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7 steps to more engaging professional development
eSchool News
Most administrators and teachers share a common view of professional development: It’s not always as productive as they hope or it takes valuable time away from more pressing instructional demands. But seven simple steps can lead to more engaging, collaborative, and effective professional development, no matter the topic.
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Supporting mental health
Principal
Mental health is developed early in life, and elementary school educators play a significant role in ensuring that students' experiences at school contribute to their mental wellness and positive behavioral health. Mental health issues not only affect individual students, they also influence school culture. Therefore, it is imperative that schools adequately address the mental and behavioral needs of individual students to ensure the best possible outcomes for the entire school population. Principals can help their staffs support student mental health by consulting with their school psychologist to identify critical needs and strategies at the individual, classroom and building levels.
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Common Core academic standards force teachers to work on critical thinking over memorization
The Associated Press via Fox News
Remembering the plot of a short story is no longer good enough in teacher Amy Lawson's fifth-grade classroom. Today's students are being asked to think more critically. For example, what might a character say in an email to a friend? "It's hard. But you can handle this," Lawson tells them. Welcome to a classroom using the Common Core State Standards, one of the most politicized and misunderstood changes in education for students and their teachers in kindergarten through high school.
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How virtual games can help struggling students learn
U.S. News & World Report
It seems like kids do everything online these days — and school is no exception. More and more, educators are taking advantage of digital advances to supplement their teaching in the classroom, and are seeing encouraging results. This is especially the case for certain subgroups of students that typically struggle academically, such as English language learners and special education students.
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Redefining the writing process with iPads
Edutopia
Take a moment to think about how you learned to write. What steps did you go through? What was your process? Most of us learned the same core set of skills on paper: organize, draft, edit, revise, turn in. Our teachers then marked up what we had handwritten or typed, and returned our writing. From there, maybe it ended up tacked to a bulletin board, stuck on the refrigerator door, stuffed into a notebook or tossed in the nearest trash can.
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Survey: Districts heavily focused on new tests, materials, for Common Core
Education Week
A new survey by an education marketing organization finds that school districts are making a top priority of shifting materials, instruction and assessments to reflect the Common Core State Standards. That's not too surprising, of course, given that all but four states have adopted the standards. But it offers yet another thermometer of sorts to measure the level of attention and activity around the new standards.
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How an iPad can overcome 'print disabled' curriculum
eSchool News
One of the signature findings of the cognitive revolution of mind, brain and education research over the last few decades has been the overwhelming recognition of the tremendous diversity of human brains. In our population of students, there is a stunning variety of talents and capacities, and some of our peculiarities are both great strengths and weaknesses. For instance, an incredibly high proportion of the world's leading astrophysicists are dyslexic. As it turns out, in the complex architecture of the brain-eye connection, some of us have very strong central vision, while others have very strong peripheral vision.
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How PISA results will impact US schools
eClassroom News
International PISA test results can help guide U.S. schools, experts say. Much debate has focused on the role of international rankings and assessments in U.S. education. Experts say U.S. education leaders can use data about top performing countries to inform U.S. education practice.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Is it better to have a great teacher or a small class? (The Atlantic)
Science says: Here's how to reach every student brain (eSchool News)
Art makes you smart (The New York Times)
3 strategies to promote independent thinking in classrooms (Edutopia)
VINCI and NAESP partner to support principals in early childhood education (District Administration Magazine)

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






Preventing bullying through school climate interventions
Medical News Today
To prevent bullying schools need to understand positive school climate, use reliable measures to evaluate school climate and use effective prevention and intervention programs to improve the climate. To effectively prevent bullying schools need to understand positive school climate, use reliable measures to evaluate school climate and use effective prevention and intervention programs to improve the climate, a recent paper co-authored by a University of California, Riverside assistant professor found.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword BULLYING.


