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New guides for school districts to better support principals
The Wallace Foundation
The University of Washington Center for Educational Leadership just released a set of three tools designed for school district central office leaders, especially principal supervisors, to help principals improve teaching and learning in every school across the district. Commissioned by The Wallace Foundation, the Central Office Transformation Toolkit includes three guides: Readiness Assessment, Creating Your Theory of Action, and Principal Instructional Leadership. A free copy of the toolkit is available online.
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Sandy Hook: 1 year later
District Administration Magazine
When you drive the winding, wooded roads of Sandy Hook, Conn., the reminders of what happened here on Dec. 14, 2012, are everywhere. One family lights 26 candles every night, having done so, without fail, since that tragic day. Another yard sports a large number 26 in paving stones, easily visible to passers by. Across the street from the volunteer fire house, to which our children were evacuated after being freed from the school, stands a green sign covered in 26 crosses. Throughout town, you find multicolored ribbons hanging from street signs and utility poles where friends and family also have hung balloons in celebration of the birthdays of the lost that have gone by since. Often, those birthdays are marked by special events, media interviews and articles, and other acknowledgements.
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States insist on 3rd grade reading proficiency
Stateline
Educators have known for decades that learning how to read by the third grade is a critical milestone for children. Students who fall too far behind by the third grade rarely catch up. One recent study found that students who don’t read well by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. Despite progress in some states, only 35 percent of fourth graders across the country are proficient in reading, according to the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress, released earlier this month.
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MAP assessments: The new way to gauge potential
By Archita Datta Majumdar
Measures of Academic Progress assessments are fairly recent entrants to the wide world of standardized achievement tests but have quickly become the norm due to their deceptively simple yet effective ways to gauge student performance and inherent abilities. Like all other standardized tests, MAP aims to find out how well students will perform in their subsequent educational settings. Similar to other tests, it is also formulated in a standard format and predetermined manner. But there is one aspect where it differs from the others.
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High school success may depend on lessons middle schools don't teach
TakePart
Leaving middle school for high school can be a scary time for teenagers. Scarier than they even know. Not only do ninth graders suddenly have more responsibility, more homework, and more life stress, without much guidance on how to cope, but high school is when the dropout risk looms largest. Countdown to High School, a Boston program, is trying to aleviate some of this stress for teenagers and help keep them in school.
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How school leaders can empower the digital transition
eSchool News
Transitioning to a digital curriculum has been met with a mixture of enthusiasm and concern. While digital resources align with students' learning preferences and will enable them to leave school ready for college and the workforce, education leaders know that the digital shift requires planning, professional development, and support for teachers. As school administrators determine which digital curriculum solution — including packaged solutions with built-in assessments to state-created resources — will best suit their needs, they must ensure that teachers have enough administrator support and professional development to correctly implement truly beneficial digital curriculum resources.
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Staying focused during difficult times
Connected Principals Blog (commentary)
William Parker, a contributor for Connected Principals Blog, writes: "The other day, I had someone tell me, 'I would never want your job.' On the one hand, that may be true. Sometimes the negatives can be overwhelming.When it comes to the part of my job involving student discipline, for instance, I have conducted hundreds of suspensions for drug/alcohol violations, fights and weapon violations."
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The slow gamification of K-12 classrooms
The Huffington Post
Children are becoming acutely acquainted with mobile technology long before their K-12 classroom years. When they arrive at their first organized school experiences, they are often already savvy on basic computers and mobile devices. If their parents used this technology correctly, these kids have had at least some exposure to phonics and math through learning websites, downloads and other applications. Research suggests that once these young learners enter a classroom, however, learning through tech "games" disappears. Families may still choose to buy the apps and use them at home but schools are slow to bring gamification of education into their classrooms.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword GAMIFICATION.


