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Duncan to principals: Shouldn't have to sacrifice your lives for job
Education Week
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan yesterday told hundreds of elementary and middle school principals who are gathered here for a conference that they shouldn't have to fear for their lives on the job. Duncan drew hearty cheers and whistles on the opening day of annual conference of the National Association of Elementary School Principals when he said he does not support arming educators as a way to keep schools safe from the type of armed intruders who killed the principal, five staff members, and 20 first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last December.
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American public schools are not broken, they are just obsolete
By C. Fredrick Crum (commentary)
Since the original shaping of the American public school system by Horrace Mann and John Dewey, not much has changed. Mann's influence and the writings of Dewey shaped our current American public school system between the years 1848 and 1916. This system, designed to prepare children and young adults for a post agricultural, industrial age world, is still in use today.
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Social media is a must for America's STEM future
eSchool News (commentary)
Over the last several decades, the United States has declined as an economic and educational global leader in science, technology, engineering and math. To regain economic success and global competitiveness in these fields, government at all levels should launch campaigns that raise STEM awareness and increase student engagement. Actively leveraging social media channels is one potential path to drive K-12 excitement in STEM education and jobs through challenges.
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The rise of blended learning
Smithsonian Magazine
For months, Stanton Elementary School teachers and administrators searched books, webinars, conferences, news articles and anything else they could get find for ideas about how to get students more engaged in the classroom. They kept running across the same mysterious two words: blended learning. "We didn't really know what it was," says principal Caroline John, "besides computers." Fast forward a year, and the same 400-student public school here in Southeast Washington, D.C., with its green-tiled halls and pastel stucco classrooms, is defining the phrase on its own terms. And at least in this case, it's not that complicated.
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  • 20 new curriculum software products for schools
    eSchool News
    At the 2013 International Society for Technology in Education conference in San Antonio, a number of ed-tech companies introduced new curriculum software products, or enhancements to existing curriculum software. Here are some of the highlights. Benesse America announced that schools can sign up for free, three-month pilot licenses of its StraightAce supplementary eLearning system for middle school math and language arts (grades 6-8). The curriculum can be used on virtually any device, the company says — including computers, tablets and even smart phones — and Benesse claims that 15 minutes of use per day can lead to higher test scores.
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    From the principal's office: 6 steps for curbing email miscommunication
    Tech&Learning
    How many times have you sent an email and immediately regretted doing so after pushing the send button? How many times have you sent an email, and the receiver of that email got it all wrong about what you meant to say? The media is replete with stories of politicians, public officials and celebrities who make the news because they sent an insensitive email or distasteful joke. When these things happen, the problem isn't with the email. It does what it's supposed to do. The problem is a lack of mindfulness when reading, composing and sending email.
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    How school technology departments keep 1-to-1 programs online
    StateImpact Indiana
    Schools across the country are launching one-to-one programs that put an iPad, laptop or other device in the hands of every student. But when it comes to technology, accidents happen: Screens crack, keyboards break, components fail. So what happens when a damaged device belongs to a school corporation?
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    Getting teachers ready to teach
    Stateline
    A growing number of states are trying to improve the quality of teachers by transforming the programs that are supposed to prepare them for the classroom. Delaware Gov. Jack Markell signed a bill requiring his state's teacher preparation programs to include at least 10 weeks of full-time student teaching and to collect and report data on the performance and effectiveness of their graduates. In the last two years, Connecticut, Indiana, Colorado, Ohio and North Carolina have approved similar measures aimed at improving teacher preparation. Massachusetts and Minnesota have also had long reputations for making sure teachers are well-prepared to teach.
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    Window of opportunity
    Connected Principals Blog
    Amber Teamann, a contributor for Connected Principals Blog, writes: "It's always interesting to me how worlds can collide. We had a guest speaker at church tonight, Dr. Tim Kimmel. His sermon was on grace based parenting, particularly, how to get through the sensitive tween years. While I don't quite have a tween, (gulp.) I was still struck by a story that I think relates to what we do as educators. While in the 9th grade, Kimmel arrived at gym class one day to see a trampoline in the middle of their gym floor. This being a novelty, before the time when trampolines were a commonplace backyard item, he was pretty excited."
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    Is a Title I funding-formula fight on the horizon?
    Education Week
    If a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind Act goes to the floor of the House, look for a hot policy debate over ... funding formulas. Advocates for rural schools, including the American Association of School Administrators and the Rural School and Community Trust, have long bemoaned the Title I funding formula, which they say shortchanges rural areas because it takes into account a district's population, and not just concentrations of poverty.
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    Tougher requirements ahead for teacher prep
    Education Week
    A panel tapped by the national accreditation body for teacher preparation has finalized a set of standards that, for the first time, establishes minimum admissions criteria and requires programs to use much-debated "value added" measures, where available. The action promises to have major ramifications for how programs select, prepare, and gauge the success of new teachers. Already, programs planning to seek the seal of approval from the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation say the standards are significantly more demanding than those used by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, one of two accreditors that preceded CAEP.
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    The rise of blended learning
    Smithsonian Magazine
    For months, Stanton Elementary School teachers and administrators searched books, webinars, conferences, news articles and anything else they could get find for ideas about how to get students more engaged in the classroom.

