Welcome to 2012. School may have taken a break, but education news did not. Here’s a look at what you may have missed.

CNN. Students Face Squeeze in Pell Grants:

“The good news for students is the budget sets maximum level of the popular Pell Grant awards at $5,550 — the highest it has ever been — for the most financially-strapped students heading to college in fall 2012… But to bridge a billion-dollar gap in the Pell Grant program, Congress is making it tougher for some students to be eligible for federal financial aid.”

Las Vegas Sun. Key to improving students’ performance is developing relationships:

“Connecting with them — a morning greeting, knowing their names, engaging in conversations — nurtures a sense of belonging among students, that they are an important part of campus life. And then, these students are the focus of a renewed academic effort by administrators and teachers to get them across the graduation stage in higher numbers.”

SchoolBook, NYTimes. Cuomo Will Announce a New Education Panel:

“At the moment, it’s a question of who will blink first: the city’s Department of Education or the United Federation of Teachers. The parties have been trying to strike a deal on how to construct a system of evaluating teachers for five months.”

The News-Press. People to Watch: Alliance of Education Leaders (Florida):

“The Alliance, which next meets Jan. 18, has identified ways to better align the education system to the workforce. The Lee County School District and its foundation, for example, are restarting a principal-for-a-day program to give business leaders an inside look at education.”