School administrator's guide to supporting the role of school counselors
Edutopia
After the Sandy Hook tragedy, President Barack Obama called for increased mental health support in school settings. Counselors are qualified to work with students in individual counseling, small group counseling and large group support. Besides being leaders, advocates, collaborators and systemic change agents, counselors have training in crisis intervention and are often called upon to assist in small- and large-scale crisis situations. However, if school counselors are engaged in too many noncounseling duties, then their effectiveness is reduced.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Learning to type before learning to write? (Psychology Today)
Trim recess? Some schools hold on to child's play (NPR)
The most important lesson schools can teach kids about reading: It's fun (The Atlantic)
Habits of heart: Helping students reflect and act on gratitude (Edutopia)
Beyond the basics of the flipped classroom (The Journal)

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




Coping with the trials and tribulations of middle school
Citizen-Times
The words "middle school" strike fear in the hearts of many parents. In a time marked by tremendous growth and change, some students handle the added homework, accountability and social pressures with ease, while others struggle to adjust to changes in routine, friends and within themselves. "I deal with a lot of drama in my role as a middle school counselor," said Shantae Jones, seventh-grade counselor at Erwin Middle School in North Carolina.
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Campaign seeks to recruit top students to become teachers
The New York Times
If you can't do, teach. The three best things about teaching? June, July and August. With so much teacher bashing, who in the world would want to teach? Seeking to combat such sentiments, the Department of Education — in partnership with the Advertising Council, Microsoft, State Farm Insurance, Teach for America, the nation's two largest teachers' unions and several other educational groups — is unveiling a public service campaign aimed at recruiting a new generation of classroom educators.
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Kids worldwide are less fit than their parents were, study shows
The Associated Press via Fox News
Today's kids can't keep up with their parents. An analysis of studies on millions of children around the world finds they don't run as fast or as far as their parents did when they were young. On average, it takes children 90 seconds longer to run a mile than their counterparts did 30 years ago. Heart-related fitness has declined 5 percent per decade since 1975 for children ages 9 to 17. The American Heart Association, whose conference featured the research, says it's the first to show that children's fitness has declined worldwide over the last three decades.
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Major education data report reveals states' improvements
eSchool News
States have made immense progress in collecting student data, communicating the importance of using such data, and in emphasizing the need to keep student information safe and secure, according to the ninth annual Data for Action report from the Data Quality Campaign. This year's report "highlights, yet again, the incredible leadership that states are demonstrating ... [states are] really making progress on using data for continuous improvement," said Aimee Guidera, DQC founder and executive director.
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Using blended learning to pay teachers more
Education Next
The power and promise of blended learning — to let students learn individually paced basics online, so teachers can focus on personalized, enriched face-to-face instruction — can bring excellent teaching to more students, and enable all teachers to earn at least 20 percent more, sustainably. In addition, teachers can gain planning and collaboration time during school hours.
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US Department of Education announces 31 applications as finalists for $120 million Race to the Top — District competition
U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education announced today that 31 applications have been selected as finalists for the Race to the Top-District competition. The 2013 RTTT-D program will provide close to $120 million to support locally developed plans to personalize and improve student learning, directly increase student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps, and prepare every student for success in college and careers.
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Which states are most vulnerable to K-12 sequester cuts?
Education Week
Sequestration — those 5 percent across-the-board cuts that hit school districts this year and are slated to be in place for a decade — has affected some districts and states harder than others. Part of the reason? Some states are much more dependent on federal funding than others. So which states are the most vulnerable to federal cuts? The American Association of School Administrators took a look at that in a report.
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More states are collecting and using student data to improve education
U.S. News & World Report
More now than ever, states are expanding the ways they use student data to inform how they make changes to and improve their education systems, according to a report from the Data Quality Campaign. The Washington-based nonprofit measures states by a list of 10 benchmarks that show how effectively they use different data measures, such as linking K-12 and higher education data and creating progress reports with student-level data for teachers, students and parents. The group found that in 2013, Arkansas and Delaware were the first two states to meet all 10 benchmarks.
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How school leaders can empower the digital transition
eSchool News
Transitioning to a digital curriculum has been met with a mixture of enthusiasm and concern. While digital resources align with students' learning preferences and will enable them to leave school ready for college and the workforce, education leaders know that the digital shift requires planning, professional development and support for teachers.

Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
read more
The state of the Common Core
Edutopia
Millions of teachers and thousands of districts in 45 states are currently undergoing a sea change in the way that they teach and assess students. The new Common Core Standards for learning have been phased into states and districts since 2010, and the digitized Common Core Assessments are scheduled to deploy in states that have adopted them as early as the 2014-2015 school year.

