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Articles: Policy & Compliance

Schools that don’t follow prayer guidelines included in No Child Left Behind risk losing federal funds.

New and pending laws in several Southern states are reaffirming students’ rights to pray during the school day and at school-sponsored events such as graduations and football games.

Laws passed in South Carolina in 2012 and Mississippi in 2013 allow students to pray at assemblies, athletic events and other school functions. A 2007 Texas law lets student express religious viewpoints when they speak at school events.

Math teachers from Kings Canyon Middle School in the Fresno USD take content they have learned in PD and develop lessons together. They also study the Math Design Collaborative Formative Assessment Lesson to prepare for delivering it in the classroom.

Over the past two years, elementary teachers in Weston Public Schools in Connecticut have been learning to implement Singapore Math, a highly regarded program that delves deeply into concepts ranging from understanding numbers and length to rounding and adding fractions.

Weston’s three-day summer institute for high school educators is focused on teaching writing in science, history and social science classes.

At the Fresno USD, which uses coaches to help their peers, math teachers at Tenaya Middle School take content they learned and develop lessons together.

As school district leaders prepare teachers for the Common Core state standards, peer coaching has emerged as a powerful tool.

“In order for change to reach the classroom level, teachers really need to be the leaders for the Common Core,” says the Tennessee DOE’s Tiffany McDole.

The first day of practice testing at Greer Elementary School in the San Juan USD in California in March.

Field testing for the Common Core assessments wrapped up in June, with districts in 36 states reporting mostly successful first runs despite some challenges around technology, test questions and scheduling.

Author Nancy Willard tackles the age-old problem of bullying with 21st century solutions.

Positive Relations @ School (& Elsewhere): Legal Ramifications & Positive Strategies to Address Bullying & Harassment

Embrace Civility in the Digital Age

It was compromise that prevented a major teacher’s strike in February, as Portland Public Schools and the local union struck a bargain during an intense 24 hours of negotiating that ended months of deliberations.

Since 2011, Superintendent Elizabeth Celania Fagen has helped shift Douglas County Schools from a good district to a great one.

In the last year, the Douglas County School District in suburban Denver has been called a national model by former U.S. secretary of education William J. Bennett and “the most interesting school district in America” by the American Enterprise Institute.

The rollout of the Common Core State Standards in classrooms nationwide this school year has been “bumpy” as states struggle to provide professional development for teachers, align curricular materials and create assessments that adequately measure the standards, according to a February Fordham Institute report.

Students from the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders in Austin walk at graduation.

Two of Austin ISD’s middle schools will begin operating as single-gender schools next fall. The Young Men’s Leadership Academy at Garcia Middle School and the Young Women’s Leadership Academy at Pearce Middle School will enroll 600 sixth, seventh and eighth graders, and will focus on college readiness.

Elementary students in Metropolitan School District in Indiana use Chromebooks for lessons and assessments.

At least one midwestern district is ready—or at least thinks it’s ready—for what most states are calling Common Core assessments. The Metropolitan School District of Warren Township, Ind., an urban district in Indianapolis, had a jumpstart on technology and assessments thanks in part to a three-year, $28.5 million Race to the Top grant.

The redesigned SAT, set for spring 2016, will measure college and career skills.

Administrators in coming years may feel less stressed about adding SAT prep to students’ regular coursework. The newly redesigned SAT, which students will start taking in spring 2016, will be more in line with the Common Core standards being rolled out in schools nationwide.

Linda Gojak, NCTM president, speaks at last year’s NCTM Annual Meeting & Exposition.

Giving math teachers the training and classroom tools to effectively implement the Common Core is the biggest challenge school districts face when it comes to improving achievement.

That’s why making teachers comfortable with the new standards will be a driving force in many of the sessions at this spring’s National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ (NCTM) conference.

Teacher-turned-activist Sabrina Stevens is executive director of Integrity In Education.

In mid-January a new organization called Integrity In Education was launched with the goal of “exposing the corporate and profit-motivated influences working to control public education across the country.”

Professor Tim Shanahan, director of the University of Illinois’ Center for Literacy, is keynote speaker at the IRA conference in May.

Take it from one expert: Implementing Common Core literacy standards will be “hell” if district administrators can’t answer questions from educators, parents and policymakers about how the new standards will help students learn.

Former North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue is leading a new digital education nonprofit called the Digital Learning Institute.

NONPROFIT LEADER

Former North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue is leading a new digital education nonprofit called the Digital Learning Institute, which aims to expand technology use in the classroom and increase instructional opportunities for teachers. Perdue, who was a teacher before entering politics, received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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