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Jim Handschuch has been the principal of Lacey Township High School, which is part of the Lacey Township School District in Ocean County, New Jersey, since 2012. During his first year as principal, Handschuch found a steady stream of seniors wanting to drop out. With little to offer struggling students who simply did not have enough time to retake full courses required for graduation, Handschuch could not convince many of them to stay in school.

At the Henry County (Ga.) Schools, the only constant over the past decade has been change. A booming economy in the Atlanta area has resulted in the district more than doubling in size. “We went from 19,000 students in the year 2000 to 41,000 today,” says Aaryn Schmuhl, assistant superintendent for learning and leadership services since 2011. “We’ve built 25 new schools during that time.”

Administrators and teachers at Deer Park Middle School in the Deer Park (Wash.) School District have been challenged in the past by the school’s multiple feeder elementary schools. “We have a lot of students coming from these very small schools with a low level of reading proficiency,” says Cassandra Kauppi, the learning assistance program teacher at Deer Park Middle School. Many were scoring below grade level on both state and district assessments. “Our school needed to find a solution to address that,” Kauppi says.

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were finalized in April 2013 after a lengthy research and development process by the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Achieve and a group of 26 states. Not a set of curricula, the NGSS serves to provide teachers with guidelines for teaching practical, more in-depth science.

Director of Technology
Goddard USD 265
Goddard, Kansas
(5,400 students)

IT Director
Carson City School District
Carson City, Nevada
(7,900 students)

DOUG PEARCE, Director, Technical Services
ANGELA COLUZZI, Director, Network Integration
Broward County Public Schools
Broward County, Florida (235,000 students)

Bruce Burger has been the superintendent of the Gibraltar School District in Michigan for the past five years, which serves 3,700 students and includes four elementary schools, one middle school, one high school and one alternative school. When Burger first came to the district as superintendent, one of his most serious concerns was the state of the preschool program already in place. “We had an early childhood program housed in one building, which was losing a considerable amount of money each year,” says Burger.

Edmonton Public Schools in Alberta, Canada, has been a Google Apps for Education district since 2008. Realizing the power of Google Apps to enable collaborative learning, leaders in EPSD introduced Google Chromebooks to replace computer labs and network-based machines.

When Kim Mathey, manager of instructional technology at Edmonds Public Schools (Lynnwood, Wash.), was approached by the district audiologist about the need for classroom sound systems for their 20,000 students, she was initially skeptical. “In 2004, we passed our first technology levy in a while,” she says. “I was focused on using that money for projectors, laptops and document cameras to enhance visual learning. I did not think audio systems were as necessary.”

Students need differentiated learning experiences to meet key goals and standards. Truly adaptive technology can give students an optimally personalized experience. This web seminar, originally broadcast on December 3, 2013, featured a blended learning and adaptive technology expert who shared data about the use of adaptive learning technology, defined what true adaptive technology looks like, explored the pedagogical implications of adaptive technology, and discussed how adaptive technology empowers students to authentically learn and deepen their understanding.

Individualized learning and flexible schedules are part of the philosophy at Falcon School District 49 (Colorado Springs, Colo.). After beginning as a fully virtual model and transitioning to a blended model, student outcomes have vastly improved at the district’s Falcon Virtual Academy. Its brick-and-mortar building facilitates collaboration and communication through open learning spaces, helping students to become more engaged and excited about learning.