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Most schools still don't meet federal nutrition standards
When schools aren't forced to provide healthy food, they usually don't, according to a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics. Only a small number of schools offered healthy food options before the U.S. Department of Agriculture federally mandated them when the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was signed into law in 2010. But for the small percentage of kids who did attend schools that revamped nutrition, researchers saw positive trends for obesity rates, suggesting wider execution really could lead to better health for students.
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A design guide for blended learning
Scholastic Administrator
As schools and leaders across the country consider technology's role in student learning, Heather Staker and Michael Horn have served as guides. Their research into "blended learning" has helped shape the national dialogue about educational technology and online learning, and provided a compass for school leaders looking to make smart decisions based on best practices.
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STEM: Math history made interesting
EdTech Magazine
Digesting the full scope of the history of mathematics can be daunting. But with the focus in today's classrooms on science, technology, engineering and math, understanding the fundamentals of the subject has never been more important. Thankfully, teachers can tap a variety of innovative resources to help make learning STEM more interesting. Lego is entering the field with a series of math lessons, there's almost no end to the things 3-D printers can make, and a science classroom experience that involves satellites is just around the corner.
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       A. I have to push students through the basic language art skills.
       B. I have to teach what comes along even if students cannot understand it.
       C. I "Rescue" my students by using a structured and sequential approach that enhances
           any reading, spelling, penmanship, and composition curriculum including
           Common Core expectations.
Looking for similar articles? Search here, keywords LEARNING.

Focus on play in kindergarten may improve grades
Training teachers to promote structured play among kindergarteners yields improved reading, vocabulary and math scores that persist into first grade, according to a new study. The technique, called "Tools for the Mind," seemed to be particularly effective in high-poverty schools, the authors write. "The active ingredient is children are taking responsibility for their own learning," said Clancy Blair of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University, who led the study.
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Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Listening to school leaders (Scholastic Administrator)
5 tools that are transforming STEM education (The Atlantic)
School environment affects teacher expectations of their students (University de Montreal via Science Daily)
Are state arts education policies working? (Education Week)
Are future teachers getting too many easy A's? (PBS Newshour)

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


Common Core Standards Plus raises student achievement!

“Teachers feel that the implementation of Common Core Standards Plus has contributed to our student growth and proficiency from 25% at the start of the year to 45% growth at the end of the year.”
                               - Learning Strategist, Rex Bell Elementary
Download Free Sample Lessons

