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School spending decisions: Are you getting the best value for dollars spent?
District Administration Magazine
Student achievement, teacher quality, school safety, 21st century teaching and learning — these are but a glimpse into the areas of need each administrator must consider when making school spending decisions. Add to each of these spending decisions the impact of student productivity, and your efficiency and financial anxiety might increase. As the 2014-2015 school year heads into full swing, are you left wondering how to spend your tight budget on the right things?
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Study: Deeper learning approach shows positive student gains
THE Journal
The idea that students need to develop a deeper understanding of content and the ability to apply what they learn in one area to another area are major premises of new learning standards, such as the Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. A new study now shows that schools promoting the practices of what's called "deeper learning" are getting better results from their students. For example, those students are more likely to graduate on time, are more likely to attend four-year colleges and achieve higher test scores.
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Can project-based learning close gaps in science education?
MindShift
Putting kids to work on meaningful projects can transform classrooms into beehives of inquiry and discovery, but relatively few rigorous studies have examined how well this teaching method actually works. An encouraging new report describes preliminary, first-year outcomes from a study of 3,000 middle school students that shows kids can, in fact, learn more in science classrooms that adopt a well-designed, project-focused curriculum. When researchers analyzed test scores from those classrooms by students' gender and ethnicity, there were no differences in learning performance.
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Easy conversational activities for teaching pronunciation
By: Douglas Magrath
The perfection of pronunciation is an ongoing process in any language-learning situation. Both problems with grammar and accent can interfere with communication. The instructor can intervene and help the learners improve their pronunciation through skill-building exercises. This article offers a few suggestions to ESL instructors for teaching pronunciation using mainly interactive conversational activities.
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'Brain Breaks' increase activity, educational performance in elementary schools
Oregon State University via Science Daily
A recent survey about an exercise DVD that adds short breaks of physical activity into the daily routine of elementary school students found it had a high level of popularity with both students and teachers, and offered clear advantages for overly sedentary educational programs. Called "Brain Breaks," the DVD was developed and produced by the Healthy Youth Program of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, and is available nationally. Brain Breaks leads children in 5-7 minute segments of physical activity, demonstrated by OSU students and elementary school children from Corvallis, Oregon. The short periods of exercise aim to improve the physical health, mental awareness and educational success of children.
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How iPads can refresh traditional classrooms
Edudemic
Following the trend of mass mobile device adoption, educators increasingly contemplate possibilities of using iPads in classroom. State-of-the-art mobile technology is getting more and more popular in different settings and schools are no exception. Adoption of mobile devices is transforming traditional classrooms into a place that delivers real-world knowledge using efficient tech resources.
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Could bilingual education mold kids' brains to better resist distraction?
MindShift
For decades, psychologists cautioned against raising children bilingual. They warned parents and teachers that learning a second language as a child was bad for brain development. But recent studies have found exactly the opposite. Researchers now believe that when people learn another language, they develop cognitive advantages that improve their attention, self-control and ability to deal with conflicting information. Today the benefits of bilingualism are being put to the test in schools all across Utah.
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Bill Clinton: Charter schools must be held to 'the original bargain'
The Huffington Post
Charter schools have great potential, but they aren't living up to their promise, former President Bill Clinton said at a gathering of about 100 international philanthropists and businesspeople. "If you're going to get into education, I think it's really important that you invest in what works," Clinton said. "For example, New Orleans has better schools than it had before Hurricane Katrina, and it's the only public school [district] in America where 100 percent of the schools are charter schools."
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Are educational apps and tech gizmos helping or hurting students?
TakePart
With 43 percent of all pre-K through 12th grade students using a smartphone, it's no shocker that gaming apps that are popular with youths, such as Minecraft and Clash of Clans, are usually at the top of "most downloaded" lists in app stores. However, the category coming in a close second may surprise you. Educational apps are ranked No. 2 in Apple's app store, and the popularity and need for these apps and tools seems to increase daily. Education-minded entrepreneurs and organizations are hyperfocused on launching the next wave of inventions that will change the way children and adults learn. Investors are just as motivated to support these initiatives. They pumped an impressive $1.25 billion into tech education start-ups in 2013 alone.
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Exercise is ADHD medication
The Atlantic
Mental exercises to build (or rebuild) attention span have shown promise recently as adjuncts or alternatives to amphetamines in addressing symptoms common to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Building cognitive control, to be better able to focus on just one thing, or single-task, might involve regular practice with a specialized video game that reinforces "top-down" cognitive modulation, as was the case in a popular paper in Nature last year. Cool but still notional. More insipid but also more clearly critical to addressing what's being called the ADHD epidemic is plain old physical activity.
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Meetings that work — And get work done
Connected Principals (commentary)
Sam LeDeaux, a contributor for Connected Principals blog, writes: "If you find these cartoons humorous, it's unfortunately likely this is your workplace reality. You are not alone. Why is it common for meetings to be major obstacles to getting things done? Objective. Every leader of a meeting hopes it will be productive; however, specific meeting objectives may vary. It takes more than hope to have a productive meeting."
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An hour of after-school exercise linked to better cognitive functioning
Medical News Today
A new study finds that at least 60 minutes of physical activity after school every day is not only beneficial for children's physical health, but it may also improve their cognitive functioning. The research team, led by Prof. Charles Hillman of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, publish their findings in the journal Pediatrics. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend that children and adolescents aged 6-17 years engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. But last year, a survey of high school students found that only 29 percent had met this recommendation within the last 7 days.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Lessening school assessment stress (District Administration Magazine)
Should schools be responsible for kids' health? (The Atlantic)
Rx for bullying: Positive behavior programs that build trust and support (School Transportation News)
With the right technology, can children teach themselves? (MindShift)
Principals: 5 ways to create a more inclusive school climate (Education Week)

