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Schools weigh expanding free meals to all students
Education Week
Schools will have more time to decide if they want to take advantage of a new federal provision that would allow them to provide free meals to all students after the U.S. Department of Agriculture extended the deadline to opt in from June 30 to Aug. 31. The extra time will allow district leaders and nutrition staff members to weigh the benefits of participation in what is known as the community-eligibility provision and to prepare for the transition, Cynthia Long, the USDA's deputy administrator for child-nutrition programs, wrote in a June 12 letter to state nutrition directors.
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More quality teachers needed for poor students
District Administration Magazine
Districts must do more to ensure low-income and minority students have access to top-notch teachers, says Jenny DeMonte, associate director for education research at the Center for American Progress and co-author of the April report "Looking at the Best Teachers and Who They Teach." The report, not surprisingly, found that poor students and students of color are less likely to be taught by a highly effective teacher than are other students. But there are some pockets where change is occurring.
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Explicit instruction works best for struggling math students
U.S. News & World Report
Students who struggle early on with basic reading and math skills may continue to have a hard time as they progress through school. But many early grade teachers with students struggling in math appear to be more likely to use ineffective teaching methods, according to a new study. The study — funded by the Department of Education and the National Institutes of Health — found first-grade teachers with a higher percentage of students with math difficulties in their classrooms were more likely to use student-centered instructional methods (such as the use of calculators, or movement and music to learn math) that have not been associated with achievement gains.
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Finding the most creative ways to help students advance at their own pace
MindShift
In 2005, New Hampshire's Department of Education set a policy requiring schools to implement a competency-based system, but didn't define the specific skills each school would be expected to master. State education leaders hoped that the policy would push schools towards a system in which students would not advance unless they could demonstrate proficiency in every core competency. But schools across the state have interpreted the directive in very different ways and set those competencies both broadly and narrowly.
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Grit happens in PBL
Edutopia (commentary)
This year's trendy new term in education is "grit." Love it or hate it, grit is being talked about on blogs and other social media, and Edutopia just released an excellent new video about it. No doubt there are people presenting staff development workshops about grit in schools around the nation, and companies are quickly producing curriculum materials to sell.
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Math under Common Core has even parents stumbling
The New York Times
Rebekah and Kevin Nelams moved to their modest brick home in this suburb of Baton Rouge seven years ago because it has one of the top-performing public school districts in the state. But starting this fall, Nelams plans to home-school the couple's four elementary-age children. The main reason: the methods that are being used for teaching math under the Common Core, a set of academic standards adopted by more than 40 states.
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Games in the classroom: What the research says
MindShift
The games-and-learning landscape is changing quickly. What's happening in classrooms now will look very different in a decade, so what really matters right now is how we frame the conversation. The way we understand the expectations and promises of today's game-based approaches will have a long-term impact on how we imagine and implement them in the future. It's critical that teachers, parents, and administrators understand not only the research, but also the way corporations, foundations and research organizations are thinking about games and learning. There are big players involved in researching the benefits of game-based learning in schools.
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Survey finds parents conflicted about time dedicated to testing students
Education Week
A new survey paints a conflicting picture of parents' attitudes about the time students spend taking tests. The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice's annual Schooling in America Survey shows 44 percent of parents think that schools devote too much time to testing. That same survey, however, found that the majority of parents — 52 percent, in fact — think their children either spend the right amount of time (30 percent) on testing or not enough (22 percent). So depending on where you stand in the testing debate this survey could fuel that cause.
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Should principals be treated like CEOs?
The Atlantic
It's a widely held belief that a talented leader is the key to a successful school. Research shows that highly effective principals put a student's achievement gains two to seven months ahead in a single school year — while weak leaders slow a student’s progress by the same amount. But how can schools attract and retain good principals? One education-policy think tank suggests that part of the answer may be making the role more like an executive and giving each principal a $100,000 salary raise.
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Do teachers need iPad training?
Edudemic
We have come to a point in the education technology journey where it seems rather dull to still be asking if the iPad is the right device for the classroom. The answer, in case you've missed the last few years of debate is that it is a great option, but this is not universally accepted and never will be. Nonetheless, one of the attributes you'll hear put forward is that it is easy to use because of the intuitive nature of iOS. This is absolutely true; you can put the iPad into the hands of almost any child and within a short period of time they will have mastered it.
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Can see-through backpacks prevent school violence?
District Administration Magazine
Recent school stabbings and cases of students caught with weapons have driven some districts to ban traditional cloth backpacks in favor of easily searchable clear or mesh bags. "The idea is that clear bags will act as a deterrent and make it harder for someone to bring a weapon on campus," says Aubrey Chancellor, spokesperson for the North East ISD in San Antonio.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    School improvement requires more than just a plan (By Thomas Van Soelen)
Exercise helps kids get better grades (TIME)
What does the next-generation school library look like? (Mind Shift)
Report: 6 trends in pushing tech adoption in education (THE Journal)
How an iPad can transform music classes (eClassroom News)

