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Survey: Common Core standards working well
USA Today
"Common Core" academic guidelines for public schools are sowing controversy as teachers implement them across the USA. Several states have balked at requiring them and even comedian Louis C.K. last May took to Twitter to complain, "My kids used to love math. Now it makes them cry. Thanks standardized testing and common core!" But teachers in states where the math and reading standards have been in place longest say that, in spite of the criticisms, Common Core is going well — and that most teachers feel prepared to teach new kinds of lessons.
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Overcrowded school buses often linked to bus driver shortages
School Transportation News
A student rider at North East Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas recently took matters into his own hands, literally, by videotaping the crowded conditions of his school bus. The footage shows teenagers packed into a yellow bus, with many of them out of their seats and standing in the aisles. District officials contend the bus was not in motion when the student filmed its interior. When Anita Sioco saw the widely circulated video on Facebook, she immediately recognized her son and checked with him on its accuracy. He told her that overcrowding has been his "reality" since middle school.
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Teachers grade Common Core: C+ and room for improvement
The Christian Science Monitor
Teachers feel more prepared to teach the Common Core State Standards and are already starting to see students improve their critical thinking skills. But the enthusiasm has dipped since last year, and only half say the new standards will be positive for most students. Those are some key findings in a survey of 1,676 K-12 teachers in the 43 states that have adopted Common Core, released Friday by Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Common Core continues to generate political controversy. Some states have backed away from the math and English standards designed to promote college- and career-readiness. And Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana has sued the Obama administration, saying it coerced states into adopting them.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keywords COMMON CORE.


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Why turn to interdisciplinary learning?
Education Week (commentary)
How do the words interdisciplinary or trans-disciplinary feel? They can both give rise to confusion, resistance, wonder, but then are often abandoned. After all, what do they have to do with accountability for minutes of instruction and preparation for standardized tests? How much do we really know and understand about the "inter" or "trans" nature of everything? And finally, how much do leaders know about how to lead teachers to a place where it can happen?
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The key to pre-K-2 blended learning success
eSchool News
Implementing blended learning in the earliest grades can have an incredibly positive impact on young students if educators follow a "transitional" blended learning model that focuses on active and intentional technology use. A transitional blended learning model follows, with a few tweaks, a traditional rotational model as outlined by the Clayton Christensen Institute: students move on a fixed schedule between digital learning (in which they have some control over time, place, path, and/or pace) and traditional teacher-led classroom instruction, said Barker Davis, senior vice president of business development for AWE, during an edWeb webinar.
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Are teachers ready for the Common Core?
The Boston Globe
The sprawling second floor of the Sheraton Boston Hotel is swarming with teachers. They've traveled from 17 states for the Common Core Now Institute, a two-day conference held by Solution Tree, a for-profit company that specializes in training teachers. The institute is designed to get educators ready to teach the new and contentious Common Core State Standards, which will be tested in dozens of states, including Massachusetts, for the first time this school year.
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How do teachers kill the joy of reading for students?
Slate (commentary)
Here are 10 easy steps for destroying all love of reading and instead instilling a lifelong hatred of otherwise amazing literature (even books the kids would enjoy reading on their own): 1. Pre-test the students' vocabulary knowledge of words in the book. Do not allow the use of any reference materials. Make it abundantly clear in red ink that the students do not know lots of words. Express your disappointment in their lack of effort. Single out one student who overachieved and reward that student while pointedly ignoring all others.
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You are the weather
Connected Principal (commentary)
Dan Kerr, a contributor for Connected Principals blog, writes: "So there's this little girl that I know who might just be the happiest person that I have ever met. I fortunately get to see her every morning, and her contagious warmth, smile, and attitude brightens my mood without fail, and sets the tone for my day. She's like the weather for me, and everyone around her, in that she changes the mood, the energy, and the outlook of anyone lucky enough to cross her path."
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How to cultivate a bully-free community
Edutopia
Fifth-grader Malcolm Lyon is especially tall and well spoken for his age. When asked what he loved most about his school, Malcolm answered simply, "No bullying." This might be surprising given the struggle with bullying that schools face nationwide. This August, Malcolm started his eighth year at Odyssey Community School, a small private school in Asheville, North Carolina, where the subject of bullying is addressed with four guiding fundamentals.
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6 ways to embrace gender differences at school
CNN
Every so often a boy shows up to school at Garden Oaks Montessori in Houston wearing nail polish or a headband. When that happens, children — and, sometimes parents — ask questions. But Principal Lindsey Pollock is confident her staff knows what to do. They have been trained to support children who deviate from gender norms, whether it's a boy in girls' clothes or a child who was born a girl and wants to be called a boy. And, they know it's school policy.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    How iPads can refresh traditional classrooms (Edudemic)
'Brain Breaks' increase activity, educational performance in elementary schools (Oregon State University via Science Daily)
Study: Deeper learning approach shows positive student gains (THE Journal)
Drilling down on education data (District Administration Magazine)
Is it bullying, or ordinary meanness? (Psychology Today)

