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Evolving teacher evaluation laws
By Archita Datta Majumdar
Traditionally, most teachers looked at teacher evaluation laws and related exercises as part of the disciplinary process of the profession. Evolving teacher evaluation laws, however, have brought forth the need to provide more in-depth education that keeps up with modern times and emerging technologies, thereby creating a way for more intrinsic growth of teaching methods. These laws are now focused on more than the No Child Left Behind Act. They are focused at honing talent — creating better teachers and ultimately helping students learn better.
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Bullying less likely in children who overestimate their popularity
Medical New Today
Children who overestimate their popularity are less likely to be bullies than those who underestimate or hold more accurate assessments of their social standing, finds new research presented at the 108th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association. "The more kids overestimated their popularity, the less aggression they displayed," said Jennifer Watling Neal, an assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University.
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School music programs to be restored — with strings
The Buffalo News
The Brown administration in New York has agreed to help restore the Buffalo Public Schools' instrumental music programs, half of which were cut in the 2013-14 budget. But just like some of the instruments themselves, the money comes with strings attached. The city will pay up to $400,000 to ensure that band and orchestra programs play on in the coming school year, but Mayor Byron W. Brown is not writing a check to the district. The money will pass through Say Yes to Education, which will oversee how the money is spent and ensure that the district comes up with a plan to continue the programs in future years.
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Is your student 'competent'? A new education yardstick takes the measure
The Christian Science Monitor
Grading at Sanborn Regional High School in Kingston, N.H., is not influenced by some of the more traditional factors, such as turning in homework on time or doing extra credit. Instead, each class defines a set of about four competencies central concepts and skills, and a student must be proficient in each one to pass. Stellar performance in one can't make up for lack in another. Students here have multiple opportunities along the way to show teachers what they know: There are quizzes and tests, yes, but also projects, individual portfolios, and class performances.
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Middle schools exploring project-based learning
Daily Press
The opening of the new Page Middle School in Virginia is also expected to usher in a new style of education being delivered in the county's two middle schools. The Gloucester County School Board gave preliminary approval to a plan from school system administrators that makes project-based learning a focus in the classroom when students enter Page and Peasley middle schools in September 2015. Project-based learning moves away from an emphasis on learning for standards that is focused on test performance, a criticism of the current education model that is geared to achieving results on standardized tests and assessments.
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Educators plugging in to students' tech abilities
The Beaumont Enterprise
Pretty soon, a smartphone or tablet may be on your child's school supply list. School districts across the country have found that putting a technological device in students' hands may be one of the best ways to engage them. Most school districts, however, do not have the funds to purchase a device for every student. The solution? Have students bring their own devices to school. That's what Nederland ISD in Texas is doing this year.
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Creating your own eTextbooks for Common Core
eSchool News
In an effort to save schools and districts money that's often spent on outdated textbooks, many of which are not aligned with the Common Core State Standards, innovative educators and administrators are using online resources to create customized eTextbooks. In a recent edweb.net webinar, "Create Your Own Textbooks for the Common Core," Nicole Rothbauer, an intervention specialist for Salem City Schools in Ohio, detailed how her district didn't want to spend money on old textbooks that didn't reflect the Common Core State Standards.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    How peanuts became Public Health Enemy No. 1 (Education Week)
Empathy: The most important back-to-school supply (Edutopia)
Just how effective are the Common Core State Standards? (eSchool News)
Why are so many students bored? (Psychology Today)
School security tightens in wake of Sandy Hook (Stateline via The Huffington Post)

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


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In testing, a principal leans on her experience
The New York Times
Since 2000, Anna Allanbrook has been the principal of Public School 146 in the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn, N.Y., one of the highest-achieving elementary schools in the city. It is so popular that each year she holds an admissions lottery — last spring, 1,538 children applied for 175 slots. As principal, it is her job to make sure children learn, hire talented teachers, create an environment where good teachers thrive and encourage families to be involved.
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Want to be successful? Be a sponge
Connected Principals Blog (commentary)
George Couros, a contributor for Connected Principals Blog, writes: "I have worked with some brilliant leaders and educators and I have noticed the same things about all of them. They listen. No matter their position, they are successful because they see every opportunity as an opportunity to learn. Even when they are in a higher position than myself, they see an interaction with myself and others as an opportunity for them to always stay on top of their game. The other things that I notice is that although they know they do not have all of the answer, they sure have a lot of questions."
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The reading wars never die
Education Week
In the wake of a recent controversial report that ranked teacher-preparation programs, combatants of the reading wars that dominated the 1990s have taken up arms again. The spark was a June report by the National Council on Teacher Quality that rated colleges of education. That report drew lots of flak for its methodology and conclusions. But it's also drawing another kind of response: attacks for overlooking best practice in preparing teachers to teach literacy.
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Reducing school emergency response times with X-ray vision
eSchool News
Recent high-profile school emergencies have brought school safety to the forefront of the national conversation once more. Across the country, communities are debating the merits of a wide range of solutions, from staffing schools with armed guards and arming teachers, to instituting video monitoring of school buildings and grounds. Cellphone use in schools is prevalent, and some parent groups advocate for use of this popular technology because it can ensure mobile communications both indoors and outdoors.
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Uniforms seen as bright spot in drab back-to-school season
Reuters via Chicago Tribune
When Robyn Asbell started kindergarten in Covington, Ga., she had to wear a white collared shirt and a khaki jumper instead of her favorite pink sequin dress. Asbell is among a growing number of U.S. school children who are required to wear a uniform. The trend is expected to gain steam as public school enrollment continues to set new records. That has boosted prospects for uniform sales in the United States and made the category one of the few bright spots this back-to-school season when the National Retail Federation expects overall spending to fall 8 percent.
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The best back-to-school apps for middle school students
The Huffington Post
Finding high-quality and appropriate educational apps for middle schoolers is tricky business. Preteens are no longer engaged by rudimentary games and childish characters, yet still lack the skills and discipline to take on more complex, high school-oriented subjects. Apps that hit the bullseye for this age group introduce critical thinking techniques and reach these fickle young learners on their own terms.
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TRENDING ARTICLE
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Creating your own eTextbooks for Common Core
eSchool News
In an effort to save schools and districts money that's often spent on outdated textbooks, many of which are not aligned with the Common Core State Standards, innovative educators and administrators are using online resources to create customized eTextbooks.

