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May 4, 2011
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News for the Education Profession

  Learning and Teaching 
  • STEM-focused charter sees success after many challenges
    A charter school near Boston has overcome many challenges -- from parental opposition to high staff turnover -- on its path to becoming a successful school focused on science, technology, engineering and math. The Advanced Math and Science Academy was founded in 2005 by educators and parents seeking a higher academic standard for students. The school now has a long waiting list and is recognized for high test scores, a rigorous computer-science program and an integrated middle-school curriculum. The Boston Globe (free registration) (5/1) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • AVID program to graduate college-bound Utah students
    The first group of students to complete four years in a Utah high school's Advancement Via Individual Determination -- or AVID -- program is set to graduate this spring. The program targets students who would be the first generation in their families to go to college, and offers them instruction and support, from note-taking to college-admissions essays. Several of the 22 students left the program for various reasons, but all 16 who remain are headed to college. AVID is offered in 26 Utah schools. The Salt Lake Tribune (Utah) (5/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
Over 700 Illinois Schools Now Use Lexia Reading
"We began with 75% of our kindergartners with no letter recognition. Lexia Reading helped bring 88% of our students up to speed by the end of 1st grade." Carol Gibbs, Principal, North Elementary, Des Plaines, IL. Lexia Reading software can dramatically improve your students' reading skills, too. Learn more.
  Professional Leadership 
  • An interview with the National Teacher of the Year: The most frustrating part of teaching is that there aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you want to do with students, says 2011 National Teacher of the Year Michelle Shearer. In this interview, Shearer says she often struggles to fit lesson-planning, grading and professional development into her teaching schedule. On testing, the 14-year teaching veteran notes that many things her students learn throughout the year do not appear on standardized tests. "Testing is one aspect of learning and one aspect of assessment," she said. The Washington Post/The Answer Sheet blog (5/2) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
New generation of assessment simplifies intervention.
New assessment requirements for standards benchmarking-both state and Common Core standards-as well as longitudinal tracking of student data, can now be accomplished with one STAR computer-adaptive assessment. Learn more.
  Technology in the Classroom 
  • Are educators prepared to teach students about online safety?
    K-12 educators are not prepared to teach students about online safety, ethics and security, according to a survey released today by the nonprofit National Cyber Security Alliance. Results of the Microsoft-sponsored survey find that while 81% of school administrators were satisfied with their school's teaching of online safety, 36% of teachers reported received no training in the past year on the subject and 40% received between one and three hours of training. USA TODAY (5/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Schools merge digital tools with arts education
    Some schools are using technology to increase students' access to the arts. A statewide distance-learning program in Alabama is helping students in rural districts fulfill a state requirement that they complete an arts survey course that incorporates dance, music, theater and visual arts. In Arizona, students use computer software to compose original operas and teachers work with visual artists to bring technology-based -- as well as traditional -- art projects into the classroom. Harvard Education Letter (May/June 2011) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
Plugged-in is a reading program for elementary, middle and high school students with the goal of creating active, passionate and capable readers. Written by Dr. Janet Allen, internationally renowned literacy expert, the program uses authentic and captivating texts and includes differentiated learning activities. Learn more.
  • How much influence should corporations have on education policy?
    Education expert and author Diane Ravitch questions in this blog post the ongoing influence of businesses and private groups on education policy. These groups and businesses support self-serving reforms such as online learning, video gaming and test-based accountability, which Ravitch argues may not be as good for students as they are for their corporate benefactors. "The handing over of public education to the free market makes me profoundly uneasy," she writes. Education Week/Bridging Differences blog (5/3)
  Read more from the top education blogs here

  Policy Watch 
  • California schools face budget uncertainties
    California schools continue to face uncertainty about their budgets as plans by Gov. Jerry Brown to offset potential cuts with tax increases and extensions so far have failed to gain enough legislative support. Without the measures, many districts will be forced to raise class sizes, implement massive layoffs and eliminate programs. While Brown argues that there is widespread public support for the tax measures, critics contend the funding should come from reduced state spending. Education Week (premium article access compliments of (5/4) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • One-week campaign aims to raise $1 million for Beverly Hills schools: Parents and educators in Beverly Hills, Calif., are hoping to raise $1 million in just a week to protect their 4,700-student school system from the threat of state budget cuts. The district so far has been spared from many cuts affecting less-affluent districts, but small class sizes, arts programs and teacher jobs are now in jeopardy amid reductions in property values used to determine school funding and less-than-expected state funding. Los Angeles Times (5/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  In the Field 
  • Nutrition guidelines are important for bag lunches, too
    Schools are providing more nutritious lunches with lower levels of fat and sodium because of federal regulations, but lunches that children bring from home often don't measure up, says registered dietitian Kate Dorr, who studied the issue in several schools in New York state. She said healthy packed lunches should include sandwiches on whole-wheat bread, fresh fruits and veggies, and milk or 100% juice, with an eye toward low levels of fat and saturated fat and high levels of iron, calcium and fiber. Observer-Dispatch (Utica, N.Y.) (5/3) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

"Invaluable advice and tools for teachers who recognize the importance of teaching the art of speech" (Kelly Gallagher). Well Spoken is a practical guide to teaching students how to speak effectively, with practical strategies for crafting, delivering, and evaluating speeches. Preview the entire book online!

The days of evaluating school effectiveness using only past performances are now history. SAS® EVAAS® provides value-added modeling and projection analyses to anticipate students' scores on future tests, allowing you to predict the likelihood of future success and identify potential at-risk students sooner. Download white paper.

Interested in learning more about advertising in ASCD SmartBrief? Contact Joe Riddle at (202) 407-7857 or  

  ASCD News 
  • Revisit multicultural education with the latest issue of ASCD Express
    Are standards and multicultural education compatible? In her recent ASCD Express article on the topic, Professor Christine E. Sleeter answers "yes and no." She says teachers need to begin with a vision that connects the two and avoid using "scripted curriculum packages that treat students as empty vessels."
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  • You may be right, but are you effective?
    In a recent Inservice blog post, English teacher Larry Ferlazzo emphasizes that "a focus on parent involvement may be right, but a focus on parent engagement is more effective." In the post, he explores key differences between parent involvement and engagement, and refers to his expanded discussion of the two in a May 2011 Educational Leadership article.
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  Editor's Note 
  • SmartBrief has an Android app
    SmartBrief is proud to announce the launch of our Google Android application, available for download at Android Market. The app extends our promise to keep you informed and save you valuable time every day. Download the app, and tell us what you think. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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Principal (K to 8)Gary Lighthouse Charter SchoolGary, IN
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Elementary School PrincipalsCave Creek Unified School District #93Cave Creek, AZ
Lead Teacher Position; District of Columbia Public Schools SY 2011-2012DC Public SchoolsWashington, DC
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Administrators-in-Residence (2011-12)Green Dot Public SchoolsLos Angeles, CA
Cluster Director/Area SuperintendentGreen Dot Public SchoolsLos Angeles, CA
PrincipalsGreen Dot Public SchoolsLos Angeles, CA
Director of Alumni ProgramKnowles Science Teaching FoundationMoorestown, NJ
CEO/School LeaderFoundations, Inc.Philadelphia, PA

The things we hate about ourselves aren't more real than the things we like about ourselves."
--Ellen Goodman,
American columnist, author, speaker and commentator

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