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Improving school climate? Tip No.1: Don't cut climate staff
Education Week
A great deal of what's widely considered (or derided) as "education reform" over the last decade reflects a philosophy espoused by former President George W. Bush, in what is now a well-known piece of education rhetoric: Overcoming "the soft bigotry of low expectations." The thought is that a school can make its students achieve regardless of extenuating circumstances, and it drives policies ranging from teacher evaluation to accountability.
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3 key developments in school AV technology
eSchool News
The "bring your own device" phenomenon has exploded in popularity among K-12 schools, as educators look for cost-effective ways to leverage technology in the classroom. Developers of audio-visual products are responding to this trend as well, making it easier for students and instructors to collaborate and share their presentations wirelessly from a wide range of mobile devices.
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Invent to learn: Makers in the classroom
MiddleWeb
The last decade and more has been a dark period for many schools. Emphasis on high-stakes standardized testing, de-professionalizing teachers, and relying on data rather than teacher expertise has created classrooms that are increasingly devoid of play, rich materials, and the time to engage in meaningful projects. What's more, the national rhetoric about the importance of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) has sadly, for many schools, not been reflected in a revitalization of science or math curriculum.
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Experts urge states to stay course on high-quality assessments
Education Week
A bevy of heavy-hitting assessment experts has identified five things that make assessments high quality, and is urging states to hold out for such tests in the face of political and financial pressures that might weaken their resolve.
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Summer learning loss study: Can 'summer slide' be prevented?
The Huffington Post
When summer relaxation is over and school starts back up, many students may find they've fallen behind. A recently released survey from the National Summer Learning Association confirms that teachers spend a significant amount of time reteaching material due to summer learning loss. The survey, which was based on answers from 500 teachers, found that 66 percent teachers have to spend three to four weeks reteaching students course material at the beginning of the year, while 24 percent of teachers spend at least five to six weeks reteaching material from the previous school year.
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  • Pick up a utensil and start cooking
    Connected Principals (commentary)
    Shawn Blankenship, a contributor for Connected Principals, writes: "When it comes to change, which happens first ... a change in behavior or a change in belief? This is an important question if you're on a quest to see new ideas become reality in every classroom. In my experience, those who believe a change in belief comes first, end up talking about the same ideas year after year. On the contrary, those leaders who work to change behaviors end up opening the minds of their teachers resulting in a culture that sparkles with innovation, creativity, and a passion for learning."
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    Cracking a secret code to learning: Hand gestures
    MindShift (commentary)
    Annie Murphy Paul, a contributor for MindShift, writes: "Over the past few years, while working on my forthcoming book 'Brilliant,' I've been watching and taking note as a new conceptualization of intelligence takes shape in the social and biological sciences. This conceptualization involves many lines of inquiry that can be loosely grouped under the title situated cognition: the idea that thinking doesn’t happen in some abstract, disembodied space, but always in a particular brain, in a particular body, located in a particular social and physical world. The moment-by-moment conditions that prevail in that brain, that body, and that world powerfully affect how well we think and perform."
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    Mindfulness in schools
    dailyRx News
    Teaching kids how to cope with the everyday stress of school and life may promote emotional well-being. Mindfulness coping strategies may also work to reduce depression. A recent study tested the effectiveness of mindfulness coping strategies on adolescent students. The results of the study showed that kids who learned mindfulness techniques had lower stress and depression scores and a better sense of emotional well-being compared to kids that did not learn mindfulness.
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    Stop penalizing boys for not being able to sit still at school
    The Atlantic (commentary)
    Jessica Lahey, a contributor for The Atlantic, writes: "This year's end-of-year paper purge in my middle school office revealed a startling pattern in my teaching practices: I discipline boys far more often than I discipline girls. Flipping through the pink and yellow slips — my school's system for communicating errant behavior to students, advisors, and parents —I found that I gave out nearly twice as many of these warnings to boys than I did to girls, and of the slips I handed out to boys, all but one was for disruptive classroom behavior."
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    5 future trends that will impact the learning ecosystem
    Edutopia
    As summer reflections on the past school year turn into aspirations for the next year, it's important to keep in mind the big picture of change in education. Five shifts in how we think about schools and education in general will help to regenerate the learning ecosystem, and will provoke our imagination about new possibilities for teaching and learning.
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    Tips on preparing school data for the unexpected
    eSchool News
    While student safety remains schools’ top priority during threats of natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes, school administrators and IT leaders must also ensure that they take measures to protect valuable student and school data. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast, knocking out power and, along with it, school districts' access to technology and data centers. Devastating tornadoes, including the 2013 tornado in Moore, Okla., and the 2011 tornado in Joplin, Mo., rocked school communities.
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    Obama administration approves NCLB flexibility request for Alabama 38 states and DC now approved for waivers
    U.S. Department of Education
    The Obama administration approved the state of Alabama for a waiver from No Child Left Behind in exchange for state-developed plans to prepare all students for college and career, focus aid on the neediest students, and support effective teaching and leadership. Since fall 2011, 47 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Bureau of Indian Education have requested waivers from NCLB in order to implement next-generation education reforms that go far beyond the law's rigid, top-down prescriptions. The U.S. Department of Education has now approved requests from 38 states and D.C., with other applications still pending.
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    Under GOP plan, states would be free to take money away from poorest schools
    ThinkProgress (commentary)
    Republicans are reintroducing a bill to allow states to redistribute federal education dollars currently targeted at the country's poorest school districts. The A-PLUS Act, originally crafted by the arch-conservative Heritage Foundation, was first introduced in 2007, and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, have revived it for 2013.
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    TRENDING ARTICLES
    Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

