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Articles: Business & Finance

New teachers in the first semester at the Wright City School District near St. Louis spend one day every month in PD. Teachers learn about assessment, teaching strategies and classroom management.

Teacher quality is crucial to the success of schooling, yet the teacher-hiring process is sometimes rushed and ad hoc. A late-summer flurry of activity in which subjective factors—from where a candidate went to high school to how many resumes an exhausted principal has already reviewed—can weigh as heavily as meaningful evidence of academic achievement or instructional effectiveness.

Psychologists from Boston Public Schools participate in PD events as part of the district’s Comprehensive Behavioral Health Model.

In many schools, psychologists have time for little more than assessing students. That prevents them from using their range of skills in counseling, data analysis and preventing bullying, suicide and violence. 

Brian Woods, superintendent of Northside ISD in San Antonio, serves on a regional truancy committee. His district hit a record 96 percent attendanc last school year.

District leaders across the country are broadening and personalizing their approaches to attendance because the old way of sending truants and their families to court often fails to bring students back to school.

Lakota Local School District in Ohio recently increased its communications staff to compete with private and parochial schools.

The era of school choice and open enrollment has driven many district leaders to create innovative programs and to more aggressively publicize their offerings to compete with charters and private schools that have drawn away families and funding.

Here, three districts turned the tide on enrollment with enhanced communication, construction and even recruitment initiatives.

Jasper County Public Schools was one of 36 rural, high-poverty districts to file a lawsuit against South Carolina, claiming that the state’s funding formula was unconstitutional.

After more than two decades, rural schools in South Carolina are tasting a sweet historic victory.

The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in November that the state funding formula denies many poor, rural students their right to an adequate education—21 years after several districts first filed the lawsuit.

Grand View Elementary School in California’s Manhattan Beach USD has cut its trash from 30 bags a day to two, reducing the number of garbage pickups and saving $4,700 a year.

One student generates about five pounds of waste in 180 days from simply drinking a carton of milk each day of the school year, according to the Carton Council, a national industry-sponsored recycling organization. Add in glue bottles, old test papers and leftover lunch, and it’s no wonder schools are looking for ways to reduce both the amount of waste filling trash bins and the money spent to have it hauled away.

An elementary school technician from York School District in Maine helps students record a weekly news broadcast —a job not often assumed by a support technician in the past.

Student-centered CIOs must now focus more on the user experience than on just keeping networks and machines functioning.

“To be successful you have to dedicate 80 percent of your resources toward the service side of IT, and 20 percent to keeping the boxes working,” says Jason Saltmarsh, an education technology consultant and former district technology director. In the past, before students were in charge of their own devices, the opposite was true.

Three quarters of respondents to a DA survey said funding for their district would increase or stay the same in 2015. (Click to enlarge graphic)

Navigating turbulent waters of uncertain budgets, district leaders have a great challenge: Answer the growing push for accountability and heightened community expectations in 2015.

Paula Love, the “Funding Doctor,” brings decades of experience to developing grant strategies for state and local educational agencies, schools and institutions.

Are you ready for another year of doing more with less?

This year, let’s flip this funding challenge into an approach that enables your school district to get a share of the shrinking financial resources. A key approach to winning grants is collaboration.

Why collaborate?

Collaboration is not new. We talk about it, we provide workshops on it and we practice it in our schools and classrooms.

Tigerton School District in Wisconsin has only 250 students, and has faced $800,000 in budget cuts over the past three years.

Funding cuts since the recession have drained the accounts of rural districts, which cannot rely on a resurgence in property tax revenues as heavily as urban school systems can.

Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson

Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson must review every proposed suspension of minority students to ensure equal treatment of all students. The policy, enacted in November, comes as the district approves a settlement with the U.S. Department of Education, which was investigating the district over its inconsistent suspension treatment for black students. The district is also reducing its police presence due to inconsistent policies in disciplinary matters.

Some board members of Pasco County Schools discuss their policy revisions From left to right: Kevin Shibley, executive director for administration; Cynthia Armstrong, member; Alison Crumbley, chairwoman; and Joanne Hurley, member.

Some school employees face getting the short end of the stick as district leaders work to comply with new Affordable Care Act requirements while juggling tight budgets.

Volunteers from the social networking company Tagged help set up classrooms in Thurgood Marshall High School in San Francisco this fall.

Most San Francisco students live a car ride away from Silicon Valley’s tech giants, but will never set foot inside any of those fabled corporate campuses. A new philanthropy initiative is pairing some of these companies with city schools to inspire students to pursue college and career pathways that may lead right back to some of those high-tech HQs.

As baby boomers retire and school enrollment steadily increases, more districts are searching internationally to find candidates for difficult-to-fill math and science positions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that districts will need to hire nearly half a million teachers by the end of the decade.

School staff sending out mail nowadays can save a lot of work with electronic mailcenters.

District mail rooms used to be hectic. Thousands of pieces of mail would cycle in and out every month, and all of it had to be processed by hand. But these days, life is much easier for office administrators who, still, must sort through the pieces of mail.