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Can school networks handle Common Core demands?
eSchool News
A majority of school districts feel that their networks are not equipped to handle the demand that online assessments — a key part of the Common Core State Standards — will require, according to a survey conducted by Enterasys, a wired and wireless infrastructure company. Seventy-three percent of survey respondents said they are "not very confident" that their current networks will be able to support the capacity needs of Common Core State Standards assessment.
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How safe are your schools? Strategies for defending against armed attackers
By H. Anthony Semone, Ph.D., and Harris Sokoloff, Ph.D.
School superintendents across the nation are working with staff, local police, fire officials and other experts to figure out how to make sure nothing like the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School happens in their districts. Although we are unlikely to be able to achieve that goal — sadly, one or more heavily armed and determined attackers will be nearly impossible to stop — we can get close.
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Classroom chaos? Critics blast new Common Core education standards
Fox News
A full year before students around the nation submit to the new Common Core standardized tests, the federally-backed program is already causing chaos and confusion at local school board meetings, in the classroom and at the dinner table. As critics fear Washington is poised to take control of what and how local districts teach kids, school administrators are adopting new curriculum in an effort to ensure their students outperform their peers and parents worry that their children are being used as academic guinea pigs. As the program gets closer to full implementation, a full-blown backlash is developing despite assurances from supporters that it is merely a test aimed at establishing a national standard.
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Common Core in action: Math in the middle school classroom
Edutopia
Aligning instruction to meet the Common Core State Standards is the new norm for educators across most of the United States. In the middle school math classroom, technology can be used to help students reach mastery of these Common Core skills. Let's take a look at a sixth grade geometry standard and how, using technology, teachers can promote engagement through student-centered exploration of this skill.
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Apps are the new flashcards for kids
Omaha World-Herald
Teachers, especially those in lower grades, for years have sent home notes encouraging parents to practice flash cards with their youngsters and to read for 20 minutes a day. These days, there's an app for that. Some schools and teachers have begun recommending educational apps and websites for families to use at home. They believe the technology, and the tools that come with it, help draw kids deeper into lessons.
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Can technology help students find the 'sweet spot' for learning?
MindShift
Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham wrote a book called "Why Don't Students Like School?" The book is complex and fascinating — and 228 pages — but you can basically boil the answer down to this: Students don't like school because school isn't set up to help them learn very well. The first thing to know is that everyone likes to learn. "There is a sense of satisfaction, of fulfillment, in successful thinking," writes Willingham. But it's not fun to try to learn something that's too hard.
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States may move closer to uniform way of identifying ELLs
Education Week
The widespread adoption of the Common Core Standards and the imminent rollout of shared content assessments is pushing states to find common ground in yet another dimension of schooling: how best to serve the growing population of English language learners. With a just-released set of recommendations from the Council of Chief State School Officers to help guide them, most states are now set to embark on an effort to bring more uniformity to identifying who English learners are and when those students are no longer in need of language instruction. The goal is to move all states to a more consistent playing field over the next four or five years.
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Bringing the classroom outside creates a lasting impression
ED.gov Blog
Imagine a school that allows students to canoe down a river, hold a bird of prey, and rappel down a cliff wall, among numerous other fun and exciting outdoor activities, for an entire school year. This one-of-a-kind opportunity is available through the WOLF (Wonders of the Ozarks Learning Facility) program, the product of a successful public-private partnership between the Springfield, Missouri public school system, Bass Pro Shops, and the Wonders of Wildlife Museum. And the best part about it is it's free.
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Districts turn to intensive PD to prepare for Common Core
THE Journal
With the 2014-2015 introduction of the Common Core State Standards right around the corner, Crystal Morse knew that the 45 staff members at Bauerwood Elementary in Jenison, Mich., would need help getting up and running with the new benchmarks. As school principal, Morse said she looked around for enrichment options and found what she wanted from Discovery Education, which her staff had been using for two years.
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Parents' goals guide ADHD treatment choice
HealthDay News
Parents' goals for treating their child's attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder tend to steer the treatment in a distinct direction, new research shows. When parents' main concern was their child's academic performance, they often chose medications as the treatment of choice, but if parents were more worried about their child's behavior they tended to opt for behavioral therapy as an initial treatment.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    10 things we've learned about learning (Smithsonian Magazine)
4 essential principles of blended learning (MindShift)
7 powerful STEM resources for girls (Edudemic)
New accessible playground rules may not go far enough (NPR)
Will gaming save education, or just waste time? (THE Journal)

