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More assessment data is available to district leaders than ever before, providing insights into student learning throughout the school year and at the individual student, classroom, school and district levels. However, all of this data will not have a positive impact unless district leaders have a clear strategy to use the insights gained from assessments to inform crucial decisions.

Professional development is a key component of any district, but what takes professional learning to the next level of engagement and effectiveness is being able to differentiate and personalize professional growth for each teacher or administrator. In the recent Personalized Professional Learning Survey sponsored by Performance Matters (formerly Truenorthlogic), over 500 educators from around the country shared their insights on best practices and challenges for creating a personalized professional learning climate in their school districts.

One of the newest technologies being applied in K12 STEM coursework today is 3D printing, which helps to fuel creativity, problem solving and project-based learning while exposing students to tools they may use later in their careers. 3D printing can also be used at the middle school level to prepare students for more advanced work in high school.

Digital assessment tools provide a unique opportunity to personalize learning, by enabling seamless connection between a district’s curriculum, assessments and achievement data to give immediate feedback that guides teaching and improves learning on a daily basis.

Personalized learning has become a catch-all phrase, often used to describe technology in the classroom rather than a new approach to teaching and learning. In order for personalized learning to effectively improve student outcomes, however, there are four key components that must be a part of any district’s personalized learning environment.

McGraw-Hill My Math and Glencoe Math meeting  the needs of New Jersey district conducting a curriculum overhaul

Starting fresh with a new math curriculum was the goal for Gloucester Township Public Schools in fall 2013. The K-8 district, which is located 14 miles southeast of Philadelphia in New Jersey and serves 6,400 students, had a new curriculum and instruction department team charged with the task of updating outdated materials.

Tennessee district sees dramatic achievement gains by engaging Thrive™ Math

Upon receiving a special School Improvement Grant to implement a Tennessee-approved turnaround model in 2013, leaders for Shelby County Schools in Memphis selected seven sites to transform. These schools, designated by the district as i-Zone schools, fall in the bottom 5 percent in the state. Douglass K8 Optional School is one of the selected schools.

Many states and districts are facing unprecedented teacher shortages. As a result, many have implemented or are expanding existing programs that offer alternative routes to licensure or certification for those seeking to become teachers from another career.

Factors to consider when deciding between managing a network in-house and employing a service provider

With the recent updates to E-rate, district leaders can choose between building and maintaining their own networks using dark fiber or trusting the job to a communications service provider. When making that decision, considerations must include looking at the total cost of ownership, evaluating technology innovation, identifying the impact to network control and security, and determining staff availability and expertise to manage future issues.

Research shows that when students are provided with the opportunity to engage with just-right, high-interest books and relevant learning activities, they can avoid the “summer slide” that robs them of literacy gains they have made during the school year. But, finding ways to encourage and foster summer reading can be a challenge for many districts.

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