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Curriculum    School Leadership   Federal Advocacy & Policy   In the States   Association News   Buy Books   Contact NAESP


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Study: Teachers absent from class way too much
USA Today
On average, teachers were in the classroom in school systems in the largest metro areas 94 percent of the school year, but even that rate results in an average of 11 days absent. In many districts, a significant percentage of teachers exceeded that number: 28 percent of teachers overall were absent 11 to 17 days — frequently absent — and 16 percent, nearly 1 in 6, were gone 18 days or more, called chronically absent in this report. Nine districts had more than half of their teachers absent for more than two weeks of the school year.
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What's the best professional development you have offered your teachers?
Scholastic Administrator Magazine
"Our best program is STEP UP: Supporting Teachers, Examining Practices, and Uncovering Potential," says Norman Ridder, superintendent of Missouri's Springfield Public Schools. "It's for any teacher who's hired in our school system who has less than one year of public-school teaching experience. "The main modules are classroom management their first year, cooperative learning their second year, and differentiated instruction their third year. We have mandatory coaching as well."
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Robots revolutionize STEM in schools
District Administration Magazine
The new breed of robots rolling, dancing and flying into classrooms is giving educators at all grade levels an engaging new tool to fire students' enthusiasm for math, computer programming and other STEM-related subjects. The most well-known, widespread use may be the competitions in which students use kits to build robots that can be programmed to negotiate obstacle courses or even to play games. But industrial-sized robots also are being integrated into high school voc-tech courses while simpler models are introducing elementary school students to the basics of design and computer programming code.
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Teaching history outside the box
Edutopia (commentary)
Dan Carlin, a contributor for Edutopia, writes: "How do you improve history instruction for young people? My advice might seem hopelessly out of touch with the realities that history educators face in classrooms every day. But as a complete heretic on the subject of history instruction, maybe I can add some outside-the-box ideas to the discussion."
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What's lost as handwriting fades
The New York Times
Does handwriting matter? Not very much, according to many educators. The Common Core standards, which have been adopted in most states, call for teaching legible writing, but only in kindergarten and first grade. After that, the emphasis quickly shifts to proficiency on the keyboard. But psychologists and neuroscientists say it is far too soon to declare handwriting a relic of the past. New evidence suggests that the links between handwriting and broader educational development run deep.
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What does a good Common Core lesson look like?
NPR
As NPR detailed, teachers and school leaders have a lot of work do to adopt curricula aligned with the new Common Core State Standards. In the Internet era, the best resources should be able to easily leap political boundaries and get into the hands of teachers across the country. But reading and digesting the standards and determining what lessons best fulfill them is a big, big job. And as a result, the media discussion of the Common Core — and thus its political chances — has been influenced by a few pieces of math homework that weren't, frankly, particularly high quality, or necessarily well-aligned.
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How students make progress in learning
MindShift
When we think and talk about learning, the metaphors we use matter. The language we employ when we describe how learning works can illuminate the process, allowing us to make accurate judgments and predictions — or it can lead us astray, setting up false expectations and giving us a misleading impression of what's going on. One of the most common analogies we apply to education is that of a staircase. As we learn, this model assumes, we steadily ascend in our knowledge and skills, leaving more elementary approaches behind. A child learning math, for example, will replace a simple strategy like counting on fingers with a more sophisticated strategy like retrieving math facts from memory.
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A curriculum to strengthen students against cyberbullying
The New York Times
The Facing History School in New York City takes a unique approach to cyberbullying, based in part on its partnership with Facing History and Ourselves, a professional development organization that integrates the concepts of identity, community, responsibility, decision-making and participation into all aspects of its curriculum. By looking at case studies about social injustices, students try to understand the circumstances and decisions surrounding these events and then relate that back to their own experience and communities.
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Schools get road map for improving discipline practices
The Washington Post
A national report described as a first-of-its-kind road map for improving discipline practices in U.S. public schools with 60 recommendations intended to help schools reduce suspensions and create better learning conditions. The 460-page report, the result of a three-year, bipartisan effort, urges that suspensions be used as a last resort, proposes targeting support to help students with behavioral issues and suggests specialized training for police officers on the nation's campuses.
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What does it take to stop bullying in schools?
Psychology Today (commentary)
Signe Whitson, a licensed social worker and co-author, writes: "As a school counselor and educator on the topic of bullying prevention, I get to do a lot of reading, thinking, and talking on the subject of unwanted aggression in schools, families, and communities. More importantly, I aim to do a lot of listening to the teachers, parents and students who make up my audiences, for these are the people from whom I gain the most profound insights about the cruelty of bullying as well as the resilience of the human spirit."
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Kids who spend all day at school
The Atlantic
When Nashville Classical kindergarteners are getting off of the bus, their peers across town have been home for hours. An eight-hour school day for kindergarten may sound excessive, but at this public charter school, that's how long the school day needs to be. "I think it's important to think about all of the things you want to accomplish in a school day, and then make sure that you have the time to accomplish all of those things," Charlie Friedman, Nashville Classical's school director, says. "We didn't start by saying we have to have an extended day, and we didn't start by saying we have to end at 4:00 p.m."
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A path towards personalized professional development
EdSurge
Personalized learning is on the rise for learners in our schools. Redesigned schools include personal learning plans, playlists of content tailored to fit each learner, adaptive curriculum, and access to learning anytime and anywhere. That's great for students. But what about our teachers? Where's the personalized learning, the carefully constructed playlists, the pitch-perfect material that fits their grade level and subject needs and interests? It's emerging, but it's few and far between or at least that's what we found from over a year of researching professional development.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    What makes a great school leader? (Edutopia)
The 3 questions to ask in any classroom (NPR)
States forge ahead on principal evaluation (Education Week)
States struggle to make school report cards useful (U.S. News and World Report)
Starting off right: States are investing in early education (By: Archita Datta Majumdar)

