week
Children are quick to ask "why?" and "how?" when it comes to new things, but research suggests elementary and preschool students learn more when teachers turn the questions back on them. In a symposium at the annual Association for Psychological Science research meeting here this month, panelists discussed how and when asking students for explanations can best enhance their learning.
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  • To get students invested, involve them in decisions big and small
    MindShift
    When asked why he became a scientist, Nobel Laureate Isidor Rabi attributed his success to his mother. Every day, she would ask him the same question about his school day: "Did you ask a good question today?" "Asking good questions — made me become a scientist!" Rabi said. Questions are critical, and how to manage and navigate a good question requires practice. "Coming up with the right question involves vigorously thinking through the problem, investigating it from various angles, turning closed questions into open-ended ones and prioritizing which are the most important questions to get at the heart of the matter," say authors Dan Rothstein and Luz Santana in their book, "Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions."
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    In the digital age, what becomes of the library?
    MindShift
    Nashville's Main Public Library, located in a stately building in the heart of downtown, has a children's section filled with comfortable sitting areas, oversized art, and a state-of-the-art theater for puppet shows and interactive story time. On a recent afternoon, children of varying ages were sitting or lying on the carpet, reading alongside rows of books lined on two-tiered shelves perfectly sized for little hands. Two grade-school children sat at a row of computers, playing a learning game, while parents and caregivers checked out books via computer. A line of parents and children waited to speak with one of the two librarians on duty. Something about the scene seemed touchingly retrograde: minus the computers and modern furniture, this could have easily been a library scene from 1980 or 2013.
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    Free service allows bully reporting by text
    eSchool News
    Students are getting a new weapon to fight back against bullies: their cellphones. A leading education technology company on May 29 announced it would give schools a free and confidential way for students to tell school officials via text that they are being bullied or are witnessing bullying. Blackboard's TipTxt program could change the school climate — or reveal just how pervasive student-on-student harassment has become.
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    Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword BULLYING.


    Why K-12 online learning isn't really revolutionizing teaching
    The Washington Post (commentary)
    Online learning is our present and our future, or so many school reformers and entrepreneurs say. Here in the first of a few pieces on the subject is Larry Cuban, a high school social studies teacher for 14 years, a district superintendent (seven years in Arlington, Va.), and professor emeritus of education at Stanford University, where he has taught for more than 20 years. His new book is "Inside the Black Box of Classroom Practice: Change without Reform in American Education."
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    No Child Left Behind: Pass or fail?
    The Hill (commentary)
    If you are a parent of one of the 50 million public schoolchildren in the United States, the odds are your child has taken a standardized test within the past few weeks. The odds also suggest that you took such a test yourself once upon a time, though probably not as early or as often as your kids. You and your children have the federal No Child Left Behind Act to thank for the modern ubiquity of standardized testing. No Child Left Behind is something of a forgotten stepchild now, having been expired without formal reauthorization longer than it was actually in effect.
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    Report: Wisconsin town plans to fine and ticket parents of children who bully others
    The Huffington Post
    As part of an effort to crack down on "harassment and emotional abuse among young people," a Wisconsin town will reportedly ticket and fine parents whose children repeatedly bully others. As The Wisconsin State Journal reports, the "parent-liability" approach is part of an overall ordinance passed by the Monona City Council and may break fresh ground in the nationwide effort to reduce schoolyard bullying among children and teens.
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    Chicago simmers over school closings. Is that bad for Mayor Emanuel?
    The Christian Science Monitor
    Chicago's controversial decision to close 50 public schools was challenged by a third lawsuit, inflaming a public relations war between City Hall and the teachers union that polls say is being waged at a time that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is more vulnerable politically. Two federal lawsuits were filed by parents saying that the closings violate the civil rights of special needs children and those living in poorer, marginalized neighborhoods. On Wednesday the Chicago Teachers Union announced it is filing a lawsuit in Circuit Court against the Chicago Public School System, saying the school board violated its own code guidelines in closing 10 elementary schools.
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    Teacher assessments extending to art and gym
    The New York Times
    New York City students have grown accustomed to the restless routine of state tests in math and reading every year. But soon they will face assessments in subjects typically spared from standardized testing, including art, gym and foreign languages. A new system for evaluating educators will reshape how teachers are hired and fired in the city. It will also have a profound effect on students, who will take part in a series of new exams designed to help administrators grade teachers in specialized subjects.
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    Surveillance cameras gain ground in schools
    Education Week
    They've been watching the world from malls, gas stations, and other public places for decades, but now, surveillance cameras are becoming a standard, even expected, fixture in school hallways.

