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Enhancing school access control
District Administration Magazine    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
School principals are in the middle of a balancing act when it comes to security. They need to create a welcoming, supportive open environment for students, parents, and credible community visitors who have legitimate purposes in their buildings, while they also have to keep out individuals who potentially have "ill intentions," says Kenneth Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services, a national consulting firm specializing in school security and emergency preparedness training, school security assessments and school and crisis counseling services. "That's a fine line to walk. And there's a degree of practicality involved." More


Study: Inclusion may not be best after all
Disability Scoop    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Inclusion is often believed to be the best option for students with disabilities, but a new study calls into question whether or not the practice truly leads to better outcomes long term. Researchers found that students with autism who spent 75 to 100 percent of their time in general education classrooms were no more likely to complete high school, go to college or see improvements in cognitive functioning than those who spent more time in segregated environments. More

Common Core: 7 recommendations for effective implementation
THE Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Conflicting reform efforts, poor communications, and "initiative fatigue" are among the factors presenting challenges to Common Core State Standards implementation. In order to overcome these potential barriers, states, districts and schools need to take new approaches to professional development, technology adoption and reform efforts, according to a new report by ASCD. More

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New environmental curriculum corrects plastic bag information
California Watch    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The state's Environmental Protection Agency finalized a revision of a controversial K-12 environmental curriculum on plastic bags. California Watch reported last year that whole sections of an 11th-grade teachers' edition guide for a new curriculum had been lifted almost verbatim from comments and suggestions submitted by the American Chemistry Council, the chemical and plastics industry trade group. That investigation spurred politicians and state regulators to demand an examination into how the controversial text was compiled and changed, and whether industry bias was present. More

Report: Scrap 1-size-fits-all approach to teaching ELLs
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As more and more school districts around the country put the common standards in English/language arts and mathematics into practice, one refrain is growing louder and louder: Instruction for English learners must change radically. Of course, the instructional shifts required in the common core are significant for all students, but for the nation's large — and growing — population of English learners, traditional approaches of teaching them the language by emphasizing grammar and syntax, for example, have to give way to instruction that allows ELLs to understand content, think critically and communicate ideas — even if imperfectly. More

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Teachers concerned about students' online research skills
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Teachers are concerned that students are a little too quick to turn to Google and other internet search engines for answers: That's one finding of a Pew Research Center survey of more than 2,000 teachers nationwide queried about students' digital research habits. On the other hand, Rainie said, it means that students are prioritizing that information in a way that might not give them access to all the high-quality and relevant stuff that would be useful. More

Physical activity and digital learning: 2 peas in a pod
Forbes (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Michael Horn, the co-founder of Innosight Institute, writes: "What's digital learning got to do with physical activity? Quite a lot I believe. A couple weekends ago I had the privilege of presenting at TEDx Manhattan Beach where I heard another presenter, Dr. John Ratey, speak about the importance of physical exercise in increasing brain plasticity and boosting student learning. His book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, details the connection. Although I normally write about digital learning's potential to transform our education, as a Crossfit enthusiast myself, I believe in the importance of living a healthy life with physical exercise." More


Report: Online learning needs quality assurance
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Online learning programs must take advantage of new tools and practices to personalize learning and help policymakers gauge the performance of online students, according to a new report from the International Association for K-12 Online Learning. With the growth of U.S. K-12 online learning enrollments rising each year, the report outlines how policymakers and education leaders might thoughtfully implement new performance metrics and quality assurance for these increasingly popular educational environments. More

Peer pressure can be used to promote physical activity at school
Medical News Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Using peer mentors to enhance school-day physical activity in elementary aged students has been given an A+ from Nova Scotia researchers. And the increased physical activity levels got top grades for significantly improving both academic test scores and cardiovascular fitness levels. More

How should teaching change in the age of Siri?
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
"Siri, can you tell me what 2x+7 is?" You know the future is rushing towards us when students no longer ask the teacher if they can use a calculator, but instead ask if they can ask Siri. Siri shows a plot of the equation, what kind of geometric shape it is, and loads of other things that are well above the needs of eighth-graders. The image on the screen looked remarkably like the data one finds at the Wolfram Alpha site. And sure enough, turns out Wolfram is built right into the Siri help menu. Clearly it won't take long for students to realize how easy this is to access. More

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Are computers alone enough to educate children?
The Wall Street Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Illiterate children in remote Ethiopia learned to use apps, play games and even hack the Android operating system on Motorola Xoom tablets when given the devices and no other instructions. They were simply left to get on with it. The children, aged between four and eleven years, in two rural villages had never seen printed materials, road signs or even packaging with words on. However within seven months they were using an average of 47 apps. One boy, exposed to literacy games with animal pictures, opened up a paint program and wrote the word "Lion." More

Study examines impact of school-based obesity intervention program
The Medical News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Soda consumption, TV and video/computer games, and the frequency of meals heavily influenced students' weight in an Indiana University study that examined the impact of a school-based obesity intervention program over an 18-month period. More soda consumption and screen time meant students were more likely to be overweight or to gain weight. The more frequently students ate meals each day, the less likely they were to stay overweight or gain weight during the study, which examined the Healthy, Energetic, Ready, Outstanding, Enthusiastic Schools program. More


