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Volume  3,   Issue 2           January 2017
Newsletter Editor:  Dr. John E. Holmes
DeKalb school chief advises governor: We’re talking about choice when we should be discussing change
January 15, 2017 by Steve Green
via AJC

In this essay, DeKalb Superintendent Steve Green offers Gov. Nathan Deal suggestions on creating an effective school reform plan.
By Steve Green
Gov. Nathan Deal has told the Georgia General Assembly early in the 2017 legislative session that his administration will focus on education reforms. In coming months, the citizens of DeKalb County and the rest of Georgia can expect a lot of talk about our public schools and how to improve them. Discussions will swirl on standard hot topics: School choice. Vouchers. Use of public tax money for private-school education. Responsible funding, and so on.
The real issue in public education isn’t any one of these flashpoints. Our basic discussion should be much simpler: How do we give students what they need to succeed?
Providing each student – gifted, mentally challenged, expatriated, or burdened by distracting socioeconomic or family needs – with the foundational elements to succeed in schools should be the real issue at the center of new legislation.
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Thank you to Oklahoma Alternative Education!
The NAEA would like to thank the Oklahoma Alternative Education for their recent donation. The donation is specifically for Oklahoma Alternative Education teachers to attend the conference with their registration paid through this fund. The money will also go to support the student video contest.
A Big Thank You to the Oklahoma Alternative Education Association.
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

McClarin Selected as 2017 National Model School–Congrats!
The International Center for Leadership in Education has selected McClarin Success Academy as a 2017 Model School.  Schools selected to be model schools are considered the most rapidly improving school in the nation. Additionally, model schools challenge and engage their students to think beyond the classroom to solve real-world problems. They have a clear vision of where they want to be in the future.  They have a defined plan of action to improve rigor, relevance, and relationships system-wide. McClarin Success Academy will be honored as a model school and a featured presenter at the 25th Annual Model Schools Conference in Nashville, Tennessee June 25-28, 2017.
From Dreamer to Achiever - Making Your 2017 Vision A Reality
via Dennis Trittin
So, what grade would you give yourself regarding your 2016 resolutions? If you’re like most of us, you succeeded with a few, but fell short on more. Sometimes our goals get lost in the shuffle. Sometimes we fail because we didn’t turn our goals into specific plans and actions (i.e., we stayed in dream land). And, sometimes we weren’t that serious about them in the first place.
In last week’s blog, we encouraged you to develop an aspirational vision for 2017, and we hope you’re off to a great start. Your next and greatest challenge is turning your vision into a reality. Depending on how you’re wired, this may come naturally or not. Regardless, one surefire method is to adopt the Plan, Do, and Review approach that is common in the business world. Yes, it works just as well for us as individuals and families and hopefully for you, too!
Your first step is to prioritize your vision and aspirations. If your list of desires is a mile long, you’ll become disillusioned and lose interest within months. A better approach is to limit your focus areas to no more than three to five (depending on how involved they are). With such busy lives, there’s only so much we can realistically accomplish. If you achieve yours ahead of schedule, by all means go back to your list and add some more!
Read more by clicking here
School Graduation Rates Are Deceiving. Here Are 7 Things That Would Help
 January 12, 2017, NPR