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


Wanted: More gutsy leaders to drive schools into digital age
The Hechinger Report
A second-grader in a Middletown, N.Y., school furrows her brow, searching her keyboard to find that funny number sign for her password. A third-grader holds her Chromebook aloft, hoping to speed the connection to a wireless router. A high school teacher puts his iPad in a drawer, having wasted precious minutes taking attendance on a new system with no success. Educational technology, for all its potential, is riddled with glitches and start-up pains, especially when you're among the first to trade pencils for tablets. Yet some pioneering school leaders insist that thrusting schools into the digital Petri dish is imperative for students' success.
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6 reasons mobile learning is booming
eSchool News
Mobile technologies are increasingly gaining support among school administrators, who opt for one-to-one initiatives and BYOD programs to help deflect the costs of maintaining a mobile device initiative, and to let students use technologies they're already using in their personal lives. Speak Up 2013, an annual survey lead by Project Tomorrow, focuses on digital learning and college- and career-ready skill development.Survey results reveal that educators, school and district leaders, and parents understand that mobile devices help students access more digital content and digital learning opportunities.
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Teachers hit the Common Core wall
NPR
This time next year, millions of schoolkids in the U.S. will sit down for their first Common Core test. In some places, the stakes will be high — for kids, their teachers and their communities. The goal of the Core benchmarks in reading and math is to better prepare students for college, career and the global economy. But the challenges are huge. For one, the standards are higher than many of the state standards they're replacing. And, as we reported earlier, new standards as rigorous as the Core require lots of other changes, too — to textbooks, lesson plans, homework assignments. You name it.
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Study examines the conflicting findings on effects of more school time
Education Week
Does more school time improve student academic performance? It's a simple question, but researchers have not been able to agree on an answer. Some studies have found that more instructional time does not increase academic achievement in developed countries; other studies that have examined school experiments with time have found that it does.
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Here's how to design an iPad program
eSchool News
As educators and school leaders would likely agree, any technology initiative begins not with an iPad or a laptop, but with teaching and learning goals. But once school leaders have identified those goals, created a plan, and moved to implementation, what are some of the keys to success? David Mahaley, head of school for the Franklin Academy's high school program and a teacher at the school in New York, outlined a number of steps and considerations that are essential to a successful mobile deployment.
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Obama seeks legacy of Internet in every school
The Hill
The Obama administration says it is on track to meet its goal of ensuring that every school has high-speed Internet within five years. President Barack Obama unveiled the broadband initiative in 2013 and urged the independent Federal Communications Commission to expand a program that subsidizes Internet access with the goal of wiring 99 percent of schools.
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6 reasons mobile learning is booming
eSchool News
Mobile technologies are increasingly gaining support among school administrators, who opt for one-to-one initiatives and BYOD programs to help deflect the costs of maintaining a mobile device initiative, and to let students use technologies they’re already using in their personal lives.

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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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GAO: Education Department may lack tools to evaluate promise neighborhoods
Education Week
The U.S. Department of Education may not have a good way to evaluate the effectiveness of Promise Neighborhoods, a $100 million Obama administration competitive-grant program intended to improve education for students in distressed communities, the Government Accountability Office says. The GAO report, released Wednesday, explains that the department requires grant winners to collect extensive data on things like individuals they serve, services they provide, and related outcomes, as well as report annually on multiple indicators.
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In Kentucky, students succeed without tests
NPR
The white, split-rail fences of horse farms line the two-lane road that takes you southwest from Lexington. It's a beautiful half-hour drive to Danville, Kentucky. Settled in 1783, the town is proud of its history. In Constitution Square, across Main Street from Burke's Bakery, sits a tiny log cabin that was once the first post office west of the Allegheny Mountains.
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Featured PD opportunities: June webinars on nutrition, multitasking
NAESP
Join NAESP for two learning opportunities next week. First, on June 11, Nancy Lyons of the USDA will present a webinar on new nutrition standards that go into effect on July 1. Second, on June 12, two Ohio educators present the webinar, "Multitasking Is a Myth: Get Things Done Better, One Step at a Time." They'll share strategies to organize your day, manage your time, and delegate responsibilities. Sign up for both presentations, and view archived webinars, at NAESP's webinar page.
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NAESP advocacy update: Tech PD for principals
NAESP
As summer approaches, Congress is moving several federal funding bills, which include funding for key federal education programs in FY 2015. In addition to the push to redirect current federal funds to better support principals, NAESP is working on a concerted advocacy campaign to prod Congress to include an additional $200 million in federal funding for professional development in technology.
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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.
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601   Download media kit
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