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Navigating special education disputes in schools
District Administration Magazine
Relationships between school districts and the parents of special needs students are notoriously adversarial, and lawyers sometimes get involved in the disputes that arise. Given the increase in students diagnosed with disabilities and the costs involved in serving them, district leaders who want to provide the proper instruction and care, and avoid costly litigation, must stay abreast of the law. About 1 in 6 students are now diagnosed with a developmental disability, according to a 2011 study in the journal Pediatrics — a 17 percent increase between 1997 and 2008. And prevalence of autism increased nearly 290 percent during that time, the study found.
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What teachers want parents to know
USA Today (commentary)
Eric Sheninger, a contributor for USA Today, writes: "Don't you wish you had a crystal ball that told you what your child's teacher felt was important for you to know? I sure do. In more than 13 years as a teacher, administrator, parent and coach working with thousands of students in New Jersey, I have dealt with almost every teacher/parent/student issue imaginable — and even I am still learning about what parents need and want from teachers."
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What high-scoring countries do right in math, reading and science
Education Week
A new study analyzes the results of international math, reading, and science tests and provides a profile of the practices that schools, parents, and teachers in the highest-scoring countries have in common. The TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center released the study. It was made possible by the fact that the TIMSS, which assesses math and science achievement, and the PIRLS, which gauges reading skill, were given at the same time in 2011. That enabled the test administrators at Boston College to synthesize information from the two in order to make observations about what they called "the culture of educational excellence."
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Schools need to teach students to maintain attention, not cater to short-attention spans
Slate (commentary)
Barry Schwartz, a contributor for Slate, writes: "There is no doubt that 'diminished attention' is a correct diagnosis of the intellectual temperament of our age. I see it to a greater degree each year even in the students I teach, who are among the very best that our high schools have to offer. But how to treat it? Again and again, we are told in this information-overloaded digital age, complex and subtle arguments just won't hold the reader's or viewer's attention. If you can't keep it simple and punchy, you'll lose your audience. What's the point of having a New York Times article about the U.S. stance toward the Syria that continues on an inside page if nobody is going to turn to the inside page?"
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Integrated math might be key to student achievement
eSchool News
As states implement the Common Core State Standards, many math educators and curriculum specialists are advocating a move to integrated math, which, although not a new concept, has received renewed attention in light of a study indicating that the model could boost student achievement. Integrated math involves the blending of many math topics, such as algebra, geometry, and statistics, into a single course. U.S. math courses have traditionally been separated into year-long courses that focus on one area and follow a sequence, such as algebra I, geometry the next year, algebra II, and then a pre-calculus course.
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How to choose the right education technology
eSchool News
With so many education technology tools now available, how can school and district leaders implement the best choices? According to one veteran tech-savvy education technology integrator, there are a few ideas to consider when implementing technology. One of the biggest considerations? Put yourself in students' shoes! "It's not just about the technology or the technology other schools and district are using," said Jane Englert, learning designer and technology integrator at Ephrata High School in Pennsylvania. "It's understanding the needs of your students, as well as how to integrate the technology seamlessly with your curricular goals for the class."
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The major cloud computing problems you're not paying attention to
THE Journal
When it came to helping districts navigate the morass that is modern data storage, the federal government likely had the best of intentions. In its 2010 National Education Technology Plan, the U.S. Department of Education seemed to be betting its chips on cloud computing, remarking that a cloud storage model, where data is kept on internet servers scattered around the country or the globe, can "support both the academic and administrative services required for learning and education." But at the same time, it hedged its bets a bit, remarking that the cloud "is still in a nascent stage with obstacles to overcome to fully realize its potential."
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Good talk: Raising smart learners through rich conversations
MindShift
When it comes to children's learning, are we focusing too much on schools — and not enough on parents? "There is, quite rightly, a cacophonous debate on how to reform schools, open up colleges, and widen access to pre-K learning," notes a new article, "Parenting, Politics, and Social Mobility," published by the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. "But too little attention is paid to another divide affecting social mobility — the parenting gap."
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Cyber schools flunk, but tax money keeps flowing
Politico
Taxpayers send nearly $2 billion a year to cyber schools that let students from kindergarten through 12th grade receive a free public education entirely online. The schools, many managed by for-profit companies, are great at driving up enrollment with catchy advertising. They excel at lobbying. They have a knack for making generous campaign donations. But as new state report cards coming out now make clear, there's one thing they're not so good at: educating kids.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword CYBER SCHOOL.


The importance of responsive interactions for language learning
Medical News Today
Young children readily learn words from their parents, grandparents and child care providers in live conversations, but learning from video has proven more difficult. A new study questioned why and found that it's the responsiveness of the interactions that's key: When we respond to children in timely and meaningful ways, they learn — even when that response comes from a screen. The study, by researchers at the University of Washington, Temple University, and the University of Delaware, appears in the journal Child Development.
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Why aren't more Ph.D.s teaching in public schools?
The Atlantic
It's surprising that so few scholars are transitioning to K-12 education when unable to find work within academia. Nationwide, fewer than one percent of all public elementary and secondary school teachers have Ph.Ds. Why isn't public school teaching a viable Plan B for Ph.D.s?
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A more social form of professional development
eSchool News
The state of Utah has adopted an innovative online platform for its 25,000 teachers that reinvents the notion of how professional development is experienced. The platform, called Teaching Channel Teams, combines video and social media in a single solution that helps educators collaborate and improve their practice as they prepare for the Common Core. Teaching Channel, which offers a library of more than 700 free videos showing exemplary teaching practices, launched the subscription-based social media platform during the 2013 International Society for Technology in Education conference in San Antonio in June.
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For schools implementing iPads, the importance of being patient
MindShift
Creating a process to arrive at sensible, relevant and positive agreements for tablet use in schools is a key part of the journey toward implementing a successful tablet program. The tricky part about this process is that it takes time and can be bumpy. As schools engage in the work of "building the bridge while crossing it," it is important for school leaders to stay the course, and not be deterred by the inevitable, and even welcome, hurdles that schools will encounter through the stages of implementation. A good rule of thumb: It takes three years to "land."
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Raising a reader: Learning empathy
Psychology Today (commentary)
The family and educator's work in helping a child build empathy to others cannot be underestimated as key to not only that child's outcomes, but the outcomes of a peaceful society overall. Conversations and proposed solutions abound for the end to bullying in our schools. Programs are presented. The children may be given "trainings" and "preventions."
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Integrated math might be key to student achievement
eSchool News
As states implement the Common Core State Standards, many math educators and curriculum specialists are advocating a move to integrated math, which, although not a new concept, has received renewed attention in light of a study indicating that the model could boost student achievement.