Urban schools aim for environmental revolution
The New York Times
Nothing seemed special about the plates from which students at a handful of Miami schools devoured their meals for a few weeks last spring — round, rigid and colorless, with four compartments for food and a fifth in the center for a carton of milk. Looks, however, can be deceiving: They were the vanguard of what could become an environmental revolution in schools across the United States. With any uneaten food, the plates, made from sugar cane, can be thrown away and turned into a product prized by gardeners and farmers everywhere: compost. If all goes as planned, compostable plates will replace plastic foam lunch trays by September not just for the 345,000 students in the Miami-Dade County school system, but also for more than 2.6 million others nationwide.
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38 elementary and middle schools worth visiting
Education Week
Recently, Education Week chronicled 35 High Schools Worth Visiting. That led to a request for a similar compilation of inspiring elementary and middle schools. Far from exhaustive, our list includes schools that achieve extraordinary results, create powerful learning experiences, and/or have created innovative technology blends.
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How should schools navigate student privacy in a social media world?
EdTech Magazine
K-12 education operates in a unique position that is foreign in many ways to its higher ed counterpart. While college kids, who are largely legally adults, are free to explore social media and experiment with new technology tools, in the K-12 environment, consideration always has to be given to student privacy when entering uncharted territories.
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Cards let schools, parents keep eye on their student
USA Today
When fourth-grader Abby Ahrens boards her school bus in this Cincinnati suburb, she thrusts out a white card as she passes a small computer screen next to the bus doors. It beeps, and the monitor lights up briefly. Her mother gets a text message saying her daughter has made it onto the bus. The same thing happens when Abby gets off the bus at Dater Montessori School in Cincinnati, so Mom knows that Abby has arrived safely. The ZPass program, a partnership between Cincinnati Public Schools and First Student bus company, is billed as a tool to inform parents and improve ridership data. But it's also one way schools are trying to keep tabs of their students — often to track attendance.
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12 NCLB-waiver states want extra year for full teacher-evaluation rollout
Education Week
A dozen states have applied for extra flexibility from the U.S. Department of Education to give them another year of wiggle room as they roll out new teacher-evaluation systems. And 15 states have asked federal officials for a special waiver so they can give fewer tests to students, the department announced. States including Maryland, Kentucky, and North Carolina want to delay, by one year, tying teacher evaluations to teacher personnel decisions. That's something federal officials offered back in June as states struggled to implement new common standards, new tests, and high-stakes teacher-rating systems that tie personnel decisions to student growth.
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Obama administration backtracks (again) on teacher equity
The Washington Post (commentary)
President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have talked the talked about the importance of teachers, but when it comes to providing kids with equitable access to great teachers, they haven't exactly walked the walk. Here is a post on the issue by Tara Kini, senior staff attorney at Public Advocates, a nonprofit law firm and advocacy organization that challenges the systemic causes of poverty and racial discrimination by strengthening community voices in public policy. She is also a member of the Coalition for Teaching Quality, a group of about 90 civil rights, disability, parent, student, community and education organizations dedicated to ensuring that truly highly qualified teachers are in all classrooms.
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K-12 leaders choose the most effective products of the year
District Administration Magazine
The editors of District Administration magazine are proud to present the 2013 Readers' Choice Top 100 Products. This year’s winners were chosen from more than 1,800 unique nominations sent by K12 leaders who detailed the products' positive impacts on their schools. With the number of nominations nearly doubling since last year — and hundreds of passionate testimonials written by administrators — choosing the final products wasn't easy. After carefully narrowing the list down based on the quality and quantity of the testimonies, the editorial board is confident that this year's Top 100 Products showcases the best of the best.
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How should schools navigate student privacy in a social media world?
EdTech Magazine
K-12 education operates in a unique position that is foreign in many ways to its higher ed counterpart. While college kids, who are largely legally adults, are free to explore social media and experiment with new technology tools, in the K-12 environment, consideration always has to be given to student privacy when entering uncharted territories.

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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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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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Experienced teachers are vital to success of systems
Contra Costa Times (commentary)
In an effort to keep educational costs in check, America's cash-strapped states, local school districts and charter schools are hiring less costly novice teachers. Some of the new hires are energetic college graduates supplied for two-year stints by programs such as Teach for America. In the late 1980s, most of the nation's teachers had considerable experience — only 17 percent had taught for five or fewer years. By 2008, however, about 28 percent — or more than one in four of America's teachers — had less than five years of experience. The proportions of novices in the classroom are particularly high in schools in underprivileged areas.
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No motive in Newtown, Conn., report, but many details about Lanza
NPR
Investigators say they haven't determined why Adam Lanza killed 26 students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last December. But they know he acted alone in that attack and his mother's murder, according to a summary report released weeks before the one-year anniversary of the shooting rampage. At more than 50 pages, gives an overview of the investigation into the shootings at the school; it also omits controversial details such as 911 call recordings. Reflecting months of investigative efforts, it confirms details about that day — Dec. 14, 2012 — without pointing to a reason for the tragedy.
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Ohio teachers' rating requirement weighed
The Toledo Blade
Ohio's new formula for deciding whether teachers make the grade has yet to be fully tested, but the state Senate is looking at loosening what some say may be too burdensome a mandate on schools. A vote could come as early as Wednesday. This school year would be the first that all public schools would have to evaluate their teachers on an annual basis using a formula weighted 50 percent on student academic improvement on standardized tests.
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Mixed reaction to iPad rollout from Los Angeles teachers and administrators
Los Angeles Times
It would seem Robert J. Moreau, a computer animation teacher who struggled for grants to set up a lab, would be among the first to applaud the $1-billion iPad program in the Los Angeles Unified School District. But he's not. "It's outrageous, appalling, that we are buying these toys when we don't have adequate personnel to clean, to supervise," said the Roosevelt High School instructor. "Classrooms are overcrowded, and my room has not been swept or mopped in years except by me and the students ... It would be great if the basics were met. I can't get past that."
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Utah officials spar over tougher rules for misbehaving teachers
The Salt Lake Tribune
Can a Utah educator be convicted of poaching a deer, using a cellphone without permission or writing a bad check and still be a good teacher? All those offenses can be felonies under state law. And a new set of guidelines under debate for cracking down on teacher misconduct calls for revoking a teacher's license when the educator is convicted of a felony.
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What school leaders need to know about ELLs
NAESP
Ten percent of American students are English language learners — and in some states, the number of ELLs is more than double that. Meeting the educational needs of this growing population — especially under the new strictures of the Common Core — is complex. In the latest episode of NAESP Radio, NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly talks with expert Maureen Keithley on how to support ELLs.
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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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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 Meredith Barnett at MBarnett@naesp.org.
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