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Spurred by statistics, districts combat absenteeism
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
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As policymakers debate the merits of new tests and intervention strategies to improve student achievement, some districts are exploring a more basic warning sign: Are students even showing up? A growing consensus of research points to chronic absence — defined by the national policy group Attendance Counts as missing 10 percent of school or more — as one of the strongest and most often overlooked indicators of a student's risk of becoming disengaged, failing courses, and eventually dropping out of school. More

New California law cracks down on truancy
Oakland Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The word "truant" might bring to mind a teenager with a spray can. But younger children miss school each year, too, with alarming regularity. If a bill clears the state Legislature this month, parents could face jail time and a hefty fine. In California, the Oakland school district, more than 5,000 children in kindergarten through eighth grade — or 18 percent — missed at least five full days of school without excused absences this past school year, according to district records. About 2,000 missed 10 days or more. Some of their parents, after repeated warnings, were sent to truancy court in Alameda County and charged with an infraction. More

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Making math lessons as easy as 1, pause, 2, pause
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The slower pace is a cornerstone of a district in Franklin Lakes, N.J.'s, new approach to teaching math, which is based on the national math system of Singapore and aims to emulate that country's success by promoting a deeper understanding of numbers and math concepts. Students in Singapore have repeatedly ranked at or near the top on international math exams since the mid-1990s. Franklin Lakes, about 30 miles northwest of Manhattan, is one of dozens of districts, from Scarsdale, N.Y., to Lexington, Ky., that in recent years have adopted Singapore math, as it is called, amid growing concerns that too many American students lack the higher-order math skills called for in a global economy. More

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Language arts education moves into the 21st century
Centre Daily Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As educators work to raise student engagement in learning, global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) has unveiled the cutting edge program, Write Source, the only fully digital elementary to high school language arts curriculum, with personalized learning. The program takes language arts education to the next level, as it allows students to publish their work, while interacting with their own virtual world as an avatar. Write Source, which can be purchased as an all-digital, all-print or blended solution, utilizes innovative interactive features to help students of every learning style master grammar and writing skills with engaging games, videos and online work text. More



D.A.R.E. program looks to reorganize its priorities
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
D.A.R.E. isn't just about drug prevention anymore. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program is reinventing itself after years of being dropped by schools and police departments struggling with stretched financial budgets. To prove its relevance, D.A.R.E. has added lessons about online safety, bullying, choosing good role models and other current topics. It also is teaming up for certain subjects with experts from the community — not just police — to save cities and schools money. More

Notes to parents soon to have ads
The Salem News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Peabody School Committee in Massachusetts approved selling advertising that will appear on notices sent home to parents from the district's eight elementary schools. The ads — 10 business-card-size placements — will appear on the back of each sheet of paper sent home to parents. That includes any type of notice, permission slip and more. The initiative is expected to raise between $20,000 and $24,000 for the district. Although a relatively small amount, it could be a boost. This year, the district has tripled bus fees, added fees for nonprofits to use school buildings and cut teaching positions in response to declining state aid and revenue. More

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Justices decline case on religious music at school
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
On the first day of its new term, the U.S. Supreme Court declined without comment to hear the appeal of a parent who challenged a New Jersey school district's restrictions on religious music at holiday performances in its schools. The South Orange-Maplewood School District's policy encourages secular holiday selections such as "Winter Wonderland," "Frosty the Snowman," and "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer." "Music centered on Peace is also a nice touch," an administrator's memo said. But religious selections such as "Joy to the World," "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," and "Silent Night," are not allowed in winter concert performances, an administrator testified during a trial in the case, although such religious music could be taught as part of the music curriculum. More



In Kansas election, school funding hangs in balance
The Kansas City Star    Share    Share on
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Both major candidates for Kansas governor have made education finance a central issue in their campaigns. With millions of tax dollars at stake, school districts across the state are watching the race closely. But so far, many of them say it's not clear what the future may hold. Although Democrat Tom Holland has taken a relatively simple stand — preserve the current finance formula — Republican Sam Brownback plans for bigger changes while offering fewer specifics. More

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Mold and Water Damage Increase Asthma Risks

Principals are installing Purifans for teachers or students suffering with serious allergies or Asthma. Schools reported 70% less inhaler use and 61% fewer student sick days.
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South Carolina parents will be able to track grades instantly
The Greenville News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
South Carolina has flipped the switch on the first phase of a new student information system that officials say takes a quantum leap in technology that can track students' progress and find ways to improve instruction. A key feature will be the ability to analyze individual students' performance and tie it with the teacher and type of instructional methods that were used in various subjects. The conversion didn't come without a few glitches, though. More

HP in $20 million deal to help Florida education programs
Bloomberg Businessweek    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Hewlett-Packard Co. said that its business services division has won a $20 million contract from the state of Florida to help organize and run its early childhood education programs. The computer maker said it will design and implement a program called the Early Learning Information System. The system will help run education programs for the roughly 300,000 Florida families use the state's pre-kindergarten services. More

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Colorado receives $15 million federal grant to aid dropout rate
The Denver Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Colorado is getting a $15 million federal grant over five years to help stop students from dropping out. The money will go to 32 schools throughout the state that have higher than average dropout rates, funding that will be used for intensive supports. Another 22 schools will receive support from the grant with access to local and statewide training, technical assistance in data analysis and a toolkit designed to build knowledge of best practices in dropout prevention and student recovery. More

'Waiting for Superman' and the education debate
The New York Times (opinion)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Take along a handkerchief if you plan to see the new education documentary "Waiting for Superman." Steve Barr, a tough-minded charter school developer, told me that he had already seen the film four times and still can't get through it without sobbing. Barr believes that the film has pulled back the curtain on a world that most Americans would otherwise not have seen — the desperation of parents who struggle, often in vain, to get their children into better schools. More

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A new beginning for head start
The Washington Post (editorial)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Research shows that early-childhood education helps poor children succeed in school — but only if it is of high quality. So the Obama administration is right to shake up how Head Start programs are funded. Instead of funneling money in perpetuity to programs with little or no regard to effectiveness, new rules would identify low-performing providers and make them compete for federal funds against those that can offer better outcomes. More



National Principals Month is here
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Let's hear it for principals! The U.S. Senate passed S. Res 607, a resolution drafted by NAESP and the National Association of Secondary School Principals to designate October 2010 as National Principals Month. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., introduced the resolution, which honors elementary, middle, and high school principals for their passion and dedication to students across the country. The U.S. House of Representatives may consider a similar resolution, H. Res. 1652, introduced by Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif. These two resolutions represent the full support by both chambers of Congress for the need to honor all principals and recognize the importance of school leadership during October 2010. More

Register for convention by Oct. 31 and save $50
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The NAESP 2011 Annual Convention is the national event of the year for elementary and middle-level principals. Attendees can save $50 by registering before Oct. 31. The 2011 Convention features an extensive lineup of education's most authoritative presenters and promises to deliver the best professional development value for elementary and middle-level principals anywhere. Bryan McLain, principal of Denton Creek Elementary School in Coppell, Texas, said: "I have attended NAESP for the last 12 years and wouldn't miss it! I look forward to the convention every year. [It] always gives me a needed shot in the arm, and I go back to school ready to change the world!" More

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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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