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School districts struggle to get principals to stay put
NPR
At Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts on the south side of Milwaukee, kids are back in class and getting their bearings in the sprawling building. So is Lila Hillman, the school's brand-new principal. She has to figure out where everything is, who everyone is, how to run a school — and how to answer everyone's questions. As Hillman walks through the halls, one teacher wants to know where to hang a cutout of a tree trunk. A few steps later, a janitor asks why all the lights went out in the school the night before. Even though the job at Parkside, a kindergarten through eighth grade school, is demanding, Hillman says it feels right to her. The mother of two was a middle-school teacher for 10 years and an assistant principal for seven.
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After Newtown, Conn., tragedy, some schools are all but bulletproof
NPR
As parents send their kids off to school this fall, many are wondering what's been done since last year to make sure they're safe. Many schools have embraced new security measures since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, from uniformed police on hallway patrol to shatterproof laminated windows.
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Smarter Balanced approves testing supports for English learners
Education Week
The Smarter Balanced states that are designing Common Core assessments have agreed to a series of testing supports for students that include native language translations of test directions and test items in mathematics for students who are not yet proficient in English. But not every English learner in the 25 states that make up the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium will have access to the range of available language supports. Member states with laws and regulations that restrict or prohibit the use of languages other than English to teach or assess ELLs do not have to offer such translation options for test takers.
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How to close the achievement gap: Arts education
Edutopia (commentary)
As we celebrate Arts in Education Week, it is fitting to point out the many benefits of arts education. Research has shown that the arts prepare students for success in school, work and life by boosting math and literacy achievement, developing creativity and critical thinking skills, strengthening perseverance, facilitating cross-cultural understanding and much, much more.
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Why teaching mindfulness benefits students' learning
MindShift
What do children and adolescents need to be successful in life? When this question arises, a common answer is "a good education." Academic success is the goal that is emphasized in standards-based movements about education reform, and it is currently in the forefront of public consciousness. The most typical benchmarks of academic success include outcomes such as test performance, progress through the educational system, and mastery of content knowledge. However, teachers and therapists who work with youth on a day-to-day basis, and who witness their progress and their struggles, know that there is more to this story. There is little doubt that in addition to academic success, we also want our youth to be happy and well.
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Aerobic fitness boosts memory and learning in children
Medical New Today
Researchers say that physical fitness in children can boost their memory and learning abilities, particularly when initially learning a task that is more challenging. The research, published in the journal PLOS ONE, was conducted by Lauren Raine and colleagues from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The study involved 48 children aged 9 and 10-years-old. On the first day, a test was carried out to measure the children's aerobic fitness. This involved conducting a maximal oxygen consumption test, which was done while the children carried out physical activity on a treadmill.
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Ideas for implementing literacy Common Core in the non-ELA classroom
Edutopia (commentary)
For those of us who work in states where the Common Core is already being implemented, we all must address the Common Core Standards, even if we are not English language arts or math teachers. However, this provides a great opportunity to support the literacy work already occurring in the ELA classroom. The Common Core Standards for Literacy in the History/Social Sciences, Science and Technical Subjects are all standards that non-ELA teachers, from art to science, can target. Consider the following ideas so that you can be not only effective but intentional in teaching and assessing the Common Core Standards.
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Blended learning paves way for digital content
eSchool News
Blended learning is by now a well-known concept. However during a day-long ed-tech summit devoted to connecting students and teachers to the technology, broadband and content they need to become college and career-ready, panelists explored how blended learning needs the right supports to become truly effective. "Blended learning is not using technology to diminish the role of teaching; it enhances the role of teaching," said panelist Bob Wise, former West Virginia governor and president of the Alliance for Excellent Education.
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What makes a successful urban principal?
eSchool News
"Urban schools often face great challenges, low test scores and high dropout rates," according to a recent PBS Newshour segment. But just as schools are trying to create 21st century learners, can education programs create the perfect urban school principal — leading to better test scores and higher graduation rates?
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Schools should have air conditioners
Slate (commentary)
Baltimore County will be closing its public schools early today due to the unseasonable heat. We're also seeing school closures widely in the midwest. And it really is hot. But all across the region things that aren't schools are staying open thanks to the miracle of climate control technology. The fact that we can't manage to get this done in our schools is laughably absurd.
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Tablets for education: Fewer iPads?
eSchool News
As more tablets emerge in the ed-tech marketplace, including Intel's new education-focused tablets designed with science inquiry and online collaboration in mind, tablet users are moving into two separate camps: those who are loyal to iOS devices, and those who favor newer, non-Apple tablets. Many IT leaders remain firmly planted in the Apple camp. One reason, besides Apple’s decades-long relationship with schools (which includes education discounts), is that the iPad was one of the first mass-consumed mobile tablets with an incredibly intuitive interface and thousands of vetted applications, many developed specifically for educators.
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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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What do I amplify?
Connected Principals Blog (commentary)
Johnny Bevacqua, a contributor for Connected Principals Blog, writes: "As a principal I spent a fair bit of time reflecting on ways I could support and empower teachers at the school. By supporting and empowering teachers, I felt, would go a long way in creating a culture of support and empowerment in the classroom — a sort of 'trickle down effect' — ultimately benefiting the students. As a principal, I always felt a tension in deciding on WHAT to amplify. There was no shortage of information."
