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November 10, 2006 E-Mail news for the K-12 education profession

Eye on Curriculum 
Indiana's switch to new formula deflates graduation rates
Indianapolis schools' graduation rate, as calculated under a new state formula that tracks individual students through their high school career, unofficially was 48% for the 2004-05 school year, dramatically below the 91% reported for the year prior under the old system. Some administrators are warning parents to expect low numbers when the state releases its figures Nov. 27.   The Indianapolis Star (11/10)
Japanese curriculum woes known for years
An expert panel told the government in 2002 that 16% of Japanese university students had not studied world history, a mandatory subject, in high school, but the education ministry failed to act on that news because of a breakdown in internal communications, ministry officials admitted to an Upper House education committee yesterday. Last month it was learned that 540 high schools nationwide had opted to prepare students for college entrance exams, rather than teach courses required for graduation, a decision that affected more than 83,000 students.   Asahi Shimbun (Japan) (11/10)
Failure Is Not an Option Collection is the complete guide to sustainable student success, including all of the resources found in Failure Is Not an Option 1 and 2. The Collection features specific strategies from the leading authorities on school reform and demonstrated by award-winning schools and districts. Click here for more information or to order.
Professional Leadership 
Top aide picked as interim leader of Broward, Fla., schools
The Broward, Fla., School Board in a 5-4 vote Thursday tapped district chief of staff Jim Notter to serve as interim leader while it searches for a permanent replacement for Frank Till. Till, fired by the board, steps down Nov. 17.   The Miami Herald (free registration) (11/10)
Toronto school board race heats up
A bitter fight is overshadowing the final run-up to the Toronto District School Board election, as some parents and veteran trustees scramble to alert voters to what they feel is a campaign to place a union-backed majority of members on the school board. Union leaders deny the charges and blame them on trustees upset that the board first rejected and then watered down a cost-cutting budget proposal they had supported.   The Toronto Star (11/10)
Responsive Literacy Coaching provides a strategic framework to help coaches create and sustain change in teaching practices while avoiding pitfalls. Vignettes and examples of coaching interactions are woven throughout. Includes a foreword by Choice Words author Peter Johnston. Click here to browse the entire book online!
Technology Solutions 
Minnesota district gets a boost from virtual schools
Launching two online schools for students statewide four years ago has turned out to be an enrollment and funding boon for Houston, Minn., a small district that until that time had been slowly but steadily losing students. Superintendent Kim Ross says the initiative -- which has attracted about 850 virtual students, each accompanied by about $5,000 in state aid -- has shielded the district from the fiscal pressures most districts face.   Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (11/9)
Students worldwide make cybervisit to Jamestown
PBS journalist Gwen Ifill on Thursday hosted "Jamestown Live," a one-hour Webcast reaching an estimated 1 million students and educators from the U.S. and about 12 other countries. The program explored how the American Indian, European and African cultures shaped the history of the English settlement, which is celebrating the 400th anniversary of its 1607 founding.   CNN/Associated Press (11/9)
Learning about reading shouldn't end at fifth grade. Access the tools content teachers need to make their students more effective readers with our book Reading to Learn: A Content Teacher's Guide. This book is bursting at the seams with ways to teach reading and content simultaneously. Perfect for middle school, high school, vocational and pre-service teachers. Click here to learn more.
Policy Watch 
Study: School reform models rarely adopted wholesale
School reform models often aren't fully implemented, which is why many have little to no impact, Rand researchers report. Schools are most likely to adopt the suggested curriculum of a model, less likely to implement its teaching practices and least likely to follow recommendations that boost parental involvement, the study found.   Arizona Daily Star (Tucson)/Bloomberg (11/10)
Connecticut schools could get more funds for safety
Connecticut lawmakers plan to introduce a $15 million package in the General Assembly this January to help schools pay for alarms, monitors and other security equipment, as well as for staff training and building security assessments. One state survey last year found that one-third of high school students reported having been harassed, bullied or threatened at school in the previous 12 months, and more than 6% said they carried weapons on campus.   The Boston Globe (free registration) (11/9)
  Can your staff differentiate within the whole-group setting? Yes! Even your most anxious teachers will find the support and reassurance they need in Betty Hollas's best-selling book, Differentiating Instruction in a Whole-Group Setting. Filled with specific, practical strategies, it's a great way to encourage differentiation in your school. Order one for every teacher today! Group discounts available from Crystal Springs Books. Get details.  
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In the Field 
A global snapshot of teen violence
The Times of London correspondent Carol Midgley finds that the juvenile crime and other socially irresponsible behaviors that have earned British teens recent notoriety also plague parts of Washington D.C., Paris and Berlin. Experts note that violence has been a pervasive theme in youth culture throughout history, ever since Ancient Greece and Roman times.   The Times (London) (subscription required) (11/10)
Association News 
Best Practices in Action: Using Analogies to Enhance Background Knowledge

Teaching students to identify similarities and differences by creating analogies enhances their understanding of and ability to use knowledge. In this new DVD, classroom scenes demonstrate how educators introduce the concept of analogy, engage the students in thinking of the content in terms of similarities and differences by using analogies and lead the class to an understanding of analogies and their current unit of study. Find out more.

Also Available: Understanding by Design resources.  

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  Principal Advance Baton Rouge Baton Rouge. Louisiana 
  Principal (K-8) National Heritage Academies Multiple 
  Education Program Manager SchoolNet, Inc. Chicago, IL 
  Assessment Specialist Educational Testing Service San Antonio 
  K-8 Principal (Chief Admin. Officer) Mosaica Education Colorado, Ohio, Michigan 
  Math National Curriculum Coordinator Edison Schools Charleston, SC 
  Lower Elementaty Principal International School of Bejing Bejing, China 
  Curriculum Specialist The Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, Maryland 
  Manager, Research and Reporting Education Station Baltimore, Maryland 

No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while you'll see why."
--Mignon McLaughlin,
journalist and author

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