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Principal selection has not significantly changed since the 1950’s and is often unsystematic. While the role of the principal has evolved greatly over the last 60 years, the methods used for selection have remained stagnant. In the 1950’s, principals’ duties centered primarily on staffing and facility management. Today, school principals may be responsible for tens of millions of dollars between facilities, personnel, and discretionary funding.

From early-learning to entrepreneurship to the environment, innovative instruction propels students to meet more rigorous standards and graduate high school better prepared for their next steps in life.

An image on the Common Sense Graphite landing page, above, illustrates how educators might search for content.

Getting the right education apps into classrooms isn’t as easy as reading reviews, doing a quick download and making a link available to staff. Because there isn’t a standard rating system to verify whether an app will live up to its educational claims, there’s no single best approach to matching student needs with new programs.

Brandon Palmer, a national board certified teacher, conducts research on principal selection.

The continuous cycle of improvement is a paradigm often used in education to explain activities that result in personal growth through reflection. So the interview process—when enhanced by constructive feedback sessions—can also be used to provide professional development to prospective teachers and administrators.

A homeschool student in Kyrene School District shows off art she created via Community Assisted Schooling Alternatives, a weekly enrichment program for K6 students.

Driven by a commitment to serve all students, or by a desire to maximize state funding, some districts are offering families that educate their children at home everything from free computers to curricular guidance.

Students from Richard J. Lee Elementary School, part of Coppell ISD in Dallas, have a lesson in the school garden.

Districts recovering from the recession and in need of new buildings and renovations can save money over time by building net-zero energy schools, architects say.

Fourteen states require a student be allowed to fulfill a math, science or foreign language credit for high school graduation by completing a computer science course. (Click to enlarge)

In seven years, computer systems design jobs will be huge in the United States.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 38 percent growth in the design industry between 2012 and 2022—from 1.62 million jobs in 2012 to an estimated 2.23 million jobs in 2022. But recent reports of the lack of required computer science courses in districts and the absence of female and minority students in AP computer science courses has led some to wonder whether or not the nation will have enough skilled workers to fill these positions.

Jeff Bryant is an associate fellow at Campaign for America's Future and the editor of the Education Opportunity Network website.

Making public education more accountable has for years been the solemn pledge of government officials, including the Obama administration and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. Yet that same level of accountability and transparency doesn’t seem to apply to the fastest growing sector of K12 education—charter schools.

Under a new plan for decentralization, Denver Public Schools will have flexibilities in curriculum and assessments that are traditionally associated with charter schools.

Principals in Denver Public Schools will soon have the power to purchase their own curriculum, professional development plans and testing programs.

Denver schools announced in May its move to a decentralized model for 2015-16, joining a growing urban district movement to give traditional public schools the flexibility of charters.

Last year, more than 900 middle school students gathered at the American Museum of Natural History in one of New York City’s largest science fairs (with more than 400 projects) on the 10th anniversary of the museum’s middle school science initiative, Urban Advantage.

The American Museum of Natural History in New York City is leveraging its scientific resources to address K12 STEM education needs and to help develop future scientists.

The museum’s mission is to “discover, interpret, and disseminate, through scientific research and education, knowledge about human cultures, the natural world and the universe.” It houses more than 33 million specimens and artifacts.

Two students at the Shaker Heights City School District help tend to their high school garden project—part outdoor learning lab and part “market” for their school lunches.

Students ease stress with stretches in elementary school yoga sessions. In another district, students taste vegetables they’ve never tried before after growing produce in a school garden. Elsewhere, more students eat healthy breakfasts they’ve grabbed from convenient to-go carts in the morning. This kind of innovation is evident across the country, as district leaders find new ways to promote health and wellness.

Superintendent Bob Horan of Schodack CSD offered space to an energy research firm, a business that converts wastewater into electricity and the builders of a solar-powered boat.

Faced with a nearly 40 percent decrease in enrollment and a middle school at 33 percent capacity, Superintendent Bob Horan of Schodack CSD in upstate New York offered empty space to startup companies. 

Hacienda La Puente USD in California signed a five-year, $5.3 million energy savings performance contract in part to upgrade exterior lighting at four high schools.

New partnerships between districts and energy service companies provide much-needed funding for school sustainability upgrades that can range from installing efficient lighting to renovating entire buildings.

Energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) allow school leaders and other public agencies to complete energy-savings projects without upfront capital costs.

Students in four classrooms at Vallecito Elementary School, part of Dixie School District outside of San Francisco, now use standing desks.

Students show stronger concentration when working at standing desks, according to new research. A recent study in the International Journal of Health Promotion and Education found that students using standing desks improved their ability to stay on task in class by 12 percent—the equivalent of gaining seven minutes per hour of instruction time.

Researchers from Texas A&M and the University of Louisville studied 282 students in grades 2 through 4 for an academic year. Twenty-four classrooms were randomly chosen to receive standing desks or keep traditional seated desks.

New Birmingham Superintendent Kelley Castlin-Gacutan is a native of the area and formerly served as  interim superintendent for Bibb County Schools in Georgia.

Kelley Castlin-Gacutan was unanimously chosen superintendent of Alabama’s Birmingham City Schools in May. Birmingham City is the fourth-largest district in the state, with more than 30,000 students.

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