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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.

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8 principal leadership tips for the new year
Connected Principals Blog
Justin Tarte, a contributor for Connected Principals Blog, writes: "I recently had the opportunity to hear Andy Greene, Middle School Principal from New York, speak to us about collaboration and the PLC process."

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NCLB waiver states get more time to apply for teacher evaluation extension
Education Week
States with No Child Left Behind waivers will get another month to decide whether they want an extra year to implement a key part of their teacher evaluation systems. Today was the deadline for states to decide whether they want to postpone using student growth on state tests as a factor in personnel decisions for up to one additional year — until the 2016-2017 school year. Originally, the federal guidelines required states do all of this by the 2015-2016 school year. Now, the U.S. Department of Education says states have until Oct. 31 to decide whether to apply for the "waiver waiver."
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    In push for Common Core, many parents left uneducated (NPR)
6 back-to-school lessons for leaders (FoxBusiness)
Is it time to get rid of desks in the classroom? (EdTech Magazine)
Texting generation: How's your vocabulary? LOL (Deseret News)
In some states, per-pupil spending fell more than 20 percent since recession (USA Today)

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




What does the possible government shutdown mean for schools?
Education Week
Brokedown Congress appears likely to spend the weekend attempting to keep the government from shutting down and the U.S. from defaulting on its debt. The sticking point this time isn't schools. Instead, education is getting caught in the crosshairs. Republicans want to defund, or at least delay implementation of, the president's landmark health care overhaul law (the Affordable Care Act to its fans and "ObamaCare" to its critics).
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Wisconsin bill would guard race-based school nicknames
The Associated Press via Huffington Post
Republican legislators in Wisconsin introduced a bill that would make it harder to strip public schools of race-based nicknames and allow schools already ordered to drop such monikers to keep them. The proposal stems from a Milwaukee-area school district's refusal to follow a state order to drop its "Indians" name. It comes amid a rekindling of the national debate over race-based nicknames, including a push to get the Washington Redskins to change names.
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Trenton, NJ, teachers say serving breakfast in the classroom is eating up instruction time
The Times of Trenton
A policy approved by the city school board last year that encourages free breakfast to be served in the classroom has been implemented in two schools, but teachers said the program is taking away from valuable instruction time. The Breakfast in the Classroom Program gives students hot breakfast platters to eat while seated at their desks in the beginning of the school day, representatives from the supplier Aramark said at a school board meeting.
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Peril, wonder in the digital age
Des Moines Register
Aws and Ban Alsharqi shake their heads at the scene in their living room on a recent evening. At the end of a late-summer day, their children — Rashed, 12, Maryam, 9, and Mays, 7 — are already inside and huddled on the couch. The white glow from an iPad, smartphone and PC hooked up to the family's flat-screen TV lights their faces. "It is how things are these days," Ban Alsharqi says. Children grow up carrying devices in their pockets with the ability to access all the amassed knowledge of humanity, for good or ill.
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How California should deal with truancy
Los Angeles Times (commentary)
Millions of desks sit empty in elementary school classrooms because of truancy each year, costing schools billions of dollars, wasting public resources and squandering one of the country's most precious resources: its young people. We tend to think of truancy as something that starts in junior high or high school, but nationwide, about 1 in 10 kindergarten and first-grade students miss a month of school each year due to absences. In California, you could fill Staples Center 13 times over with the 250,000 students who missed 18 days or more last year. About 1 million elementary school students in the state were truant — defined in California as three or more unexcused absences or tardies — during the 2012-2013 school year.
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The art of science: 4th-graders learn about nature journaling
Daily Press
Fourth-grade students at the Escanaba Upper Elementary School are in the midst of infusing arts and science through a unique program made possible through the Bonifas Fine Arts Center. Monday marked the second of three day-long field trips to Portage Point for Escanaba fourth-graders through the Bonifas Center's new "Connecting Kids to Nature through Arts and Science" program. The program is sponsored by the U.P. Sustainable Forest & Wildlife Fund and the Dagenais Foundation.
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NAESP congratulates the 2013 class of National Distinguished Principals
NAESP
NAESP's National Distinguished Principals program was established in 1984 to recognize and celebrate elementary and middle-level principals who set high standards for instruction and student achievement in their learning communities. Read about this year's class of 62 outstanding principals from around the country, who will be honored in a special program in October in Washington, D.C.
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Help parents maximize conferences
NAESP
Parent-teacher conferences are an excellent opportunity for families to learn how their children are doing in school, both academically and socially. This month's Report to Parents, "Maximize Parent-Teacher Conferences," helps families make these meetings smooth and as stress-free as possible. Report to Parents is NAESP's a family-friendly bulletin that you can post on your school website, forward to your teachers or parents, or distribute at your next school event.
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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.
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601   Download media kit
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