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Early absenteeism in school can point to later problems in life
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
It's just kindergarten. Maybe you had that thought when your 5-year-old woke up with a tummy ache or when you wanted to take your youngster on a trip for a few days or when your child missed the school bus. What's the harm in missing a day — or two or three — of school? Consider this: Children who miss a significant number of days in kindergarten often continue to miss a significant number of days in first grade. By third grade, fewer than 1 in 5 of those significantly absent in kindergarten and first grade are at grade level in reading. By fourth grade, when reading is required to learn just about everything, many never catch up. They may disengage from learning, have behavior problems and later drop out.
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Children benefit from positive peer influence in afterschool programs
Medical News Today
Children in afterschool programs who have a sense of connectedness with their peers are less likely to report emotional problems, according to Penn State researchers. Children exhibited fewer behavior problems if they perceived their peers were willing to encourage them to behave well. "Encouraging your friends to do something positive or to not misbehave may start from selfishness because you want your group to earn a certain activity or privilege, but it turns into working together as a team," said Emilie Phillips Smith, professor of human development and family studies.
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Survey: Math viewed as 'most valuable' school subject
Education Week
Ask a child to name his favorite class, and odds are you'll hear two letters: P.E. Ask an adult which subject has been most valuable in life, and the most popular answer turns out to be math. That's according to new survey results of American adults by the Gallup organization. About one-third of adults (34 percent) picked math. It wasn't even close. The next in line was English, at 21 percent, followed by science at 12 percent.
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Will new Common Core Standards mean less teaching to the test?
NPR
One of the big questions as Florida and 44 other states transition to new education standards and new tests over the next few years is how much time will teachers have to spend teaching to the test? Teachers complain that they can only spend classroom time on items which will appear on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. In addition, another complaint is that class time is used to teach kids how to take a test rather than imparting more important knowledge.
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More parents opting kids out of standardized tests
The Associated Press via The Huffington Post
While his eighth-grade classmates took state standardized tests this spring, Tucker Richardson woke up late and played basketball in his Delaware Township driveway. Tucker's parents, Wendy and Will, are part of a small but growing number of parents nationwide who are ensuring their children do not participate in standardized testing. They are opposed to the practice for myriad reasons, including the stress they believe it brings on young students, discomfort with tests being used to gauge teacher performance, fear that corporate influence is overriding education and concern that test prep is narrowing curricula down to the minimum needed to pass an exam.
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iPads create learning experience for students, teachers
Evansville Courier & Press
It wasn't just the students at Evansville Lutheran School in Evansville, Ind., who needed to get accustomed to a new classroom tool when the school year began; teachers have also had to adapt to integrating and using iPads on a daily educational basis. On Aug. 13, when the school year started at ELS, every fourth- through eighth-grader walked into their classroom with not only pencils, paper and lunchboxes, but also their very own iPad. The school is implementing a one-to-one initiative after testing the possibilities last year when ELS used a private donation and funds to purchase two mobile carts of iPads — 25 for upstairs classrooms to share and 25 for the main level classes. School officials decided it would be beneficial to implement the program to better prepare students for the 21st century.
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What will be your faculty focus?
Education Week (commentary)
Peter DeWitt, an elementary school principal, writes: "Have you ever wondered whether there were any original ideas left in education? It seems like many educators recycle the same ideas and give them a new name. Perhaps I'm feeling a bit raw after sitting in a few days of training that was more about compliance than anything else. Don't get me wrong ... most trainings provide some sort of opportunity for growth and we know that, like anything else, you get out of it what you put into it."
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What are the risks of student cyberbullying?
Medical News Today
Details of a survey of middle and high school student attitudes to cyberbullying and online safety will be published in the International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environments. The analysis of the results shows that many children are bullied and few understand internet safety.
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How do you encourage leadership?
Connected Principals Blog (commentary)
Leaders are everywhere. They aren't just the ones in charge. Take for example the office clerk in Georgia, who was able to prevent who knows how many injuries or even possibly deaths. What if she had decided that it wasn't her job to step up and step in? That she wasn't a leader, that she was just a bookkeeper?
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6 free online resources for primary source documents
Edutopia (commentary)
The Common Core Learning Standards describe the importance of teaching students how to comprehend informational text. They are asked to read closely, make inferences, cite evidence, analyze arguments and interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text. Primary source documents are artifacts created by individuals during a particular period in history. This could be a letter, speech, photograph or journal entry. If you're looking to integrate social studies into your literacy block, try out one of these resources for primary source documents.
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4 education grants you don't want to miss
eSchool News
School funding difficulties show no sign of abating, and school budgets are stretched to the limit. Many educators and administrators rely on school grants to fund important projects and opportunities for students. During the beginning of every month, the editors of eSchool News compile a list of the most current education grants expiring soon — from digital reading to math research. You don't want to miss out on these school funding opportunities for teachers, students, parents and administrators.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    How many hours do educators actually work? (EdTech Magazine)
6 ways to motivate students to learn (MindShift)
With Common Core, fewer topics covered more rigorously (The New York Times)
Apps are the new flashcards for kids (Omaha World-Herald)
Common Core in action: Math in the middle school classroom (Edutopia)

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


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New school year brings sequestration pain for many districts
NPR
The superintendent of the Lancaster, Pa., school district is meeting with teachers and staff at George Washington Elementary. It's the start of a new school year, and he's trying to sound upbeat about the district's finances. "We continue to lose 5 and 10 percent of budgets each year," Pedro Rivera tells them. "And our overall goal is to make those plans and stretch out dollars to not impact you, because no kids should go without. Right?" Applause is polite but scattered, and Rivera's question hangs in the air. Employees here know the superintendent can't protect kids from the cuts the district is having to make.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword SEQUESTRATION.




