Spotlight Story


Selected from more than 2,100 nominations, the editors of District Administration magazine proudly present the 2015 Readers’ Choice Top Products. This annual award program alerts superintendents and other senior school leaders to the best products their colleagues around the country use to achieve district excellence.

You—the nation’s top K12 leaders—submitted testimonials about your favorite products throughout 2015. Our editorial board carefully narrowed down the list based on the quality and quantity of theses testimonies.

From DA

Districts address security in wake of school shootings

Alison DeNisco
December, 2015
Since 2013, 156 shootings had rattled nerves, and had injured or killed students and staff members in both K12 schools and colleges.

Mass shootings in the United States have tripled since 2011, according to Harvard University researchers. And as of late October, 29 shootings took place in K12 schools this year.

Since 2013, 156 shootings had rattled nerves, and had injured or killed students and staff members in both K12 schools and colleges, according to the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund. In some cases, a gun was fired but no one was injured, the group reports.

$100 million doesn’t turn district around

Tim Goral
December, 2015
Former Washington Post reporter Dale Russakoff's new book, "The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools?," looks at public schools in Newark, N.J.

Former Washington Post reporter Dale Russakoff's new book looks at what went wrong with Newark’s ‘Hemisphere of Hope’ and massive grant from Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg that supported the initiative. She says most funds went to hiring consultants, expanding charter schools, closing low-performing schools and subsequently firing teachers.

K12 drives demand for 3D printers

Alison DeNisco
December, 2015
K12 schools and universities are increasingly purchasing 3D printers such as the MakerBot and integrating them into the curriculum to prepare students for STEM careers.

Analysts expect 3D printer shipments to double worldwide to nearly 496,500 units in 2016—in large part due to demand from K12 schools and universities, according to a new report.

3D printers—devices that create physical objects from digital plans—are more common in STEM classes than in people’s homes, despite manufacturers’ initial expectations for the machines.

Schools reimbursed for student health care

Alison DeNisco
December, 2015
Schools can bill Medicaid beyond special ed services, for various health assessments and treatments that school nurses or school-based clinics provide daily

Schools can be reimbursed for providing many general health services—a new benefit thanks to a change in federal law.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced the shift in December 2014, but many districts miss out on this source of federal funding that can lead to improvements in student health, experts say.

Sponsored Content

Preparing for new college and career standards with rigorous yet flexible assessment and instruction materials

Glendale USD personalizes learning and sees academic improvements through the use of Ready and i-Ready by Curriculum Associates

By fall 2014, figuring out how to meet the requirements of the Common Core State Standards was critical for administrators in Glendale USD.

3D Printing in STEM Subjects and Beyond


One of the newest technologies being applied in K12 today is 3D printing, particularly in integrated STEM courses. This new technology also has potential application beyond engineering classes, providing creative ways to enhance the curriculum in a variety of other subjects.

Using Data Analytics to Drive Effective Decision Making


While administrators have access to more data than ever before, too often they are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information and are unable to use it strategically. But, the right tools can transform this challenge into an opportunity. Creating dashboards can give district leadership the ability to analyze enormous amounts of disparate data in a simple, visual way, resulting in more effective and informed decision-making throughout the school system.

Using smart assessments to drive personalized learning

Katie Nicholson

Computer adaptive tests (CAT) are really growing in
popularity. With an adaptive model, which technology
clearly facilitates, great efficiencies are gained.

Meeting the diverse needs of learners at every level

Online literacy platform ThinkCERCA engages students at Brooklyn middle school

When choosing learning solutions for the 1,325 students at Middle School 88 in Brooklyn, New York, Peter Russo, assistant principal, ran into the same problem again and again.