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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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    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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    As state watches, LA Unified tests new ways to grade teachers
    The Hechinger Report
    Robin Wynne Davis was taken aback last year when the state test score gains of her third-grade students at Melrose Elementary School labeled her a less-than-stellar teacher. "I am just an average teacher, according to that data, but if you look at my class and see how many children are proficient and advanced, it's a lot of kids," said Wynne Davis, now an instructional support coach for Melrose Elementary in central Los Angeles. Seeing her assessment as an "average" teacher in English and a "more effective than average" teacher in math hit the Los Angeles Times a few years ago was upsetting and embarrassing, she said. The assessment of her teaching was based in part on her 2010 students' test scores.
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    New York to evaluate teachers with new system
    The New York Times
    The New York State education commissioner broke a long and acrimonious impasse on Saturday by imposing a new evaluation system that would rate New York City teachers in part on their students' test scores and streamline the disciplinary process. The new system, announced after three hectic days of meetings, testimony and arbitration that involved the Bloomberg administration and the teachers' union, finally brought New York City into compliance with state law — the last district in the state to do so.
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    Oklahoma schools destroyed by tornado to rebuild
    The Associated Press via CBS News
    After a tornado destroyed two Oklahoma elementary schools, administrators plan on rebuilding the schools will help with the long-term recovery of the town. Parents and children don't feel that's the best way, since the tornado killed seven third-graders.
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    School reform starts by educating teachers in Tennessee
    The Tennessean
    When it comes to the question of how to change education in ways that improve student performance and outcomes, answers seem elusive — opinions are abundant and divided, best practices are declared and discarded, and the definition of success and how you measure it is a moving target. Still, there are some fairly large areas of agreement on the topic. For example, decades of research, public opinion surveys and focus groups consistently identify parental involvement and teacher effectiveness as key factors in improving the education of our students.
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    Chicago principal camps out on school's roof after students reach reading goals
    The Huffington Post
    The Chicago Public Schools District may be amid turbulent times, but that hasn't stopped teachers, students and administrators from doing amazing things. Case in point: Principal Nate Pietrini slept on his school's roof in an effort to excite students about reading. Pietrini, of Hawthorne Elementary Scholastic Academy, told students that if they did a certain amount of reading in the month leading up to the school's "author week," he would camp out in a tent on the school's roof. The students reached the goal, so Pietrini got out his camping gear, pitched a tent and took to the top of the building.
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        Study shows graphic novels add value to K-12 student learning (The Independent Voter Network)
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    So bake sales are taboo? Try selling hand sanitizer (The New York Times)
    7 amazingly easy video ideas for capturing and keeping students' attention (THE Journal)
    7 key stats with important implications for schools (eSchool News)

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




    NAESP partners with White House for mental health conference
    NAESP
    NAESP joined President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in a conference to further the national dialogue on mental health. At the event, stakeholders and advocates discussed how to work together to reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues. The conference is part of NAESP's ongoing partnership with the White House and other national education organizations to raise awareness of common mental health needs facing students and schools.
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    NAESP's conference is just over a month away
    NAESP
    NAESP's conferences are renowned as the best professional development opportunity of the year. For this summer's event, July 11-13, we've lined up the rock stars of the education world like Freeman Hrabowski, Adam Sáenz, Michael Fullan, Eric Jensen, Todd Whitaker, Justin Baeder, and more! There'll be 100-plus hot topic sessions, stimulating networking, fun community events, and a special Teacher Day to inspire your teacher leader team. Register and make your travel plans now.
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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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