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Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) is in the middle of a multiyear transformation known as S.T.A.T. (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow). Initiated in 2013, the goal of S.T.A.T. is ambitious: To cultivate a 21st century technology learning environment for its 111,000 students that prepares globally competitive graduates.

Administrators have a variety of responsibilities in managing a district, but certain tasks can be burdensome and can distract from the core mission of the school system. Purchasing, deploying and managing learning resources such as textbooks and other materials are time-consuming and costly tasks that can weigh down administrators. However, outsourcing these tasks to an experienced partner can increase efficiency, reduce costs and ensure that the right learning resources get in the hands of students.

While administrators have access to more performance data than ever before, too often they are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information and are unable to use it strategically, and student performance data is stored in ways that prevent it from being used to inform important decisions. But creating data 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.

Online and blended learning continue to grow in use as instructional models while redefining the education landscape, creating better academic outcomes by providing students with the personalized attention, support and resources they need, while enabling teachers to spend more time differentiating instruction. This web seminar, originally broadcast on November 4, 2015, explored some of the keys to using blended and online learning effectively to drive academic growth in any school system.

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.

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.

Inexpensive Google Cardboard glasses work with a smart phone to take students on immersive virtual field trips.

Students can explore the Great Wall of China and the surface of Mars using wearable technology products that are dropping in price and becoming more education-focused. Wearable technology, a new report says, will be mainstream in schools within four to five years.

At Blue Valley Schools in Kansas, above, the website redesign team shows off its work. CIO Greg DeYoung stands on the far right.

A district’s website presents contrasting demands. It needs to be a constant digital presence: always up and always available. Yet its content and functionality are ever changing.District leaders solve this challenge in several ways.

Microsoft’s new Windows 10 operating system arrived in late July free, for one year, to schools and other customers running copies of Windows 7 or later. By the end of August, it had been installed on 75 million devices worldwide.

Windows 10 joins an ever-changing mix of Apple, Android and Microsoft devices and operating systems found in U.S. school districts.

3D printing offers multiple ways for students to get hands-on experience and to gain marketable skills before leaving high school

3D printing offers multiple ways for students to get hands-on experience and to gain marketable skills before leaving high school. Administrators must find ways to integrate the technology into existing courses or to enhance new class offerings.

Why are 3D printers so important to education now and what future trends should CIOs be aware of to ensure the technology succeeds in the classroom?

Rajeev Kulkarni

Vice president and chief product officer

3D Systems

Some of the latest software solutions monitor applications for free meals and track federal and state reimbursement reports for the National School Lunch Program.

Serving meals in schools has changed dramatically over the last few decades.

Many students suffer food allergies, and others don’t have enough money in their lunch account.

Following market trends, print curriculum products are down 8 percent, according to a new report. The most frequently cited medium for delivering curriculum products was online/digital delivery with 83 percent, followed by print at 65 percent.

In terms of sales of digital resources, if all of the digital product applications are grouped together, this segment was up 43 percent for all of 2013.

Outside computer labs, the laptops and tablets that students use most commonly at school are shared, in-class devices, according to a Harris Poll/Pearson study from last year. These shared programs are more common in elementary schools, where 35 percent of students use shared devices. The rates for middle and high school students are 27 and 22 percent.

Comparatively, just 16 percent of students in the U.S. attend a school that has a 1-to-1 program.

At Lawrence Public Schools in Kansas, teacher Paula Barr sits with second graders in her blended learning classroom at Quail Run Elementary School.

Widespread use of digital learning materials, an intensifying focus on achievement and the influx of digital devices into classrooms are increasing districts’ need to have some form of learning management systems (LMS), experts say.

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