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Giving teachers and administrators an informed voice around the Common Core
District Administration Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When it comes to transitioning to the Common Core, this is not the time for hesitation. There is too much at stake and too much to accomplish in the very short time before the 2014-2015 assessments are administered by SMARTER Balanced and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. Of course, no one wants to hurry into a mistake that would be costly. So what do you do if you haven't yet put all of the pieces together to transition to the Common Core State Standards? More


How parents and schools can help build kids' emotional strength
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For parents, the pre-teen and teenage years can be overwhelming, disorienting and puzzling. Students encounter the tangled web of changing hormones, shifting social dynamics, entrée into social media, the desire for greater independence as well as the need for emotional safety. Many parents can feel at a loss as to how to communicate and connect with their child during this period. This is where schools can play a key role. Schools have the data point of hundreds of children over many years, and with the benefit of this broad perspective, can help parents make sense out of the social and emotional issues that come up. More

Special education concerns emerge with online learning
Disability Scoop    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As schools increasingly turn to online classes, a group tasked with investigating the impact on students with disabilities is raising some serious concerns. In an open letter, officials with the federally-funded Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities say that there are a number of unknowns with this emerging technology. Specifically, they say that online learning is plagued with inconsistent policies, questionable teacher training requirements and accessibility problems, among other issues. More

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Consortium releases sample test items
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Educators have been chomping at the bit to get a better idea of what the tests for the common standards will look like. Getting a peek at sample items is an important way to shape curriculum, both for school districts and publishers, so the sound of a restless field has been getting louder and louder as the school year gets under way. Acutely aware of that, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium released a new round of items. They're not the first ones out there; as we reported to you in August, both consortia — SBAC and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC — had been circulating items in the field. More

Are new online standardized tests revolutionary? Decide for yourself
The Hechinger Report    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
New high-tech standardized tests are coming soon to schools across the country, but will these new tests really revolutionize how we measure whether children are learning? The designers of the new tests, which a majority of states plan to adopt in two years, are allowing a sneak peek at sample questions, so you can decide for yourself. Two competing state coalitions have taken on the job of designing the new tests, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, and both have posted examples of what's coming on their websites. More

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The challenge of assessing project-based learning
District Administration Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Ask high school juniors at Da Vinci Charter Academy in the Davis, Calif., Joint Unified School District, to explain the causes and consequences of war in American history, and you won't get a rote recitation of dates and places. Instead, these students are able to demonstrate their learning by screening the preview for a feature film they produced on the conflict in Afghanistan through the eyes of a young American soldier. They can offer highlights of their interviews with Vietnam veterans, which they contributed to the Library of Congress as primary source material. More

Teaching for the future: Steering girls to science
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The pizza has been cleared away and the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade girls in Mawiayah Fields' classroom at South Shore School in Seattle are ready to learn how to write computer code. But first, a dozen or so volunteers, who have taken time off work to help, introduce themselves with stories of how they found their professional calling. More

4 research-backed steps for effective principal leadership of 1-1 implementation
Connected Principals    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Principals and school leaders: The quality of your leadership, and the particular choices you make and priorities you set, make a significant difference in the success of a 1-1 device implementation.These are among the conclusions of a report from Project Red, which can be found on its website, and in a new ISTE publication by the Project Red principals, Revolutionizing Education through Technology: The Project RED Roadmap for Transformation. More


Are Big Data approaches the answer to K12 educational pain points?
ZDNet    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Christopher Dawson, a writer for ZDNet, writes: "Last month, I attended one of Dell's Social Think Tanks. The topic was Innovation in Education and we had a great discussion on the role of technology in improving the education in America. The Think Tank was big on issues, but turning those issues into actions is overwhelming at best, given the institutionalized challenges that face schools today. As a follow up, Dell held a Google Hangout yesterday with some of the Think Tank participants so we could begin really thinking about concrete solutions." More

School choice marches forward
Education Next    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
One year ago, the Wall Street Journal dubbed 2011 "the year of school choice," opining that "this year is shaping up as the best for reformers in a very long time." Such quotes were bound to circulate among education reformers and give traditional opponents of school choice, such as teachers unions, heartburn. Thirteen states enacted new programs that allow K–12 students to choose a public or private school instead of attending their assigned school, and similar bills were under consideration in more than two dozen states. More

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Support from adults and peers lessens the effects of bullying
Medical News Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new study identifies social support from adults or peers as an essential buffer to the experience of bullying, and the psychological health of school girls. Previous research suggests that depression can lead to toxic peer relationships, emphasizing the need for adolescents to have concrete relationships with their peers because this can help them adapt to other aspects of life. This study conducted by lead author Dr. Martin Guhn, and published in Springer's Journal of Happiness Studies, also finds that social support from peers, adults, or both, actually decreases the negative results of bullying in school girls, notably, depression and anxiety. More

Digital textbook implementation just a dream
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
From calls to action from major education organizations, all the way to a mission set forth by Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the higher-ups in education are saying it's time to go all digital with textbooks. But at the district, school and classroom levels, is going all digital — which promises larger returns on investment and more interactive and personalized learning — as simple as it seems? And does going digital really put less strain on teachers and students? According to readers, though digital textbooks sound good in theory, not all students would have access to these materials from home as well as school. Also, many schools just don't have the funding, or infrastructure, needed to support these efforts. More