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Why schools should budget for mobile apps
EdTech Magazine
The evolving mantra in modern education is that we should allow for exploration, discovery and off-the-cuff learning. Tablets are often touted as liberating devices that free students and teachers from the shackles of desktop computing. Mobile apps in particular have helped spur the notion that technology can do anything when it comes to fostering interactive learning. But why then don't more schools allot teachers a mobile app budget to purchase these innovations for classroom as they see fit?
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword MOBILE APPS.


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How educators can address parents' confusion about Common Core
MindShift
Although 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards, a recent Gallup/Phi Delta Kappa Poll revealed that 62 percent of Americans have never heard of Common Core, and 55 percent of public school parents don't know what it is. "Almost two of three Americans have never heard of the Common Core State Standards, arguably one of the most important education initiatives in decades, and most of those who say they know about the Common Core neither understand it nor embrace it," the Poll summary states.
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Paper: Federal officials should detail their Common Core work
Education Week
A new paper calls on the federal government to release information about how much time and money it has spent on the initiative. That recommendation, and others, are in a new paper released by the Pioneer Institute, "A Republic of Republics: How Common Core Undermines State and Local Autonomy over K12 Education." The Boston-based advocacy group has been one of the most outspoken opponents of the Common Core State Standards, which have been adopted by all but four states. The paper is co-sponsored by several organizations that have also been highly critical of the standards: the American Principles Project, the Pacific Research Institute and the Civitas Institute.
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What makes a successful urban principal?
eSchool News
"Urban schools often face great challenges, low test scores and high dropout rates," according to a recent PBS Newshour segment. But just as schools are trying to create 21st century learners, can education programs create the perfect urban school principal — leading to better test scores and higher graduation rates?

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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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EPI Report: Let's reverse the damage from Race to the Top
Education Week
A new report by the Economic Policy Institute finds big flaws in the Race to the Top program and questions how much the $4 billion spent to spur education improvements in the states will actually narrow achievement gaps and improve student outcomes. The report by the American Association of School Administrators and the Broader Bolder Approach to Education, a national campaign launched by the left-leaning EPI. The Race to the Top is the Obama administration's signature education-improvement tool, funded originally with $4 billion in economic-stimulus money provided by Congress in 2009.
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Report: 'Pink slime' ground beef product returns to school lunches in 4 states
The Huffington Post
School officials in four states have decided to allow Beef Products Inc.'s lean finely textured beef — the ammonia-treated mash of meat trimmings more commonly known as "pink slime" — back into their school lunch programs for the coming year, Politico's Bill Tomson and Helena Bottemiller Evich report. Government data uncovered by Tomson and Evich show that schools in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Texas ordered ground beef that "may contain the controversial product" for use in school lunches over the next nine months. They join schools in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota, which didn't stop serving "pink slime" after a national outcry over the product erupted in spring 2012.
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Despite effort to curb cheating on tests, doubts remain
The Texas Tribune
Amid fears that systematic cheating on state standardized exams could extend beyond an embattled West Texas district — and doubts about its own ability to investigate allegations of improper practices — the state agency charged with overseeing Texas public schools is stepping up its scrutiny of accountability violations. The Texas Education Agency recently announced it would create a department devoted to reviewing compliance with accountability requirements. The news came on the same day the State Auditor's Office released a highly critical report that concluded the agency had failed to fully review past claims of cheating and lacked a process to adequately address them in the future.
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School system partners with sleep experts on start times
Psychiatric News
With 1 in 5 Fairfax County, Va., high school seniors reporting an average of less than five hours of sleep a night, many educators and sleep specialists agree that change is needed. The Fairfax County Public Schools, in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., have enlisted sleep specialists at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., to develop a plan to delay the county high schools' start time to 8 a.m. or later. The nation's 11th-largest school district, Fairfax County serves more than 181,000 students in 196 elementary, middle and high schools. The county has 28 high schools, serving diverse populations.
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Massachusetts school district closed due to slick floors
The Associated Press via The Huffington Post
A Massachusetts school district has canceled classes for the day because floors are too slippery. The Amherst Regional School District announced on its website that all six of its schools are closed Thursday because of "weather-related building issues." Amherst Regional High School Principal Mark Jackson said there had been 22 reported falls throughout the district because of slick floors. He had not heard of any serious injuries. He says the schools' floors were waxed during the summer and the high temperatures melted the wax and made the floors slick. The superintendent made the decision to close the schools. The district serves children from Amherst, Pelham, Leverett and Shutesbury.
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Duncan sells benefits of Common Core standards, technology to Arizona students
The Washington Post
Simone Ufondu, 11, stepped onto Bus 2001 Wednesday morning and slid into a seat next to a tall stranger. Simone, a sixth-grader at Dodge Middle School, didn't recognize her seatmate, Education Secretary Arne Duncan. But once he introduced himself, she told him all about her school, and the improvements she'd like to see. "I want to be able to express our individuality," Simone said after the ride.
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Sharing the Dream grant deadline extended to Sept. 21
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 has been extended to Sept. 21, 2013.
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Call for proposals now open for 2014 NAESP Conference
NAESP
Principals are invited to submit a conference proposal to present a session at NAESP's 2014 Annual Conference, BEST PRACTICES FOR BETTER SCHOOLS™, on July 10-12, 2014, at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tenn. The deadline for submitting your proposal is Thursday, Oct. 31.
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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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