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Poor and rural schools to get Internet upgrade
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
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The Federal Communications Commission is expected to approve an overhaul of the $2.25 billion E-Rate program, which subsidizes Internet service for schools and public libraries, to give schools more options for faster Internet service, allow for community Internet service and begin pilot programs for digital textbooks. The proposed E-Rate order would allow schools and libraries to use federal funds to lease unused local communication lines — known as dark fiber — to connect to the Internet, a potentially faster and lower-cost connection than currently offered through many local telecommunications companies. More

What 'school refusal' means and how to fix it
The Wall Street Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
What child hasn't dreaded September, the end of summer and the return to school. But for some kids, the prospect of school produces a level of fear so intense that it is immobilizing, resulting in what's known as school-refusal behavior. These are the kids who may be absent for weeks or months. Some may cry or scream for hours every morning in an effort to resist leaving home. Others may hide out in the nurse's office. Some kids who miss school are simply truant — they'd just rather be doing something else. And sometimes there are genuine reasons to fear school, because of bullying, for example. But in about two-thirds of cases, a psychiatric problem, most commonly an anxiety disorder, is the cause, according to research led by Christopher A. Kearney, professor and director of clinical training at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. More

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Beaufort Board of Education in South Carolina approves new sex-education curriculum
Washington Daily News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Students in Beaufort County, S.C., public schools will receive lessons on abstinence, sexually transmitted diseases and contraception in classes that are separated by gender under a plan approved by the Beaufort County Board of Education. The board voted 6-3 to approve a new sex-education curriculum — after amending a plan to expand classes in which boys and girls will meet separately — that will be taught in the local schools. The plan presented to the board originally called for classes in sex education to be presented in co-educational classes, with the exception of instruction on contraceptives. More



Finding new ways to educate kids
Petaluma Argus-Courier    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It's like a miniature town, with little people earning a salary as they serve in a myriad of different jobs with the common goal of maintaining a successful, fully functioning community. But it's actually Cristy Pollak's sixth-grade class at Corona Creek Elementary School, in which students serving in these roles learn about economics and tackle work that otherwise might not get done, due to recent statewide budget cuts. And Pollak is one of many local teachers who have developed innovative ways as they have attempted to cope with the unprecedented wave of cuts, which have resulted in a loss of instructional and professional development days, as well as teacher's aide hours, among other things. More

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Fort Worth, Texas school district principals to be trained as 'turnaround' leaders
Fort Worth Star-Telegram    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It takes a special principal to lead a struggling school, said Samuel Monge, Assistant Superintendent of Human Capital Management for the Fort Worth Independent School District. "We have to have leaders who are truly able to think outside of the box," Monge said, noting that they must be able to make quick and dramatic changes at a campus in months, not years. Eleven principals will be trained in such strategies through the Texas Turnaround Leadership Academy. The principals were selected from schools with a history of low performance or because they were identified as potential future "turnaround" leaders, Monge said. More

Why grade-skipping should be back in fashion
The Washington Post (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As the second month of school nears, some parents wonder if their children are getting all that they need. The lessons seem too simple. Their kids are bored. If they have been designated gifted, there may be occasional pull-out lessons to enrich what they are learning, but that may not be enough. More

Cyber bully victims often more depressed than aggressors
Health Day News via Bloomberg Businessweek    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Students who are victims of cyber bullying at school are more likely to suffer depression than their tormentors, according to researchers. Bullying, which traditionally involved physical violence, verbal harassment or social exclusion, now often includes "cyber" bullying, a form of electronic aggression. Cyber bullying allows bullies to engage in aggressive behaviors via computers or cell phones. Previous studies on traditional bullying have found that bully-victims (those who both bully others and are bullied themselves) were at highest risk for depression. More

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Rating teachers: Why value-added analysis is a problem
TIME    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Most people assume teachers are held accountable for student learning — seems obvious considering why we have teachers in the first place. In fact, until last year, five states had laws explicitly banning the use of student achievement data in teacher evaluations and only four states required that a teacher's evaluation be based primarily on students' test scores. But since the launch last summer of the federal "Race to the Top" program, in which states compete for grant money by implementing education reform, 12 states have passed legislation to improve their teacher evaluations, and all the data "firewalls" are gone. More



