Weekly Update-December 23, 2011

On December 23, 2011, in Weekly Update, by Mary Kingston


NASSP Announces New Digital Principal Award

The Digital Principal Award is an opportunity to honor principals who exhibit bold, creative leadership in their drive to harness the potential of new technologies to further learning goals. The award also allows us to showcase models of leadership that encourage the use of technology in instruction and for principals’ own professional use.

NASSP will honor three NASSP member principals in schools that cover any subset of grades K—­12. Criteria for the award are based on the National Education Technology Standards for Administrators (NETS*A), developed by the International Society for Technology in Education, and the applications of those skills to further the Breaking Ranks Framework for school improvement.

Applications are due January 17. Go here to learn how to apply and about the criteria: http://www.nassp.org/awards-and-recognition/digital-principal-award

And speaking of all things digital, don’t forget to follow NASSP staff on Twitter!


@akarhuse=Amanda Karhuse, Director of Government Relations

@kingston_m=Mary Kingston, Manager of Government Relations

@PrincipalDiff=Mel Riddile, Associate Director, High School Services


FY 2012 Appropriations

On December 17, the Senate approved the omnibus (package) appropriations bill containing education programs to fund the federal government through Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 that the House had previously passed. The Senate last weekend rejected the House-passed bill to offset the disaster-aid spending with an across-the-board cut of 1.83%. NASSP is happy to see this bill fail since this cut would have impacted education funding. Go here to see a great chart showing funding levels of education programs for FY 2012 as prepared by our coalition partner, the Committee for Education Funding. Note that these amounts are very slightly off the Department of Education’s calculations but are very close. For a summary of education program spending levels to accompany the chart, read this EdWeek article.


The House next convenes on January 17 and the Senate on January 23.



ESEA Reauthorization

On December 16, House Education and the Workforce Committee ranking member Rep. George Miller (D-CA) issued a statement expressing his disappointment that Chairman Kline (R-MN) has abandoned bipartisan talks on the House ESEA reauthorization. Miller said, “Partisanship means the end to NCLB reform in this Congress.” What is especially troubling about this statement is that Chairman Harkin (D-IA) on the Senate side indicated that the Senate would likely not move forward with its committee-approved ESEA bill unless the House can produce a bipartisan bill.


Seclusion and Restraint Bill

On December 16 Senator Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee introduced S. 2020, the Keeping All Students Safe Act, to “protect all school children against harmful and life-threatening seclusion and restraint practices.”  Rep. George Miller (D-CA), ranking member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, introduced a bill by the same name on the House side on April 6. (See NASSP’s blog post on this bill.) While NASSP supported Rep. Miller’s bill, we are not yet taking a position on Sen. Harkin’s bill. Go here to read the text of Sen. Harkin’s bill.



Twenty Organizations Receive Promise Neighborhood Grants

On December 19 the U.S. Department of Education announced 20 new winners for the Promise Neighborhood grant from a pool of over 200 applicants vying for $30 million in grant money. Five organizations will receive a first-year grant of up to $6 million (totaling up to $30 million over five years) to “support implementing cradle-to-career services that improve the educational achievement and healthy development of children.”  The other 15 organizations will receive up to $500,000 as planning grants. Read a U.S. Department of Education press release here and a blog post here.


Race to the Top Finalists Split $200 Million, Detail Implementation Plans

The seven runner-up states to last year’s Race to the Top grant are splitting the remaining $200 million of that grant to fund some unique and innovative undertakings, and particularly to implement common standards and improve teacher evaluation systems.

Here are some of the winners’ unique plans according to a summary by Education Week:

Arizona: Plans to establish five regional education centers, support the transition to Common Core State Standards, and improve data systems to inform educational decision-making.

Colorado: Plans to transition to college- and career-ready standards, improve educator effectiveness by providing statewide training to implement its new teacher-evaluation system, and continue with STEM integration.

Illinois: Plans to create a group of “reform exemplars” among participating districts that will agree to meet a high bar for implementing a comprehensive set of reforms, build systems and processes to continue and sustain improved student outcomes for all participating school districts, and build state capacity to extend reforms statewide.

Kentucky: Plans to focus on its “one-stop shop” technology support system for Kentucky educators and to scale up the AdvanceKentucky project, which is aimed at engaging underserved and underrepresented student populations in advanced STEM courses.

