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Across the Nation
Florida AP Wins National Honor
Free Tutoring Failing to Help Needy Kids
Essential Qualities of Math Teaching Still Elusive
Freshman Academies Yield Mixed Results
Life After Special Ed Has Challenges
Many Potential Leaders of Tomorrow Reject the Role
Anti-Gossip Campaign Takes to Schools
Cell Phones Test Schools’ Outreach Efforts
How Multimedia Can Improve Learning

In Federal Policy
U.S. to Require States to Use a Uniform School-Dropout Formula
State Tests Not Adequate Under No Child Left Behind

In the States
Arizona Passes Bill to Quit No Child Left Behind
Breathalyzers Gain Traction in Schools

Other News and Information
Do You Love Being a Principal?
National Environmental Education Week


Principal's Poll
Have supplemental educational services helped the students most in need in your school?




Across the Nation

Florida AP Wins National Honor
Hilca Thomas, curriculum assistant principal at Howard A. Doolin Middle School in Miami, FL, has not only learned how to analyze multiple sources of data, but also taught her staff to use data to direct instruction. She established a data analysis team to dissect the results of different assessments to identify instructional weaknesses—a practice that contributed to differentiated instruction and that earned her the title 2008 National Assistant Principal of the Year in an annual program sponsored by Virco Inc.

The Strategic School: Making the Most of People, Time, and Money
Join the Principal’s Book club by June 13 to receive the July book, The Strategic School: Making the Most of People, Time, and Money by Karen Hawley Miles and Stephen Frank. Exploring the link between purposeful resource allocation and academic achievement, this book shows principals how to effectively use the resources they already have at hand.

bookclubcover

Free Tutoring Failing to Help Needy Kids
New findings from three cities—Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles—show that few students are taking up the offer for free tutoring mandated under the No Child Left Behind Act. In Milwaukee, for example, 90% of students who registered in 2003 attended sessions, but by 2006, only 34% did. Researchers also found no rise in Milwaukee scores. Researchers in L.A. found similar results, though children tutored for several years did better. In Pittsburgh, tutors got better results grouping students by achievement level rather than grade level. USA Today, 3/26/08

Principal’s Poll: Have supplemental educational services helped the students most in need in your school?

Essential Qualities of Math Teaching Still Elusive
A recent federal report shows inconclusive results on what makes math teachers effective in the classroom. The findings were also unable to pinpoint what college math courses are most essential for teachers and what kinds of professional development or certifications are most beneficial. The results shadow other recent studies that amount to a call for further research on the topic. Education Week, 3/28/08 (Premium article access compliments of edweek.org)

Schoolwide Numeracy
Working with math teachers is part of the solution to schoolwide numeracy, but math must extend far beyond math classes and pervade the whole curriculum if all students are going to achieve mathematical literacy. See Making the Mathematics Curriculum Count: A Guide for Middle and High School Principals to jumpstart your school's numeracy initiative.

Freshman Academies Yield Mixed Results
A school redesign meant to boost graduation rates has produced mixed results in Nashville, TN. Freshman academies, which separate ninth-graders from upperclassmen, have helped some urban schools raise attendance and grades but made little or no impact at other schools, according to a district study. Supporters of the project say the redesign shouldn’t be scrutinized after just one semester. Tennessean, 3/27/08

Easing Transitions
Help students cope with the transfer from middle school to high school by addressing five main areas of concern in
"Designing Comprehensive Transitions". Or learn how to meet your students’ key emotional needs during major grade transitions by reading "Easing Transitions With Social-Emotional Learning" from the Principal Leadership archives. (NASSP member log-in required. Not a member? Join now!)

Life After Special Ed Has Challenges
Students with disabilities are often left to fend for themselves upon graduation from high school although educators are required to prepare them for life after school under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. The law says that by the time students with disabilities are 16, schools are supposed to provide planning that may include more school, getting a job, or trying to live independently. However, as schools are putting most of their resources into teaching core subjects to meet No Child Left Behind requirements, many special-ed students are not getting the transition help they need. Washington Post, 3/31/08

Many Potential Leaders of Tomorrow Reject the Role
A new study commissioned by the Girl Scouts of America has determined that today’s students aren’t interested in becoming tomorrow’s leaders, ranking "being a leader" behind other goals such as "fitting in," "making a lot of money," and "helping animals or the environment." However, three-quarters of Black girls and boys and Hispanic girls surveyed already identified themselves as leaders, a much larger group than White youths, about half of whom think of themselves as leaders. Washington Post, 3/27/08

National Student Leadership Week
"Step Up!" to recognize and celebrate your student leaders during National Student Leadership Week (April 13–19, 2008). Visit www.nasc.us for suggested activities and to print posters, recognition certificates, and locker signs.

