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Hybrid programs aim to stem summer learning loss
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It's 2:30 p.m. on a glorious summer day and 9-year-old Taylor Bradford is indoors, lying face-down on a sleeping bag ... with a book. Elbows out, her dangling black braids weighted by colorful plastic barrettes, she scans a worn paperback copy of Corduroy, a classic children's story, then quickly finishes it and jumps up to find another. In the next room at Langston Hughes Elementary School, Brittney Witt, also 9, is gluing tissue paper onto a Styrofoam picture frame as she learns about primary colors. Two doors down, students are busy making up rhymes about green vegetables. O, summer school, where is thy sting? Actually, cities across the USA are rethinking it. While summer school still serves as grim remediation for many students who fail courses during the academic year, more school districts now view it less as a last-resort than as an inexpensive ounce of prevention, a way to head off failure and reduce the achievement gap. More


Academic success could be determined by genetics
Medical News Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In a national longitudinal study of thousands of young Americans, researchers have discovered genetic markers that could potentially influence whether a person finishes high school and continues going to college. The study is published in the American Psychological Association's journal Developmental Psychology. More

School is too easy, students report
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Millions of kids simply don't find school very challenging, a new analysis of federal survey data suggests. The report could spark a debate about whether new academic standards being piloted nationwide might make a difference. The findings, from the Center for American Progress, a Washington think tank that champions "progressive ideas," analyze three years of questionnaires from the Department of Education's National Assessment of Educational Progress, a national test given each year. More

Math anxiety affects girls more than boys
Medical News Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
If a car is driving at a speed of 40 miles per hour for a distance of 60 miles, how long will it take to reach its destination? Those who may feel apprehensive at answering this question may suffer from mathematics anxiety. According to a new report featured in the journal Behavioral and Brain Functions, numerous school-age children feel anxious in mathematics. However, even though anxiety can impact the performance of both boys and girls, it is generally girls who tend to suffer more anxiety than boys. More

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Despite obesity concerns, gym classes are cut
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
More than a half-century ago, President Dwight D. Eisenhower formed the President's Council on Youth Fitness, and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Michelle Obama are among those making childhood obesity a public cause. But even as virtually every state has undertaken significant school reforms, many American students are being granted little or no time in the gym. More

Teens' 1st-time substance use rises in summer months
Internal Medicine News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
School's out and the living is easy for teens come summertime, but a new government study suggests it's also dangerous, as the rates of first-time substance use among 12- to 17-year-olds peak in June and July. On an average day in these two summer months, approximately 11,000 adolescents use alcohol for the first time, 5,000 try their first cigarette, and 4,500 begin using marijuana, according to a report released June 3 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The report is based on interviews with 231,500 adolescents in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health during 2002-2010. More

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Education law challenges loom after health care ruling
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Legal analysts say that part of the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the federal health care law will encourage states to challenge education laws and other federal aid programs and legislation passed under Congress' spending power, a pivotal aspect of the historic ruling. The justices ruled 5-4 to uphold a key provision of the Affordable Care Act — the requirement that individuals purchase a health insurance policy with at least a minimum level of coverage — as a valid exercise under Congress' taxing power. But the court effectively ruled 7-2 that the states could not be threatened with the loss of their existing Medicaid funding if they refused to participate in the law's expansion of the federal health care program for the poor. More

Play time contributes to success of Success Academy
The Huffington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Recently we had the pleasure of speaking to Eva Moskowitz, founder of Success Academy, about her schools and specifically about the inspiration she instills in her staff and students, as well as her strong belief in the power of play. Yes, this stern, dedicated educator is a huge play advocate. In a time when more and more schools are cutting recess and free play as something frivolous and unnecessary, Moskowitz believes that play time is as important as math, reading science and social studies. In other words, if a child isn't receiving play time, then we are not educating the whole child. More

