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May 9, 2008
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News for the Education Profession

  Eye on Curriculum 
  • A tale of two high schools
    The closure of Lafayette High School, a failing Brooklyn high school, and its planned conversion into five mini-schools (three of which are open so far) has dramatically affected a successful nearby high school, John Dewey, to which many students fled. The subsequent overcrowding, compounded by school budget cuts, is pushing Dewey beyond its limits. (5/7) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
America's favorite early reading and writing technology is proven to raise reading scores. Scholastic WiggleWorks® combines powerful technology, leveled books and instructional materials to develop reading, writing, and language skills, and helps teachers scaffold instruction to advance PreK-3 students toward reading independence. Learn More.
  Professional Leadership 
  • How principals can make classroom observation more constructive
    Pre-announced, yearly classroom evaluations do little to improve teacher performance, writes former Boston teacher, principal and administrator Kim Marshall. "The best way for principals to get a reality check on teachers' practices and to stay in close touch with classrooms is to make several unannounced classroom visits a day, and then have candid face-to-face conversations with each observed teacher within 24 hours," Marshall writes. "Using this approach systematically throughout the year sparks hundreds of substantive conversations about teaching and learning -- which are even more robust if the principal is part of discussions about interim results." Education Week (premium article access compliments of (5/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Detroit board wants more details on turnaround plan
    Some members of Detroit's school board believe more details should be made available on superintendent Connie Calloway's plan to remake five struggling schools, and were particularly peeved on Thursday when Calloway sent a staff member in her place to a committee meeting a school board member had convened to learn more about the makeover. The Detroit News (5/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
This Differentiated Instruction reference card from DayOne is jam-packed with strategies, techniques and other best practices. Ideal for any K-12 educator who has mixed-ability classes, this card is also a great resource and training tool for all staff developers and in-service planners. Summarizing the very best of differentiation, this card is an invaluable addition to any professional's plan book! More information.
  Technology Solutions 
  • Tech for tots
    This article rounds up the numerous options children have for online virtual play. Many of the sites are tied to merchandising ventures, while other subscription-based sites are free from commercial come-ons. (5/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
The Paraprofessional's Guide to the Inclusive Classroom: Working as a Team, Third Edition is a newly updated handbook perfect for training paraprofessionals. It includes strategies for building classrooms that welcome and support all students as well as the latest information on legislation, the family's role in education, classroom management, and behavioral supports. For more information and a 20% discount, click here.
  Policy Watch 
  • Top Cleveland charters, public schools to work together on kids' behalf
    A decade of bickering over funds and academic results was set aside Wednesday as three of Cleveland's top-performing charters agreed to help the city's public schools implement successful strategies. "This is about changing the conversation," said Cathy Whitehouse, co-founder of the only Ohio charter school to receive the state's top academic rating for four years straight. "We'd like to teach other interested schools in the community or districts things we found that have worked." The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) (5/8) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • House panel approves $6.4B school-renovation bill
    The U.S. House Education and Labor Committee has approved a bill that would provide $6.4 billion to renovate and modernize public school buildings nationwide in fiscal year 2009. Under the plan, most of the funds would be for renovations that meet certain green-building standards, and schools would be encouraged to track their energy use. FacilitiesNet (5/6) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News

In her short DVD Fluency Rubric Debbie Diller shows how students can record themselves reading and score their fluency on a four-step scale, giving them a fun new tool for monitoring pace and expression with a partner or by themselves. 12-min. DVD + Viewing Guide. Click here for details, including a sample clip!

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Interested in learning more about advertising in ASCD SmartBrief? Contact Joe Riddle at (202) 407-7857 or  

  In the Field 
  • Overcrowding in top NYC public schools disappoints parents
    Parents who buy pricey Lower Manhattan condos to enroll their children in top city public schools are facing an unwelcome reality: waiting lists. New residential developments that have sprung up to draw young families to top schools have not been accompanied by new schools or expansion of existing ones, some parents and public officials say. (5/9) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Association News 
  • The Power of Formative Assessment to Advance Learning
    Formative assessments guide instruction and teacher decision making, and help determine what students know, what they need to know, and what types of instructional interventions are effective. For any school or district considering or already using formative assessment, ASCD offers new tools, The Power of Formative Assessment to Advance Learning DVD Set and User Guide, that explain what formative assessment is, why it's important for teachers to use this approach in the classroom, and how to use formative assessments to gather evidence about student learning and use this evidence to adjust teaching. Find out more 

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  • Outstanding Young Educator Reflects on Grading
    Deirdra Grode is a middle school social studies and language arts teacher at Hoboken Charter School in New Jersey, and she is ASCD's 2008 Outstanding Young Educator Award recipient. In an ASCD blog post, Grode reflects on how two annual conference sessions challenged her to think about the way she has structured her instruction and assessment for years. In both sessions, presenters discussed the elimination of zeros and the flaws with traditional weights given for schoolwork. Her post seeks feedback from readers on how much we can differentiate student to student when it comes to something as objective as grading. View the post LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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K-12 Teaching JobsCarney, Sandoe & AssociatesNationwide
Director of Instructional DevelopmentYES Prep Public SchoolsHouston, Texas
Curriculum & Training DeveloperPASCO scientificRoseville, CA
PrincipalNational Heritage AcademiesMichigan, Ohio, Indiana
Director of Professional DevelopmentAustin Independent School DistrictAustin, Texas
Smart Lab FacilitatorFriendship Public Charter SchoolWashington, D.C.
Dean of EducationCS PartnersAnn Arbor, MI
Instructional Improvement CoachInsight Education GroupWashington, D.C.

It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature."
--Henry James,
American writer

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