July 28, 2021
NCEA SmartBrief
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Academic Excellence
Minn. private schools see higher enrollment
(Phil Walter/Getty Images)
Data in Minnesota shows that interest in private schools has increased during the coronavirus pandemic. At Hill-Murray School, a Catholic school in Maplewood that was one of the first in the state to reopen to in-person learning last August, President Melissa Dan says the school saw increased demand with some grades reaching capacity.
Full Story: Press Publications (White Bear Lake, Minn.) (7/28) 
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Studies offer insight into pandemic learning loss
(Christof Stache/Getty Images)
First- through sixth-grade students ended the previous school year on average five months behind in math and four months behind in reading, according to an analysis released Tuesday by McKinsey. A separate study released Wednesday by NWEA found students on average were 3 to 6 percentile points behind in reading and between 8 and 12 points behind in math -- with the steepest declines seen among younger students.
Full Story: Chalkbeat (7/28),  The New York Times (7/27) 
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Curriculum added to strengthen K-5 students' SEL skills
A social and emotional learning curriculum will be aiding students in kindergarten through fifth grade this year at a Michigan elementary school, adding to an existing Character Strong curriculum, says Principal John Nawrot. The new curriculum is designed to enhance students' SEL "toolbox," Nawrot says, with lessons on topics including listening, focusing, following directions and emotional management.
Full Story: Big Rapids Pioneer (Mich.) (7/24) 
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Audiovisual Systems in K-12 Classrooms
Audiovisual systems provide a seamless and engaging learning experience and allow teachers to interact with students, while ensuring students can easily remain engaged with necessary materials and presentations.
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Leadership and Innovation
CDC: Wear masks in schools
The CDC on Tuesday reversed its previous guidance on mask-wearing, because of the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, and is recommending wearing masks indoors in some cases, including in schools. The CDC now recommends everyone in K-12 schools "wear a mask indoors, including teachers, staff, students and visitors, regardless of vaccination status," said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
Full Story: Chalkbeat (7/27),  U.S. News & World Report (7/27),  National Public Radio (7/27),  Education Week (7/27) 
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Jim Dillon, a long-time educator and educational consultant for Measurement Incorporated, shares two anecdotes in this blog post: one in which a student, who is bullied, believes that harassment is part of the school environment and another who thinks school is a place of learning where students prepare for a successful future. Dillon explains that the coronavirus pandemic offers educators an opportunity to examine which environment their students experience.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Education (7/27) 
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Mission and Catholic Identity
Tim Murphy, as a teenager, had an "awakening of faith" that led him to pursue becoming a priest and then a Catholic-school educator -- a position he held for 38 years. Murphy says the key to being a good teacher is to be a lifelong student.
Full Story: Daily Times Herald (Carroll, Iowa) (7/27) 
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NCEA Resources
Summer page turners
The NCEA Bookstore has new titles for summer reading and beyond. New topics include practical prayers for educators, a look at microschools, a guide to retreats, a study of backward design, useful research for educating Hispanic/Latino high-school students and other must-have titles. Written by in-the-field experts, campus ministers and Catholic-school leaders, there's a title you've been looking for in the NCEA Bookstore.
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NCEA professional development dates to remember
Effective Multiage Instruction begins Aug. 4. Learn about multiage instruction, essential to the academic excellence of many Catholic schools. Teachers, join us in this yearlong cohort. For fall, plan for the NCEA Catholic Leadership Summit (CLS) 2021, which is virtual beginning Oct. 4 and in person in St. Louis (Oct. 10 to 11), Philadelphia (Oct. 17 to 18) or Salt Lake City (Oct. 24 to 25).
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Kristin Chenoweth,
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