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Articles: Teaching & Learning

Students served by Oakland USD’s Office of African American Male Achievement have increased GPAs compared to their peers.

Oakland USD created the Office of African American Male Achievement to develop a sense of pride and identity in the black male student community, in hopes of raising achievement and eliminating harmful discipline policies. Now, other large districts across the nation are following suit to close achievement gaps and to help this population reach college- and career-readiness.

A northeastern Tennessee school district has more than doubled the daily salary of highly qualified substitute teachers to entice them to teach in low-income schools or those that are struggling academically.

A regular Knox County Public Schools sub is paid $68 per day, but an already certified teacher or district retiree can now earn up to $164.

Comfort dog Addie continues to help Sandy Hook Elementary students heal after the December 2012 shooting.
A student reads to Addie.
Teachers who must stay strong for students are often most in need of the dogs, handlers say.
Addie still visits a different Sandy Hook classroom each day. They help start conversations about hurts or fears among students.
A puppy in training to become a comfort dog takes a rest with an older pal.

Students who have lived through tragedy—from Newtown, Connecticut, to Joplin, Missouri—have found comfort in a source not often seen in schools: golden retrievers.

32 states and the District of Columbia have called for the development college and career readiness standards.

The phrase “college and career readiness” invades education discussions from classroom technology to the Common Core. But what does it mean? Now, 32 states and the District of Columbia have called for the development and adoption of a statewide college and career readiness definition.

Adventure to Fitness
Polar GoFit Heart Rate App, by Polar Electro
CATCH Early Childhood Kit, by Flaghouse
Thumball, by Answers in Motion

From sports to exercise routines, the latest programs and activities in physical education aim to get students motivated and excited about being fit.

Fitness monitors and other new technology allow teachers, parents and students to track progress or stream fitness videos to mobile devices. These programs offer the flexibility to work out inside or outdoors.

Adventure to Fitness

Adventure to Fitness

The Kansas Coaching Project studies how instructional coaches improve academic outcomes.

Districts in the midst of Common Core implementation are increasingly turning to instructional coaches to help teachers master the new skills needed.

Administrators say these coaches, whose positions were cut in many districts during the recession, are now a valuable investment for time-strapped principals working to ensure schools are transitioning smoothly to the new standards.

Boggy Creek Elementary School, which has a high homeless population, celebrates winning a national reading competition.
St. Louis Public Schools Superintendent Kelvin Adams speaks to clergy members about the how they can help support the district’s homeless students.
Employees at School District U-46 outside Chicago adopted 60 families and purchased presents for nearly 150 homeless students.

Transportation may be the most complex and costly issue. But to keep homeless students from dropping out or falling too far behind in class, administrators have to tapped into federal funds and community donations to provide tutoring, school supplies, extra meals and clothing, among other necessities.

Steve Suitts, vice president of the Southern Education Foundation, the nation must deal with the increase in the number of low-income students.

The number of U.S. students who come from low-income families has long been the metaphorical elephant in the room when it comes to education funding. But, according to a new report by the Atlanta-based Southern Education Foundation, it’s a problem that can no longer be ignored.

In the Bonneville Joint School District in Idaho Falls, Idaho, a Summit Hills Elementary School student, right, takes a speech/language therapy class with therapist Claire Plowgian, above.

More districts now deliver speech and occupational therapy online. It’s a solution for staffing shortages, especially in less populated areas, when therapists can provide therapy, participate in IEP meetings and handle other tasks remotely.

Allan F. Daily High School students in Glendale USD take part in a total computer rebuild, used as a student-led training session. A student demonstrates with his classmates how to replace the CPU chip.

Students trained in IT support are providing teachers with Johnny-on-the-spot resources and bolstering the responsiveness of districts’ lean tech staffs. The eager students provide districts with an inexpensive and much-needed tech resource; and the students gain experience, new skills, and confidence.

Students at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ Cato Middle College High School begin earning college credit in their junior year and can graduate from a 13th grade with an associate’s degree or professional certification.

Ninth graders in North Carolina take all their classes on the campus of a major state university. Early-college high school students in Connecticut can gain an inside track to one of the world’s largest tech companies. Online and blended learners in Michigan can spend a fifth year in high school and graduate with an associate’s degree.

Big Ideas Math, by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ST Math, by MIND Research Institute
Math Techbook,by Discovery Education
ALEKS Math, by McGraw-Hill Education
Stepping Stones, by ORIGO Education
Think Through Math, by Think Through Math
Ascend Math, by Ascend Education
WIN Math, by WIN Learning

No matter the grade or skill level, the newest mathematics tools and programs aim to make learning various math concepts an adventure.

Being adaptive, engaging and fun, products try to meet the needs of individual students while aligning with the Common Core and other state standards. Here are some of the latest math tools in light of NCTM's conference in April. Big Ideas Math

NCTM presenter Skip Fennell, who is also a McDaniel College education professor, plays a math game with a teacher from Little River Elementary School in South Riding, Virginia, and a teacher from Mount Airy Elementary School in Maryland.

Teach students math procedures if you want them to solve equations. Instill a deep conceptual understanding of mathematics and get them thinking like mathematicians, and you’ve prepared your students to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Kate Walsh is president of the National Council on Teacher Quality.

Are teacher prep programs giving out A’s and honors distinctions too easily?

The National Core Arts Standards were released in October. They emphasize developing artistic ideas, refining them, and following projects through to completion. (Americans for the Arts/Scott Cronan Photography)

You think math and English have high standards? Try the arts.

The National Core Arts Standards were released in October. They update the initial standards released in 1994, which included instructional guidelines for dance, music, theater and visual arts.