Food fight: Bake sales stay but large sodas may go
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In Massachusetts, the dispute prompted emergency action by the governor a few weeks ago. In New York City, the battle is pitting a powerful mayor against well-funded corporate opponents. So what's at stake? Health care? Property rights? Environmental safety? No, cupcakes and large Cokes. With obesity, especially among children, skyrocketing in this country, an aggressive campaign is under way to limit the access of children and, in New York, even adults to empty calories. The typical target in this campaign has been the vending machines in public school cafeterias, but the efforts are extending to school bake sales and candy sales. More


Bullying can happen at summer camp or in cyberspace, school
The Medical News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The threat of bullying doesn't stop at the schoolyard gate nor does it end when the final bell signals the beginning of summer vacation, warns Dr. Jennifer Caudle of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Osteopathic Medicine. Caudle is a family physician who has lectured on the subject of bullying to thousands of schoolchildren, parents and educators across the country. "Bullying can happen wherever kids gather — in school, at summer camp or in cyberspace," Caudle said. "Bullying isn't just limited to the classroom. Talking with your kids about bullying is just as important in the summer as it is during the school year — especially when it is time to head to summer camp." More

Teachers learn ways to keep students' attention, but are brain claims valid?
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When Chris Biffle called out the word "Class!" on July 11 at Walsh University in Ohio, 450 teachers and administrators yelled back, "Yes!" "Class class?" he said. "Yes! Yes!" they replied. "Classity classity," he said. "Yessity yessity," they chanted back. Biffle, one of the co-founders of Southern California-based Whole Brain Teaching LLC, is leading a two-day conference at Walsh about his method. He calls the technique "Class-Yes." The research page of Whole Brain Teaching's website says "Class Yes" activates the prefrontal cortex of the brain and "readies students for instruction." It's one of seven techniques the company says "are validated by contemporary brain research." The method might be fun, engaging, and popular, judging by teacher testimonials and company-conducted polls. More

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Next up in teacher evaluations: Student surveys
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The search for reliable methods of gauging teacher effectiveness — a dominant education policy issue over the last several years — has centered on classroom observation tools and value-added measures. But another potential indicator has emerged and is starting to pick up momentum: student surveys. A roomful of teachers, administrators, representatives from education organizations and policymakers gathered in Washington to discuss the use of student feedback in improving teacher practice. The Center for American Progress event coincided with the release of a report finding that many U.S. students perceive their schoolwork as too easy. More

Cyberbullying: Scourge of the Internet
Mashable    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The explosive growth of social media in recent years has enabled a lot of new opportunities for kids and teenagers — sharing achievements with family, making plans with new friends and reliving past memories with old friends, just to name a few. But the proliferation of social networking has also come with an unfortunate downside. Bullying and nastiness become easier when all they take is a few keystrokes and can be hidden by online anonymity. More

House delays bill providing states with grants to fight school bullies
The Hill    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The House delayed consideration of a bill that could provide millions of dollars in grants to state programs aimed at fighting school bullies. The Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Reauthorization and the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Act, H.R. 6019, is sponsored by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, and was scheduled to be debated. However, Jackson Lee was thought to be unable to be in the Capitol for the debate, and because the House has a general policy of allowing sponsors to debate their proposals, House leaders decided to delay consideration of her bill. House aides were unsure when the bill might be considered, but indicated that the bill is still expected to be debated and voted on sometime in July. More


Feds: Least restrictive environment applies to transition too
Disability Scoop    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
By law, students with disabilities are supposed to be included in general education to the greatest extent possible. Now, federal officials say the same tenet of inclusion should apply to transition as well. Informal guidance issued recently from the U.S. Department of Education indicates that the requirement in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, that students be placed in the "least restrictive environment" extends beyond the confines of the classroom. Specifically, the concept should apply to work placements if such experiences are part of a student's individualized education program, or IEP, officials at the Education Department said. More

