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Teamwork in schools: What administrators should know
eSchool News
Administrators are tasked with an ever-growing list of responsibilities in their schools and districts. Central to ensuring smooth operations? Teamwork. When school administrators, teachers and staff members work together collaboratively, school operations and initiatives are more efficient. During Connected Educator Month, administrators will examine how they can not only stay connected through technology, but how they can use important strategies and tools to ensure that they are connected to their teachers.
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The votes are in: Sandy Hook Elementary will be torn down
NPR
In a referendum marked by a large turnout and an emphatic result, the people of Newtown, Conn., have voted to demolish Sandy Hook Elementary and build a new school. Sandy Hook was the scene of a mass shooting last December, when 20 children and six staff members were killed. Saturday's vote asked citizens to decide whether to take nearly $50 million in state money to fund the demolition of Sandy Hook and the planning and construction of a new school on essentially the same site.
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Reinventing science class
eSchool News
Walk into any science classroom at a middle or high school in Newport News, Va., and chances are you won't see students sitting in chairs, facing the teacher at the front of the room. Instead, you'll find them huddled in small groups — or outside in the field — designing their own experiments and testing their hypotheses with the aid of handheld technology from PASCO. They might be measuring the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by plants under various lighting conditions. Or testing for fertilizer in the water from a nearby pond.
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Mixed reviews to Common Core highlight of Education Nation town hall
The Hechinger Report
Students and teachers at the annual Education Nation town hall on Sunday expressed mixed reactions to the Common Core, mirroring divisions in the wider national conversation about new standards in math and English adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia. "I see students rolling their eyes," said Melissa Harris-Perry, MSNBC host and moderator of the Student Town Hall, after College Board president David Coleman — who was deeply involved in writing the standards — promoted their value before several hundred students.
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Report: Teachers in Common Core states 'enthusiastic' about implementation
THE Journal
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Scholastic have released the partial findings of their new report, "Primary Sources: America's Teachers on Teaching in an Era of Change", which show that almost all teachers are aware of the Common Core State Standards and the majority of those in states adopting the standards are enthusiastic about the implementation. Of the 20,000 teachers surveyed for the report, 97 percent said they were aware of the standards and 100 percent from the 46 states implementing the standards reported the same. Among respondents who teach English language arts, math, science or social studies in the Common Core states, 73 percent told researchers they are enthusiastic about adopting the standards in their classrooms.
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Will teacher and principal evaluation improve our schools?
Education Week (commentary)
We are beset with rubrics! Education now competes with Mobil Guide, Consumer Reports and the movie industry in our ability to rate things. We have become accustomed to the countless rubrics used for grading students' assignments and assessments. But now we are learning how to use rubrics for teacher and principal evaluation as well. These rubrics are long, detailed and researched. They must be approved by state departments of education, negotiated between district leaders and union leaders, and adopted by districts. Of course not all states are the same but the tide is clearly advancing. Some rubrics have as many as 300 boxes to complete, read, understood, and selected, in the evaluation process. Training time is limited. Deadlines for implementation are immediate.
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Stop arms: Why do motorists ignore them?
By Jack Webber
All of the school buses that I have had the pleasure of driving have had some sort of stop arm attached — some even have two — so why is it that the most common line heard when I report a stop arm violation is "I didn't see you there"? The bus is bright yellow, and before it stops there are flashing yellow lights at the front and rear. When the bus has stopped, these change to flashing red, and a stop sign extends from the side of the bus. This also has flashing red lights on it.
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Adolescent back pain linked to mismatch of school furniture rather than backpack weight
dailyRx News
Teens' back pain could be blamed on the heavy textbooks and homework assignments they carry to school. But there may be something else besides those heavy backpacks that's actually linked to pain and soreness in the back. A recent study found that shorter desks and other school furniture were tied to back pain among young teenagers.
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Restorative justice: Resources for schools
Edutopia
Restorative justice empowers students to resolve conflicts on their own, and it's growing in practice at schools around the country. Essentially, the idea is to bring students together in peer-mediated small groups to talk, ask questions and air their grievances. For the growing number of districts using restorative justice, the programs have helped strengthen campus communities, prevent bullying and reduce student conflicts. And the benefits are clear: Early adopting districts have seen drastic reductions in suspension and expulsion rates, and students say they are happier and feel safer.
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School policies may reduce overexposure to sugary treats
Medical News Today
Nearly 1 in 3 American children are overweight or obese, but sugary sweets are often on the menu at elementary school classroom parties. But schools with a district policy or state law discouraging sugary foods and beverages were 2.5 times more likely to restrict those foods at parties than were schools with no such policy or law, according to a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.
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How much more do home buyers pay for better schools?
Los Angeles Times
It's a key question for many home buyers who have or plan to have young children: We want a house in an area with good schools, but what price premium — if any — will we have to pay? Academic research generally has found that, all other factors being held equal, you pay somewhat more for houses in highly rated school districts compared with homes in neighborhoods where the schools have lower ratings and test results.
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Does class size matter?
Education Week (commentary)
Elementary school principal Peter DeWitt writes: "This is not meant to be political ... Nor is it meant to make absolute generalizations ... Some teachers do really well with large class sizes....but don't do well with small ones. This happens because they can draw in a large group of students and create an intimate setting much like a great speaker can draw in a large audience. Other teachers have the complete opposite talent. They do a spectacular job with a small class size because they need to make personal connections with every child in their class."
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Happiness: A key outcome of equitable schools
Edutopia
This year has begun with a lot of discussion about how Common Core will affect instruction, curriculum, and assessment, conversations that usually circle up to the intended outcomes of our K-12 education system. In my district in Oakland, Calif., we aim to prepare students to be "college and career ready." Explorations of the achievement gap and structural inequities also point to ways in which some of our students (primarily low income black and Latino students) end up at a disadvantage when competing for jobs after going through our schools.
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Will teacher and principal evaluation improve our schools?
Education Week (commentary)
When Cynthia Stevenson, the superintendent of Jefferson County, Colo., public schools, heard about a data repository called inBloom, she thought it sounded like a technological fix for one of her bigger headaches.