Facebook rolls out privacy policy education
StudentNewsIE    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Facebook rolled out another change in their privacy policy, giving the users the ability to control their privacy settings right from the moment a new user signs up for an account. In an official statement posted on the website, Facebook said: "We're committed to making sure that you understand how sharing works on our site and that you are in control of what you share and with whom. That's why we're pleased to be rolling out more prominent and detailed educational privacy information to new users as soon as they begin the process of signing up for Facebook. These updates to our sign-up process will be visible to most new users around the globe starting today." More

How will classrooms change with the use of computers?
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
By now, most would agree that technology has the potential to be a useful tool for learning. Many schools have invested in some form of technology, whether it's in computer labs, tablets, or a laptop for every student, depending on their budget. But for many schools, finding a way to integrate the use of tech in a traditional setting — teacher-centered classrooms — is proving to be a challenge. What educational software should be used? What criteria should the software be judged against? And what happens to the role of the teacher and classroom activities when students are using software for practice exercises? More

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Respite on education issues unlikely for election winners
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
From the White House to Capitol Hill, the winners in the elections won't have much time to savor their victories. Even as federal policymakers sort out the political landscape, the remainder of 2012 and the early months of 2013 are likely to be dominated by divisive, unresolved issues with broad consequences for K-12 and higher education — some of which require immediate action. Chief among them: sequestration, a series of planned, across-the-board budget cuts that are set to hit almost every federal agency Jan. 2, including the U.S. Department of Education, unless the president and a lame-duck Congress act to stop them. More

Education should be a top priority for president
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
There was a lot of consistency in federal education policy when we went from President George W. Bush to President Barack Obama four years ago. Some changes in strategy, of course, but quite similar philosophies on using federal clout to put the heat on for change all across the country. More


Arizona will focus on 'priority' schools
The Arizona Republic    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Girls Leadership Academy of Arizona — once in trouble — is turning around, raising test scores and setting its students, most of whom are low-income, on a path toward college. Still, low achievement from past years caused the Phoenix charter to be labeled a "priority" school recently by the state Department of Education under federal guidelines. The school already was receiving federal money to help boost student achievement, but the difference this year is that school leaders have more flexibility in how they spend it, thanks to the waiver that Arizona received this summer from the No Child Left Behind initiative. More

Texas school superintendents fighting STAAR-based accountability standards
The Dallas Morning News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Rolling out of North Texas and across the state, a cadre of unlikely rebels is fomenting public opposition to the official school accountability standards. Public school superintendents are rarely willing to embroil themselves in politics. But dozens of them are saying this is that unusual time, before next year's session of the state Legislature. Nothing about assessment will change this school year. But some teachers are already being told to introduce methods and strategies that explicitly do not "teach to the test." More

LAUSD parent centers aim to boost involvement at schools
Los Angeles Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At Gault Street Elementary in California, waves of parents flow through the campus daily. Sometimes the tide is stronger, said parent center director Rosalva Waterford, but they are always there. Volunteers make copies for the teachers using one of the center's three copy machines — including the one they call la viejita (the old woman) a decades-old, yellowing behemoth that frequently gets passed over for the newer models. Parents sometimes help move classroom furniture for an activity or clean up afterward. Centers like the one at Gault in Lake Balboa offer free classes that focus on parents' needs, from helping their children with their homework to learning English. More

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Teachers unions in Ohio seek to elect educators to office
The Hechinger Report    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Special-education teacher Donna O'Connor and 23 of her colleagues gathered at their union's headquarters here in January for a first-of-its-kind campaign boot camp. Prompted by an intense battle over collective bargaining that has pitted unions against a Republican-controlled State Assembly, the Ohio Education Association started grooming its own candidates to take back control of state education policy. O'Connor, who is currently running for a House seat in the Columbus suburbs, felt her own sense of urgency as she learned how to fundraise, write speeches and debate during the union training sessions. "I started connecting the dots about seven years ago [that] I couldn't just shut my classroom door and the politicians would leave me alone," she said. More

Illinois school implements PLC approach, returns to 'passing' grade
Daily Herald    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Fearn Elementary School in North Aurora, Ill., bounced back into the "passing" column on its 2012 state report card after failing to make "adequate yearly progress" in 2011. Principal Mike Smith said the teachers worked hard in the 2011-2012 school year implementing a professional learning community approach. They met in small collaborative teams once a week to look at data and instruction in reading and math. That time was held sacred, Smith said; no interruptions from him or parents or other activities were allowed. More

Rethinking principal evaluation
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Last week, the leaders of NAESP and NASSP published "Rethinking Principal Evaluation," a commentary in EdWeek on the need for fair, comprehensive principal evaluation systems. In the article, Gail Connelly, NAESP Executive Director, and JoAnn Bartoletti, NASSP Executive Director, explore the ways that meaningful evaluations can inform principals' learning and progress. More

Congrats to this week's featured principal
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Alaska principal Angela Chervenak says she's "blessed" to be principal at her school. "Each day, whether I'm in a kindergarten class or a fifth grade class," she says, "I am greeted by smiling faces, hugs, reports of reading gains, and an excitement for learning mathematics and more." Chervenak is the final winner of NAESP's Proud to Be a Principal spotlight contest. Read about her path to the principalship, and about the other ways NAESP celebrated National Principals Month. More


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