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Year-round schooling gains popularity
District Administration Magazine
Back-to-school has become a thing of the past in an increasing number of districts that keep class in session all year. The number of public, year-round schools — also called "balanced-calendar" schools — increased by 26 percent from 2007 to 2012, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. More than 3,700 schools operate year-round nationwide, accounting for about 4 percent of all public schools. About 11 percent of them are charters.
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Back to school? A crucial time for kids' social and emotional development
The Conversation
It’s that time of the year. Summer vacations are almost over. For most kids, this time of summer has been about finishing the readings and completing the packets that were handed out to them as summer work. As a result, school often conjures up ideas about reading, writing and arithmetic (the "three R's"). But this approach is both problematic and myopic. As pressures to meet standards in the three R's increase, other areas fall off the radar. Having an answer to a question becomes more important than knowing how to think about it.
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As Common Core results trickle in, initial goals unfulfilled
The Associated Press
Results for some of the states that participated in Common Core-aligned testing for the first time this spring are out, with overall scores higher than expected though still below what many parents may be accustomed to seeing. Full or preliminary scores have been released for Connecticut, Idaho, Missouri, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. They all participated in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, one of two groups of states awarded $330 million by the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 to develop exams to test students on the Common Core state standards in math and English language arts.
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Native math
The Atlantic
On one of the last days of school at Wyoming Indian Elementary School in the spring, Cheryl Williams is playing a game of "8-plus" with Atsa, a first-grader with a round, reflective face under a fuzzy thatch of black hair. These sessions are often playtime for Atsa, but they are always serious for Williams, a teacher who works one-on-one with young children to jump-start their stalled mathematical thinking. The game is simple. Atsa throws a die with the numerals four through nine on its six faces.
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Mind blown: Is a brain-wave reading, Gucci-designed headband coming to a classroom near you?
The Hechinger Report
A device in use during the ordinary school day can "read" each student's brain waves in real-time. No more guesswork about whether a student's droopy eyes are a result of boredom. Teachers can use science to determine the individual needs of each student — and adapt lessons accordingly — by way of a device lodged in a headband worn by students. It monitors activity in the brain, to measure whether a student is engaged during a lesson. Supporters of this type of technology say the information would allow a teacher to make real-time adjustments in the classroom.
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Science Weekly Magazine
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Back to school: 4-day school weeks may improve elementary test scores, attendance
Medical Daily
Kids learn to covet three-day weekends from the time they first enter grade school. Labor Day weekend and other random holidays provide the chance to escape school a day early and have more time for leisure activities. Now, a new study on students' reading and math scores finds a permanent four-day school week may actually be beneficial to education. Published in Education Finance and Policy, the study compared fourth and fifth-grade reading and math tests from the Colorado Student Assessment Program; students were both participating in four- and five-day school weeks.
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Classroom self-persuasion
Edutopia (commentary)
There is a general misconception that our beliefs are the cause of our actions. Often it is the other way around. Just like the fox, people will tell themselves a story to justify their actions. This helps to protect their ego during failure or indicate why they committed a certain action. Teachers need to place students in situations where they can persuade themselves that they were intrinsically motivated to behave a certain way or to carry out certain actions.
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When mindfulness meets the classroom
The Atlantic
A five-minute walk from the rickety, raised track that carries the 5 train through the Bronx, the English teacher Argos Gonzalez balanced a rounded metal bowl on an outstretched palm. His class — a mix of black and Hispanic students in their late teens, most of whom live in one of the poorest districts in New York City — by now were used to the sight of this unusual object: a Tibetan meditation bell. "Today we're going to talk about mindfulness of emotion," Gonzalez said with a hint of a Venezuelan accent. "You guys remember what mindfulness is?" Met with quiet stares, Gonzalez gestured to one of the posters pasted at the back of the classroom, where the students a few weeks earlier had brainstormed terms describing the meaning of "mindfulness." There were some tentative mumblings: "being focused," "being aware of our surroundings."
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Study: Classroom assignments fail to meet Common Core's higher bar
Education Week
There have been several notable efforts recently to determine whether textbooks are aligned to the Common Core State Standards — most of which have had fairly negative findings. A new report looks at whether individual classroom assignments meet the Common Core criteria for literacy. And it, too, finds that alignment, for the most part, is lacking. The Education Trust, a research and advocacy think tank that has long been a proponent of the common standards, analyzed 1,500 student tasks assigned at six urban middle schools. The assignments were given in English/language arts, humanities, social studies and science classes over a two-week period in February and March of this year.
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Embracing the 9 themes of digital citizenship
EdTech Magazine
As our society races toward a realization of the Internet of Things, there is an increasing emphasis in the world of K-12 education to get technology into the hands of staff and students. Something that's missing from this race is a collective effort to educate not only our students but also our staff on the importance of understanding what it means to be a responsible digital citizen. We have access to more information through various mediums and more exposure to the world around us than ever before. With this access and exposure comes a responsibility that people of all ages are lacking a true understanding of — namely, the lasting digital footprint that we create every day.
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Report: Chronic school absenteeism is contributing to academic gap
The Washington Post
The nation's large and persistent education achievement gaps are rooted in a largely hidden crisis of chronic absenteeism from school, especially among low-income and minority children, according to a new report that compiles recent research on school attendance. School districts tend to focus on truancy, or skipping class. But that focus misses a big part of the problem, according to the report by two nonprofits: Attendance Works, a group that seeks to highlight the connection between attendance and academic success, and the Healthy Schools Campaign.
