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More principals learn the job in real schools
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A growing number of principal-preparation initiatives are forsaking university classrooms in favor of much more familiar training grounds: the schools and districts where those aspiring leaders will end up working. Through coaching and mentorship initiatives, residencies and internships, and other new programs, both districts and university education schools are turning their focus to building practical readiness, in context, and offering continued learning and support for principals already on the job. More


Schools lack alarms to warn of deadly carbon monoxide
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Most schools — like the Atlanta elementary school where at least 49 people were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning — are not equipped with alarms to detect the deadly gas. Only Connecticut and Maryland have laws that require CO alarms in schools, despite the evacuations of more than 3,000 students in at least 19 incidents of high levels of CO at schools since 2007, USA Today has found. Many school administrators say they're unaware of the dangers. But doctors with expertise in carbon monoxide poisoning say the alarms — which the National Fire Protection Association says should be near bedrooms in every home — should be installed in classrooms or hallways. More

Report: US students struggle with vocabulary
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Findings from a new federal study suggest that U.S. schoolchildren may not improve their reading skills until they have a better grasp of basic vocabulary. The study, from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, looks at the vocabulary skills of students nationwide and finds that they closely track students' reading comprehension levels. Students in fourth grade, for instance, the top 25 percent of readers turned in an average 255 point vocabulary score on a 500-point scale; meanwhile, the weakest 25 percent of readers scored only 177 points. More

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Next Generation Science Standards: Getting science right
Voxxi    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
There's a shift of thinking in the K-12 science education world toward focusing not only on what students are learning but how they're presented materials. Bipartisan, nonprofit Achieve is managing the development process for 26 lead states and writers in the creation of the Next Generation Science Standards. More

Save or Save As: Should 3rd-graders know how computers work?
MindShift    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The third grade class is busy working in the computer lab when the teacher reminds everyone to save their files. "Save or Save As?" someone asks. No one has ever explained the difference to these students and no one will have the time to explain it. With a frown on their faces, students tentatively enter file names, agonizing on simple things like, "Is there an upper case in the name, how about the space and did I check the folder?" More

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For young Latino readers, an image is missing
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Like many of his third-grade classmates, Mario Cortez-Pacheco likes reading the "Magic Tree House" series, about a brother and a sister who take adventurous trips back in time. He also loves the popular "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" graphic novels. But Mario, 8, has noticed something about these and many of the other books he encounters in his classroom at Bayard Taylor Elementary here: most of the main characters are white. "I see a lot of people that don't have a lot of color," he said. More

More children growing up with parents behind bars
ABC News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The number of children with parents behind bars in the United States is growing. And a Latino child is more than twice as likely to have an incarcerated parent as a white child. An infographic created by sociologist Becky Pettit in her new book, "Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress" illustrates a five-fold increase in the number of children with parents behind bars from 1980-2005. More

Does suspending students work?
TIME    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Every now and again we hear stories about a kid getting suspended from school for some absurdly minor infraction. In October, four teenage boys in Pekin, Ill., were suspended for two days for eating energy mints in the cafeteria. Last year, there was a rash of suspensions of students for hugging, and examples of cases involving dress codes such as haircuts or t-shirts are too many to list. Although the misdeeds are very small, the incidents raise a bigger issue: Does suspending a kid from school work? In other words, does it actually ameliorate behavioral and academic problems? More

Study: More churn at the top in large districts
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Running one of the nation's largest school districts typically comes with prestige and pay that draw would-be educational superstars, but also pressure and political complexity that cause them to burn out far faster than leaders of the majority of districts. A study published in the American Educational Research Journal finds in 90 percent of 100 California districts studied, 43 percent of superintendents left within three years — but 71 percent of superintendents left the largest 10 percent of districts, which include those of 29,000 or more students, during that time. More

No consensus on which skills should be included in teacher evaluations
The Hechinger Report    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At least 30 states are launching new systems to evaluate teachers using more rigorous criteria about what makes a good teacher, but so far there is little consensus on what the criteria should be. Teacher evaluations have become highly controversial as states introduce increasingly different models. Can the quality of a teacher be measured by looking at just a few key skills, such as setting academic goals and running an effective class discussion? Or should teachers be evaluated based on a broader range of abilities, including lesson-planning and content knowledge? More

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It takes a village to raise a teacher
Edmonds Beacon    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Schools and school districts in many ways are microcosms of the world — ever changing, always looking for ways to improve, and scrambling to keep up with and make the most of rapidly evolving technology. Edmonds, Wash., teachers and principals are seeing test scores progressively rise as they create and roll out a comprehensive district improvement plan, Tony Byrd, assistant superintendent of student learning, told the school board. Teachers now have time built into their schedules for collaboration and continuing education. More