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


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8 tips for schools interested in restorative justice
Edutopia
Restorative justice is an effective alternative to punitive responses to wrongdoing. Inspired by indigenous traditions, it brings together persons harmed with persons responsible for harm in a safe and respectful space, promoting dialogue, accountability, and a stronger sense of community. Restorative justice is a philosophical framework that can be applied in a variety of contexts — the justice system, schools, families, communities and others. In schools, we see that overreliance on punitive strategies like suspension or expulsion isn't working.
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What E-rate really means
Tech&Learning (commentary)
While the big picture ramifications of the FCC's E-rate changes are significant, the politics and particulars of how and where and to whom funding trickles is not the most pressing day-to-day issue for educators. Another way to frame the discussion with a bit more urgency may be to ask: "When will there be Wi-Fi in my classroom?" Edgenuity CEO Sari Factor penned a call to arms on Forbes.com a few weeks ago: "If we demand accountability for schools and if we are serious about preparing students to compete globally, we must invest in the necessary tools to help them succeed, starting with the basic online infrastructure that is so fundamental that it's taken for granted across all other industries."
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Listen to the children
Education Week (commentary)
The 21st century educator's focus and calling is to be sure that schools are safe places for children to spend their days. We want children to know themselves as learners, to become engaged in problem solving, collaboration, communication, to learn how to treat others, while learning the values that sustain our democracy. Students come to learn to read stories that along the way become literature. They read biographies of great women and men and become readers of non-fiction. They write in a myriad of genres, solve mathematical problems, learn the basics in science, history, physical fitness, art, music and technology.
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Due process hearings on decline
Disability Scoop
Fewer special education disputes between parents and school districts are escalating to due process hearings, a new government report finds. The number of due process hearings nationwide declined from over 7,000 during the 2004-2005 school year to 2,262 by the 2011-2012 academic year, according to a review released Wednesday from the Government Accountability Office. The shift was largely due to "steep declines" in New York, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. — locations which accounted for over 80 percent of the nation's hearings — the report indicated.
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School stakeholders urge FCC to adopt net neutrality
eSchool News
Letting broadband companies charge more for content providers to stream their services at faster speeds threatens ed-tech innovation, thousands of school stakeholders argue. The Federal Communications Commission's latest "net neutrality" proposal has stirred controversy because it would allow companies like Google, Netflix, and Skype to pay extra to ensure faster transmission of their content online. But this proposal threatens the existence of smaller companies that can’t afford to pay these higher rates, many critics say — including ed-tech startups that don't have the resources of larger, more established competitors.
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Arne Duncan's summer to-do list: What's done? What's next?
Education Week
Kids are back in the classrooms, the leaves are starting to change, and the autumn equinox has happened ... so how did U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Company do in terms of tackling their lengthy summer to-do list? And what's up next?
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Could bilingual education mold kids' brains to better resist distraction?
MindShift
For decades, psychologists cautioned against raising children bilingual. They warned parents and teachers that learning a second language as a child was bad for brain development. But recent studies have found exactly the opposite.

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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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Texas is paving the way for online education
By: Archita Datta Majumdar
In an ongoing effort to expand access to education across the country — both K-12 and higher levels — special focus is being paid to online education. And a recent study ranks Texas as the national leader in online education with Washington coming in as a close second. The main factors that determined the rankings in the study were the quality of Internet connectivity in the state, the scope of distance education programs and the in-state tuition rates. These were compared to the rate and scope of job growth in the state, along with cross-section industry growth and the median salary for those holding bachelor's degrees.
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National Principals Month kicks off this week
NAESP
This October, NAESP salutes top-notch principals across the nation for National Principals Month. The celebration of National Principals Month continues a five-year tradition launched by NAESP and NASSP in 2009. NAESP's festivities will culminate with the National Distinguished Principals program, which recognizes outstanding school leaders from around the country. October is also the third annual Connected Educator Month. Here are three ways to participate in these events.
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Principal PD provider opportunity: RFP now open
NAESP
With funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Mathematica Policy Research has issued a request for proposals inviting principal professional development providers to participate in a large-scale impact study. The goal of the evaluation is to determine whether a specific principal professional development program is effective when implemented with fidelity in a large number of districts and elementary schools. The RFP is now open and is due Oct. 14.
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