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Special educators' use of restraints, seclusion topic of Senate hearing
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In one of Kaye Otten's early years as a teacher, she was granted emergency certification to teach special education in a Nebraska classroom where one of her second-grade students was large, aggressive and always hungry as a result of a rare genetic disorder called Prader-Willi syndrome. "He knew he could use his size to get what he wanted," Otten recalled. "He would pull chunks of hair out of my head." The plan to help him calm down didn't always work, leaving the untrained Otten and her colleagues to stop the student's behavior by holding the boy or isolating him from other students, or both, in scenarios that repeated themselves multiple times that school year. But by the time the student was in fifth grade. Otten and her colleagues had to restrain the student only once all year. More

Study finds Pittsburgh principals in classrooms more often
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Principals are spending more time visiting classrooms, emphasizing their roles as instructional leaders in Pittsburgh Public Schools. That's one of the conclusions of a four-year Rand study of the Pittsburgh Principal Incentive Program that began with a federal grant of more than $6.7 million over five years. "Principals are clearly aware they have a major responsibility for promoting student learning in their schools and are making that a focus of their work," said Laura Hamilton, senior behavioral scientist at Rand. The study notes, "The quality of leadership provided by a school's principal is widely regarded as an important contributor to the quality of teaching and learning in the school." More


Florida releases grades for elementary, middle schools
The Miami Herald    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Miami-Dade County Public Schools in Florida managed the slide better than the state average. Fewer elementary and middle schools in Florida received As and more schools got red-letter F's on the state Department of Education's school report cards released. High schools grades, which include other factors like graduation, are released later in the year. Educators have been bracing for the high-stakes grades, because of major changes to how students — and schools — are graded this year. Among them: the grading on the FCAT 2.0, the standardized exam at the core of the grades, got tougher. And the state changed the rules for school grades, for example, including scores from students with disabilities and more students who are still learning English. More

Ohio links teacher pay to test scores
CNN    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At a time when test scores are used to determine everything from district funding to whether schools can stay open, they're taking on even broader meaning in Ohio. Gov. John Kasich has signed legislation that will partially link scores to what teachers are paid. In Ohio — and many other states throughout the country — teachers have traditionally been evaluated by observers who've determined whether the instructors are satisfactory or unsatisfactory. More

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Aspiring Leaders Academy trains Richmond County, Ga., teachers to become administrators
The Augusta Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Barbara Brown was a legal assistant watching judges sentence high-school dropouts for crimes in 1989 when she realized she wanted to become a teacher. "When I saw so many young men coming through the system, especially young black men, it became clear to me what I had to do," Brown said. "I took a lot of their stories to heart. I saw education was the missing piece." She left the legal world and became an educator, but after 23 years in the classroom, she realized she wants to do even more. Brown, an instructional coach at Freedom Park Elementary School, is now using a Richmond County School System exploratory program to build her resume and land a job as a school principal. More

School camps in St. Louis area aim to give incoming kindergartners a leg up
St. Louis Post-Dispatch    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In the haze of a summer heat wave, when little minds are often fixed on the jingle of an ice cream truck or days at the pool, kindergarten can seem as alien as blending alphabet sounds together into words that go on paper. But in an educational system where increasing pressure has been placed on that initial school grade to learn to read, write full sentences, recognize lists of words at first sight and perform basic addition and subtraction, Hazelwood, Ga., school officials are serious about summer school for the youngest of pupils. More

New and improved
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Things look a little different at Take a peek at our revamped website, which offers a wealth of easy-to-find resources and the latest information to help you advance your career. While you're there, update your profile in Principal 2 Principal, our new e-community that connects you with principals across the country to share best practices. More

Principals gather for National Leaders Conference
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
School may be out for the summer, but the principals attending next week's National Leaders Conference will be hard at work. From July 18-20, NAESP and state affiliate leaders from across the country will be gathering in Washington, D.C., to attend the annual event, which brings principals together to meet with lawmakers and champion the "Power of the Principal." Over the course of the National Leaders Conference, principals will meet with congressional representatives to call for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and policies that strengthen the capacity of educators. More


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