January 4, 2021
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Teaching and Learning
Study: 3 keys to high-performing schools
(Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Schools that have high test scores, support students' social and emotional skills and have good student behavior are more effective, according to a study of more than 150,000 ninth-grade students in Chicago. Researchers found that schools with high rankings in these three areas had fewer arrests, plus higher rates of high-school graduation and college enrollment.
Full Story: The Hechinger Report (1/4) 
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Resourceful teachers get creative online
(Pixabay)
Some teachers are finding unique and innovative ways to engage students during remote instruction. Abigail Dillingham, an art teacher in Virginia, sought to overcome a lack of supplies by having her students create artwork out of their family's laundry, and Alex Clark, a high-school physical-education teacher, organized socially distanced bike rides through Washington, D.C., neighborhoods.
Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (1/2) 
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Real strategies to promote anti-racism
The murder of George Floyd in May 2020, shattered any lingering illusions that we live in a post-racial, America. As teachers and administrators, the time to act is now. Download the eBook for Boston educator Casey Andrews' suggestions for what you can do to start reshaping your practice.
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Transformational Leadership
The challenges of 2020 offer several lessons for school leaders, asserts Maria Armstrong, executive director of the Association of Latino Administrators & Superintendents. In this commentary, Armstrong notes the importance of school leadership beyond the district and the critical role of proactive engagement.
Full Story: EdSurge (12/31) 
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The way we work is changing.
If you are thinking about turning your side hustle into a full-time gig, you are on the leading edge of the most significant economic change of the century. Click here to learn more.
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Technology in the Classroom
Should facial recognition tech be used in schools?
(Pixabay)
In a move celebrated by privacy advocates, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that prohibits the use of biometric identifying technology -- such as facial recognition software -- in schools. Linnette Attai, founder of PlayWell, a privacy consulting firm, said other states are likely to adopt similar restrictions.
Full Story: Education Week (12/30) 
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A high-school student in New York state was inspired by her personal experience helping a sibling learn during the coronavirus pandemic to launch a free, online tutoring platform. The service taps high-schoolers to tutor kindergarten- through eighth-grade students, and its founder, Flora Chen, used a website and social media to attract parents looking for tutoring support.
Full Story: The Buffalo News (N.Y.) (tiered subscription model) (1/3) 
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Creating a Sustainable Online Learning Program
COVID-19 is likely to have a lasting impact on virtual learning. As districts continue to consider online learning options, learning loss is evidence that some schools have struggled with the lack of in-person classes. This SmartFocus looks at how districts can "think bigger" about virtual learning. Read Now
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Policy Watch
Education landscape daunting for next secretary
Cardona (Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)
Miguel Cardona, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for secretary of education, will be asked to reopen schools within Biden's first 100 days in office. This article outlines examples of Cardona's other "to dos" if he is confirmed, including addressing civil rights concerns, as well as testing and accountability.
Full Story: U.S. News & World Report (12/30) 
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School districts in Minnesota are eager for new funds earmarked in the federal coronavirus relief package to help them reopen schools safely. Besides physical supports, such as protective gear and cleaning supplies, the legislation also provides funding to address learning loss stemming from the pandemic.
Full Story: Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (tiered subscription model) (1/1) 
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Digitally Enhancing Government Efficiency
The pandemic changed the way constituents and government agencies interact with each other. Learn how governments have seen returns on digitization investments by addressing key challenges such as effectively communicating with constituents. Download the white paper.
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Faculty Lounge
The coronavirus pandemic has stolen many opportunities from students -- including formal dances, dating and parties -- and is keeping some teens from learning skills that come from interacting in social settings, says Mary Alvord, who operates a mental health practice. Alvord says this could create challenges for students when they are thrust back into social settings following the pandemic.
Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (1/1) 
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The Proven Learning Benefits of Purposeful Play
As many schools head back to hybrid and traditional classroom settings, teachers and faculty members should look for new and innovative ways to improve learning outcomes for their students and make engagement in learning a priority. Here's how incorporating purposeful play gives teachers the necessary tools to improve learning outcomes. Read the SmartFocus
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New from ASCD
Educators need collaborative opportunities to renew their love of learning, not just to review data and rework lessons. Researcher Ian Parker Renga and coauthors examine the power of Math Teachers' Circles -- a group of educators that get together to play math games and solve problems just for the joy of it. This article is part of Educational Leadership's special issue "Mental Health for Educators."
We want to hear your stories. In each issue, Educational Leadership's "Tell Us About" column publishes brief contributions from readers describing their experiences related to that issue's theme. For the April 2021 issue, we'd like to hear about the great myths about being a school principal. Share your 100- to 200-word submission by January 15.
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An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.
Bill Vaughan,
writer, columnist
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