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Developing better teacher evaluation systems
U.S.News & World Report    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
With many states passing merit-pay laws, finding a good method to evaluate educators is imperative. A new report from The Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, says a way to accurately judge student progress, or a teacher's "value added," needs to be developed, and these systems need to be uniform among school districts. Many school districts that evaluate teachers currently put a 50 percent weight on principal or administrator evaluations of teachers, and the remaining 50 percent on teacher "value added," typically measured through student test score improvement. More

Foundations join to offer online courses for schools
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world's largest philanthropy, and the foundation associated with Pearson, the giant textbook and school technology company, announced a partnership to create online reading and math courses aligned with the new academic standards that some 40 states have adopted. More

The case for cursive
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
For centuries, cursive handwriting has been an art. To a growing number of young people, it is a mystery. The sinuous letters of the cursive alphabet, swirled on countless love letters, credit card slips and banners above elementary school chalk boards are going the way of the quill and inkwell. With computer keyboards and smartphones increasingly occupying young fingers, the gradual death of the fancier ABCs is revealing some unforeseen challenges. More

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The birds and the bees... and the parents
The Boston Globe    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
It was "Mother-Daughter Growth and Development" class — a.k.a. Puberty Night — at Williams Intermediate School in Bridgewater, Mass. On a recent evening, fourth- and fifth-grade girls came to school with their mothers to learn about their bodies. Katherine Forbes-Smith, a nurse practitioner, covered the landscape, from pimples to periods. More

Eighth-grade students learn more through direct instruction
Education Next (commentary)    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Should teachers stand in front of the class and present the material to be learned? Or should learning be more dynamic, with students solving problems, either on their own or under the teacher's guidance? Which approach yields the most student learning? More

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Charter schools suffer leadership shortages
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The principal of Potomac Lighthouse Public Charter School in northeast Washington, D.C., called the school’s board to tell them she was quitting. A national search team immediately placed advertisements in newspapers and on job boards but received just 15 applications. Of those, only five had the qualifications school officials were seeking. And it was already a month into the school year. More


Teacher layoffs ahead: Should seniority prevail?
The Christian Science Monitor    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
Thousands of teachers are being notified this spring that their jobs are in jeopardy — and many of those layoffs may actually occur, given the severe budget crises affecting state and local governments. The result is renewed scrutiny of the seniority rules that govern layoffs in many states. More

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CDC report highlights lack of healthy food environments for children
Medical News Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
States can do more to improve food access, regulations and policies to promote healthy eating and fight childhood obesity, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 2011 Children's Food Environment State Indicator Report also notes that the communities, child care facilities and schools all have roles to play. More

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Study finds funding for early childhood education declined between 2009 and 2010
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Funding for early-childhood education declined between 2009 and 2010, even as the Obama administration urged states to increase pre-kindergarten programs for 3- and 4-year-olds, according to a study released. Total state funding for such programs declined by $30 million nationwide as states scrambled to make up for budget shortfalls, according to the the National Institute for Early Education Research, based at Rutgers University Graduate School of Education. More


Report: Proportion rises of schools falling short on adequate yearly progress
Education Week    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
The proportion of schools failing to make adequate yearly progress under the No Child Left Behind Act last school year rose to 38 percent, up 5 percentage points from the year before, as the 2014 deadline for getting all students "proficient" in reading and math approaches, says a report issued by the Center on Education Policy. At the same time, individual states' progress toward that goal varies widely, based on the center's analysis of state test data. More

Out front in the fight on obesity
The Wall Street Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
At first, it seems obvious: Recess and fruit keep kids trimmer and healthier than videogames and cookies. But there isn't much that's obvious about moving the needle on childhood obesity rates in the U.S. Portland's "Let's Go!" program is one of just a handful of community childhood-obesity programs studying how much change in behavior or weight loss they bring about. More

Illinois Schools Implement Lexia, Improve

75% of kindergartners in Des Plaines, IL elementary school had no letter recognition. Lexia Reading software helped bring 88% up to speed by end of 1st grade.

Can a 9-hour school day prevent students from dropping out?
KQED    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Despite President Barack Obama's loftiest hopes to extend the number of school days per year, many schools are actually having to decrease them because of severe budget cuts. While the number of school days in other countries exceeds 200, they're being cut further in the U.S. to fewer than 180. With families that have access to enrichment programs and encourage learning online at home, the discrepancy can be filled. But for low-income kids who don't have those opportunities, fewer school days puts them at an even greater disadvantage. For these kids, the nonprofit organization Citizen Schools, who partners with middle schools to expand the learning day for children in low-income communities in Calif., Mass., N.J., N.Y., N.M. and Texas, attempts to fill that gap. More

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Teacher merit pay system in Ohio's new collective bargaining law is first of its kind
The Plain Dealer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Ohio's new collective bargaining law would wipe out automatic public school teacher pay raises in favor of a statewide pay-for-performance system that would be the first of its kind in the country. No state now has a mandatory statewide merit pay system for teachers. And while districts or schools across the country have experimented with plans tying bonus money to student achievement, teachers are still guaranteed their annual pay raises as called for by their contracts. More


Renew your membership today and save!
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Renew your membership now to ensure continued access to your high value benefits — resources and best practices designed for you, proactive federal advocacy, career support and networking across the nation. You'll save $20 by renewing your membership before July 1! More


Highly effective self-paced courses for teachers and administrators provide a mastery of tools and strategies for differentiating instruction and enhancing student achievement!

Take advantage of NAESP's upcoming free webinars
NAESP    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Web seminars provide real-time opportunities to interrelate with content experts, educational leaders and practicing principals around current issues. NAESP provides this setting to bring together principals from locations around the country to participate in these online learning programs. More




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Study shows BULLYING reduced 41%

Researchers from University of Illinois at Chicago just released findings from a randomized-control trial in 14 schools in Chicago. Schools using the Positive Action program from 3rd to 5th grade reduced bullying by 41%, violence by 37% and substance use by 31%. Academic effects will be released soon.
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Bring the World to Your School with Educational Seminars!

Educational Seminars, fully funded by the U.S. Department of State, are short-term international exchanges for U.S. teachers and administrators that focus on sharing best practices and professional development.

Look for program applications for teachers and administrators in late summer/fall 2011. Email edseminars
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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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