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How school lunch became the latest political battleground
The New York Times
The lunch ladies loved Marshall Matz. For more than 30 years, he worked the halls and back rooms of Washington for the 55,000 dues-paying members of the School Nutrition Association, the men and still mostly women who run America's school-lunch programs. They weren't his firm's biggest clients — that would have been companies like General Mills or Kraft — but Matz, wry and impish even in his late 60s, lavished the lunch ladies with the kind of respect they didn't always get in school cafeterias. Many of the association's members considered him a dear colleague.
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Chronic absenteeism can devastate K-12 learning
Education Week (commentary)
Warning systems exist to keep us out of harm's way. The car's dashboard light warns of low tire pressure; the urgent weather bulletin advises us to evacuate ahead of a storm. We are conditioned to take these warnings seriously and act upon them. Now, just weeks into the new school year, another warning system is sending a message to parents and educators: the early signs of chronically absent students.
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Is math a universal language or a foreign language for ELLs?
By: Holly Hansen-Thomas
What do you think? When asked this question, most educators will fall on one side of the coin or another. There is evidence to support the fact that mathematics is indeed universal. But at the same time, there are irrefutable challenges that English language learners encounter when learning math through English — for them a foreign or second language. To illustrate this point, I'll share highlights from a contentious, but respectful interchange among math educators with whom I had the privilege of working recently.
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Homework: An unnecessary evil? ... Surprising findings from new research
The Washington Post
A brand-new study on the academic effects of homework offers not only some intriguing results but also a lesson on how to read a study — and a reminder of the importance of doing just that: reading studies (carefully) rather than relying on summaries by journalists or even by the researchers themselves. Let's start by reviewing what we know from earlier investigations. First, no research has ever found a benefit to assigning homework (of any kind or in any amount) in elementary school.
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Teaching math to people who think they hate it
The Atlantic (commentary)
Jessica Lahey, a contributor for The Atlantic, writes: "Math has never been my strong suit. I opted out of it at every turn, particularly in college, where I enrolled in linguistics to fulfill my quantitative reasoning requirement. I even tried to overcome my aversion by taking a second whack at Algebra in my forties, but sadly, I still hand restaurant bills to my husband when it's time to calculate the tip, and have long since given up on helping my teenage son with his Algebra II homework. Despite my negative feelings about math, I am a huge fan of Steven Strogatz, author, columnist, and Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University."
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Small, safe steps for introducing games to the classroom
Edutopia
Some educators are nervous about using games in the classroom or fully implementing all aspects of game-based learning. However, there are a few small, safe steps that all educators can and should consider to leverage the power of engagement that games can bring. Finding games isn't as difficult as it used to be.
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Survey: Many districts lagging on implementing Common Core
Education Week
With springtime testing for the Common Core only months away, nearly a third of district superintendents are still scrambling to put in place the curriculum and professional development necessary to teach the standards, according to survey results released Wednesday. The Center on Education Policy, which has been tracking Common Core implementation since the standards were released four years ago, concluded in its report that "the future of the Common Core remains uncertain at this important juncture" because many districts still are not fully prepared to impart the new academic expectations in English/language arts and mathematics.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keywords COMMON CORE.


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K-12 educators: Are we listening to each other?
Education Week (commentary)
Sometimes the lessons we need to learn smack us in the face — or in the ear, as in this case. Last spring, we heard a study reported on the radio concerning new parents' attitudes toward vaccinating their children. Though not directly related to our work in education, the news story prompted an early-morning phone call between two of us — a school district superintendent and an education consultant. The study explored parents' concerns around immunizing newborns and the effectiveness of pro-vaccination campaigns.
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Diving into data analytics tools in K-12
EdSurge
The use of data to influence decision-making isn't new to K-12 education. In fact, given the sheer amount of paperwork, surveys and test scores generated, education has the potential to be one of, if not the, most data-driven sector in the U.S., but too often the data that teachers and administrators are saddled with is untimely or inactionable. We're excited to see that change. Over recent years, a slew of next generation data analytics tools are changing the way school leaders think about data by: making achievement data more actionable, providing a more holistic portfolio of students' performance and bringing more constituent voices to bear on learning. To follow are several examples in which data tools are improving efficiency and equity in K-12.
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Who is responsible for IEP goals?
By: Pamela Hill
As the beginning of autumn appears, public school is well underway for the more than 2 million students identified with learning disabilities in the United States. These students are being instructed by teachers whose responsibility is to assist them in meeting their Individual Education Plan goals. The IEP was first introduced in 1975 as part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The individualized education goals are a pivotal part of this legal document and are crucial to the student's success. Was it the intent of the designers of this document that decisions and educational goals be made for the student or with the student?
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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.