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    8 ways kindergarten holds the key to 21st century instruction
    eSchool News
    Sam Gliksman, a contributor for eSchool News, writes: "I was recently giving a workshop at a local elementary school. While walking around and speaking to teachers and children, it suddenly dawned on me that several of the 'revolutionary' educational changes we've been calling for have actually been around for quite a while — just talk a stroll down to the kindergarten classes."

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    Should schools still teach cursive?
    MindShift
    Sophomore Andrew Forbes of Nashville, Tenn., used cursive everyday in elementary school, from third grade through eighth grade. He was required to write out all his papers, worksheets, and notes in the flowing line of slanted script.

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    Is rating schools A to F a better gauge?
    The Cincinnati Enquirer
    Ohio will debut high-tech state report cards this summer to rate public schools and districts. Gone are the sometimes-ambiguous labels the state used to hang on schools, from "Excellent with Distinction" to lowly "Academic Emergency." New are letter grades — from A to F — attached to a variety of measurements of student and school performance, everything from four- and five-year graduation rates to literacy improvements in kindergarten through third grade.
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    TRENDING ARTICLES
    Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

        Everything you need to know about Common Core testing (THE Journal)
    Education reform movement learns lesson from old standards (NPR)
    5 leadership questions to finish (and start) the school year with (Tech&Learning)
    Nation's principals build playground for Baltimore school (The Baltimore Sun)
    Common strategies for uncommon achievement (Center for American Progress)

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


    The perils of giving kids IQ tests
    The Atlantic
    Scott Barry Kaufman knew he was different from his classmates. The evidence was overwhelming: he was about to enter the third grade for the second time, and he was subjected to beatings on the bathroom floor, doled out by bullies who regularly reminded him that he would never, ever be anything other than a failing third-grader. As Kaufman recounts in a book released this spring, his family finally had his intelligence tested, and that afternoon with the school psychologist would change the course of his life.
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    Other states eye Florida's school grading woes
    Miami Herald
    Florida's formula for grading its schools — hailed as a model nationwide — may be rewritten again this year to include a controversial "safety net" that would keep grades from dropping more than one letter. But the 11th-hour wrangling over the "accountability formula" is drawing attention far beyond Florida.
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    Check out Conference News Online
    NAESP
    NAESP's Annual Conference and Expo — BEST PRACTICES FOR BETTER SCHOOLS™ — just wrapped up over the weekend. Conference News Online is your place to catch up with convention news. Missed something? You'll find blog posts, tweets, photos and articles about select conference events so you can still get the full conference experience.
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    Freeman Hrabowski calls on principals to a create 'culture of support'
    NAESP
    At the Opening General Session, Freeman Hrabowski, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, shared an inspirational message on the transformative power of education. The first step to making students successful, he said, is to believe in them.
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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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