        Study gauges value of technology in schools (The New York Times)
    Are you ready to be a school principal? (eSchool News)
    Will new tests measure any valuable skills? (MindShift)
    Report: The 4 pillars of the flipped classroom (THE Journal)
    More school districts end ban on cellphones and embrace BYOD (EdTech Magazine)

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


    Duncan's waiver messaging questioned
    Education Week
    The U.S. Department of Education had a lot of options for unveiling its plan to allow states to delay implementation of teacher-evaluation systems in light of new standards and assessments. The department could have a) quietly sent a letter to state chiefs explaining that states are eligible for this new flexibility, or b) had a big, splashy announcement with lots of media fanfare. The administration, obviously, opted for b). And some state chiefs have found that strategy less than helpful.
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    Columbus schools spend more than similar districts, study finds
    The Columbus Dispatch
    Columbus City Schools spend more than the average big-city Ohio district on non-instructional expenses because of a mix of state mandates, past decisions on what services to provide, above-average labor costs and inefficiencies. That's the verdict of a draft management study of the district commissioned by Mayor Michael B. Coleman's education commission. The district could save $65 million to $100 million a year by paying workers less in salary and benefits, advocating changes to state laws, and changing the way it does business, the study says.
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    Mindfulness in schools
    dailyRx News
    Teaching kids how to cope with the everyday stress of school and life may promote emotional well-being. Mindfulness coping strategies may also work to reduce depression.

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    Are you ready to be a school principal?
    eSchool News
    Modeling excellence, building a team of dedicated educators and instilling a sense of pride throughout the school community are all essential when it comes to establishing and maintaining a successful school culture, according to effective school principals.

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    Is the Common Core initiative in trouble?
    The Washington Post
    Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently met with Chamber of Commerce leaders and urged them to be more vocal and forceful in defending the Common Core State Standards. Why?

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    Miami-Dade to ensure every student has digital device by 2015
    eSchool News
    Each of Miami-Dade's 350,000 public school students will have access to a mobile learning device by 2015, according to a groundbreaking plan approved June 19 by the Miami-Dade School Board, which governs the nation's fourth largest school system. Board members unanimously endorsed the proposal by Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, a 2011 Tech-Savvy Superintendent Award winner from eSchool Media, to lease more than 100,000 devices, which will be paid off over a period of up to six years.
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    CPS school closings continue: 20 more schools to shutter for good
    The Huffington Post
    It's another day of bittersweet goodbyes for Chicago Public School students, parents and teachers as 20 more schools close their doors for good. Among the schools being shuttered in the district's historic single-wave of closures is Trumbull Elementary in Andersonville and other schools on the traditional "Track R" calendar, DNAinfo Chicago reports.
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    Rights unit finds bias against transgender student
    The New York Times
    A Colorado school district discriminated against a transgender first-grader when it refused to let her use the girl's bathroom, the state's civil rights division has determined, a decision gay and transgender advocates say will have an indelible impact on how such cases are handled in the future. In a sharply worded ruling, the division concluded that the Fountain-Fort Carson School District needlessly created a situation in which the student, Coy Mathis, would be subject to harassment when it barred her from the girls’ bathroom even though she clearly identified as female.
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    Charter school bill stirring debate in Massachusetts
    Lowell Sun Online
    Legislation aimed at closing achievement gaps in Massachusetts schools would make it easier to open charter schools, especially in the worst-performing districts and give schools power to override unions on hiring without seniority or lengthening school days. The measures, which have been filed in the House and Senate, are the best way for struggling schools to turn themselves around and for the worst-performing districts to build more charter schools, which are currently capped, proponents argue. Three cities, though not Lowell, have hit their cap.
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    Classroom observations to rate teachers are shifting focus to students
    The Washington Post
    The new mandate in Virginia to make student achievement a significant part of teacher evaluations is bringing more than an infusion of test scores. It's also changing the way classroom observations are conducted. The scheduled or unscheduled visits from administrators have long been a cornerstone of teacher evaluations. But increasingly, principals are turning their gaze from the way teachers are delivering lessons to how well students are learning them.
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    Creating space for STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art and math
    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Two foundations are giving $500,000 to 25 school districts in southwestern Pennsylvania, and most of the schools will use the money to create places where students can employ the latest technology to learn. Each district will receive a $20,000 grant from the Grable and Benedum foundations. Many will use the grants to redesign an area of the library or a classroom where students can gather to focus on projects related to what is called STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art and math.
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    Calling all experienced principals
    NAESP
    Make a meaningful contribution to the principalship by applying to be a reviewer for National Board Certification for Principals. NAESP and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards are seeking experienced principals to review applications submitted by school leaders seeking board certification. A day-long training will be held Tuesday, July 9, in Baltimore. Reviewers will be given an honorarium for the training and for scoring applications.
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    Nominate a tech Champion of Change
    NAESP
    Are there educators in your community who are doing extraordinary things with technology and making a difference? Nominate them to be a Champion of Change, a program sponsored by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Office of Public Engagement. The initiative celebrates individuals across the country who are making an impact by connecting kids — particularly those from underrepresented communities — to technology. Nominations are due June 28.
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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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