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Since Lancaster School District (Calif.) is a K8 school system, Rebecca Cooksey, director of IT, knows that none of her students have optimal listening skills yet. “Students’ audio processing tracks are not fully developed until they are 15,” Cooksey says. And the 25 percent of Lancaster’s 14,000 students who are ELL face additional challenges in listening to and processing information presented orally by teachers. “It is important for ELL students to hear the way teachers pronounce words, and the nuances in their voice,” Cooksey says.

Giving every student a more personalized learning experience is made possible through blended learning. The use of rigorous, engaging learning technology can help increase student achievement in mathematics. This web seminar, originally broadcast on February 27, 2014, featured an administrator who discussed how she achieved teacher and parent buy-in for a blended learning model, how data extracted from learning technology drives instruction, and the measurable increase in student achievement after she implemented blended learning.

A video surveillance system, a necessity for districts today, must be properly managed to reap its greatest benefits. Disturbance alerts and mobile device access are two features that can help district leaders utilize their surveillance system effectively. This web seminar, originally broadcast on February 6, 2014, featured a video surveillance expert who discussed features to look for in surveillance software, how to reduce the costs associated with surveillance software, and the importance of integrating fire alarms and panic buttons into the surveillance system.

Whether assessments administered in a district are producing useful data can be determined through establishing a comprehensive assessment plan. Assessments should support a district’s strategic plan and determine student progress according to Common Core State Standards. This web seminar, originally broadcast on February 20, 2014, featured experts in curriculum development and school improvement, who presented the best ways to develop strategic assessment plans, how to determine assessment effectiveness, and how to inform stakeholders of student progress.

High-quality before- and after-school programs have the potential to enhance student engagement and improve academic achievement, by extending the school day in a fun, safe and relaxed environment. However, there are important factors to consider in selecting programs for a district, as well as determining the quality and effectiveness of existing before- and after-school programs.

Fort Bend ISD Superintendent Charles Dupre

Fort Bend ISD is the seventh-largest district in Texas, serving over 71,000 students and employing over 9,000 staff members. Fort Bend is also one of the most diverse districts in the country, with a student population that is 29 percent African-American, 19 percent white, 26 percent Hispanic and 22 percent Asian, comprising a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds.

The Garland (Texas) Independent School District serves some 58,000 students on 71 campuses outside of Dallas, and is the twelfth largest district in the state. Alan Smith has been the risk manager for the district for the last 22 years. Smith was hired to supervise and investigate workers’ compensation claims, which had at that time become a significant expense to the district. “But during my first year on the job, I found ways to save money annually from the district’s insurance premiums through a self-insurance program,” says Smith.

A successful student-centered learning environment engages students in rigorous activities where they are able to try out their own ideas, make their own mistakes, and then learn from them. ST Math is designed to precisely deliver this type of individualized learning experience. In ST Math, every student receives real-time informative feedback on their unique choices and actions as they try to solve richly interactive puzzles using the virtual manipulative tools that are at the heart of every game.

At Phoenix Academy located in southwest Detroit, children in Ms. Tanner’s Level 3 class are busy learning math. In one corner of the room, a half dozen students are sitting at computers. Over on the right, a small group of students are sitting on the floor with the teacher at the center. In the middle of the room, some students work in pairs, while others work independently.

Teaching and learning have been transformed by a Digital Conversion at Mooresville (N.C.) Graded School District. Creating a blended learning environment has resulted in personalized, standards-based instruction and an increase in student engagement. This web seminar, originally broadcast on January 29, 2014, featured leaders from Mooresville, who shared strategies for beginning a 1:1 blended program, how to shift instructional practices to be more student-centered, and the role effective digital resources have played.