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Volume  3,   Issue 1           January 2017
Newsletter Editor:  Dr. John E. Holmes
Many low-income students use only their phones to get online. What are they missing?
Published by The Edvocate 
For many of us, access to the Internet through a variety of means is a given. I can access the Internet through two laptops, a tablet, a smartphone and even both of my game systems, from the comfort of my living room.
A recent report, “Opportunity for all? Technology and learning in low income families,” shows that one-quarter of those earning below the median income and one-third of those living below poverty level accessed the Internet only through their mobile devices.
This leads to limited access: A third of families with mobile-only access quickly hit the data limits on their mobile phone plans and about a quarter have their phone service cut off for lack of payment.
Continue To Article 
Nothing for money: A behavioral perspective on innovation and motivation
Image and Article: Deloitte University Press | January 2016 

Can you pay people to innovate? Companies increasingly look to knowledge workers to advance new strategies, products, services, and processes, but making it happen is tricky: Dangling financial rewards can actually prove counterproductive. Behavioral research points to ways to effectively kindle employees’ motivation to innovate.
NAEA Board
Kay Davenport, President 
Jacqueline  Whitt, Vice President
Pat Conner, Treasurer
Dr. Ed Lowther, Secretary
Dr. Ja Net' Bishop, Dr. Pam Bruening, Kathleen Chronister, Dr. John E. Holmes, Denise Riley, Richard Thompson, and Dr. Amy Schlessman, Board Members
Connect with NAEA!
Follow @NAEA_Hope on Twitter and join in the  NAEA Monthly Twitter Chats – (30 Minute)

Held on the last Tuesday of Each Month 9:00-9:30 EST using #NAEACHAT
Connect with your regional director today 

NAEA Board Annual Election Info
Information for the NAEA Board Annual Election Call for Candidates can be found here. 2017 Elections Chairperson: Jerry Randolph

More information
Every Student Succeeds ACT 
Read the NAEA statement and recommendations about the Every Student Succeeds ACT

Matt Damon explains why he made this surprising new film  
The Washington Post | October 28, 2016

“Backpack Full of Cash” is a film title that suggests some untoward money dealings. And a new film by that title is — though the theme is not the traditional movie yarns about arms or drug dealing.
Actually, it’s a 90-minute documentary about the real and ongoing movement to privatize public education and its effects on traditional public schools and the students they enroll.
Continue to article
Don't Hire People Unless the Batteries are Included
5 Signs a Potential Employee Will Drain Your Team of Precious Energy, Creativity, and Joy
Michael Hyatt 
Some gadgets come with batteries and some don’t. If I told you it’s the same with people, what kind would you like to work with: those with or without batteries?
I picked up this metaphor from a recent episode of Dan Sullivan’s 10XTalk Podcast. Dan said he basically divides everyone into one of two categories:
  1. Those that have their own energy source (those with batteries)
  2. Those that are dependent on others for their energy (those without batteries)
Some may not like it, but based on a few decades working in both entrepreneurial and corporate settings, I’d say the metaphor is spot-on.
Continue reading
Trump picks billionaire Betsy DeVos, school voucher advocate, as education secretary 
The Washington Post | November 23, 2016
Trump’s pick has intensified what already was a polarized debate about school choice. Advocates for such choice see in the Trump administration an extraordinary opportunity to advance their cause on a national scale, whereas teachers unions and many Democrats fear an unprecedented and catastrophic attack on public schools, which they see as one of the nation’s bedrock civic institutions.
Betsy DeVos founded and serves as chairman of the American Federation of Children and its associated political arm, a platform she has used to support candidates who endorse vouchers and charter schools and to attack candidates who don’t.
Three decades ago, there were no state voucher programs. Now, according to the advocacy group EdChoice, about 400,000 children in 29 states are going to private schools with the help of public dollars.
Read more 
Report calls for more charter school funding
December 2016 | The Clarion Ledger
The state Legislature's watchdog committee recommends lawmakers provide more money for charter schools, or at least the board that oversees them.
The Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review, or PEER, is required by law to analyze finances for Mississippi's fledgling charter schools system, created by legislation in 2013. The report says that funding for charter schools is not providing enough money to also run the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board that approves and oversees the schools.
Charter schools are publicly funded but operate outside many of the rules and regulations of traditional public schools in exchange for meeting educational goals and terms of their "charter," or contract with a state authorizing board. There are three charter schools operating in Mississippi, in Jackson. State law requires them to be run by nonprofit organizations.
Supporters say charter schools provide parents an alternative to sending their children to poorly performing schools. Opponents say charters siphon money from already underfunded standard public schools. The issue has been debated in the Legislature for more than a decade. 
Continue reading article
How I Use the Academic Word Finder
by Tiffany Gruen

