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Students visited Paris on a trip organized through the Student & Youth Travel Association in July 2014. Some district administrators cancelled trips to popular destinations including Paris, New York City and Washington, D.C., in recent months after terrorist attacks or threats on those locations.

The November terrorist attack on Paris and ensuing threats to major U.S. cities led many administrators nationwide to cancel class spring break trips in efforts to keep students safe. The decisions, in many cases, disappointed students, parents and city officials in popular tourist destinations.

Districts often deploy VoIP to replace outdated “plain old telephone systems” that are past warranty or can’t be fixed because replacement parts are scarce.

The internet delivers assessments, videos and instructional content to schools, so why not phone service, too? Adding voice to the bandwidth communications stream makes sense to an increasing number of district leaders who are abandoning traditional landlines.

Transportation routing software BusBoss now integrates with ParentLink communication platform

Having less time and fewer resources is a continual challenge that administrators face today. So when there is a chance for apps to integrate, eliminating the need to enter the same student information twice in two different places, savvy leaders must maximize the opportunity.

And one such opportunity was recently announced by Orbit Software. Its BusBoss™ software can now integrate with the ParentLink mobile app by student technology services provider Blackboard.

Speakers at upcoming conferences (clockwise from top left): Rochelle Gutierrez will speak at NCTM about the next generation mathematics for all; Lisa Nyberg will speak at NSTA about giving students more ownership of their education; Deborah Gaston and  Andrea Kantrowitz will speak at NAEA about adding arts to the sciences.

At three annual conferences this spring—the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), the National Art Education Association (NAEA) and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)—experts and educators will offer guidance in developing STEAM instruction across a range a subjects and projects.

A recent federal court decision on the statute of limitations for families to take legal action against schools sheds new light on compensatory services provided to special education students when IEP goals are missed. Parents may now seek several years’ worth of special education services.

In June, Maine became the first state to require all school districts to create a policy on use of the substance. Colorado and New Jersey also passed laws in the last year permitting certain students to receive the treatment in K12 schools.

Francine Costello, above, is a retired teacher from New Jersey who works as a substitute teacher for Brevard County Public Schools in Florida. She earned a Master of Arts degree from Kean University, and specializes in exceptional student education.

Several districts have found new ways to connect with and retain quality substitutes.

Use social media. Tacoma Public Schools finds emergency substitutes via Facebook or Instagram who agree to be available when teachers call in sick.

With the ever-increasing reach of technology and the corresponding growth of STEAM-related curricula, it is challenging to find the right tools to help bring such concepts into the classroom in engaging, student-friendly ways. STEAM-focused classroom products also must easily integrate into existing lesson plans.

At the Tacoma School District in Washington, Heather Gooch is a substitute teacher at Mann Elementary School. Tacoma recently started using social media and paying subs more in harder-to-fill schools. It has improved the quality of subs there.

Amid a nationwide shortage, some districts have strengthened certification requirements, increased communication with substitutes and hired staffing agencies to keep their classrooms full.

Allison Stephens is a high school assistant principal near Philadelphia.

Teachers and administrators face tough challenges in education. Politicians are constantly trying to micromanage our practices, while accountability measures are abundant and budgets are tight. Coming to work isn’t always pleasant when it feels like the odds are stacked against us.

Between 9,000 and 10,000 schools, mostly in rural areas, do not have high-speed internet connections. (Click map to enlarge)

High-speed internet access increased substantially in classrooms over the past two years. But 21 million students, many in rural areas, remain without reliable broadband connections in the classroom, according to the “2015 State of the States” report from the nonprofit EducationSuperHighway.

The October video of a South Carolina school resource officer forcefully arresting a 16-year-old student for refusing to put her cell phone away became a viral example of school policing gone wrong. The incident provides yet more guidance for administrators on managing relationships with SROs and establishing effective school discipline policies.

All 50 states have school bullying laws ...though some are considered stronger than others. (Click graphic to enlarge)

Students living in states with an antibullying law that includes at least one U.S. Department of Education-recommended legislative component had lower reported bullying and cyberbullying rates compared to students living in states without such legal provisions, according to recent research.

Chris Bart and Margot Trevelyan's new book looks at how leaders communicate and inspire cooperation.

A Tale of Two School Principals: And the Superintendent Who Wanted to Lead Them is not your conventional leadership book. Told in a narrative form, the book is a journey of discovery as the characters learn to get to the deeper meaning and intent of a new district policy.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has spearheaded the creations of college savings account for the city's low-income students.

Libby Schaaf, mayor of Oakland, established in January the Oakland Promise, a project with more than 100 community partners working to triple the number of the city’s low-income, public school students who go on to graduate college.

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