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March 10, 2009
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Across the Nation
1 in 50 U.S. Children Experience Homelessness
President Obama Proposes Merit Pay for Teachers
Cash-Strapped Schools Thinking Outside Budget Box
Hispanic Students Comprise One-Fifth of K-12 Population
HS Science Students May Benefit From Less Content, More Depth
Push for Financial Literacy Spreads to Schools
What to Learn: Core Knowledge or 21st Century Skills?

In Federal Policy
ED Releases Initial Guidance for Economic Recovery Package

Other News and Highlights
Presidential Math and Science Teaching Awards

Principal's Poll:
What is your opinion of merit pay for teachers?

Last week's poll results:
Does the savings of a four-day week outweigh the challenges it presents?
Yes: 50%
No: 50%
Total Votes: 255
Comment on the results.



Across the Nation

1 in 50 U.S. Children Experience Homelessness
Foreclosures and job losses have led to an alarming rate of child homelessness, according to a report released today by the National Center on Family Homelessness—and states are ill-equipped to address the issue. Currently, 1 in 50 U.S. children experience homelessness, and that number is predicted to rise by the end of the year. Homeless children are far more likely than others to experience hunger, suffer chronic health problems, repeat a grade in school, and drop out of high school, the report affirms. The report ranked states based on the number of child homelessness per capita, child well-being, risk for child homelessness, and state policy and planning. It gave the highest marks to Connecticut, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and North Dakota. Ranking at the bottom were Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, New Mexico, and Louisiana. MSNBC, 3/9/09

How Principals Can Help Homeless Students
The mortgage crisis has created a new population of homeless students, and now more than ever, principals must be informed. Look to the January 2009 issue of NewsLeader, for "Foreclosed: Two Million Homeless Students and Counting" (see
pg. 8) to find out what you can do to support your school's homeless students and how to ensure you're adhering to the regulations of the McKinney-Vento Act.

President Obama Proposes Merit Pay for Teachers
In a meeting today with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, President Obama called for a far-reaching overhaul of the U.S. education system, an economic imperative that can't wait, he said. Despite the country's resources, Obama said that "we have let our grades slip, our schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short, and other nations outpace us." The president also called for merit pay for the country's best teachers, despite the opposition from unions, and recommended longer days and school years for students. MSNBC, 3/10/09
Principal's Poll: Share your opinion of merit pay for teachers

Cash-Strapped Schools Thinking Outside Budget Box
Despite the billions in education funds from the recovery package set to reach states by the end of April, schools will still suffer from severe budget cuts. However, many are finding creative ways to work around budget shortfalls. Schools are taking measures to reduce costs by replacing school bus engines instead of buying new buses, offering fewer options at lunch, using paper plates to save on dishwasher expenses, saving on energy by installing solar paneling, replacing playing fields with less expensive artificial turf, and more. On the extreme side, some schools aren't hiring substitute teachers, and are instead having principals and teachers stand in for the absent staff members. MSNBC, 3/2/09

Hispanic Students Comprise One-Fifth of K-12 Population
According to new Census data, roughly one-fourth of the nation's kindergartners are Hispanic, evidence of an accelerating trend that will see minority children become the majority by 2023. Overall, Hispanics make up about one-fifth of all K-12 students. The country's changing demographics, most evident in the West, will likely dominate political debate on topics from jobs to immigration to education in the years to come. USA Today, 3/5/09

Involving Latino Families in the Schooling Process
Through suggested activities, case examples, and vignettes, Involving Latino Families in Schools: Raising Student Achievement Through Home-School Partnerships provides insights and instruction for planning, designing, and implementing parental participation programs that enhance the classroom curriculum and effectively engage Latino students. The tools and strategies are essential to include Latino parents in developing sustained academic improvement. Order the book today in the NASSP bookstore.

HS Science Students May Benefit From Less Content, More Depth
A recent report offers evidence that high school students who study fewer science topics, but study them in greater depth, may have an advantage in college science courses over their peers who study more topics but spend less time on each. In fact, the study revealed that students in courses that focused on mastering a particular topic were impacted twice as much as those in courses that touched on every major topic. ScienceDaily, 3/5/09

bookclubcover Principal's Book Club: Mastering Professional Conversations
Join the Principal's Book Club now and receive one new release every three months. Join by March 13, 2009, to receive the April selection, Talk About Teaching: Leading Professional Conversations, by Charlotte Danielson.

Push for Financial Literacy Spreads to Schools
As part of an effort to educate high school students on how to be financially sound, a volunteer organization called Credit Abuse Resistance Education sends volunteer bankruptcy judges to schools in all 50 states to talk about topics like the importance of credit scores and the dangers of credit card debt. Joining in the fight, 17 states have added personal finance requirements to school curriculums over the past five years, and financial literacy courses are popping up in districts nationwide in response to the country's current economic state. Christian Science Monitor, 3/9/09

What to Learn: Core Knowledge or 21st Century Skills?
Through various programs, 10 states have committed to helping students develop 21st century skills in schools, the workplace, and beyond. Yet in the battle of content vs. skills, some educators are pushing back against the movement on the basis that the effort will take time away from core learning. Can a balance between the two exist? USA Today, 3/6/09

In Federal Policy

ED Releases Initial Guidance for Economic Recovery Package
The U.S. Department of Education announced on March 7 that $44 billion for education will be provided to states by the end of April. The guidance authorizes the release of funding for Title I, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund that were included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act approved by Congress in January. Principal's Policy Blog, 3/9/09
Related Item: U.S. to Nation's Schools: Spend Fast, Keep Receipts

Other News and Highlights

Presidential Math and Science Teaching Awards
The National Science Foundation is accepting nominations and applications for the 2009 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching program. This program recognizes K-12 teachers for their contributions to teaching and learning and their ability to help students make progress in mathematics and science. To apply, teachers must first be nominated for the award. Teachers may nominate themselves or may be nominated by someone else (e.g., principals, teachers, parents, or other members of the general public). Once nominated, teachers will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access the online application.
Deadline: May 1, 2009
Awards: A citation signed by the president of the United States; a paid trip for two to Washington, DC, to attend a weeklong series of events; gifts from program sponsors; and a $10,000 award
Eligibility: Teachers must be highly qualified, full-time employees with five years of math or science teaching experience in grades 7-12; hold a degree or appropriate credentials in the category for which they are applying; and teach in one of the 50 states or four U.S. jurisdictions.
For more information: www.paemst.org


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