The Use: I love the ease of being able to input any text into the Academic Word Finder to identify those tier 2 words. This especially comes in handy when using primary sources like the Declaration of Independence. Quite often, my students do a word study with the identified words prior to ever reading the text. They analyze the root words, discuss prior knowledge concerning the word, or any similarities to words in other languages. Students then make predictions about the meaning of the word and compare their predictions to the context of the text. A complex text no longer seems overwhelming or scary for my readers, because they have had plenty of exposure to the words and realize that misunderstandings can always be corrected.
Find out more
Education World Interview with Ron Clark––The Essential 55: Rules for a Lifetime
Education World
"No lesson," says Ron Clark, "will place pride in the hearts and minds of students. You can, however, teach skills. Skills will lead to confidence, and confidence will lead to pride and self-esteem." Clark believes his Essential 55 rules will build kids' self-esteem by giving them skills they can use throughout their lives. 
Ron Clark, author of The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules for Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child, is a native of North Carolina. He began his teaching career in 1995 at Snowden Elementary School in rural North Carolina, later moving to an inner city school in Harlem in New York City. Clark's work with disadvantaged students and his determination to make a difference in the lives of those students has garnered him worldwide attention; President and Mrs. Clinton recognized his work with three invitations to the White House; he was named Disney's American Teacher of the Year for 2000, and he was named Oprah Winfrey's first "Phenomenal Man."
Clark took time from his schedule to share with Education World his thoughts about the importance of rules to students' entire lives.
Read this interview by clicking here
Six New Transparency Requirements in the Every Student Succeeds Act
Education Week
1. State accountability systems: Under NCLB waivers, it was not easy to make heads or tails of state accountability systems—and believe me, we tried here at Politics K-12. Under ESSA, state report cards will now have to explain a lot about their accountability systems, including their overall student achievement goal, how many kids a school must have from a particular subgroup for those students to be included for accountability purposes (otherwise known as an "n" size), the list of indicators used to measure a schools' performance and how much weight each indicator has, how schools are singled out for extra support, and what schools need to do to move on from improvement status.
2. Foster kids, homeless kids, and military connected kids: For the first time, states will have to break out the student achievement data and graduation rates of these students, just like they do for other "subgroups" like racial minorities, kids from low-income families, and students in special education.
3. Long-term English-language learners: States and districts will have to report the number and percentage of students who have been identified as English-language learners, and attended school in the district for five years or more without being reclassified as proficient in English. This shines a spotlight on a population of students who have flown under the radar for years: long-term English-language learners.
4. Per-pupil expenditures: States will have to enumerate just how much they are spending per kid in each district and each school, which could help highlight disparities.
5. Post-secondary enrollment: For the first time, states will be required to report these rates, if available, on their report cards.