The business of: School visitor management systems
District Administration Magazine
School visitors are no longer just writing their names in a notebook when they sign in. Districts are now scanning fingerprints and eyes to check if a visitor or contractor has a criminal record. The new methods not only provide background checks, but can also track how many times someone has visited a school, says Rick Hagan, CEO of Ident-A-Kid Services of America, a visitor-management software company. Districts can install computerized, self-service check-in kiosks that can prevent entry to a building or have an aide use visitor management software to register guests.
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Why schools should screen their students' mental health
TIME
Schools should be a first line of defense for catching young people at risk for mental health issues from depression to ADHD, a pair of new reports says. Kids and adolescents spend a significant amount of their time in school, yet providing mental health screenings and care is not an overarching requirement for many schools. "We need to think about how to embed mental health services so they become part of the culture in schools," says study author Dr. Mina Fazel, a child psychiatrist at the University of Oxford. "It will take a commitment from health and education."
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How exercise can boost young brains
The New York Times
Encourage young boys and girls to run, jump, squeal, hop and chase after each other or after erratically kicked balls, and you substantially improve their ability to think, according to the most ambitious study ever conducted of physical activity and cognitive performance in children. The results underscore, yet again, the importance of physical activity for children's brain health and development, especially in terms of the particular thinking skills that most affect academic performance.
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Are teachers warming up to the Common Core?
The Atlantic
In a new survey, teachers say they're feeling more confident about using the Common Core State Standards in their classrooms — an optimistic finding that comes even as recent polls suggest dwindling public support for the initiative. This is the most recent installment of the "Primary Sources" survey conducted by Scholastic Inc. and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (a key Common Core supporter), and it focuses on the new English language arts and math standards, which most states have adopted and are now implementing.
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Children with dyslexia can succeed in school
The San Diego Union-Tribune
It's the most common learning disability, affecting roughly 1 in 10 Americans and 20 percent of school-age children. Yet in many cases, it goes largely undiagnosed. It's dyslexia, a language-based learning disability that results in problems with accurate or fluent word recognition, poor reading and decoding abilities. If left undetected, it can lead to frustration with school or low self-esteem. And while there's no "cure" for the condition, there are treatments that can allow those who have it to function as well others.
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US parents confront fear of Ebola in classroom
Reuters
A visibly nervous Qeuna Dawson walked her two boys to the Jack Lowe Elementary School in Dallas, where a student was removed after coming into contact with the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. "I wanted to keep my boys home but they told me the school is safe. But if I hear of one child sneezing, those boys are staying home," said Dawson, who lives a stone's throw from the spot where the infected man was rushed to a hospital. At ground zero of the U.S. Ebola scare, many parents have faced the question of whether to pull their children out of neighborhood schools, which officials have reassured them are safe.
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Education Department's plan for remaking turnaround grants not flexible, educators say
Education Week
The Obama administration's proposal for revamping the controversial School Improvement Grant program doesn't give states and districts enough flexibility in coming up with turnaround prescriptions for low-performing schools, advocates say, in their formal responses to the plan. The theme of a number of comments from key organizations is, essentially, that the department didn't give states and districts nearly as much flexibility in the proposed regulations as Congress appeared to be hoping for.
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Philadelphia schools crippled by budget crisis
PBS Newshour
Philadelphia's public school system is suffering a severe budget crisis, leaving classrooms packed, faculty understaffed and the district in debt. Special correspondent John Tulenko of Learning Matters examines what led to the shortage of funds and what lawmakers are doing to fix it.
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How an extended day, other innovations turned a Denver middle school around
The Hechinger Report (commentary)
Alex Magaña, a contributor for The Hechinger Report, writes: "It's a midweek afternoon and all 450 of the students at our Denver middle school are staying an hour later. They're not in detention. The buses aren't late. Instead, students are participating in a range of activities, from a rocket-building class to one-on-one tutoring in math, and they're excited to be here. I'm the principal at Grant Beacon Middle School, an urban, public school in southwest Denver, Colorado. We have a diverse set of student needs and a student population comprised of 85 percent on free and reduced lunch, 20 percent receiving special education services and 30 percent are English language learners."
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Survey: Many districts lagging on implementing Common Core
Education Week
With springtime testing for the common core only months away, nearly a third of district superintendents are still scrambling to put in place the curriculum and professional development necessary to teach the standards, according to survey results.

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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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Chicago public schools under fire over dirty conditions, rotten food
The Huffington Post
The new school year is off to a messy start in Chicago, the nation's third-largest school district. Michael Flynn, who has taught sixth grade at Otis Elementary in Chicago's West Town neighborhood since 1977, said he's never seen his school dirtier. A whole floor went untouched overnight recently, leaving surfaces unswept and heaps of garbage in classrooms. "It's a germ factory," Flynn told HuffPost. "And it's as bad now as it's ever been in terms of kids not getting what they need." The Chicago Public School system has faced notorious budget cuts in recent years, and closed 49 schools in 2013.
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Why a Miami middle school is teaching debate to conquer Common Core
StateImpact Florida
Bridget McKinney, principal at Miami's Allapattah Middle School, says her students struggle to pass the state's reading and writing tests. So when McKinney first read the Common Core math and language arts standards used in Florida schools this year, what jumped out was the emphasis on answering questions and making arguments using examples and evidence from what students are reading.
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Sharing 31 days of bright ideas for National Principals Month
NAESP
NAESP is saluting top-notch principals throughout the month of October for National Principals Month. Every day, NAESP will share strategies, inspiration and ideas from the 2014 class of National Distinguished Principals. Learn these exceptional leaders' tricks of the trade by liking us on Facebook and following updates there all month. Discover other festivities here.
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Meet the 2014 class of National Distinguished Principals
NAESP
A highlight of National Principals Month is NAESP's National Distinguished Principals award program. On Oct. 16-17, the 2014 class of NDPs will be honored in Washington, D.C., for their outstanding contributions to their school communities. Established in 1984, the program honors principals from both public and private schools and schools from the United States Departments of Defense Office of Educational Activity and the United States Department of State Office of Overseas Schools for their exemplary achievements. Meet the 2014 class of NDPs, and congratulate the honoree from your state.
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