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White House details plans for more digital learning
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The White House will unveil plans for a research center that aims to infuse more digital learning into the nation's classrooms. The center, dubbed "Digital Promise," will aid the rapid development of new learning software, educational games and other technologies, in part through helping educators vet what works and what doesn't. Among the new ideas: a "League of Innovative Schools" that will test-drive promising technologies and use its collective purchasing power to drive down costs. More

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Turning digital natives into digital citizens
Harvard Education Letter    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Today's K–12 students are commonly called "digital natives" because they have grown up with digital technology. But natives can run wild, using the Internet to (wittingly or unwittingly) plagiarize others' work or bully peers using social media. Now, educators are teaching digital natives how to become good digital citizens. As defined by federal officials in the recently released National Education Technology Plan and by educators in the National Educational Technology Standards for Students, model digital citizens "practice safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and tools." More



Engaging students with Twitter
THE Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
On any given school day you can find Enrique Legaspi's eighth-grade history and leadership class at Hollenbeck Middle School in Los Angeles using Twitter to learn more about the events of World War I, collect and share information about the women's suffrage movement and round up information about university-level programs. It's all in a day's teaching for Legaspi, who has been using Twitter actively in his classroom since learning of the micro-blogging platform's educational applicability from other educators. More

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New STEM schools target underrepresented groups
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At a time of heightened national attention to improving education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, new STEM-centered schools have cropped up across the country to boost knowledge and interest in the subjects. While STEM schools have historically tended to target the top math and science students in a state or district, this new wave appears to have a broader reach, with many of the schools aimed especially at serving underrepresented groups, such as African-American, Hispanic, female and low-income students. More


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Some districts rethink last-minute teacher hiring
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg district in North Carolina recently found itself in a situation other districts might envy in a time of tight fiscal constraints. The 133,600-student district in North Carolina faced budget cuts this year, but, thanks to some last-minute changes, less money was taken away from the school system than originally anticipated. That welcome news sent the district into a hiring frenzy before the Aug. 25 start of classes. About 300 teachers signed on two weeks before school began. By Sept. 12, the district still had about 80 vacancies, for which principals were actively recruiting but had not yet identified a candidate. More

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New film fights negative perception of teachers
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Think of it as kryptonite for "Superman": As lawmakers work to strip teachers of their collective bargaining rights and school reformers place much of the blame for the problems plaguing public education at their feet, a new film from former teacher Ninive Calegari strives to tell the story of what it's really like for American school teachers from their own perspective. More

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Recess is making a comeback in schools
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As more Chicago public schools cash in on Mayor Rahm Emanuel's longer-day financial incentives by adding 90 minutes to their school day, the previous votes by a dozen schools to add about a half hour to the day by bringing back recess are going unnoticed. Restoring recess is part of a broader health push by parents, advocacy groups and some city officials to bring more exercise and better nutrition to both schoolchildren and preschoolers. More

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What makes teachers productive?
The New York Times (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
If you watch the documentary "Waiting for Superman" or read Steven Brill's "Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools," you will learn that many advocates of school reform think they know how to increase teacher productivity: Rate teachers according to their students' performance on standardized tests and fire those who don't make the grade. But economic theory suggests several reasons why this approach will probably backfire. Scores on standardized tests are not an accurate measure of success in later life, because they don't capture important aspects of emotional intelligence, such as self-control and ability to collaborate with others. More

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Education impact of jobs bill under debate
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Educators and analysts are taking a hard look at whether the $55 billion K-12 portion of President Barack Obama's nearly $450 billion jobs plan will provide the jolt to schools still feeling the pinch of a sputtering economy that the administration hopes. The plan faces long odds on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are struggling to trim at least $1.2 trillion from the deficit over the next 10 years in a climate hostile to tax increases. But, if the plan does pass, some sympathetic analysts argue it would help school districts cover the cost of long-delayed school repairs and avert big layoffs and program cuts. More

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Some states, districts abandoning performance pay
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Two competing pressures — decreased finances and rising policy interest — have left the future of performance-based teacher compensation uncertain. A dicey fiscal climate and research that has shown limited impact have led some states and districts to scale back, abandon, or change their fledgling merit-pay programs, causing observers to wonder what the next few years will hold for compensation systems that link teacher pay to student achievement. More



California schools turn away unvaccinated students
The Associated Press via USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
California schools are turning away middle and high school students who have not received the whooping cough vaccine as required under a law passed last year after a historic spike in cases of the potentially fatal disease. The law passed in October initially required all students entering grades seven through 12 to get vaccinated by the start of the 2011-2012 school year. Lawmakers passed a 30-day extension this summer as districts worried many students wouldn't meet the deadline. More

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Philadelphia schools modify 'zero tolerance' policy
The Philadelphia Inquirer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
Buffeted by criticism that its expulsion process takes too long and unfairly tosses out students for minor offenses, the Philadelphia School District has modified its "zero tolerance" policy by creating a committee to review cases. Meeting once a week, the committee early on will flag cases in which students should not be expelled, thereby limiting the time they may have to spend in a disciplinary school. Other cases will be sent to formal hearings. The move, which introduces more discretion to the discipline process, is likely to result in fewer expulsions in the 151,000-student district, officials said. Last year, 181 students were expelled. More

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Idaho not likely to compete for preschool money
The Associated Press via Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The state Department of Education has recommended Idaho abandon efforts to compete for up to $50 million in federal grant money to improve preschool education programs during the latest round of the "Race to the Top" contest. Department spokeswoman Melissa McGrath said the decision was made after officials with the agency met with the state Department of Health and Welfare to discuss Idaho's application for the funds. More

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Pennsylvania budget had big impact in classrooms
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Seventy percent of Pennsylvania school districts that responded to a recent survey on the effects of state education budget cuts reported they increased class size, 44 percent reduced electives and 35 percent decreased tutoring programs. In addition, the survey, conducted in August by the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials and Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators, found that the average school district used more than a half-million dollars from its reserve fund to balance the 2011-12 budget and that many districts now have no reserve fund. More

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Wyoming lawmakers consider reversing Common Core adoption
Star-Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Wyoming lawmakers concerned with the state's adoption of national education standards said they need more time to consider repealing the decision. Lawmakers studying a statewide education accountability system directed the Legislature's Joint Interim Education Committee to revisit the adoption decision made in June 2010 by the Wyoming Board of Education. More

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Win $5,000 for your school — Applications due this week
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
Apply by Wednesday, Sept. 21, for the 2011-2012 Sharing the Dream grant program. The NAESP Foundation, with the and MetLife Foundation, will awarding 25 elementary and middle schools with $5,000 each to create projects focused on global engagement. More

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Register now for NAESP's 2012 Conference and Expo
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Join elementary and middle-level principals from across the country March 22-24 and learn how to transform your school into a high-performing learning community. Don't miss this year's expert speakers, including Diane Ravich, Douglas Reeves, Andrew Hargreaves and many more. More

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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 Cynthia Rosso at crosso@naesp.org.
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