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


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Cato research: States under-report education spending
THE Journal
Libertarian think tank the Cato Institute has shone a light on how transparent states are about their spending for education. In a recent report, the nonprofit organization's Center for Educational Freedom examined the spending data made available by all 50 state education departments of education through their websites. According to the report, few education departments provide financial information that's complete or timely or understandable by the public.
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Recess can reduce bullying and prepare kids to learn, research says
The Washington Post
When D.C. students discovered that recess had been cut to a minimum of 15 minutes per day, many parents launched an immediate protest. Others merely shrugged. "Teachers should be teaching. Students should be learning," wrote Steve Sweeney, a parent at Tyler Elementary on Capitol Hill, whose three daughters told him that recess was no more than a chunk of unstructured social time in the middle of the day. But research released this spring showed that recess — when it's well-organized — can make a real difference in schools, resulting in students who feel safer, bully less and are more ready to learn.
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Report: States still fall short on schools' disaster preparedness
Education Week
Despite the tragedies of the last school year in Newtown, Conn., and Moore, Okla., more than half of states are lacking when it comes to their policies and plans for school emergency preparedness, according to Save the Children's 2013 National Report Card on Protecting Children in Disasters.
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What if you only had 5 minutes to inspire a student?
Education Week (commentary)
First impressions are important. We know this. We've heard about it in commercials and read about it in books. The statement, "You don't get a second chance to make a first impression," is a popular statement that is ingrained in our psyche. As much as we often think this only means adult-to-adult relationships, it also pertains to the relationships we have with our students.
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School libraries: A shift to digital
eSchool News
The school library is changing. Instead of a stuffy and silent space filled with books, today’s school libraries are becoming collaboration centers, where teachers and librarians work together to help students develop technology skills and evaluate digital information.

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New Common Core resources for educators
eClassroom News
New resources released this month link Common Core-aligned curriculum with any school system's assessment data, and what's more, these resources for educators are also 100 percent free.

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8 principal leadership tips for the new year
Connected Principals Blog
Justin Tarte, a contributor for Connected Principals Blog, writes: "I recently had the opportunity to hear Andy Greene, Middle School Principal from New York, speak to us about collaboration and the PLC process."

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Schools spend millions to boost security
The Journal News
On a hot August afternoon, three weeks before the start of school, Mark Betz, the assistant superintendent of business for the Bedford school district, surveyed a vestibule under construction at Fox Lane Middle School. The glass-door enclosure in the front of the building will be a place for visitors to wait until they are verified and buzzed in. "People don't have to stand out in the open during inclement weather," said Betz, standing at the entrance of the school, which is on a 155-acre campus that also houses the high school and the district offices. "But, at the same time, the days of unfettered access to buildings are over. You need to have a reason to come into the building."
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School libraries: A shift to digital
eSchool News
The school library is changing. Instead of a stuffy and silent space filled with books, today's school libraries are becoming collaboration centers, where teachers and librarians work together to help students develop technology skills and evaluate digital information. Over the past decade, studies have shown that students in schools with endorsed librarians earn higher scores on standardized reading tests, and those scores are higher regardless of students' socioeconomic level and despite overall school staffing declines.
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Schools obligated to maintain IEPs when kids move
Disability Scoop
Schools have a special responsibility to provide continuity when students with disabilities move from one district to another, federal education officials say. In a letter to state directors of special education this summer, officials from the U.S. Department of Education clarified that schools have a duty under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to provide comparable services to "highly mobile" students as they move between districts. This group includes kids from military families, those in foster care as well as migrants and children who are homeless, among others who move often, the department said.
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Music classes get a modern update
The Tennessean
On any given school day, Eakin Elementary School in Nashville, Tenn., music teacher Rita Black sings, dances, marches, jumps, twirls, claps and plays instruments to engage her students in class. As in decades past, her students play "Hot Cross Buns" on recorders and shake jazz hands in recitals, but the overall learning environment in music education is changing. Metro schools encourage technology-enhanced learning, and in response, Eakin Elementary and Edison Elementary are participating in a pilot program for Quaver Music — a technology-based curriculum that incorporates multimedia resources like interactive whiteboards and mobile devices to spark students' interest in music. Seven other schools in Davidson County are also using the program, along with 1,500 schools nationwide.
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New school year brings heightened focus on reading
Wisconsin Journal Sentinel
With the new school year underway, the countdown is on for kindergarten teacher Cassie Kerber — she has nine months to help more than 20 children be ready to read for first grade. One tool she and other early education teachers in Wisconsin will use this year to help meet that goal is a new statewide assessment aimed at determining the pre-literacy skills of young children, and getting those who are struggling more help, and quicker than before. Wisconsin's budget set aside $2.5 million this year to fund a universal literacy screener for kindergartners and first-graders, as part of a number of initiatives aimed at ramping up reading achievement in the state after years of stagnant test scores.
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Sharing the Dream grant applications due Wednesday, Sept. 11
NAESP
NAESP has again partnered with the MetLife Foundation to offer the Sharing the Dream grant program. Schools have an opportunity to win $5,000 grants to support global learning projects that engage children in transformative, multidisciplinary learning experiences. The deadline for submitting a proposal is Sept. 11.
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Webinar: Moving ordinary schools to extraordinary
NAESP
Are you ready to make your school extraordinary? Join a panel of principals for, "Moving Ordinary Schools to Extraordinary: Five Essential Skills for Every Effective Principal," a webinar on Tuesday, Sept. 17. Participants will share how they have improved teaching and learning in their schools using practices from a Wallace Foundation report, "The School Principal as Leader: Guiding Schools to Better Teaching and Learning."
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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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