Content

Across the Nation
CA Principal Named National Middle Level Principal of the Year
NASSP on NAEP Results: No Cause for Celebration
Spike in Violence in Middle Schools Raises Concerns
"Stealth Learning": Drug Lessons Increase Science Scores

In Federal Policy
NASSP Board Member Advocates for Funding for School-Crime Reduction
Bill Targets Food, Drinks Sold at School
Congress and Bush Face Off Over Health Care Coverage
Bush Signs Sweeping Student Loan Bill Into Law, Adding an Asterisk

In the States
Houston Faces Catch-22 on Religious Viewpoints
School Cheating Scandal Divides NH Town


Principal's Poll
What factor most contributes to incidents of violence in schools?


Across the Nation

CA Principal Named National Middle Level Principal of the Year
James Dierke, principal of Visitacion Valley Middle School in San Francisco, CA, has been named the 2008 MetLife/NASSP National Middle Level Principal of the Year.

NASSP on NAEP Results: No Cause for Celebration
The recently released results of the 2007 National Assessment of Educational Progress show growth in the areas of reading and math at the fourth-grade level, but there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of students who continue to make progress in both subjects by the time they reach the eighth grade.
Related item: U.S. Students Score Sweeping Gains on Tests

Jump-Start Your Students' Civic Engagement at the 2008 NASSP Convention
We can reinvigorate democracy by giving students the "pre-partisan" tools of reason: logic, clarity of thought, dissent, debate, and civility, says actor Richard Dreyfuss. And what better place to learn how to support and sustain a democratic and civil society than school? Hear Dreyfuss share his passion for civic engagement at the closing general session of the 2008 NASSP Convention.

Spike in Violence in Middle Schools Raises Concerns
Educators, police, and national school violence specialists are struggling to explain rising violence among younger students in Massachusetts and nationwide. They cite an array of causes, including violent video games, movies, and television shows and news coverage of violence at school and in the community, which results in copy-cat incidents. Specialists also say that today's students rebel earlier than previous generations did; have easier access to violent images, writing, and attitudes on the Internet and in online chat rooms; and have even less parental supervision than in preceding generations. Boston Globe, 10/2/07

Discipline in Middle Level Schools
Discipline is not exciting, glossy, fun, or new. But it occupies a large part of many middle level administrators’ time. In his two-part entry on the Middle View blog, "It's Not Exciting," assistant principal Michael Waiksnis offers a few considerations that have helped him handle discipline issues. Do you have others?

"Stealth Learning": Drug Lessons Increase Science Scores
A Duke professor who left the lab to focus on science education has developed a tactic for keeping students' hands in the air at the end of class. The professor and her team boosted the basic science knowledge of 7,210 high school students by 16% by teaching high school teachers how to incorporate drug-related topics into biology and chemistry classes. Science Daily, 9/27/07

NASSP Leadership Skills Assessment
The NASSP Leadership Skills Assessment is an affordable Web-based tool that you can complete at your own pace. Purchase a pass to begin your NASSP Leadership Skills Assessment and set a course for your own professional development!

In Federal Policy

NASSP Board Member Advocates for Funding for School-Crime Reduction
Scott Pfeifer, NASSP Board member and principal of Centennial High School in Ellicott City, MD, represented the nation's principals at a press conference on school-crime reduction hosted by Sen. Barbara Mikulski, chair of the U.S. Senate's Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee. "One of the primary goals of principals is to create a personalized learning environment in which all students and staff feel free to pursue their interests and continued education and development," Pfeifer said, echoing a primary theme of Breaking Ranks II and Breaking Ranks in the Middle. "However, personalization cannot occur if students and staff are distracted by school crime and violence," Pfeifer continued.

Bill Targets Food, Drinks Sold at School
A billion-dollar battle over selling sports drinks and "enhanced" water in public schools has spilled into Congress and threatens to derail a major attempt to cut back the sale of junk food from school vending machines and snack bars. In an attempt to limit the sale of high-calorie sodas, candy bars, and other snacks in schools, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin has introduced a bill that would have the government set new nutritional standards for the foods and drinks that schools sell to students outside cafeterias. But just what those standards should be is the issue. Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 9/27/07

Congress and Bush Face Off Over Health Care Coverage
More than 9 million U.S. children do not have health care coverage. Over 62% of these uninsured children are racial or ethnic minorities, and more than one-third come from families at or under the federal poverty line. To address this situation, Congress passed the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007—a bill to reauthorize the State Children’s Health Insurance Program and extend coverage to an additional 3.2 million children over the next five years. However, President Bush has repeatedly threatened to veto this legislation. Principal’s Policy Blog, 9/28/07
Related item: Washington State to Sue Feds Over Children's Health Insurance

Bush Signs Sweeping Student Loan Bill Into Law, Adding an Asterisk
President Bush signed into law a student loan bill that will provide more than $20 billion in federal aid to college students and is being likened to the G.I. Bill, which helped millions of World War II veterans attend college. The College Cost Reduction and Access Act overhauls the nation's student loan system. Washington Post, 9/28/07

In the States

Houston Faces Catch-22 on Religious Viewpoints
A federal judge ruled in 1970 that the Houston Independent School District was violating a U.S. Supreme Court ruling by permitting or requiring students to read the Bible or say prayers as part of any school practice. However, a new state law requires all Texas school districts to adopt policies creating limited public forums for student speakers at certain school events. Many are watching to see how HISD manages to juggle its longstanding federal court order with the new state law. Houston Chronicle, 9/27/07

The Principal's Book Club
Everyone is talking about professional learning communities. So how do you do it correctly? Join the Principal's Book Club and find out! Subscribe by December 14 to get the January selection, Leading Professional Learning Communities: Voices from Research and Practice.

School Cheating Scandal Divides NH Town
As final exams loomed and pressure built this past June at Hanover High School, authorities say some students hatched a scheme for acing the tests: Students used stolen keys to steal exams for advanced math honors, advanced math, Algebra II, calculus, and chemistry. Rather than issuing suspensions or grade demotions, school officials notified police. And after a seven-week investigation, the prosecutor handling the case brought criminal charges against nine students. Boston Globe, 9/19/07