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How video games and social media fuel students' passion for art
MindShift
The average teenager consumes about 10 hours of media per day according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report, and that's often through a gadget like smartphone or tablet. But depending on what we choose to focus on, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

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How peanuts became Public Health Enemy No. 1
Education Week
Researchers aren't sure why, but over the past several years, the number of children reported to have allergies has doubled, to 5 percent of children in the United States. Yet at the same time, in schools and elsewhere, allergies have drawn what some see as an oversized amount of attention.

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STEM education a prime focus of Defense Department grants
Education Week
The Anne Arundel County school district in Maryland recently got word of a $2.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to increase STEM-focused opportunities in some of its schools that serve a high proportion of military-connected families, the Baltimore Sun reports. It turns out that the federal government, through the Department of Defense Education Activity program, is supporting a lot of STEM initiatives across the country.
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Ed-tech stakeholders advocate for boost in e-Rate cap
eSchool News
Inadequate internet connectivity is more than an inconvenience to teachers and students — it has the capacity to limit the educational and economic potential of more than 52 million students in more than 113,000 schools across the nation, according to ed-tech stakeholders. During an Aug. 12 briefing, John Harrington, CEO of e-Rate consulting firm Funds For Learning, said President Barack Obama's proposed ConnectED initiative, which aims to connect 99 percent of America’s students to the Internet through high-speed broadband within five years.
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25 US states now require some form of financial literacy instruction
District Administration Magazine
A new state law requires Arizona school districts to teach financial literacy skills. Arizona joins 24 other states that mandate some degree of K-12 financial literacy instruction. Missouri, Tennessee and Utah, which require students to take one semester of financial literacy in high school, have the strongest laws while other states, like Arizona, are only required to blend financial literacy into other subjects, such as math or economics. State Sen. Kimberly Yee, a Republican who sponsored the Arizona bill, says the legislation gives districts flexibility to create their own financial literacy curriculum, starting in elementary school.
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New principals for at least 24 DCPS schools
The Washington Post
Washington, D.C., public schools officials reported in late May that 16 city schools would open this fall with new principals. Since then, one of those schools reported a sharp rise in test scores and its principal was reappointed. But nine additional principals are departing due to retirement, resignation or nonreappointment. That means that at least 24 of the district's 112 schools — about a fifth of them — will see leadership turnover this year.
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Decade of recovery: New Orleans schools show progress
District Administration Magazine
It's been a decade since Louisiana established the Recovery School District to take over the lowest-performing schools in the state. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the RSD took over almost all the schools in New Orleans, and in the process restructured the city's school system on an unprecedented level. Over the past 10 years, New Orleans schools have gone from being some of the lowest performing in the country to becoming a working laboratory for a bold experiment in restructuring an urban public school system.
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FCC invites educators to weigh in on broadband needs
NAESP
In June, President Barack Obama's administration launched ConnectED, an initiative to increase technology access in schools. One of the goals of ConnectED is to update the E-Rate program. Now, the Federal Communications Commission has launched a formal public comment period to hear from stakeholders on how to modernize E-Rate. Educators can weigh in on how the program can better meet the needs of schools.
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Survey of school leaders reveals school uniform trends
NAESP
According to a recent survey of principals and other school leaders conducted by NAESP and Lands' End, school uniforms or a formal dress code policy in public schools are on the rise. Nearly half of principals surveyed have a policy in place or have plans to implement one — more than double the number from 2000. The survey also revealed that dress codes have a positive impact on school pride, student achievement and classroom discipline.
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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.

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