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Articles: Human Resources

Gary Shattuck is the director of technology and media services for the Newton County School System in Covington, Ga.

When planning the implementation of a huge technology initiative, where audio enhancement and camera technologies would be placed in 552 classrooms over the summer of 2013, I knew that the key to success was rethinking how we deliver professional learning.

My experience with the traditional professional learning model of training-the-trainer has not been pleasant or successful. The problems I experienced were three-fold.

Test scores and graduation rates have risen steadily since Alberto Carvalho became Miami-Dade's superintendent in 2008.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho was named 2014 National Superintendent of the Year by the School Superintendents Association. Since he took the job in 2008, the district’s test scores and graduation rates have risen steadily. The district has also won awards for marked improvement in AP participation and performance.

The authors of "Hire Better Teachers Now" say district leaders can hire more effectively by focusing on the individual needs of schools and districts.

Hire Better Teachers Now: Using the Science of Selection to Find the Best Teachers for Your School

Harvard Education Press

Tracey Green is substitute teacher for second graders at Bryan Elementary School in the Jefferson County School System in Birmingham.

The substitute teacher just became more valuable.

Economic struggles and new federal education guidelines over the past five years have changed the environment for substitute teachers. When economic difficulties led to staff cutbacks in almost every industry, many laid-off workers signed up to be substitutes, allowing districts to be more selective.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires employers to offer health insurance to 95 percent of employees who work more than 30 hours per week. In some districts, that may include substitute teachers, who may teach from eight to 35 hours per week.

“Substitute teachers are right on the margin between full-time and part-time,” says Geoffrey Smith, director of STEDI, the substitute teaching institute based at Utah State University. “Districts traditionally haven’t offered health care for substitutes, but that may change for some of them.”

Paul Finch is the superintendent of the Red Hook Central School District in Red Hook, N.Y.

What happened? This is what we at the Red Hook Central School District had to ask when we looked at our student achievement data.

In some cases, there was a mismatch between our beliefs about certain teachers and actual performance, as measured by student achievement data. Ultimately, our personal biases were exposed and this led us to rethink our hiring practices.

is Van Roekel speaks at a recent conference, sponsored by the Education Writers Association and held at the University of Chicago, about teacher evaluations. Next to him, from his left are:

Changing state laws and the rise of evaluations have given administrators more flexibility in removing tenured teachers, a task that had long been nearly impossible. More states are tying student achievement to teacher evaluations and renegotiating contracts.

The National Education Association (NEA) has taken the position that teachers should be held accountable for providing high-quality classroom instruction. To avoid drawn-out legal battles, districts also should have a cost-effective, efficient system in place if someone has to be dismissed, the group states.

Former principal and superintendent Carmen Fariña is the new chancellor of New York City Public Schools.

Former principal and superintendent Carmen Fariña is the new chancellor of New York City Public Schools, appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in December. Fariña helped develop de Blasio’s education platform to include proposals for universal pre-K and more after-school programs for middle schoolers.

Richmond administrator

Dana T. Bedden became superintendent of Richmond Public Schools in Virginia in January. As former superintendent of Irving ISD in Texas, Bedden earned recognition from the state for financial management, academic progress and expanded AP course offerings.

New Irving ISD Superintendent Jose Parra previously led the much smaller Lockhart ISD in Texas

Jose Parra became superintendent of Irving ISD in Texas in December. Parra was superintendent of the 5,000-student Lockhart ISD, where he helped raise test scores and graduation rates. He aims to continue his efforts in Irving, which has 35,000 students—that’s seven times the size of Lockhart.

Stephen Falcone resigned as superintendent of Darien Public Schools in Connecticut after the district was found to have violated special education laws. (Megan L. Spicer/Darien News)

Superintendent resigns

Stephen Falcone, superintendent of Darien Public Schools in Connecticut, resigned in October after a state Department of Education report found the district violated special education laws on multiple occasions during the 2012-2013 school year.

Teachers are the single most important factor in student learning. Yet, our field as a whole spends little time ensuring that only the best teachers enter our classrooms—and even less time ensuring that the best teachers feel supported.

At Batavia Public Schools in Illinois, administrators gather with CIO Anton Inglese. From left to right, Kris Mon, assistant superintendent of finance; Superintendent Lisa Hichens, Inglese, and Steve Pearce, assistant superintendent for human resources.

WANTED: CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER: Looking for a technology expert, experienced with Mac and PC; servers; mobile technologies—including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and netbooks; coding; and helpdesk. Must be a strong people person and a great communicator, coach, and teacher, used to juggling multiple projects simultaneously, a team player, and always willing to pitch in. Comfortable in a fast-paced environment. People who have one way of doing things need not apply.

Just five years ago, a student information system was used to take attendance and add or change grades. The tech director chose one, installed it and, in about two minutes, showed teachers how to use it.

Now, “it’s a portal for teachers to send assignments and for parents, students, and teachers to communicate with each other,” says Melissa Tebbenkamp, director of instructional technology at Raytown Quality Schools in Missouri.

The shift in CIO responsibilities has also trickled down to the rest of the tech team. No longer is it enough to be knowledgeable in computers. IT employees must have strong people skills as well. Here’s what CIOs said they look for:

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