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


What makes for happier teachers, according to international survey
The Hechinger Report
Teachers who say they get included in school decision-making and collaborate often with other teachers are more likely to say that teaching is a valued profession in their society. In turn, these same teachers report higher levels of job satisfaction and confidence in their ability to teach and to motivate students, according to a 2013 survey of middle-school teachers in 34 countries and regions around the world conducted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
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Giving boys a bigger emotional toolbox
NPR
Is America's dominant "man up" ethos a hypermasculine cultural construct, a tenet rooted in biological gender difference or something in between? Educator Ashanti Branch doesn't much care or, more accurately, doesn't have time to care. He's too busy trying to make a difference in boys' lives. Boys in American public schools are suspended from and drop out of school at higher rates than girls. Black and Latino boys are suspended the most. Boys make up half of the student population in American public schools. But among those who are suspended multiple times and expelled, 75 percent are boys.
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What do pop flies and education technology have in common?
EdTech Magazine
Anyone who has spent time watching Little League or even Major League baseball has seen this scenario: Two players converge on a pop-up, and at the last second they both pull away as the ball falls to the dirt. For many years, because technology was so complex, IT called the shots and schools would adapt to whatever tools would work in their environment. But in our current educational technology landscape, this is changing — rapidly.
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Why kids care more about achievement than helping others
The Atlantic
A new study from Harvard University reveals that the message parents mean to send children about the value of empathy is being drowned out by the message we actually send: that we value achievement and happiness above all else. The Making Caring Common project at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education surveyed 10,000 middle and high school students about what was more important to them, "achieving at a high level, happiness, or caring for others." Almost 80 percent of students ranked achievement or happiness over caring for others. Only 20 percent of students identified caring for others as their top priority.
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US schools gear up for surge of young immigrants
Education Week
As the federal government scrambles to respond to an unprecedented surge of unaccompanied minors streaming across the U.S.-Mexico border, the wave of young immigrants arriving alone from Central America has already begun to surface in communities and public schools far from the Southwest. In Miami, a nonprofit agency that provides legal services to unaccompanied minors has served 1,600 such children since the beginning of the calendar year, the same number it served in all of 2013.
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Should principals be treated like CEOs?
The Atlantic
It's a widely held belief that a talented leader is the key to a successful school. Research shows that highly effective principals put a student's achievement gains two to seven months ahead in a single school year — while weak leaders slow a student's progress by the same amount.

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Can 12 minutes of exercise make a difference for students?
Psych Central
A new study shows that 12 minutes of exercise can improve attention and reading comprehension in low-income adolescents. Researchers at Dartmouth College say these findings suggest that schools serving low-income students should work brief bouts of exercise into their daily schedules. The study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, compared low-income adolescents with their high-income peers.

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7 steps to authentic learning
eSchool News
Why authentic learning? There are so many reasons to choose from, some of the most important being: providing deep purpose for learning, empowering students, providing differentiation and choice options in learning, connecting students to others locally and globally, and allowing opportunities to develop empathy, creativity and innovation skills.

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Most states deficient in special education
Disability Scoop
Federal education officials are dramatically altering the way they evaluate compliance with special education law and the change means far fewer states are living up to expectations. For the first time, test scores and other outcome measures for students with disabilities are a central focus in state assessments conducted under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the U.S. Department of Education said. Under the law, the Education Department determines each year how well states provide special education services and assigns one of four labels: "meets requirements," "needs assistance," "needs intervention" or "needs substantial intervention."
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Chicago lays off 1,150 teachers, staff
USA Today
Nearly 1,200 Chicago teachers and other unionized staff received layoff notices Thursday because of declining enrollment, the city's schools chief announced. Pink slips went out to 550 teachers and 600 other members of the Chicago Teachers Union. Public schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said the staff reductions "are driven by declining student enrollment at each of the affected schools," which were not immediately identified. School officials told the Chicago Tribune that the teachers can reapply for the projected 1,780 vacancies to be filled in other schools and that in past reductions 60 percent have been rehired.
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Poll: California voters losing faith in Common Core
The Huffington Post
A new poll suggests California voters are losing enthusiasm for the Common Core State Standards. The annual PACE/USC Rossier School of Education poll queried more than 1,000 Californians to gauge their views on a number of key issues, including the recent Vergara vs. California teacher tenure ruling and the job performance of state and national policymakers.
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See you in Nashville!
NAESP
The 2014 NAESP Annual Conference is just days away! From July 10-12, Nashville will be the hotspot for K-8 principals to meet colleagues, share ideas, and discover new ideas and strategies. Already registered? Explore the conference website to plan your experience. Not registered yet? There's still time — don't let this premiere event for school leaders happen without you.
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4 steps to nurture PLCs
NAESP
What role should principals play in professional learning communities? PLCs provide fertile ground for teams to build collective action through shared routines, yet it is not always clear what specific steps principals should take to nurture and support such collaborations. Here are four strategies principals can use to strengthen PLCs.
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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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