Content

Across the Nation
Defining the Role of the Assistant Principal
Reflections on Young Adolescents
Study Paints Grim Picture on Reading
Teachers Warned About MySpace Profiles
Kids' Waistlines vs. Bottom Line
NCLB Violence Data Skewed

In Federal Policy
Veto Override Attempt Falls Short

In the States
A New Effort to Remove Bad Teachers in NY
West Virginia Creates State AYP System
CO District Eliminates Valedictorian Title

In the Courts
"Mandatory Silence" on Hold for Now
ACLU to Sue Hawaii Over Teacher Drug Testing

Other News and Highlights
Students, Parents, and Educators Can Speak Up

Principal's Poll
How do the APs in your school spend the majority of their time?

 

 

 


Across the Nation

Defining the Role of the Assistant Principal
Assistant principals need mentors, support systems, and training to help them grow as visionary leaders, teacher coaches, master schedule designers, and program developers and evaluators. To address this need, NASSP has created the Assistant Principal Task Force, which will focus on the professional needs of assistant principals.

Reflections on Young Adolescents
The general public does not always have a positive picture of young adolescents because they are often portrayed in the media as rude, self-centered, and uncaring. And while at times that can be true, they can also be very caring, compassionate, and concerned—and hanging out with the kids over a recent weekend confirmed this for NASSP's Patti Kinney and reminded her why she continues to work on behalf of this age group. Middle View Blog, 11/19/07

 

Study Paints Grim Picture on Reading
Is reading at risk? Or is there a "new literacy" emerging that cannot be measured by traditional testing tools and standards? That debate is sure to flare anew among literacy experts, teachers, multimedia whiz kids, and good old-fashioned book lovers as the National Endowment for the Arts lays out a study that sounds the alarm about the dire state of reading in our culture. It's the second time in three years it has raised such concerns. Star Tribune, 11/19/07

Teachers Warned About MySpace Profiles
The Ohio Education Association delivered a clear message to educators in a memo it sent last month: Watch what you post online. The memo strongly discouraged teachers from using social-networking Web sites such as MySpace and Facebook to create personal profiles or communicate with students, stating that "the dangers of participating in these two sites outweigh the benefits." eSchool News, 11/19/07
Related item: Educators Weigh Merits of Social Network Sites for Students

Kids' Waistlines vs. Bottom Line
Educators say they are doing what they can to help fight a national childhood obesity epidemic. But students will eat what they want, and it is tough to sell salads with the smell of fry oil in the air. Those responsible for school lunches at the district level say they are not to blame for the tempting and fattening food still offered. They point to federal and state lawmakers who have created a system that requires them to fulfill opposing mandates: Deliver nutritious meals while marketing and selling enough extra food to keep the books balanced. News &Observer, 11/18/07

NCLB Violence Data Skewed
A little-publicized provision of the No Child Left Behind Act requiring states to identify "persistently dangerous schools" is hampered by widespread underreporting of violent incidents and by major differences among the states in defining unsafe campuses, several audits say. Out of about 94,000 schools in the United States, only 46 were designated as persistently dangerous in the past school year. One California high school had 289 cases of battery, two assaults with a deadly weapon, a robbery, and two sex offenses in one school year, but it did not meet the state's definition of a persistently dangerous school. Washington Post, 11/18/07

 

Whether or not a school has been classified as persistently dangerous, parents and educators are worried about violence. NASSP school safety specialist Bill Bond and Director of Safety &Security at Carbondale (IL) Community High School Luanne Brown offer some tips on preventing gun violence in schools.

 

In Federal Policy

Veto Override Attempt Falls Short
Despite concerted efforts by the Democratic leadership on November 15, the House fell two votes short (277–141) in its attempt to override President Bush’s veto of the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill. The failure of the House override attempt means that the Senate cannot attempt an override, effectively killing the effort. Principal's Policy Blog, 11/20/07

In the States

A New Effort to Remove Bad Teachers in NY
The Bloomberg administration is beginning a drive to remove New York's unsatisfactory teachers, hiring new teams of lawyers and consultants who will help principals build cases against tenured teachers who they believe are not up to the job. It is also urging principals to get rid of sub-par novices before they earn tenure. New York Times, 11/15/07

 

Giving teachers opportunities to continue to learn enhances their instructional expertise, supports their interests, and improves student learning. Read "High Priority: Teachers' Opportunities to Learn" from the November 2007 Principal Leadership. (Member login required. Not a member? Join now!)

West Virginia Creates State AYP System
In response to what it says are unfairly negative federal evaluations, the West Virginia Department of Education has created its own achievement index for the state's schools. The audits director of the Office for Education Performance said the problem is embodied by the fact that the second-highest performing school under the state's standards didn't make adequate yearly progress. But the AYP scores remain important because they are tied to federal funds for schools. Charleston Daily Mail, 11/15/07

CO District Eliminates Valedictorian Title
The race for valedictorian will end, starting with the Boulder Valley School District's class of 2010. A district committee studying the issue agreed to mirror colleges by recognizing groups of high-achieving seniors with summa, magna, and cum laude honors instead of crowning a single valedictorian. The change is the result of a previous Boulder Valley decision to no longer calculate class rank. Daily Camera, 11/14/07

In the Courts

"Mandatory Silence" on Hold for Now
School districts looking for clarity on how to handle the new Illinois law mandating a moment of silence at the start of the school day will have to wait. A federal judge ordered the superintendent of the Illinois State Board of Education not to issue any directive on how the pause should be approached. He also held that no district should be punished for ignoring the law. But that changes little because the state superintendent's office hasn't yet sought to enforce the statute that took effect in October. Chicago Tribune, 11/16/07

ACLU to Sue Hawaii Over Teacher Drug Testing
The American Civil Liberties Union has announced plans to sue Hawaii in federal court to halt what it said would be the nation's first program of random drug testing of public school teachers. The policy would affect up to 13,500 teachers, librarians, administrative workers, and other school employees. Honolulu Advertiser, 11/16/07

 

Are random drug searches legal in schools? Read the fall 2007 Legal Memorandum to find out. (Member login required. Not a member? Join now!)

 

Other News and Highlights

Students, Parents, and Educators Can Speak Up
Speak Up, a national online research project facilitated by Project Tomorrow, gives individuals the opportunity to share their viewpoints about key educational issues. Each year, findings are summarized and shared with national and state policymakers. In addition, participating schools and districts can access their data online, free-of-charge. Deadline: December 15