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How satellite technology can help close the digital divide
eSchool News
As high-speed internet service becomes more ubiquitous in American households, some readers might be surprised to find out that a "digital divide" exists in many of our schools. According to a 2014 blog post from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, "Forty-one percent of America's rural schools couldn't get a high-speed connection if they tried," — where a high-speed connection is defined as offering speeds of 10Mbps or higher. Whereas he may have been right that they don't have it, he was wrong to conclude they couldn't get it. Indeed, many individuals living in urban areas are typically well served by fiber-optic, cable or DSL providers, unaware that high-quality satellite internet is available virtually everywhere, nationwide, and at affordable prices — no matter where you live, work, or go to school.
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Math-letes rule! Fit, healthy kids do better in school, especially math
CNN
The familiar saying that exercise is good for the body and mind may be especially true for children. Kids who are physically fit actually have differences in their brain structures that might allow them to do better in math, according to a new study. Researchers put a small group of children ages 9 and 10 to the test both mentally, with standardized math and reading exams, and physically, testing their endurance on a treadmill. They also scanned their brains using MRI and found that the children who could run for longer periods of time on the treadmill had thinner sections of gray matter in the front of their brains, which actually signifies more brain maturation, than those with lower stamina. These children also ran laps around their less fit peers in the math test.
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One-third of US schools use this data technology
eSchool News
One-third of K-12 schools in the United States have adopted Clever to secure student data, the company announced. At a time when schools are rapidly embracing technology, Clever is now empowering 44,000 of them to do so while maintaining student data privacy and security. Founded by educators, Clever is a secure software platform that makes it easy for schools and students to use learning software in the classroom. Schools use Clever to securely integrate their learning software with their Student Information Systems, saving teachers from having to create individual accounts for each of their students.
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Give your ADHD child a sensory break today
ADDitude Magazine
Do you breathe a sigh of relief when your child finally heads off to school? Do you find yourself anxiously anticipating her return home, not knowing what mood she'll be in? The morning routine didn't go so well, so you pray that the afternoon will run more smoothly. You can already see the homework struggles, and the distracted, impulsive behavior at the dinner table. You grab for a chocolate bar as a pacifier. What you may need, instead, are several effective sensory strategies for your ADHD child. Children with attention deficit have a complex sensory motor system. When it doesn't work efficiently, a child may act impulsively, get distracted easily, and become hyperactive.
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Colleges struggle to blend tech, teacher-training lesson plans
U.S. News & World Report
On a typical day in Corey Gilman's second-grade class, students view and listen to books on a Smart Board, following the text in their hardcover readers; they collaborate in small groups named for colors; and take turns using an iPod to listen to a reading of books they wrote by hand and then narrated. In between, they take "brain breaks" — 30-second bursts of moving and stretching under Gilman's direction. All the while, Gilman's iPad never seems to leave his hand.
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Survey: Parents on board with adaptive digital learning
THE Journal
The vast majority of parents welcome adaptive digital learning as part of their children's classroom learning experience, according to a survey from McGraw-Hill Education. The company commissioned TNS, a global research firm, to survey more than 2,500 adults in the United States between August 13 and 16, 2015. The survey asked people about their opinions and perceptions of educational technology, particularly personalized and adaptive learning technology.
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How schools are handling an 'overparenting' crisis
NPR
Have you ever done your children's homework for them? Have you driven to school to drop off an assignment that they forgot? Have you done a college student's laundry? What about coming along to Junior's first job interview? These examples are drawn from two new books — How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims and The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey. Both are by women writing from their experience as parents and as educators. Lahey is a middle school teacher and a writer for The New York Times and The Atlantic; Lythcott-Haims was the longtime freshman dean at Stanford.
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Arne Duncan's back-to-school bus tour to focus on preschool through career
Education Week
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's annual back-to-school bus tour is back in action and headed for the Midwest. And this year's focus goes beyond K-12 policy. The theme is "Ready for Success" with a lot of emphasis on the bookends of the edu-spectrum: early and higher education. The tour kicks off on September 14 and Duncan plant to make stops at a preschool in Kansas City, Missouri; a high school in Iowa to talk about college affordability with students and parents. And, also in Iowa, Duncan will chat with teacher leaders and shadow coaches at a middle school.
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Why teachers are working for free in Pennsylvania school district
The Christian Science Monitor
As public school students in Chester, Pa., prepare for school, their teachers will be preparing for something much more daunting than the first day of school: the prospect of weeks — perhaps even months — without a paycheck. And last week they decided that they're going to work anyway. "We're ready for the students to show up Wednesday morning," says Dariah Jackson, a teacher at Stetser Elementary School in Chester.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Report: More than half of students struggle with reading (eSchool News)
Common Core testing takeaways (District Administration Magazine)
Why pushing kids to learn too much too soon is counterproductive (The Washington Post)
This map shows how many more students are living in poverty than 9 years ago (The Huffington Post)
3 tips to boost student health and improve learning (Education Dive)

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




Back to school night best practices
NAESP
Back to School Night is critical for parent engagement: It sets the tone for the rest of the school year. While there is a general format that most schools follow, here are some best practices that should be incorporated to ensure that your night is a success.
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Register for Sept. 22 webinar on school climate
NAESP
Various education and business thought leaders have been clear in expounding the importance of culture as a paramount factor in determining the success of an organization. It is only through this strong foundation that collective goals and aspirations are achievable. In this upcoming webinar, principals will share how they have cultivated the culture in their schools to allow for greater teacher and student efficacy. The webinar takes place Tuesday, Sept. 22, 4 – 5 p.m. ET.
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