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4 activities to jump-start teamwork among teachers and school leaders
MindShift
Teachers and school leaders face very different challenges today from even a decade ago. The pace of change is faster; there's more accountability. And the amount of content is overwhelming. To thrive, teachers see opportunities where others see only challenges. Now, more than ever before, teachers could use creative, innovative teamwork to help them ensure success. But many teachers feel isolated in their classrooms, beholden to curriculum and state tests, but not necessarily connected to a learning community or a team to support them.
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Record number of homeless children enrolled in US public schools
The Christian Science Monitor
A record number of homeless students were enrolled in U.S. public schools last year, according to new numbers by the Department of Education. The data — which most experts say underreport the actual number of homeless children in America — showed that nearly 1.3 million homeless children and teens were enrolled in schools in the 2012-2013 school year, an 8 percent increase from the previous school year. The number of homeless students has been rising steadily for a number of years, and has increased about 85 percent since the beginning of the recession.
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Common Core assessment group revises testing time
Education Week
The PARCC testing consortium has announced that schools will need to schedule about 10 hours of testing time this spring for elementary school students, and nearly 11 hours or more for middle and high school students. Recently released, the new time projections are higher than the estimates that PARCC issued in March of 2013: eight to 10 hours of testing. But that's because the earlier figures reflected something different: the amount of time "typical" students would need to complete the English/language arts and mathematics tests.
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What keeps girls from pursuing STEM fields
eSchool News
Every student who has returned to school this fall should have the opportunity to prepare for the rapidly growing job opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math — also known as the STEM fields. But many students, especially women and underrepresented minorities, needlessly opt out — or are shut out — of discovering a passion or talent for one of these subjects.
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Common Core can help English learners in California, new study says
The Hechinger Report
The rigorous new Common Core standards represent both a daunting challenge and a promising pathway that could help close the achievement gap for the growing number of American students who enter school knowing little or no English. So concludes a new yearlong study released today by the California-based arm of Education Trust, a nonpartisan research and advocacy group that has repeatedly voiced concern that the new national standards might prove to be an additional burden for students whose native language is not English, particularly those who come from low-income families.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keywords COMMON CORE.


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With the right technology, can children teach themselves?
MindShift
A rural tribe is living peacefully in the Kalahari desert, free of contact with the modern world. One day, a Coke bottle drops from the sky, falling from a passing airplane. The villagers find many uses for this unfamiliar new technology: a fire starter, a musical instrument, a stamp for printing on cloth. But because of its very uniqueness, they start to fight over it, and one of the villagers decides that to preserve harmony, it's best to return this "gift" to the gods.
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Principals: 5 ways to create a more inclusive school climate
Education Week
School climate comes down to a few important elements. Engagement, empowerment (and autonomy), inclusivity (and equity) and environment. The list may be easy to come up with, but the work to create a positive and inclusive school climate is hard. It takes work, and one conversation at a time can either help make deposits in the emotional bank account of staff or create a series of withdrawals.
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Transforming learning with physical spaces
eSchool News
School leaders implement new technology initiatives and update teaching and learning goals regularly, but sometimes, the actual physical learning spaces in districts are overlooked. Today, more and more research points to the increased student achievement and engagement resulting from redesigning learning spaces to be more flexible and collaborative. Redesigning physical learning spaces can contribute to "brain-friendly learning," said A.J. Juliani, education and technology innovation specialist in Pennsylvania's Upper Perkiomen School District, during an Alliance for Excellent Education webinar on learning space design.
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New study: Adequate yearly progress not so bad
Education Week
A new study out from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that there may, in fact, be some upside to No Child Left Behind's much-maligned accountability system. Under the law, Adequate Year Progress, or AYP, required states to increase the number of students rated proficient on state tests each year, with the goal of reaching 100 percent proficiency by 2014. The law established tiered consequences for states that failed to meet the yearly proficiency goals, increasing in severity each subsequent year a school missed its target.
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Study: Lack of sleep increases risk of failure in school
Medical News Today
A new Swedish study shows that adolescents who suffer from sleep disturbance or habitual short sleep duration are less likely to succeed academically compared to those who enjoy a good night's sleep. The results have recently been published in the journal Sleep Medicine. In a new study involving more than 20,000 adolescents aged between 12 and 19 from Uppsala County, researchers from Uppsala University demonstrate that reports of sleep disturbance and habitual short sleep duration (less than 7 hours per day) increased the risk of failure in school.
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To stop picky eaters from tossing the broccoli, give them choices
NPR
In many communities, the local school district is the largest food provider, filling thousands of hungry bellies every day. But trying to feed healthful food to some of the pickiest eaters can result in mountains of wasted food. Now, many schools are finding that giving kids a say in what they eat can cut down on what ends up in the trash. It's a lesson you can see in action in the lunchroom of Harris Bilingual Elementary School in Fort Collins, Colo. Kindergartners in light-up tennis shoes and pigtails march single-file into the cafeteria, sliding small trays along a salad bar.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Giving every kid equal standing in the school lunch line (NPR)
With technology taking over in schools, worries rise (The New York Times)
Why physical education is important for academic skills (Psychology Today)
Transforming classroom management for ELLs: Strategies for success (By: Erick Herrmann)
Why girls get better grades than boys do (The Atlantic)

