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As 2014 comes to a close, NAESP would like to wish its members, partners and other industry professionals a safe and happy holiday season. As we reflect on the past year for the industry, we would like to provide the readers of NAESP's Before the Bell, a look at the most accessed articles from the year. Our regular publication will resume Tuesday, Jan. 6.


Strategies for effective collaboration
Scholastic Administrator
From Sept. 2: A new school year is just that. Something about the word new brings a refreshing feeling to the unknown. As you walk into your classroom door and compile a list of 500 things you need to do before your students walk in on the first day, think about creating a plan to collaborate more. Use these strategies to work smarter, not harder, while working with your team this school year.
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Chronic absenteeism can devastate K-12 learning
Education Week (commentary)
From Oct. 10: Warning systems exist to keep us out of harm's way. The car's dashboard light warns of low tire pressure; the urgent weather bulletin advises us to evacuate ahead of a storm. We are conditioned to take these warnings seriously and act upon them. Now, just weeks into the new school year, another warning system is sending a message to parents and educators: the early signs of chronically absent students.
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What to do when district mistakes go viral
District Administration Magazine
From July 29: At one point or another, school districts find themselves in the glare of a harsh media spotlight. Sometimes a well-intentioned decision backfires. In other cases, an employee's inappropriate or illegal behavior sparks outrage. Within days, or even hours, the news goes viral and the whole world seems to know. What's a school leader to do in such a situation? For advice, DA turned to Terry Abbott, a former press secretary for Houston ISD and former chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Education. Abbott now runs Drive West Communications, a public relations agency that often does crisis communications consulting with school districts.
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Principal lists compassion as top school priority
DNAinfo
From Dec. 2: Sharing a building with a middle school means P.S. 295 is crunched for space, but the school community has plenty of room in its hearts and minds, says principal Linda Mazza. Parents and teachers alike are motivated by compassion for others, and thoughtfulness about how to reach all the students at this diverse school on 18th Street and Sixth Avenue, Mazza said. "I've always believed that the people who are here cared about every person in the building and I think it's become more pronounced in the past few years," she said.
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US permanently relaxes rules aimed at healthier school meals
Reuters
From Jan. 7: U.S. regulators said they were permanently relaxing school meal rules that were designed to combat childhood obesity by reining in calories and portion sizes but aroused complaints the policies caused students to go hungry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had initially loosened the rules in late 2012, suspending daily and weekly maximum amounts for grains and meat or meal alternatives. That allowed school districts to service larger portions without penalty.
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Why principals should be wary of homework
District Administration Magazine
From March 28: Few topics generate as much debate in education as homework. Experts disagree on its educational value, and research offers little clarification. Teachers and parents vary in how much homework they think children should do. So where do principals fit into the homework system? The principal oversees the school hierarchy, injecting him or herself as needed, in a school building, during school hours. But with homework, the structure changes.
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Games in the classroom: What the research says
MindShift
From July 1: The games-and-learning landscape is changing quickly. What's happening in classrooms now will look very different in a decade, so what really matters right now is how we frame the conversation. The way we understand the expectations and promises of today's game-based approaches will have a long-term impact on how we imagine and implement them in the future. It's critical that teachers, parents, and administrators understand not only the research, but also the way corporations, foundations and research organizations are thinking about games and learning. There are big players involved in researching the benefits of game-based learning in schools.
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Explicit instruction works best for struggling math students
U.S. News & World Report
From July 1: Students who struggle early on with basic reading and math skills may continue to have a hard time as they progress through school. But many early grade teachers with students struggling in math appear to be more likely to use ineffective teaching methods, according to a new study. The study — funded by the Department of Education and the National Institutes of Health — found first-grade teachers with a higher percentage of students with math difficulties in their classrooms were more likely to use student-centered instructional methods (such as the use of calculators, or movement and music to learn math) that have not been associated with achievement gains.
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Focus on play in kindergarten may improve grades
Reuters
From Nov. 21: 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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How playful learning will build future leaders
The Christian Science Monitor
From April 25: In order for our global society to develop solutions to pressing problems in an increasingly technology-driven and constantly changing world, we need to re-train our workforce to do what machines can't: to be enterprising, independent, and strategic thinkers — to be purposeful creators. This starts with changing the way students, especially the youngest ones, learn.
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2 top things teachers want from their principal
Connected Principals (commentary)
From Oct. 24: Larry Fliegelman, a contributor for Connected Principals blog, writes: "In early 2012, I wrote a blog post called '7 Top Things Teachers Want From Their Principal.' At the first faculty meeting in August 2011, I asked every staff member to answer, on a notecard, the question, 'What do you need from your principal?'"
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5 must-have tools to hire and develop effective teachers
eSchool News
From Sept. 12: A common goal among educational leaders is to increase student achievement. A critical piece of attaining that goal is to recruit, retain and cultivate an excellent teaching staff. Here, superintendent David Schuler shares five must-have tools to find, hire and develop effective teachers — and give students the best opportunity to learn and succeed in this ever-changing global economy.
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Why some schools are selling all their iPads
The Atlantic
From Aug. 8: For an entire school year Hillsborough, New Jersey, educators undertook an experiment, asking: Is the iPad really the best device for interactive learning? It's a question that has been on many minds since 2010, when Apple released the iPad and schools began experimenting with it. The devices came along at a time when many school reformers were advocating to replace textbooks with online curricula and add creative apps to lessons. Some teachers welcomed the shift, which allowed their students to replace old poster-board presentations with narrated screencasts and review teacher-produced video lessons at any time.
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Which states' kids miss the most school?
Mother Jones
From Sept. 5: September is upon us, and American kids are filling up their backpacks. But lots of kids won't be going back to school — at least not very much. A national report by nonprofit Attendance Works presents a map that zooms in on a statistic called "chronic absenteeism," generally defined as the number of kids who miss at least 10 percent of school days over the course of a year. The measure has become popular among education reformers over the past few years because unlike other measures like average daily attendance or truancy, chronic absenteeism focuses on the specific kids who are regularly missing instructional time, regardless of the reason why or the overall performance of the school.
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Teacher evaluations: Principals need more support for effective implementation
THE Journal
From Feb. 14: Teacher evaluation systems are being foisted on administrators without the preparation, tools or support needed to make the systems serve their theoretical purpose — improvements in the practice of teaching. "If we expect teacher evaluation to lead to improved instruction and learning in schools, we must provide the tools, resources and knowledge that principals need to implement successful teacher evaluation models," according to Gail Connelly, executive director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.
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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.
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601   Download media kit
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