Boston Public Schools adds anti-bullying texting to hotline service
THE Journal
Three and a half years after the City of Boston implemented a "bullying prevention hotline," Boston Public Schools has expanded options by adding a texting service for a similar purpose. TipTxt, a mostly free service from Blackboard, provides two-way texting. Now the district's 58,000 students can notify their schools of bullying or other safety concerns via texting device. TipTxt is a service that allows people to text information about a bullying incident to a dedicated number. Authorized individuals receive notification about the incident and can start a two-way text conversation with the person who made the report and use texted details to respond. Although Blackboard doesn't charge schools for the service, schools are required to purchase a "dedicated TipTxt line" at a cost of $125 per year per location.
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First trial ends in acquittal in school scandal in Atlanta
The New York Times
The first Atlanta school administrator to face trial in the largest school cheating scandal in the country was found not guilty. The case, heard by a Fulton County Superior Court jury, centered on whether Tamara Cotman, a former administrator, influenced a witness during the investigation of widespread cheating in the 52,000-student district. That investigation resulted in 65 indictments against 35 teachers and administrators, among them Beverly Hall, the superintendent once highly regarded for her work turning around a district plagued by poor academic performance.
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TRENDING ARTICLE
MOST POPULAR ARTICLE
How do you encourage leadership?
Connected Principals Blog (commentary)
Leaders are everywhere. They aren’t just the ones in charge. Take for example the office clerk in Georgia, who was able to prevent who knows how many injuries or even possibly deaths. What if she had decided that it wasn’t her job to step up and step in?

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10 things we've learned about learning
Smithsonian Magazine
It's the time of year when learning seems remarkably possible. Students are excited, teachers are motivated — let the learnfest begin. But by next month, it will become clear once again that the teaching/learning routine is a tricky dance, that all kinds of things, both in our heads and in our lives, can knock it off balance.

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Should schools still teach cursive?
MindShift
Sophomore Andrew Forbes of Nashville, Tenn., used cursive everyday in elementary school, from third grade through eighth grade. He was required to write out all his papers, worksheets, and notes in the flowing line of slanted script.

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1 district's Common Core bet: Results are in
Education Week
Staring at multicolored rows of names and numbers on a laptop screen, Dowan McNair-Lee is searching for clues to how well she taught her students. The 2012-2013 school year was a difficult journey, as the English/language arts teacher tried to move her challenging and varied group of 8th graders to mastery of the Common Core State Standards. Now, two weeks before the 2013-2014 year begins, she scrolls through year-end test scores that deliver part of the verdict on her success. Scanning the rows of data, color-coded by achievement level, brings a roller coaster of reactions. McNair-Lee claps and beams when she notices a student who moved from the "basic" level of performance to "proficient."
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Bill would cancel STAR testing in math, English this year in California's schools
The Sacramento Bee
California students and teachers are set to receive a one-year reprieve from standardized testing requirements that have become a routine part of school culture each spring. A plan introduced in the state Legislature would end the use of STAR tests in math and English for the school year already under way — a year earlier than planned. In their place, schools could opt in to computer-based assessments aligned to new curriculum standards called Common Core.
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Boston's new school-bus tracking system catching on
The Boston Globe
The Boston public schools' new website, "Where's My School Bus," appears to be connecting with parents and students. The bus-tracking system, which can be viewed on smartphones and computers, had 601 visitors on the first day of school on Wednesday and 1,263 visitors on Thursday, city officials said. The number of visitors increased even as more buses arrived to school on time Thursday. Some 83 percent of buses arrived before the bell on Thursday, up from 60 percent on Wednesday. (Rates for both days are somewhat comparable to the previous year.) City officials chalk up the uptick in website users to word of mouth among parents who are using the system.
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Wisconsin bill would let middle school students earn high school credits
Wisconsin State Journal
Wisconsin seventh- and eighth-graders would be eligible to earn high school credit as early as the 2014-2015 school year under a bipartisan bill introduced last week. Students taking courses that are taught using high school equivalent curriculum and assessments and are led by teachers licensed to teach the classes at the high school level could be granted credit by their school board under the bill authored by Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend. Middle school students should be able to receive high school credit for equivalent classes taken in grades seven and eight just as high school students receive college credit for Advanced Placement classes, Grothman said.
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Replacing AIMS test may cost Arizona additional $9 million per year
The Arizona Republic
Arizona's new student assessment will likely cost $9 million more a year than the current AIMS test, triggering questions among education advocates about who will pay for it. The new test will measure how well Arizona students are mastering the Common Core Standards and is expected to replace Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards in spring 2015. State officials estimate the new test will cost the state more than $22.5 million a year. Some education advocates are already nervous about the cost and fear that districts could incur additional technology expenses when they will be required to give the test online in 2016.
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Illinois's new exams will put grade school students to the test
Chicago Tribune
Illinois grade school students this school year will face the toughest state exam in 15 years, raising fears of unprecedented academic failure across the state. As students face more difficult questions and a higher passing bar, educators expect more of them will flunk and that virtually all public schools could fail to meet daunting federal requirements that every single child pass the exams.
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FCC invites educators to weigh in on broadband needs
NAESP
In June 2013, 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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4 tech takeaways from the 2013 conference
NAESP
NAESP's 2013 Annual Conference in Baltimore buzzed with great ideas and insights. One major theme throughout the conference was the ever-changing role of technology in education. Conference blogger Kimberlyn Pratesi wrote a post about "how technology has changed the dynamic of professional learning." But what are some of those tech-driven changes, and what do they mean for educators?
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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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