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


Is the resource room a waste of time?
By: Pamela Hill
Recently, I read a Facebook entry written by a parent of a student with learning disabilities. The parent said, "The resource room is a waste of time for my child." The comment took me aback. I began to wonder if my work with students was a waste of time. I thought about my resource room and the students I have served there. I questioned the curriculum and teaching methods I have chosen and used. I thought about the years that some students spent in the resource room, as well as the students who have been successful and left special education and my resource room. I decided that I agreed with the parent.
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8 expectations for student information systems
EdTech Magazine
Having a variety of assessment results at educators' fingertips is essential in our data-driven school climate. Being able to quickly access and organize this information allows teams to come together and make the responsive instructional decisions that best meet students' needs. The efficiencies possible through a quality student information system can ensure that multiple measures are considered and little time is wasted when providing learners with the most personalized instruction possible.
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Using rubrics to provide more accurate feedback
By: Brian Stack
Teachers, make this your year to make better use of rubrics and a rubric scale for your assignments and your courses. A rubric is a chart that lists the criteria and a variety of levels that describe proficiency for a particular assignment or task. When used correctly, rubrics can greatly improve the accuracy and consistency of a student's grade because they establish clear expectations for students on what they need to do to demonstrate mastery on an assignment or throughout a course.
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Study: Delay the dreaded middle school years
KYW-TV
Middle school is a time most rational people would like to forget — the time when bullies and body issues tend to emerge and self-awareness often reaches an uncomfortable level. But might it be possible to change that — or at least delay it — by keeping kids in elementary school longer? A new study published in the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly says yes. The researchers posed the question, "Is there a link between individual body image and student body?" when conducting their research, which involved an ethnically diverse sample of more than 1,500 female students between fifth and eighth grades in U.S. school districts.
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Spending cuts to education and nutrition will hurt kids
CNNMoney
Kids may be the future of America, but you might not know it looking at how Washington spends its money. A new report found that only 2 percent of the projected increase in federal spending over the next decade will be dedicated to programs benefiting children. That works out to $26 billion out of $1.4 trillion. And that $26 billion will go toward children's health spending, particularly in Medicaid, according to the report, published by the Urban Institute, a public policy think tank.
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Common Core assessment group revises testing time
Education Week
The PARCC testing consortium has announced that schools will need to schedule about 10 hours of testing time this spring for elementary school students, and nearly 11 hours or more for middle and high school students.

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Maximizing PLC time to flip your class
District Administration Magazine
Recently, we have been talking with a number of people about how to best implement flipped learning, and one hurdle mentioned over and over by teachers is that they do not have enough time.

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5 apps for today's administrators
eSchool News
Leading a school or a school district is, understandably, an important and critical job. Today's school administrators must keep up to date with learning trends, instructional strategies, technology initiatives, and everything in between.

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Business leaders think these are the best states for education
The Huffington Post
States with the highest academic achievement are mostly located north of the Mason-Dixon line, according to a new report from business leaders. The report, out this month from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, looks at the state of education in America through the eyes of business leaders. The report looks at multiple measures, such as students' academic achievement, international competitiveness and workforce readiness to grade states on their educational effectiveness.
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School districts amp up branding initiatives
The Courier-News
Waiting at a dentist office, Indian Prairie School Board President Lori Price noticed a mother and daughter scrolling through the District 204 mobile app on their phones. At one point, the mother turned to her daughter and noted the school board was meeting that night. To which her daughter responded, "That sounds boring." While Price would later preside over that "boring" meeting, she was still pleased to see families interacting with the new communication tool. Launching mobile apps, updating websites and keeping up with social media are just some of the ways public school districts — both locally and across the country — are trying to develop their brands and keep up with changing technologies.
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5 relational strategies to jump-start a principalship
NAESP
In The 360 Degree Leader, John Maxwell writes that leadership is relational — it's centered around the business of people. The following five relational strategies are tailored to support the early career principal focused on the business of students. These strategies can also serve as powerful reminders to rejuvenate a veteran principal.
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NAESP salutes outstanding assistant principals
NAESP
Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 National Outstanding Assistant Principals Award. This honor was created to celebrate assistant principals who are promoting educational excellence and strengthening their schools. These 17 winners, submitted by their NAESP state affiliate organization, have demonstrated exceptional leadership and have set high expectations for school staff and students.
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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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