6. Crosstabulation: States will have to report data—including test scores and participation rates, performance on school quality indicators, and graduation rates—and in a manner that can be "crosstabulated." That means that a researcher, advocate, journalist, or anyone else could see say, whether a state is improving graduation outcomes for Hispanic English-language learners who are also in special education. Under NCLB, it would have been possible to see how ELLs were doing, how students in special education were doing, and how Hispanic students were doing, but much tougher to isolate the kids who were in all three groups. This wonky-sounding requirement was a big priority for the civil rights community.
Read more here
Infographic: How Storytelling Affects the Brain
 Graphic via
2017 NAEA Video Contest Deadline January 15, 2017!
“UNLEASH THE INNER STAR,” that’s what it’s all about! Tell the story of your alternative program in a 2-5 minute video or rap.
This contest is open to middle and high school students who attend alternative education programs. Your video should communicate the message and mission of program and relate to the annual national NAEA conference theme “UNLEASH THE INNER STAR.”
All entries must be uploaded to Youtube and be submitted by a link to a YouTube URL to: Denise Riley ( and by JANUARY 15, 2017.
Winners will receive the following cash awards:
First Prize—$400.00
Second Prize—$300.00
Third Prize—$200.00
Up to five Honorable Mentions—$100 each
Entrants must be currently enrolled in and attending a middle or high school alternative education program at the time of the submission.
Entries will be judged on the following criteria:
  • overall impact 
  • effectiveness of conveying theme 
  • artistic merit 
  • technical proficiency 
A panelwill make the final selection of winners. Judges’ decisions are final.
Read the full rules and watch the 2016 video winners by visiting
NAEA Welcomes Dr. Amy Schlessman to Board
Amy Schlessman, PhD, has dedicated her professional and personal life to education and human services.  Dr. Schlessman’s interests include the development of creative and innovative intelligence in learners of all ages from diverse cultural backgrounds and socio-economic levels.  Fortune 500 companies, as well as not-for-profit organizations including schools and community collaboratives, have benefited from her contributions to their programs.  Her publications and presentations illustrate a range of contributions from theory to practice.
Amy’s recent research, policy analysis, and advocacy focus on education for overaged and under-credited youth.
Amy has worked relentlessly during the past decade in the Rose Operating System for Education®, a leading alternative education system in Arizona that effectively serves overaged and under-credited students.  She led the alternative education campuses in Arizona in founding the Arizona Alternative Education Consortium, a U.S.  Affiliate of the National Alternative Education Association.
Dr. Schlessman’s peers have elected her to leadership positions internationally, nationally, and at the state level.  She has served as President of an international education association, Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL); Chair of Research and Evaluation with the American Educational Research Association; and founding, 2010 – 2014, plus currently, 2017, President, Arizona Alternative Education Consortium.
Amy loves her circle of family and friends, who represent the diversity – ethnicity, socio-economic level, life circumstances, age, religion, sexual orientation, and whatever label you can imagine –  that makes us powerful. Our strength is shared differences.  Amy firmly believes that each of us make democracy stronger.
See you in Dallas March 8–10, 2017!
23rd Annual Conference on Alternative Education
March 8–10, 2017
Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria, 
Dallas, TX
Reform School Climate and Discipline Practices in Long Beach School District
Children's Defense Fund-California releases new report 