Kids and social media: Cloud resources to consider
THE Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Many schools ban the use of social networking sites during the school day for students of any age. Schools that do encourage social media use usually do so with strict guidelines. But that doesn't mean kids stay offline when home, nor does it mean that educators won't have to address the use of social media with their students. A teachable moment might come up around cyberbullying or other concerns, so having access to resources before those moments occur is important. More


Keeping fighting in the ring and out of schools
CNN    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At age 16, Rob McCullough walked into an LA Boxing gym for the first time. The teen had left home, moving from one friend's couch to another, and now finally felt like he found a place where he belonged. "I went to the gym and worked out, and worked out my stuff," he says. "That was kind of my safe haven." After taking his first class and leaving with a compliment from the instructor, McCullough was hooked. "It built self-confidence," he recalls. "At the end of the day, I felt great about it." More

Teachers say that for students today 'research = Googling'
PewResearchCenter    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In the view of teachers, perhaps the most fundamental impact of the internet and digital tools on how students conduct research is how today's digital environment is changing the very definition of what "research" is and what it means to "do research." Ultimately, some teachers say, for students today, "research = Googling." Asked how likely their students were to use a variety of different information sources for a typical research assignment, 94 percent of the teachers surveyed said their students were "very likely" to use Google or other online search engines, placing it well ahead of the other sources asked about. More

Teachers union calls for certification exam
eSchool News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
School teachers should have to pass a stringent exam — much like the bar exam for lawyers — before being allowed to enter the profession, one of the nation's largest teachers unions said Dec. 3. The American Federation of Teachers called for a tough new written test to be complemented by stricter entrance requirements for teacher training programs, such as a minimum grade point average. It also called for a more "systemic approach" to preparing future teachers. More

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Arne Duncan sketches out 'long haul' agenda
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who says he plans to serve in the Obama cabinet for the "long haul," has begun sketching out his priorities for the next four years. They include using competitive levers to improve teacher and principal quality and holding the line on initiatives he started during the president's first term. The secretary is also making clear what he won't do: devote a lot of energy to a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act if Congress doesn't get serious about rewriting the current version, the No Child Left Behind Act. "We will lead, we will help, we will push, but Congress has to want to do it," Duncan said in remarks to the Council of Chief State School Officers. More

Why 5 states will give their students 300 more hours at school
The Christian Science Monitor    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Open your notebooks and sharpen your pencils. School for thousands of public school students is about to get quite a bit longer. Five states announced that they will add at least 300 hours of learning time to the calendar in some schools starting in 2013. Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Tennessee will take part in the initiative, which is intended to boost student achievement and make U.S. schools more competitive on a global level. More


Quality of Texas teachers dropping with low pay
The Associated Press via Yahoo News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The quality of Texas' teachers is dropping largely because of low pay in a competitive market, an expert economist testified in the public school finance trial. Duke University professor Jacob Vigdor said teacher salaries were 30 percent lower in Texas than for other college graduates and have fallen behind salaries paid in other Sun Belt states. He added 32 other states pay higher salaries, whereas Texas' have not kept up with inflation since 2000. Vigdor was called to testify by attorneys for wealthy schools that are among the 600 districts to sue the state over $5.4 billion in cuts to school funding. More

New Orleans middle school students describe high rates of depression
The Times-Picayune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
New Orleans middle school students cite symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress at much higher rates than typical teenagers, according to data based on interviews collected by a local nonprofit organization. Perhaps not surprising in a city with the highest murder rate in the country, the interviews conducted by the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies also showed the New Orleans children had elevated rates of witnessing violence and feeling concerned about their safety. More

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Sacramento principal built a teaching team to turn around school
The Sacramento Bee    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Fern Bacon Middle School in Florin, Calif., has transformed since Principal Nancy Purcell took the reins in 2010. Discipline referrals and suspensions are down, and student scores are climbing. The key to success is building a strong team of teachers and administrators, Purcell said. "It's about having the right people on the bus — in the right seats." She said teachers meet by department or grade level one hour a week, but sometimes come in Saturdays for further collaboration. More

Watch 'The Balancing Act' for tips on parent engagement
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Missed NAESP President Mark Terry's recent appearance on Lifetime TV's "The Balancing Act?" Tune in anytime on our website to hear his segment on the importance of parent-teacher collaboration. NAESP has teamed up with "The Balancing Act" for the show's Parent Teacher Corner segment, which provides information for parents about how to help their children succeed in school. More

Rejuvenate your staff meetings with NPRC resources
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Motivate your team with ideas from the latest books in the National Principals Resource Center. Pick up handy guides like "Motivating and Inspiring Teachers," "The 7 Secrets to Motivating and Inspiring Your Team" and "What Great Teachers Do Differently." NAESP members always receive a discount! More


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