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Mathematical Olympiads for Elementary and Middle Schools

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Rookie principals' group sheds light on early-career challenges
Education Week
In the months after Mike Carlson was hired as a middle school principal in the East Moriches district on the south shore of Long Island, New York, he found himself working between 60 and 70 hours a week. His stress level was high, clocking in at a 9 on a 10-point scale, he said. Carlson had a good relationship with his superintendent, who had been his principal in another district where Carlson was a teacher. But he was looking for a professional learning network made up of people like him who were new to the job of principal and navigating the ups and downs of the first few years.
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The latest in meal payment software
District Administration Magazine
Serving meals in schools has changed dramatically over the last few decades. Many students suffer food allergies, and others don't have enough money in their lunch account. With the latest software, administrators and parents can access account balances, allergies and other important information from their computers or mobile devices. Breakfast and lunch menus, nutrition tables and purchases can be viewed in real-time. Parents can receive alerts when their student's account balance is low, and can add more funds.
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Early results from Common Core tests show academic gains
THE Journal
Some states have begun to report the results of their Common Core-aligned state standardized tests from the 2014–2015 school year, and so far, most are showing increases in student achievement. States that have reported results so far include Arizona, Idaho, Missouri, New York, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia. Of those, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia were part of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, while Arizona, Missouri and New York used their own state-administered assessments. Results from Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers are not yet available.
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Here are the hardest English questions 3rd-graders had to answer on a statewide test
Business Insider
The New York State Department of Education has released a sampling of the 2015 Common Core standardized test questions given to third- through eighth-grade students this year. The exam is considered by some to be the toughest standardized test in the U.S. and has raised questions from testing experts about whether it's too difficult, The New York Times reported.
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Expanding the definition of flipped learning
Scholastic Administration Magazine
ASCD Faculty member Eric Carbaugh sat down with Dr. Rod Berger to talk about Flipped Learning and provide an updated definition of what it is and is not. Carbaugh started his work in higher education as a teaching assistant for Carol Tomlinson at the University of Virginia. Currently, he serves as an assistant professor of middle, secondary, and math education at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He also regularly works as a consultant for schools and districts throughout the country and as an ASCD faculty member for differentiating instruction and Understanding by Design. Recently, Carbaugh's work has focused on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, particularly as a starting point for high-quality curriculum and assessment, an essential component of both differentiation and UbD.
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5 tips to kick start the school year
Edutopia
It's the end of summer. Kids' minds have been on autopilot for three months, yet we expect them to walk into school on that first day ready to learn. It used to take me weeks to develop a relationship with the kids and get them engaged in class. After a few years of frustration at the time wasted getting them psyched for school, I came up with a plan to get the kids so excited that they'll be breaking down the doors to start class. Here are some of the ways that our staff is firing up the kids for their first day.
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The surprising initial results from a new Common Core exam
The Hechinger Report
The results have started to come in from some of the new Common Core-aligned exams given this spring. And the news is good. Surprisingly good. Two multi-state groups, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and Partnership for College and Career Readiness, spent years making standardized tests to judge how well students have mastered the Common Core, a set of educational standards which detail what students should be able to do in math and English in each grade.
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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.
 


University of Illinois researchers link physical fitness to better mathematical skills
International Business Times
Physical activity and exercise, such as aerobic, thin out the gray matter in the children aged between 9 and 10, claims a new study. According to a team of researchers at the University of Illinois, the thin gray matter or the layer of brain cells in the cerebrum is associated with better mathematical skills. The study suggests that cardiorespiratory fitness in children leads to thinning of the gray matter, a process which is part of the normal brain development in children. The study further provides an evidence that physical fitness contributed to the development of brain structures responsible for mathematical achievement, enhancing the maths skills and ability in an individual.
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Privacy tips to help teachers avoid a social media scandal
By: Jessica Taylor
Thanks to social media, privacy is gone in the education world. Scandals and complaints involving teachers who misuse social media have been occurring more frequently around the U.S., which has led school districts scrambling to create new guidelines. Only educators can decide whether social media is right for them. There are benefits, but also risks when using it. This infographic gives some great advice on best practices for social media and teachers.
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Students: Bring your own copier paper, cleaning supplies, tissues ...
The Washington Post
As millions of students head back to school in coming weeks, they'll be toting more than just a few notebooks and a backpack. Increasingly, public schools are leaning on families to outfit entire classrooms, asking them to supply items as varied as cardstock, copier paper, hand sanitizer and Band-Aids. "The supply list that used to be sent home was very short — you were asked to bring a notebook and pencils and pens and paper," said Michael Griffith, a senior policy analyst at the Education Commission of the States, a non­partisan think tank.
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Sorting teacher bias and 'high expectations'
MiddleWeb (commentary)
Cheryl Mizerny, a contributor for MiddleWeb, writes: "In the education profession, there is a tendency to jump on the next big idea in hopes of finding some sort of magic bullet for student success. As a result, there are new buzzwords, acronyms or 'revolutionary' technologies that appear with alarming frequency. One of these that gets a lot of attention is the concept of 'high expectations.' On its surface, this seems to be a winner. Who would argue for lowering our expectations? However, upon further inspection, it seems that what many people consider high expectations are actually overly militant behavior guidelines or inflexible approaches to having students demonstrate knowledge."
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3 reasons to start school year paperless with Adobe Document Cloud
EdTech Magazine
It's that time again: Students, teachers and administrators are returning to school for another year of homework, reports, assignments and, yes, papers. Despite many businesses moving toward exclusively digital transactions, every day, educators are still dealing with tons of paperwork. From school field-trip waivers to syllabi agreements to student homework, an endless amount of paper is passed between teachers and students. The newly updated Adobe Document Cloud offers a few solutions that should make it easier for educators to streamline their paper world.
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Why school should start later in the morning
The Atlantic (commentary)
For the first time, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging education policymakers to start middle- and high-school classes later in the morning. The idea is to improve the odds of adolescents getting sufficient sleep so they can thrive both physically and academically. The CDC's recommendations come a year after the American Academy of Pediatrics urged schools to adjust start times so more kids would get the recommended 8.5 to 9.5 hours of nightly rest. Both the CDC and the pediatricians' group cited significant risks that come with lack of sleep, including higher rates of obesity and depression and motor-vehicle accidents among teens as well as an overall lower quality of life.
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  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.
 