Once again this year, President Obama hailed the nation's high school graduation rate as it reached another record high — a whopping 83 percent.
"When I took office almost eight years ago, we knew that our education system was falling short," he said at a Washington, D.C., high school in October. "I said, by 2020 I want us to be No. 1 across the board, so we got to work making real changes to improve the chances for all of our young people. ... And the good news is that we've made real progress."
High school graduation rates in the nation's capital, he noted, have grown faster than anywhere else in the country, from 53 percent to 69 percent.
But as we've reported over and over again, those numbers are deceiving. While some states are working hard to get kids a diploma, others have lowered their standards or turned to questionable quick fixes.
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Upcoming conference:
The Call For Presentations for the 2017 Trauma Informed Care Conference is now available!
Important Dates:
2/17/2017       Conference Proposals Deadline
3/3/2017         Notice Of Conference Presentation Acceptance/Rejection
To Submit a Presentation, click here:  2017 Call for Presentation
Join us for the 23rd Annual Conference on Alternative Education, March  8–10, 2017!
23rd Annual Conference on Alternative Education
March 8–10, 2017
Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum by the Galleria, 
Dallas, TX
Find out more about the 23rd Annual Conference on Alternative Education: 
The Brain & Student Engagement- Part 1
November 16, 2015 by Michael McKnight 
Article via Linkedin
Is Your School/Classroom  Brain Friendly?
      Begin with the “End in Mind”…“The question for educators is not whether all human’s can learn but what conditions we can devise so that they will learn.” ( Roland Barth, Learning By Heart )
 What an exciting time to be in education.  We live at a threshold and can finally begin the integration of..
Neuroscience---- Psychology-----Pedagogy to inform our work as educators.  This integration can assist us as we work to answer Roland Barth’s question above.
 First ...reflect for a moment and  answer this question:
What is your most memorable experience  ( best & worse ) as a student?
 Chances are the answer was from an emotional experience not a cognitive one.
As Jill Bolte Taylor reminds us: “Although many of us may think of ourselves as thinking creatures that feel, biologically we are feeling creatures that think”
 Brain-based education emphasizes how the brain learns naturally and is based on what we currently know about the actual structure and function of the human brain at varying developmental stages.
Continue reading The Brain & Student Engagement- Part 1
The Brain & Student Engagement- Part 2
November 17, 2015, by Michael McKnight 
Article via Linkedin
Neuroscience & Learning- “Brain-friendly” describes school cultures, environments, strategies and techniques that capitalize on the way the human brain connects and learns naturally.
Children learn best when in a state of relaxed alertness.
  To learn and to relate well to others... we have to be in a brain state where the frontal lobes are activated and the amygdala is calm....
 “Deep learning is profoundly relational, and connection to one another is a prerequisite for our collective emotional, social, spiritual, and cognitive growth and development." -Lori L. Desautels & Michael McKnight- Unwritten- The Story of  A Living System  (2015)
 Is Your School/Classroom Brain Friendly?
4 Key Components of a “Brain Friendly Environment
  • Environments that Create a Sense of Belonging/Attachment
  • Environments that Create a Sense of Mastery/Achievement
  • Environments that Create a Sense of Independence/Autonomy
  • Environments that create a Sense of Generosity/Altruism
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The White House and Michelle Obama Release $250M 'Open eBooks' App for Title 1 and Special Education Teachers
February 2016 by Mary Jo Madda
Photo and Article via EdSurge
Do you remember how it felt when you first read what would eventually become your favorite book? For many students, that’s a feeling that’s hard to come by—books aren’t always cheap or easily accessible, especially when school budgets are stretched thin.
However, the government is hoping to help schools save money and time by offering thousands of popular and award-winning titles—$250 million worth of books, in fact—to Title I, military base and special education teachers and librarians, and by extension, students. How, exactly?
Today, Michelle Obama and the White House are officially launching the Open eBooks app.
As part of the Open eBooks initiative—an initiative highlighted by President Obama last July—the app allows users to access thousands of free books on smartphones or tablets. The app is open to any educator, student or administrator at one of the 66,000+ Title I schools or any of the 194 Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools in the United States. Additionally, White House reps report that any of the hundreds of thousands of special education teachers in the country—no matter what type of school they work for—also have access.
Continue reading article
The Teaching Profession in 2016 (in Charts)
December 23, 2016, by Madeline Will
via EdWeek
Over the last year, we have seen a huge number of reports, surveys, and other data that explore various changes and challenges facing the teaching profession. 
For the past three years, Teaching Now has compiled graphs—from both our in-house research center and outside organizations—to visually capture the state of teaching. These statistics serve as a reminder of the wide variety of issues that educators face, and perhaps some of what is on the education landscape for 2017. 
In 2014, we focused on the teaching profession itself: salary, autonomy, retention, etc. In 2015, we looked at teaching through a student lens: discipline bias, gender disparities, suicide rates, etc. This year, we include some graphs from both of those categories, but we mainly focus on what teachers are telling us: How do teachers feel about certain policy issues? What challenges are teachers facing right now? What is going on in the classroom that policymakers and administrators need to know about?
Incorporating a Growth Mindset in the Classroom
Educators have been enthusiastic about incorporating a "growth mindset" into their classroom strategies—but teachers don't necessarily have the resources or understanding to do so effectively. A September poll by the Education Week Research Center found that 77 percent of teachers are familiar or very familiar with growth mindset, but 85 percent said they wanted more professional development in the area.

Technology in the Classroom
Every year, there are more and more great ed-tech tools to use in the classroom. And a majority of K-12 educators see themselves as risk takers or early adapters in using technology, an Education Week Research Center survey found. But there are still systemic challenges for teachers who want to adapt their instruction to use technology in transformative ways—rather than for routine practices. 
Read article in its entirety by clicking here
The role of body language in teacher-student interactions
Education researchers at the University of Graz studied body language in the classroom and uncovered the stress fields in schools. Credit: wavebreakmedia/
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An encouraging smile, a sceptical frown, a negating shake of the head: body language is very diverse and effective. With the discovery of mirror neurons, brain researchers corroborated its impact by demonstrating how these nerve cells translate the expressions of another person, such as a smile, into one's own experience.
In a classroom, there is constant interaction between teachers and students. Elements such as gestures, facial or corporal expressions that do not, as a rule, attract much attention are of great importance in the process. Education scientists from the University of Graz investigated this aspect for the first time in a project supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF. Bernd Hackl, head of the Institute for Teacher Education, and his team explored the significance of teachers' nonverbal communication, or, more precisely, corporal expressions and physical communication, during classroom interaction. Videos of classes recorded over a period of three years were subsequently interpreted and presented as case studies. "The physical presence of the teachers in the classroom is of enormous importance", says Bernd Hackl summing up the results of his investigations. "It is teachers' body language which gives them credibility and determines whether learning processes will be fostered, or not, as the case may be", Hackl adds. In a nutshell, successful teaching hinges on the physical presence of the teachers and the learning context they create in the classroom.

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

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