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Early absenteeism in school can point to later problems in life
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
It's just kindergarten. Maybe you had that thought when your 5-year-old woke up with a tummy ache or when you wanted to take your youngster on a trip for a few days or when your child missed the school bus.

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Duncan to principals: Shouldn't have to sacrifice your lives for job
Education Week
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan yesterday told hundreds of elementary and middle school principals who are gathered here for a conference that they shouldn't have to fear for their lives on the job.

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Connected Educator Month Twitter chats start this Oct. 9 on #cpchat
Connected Principals Blog
Patrick Larkin, a contributor for Connected Principals Blog, writes: "As was noted last week, we are excited that Connected Principals will be working in conjunction with the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the National Association of Elementary School Principals during the month of October to help promote Connected Educator Month and National Principals Month. With this in mind, we will be participating in a series of weekly Twitter Chats beginning Oct. 9 at 8 p.m. EST."
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Deciding who sees students' data
The New York Times
When Cynthia Stevenson, the superintendent of Jefferson County, Colo., public schools, heard about a data repository called inBloom, she thought it sounded like a technological fix for one of her bigger headaches. Over the years, the Jeffco school system, as it is known, which lies west of Denver, had invested in a couple of dozen student data systems, many of which were incompatible. In fact, there were so many information systems — for things like contact information, grades and disciplinary data, test scores and curriculum planning for the district's 86,000 students — that teachers had taken to scribbling the various passwords on sticky notes and posting them, insecurely, around classrooms and teachers' rooms.
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5 education grants you don't want to miss
eSchool News
School funding difficulties show no sign of abating, and school budgets are stretched to the limit. Many educators and administrators rely on school grants to fund important projects and opportunities for students. During the beginning of every month, the editors of eSchool News compile a list of the most current education grants expiring soon — from STEM opportunities to science writing. You don't want to miss out on these school funding opportunities for teachers, students, parents and administrators.
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Explanations vary as tutoring program falls short
The Texas Tribune
Among the many reforms in the massive education legislation that Congress passed in 2001 was a program that would provide tutoring to children from low-income families. Proponents hailed the program as an academic lifeline that would level the playing field for students trapped in underperforming schools. "Any school that doesn't perform, any school that cannot catch up and do its job, a parent will have these options — a better public school, a tutor or a charter school," President George W. Bush said in early 2002 when he signed the landmark No Child Left Behind Act into law.
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Shutdown's impact on schools limited for now
Education Week
The start of the first shutdown of the federal government in nearly two decades caused some anxiety for state and district education officials, but didn't interrupt business as usual for schools across the country, at least at first. To be sure, there have been headaches, particularly for the federal Head Start pre-K program, with a handful of centers in several states closing entirely because of Congress' failure to come up with a budget deal before the 2013 federal fiscal year expired on Sept. 30. And the closure has slowed the pace of federal research, put a monkey wrench in state and federal collaboration on key K-12 issues — and turned the U.S. Department of Education's headquarters in Washington into a virtual ghost town, with more than 90 percent of the staff furloughed as of Oct. 1.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    What high-scoring countries do right in math, reading and science (Education Week)
Navigating special education disputes in schools (District Administration Magazine)
Why aren't more Ph.D.s teaching in public schools? (The Atlantic)
Administrators share favorite apps, tools for the job (eSchool News)
Teacher status around the world: how the US stacks up (The Christian Science Monitor)

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




Recession continues for classrooms as school funding lags
Bloomberg
As she hands out student papers to juniors in her English class at Nathan Hale High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, teacher Jessica West tells them she needs their help grading. She has 216 students this year, up from 150 in past years. One class has 39. "I just realized, time-wise, I can't do it on my own," she said. Tulsa's public-school class sizes have swollen after state education cuts that linger amid the economic recovery. Oklahoma is one of 34 states spending less per pupil in kindergarten through 12th grade this year than six years ago, when adjusted for inflation, the Washington-based Center on Budget & Policy Priorities said in a report. Oklahoma's 23 percent reduction was deepest, followed by Alabama, Arizona and Kansas.
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Mexican consulate closes gap between Spanish-speaking parents, DPS
The Denver Post
A partnership between the Mexican consulate and Denver Public Schools is working to close the gap between Spanish-speaking parents and Colorado's educational system with each school brochure and English-language kit they hand out. Hundreds of people have utilized the Educational Opportunities Information Booth since it opened just inside the doors of the consulate, 5350 Leetsdale Drive in Glendale, on Sept. 5. The booth — one of four run by the Mexican embassy in the U.S. — aims to serve visitors to the consulate who ask for school information. As many as 500 people visit the consulate each day.
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It's week 2 of National Principals Month
NAESP
This month, NAESP invites educators, students, and parents to celebrate the contributions of principals during National Principals Month. Submit stories, photos, videos or poems about principals to our Hats Off to Principals Facebook contest. Visit our Facebook page to upload your tribute, and you could win an Amazon gift card or Crayola prize pack. For more ways to celebrate, visit the National Principals Month site.
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Submit a proposal for the 2014 NAESP conference
NAESP
Share your favorite best practices with elementary and middle-level principals from across the country at the 2014 NAESP Conference. Submit a proposal to present a concurrent session at the conference, which will be held July 10-12 in Nashville, Tenn. Proposals will be accepted until Oct. 31.
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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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