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Mathematical Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools

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Teacher shortages spur a nationwide hiring scramble (credentials optional)
The New York Times
In a stark about-face from just a few years ago, school districts have gone from handing out pink slips to scrambling to hire teachers. Across the country, districts are struggling with shortages of teachers, particularly in math, science and special education — a result of the layoffs of the recession years combined with an improving economy in which fewer people are training to be teachers. At the same time, a growing number of English language learners are entering public schools, yet it is increasingly difficult to find bilingual teachers. So schools are looking for applicants everywhere they can — whether out of state or out of country — and wooing candidates earlier and quicker.
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Improving communities by improving schools
District Administration Magazine
Schools are the center of the community and when schools are transformed in positive ways, communities are transformed. The continued rise of poverty is not surprising when policies and practices that could contribute to eliminating poverty are not addressed well. The foundation of systematic oppression is rooted in practices that contribute to a system becoming self-perpetuating because the conditions are institutionalized and habits are formed that are not interrupted.
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The arts find a role in 21st century education
Education Dive
Arts education has been on the wane for several years as focus shifts to more technical subjects. The rise of computer technology drew on skills traditionally developed in math and science classes, and withering budgets further influenced schools to cut back or eliminate arts classes. But today, some districts and education policymakers are trying to change course as evidence mounts that many of the skills valued in the current economy are best developed in art class. Those efforts are getting some support from the feds and are poised to get more if Congress successfully passes its No Child Left Behind reauthorization.
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An educator's guide to dyslexia specialist training
By: Stephanie Cork and Laurie Wagner
There has been a lot of buzz lately in the education world about dyslexia, which affects as many as 1 in 5 children. Dyslexia is a neurological condition that affects fluent reading, spelling and writing skills. Remediating dyslexia requires training beyond what most teacher preparation programs offer. To address these concerns, roughly half of the states in the U.S. have laws relating to dyslexia. Most of these laws require early screening for students and training for teachers.
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Science resource targets K-5 STEM gap, NGSS
eSchool News
A new science resource launching this month is intended to engage K-5 students in problem-based science learning. The curriculum also integrates literacy with science and engineering teaching practices. Inspire Science, from McGraw-Hill Education, is a new core elementary science curriculum for K-5 students designed specifically to address the requirements of the Next Generation Science Standards.
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Listening to teachers: How school districts can adopt meaningful change
MindShift
Dr. Harry Fensom became the interim superintendent of White Mountains Regional School District in rural New Hampshire at a time when the district was designated failing and morale was low. He had two choices: focus on the symptoms (test scores) or dig a little deeper. In the end he did a bit of both, throwing together some measures to quickly raise test scores and inject some pride back into the district, but also listening to teachers who said there’s more to learning than doing well on standardized tests. That plea prompted White Mountains educators and administrators to implement a Critical Skills Program that uses collaborative problem-based learning. All teachers and administrators districtwide took the training.
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Leadership coaching could help teachers boost student achievement
eSchool News
Giving teachers two years of formal PD and training sessions with a leadership coach could result in higher student achievement in certain curriculum areas, according to a new RAND Corporation study. The program, which also includes a mentoring component in which teachers receiving the program's services mentor other teachers, has shown early signs of success.
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PRODUCT SHOWCASE
  Stop Bullying/Help Prevent Suicide

Learn more about these new online training programs to help improve the climate and culture in your schools. Based on the movie, Contest, Stand Up Say No to Bullying teaches students how to handle conflict and bullying. Signs Matter helps teachers and administrators identify students who may be contemplating suicide. You can help save lives.
 


K-12 connectivity heatmap shows state schools in need of more bandwidth
EdTech Magazine
A new K–12 connectivity heatmap shows which states are ahead of the broadband curve and which are lagging behind. The data comes from a report by CDW•G, which surveyed 400 K-12 IT professionals about the connectivity of their schools. What emerged was an overview of the connectivity preparedness of schools across the nation. According to the report, schools in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington have the most connected classrooms. The report also presents a few sobering facts about schools' preparedness for a coming bandwidth crisis.
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The case for collaboration days
The Huffington Post (commentary)
Collaboration isn't a word du jour; it's a necessary part of teaching. Without targeted collaboration time, teachers are less prepared to help their clientele, and for this reason, more and more schools and districts are adjusting their schedules to allow weekly collaboration days for their teachers. This necessary time isn't a spontaneous decision. We've been fighting for it for years based on need, not want.
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How parents' math anxiety can affect kids' achievement
Yahoo News
Beth Greenfield, a contributor for Yahoo News, writes: "'Numbers scare me.' 'I'm not a math person.' 'I hate math.' If you’re one of the many parents who have been known to make such pronouncements, you might consider biting your tongue next time, as a new study has found that parental math anxieties are often passed on to kids. 'What surprised us the most is that when parents are trying to help with math ... it can actually backfire,' lead author Erin Maloney, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Chicago, tells Yahoo Parenting. 'It can happen even though their efforts can be incredibly well-intentioned.'"
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The consequences for kids when their parents work irregular night shifts — research
The Washington Post
Having a regular schedule matters — especially when it comes to young people of all ages. According to a new research brief from the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute, children of parents working non-standard and unpredictable schedules are more likely to have decreased cognitive and behavioral outcomes. Who is more commonly affected? Blacks, less-educated parents, and young low-income single moms. What are some of the negative outcomes? The brief says that toddlers whose mothers work non-standard hours, for example, have worse sensory perception, learning, problem solving, and verbal communication, while 13- and 14-year-olds whose parents work at night are more likely to be depressed and to engage in risky behavior, such as smoking and drinking, than kids whose parents are at home at night.
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3 key trends in AV technology for schools
THE Journal
In schools from coast to coast, classroom learning environments are becoming more active and collaborative. Students are contributing to discussions and presentations, and the days of the "sage on the stage" are waning. This change is having a profound effect on the deployment of audiovisual technology in education. According to Mike Tomei, an independent audiovisual consultant who designs and installs AV systems for classrooms, "Classroom AV technology plays a big part in facilitating active learning environments." Makers of AV equipment have responded to districts' needs by developing new products that support more active and collaborative learning. Here are three key trends that show how they're doing it.
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Survey provides insight into teachers' out-of-pocket spending
K-12 TechDecisions
As the back-to-school shopping season ramps up, SheerID, a teacher verification provider, and Agile Education Marketing release the results of their annual survey of K-12 teachers about their spending habits. The average amount teachers spend of their personal funds on their classrooms hovered around $500 for the second year in a row. Agile Education Marketing and SheerID surveyed 536 K-12 teachers and discovered that 71 percent spent $200 or more out of pocket on school supplies, instructional materials, and professional development for the 2014-2015 school year. The majority spent more out of their own bank accounts than they received from either their school or their school district for classroom supplies.
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PRODUCT SHOWCASE
  Pilot Program: World Cultures Curriculum

