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Curriculum   School Leadership   Federal Advocacy & Policy   In the States    Association News    Contact NAESP



Reading classes gain flexibility under block schedule
The Des Moines Register    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Middle school teachers and students enjoy 90-minute class periods that allow for specialized instruction. A push this year to provide more reading opportunities for students at Urbandale Middle School in Iowa has resulted in better teacher collaboration, a higher interest in library books and fewer interruptions in the classroom, a group of teachers and students reported. The seventh-grade literacy team along with two student representatives gave a presentation on the new block schedule and teaching approach to the Urbandale school board. More

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Year-round school gains ground around US
MSNBC    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Before Thanksgiving, the Indianapolis School Board will make a decision sure to heat up discussion around the turkey in just about every home with young children. That's when board members will vote on whether to adopt year-round classes. If the board approves the measure, Indianapolis pupils would go to school in cycles of eight to 10 weeks, with three to five weeks off after each, throughout the year. That would put them among the growing number of children around the nation who are going to school on so-called balanced schedules. Indianapolis Superintendent Eugene White said the schedule would add 20 class days every year, giving pupils more time to learn and shorter periods away from the classroom to forget what they've studied. More



Studying da Vinci's practices benefits students
The Muskogee Phoenix    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Brenden Martin and his fellow gifted and talented classmates at Sadler Arts Academy are studying — and channeling — the life and notebooks of Renaissance thinker Leonardo da Vinci. As part of the study, the youngsters keep track of their own thoughts and observations, as da Vinci did in his lifetime. "We've been studying him for about four weeks," said the sixth-grader. "Every time I think of something really cool, I rip out a piece of paper and write it down, even if it's crazy and impossible. And I like to draw." More

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Oregon considers higher math standards — mostly for elementary school students
The Oregonian    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
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Susan has a box that is 10 inches long, 8 inches wide and 4 inches high. What is the volume of her box? For everyone in seventh grade or above, this is a cinch, right? The question is one of many that students might have seen on Oregon's seventh-grade math assessment. But fifth- and sixth-graders might want to take notes. If the Oregon Board of Education approves new math standards, fifth- and sixth-grade students will need to answer this type of question to meet the higher benchmarks. State Superintendent Susan Castillo says the state tests, especially at the elementary school level, don't adequately prepare kids for the rigor of high school tests. Oregon's math standards have ranked near the middle of states. The new standards would put Oregon among top states like neighboring Washington. Reaction is mixed among local school superintendents and education groups. More



K-6 ideas could keep students from dropping out of school later
Montgomery Advertiser    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
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E.D. Nixon and T.S. Morris are elementary schools in Alabama, but the concepts being used there could be key tools in combating the student dropout rate in later grades. Neither school would seem likely to turn out high-performing students. They serve high minority populations of students, many of whom come from impoverished homes. But both schools have managed to turn what some might see as obstacles into academic excellence. Both are on a prestigious list of "torchbearer schools," a program created in 2004 to recognize Alabama schools that are high poverty, but also high performing. More

Taking 'scare' out of school in Fairport, NY
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Change is not always fun, at least not at first. Ryan Olinski, a teacher at Johanna Perrin Middle School in Fairport, N.Y., would often hear his incoming sixth-graders and their parents worry about the first months of school. The new middle-schoolers were leaving elementary school behind. They were leaving the buildings where many learned lessons since kindergarten for a strange new building filled with kids they didn't know who were sometimes taller and more intimidating. After spending six years from kindergarten through fifth grade climbing to the top of the mountain, they were now just sixth-graders on the bottom of the middle-school totem pole. Sensing that fear and trepidation, Olinski designed a way to get kids a little more comfortable with their environment, both to help current students and the next wave coming behind them. More

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Planet Green show aims to inspire kids with science
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Inspiring and engaging kids in STEM has long been one of Kamen's goals, which he largely pursues through his First robotics competition, a series of hands-on robotics contests culminating in a large international championship, something of a robot Olympics. "I think the biggest stereotype of all that hurts the world of science and technology is that kids think of scientists as a they. Kids think, It's those scientists who will cure cancer. It's those weird geniuses. It's them, those scientists, not me," says Kamen. Kamen says that he hopes his show will wipe out the image of the crazy or boring scientist by showing kids fascinating technology and fun, exciting scientists of all races, genders and ages. More



US campaign takes on anti-gay bullying in school
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Obama administration is launching a campaign to prevent anti-gay bullying and other harassment at school, advising educators that federal law protects students from many forms of discrimination. The advisory from the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights, to be made public, does not break new legal ground, officials said. But the officials described it as the federal government's most comprehensive guidance to date on how civil rights law applies to the sort of campus situations that in some cases have led persecuted students to commit suicide. President Obama is expected to help promote the initiative. More