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




New future takes shape for 3-D printers in schools
EdTech Magazine
3-D printing tools have been around for decades. Until recently, they were too expensive for many schools to justify. But with newer, budget-friendly models now available, some schools have taken the plunge. In our workshops on 3-D printing for education, we see rapidly growing interest in this area because student tinkering leads to deeper understanding.
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21st century twist: Video gaming now belongs in the classroom
By: Brian Stack
Over the last few years, video games have started to become a regular fixture in classrooms across America. The movement is known to educators simply as gaming, and it is considered by many to be one of the next great disrupters that is changing the landscape of education in our schools. The evidence available to us today is telling us overwhelmingly that gaming can have a positive impact on student learning.
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When teachers, not students, do the cheating
NPR
Opening arguments began in the trial of 12 Atlanta educators charged in an alleged cheating conspiracy that came to light in 2009. Prosecutors claim there was widespread cheating on state tests throughout the city's public schools, affecting thousands of students. The case has brought national attention to the issue, raising questions about whether the pressures to improve scores have driven a few educators to fudge the numbers, but also about broader consequences.
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Teachers: Boys are much more likely to take on leadership roles in science and math class
The Huffington Post
When it comes to middle school and high school math and science classes, boys continue to reign supreme. A survey by the National Education Association, in conjunction with the American Association of University Women and Tufts University, describes the numerous gender gaps that teachers report seeing in schools, including a nationwide trend of boys disproportionately taking on leadership positions in science and math classes. The survey, which included 40,000 middle and high school educators, notes that these gender gaps extend to the professional world, with fewer women taking on leadership positions — not only in STEM fields, but in most disciplines across the board.
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5 STEM and learning grants you don't want to miss
eSchool News
School funding continues to present a challenge to school leaders, with budgets seemingly stretched to the limit. Many educators and administrators rely on school grants to fund important projects and opportunities for students. Each month, eSchool News compiles a list of the most current education grants expiring soon — from a focus on STEM education to funding for student learning design. You don't want to miss out on these school funding opportunities for teachers, students, parents and administrators.
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Where do we stand on NCLB?
Education Week
More than 40 states may have waivers from many of the mandates of the No Child Left Behind, but that doesn't mean the U.S. Department of Education is off the hook when it comes to reporting on states' progress toward meeting the goals of the NCLB law to Congress. The administration recently released an NCLB snapshot of sorts, looking at where states were during the 2011-2012 school year.
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Overcrowded school buses often linked to bus driver shortages
School Transportation News
A student rider at North East Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas, recently took matters into his own hands, literally, by videotaping the crowded conditions of his school bus. The footage shows teenagers packed into a yellow bus, with many of them out of their seats and standing in the aisles.

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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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Cramming for Common Core: 1 Mississippi school district has to make big changes in limited time
The Hechinger Report
Before school began in this small Mississippi town, teachers at McComb High School and Higgins Middle School received a massive binder full of instructional strategies outlining how to pace their classes. "All of that information seems so overwhelming at first," recalls Tokie Young-Butler, whose job is to provide resources to teachers. McComb's teachers needed the summer to digest all the information. This fall, they began the mammoth task of preparing students for new tests based on the Common Core State Standards adopted by more than 40 states, including Mississippi.
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Survey: Development days valuable to teachers
Missourian
Overall, teachers in the Union School District are pleased with their professional development opportunities in the district, according to a professional development report presented at the September board meeting. Dr. Justin Tarte, director of curriculum and support services, presented the data. A total of 93.7 percent of teachers strongly agreed or agreed that "overall PD days were valuable and productive." Additionally, 96.3 percent strongly agreed or agreed that PD days were well planned and organized; and 91.1 percent strongly agreed or agreed that the Build-Your-Own-Curriculum department and grade level time to work were productive.
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In Washington state, political stand puts schools in a bind
The New York Times
Three years ago, Lakeridge Elementary School in Washington, where most pupils come from lower-income families, was totally remade. A new principal arrived and replaced half the staff, and she lengthened the school day and year. Working with a $3 million federal grant, the staff collaborated with the University of Washington to train teachers in new instructional techniques. The results were powerful: Test scores soared.
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Join #cpchats during National Principals Month
NAESP
NAESP has partnered with several organizations to host a series of Twitter chats in October for National Principals Month and Connected Educator Month. Every Thursday at 8 p.m. (Eastern), join #CPchat, discussions hosted by NAESP, NASSP and Connected Principals on a variety of leadership topics. This week's chat will be about tech integration. The hashtag is #cpchat.
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School culture check
NAESP
School culture is an element that touches every aspect of students' learning. As you start the school year, assess your school's culture using these four focus areas recommended by the National School Climate Council.
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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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