All Around This World,
an experiential global music and world cultures program for kids, seeks elementary schools to pilot its “Explore Everywhere” classroom curriculum in '15-'16. Participating schools recevie full scholarship to Africa and Latin America series (up to 20 weeks each). Teacher training videos/webinars included. FUN! Intrigued? Click here.
 


Sexting, Internet safety loom large as childhood health concerns
Reuters
As more kids use mobile phones and surf the Web at increasingly younger ages, sexting and Internet safety are becoming bigger childhood health concerns, edging out longtime worries like smoking and teen pregnancy, a new poll suggests. Internet safety rose to become the fourth most commonly identified major problem in the 2015 C.S. Mott Children's Hospital national poll on children's health, up from eighth the year before, with 51 percent of adults this year citing it as a top concern.
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$9.2 million in grants to improve training systems
U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education announced the award of $9.2 million in grants to nine states to improve personnel training systems to help children with disabilities. States receiving grants are: Arizona, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada and Tennessee. The State Personnel Development Grants Program, authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, provides funds to assist states in reforming and improving their systems for personnel preparation and professional development in early intervention, education and transition services in order to enhance results for children with disabilities.
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Principals: Scott Walker's war on big government isn't helping schools
Education Week
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker may be slogging away on the presidential campaign trail, but a group of his state's principals haven't let their grievances with him (and state education policy) fall by the wayside. A group of 35 principals from the southern Wisconsin area wrote to Walker last month arguing that in the current policy and political climate, districts simply don't have the resources and support to provide what they should to students. And as a result of policy shifts stretching back over 20 years, these district leaders say, local school boards have not only lost the local control considered vital by many communities, but the "competitive business model" now governing education will lead to "segregated schools."
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States can play a role in improving school discipline, guide says
Education Week
School discipline is frequently viewed as a school- and district-level issue, but state boards of education can also play a role in determining that policies and practices are fair and effective, a new guide says. The guide, by the National Association of State Boards of Education, provides suggestions for states to get involved in the growing discussion around reducing the use of suspensions and expulsions and ensuring that children of all races, ethnicities and sexual orientations are treated equitably under school policies.
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Chicago laying off 500 teachers
CNN Money
The Chicago Public School system is laying off nearly 500 teachers and just over 1,000 support staff as it responds to a budget crisis it says is caused by increasing pension costs and declining state aid. Many of the affected teachers teach at schools with declining enrollments. That's why about 60 percent of the teachers who are being laid off are expected to be rehired before the start of the school year, since the district has fill 1,450 teacher openings at other schools.
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'Panic button' for K-12 schools unveiled
Arkansas Online
State legislators unveiled an emergency alert button for K-12 schools, as part of the School Safety Act of 2015, during a news conference at the Arkansas State Capitol. The "panic button," a product of Framingham, Mass.-based Rave Mobile Safety, will be implemented at more than 1,000 public schools across Arkansas during the 2015-16 school year. Its intent is to provide enhanced security measures for more than 500,000 Arkansas students, faculty and staff through what Rave Mobile Safety describes as a "simple five-button interface." "Having the ability to instantaneously connect teachers and school administrators with 9-1-1 and other emergency personnel will give us, and Arkansas parents, a much greater sense of confidence as we begin a new school year," state Education Commissioner Johnny Key said in a statement.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Research trends: Why homework should be balanced (Edutopia)
Introducing grammar exercises for English language learners (By: Douglas Magrath)
The ultimate guide to gamifying your classroom (Edudemic)
Study: Billions of dollars in annual teacher training is largely a waste (The Washington Post)
When parents are the ones getting schooled by the Common Core (The Atlantic)

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




Sign up for notifications on 2016 Conference
NAESP
The Best Practices for Better Schools™ Conference & Exposition held at the Gaylord National Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland is your best source for summer professional development. Join us next year, July 6-8, at the nation's capital for engaging sessions and workshops designed to elevate your knowledge and skills.
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Register for next mentor training in Alexandria, Va.
NAESP
The NAESP National Mentor Training and Certification Program is designed to engage retired and experienced principals to give back to their profession by supporting new, newly assigned or even experienced principals through mentoring. Register now for an upcoming session in Alexandria, Virgina, Oct. 2-3.
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