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New Common Core resources for educators
eClassroom News
New resources released this month link Common Core-aligned curriculum with any school system’s assessment data, and what's more, these resources for educators are also 100 percent free. The resources, housed on Activate Instruction, are part of an open platform where educators can browse, search, rate, add, share and organize their favorite Common Core-aligned resources, and put them together in personalized playlists for students.

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Oklahoma is schooling the nation on early education
The Washington Post
In the richest country in the world, the poorest among us are children. Forty-two percent of African American children and 37 percent of Latino children are born poor – and they're likely to stay poor. The 16 million children living in poverty suffer worse education, health and job outcomes, making it even harder for them and their families to break out of their circumstances. In New York City, where nearly one-third of children live below the poverty line, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has pledged to tackle the pernicious problems of poverty and income inequality, and the centerpiece of his plan — to expand preschool to more low-income four-year-olds — is just plain common sense.
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Report: Average class size increases at NYC schools
Metro
Class sizes at New York City public schools have increased for the sixth consecutive year, according to a preliminary report from the city's Department of Education. The average citywide class size increased 0.6 percent from last year, from 26.4 students to 26.5 students, according to the report. "Class sizes across the city are unlikely to decrease significantly unless the next Mayor and Chancellor devote more resources towards hiring more teachers, and invest in a more ambitious school construction plan," said Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters, in a statement.
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Arkansas will stop paying schools to integrate
Time
Three school districts have reached a settlement with the state of Arkansas to end years of payments they received for integrating black and white students, the Wall Street Journal reports. Under federal-court supervision since 1989, Arkansas has paid $70 million each year to support desegregation efforts in Little Rock, North Little Rock and Pulaski County school districts. The funds, totaling more than $1 billion, have been put toward transporting students to attend schools where they would be the minority and building magnet schools that were racially balanced.
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Kids pay the price in fight over fixing Philadelphia schools
NPR
Sharron Snyder and Othella Stanback, both seniors at Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin High, will be the first in their families to graduate from high school. This, their final year, was supposed to be memorable. Instead, these teenagers say they feel cheated. "We're fed up with the budget cuts and everything. Like, this year, my school is like really overcrowded. We don't even have lockers because it's, like, too many students," Sharron says. Franklin High doubled in size because it absorbed hundreds of kids from two high schools the district could not afford to keep open this fall.
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Teachers union members, parents protest $1-billion iPad plan
Los Angeles Times
More than a dozen Los Angeles teachers staged their first protest of a $1-billion plan to provide iPads to every student and teacher, calling the effort misguided and unsustainable. About 15 teachers, parents and representatives from the teachers union rallied at the Valley Academy of Arts and Sciences in Granada Hills, just before a meeting held by Los Angeles Board of Education member Tamar Galatzan where L.A. Unified officials explained and defended the iPad rollout.
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South Carolina parents remove children from school to protest Common Core
U.S. News & World Report
A protest in South Carolina is adding fuel to the fire in the opposition to the controversial Common Core State Standards, as local parents plan to keep their children out of school Monday to rally at the South Carolina Department of Education. The organization South Carolina Parents Involved in Education dubbed the protest "National Don't Send Your Child to School Day," to coincide with the beginning of National Education Week and seeks to start a "revolution in opposition of the Common Core Standards", according to the group's website.
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Calling all principals: Nominate a new principal in your community
NAESP
NAESP is excited to announce the launch of the new National Panel of Early Career Principals, an initiative to take the pulse of new principals around the country during their critical first years on the job. It's simple and the time commitment is minimal. Panelists are invited, via email, to take five minutes once a month to answer a question on a relevant topic. Each time they participate, they receive a $10 gift certificate to shop in the National Principal Resource Center.
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Early learning walkthroughs
NAESP
Oral language provides the foundation for students to read and write — but many of America's students enter kindergarten with language delays or deficits. To address the achievement gap, principals need to be aware of the importance of language experiences in early learning classrooms. Teachers of young children should provide child-focused learning environments that build language skills. Use this walkthrough template to support teachers as they establish language-rich early learning environments.
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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.

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