From DA

Standout school systems honored

Alison DeNisco
July, 2016
President Obama visits students participating in the Missouri Innovation Campus.

Meeting students’ psychological needs, improving STEM programs and fueling college and career access exemplify innovative solutions increasing student achievement nationwide. The 24 school systems honored in this round of District Administration’s Districts of Distinction national recognition program found creative ways to raise graduation rates and to build up administrative effectiveness.

New environmental tool empowers high school scientists

Ray Bendici
July, 2016
Macroinvertebrates in cities: Howard County high school students, above, study area streams to check for potential pollution that might harm nearby Chesapeake Bay.

Using a survey tool, biology students in 13 Maryland high schools  help environmental scientists keep an eye on pollution and other factors that might harm Chesapeake Bay or its creatures, including Maryland’s renowned blue crabs.

Microcredentials provide highly personalized PD

Alison DeNisco
July, 2016
Teachers from Kettle Morain School District in Milwaukee complete a microcredential to receive a salary increase.

Few teachers receive individualized professional development, though many are expected to personalize learning for students. Microcredentials—digital badges that teachers earn by learning a skill and demonstrating mastery through student results—offer a PD pathway designed to be highly differentiated and engaging.

Gifted ELL students often overlooked

Alison DeNisco
July, 2016
Paradise Valley USD in Arizona screens all ELL and former ELL students for gifted programs.

English language learners remain the least represented group in gifted programs—meaning districts do not sufficiently tap the talents of the growing number of immigrant students entering U.S. schools.

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Tennessee district sees dramatic achievement gains by engaging Thrive™ Math

Upon receiving a special School Improvement Grant to implement a Tennessee-approved turnaround model in 2013, leaders for Shelby County Schools in Memphis selected seven sites to transform. These schools, designated by the district as i-Zone schools, fall in the bottom 5 percent in the state. Douglass K8 Optional School is one of the selected schools.

With the modernization of E-rate and the increase in available funding for school districts, many administrators face a strategic choice when it comes to their network. Some districts may choose a managed service through a third-party vendor, while others want to keep their network managed in-house by district staff. There are pros and cons to each model and several key considerations every district should examine before making this important IT decision.

Students in North Carolina school district excel in national biology exam with AP advantage by McGraw-Hill Education

Lyceum Academy offers a rigorous, fully integrated AP® and honors-based curriculum at New Hanover High School in Wilmington, North Carolina. This 200-student “school within a school,” part of the most diverse school in New Hanover County, attracts students ready to face an educational challenge.

Through e-content provider OverDrive, Texas district sees major upswing in books read

Increasing the use of digital library content was one of the goals outlined in the North East Independent School District’s (ISD) instructional improvement plan starting in the 2013-14 school year. The San Antonio district, which enrolls 68,000 students, had many eBooks and digital audiobooks, but most students were simply not using the content.

“It is hard to provide everything students could want in one print collection,” says Faye Hagerty, director of library services. “But online collections allow us to provide far more options.”

Research shows that when students are provided with the opportunity to engage with just-right, high-interest books and relevant learning activities, they can avoid the “summer slide” that robs them of literacy gains they have made during the school year. But, finding ways to encourage and foster summer reading can be a challenge for many districts.