Anti-Gossip Campaign Takes to Schools
Jewish high schools are taking part in a national campaign to reduce gossiping in an effort to raise awareness about the power of speech, both good and bad. The faith-based campaign calls for daily one-hour schoolwide breaks in gossiping. The program, now in its seventh year, aims to boost self-esteem and promote respectful peer-to-peer speech. New York Times, 3/27/08

Cell Phones Test Schools’ Outreach Efforts
New survey results released by the Pew Internet &America Life Project show that cell phone use among minority youth is on the rise—84% of English-speaking Hispanics under 30 have cell phones, as compared with 74% of Whites and 71% of Blacks. Hispanics also lead cell phone usage among adults. Because Hispanic young adults make up the fastest growing segment of new public school parents, educators are encouraged to use cell technology to reach the booming demographic. eSchool News, 3/31/08

Immigration and Schools
In recent years, immigration has become a hot-button issue—so much so that the mere mention of the word almost guarantees an impassioned response. The spring issue of A Legal Memorandum, "Immigration and Schools: Policy and the Law," from the NASSP Knowledge Center, explores the impact of immigration in the school environment and the school’s role in educating immigrant youth. (NASSP member log-in required. Not a member? Join now!)

How Multimedia Can Improve Learning
An analysis of existing research supports that multimodal learning—using many modes and strategies that cater to individual learners' needs and capacities—is more effective than traditional, unimodal learning. The report found that adding visuals to verbal (textual and/or auditory) instruction can result in significant gains in basic or higher-order learning, if applied appropriately. Students using a well-designed combination of visuals and text learn more than students who use only text, the report further indicates. eSchool News, 3/26/08

In Federal Policy

U.S. to Require States to Use a Uniform School-Dropout Formula
All states will soon be required to use one federal formula to calculate graduation and dropout rates, Bush administration officials said. The requirement will affect the official statistics issued by all 50 states and each of the nation’s 14,000 public high schools, making it one of the most far-reaching Department of Education regulations to date. Education Department officials said Secretary Spellings will publish the proposed graduation formula requirement in the Federal Register, opening a period of public comment that may last several months, before issuing the final regulation later this year. New York Times, 4/01/08
Related item: Alarming Graduation Gap Found Between Cities, Suburbs

State Tests Not Adequate Under No Child Left Behind
Six years after the No Child Left Behind Act became law, many states still haven’t established a testing system to track all students’ progress toward proficiency in reading and math. The U.S. Department of Education has approved the testing plans of 31 states while another four states and the District of Columbia are making final changes in their plans. Nine other states are revising their plans, but won’t be finished until at least the 2008–09 school year. Education Week, 3/31/08 (Premium article access compliments of edweek.org)

Reauthorize NCLB Now
If Congress does not reauthorize NCLB, it will not simply go away. Rather, school leaders will be stuck with this flawed legislation for several more years. Contact your representative and encourage him or her to support an NCLB reauthorization that incorporates
proposed improvements in 2008.

In the States

Arizona Passes Bill to Quit No Child Left Behind
In a move that could cost the state $600 million in federal funds, Arizona’s House of Representatives approved a bill to opt out of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) with a voice vote. The bill that could make Arizona the first state in the nation to leave behind NCLB and its education mandates would take effect on July 1, 2010. The bill could be up for a formal vote as early as next week, and if it passes, it still would need Senate approval. Arizona Republic, 3/27/08

Breathalyzers Gain Traction in Schools
In a campaign to stop underage drinking, many Connecticut schools are using breathalyzers to test students for alcohol consumption at school events as well as during the school day, if students are suspected of drinking. Districts are also taking measures to get parents to sign contracts promising that their homes will be alcohol-free zones during student parties or at gatherings before or after school events. Some districts are even punishing student athletes who get caught drinking or appear drinking in pictures on Web sites like MySpace. New York Times, 3/30/08

Do You Blog?
If you’re a principal or assistant principal who maintains a blog—either to communicate with the community or for your own professional development—we’d like to know. Send an e-mail with the subject "Principal’s blog" and with your name and URL to
konikowp@principals.org.

Other News and Information

Do You Love Being a Principal?
Let everyone know what makes being a principal worthwhile. Write a brief essay (250 words) and send at least three photos to illustrate it to plmag@principals.org for "Celebrate the Principalship," which appears on the last page of every Principal Leadership magazine. Tell your best stories so everyone can hear.

National Environmental Education Week
Carbon Footprints is the theme of this year’s National Environmental Education Week that will take place from April 13–19. By participating in the week’s events, you can encourage your students to make a difference in their schools, homes, and communities.