E-books slowly take hold in schools
School Library Journal
Sixty-six percent of schools nationwide offer e-books, up from 54 percent in 2013, and overall, the figure is steadily growing, according to School Library Journal's fifth annual "E-book Usage in U.S. School (K–12) Libraries" report. While ebook collections in school libraries have grown between 2010−2014, with growth projected to continue, the median number of e-books per school remains low at 189 titles in comparison to 11,300 print books in a school collection.
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How bullying may physically alter our developing brains
By: Dorothy L. Tengler
It's no mystery that the brain develops before birth and continues throughout adulthood. But we may not have considered that brain development is analogous to building a house: laying the foundation, framing the rooms and installing electrical wiring. Obviously, laying a solid foundation builds a strong brain structure, while a weak foundation creates a faulty structure. At birth, we are born with billions of neurons, the same number as adults. These specialized cells have to be connected or "wired" to form circuits to control different functions from basic to biological ones.
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Experts share how to prevent spread of disease in schools, buses
School Transportation News
For months, Americans have seen images of Ebola patients in Africa on the news, but now there are two cases on our soil, one in Nebraska and one in Texas. The latter case is considered more troubling because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and officials in Texas determined the ill person had direct contact with up to 80 people — including five schoolchildren. Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles was the one who revealed that five students from different schools had possibly been exposed to the virus. The children are being monitored by Dallas County Health and Human Services staff and staying home from school for 21 days as a precaution.
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Changing classes isn't just for middle school anymore
National Journal
Superintendent Renee Foose thinks first grade is not too early to change classes for different subjects. The idea that young children need to spend all their school time being taught by just one teacher "is an antiquated model," she says. Different teachers have different strengths, and it behooves students of all ages to be exposed to a range. Foose, who runs the Howard County Public School System in Maryland, last year instituted "departmentalization" in a handful of the district's lowest-performing elementary schools. Even the youngest students in those schools now have two academic teachers—one for math and science and another for reading, spelling and social studies.
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4 technology tools that support new teachers
THE Journal
The statistics about the percentage of new teachers who stay in the profession are alarming. Several studies have estimated that between 40 percent and 50 percent of new teachers leave within the first five years of teaching. To combat this trend, most districts have developed formal induction programs that offer mentorship from principals and other teachers. But in both rural and urban areas, it can be difficult for districts to relieve teachers of their classroom responsibilities to give them the time to mentor newer teachers. This is where technology can play a role.
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Trying to get better teachers into the nation's poor classrooms
The Washington Post
The Obama administration ordered states to devise plans to get stronger teachers into high-poverty classrooms, correcting a national imbalance in which students who need the most help are often taught by the weakest educators. Officials at the U.S. Department of Education sent a letter to state education chiefs, giving them until June to analyze whether too many of their "excellent" educators are absent from struggling schools and to craft a strategy to spread them more evenly across schools.
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Obama administration issues No Child Left Behind waiver renewal guidance
The Huffington Post
The Obama administration is inviting states to apply to renew their waivers from the No Child Left Behind Act. And according to a guidance issued, these renewed waivers could last all the way through the 2018-2019 school year — locking down some of President Barack Obama's education policy changes well into the next presidency. The new guidelines don't radically change the criteria for escaping the law's strictures. According to an Education Department document, states will have to ensure that schools cannot receive top ratings for accountability if they are not closing "significant achievement or graduation rate gaps" between different groups of students.
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FCC proposes $3.9 billion for school technology program
The Journal
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed a massive increase to the total funds it makes available to schools and libraries for supporting technology. In a proposal announced today, Wheeler called for a permanent $1.5 billion increase in the cap for E-rate, up from the current $2.4 billion, that would be used to pay for technology in schools. E-rate is the FCC program administered by the Universal Service Administrative Co. that supports schools and libraries with subsidies for networking and telecommunications equipment and services — including broadband Internet access and internal WiFi connections — as well as maintenance. The funds can subsidize as much as 90 percent of the cost of equipment and services.
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The Fundamentals for Teaching Smarter

"The Fundamental 5 improves instruction. The power of these practices will transform classrooms and schools," E. Don Brown, NASSP past president. Order now at
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Study: California students in high-poverty schools lose learning time
Los Angeles Times
California high schools with high-poverty students lose nearly two weeks of learning time annually because of teacher absences, testing, emergency lockdowns and other disruptions compared with their more affluent peers in other schools, according to a new UCLA study. Although public schools generally offer the same number of school days and hours, following state law, the study detailed the significant differences in how the time is actually used. In heavily low-income schools, students lost about 30 minutes a day to factors often connected to economic pressures. Lack of transportation led to more tardiness, for instance, and more transiency made it more difficult to form stable classrooms.
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Young and inexperienced, a new principal tries to turn around a New Orleans charter school
The Hechinger Report
It's 9 a.m. and Krystal Hardy, the new principal of Sylvanie Williams College Prep Elementary, a charter school in the Central City section of New Orleans, strides into a kindergarten class. The students are seated, pencils in hand, some tracing Z's on a work sheet and others daydreaming while their teacher describes the steps required to form the letter. Ms. Hardy observes the students, confers quietly with the teacher, and hands her some advice she's jotted down on a Post-it. "Can you model it for me?" the teacher murmurs to Hardy. Hardy nods and steps in front of the class. She grows more erect, puffing up her slight frame.
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Guidelines for Ebola and enterovirus D68
The United States has been experiencing a nationwide outbreak of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) associated with severe respiratory illness especially harmful to children. At the same time, you and your community may also have questions about the Ebola virus. To address both public health concerns, the U.S. Department of Education and other federal health partners have amassed these resources to share.
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Download NAESP's new pre-k-3 competencies
NAESP has released an updated, principal competency guide on early learning. Developed by a panel of leading practitioners, Leading Pre-K-3 Learning Communities: Competencies for Effective Principal Practice defines new competencies and outlines a practical approach to high-quality early childhood education. The digital edition of the publication is available to NAESP members at a special discounted rate.
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