Twenty-nine Superintendents and district leaders, representing 1.5 million students, join CDF and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, for an engaging Superintendent School Discipline Reform Symposium in Chicago. The spotlight is on successful superintendent-led strategies and the challenges they face as they seek to help all children achieve. Discussions center on the importance of reducing suspensions and expulsions and their disproportionate impact on children of color, promoting positive school climate, confronting race, implicit and explicit bias, and using the new Every Student Succeeds Act to promote positive school climate and address exclusionary discipline. CFD-California releases a new report 
highlighting student led efforts to reform school climate and discipline practices in Long Beach Unified School District, the third largest in California. Read the report, "Untold Stories Behind One of America’s Best Urban School Districts."

10 Strategies and Practices That Can Help All Students Overcome Barriers
Image by: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
How Students Perceive Their Relationships with Teachers
by Panorama Education 
The social connections between teachers and students are critical for success inside and outside of the classroom. Over the last year and a half, we’ve collected hundreds of thousands of student survey responses to questions about students’ relationships with their teachers. In this post, we present our first set of findings on teacher-student relationships. This analysis points to patterns in how students’ perceptions of their relationships with their teachers change across grade level, and how some exceptionally strong teachers manage to create and maintain strong bonds with their students.

Why teacher-student relationships matter

Education research consistently shows that positive teacher-student relationships are an important dimension of effective teaching and contribute to students’ success in school and life. Students who have strong relationships with their teachers tend to get better grades, work harder in school, and are less likely to drop out (Gehlbach et. al. in press; Wentzel 1998).
By analyzing survey responses from the Panorama Student Survey about students’ perceptions of their relationships with their teachers, we’ve found that some teachers are especially well-equipped to develop relationships with students and these ratings change across grade level.

Read more
7 Steps for Turning Around Under-Resourced Schools
April 2016 | Photo and Article, Edutopia 

Under-resourced schools face many challenges that are difficult. However, I believe that they can be conquered with sufficient time, dedication, and resources. Above all, success with these challenges stems from a belief in the potential of students and staff to achieve victory despite the odds.
The barriers that have to be overcome are deeply unfair, and political efforts must be made to reduce educational and socioeconomic inequities. But our students cannot wait for that to occur. They need help now, and schools need to embark on the path to turnaround sooner rather than later. However, there are no shortcuts, and efforts to rush the process can lead to disappointment.

Taking Action

The following steps are attitudinal and philosophical, as well as technical. They involve difficult dialogue, choices, and follow through. They require dedicated and sustained distributed leadership.

1. Define Success in Phases

Celebrate improving school culture and climate, building students' social-emotional competencies and character, improving discipline and on-task educational behavior, improving academic outcomes, but do not define these outcomes primarily through standardized tests.
Continue to rest of steps
School conditions matter for student achievement, new research confirms
March 2016 | Chalkbeat | Photo by Stephanie Snyder, Chalkbeat
Move over, teacher quality. A new study on New York City schools could make school climate the next frontier in the ongoing quest to boost student learning.
A first-of-its-kind study released Thursday found that significant gains in key measures of a school’s climate, like safety and academic expectations, can be linked to the equivalent of an extra month and a half of math instruction and, in some cases, a 25 percent reduction in teacher turnover.
The researchers say these findings could help shift the debate about what factors are most important in boosting student achievement. Individual teacher effectiveness may be key, but if a school simply has an ineffective principal or unclear disciplinary code, the authors argue, “efforts to measure and strengthen individual teacher effectiveness are unlikely to produce desired results.”
“The status quo has really focused on policies directed at individual teachers,” explains Matthew Kraft, an economics and education professor at Brown University and lead author of the study. But “teachers do not work in a vacuum.”
White teacher: I thought I could reach my black and Latino students. Then one told me why I couldn't. 
The Washington Post | March 2016

Here is the personal story of a well-regarded veteran teacher who left the classroom to pursue an EdD and then returned to the classroom, finding an environment that he did not expect. The post, by Brock Cohen, speaks to just how complicated and difficult teaching can be — even for educators who have been doing it for many years. It also underscores how destructively narrow standardized test-based school reform has been for more than a dozen years, depriving teachers of the tools they need to meet students where they are, and raises questions about the composition of the teaching force in school districts with a majority of students of color.
Cohen taught English and humanities  for a dozen years in the Los Angeles Unified School District before leaving to earn a doctorate at the University of Southern California and work at the nonprofit Los Angeles Education Partnership as a schools transformation coach. At the end of his doctoral journey, Cohen took a job at a large South Los Angeles high school as the instructional coach for the faculty and staff, and, to see if he had become a more effective teacher as a result of his studies, he successfully lobbied to teach one ninth-grade class each day.
His experience was nothing like what he expected. “Now,” he writes, “I often wonder if returning to the classroom may have been a mistake.”
Continue article
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Applied to Employee Engagement

National Alternative Education Association  •  110 Glen Echo Drive  •  Smyrna, TN 37167

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