Federal after-school funding bill divides community
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Language in the federal education spending bill for fiscal 2011 would raise funding for a key after-school program, but also open the door to using that money to expand the school day and year — a move that has some after-school advocates worried. The spending bill that cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee would increase the allotment for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program to nearly $1.3 billion, up $100 million from its current level. The program supports after-school, before-school, and summer learning programs. But new provisions in the fiscal 2011 bill reflect a tone set by the Obama administration, which has embraced the concept of experimenting with extending the school day and year. More

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US looks to boost schools in 3 cities
The Boston Globe    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Three Massachusetts nonprofits will receive federal planning grants to transform distressed neighborhoods in Boston, Lawrence, and Worcester into tightly woven hubs of health care, social services, and public education to help improve the academic fortunes of children, the U.S. Education Department announced. The ambitious effort to establish "Promise Neighborhoods" attempts to remedy a major stumbling block in turning around some of the nation's worst schools: The best teachers and programs can do only so much when students arrive at school lacking sleep, food, and health care, or suffering the repercussions of domestic abuse or neighborhood violence. More



Florida's State Board of Education receives critical updates
on key education issues

WMBB-TV    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Leading off a packed meeting agenda, Florida's Commissioner of Education Dr. Eric J. Smith presented several important topics to the Florida State Board of Education, including the Department of Education's 2011-2012 Legislative Budget Request. Commissioner Smith also provided Board members with a long-term view of the significant academic progress Florida's students have made, an update on Florida's implementation of the federal Race to the Top grant, and a brief overview of the efforts being made to ensure future FCAT test administrations are free of the delays experienced last school year. More

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Charter tackles middle school challenges with young faculties
and a no-nonsense attitude

The Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The characteristics of 10 schools operated by Partnerships to Uplift Communities, a locally based charter management organization that, like others in Los Angeles, has focused on serving low-income minority communities has taken on the thorny challenge of middle schools. Partnerships to Uplift Communities schools are notable for their young, inexperienced, yet consistently effective and close-knit faculties. Teachers develop their own curricula but follow a standardized lesson structure that incorporates high expectations for students and nonstop teacher training. More

School beat: Keeping our students safe
Beyond Chron    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Safety is an absolute requirement for successful schools. Children can only thrive and make the most out of the educational opportunities available to them if their environment and personal safety are secure. This pre-condition for education is so fundamental that it is written into our education code as the Safe Place to Learn Act (Section 234-234.3 of the California Education Code). A hard reality for school communities, but one that we must face up to and address more vigorously, is that violence does occur in our schools, just like it does elsewhere in our society. We have no choice then but to work harder to prevent student crime before it happens and when it does occur, to address it honestly and openly, making especially sure to prioritize the support of student victims. More

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Study: Paying teachers for student performance doesn't raise test scores
AOL News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Offering middle-school math teachers bonuses up to $15,000 did not produce gains in student test scores, Vanderbilt University researchers reported in what they said was the first scientifically rigorous test of merit pay. The results could amount to a cautionary flag about paying teachers for the performance of their students, a reform strategy the Obama administration and many states and school districts have favored despite lukewarm support or outright opposition from teachers' unions. The U.S. Department of Education has put a great deal of effort into luring school districts and states to try merit-pay systems as part of its Race to the Top competition, although teachers' unions have often objected on the grounds that they don't have fair and reliable ways to measure performance. More



NAESP Convention: The best experts at one event
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Robert Marzano. Todd Whitaker. Anthony Muhammad. Alan November. Charlotte Danielson. Names you know, insight you trust, expertise you can count on — a "who's who" of education's most authoritative presenters, all gathered in one place at one event, the NAESP 2011 Annual Convention, Tampa, Fla, April 7-10. These speakers represent education's most forward-looking, innovative thinking and so deliver the best professional development value for elementary and middle-level principals anywhere. More

Online auction ends Sept. 30
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The NAESP Foundation Online Auction ends Thursday, Sept. 30. Don't miss the opportunity to bid on fantastic merchandise like designer watches and autographed sports memorabilia. Bids on every item start at $1 with no reserve. 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.

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