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A federal-level focus on grades K-3?
The New America Foundation (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Amid this fall's high-pitched debates over education reform, the early grades of elementary school — those grades that don't come with high-stakes statewide testing — are not getting much attention. So when a high-level Obama Administration official recently made the case for elementary school improvements in a public forum everyone noticed. Roberto Rodriguez, special assistant to President Obama on education, spoke at Investing in Children, an event on Capitol Hill hosted by the Brookings Institution and the National Institute for Early Education Research to promote the release of a new collection of research and policy recommendations on federal early childhood policy. The main point of the event was to stir discussion on how to use federal dollars most efficiently to produce the best learning experiences for young children before arriving in kindergarten. More



Detroit Public Schools has perks for parents
Detroit Free Press    Share    Share on
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Detroit Public Schools parents soon will be able to earn discounts in return for being involved in their child's school. The new parent incentive will entitle parents to discounts at about 15 local businesses, including Mr. Alan's Shoes and Sportswear, P&D Uniforms and Accessories and Distinctive Styles hair salon, said Sharlonda Buckman, executive director of the Detroit Parent Network, which is sponsoring the campaign. To earn the discounts, parents must register at the DPS Welcome Center or any of the district's seven Parent Resource Centers, where parents are encouraged to attend workshops, use free computers and participate in support groups to become more involved in schools. More

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Changes take hold at Chicago's first turnaround school
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In 2006, Emma Cobbins was ready to transfer her two children out of William T. Sherman Elementary School, a struggling neighborhood school in Englewood, one of Chicago's poorest and most violence-plagued communities. That summer, Sherman became Chicago's first official turnaround school. Then-city schools superintendent Arne Duncan developed the turnaround model as an alternative to the district's unpopular strategy of closing low-performing schools and dispersing students. Now, as U.S. Secretary of Education, Duncan is attempting to do much the same thing on a far wider scale as part of a multipronged effort to revive at least 5,000 of the nation's worst-performing schools. Nearly five years after Sherman's metamorphosis began, the improvements appear to have taken root. More

New Jersey reports better safety in schools but more substance abuse
The Philadelphia Inquirer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Violence, vandalism, and weapons offenses declined overall in New Jersey's public schools, according to an annual state report. However, incidents involving substance abuse rose 10 percent from 2006-2007 to 2008-2009, including almost 6 percent in the second year. State law requires the education commissioner to send the Legislature an annual report on violence and vandalism in public schools. Incidents must be reported if they occur on school grounds during school hours, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored event, according to the Education Department. More

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Utah art learning program fighting for funding
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
If you ask 6-year-old Carter England if he's an actor, he'll emphatically say yes. In fact, most of children, at Copper Canyon Elementary in Utah, will tell you they are actors. "It's where you use your head to do something you're not really doing," explained Kyra Johnson, 7, when asked what acting was. Once a week for 30 minutes, she and her class get to pretend they are someone or something else. Recently, they were spiders, and as their art specialist teacher read a story, they acted out what the spider in the story would do. They scrunched up like they were inside a slipper, they weaved sunshine into a web, they made sad faces when the spider was called ugly and disgusting. More



Crayola/NAESP Grant Winners announced
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
NAESP, in conjunction with Crayola, has awarded 20 NAESP members with $2,500 grants as part of the Champion Creatively Alive Children Program. The grants are intended to help principals explore new ways to nurture children's creativity and inspire other principals to do the same. Each of the 20 winners received a $2,500 monetary grant and $500 worth of Crayola products. Winners will share outcomes from their programs via NAESP's website in order to help other principals develop promising practices related to arts education. More

NAESP endorses 2012 Survey of Science and Mathematics
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In a letter dated October 25th, NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly expressed NAESP's support for the 2012 National Survey of Science and Mathematics Education. This is the fifth in a series of national surveys of science and mathematics education conducted by the NSF since 1977. The surveys provide valuable insight for science and mathematics educators, researchers, and policy makers, exploring trends in science and mathematics education as current issues. More

NAESP President Barbara Chester to appear on The Balancing Act
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
On Friday, Oct. 29 at 7.a.m. EST and PST, NAESP President Barbara Chester will discuss how principals and teachers can combat bullying on Lifetime TV's The Balancing Act. She will provide a principal's perspective on the role of technology and talk about what parents can do to help prevent bullying in schools. Watch a teaser for the show here.

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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 Kevin Craft at kcraft@naesp.org.
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