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Ready for the new school year? Get on top of these 4 education technology teaching trends
EdSurge (commentary)
The power of edtech is defined by what great teachers can do with the technology. Educators who transform classroom learning experiences are changing how they plan, communicate, provide feedback, and collaborate with their students. All of this is thanks to some powerful and clever edtech tools and resources.
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Kids' headaches spike in back-to-school season, researchers say
CBS News
If heading back to school gives your child a headache, new research suggests he's not alone. A new study finds headaches in children do increase in the fall, when academic stress, changing bedtime routines and other triggers may kick in. Researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, analyzed about 1,300 visits to the hospital's emergency department from 2010 to 2014. They found the number of visits for headaches among children ages 5 to 18 stayed about the same for most of the year, but jumped more than 31 percent in the fall.
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Teacher shortage? Or teacher pipeline problem?
NPR
Ah, back-to-school season in America: That means it's time for the annoyingly aggressive marketing of clothes, and for the annual warnings of a national teacher shortage. But this year the cyclical problem is more real and less of a media creation. There are serious shortages of teachers in California, Oklahoma, Kentucky and places in between. A big factor: Far fewer college students are enrolling in teacher training programs, as we reported this spring, exacerbating a long-standing shortage of instructors in special education, science and English as a second language. In California, enrollment in teaching programs is down more than 50 percent over the past five years. Enrollment is down sharply in Texas, North Carolina, New York and elsewhere.
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As budget battle looms, Education Department warns against early-ed. cuts
Education Week
The U.S. Department of Education went on the offense to protect federal education programs ahead of looming spending battles in Congress to stave of a government shutdown prior to the end of the fiscal year, Oct. 1. Specifically, the department took aim at the appropriations bills that passed through the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives that would slash funding for federal education programs by $1.7 billion and $2.8 billion, respectively.
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States gaining a say on school accountability
Education Week
Whether a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind Act makes it over the finish line this year, the federally driven accountability system at the heart of the law seems destined to go the way of the Blockbuster video. The Obama administration has already opened the door to major flexibility by issuing waivers from the NCLB law, the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. And now, a pair of ESEA rewrite bills headed to conference in Congress would give states acres of new running room when it comes to setting student achievement goals, figuring out how much tests matter, evaluating teachers and more.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    The movement From STEM to STEAM (By: Brian Stack)
New tests push schools to redefine 'good enough' (NPR)
Study: Most teens start school too early in morning to get enough sleep (USA Today)
Teacher shortages spur a nationwide hiring scramble (credentials optional) (The New York Times)
Listening to teachers: How school districts can adopt meaningful change (MindShift)


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




Update: ESEA to Move to Conference Committee
NAESP
July 2015 has turned out to be one of the busiest (and most historic) months on record in the United States Congress in terms of federal education policy. Following years of delay, both the House and the Senate passed bills this month to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The law, also known as No Child Left Behind, has been expired for eight years and continues to hamper educators with heavy regulation that perpetuates a "test and punish" approach to federal accountability. While momentum is strong to renew the law and NAESP is encouraged by the progress to date, the process still has a long way to go before it can be considered a legislative accomplishment in the 114th Congress. Update: Find NAESP's latest comments on the ESEA conference committee process here.
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Changing the culture on school discipline
NAESP
Students' behaviors are learned, and each one serves a purpose — getting a teacher's attention, for instance or expressing emotions. Managing those not-so-positive behaviors can be quite a challenge — but it also presents educators with a golden opportunity to teach students positive, pro-social, problem-solving actions.
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