Studies link students' boredom to stress
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
One glance, and any teacher knows the score: That student, halfway down the row, staring blankly at his tapping pen, fidgeting, sneaking glances at the wall clock roughly every 30 seconds, is practically screaming, "I'm bored!" While boredom is a perennial student complaint, emerging research shows it is more than students' not feeling entertained, but rather a "flavor of stress" that can interfere with their ability to learn and even their health. An international group of researchers argues this month in Perspectives on Psychological Science that the experience of boredom directly connects to a student's inability to focus attention. More

The mouse faces extinction as computer interaction evolves
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Swipe, swipe, pinch-zoom. Fifth-grader Josephine Nguyen is researching the definition of an adverb on her iPad and her fingers are flying across the screen. Her 20 classmates are hunched over their own tablets doing the same. Conspicuously absent from this modern scene of high-tech learning: a mouse. More

Children inspired by natural playgrounds tend to be more physically active
Medical News Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Children who play on playgrounds that incorporate natural elements like logs and flowers tend to be more active than those who play on traditional playgrounds with metal and brightly colored equipment, according to a recent study. They also appear to use their imagination more, according to the report. The study, which examined changes in physical activity levels and patterns in young children exposed to both traditional and natural playgrounds, is among the first of its kind in the United States, according to Dawn Coe, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport Studies. More

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What's worth investing in? How to decide what technology you need
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The promise of technology in the pursuit of learning is vast — and so are the profits. The SIIA valued the ed-tech market at $7.5 billion. With daily launches of new products promising to solve all manner of problems — from managing classrooms to engaging bored students with interactive content to capturing and organizing data, to serving as a one-stop-shop for every necessary service, choosing from the dizzying number of products on the market can be confusing. More

Education platforms for America
District Administration Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
What is at stake for K-12 education in next month's presidential election? Both President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney say improving education will be a top priority in their administrations, but their policies and initiatives would likely be quite different. To examine those differences, District Administration turned to the Republican and Democratic national political platforms. While political platforms rarely offer detailed policy proposals, and of course are never binding on a president's administration, they do provide valuable insight into each party's philosophy and approach. What follows is the K-12 education section from each party's 2012 political platform, each printed in its entirety. More

States punch reset button with NCLB waivers
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Given the flexibility to revise their academic goals under the No Child Left Behind Act, a vast majority of the states that received federal waivers are setting different expectations for different subgroups of students, an Education Week analysis shows. That marks a dramatic shift in policy and philosophy from the original law. The waivers issued by the U.S. Department of Education let states abandon the goal of 100 percent proficiency in reading and mathematics for all students and instead hold schools accountable for passing rates that vary by subgroup — as long as those schools make significant gains in closing gaps in achievement. More


Classroom spending hard to define
The Lawrence Journal-World    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A task force appointed by Gov. Sam Brownback began meeting this week to study ways of making schools more efficient so more of the state's education budget will be spent "in the classroom." One of the first questions the panel will need to answer, however, is what, exactly, qualifies as "classroom" spending, as opposed to any of the other categories that make up school district budgets. In a press release announcing the task force Sept. 28, Brownback said only a handful of districts were currently meeting a state requirement of spending at least 65 percent of their budgets on instruction or classroom expenses. More

Study: Many Minnesota schools struggle to meet arts education mandates
Minnesota Public Radio    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Minnesota has some of the highest standards for arts education in the country, but schools don't always meet those lofty expectations. As schools work to increase student test scores in math, science and reading, arts education is often pushed aside, according to a survey to by the Perpich Center for Arts Education. According to the survey, fewer than half of all middle and high schools, and only 28 percent of elementary schools offer all of the required arts, drama, music and dance classes. More

Record number of Oregon schools need improvement, state says
The Oregonian    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A record 113 Oregon schools, or one of every 10 in the state, were deemed "in need of improvement," three-fourths of them because their reading and math scores are too low or their dropout rate too high. Each year, the state issues report cards on nearly 1,200 schools and deems most of them satisfactory, based primarily on their test scores. This year, the state labeled 364 schools, or 32 percent, "outstanding." Traditionally, the state has told just a tiny fraction of schools their results are unacceptably low. Two years ago, less than 4 percent of schools got that tag. More

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Dear teacher, Johnny is skipping the test
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Children at 169 New York City elementary and middle schools will, for the second time in a calendar year, take a 40-minute "field test" in math and English language arts to determine which questions will go on future state standardized exams. Lori Chajet's daughter will not be among them, though the tests are scheduled to be given at her school, Public School 321, in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Nor will many students at Public School 261 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn or children at schools across District 6 in northern Manhattan. More

Majority of Maine schools aren't meeting No Child Left Behind standards
Bangor Daily News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Most Maine schools aren't meeting goals set by the federal No Child Left Behind Act, according to an annual report by the Maine Department of Education. The low scores came as no surprise but are based on a "flawed federal accountability system," said Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen. Lois Kilby-Chesley, president of the Maine Education Association, agreed, and said the test scores don't give Maine schools enough credit for their above-average achievements. More

National Distinguished Principals recognized in Washington, D.C.
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
NAESP's National Distinguished Principals program honors outstanding elementary and middle-level administrators from across the country. This week, 60 extraordinary school leaders will be recognized during a two-day celebration in Washington, D.C. Read more about this year's honorees. More

Education officials live 'day in the life' of principals
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Last week, officials from the Department of Education shadowed 30 principals from Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. The shadowing program, organized by NAESP and NASSP, gave officials a chance to see first-hand what principals face each day. At a briefing with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the principals who participated shared their suggestions for how the Department can better support schools, discussing staff development, literacy, early childhood education, high-stakes testing and more. More


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