February 2, 2021
ASCD SmartBrief
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Teaching and Learning
Teachers trim lessons during the pandemic
Middle- and high-school teachers say they are making difficult decisions about what lessons to eliminate as instructional time is reduced during the coronavirus pandemic. Peter Madsen, a US history teacher in New Mexico, says he covered all topics with students, but some lessons are more "cursory," while Leigh Foy, a chemistry and Advanced Placement biology teacher in Pennsylvania, says she will not require students to memorize names for chemical formulas this year, instead giving them a reference guide for quizzes and tests.
Full Story: The Associated Press (2/2) 
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Reading Instruction Reimagined to Reach All Learners
Benchmark Advance builds K-6 literacy and content-area knowledge with systematic instruction based on the science of reading. Engaging text sets feature authentic literature and diverse perspectives, with integrated resources and multi-level support for ELs. A fully equitable Spanish edition is also available. FREE sampler
Transformational Leadership
A social and emotional learning program is helping teachers in a Wisconsin school district learn how to help students by supporting and calming them, write Ted Gennerman, student service director, and school psychologist Emilie Tregellas. In this article, they write about the importance of getting buy-in from every school, providing training for all student-facing staff and communicating with parents.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Education (1/29) 
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New curriculum to help reverse the youth e-cigarette epidemic with resources to quit vaping
With youth e-cigarette use at epidemic levels, a new curriculum is giving young people the facts about the dangers associated with e-cigarettes and vaping, and the tools they need to help them quit.
Technology in the Classroom
Online program to introduce drones to N.C. students
A diverse mix of middle-school students in Beaufort County, N.C., soon will learn about drones through an online program from IBX STEM Center and the Cornerstone 21st Century Community Learning Center. Twenty students were selected to participate in the self-paced program that includes kits to build drones.
Full Story: Washington Daily News (N.C.) (2/1) 
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The Whole Child
Lawmakers in Texas are considering three pieces of legislation aimed at supporting students' mental health. The bills would require high-school students to take a mental health class, require school board and trustee members to take a class on trauma-informed care, and require schools and districts to maintain data on bullying and cyberbullying incidents.
Full Story: KSAT-TV (San Antonio) (1/28) 
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Policy Watch
Opinion: An argument for patriotic education in schools
The Lincoln Memorial (Orlando/Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
President Joe Biden's move to abolish the 1776 Commission on his first day in office does not diminish the need for well-rounded patriotic education in US schools, writes Rick Hess, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and the director of the Education Policy Studies. In this commentary, Hess asserts that students should study "America's failings but also need to see them in perspective."
Full Story: Education Week (2/1) 
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FCC considers applying E-rate to at-home internet
The Federal Communications Commission will accept public comments through Feb. 16 on whether to expand the E-rate program to help close the digital divide by allowing funds to be used on at-home internet access. The effort signals a possible shift for the FCC and follows an executive order by President Joe Biden to encourage the FCC to help expand internet access to more students.
Full Story: T.H.E. Journal (2/1),  Education Week (2/1) 
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Several states -- including California, Kentucky and New Jersey -- are considering joining Illinois and Louisiana in requiring high-school graduates to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, as students who are aware of the financial resources available to pay for college are more likely to enroll, the National College Attainment Network says. In Louisiana, the number of students graduating from high school has risen since the law was put in place, and immediate, post-high-school college enrollment has soared, early data indicates.
Full Story: CNBC (2/1) 
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Faculty Lounge
More than 500 US high-school students from low-income households will have free access to a version of Yale University's popular online course, "The Science of Well Being." Beginning today, the course will be provided to 40 schools in 17 cities and is intended to help support students' mental health.
Full Story: CNN (2/1) 
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New from ASCD
Chase Mielke, author of "The Burnout Cure: Learning to Love Teaching Again," describes how we can reframe unhealthy thinking -- identifying and fixing cognitive distortions like "mind reading" and "permanence" that lead us to assume the worst. This article, part of Educational Leadership's special issue on "Mental Health for Educators," is free and open to all users through June.
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Educators caring for family members with mental illness often hide what they're going through, although support from fellow educators would make a huge difference. Susan Johnson recounts her challenging personal experience and suggests how teachers might reach out to and support colleagues they sense are battling problems at home. This article, part of Educational Leadership's special issue on "Mental Health for Educators," is free and open to all users through June.
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