Louisiana: Plans to implement a performance-management system statewide to measure teacher and leader effectiveness and increase professional development resources available for STEM teachers, and develop and deliver professional development modules aligned with the Common Core in mathematics, among other things.

New Jersey: Plans to develop model curricula that will assist teachers and leaders in the transition to Common Core assessments; launch its newly created teacher evaluation system statewide and pilot a new evaluation system for principals; and enhance its charter school application review and renewal processes.

Pennsylvania: Plans to expand student and teacher access to quality courses and instructional resources to improve student achievement, particularly in STEM subjects, and refine and implement teacher and principal evaluation systems that incorporate student performance results as a significant factor.

Read the Education Week article here.

Hawaii in Danger of Losing Its $75 Million Race to the Top Grant

The U.S. Department of Education on 12/21 notified state officials that it is placing the state on “high-risk status” because the state has not made adequate progress in fulfilling its promises outlined in its Race to the Top application. In placing the state in “high risk status,” the Department is “limiting access to its remaining grant money, rejecting several requests for significant changes and delays in its Race to the Top plan, and planning an extensive on-site review in early 2012.” To read the rest of this Education Week article, go here.

Merged NCATE Accreditation Bodies to Raise Bar for Teacher Entry

The new Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, a merging of the two accreditation bodies for American teacher’s colleges, announced plans to require training programs to improve their processes for selecting candidates. Says James G. Cibulka, the president of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, or NCATE, “The new CAEP standards are going to be much more rigorous with regard both to admission policies and recruitment policies.” Quoting an Education Week article from 12/22, “His comments give the first inkling of what the new body will consider as part of a revamped accreditation process, and are germane to a growing debate about how to recruit more academically capable individuals into teaching, especially at the elementary level.” Read the rest of the article here.


Comparing Generations of Youth

From a U.S. Department of Education newsletter: “America’s Youth: Transitions to Adulthood” (http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012026), a new report from the Department’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), compares the current generation of youth and younger adults in the U.S. to youth and younger adults in 1980, 1990, and 2000.  As an example, the current generation is enrolled in school at higher rates than their predecessors.  In 2009, 69% of 18- and 19-year-olds, 52% of 20- and 21-year-olds, and 30% of 22- to 24-year-olds were enrolled in school, versus 46%, 31%, and 16%, respectively, back in 1980.”


NASSP Webinar Series on Common Core State Standards

NASSP and the College Board are collaborating to develop a series of six webinars on Common Core State Standards.  These webinars are directed specifically to school leaders. Below is listed the schedule and webinar titles. (There may be some minor changes to the titles.) All of the webinars will begin at 4:00 p.m EST. Block these times out on your calendar now and registration will be available soon on www.nassp.org/webinars.

Janaury, 18, 2012 – Overview

February 1, 2012 – ELA Standards

February 15, 2012 – Math Standards

February 29, 2012 – School Wide Instructional Practices

March 14, 2012 – School Leadership Role

March 28, 2012 – Changing the School Culture and Climate

Other NASSP Webinars

Cutting-Edge Technology Initiatives for the Classroom, January 11, 4-5 pm EST, presented by Melinda Maddox, Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) Director of Technology Initiatives, and Craig Bates, principal of Winterboro High School, Alpine, AL. Want to learn more about cutting-edge technology initiatives used every day in the classroom? Join Melinda Maddox as she discusses ALSDE’s highly regarded technology initiatives. Then listen as Craig Bates provides a principal’s perspective on how these initiatives work on the ground in schools, and what impact they are having on student achievement and engagement. Register now!

Best Practices in Teacher Recruitment and Retention, January 27, 3-4 pm EST.

Join Scott Ruehl, principal of Mt. Hebron High School in Ellicott City, MD, for a discussion on how to successfully recruit and retain exemplary teachers. Ruehl will describe how he actively recruits teachers that are the best fit for his school, and will highlight the professional growth and leadership opportunities he provides in order to retain excellent teachers who are constantly improving. Ruehl will be accompanied by a teacher at Mt. Hebron who will offer their perspective on the recruiting process and how Ruehl’s practices have benefited their teaching career. Register now!

U.S. Department of Education Introduces a New Blog

Check out the blog “Homeroom,” with information on issues searchable by topic and audience here




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