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Nearly 10 percent of the 18,680 students in the South Bend Community School Corporation in north central Indiana are English language learners. With students of varying levels of proficiency spread across the district’s 33 schools, finding solutions to help students increase their skills, particularly in reading comprehension, proved difficult.

In spring 2014, leaders at the state’s Department of Education realized that Indiana’s high population of migrant students was not served as optimally as possible.

While administrators have access to more performance data than ever before, too often they are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information and are unable to use it strategically, and student performance data is stored in ways that prevent it from being used to inform important decisions. But creating data dashboards can give district leadership the ability to analyze enormous amounts of disparate data in a simple, visual way, resulting in more effective and informed decision making throughout the school system.

There’s a new purchasing system in town, and it’s saving time, money and stress for folks at the Grinnell-Newburg Community School District in Iowa.

With so much emphasis being placed on testing and accountability, many educators may be missing the single greatest opportunity to drive student outcomes—teacher-created formative assessment with timely, targeted interventions. But can truly personalized learning become a reality when faced with limited classroom time? In this web seminar originally broadcast on October 21, 2015, an administrator from Minnesota’s Edina Public Schools outlined how the district is leveraging powerful assessment solutions to help educators focus their time on what matters most—fueling student growth.

Many of the threats to school districts are events that can happen every day. Bullying, theft, vandalism, harassment and even liability can pose significant challenges for school administrators who want to help keep students and staff members safe. Technology can play a major role in addressing these threats and making campuses safer, but it is important to consider that the effectiveness of virtually any safety technology is reliant upon human factors.

John M. Nelson III served as the Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services at Chula Vista Elementary School District

For more information, visit www.achieve3000.com

John M. Nelson III served as the Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services at Chula Vista Elementary School District, located halfway between San Diego and Mexico in San Diego County. In 2010, when the Common Core State Standards were adopted by California, he knew the 30,000-student district needed to help students get comfortable reading and writing about nonfiction texts and using technology for assessments

Online and blended learning continue to grow in use as instructional models while redefining the education landscape, creating better academic outcomes by providing students with the personalized attention, support and resources they need, while enabling teachers to spend more time differentiating instruction. This web seminar, originally broadcast on November 4, 2015, explored some of the keys to using blended and online learning effectively to drive academic growth in any school system.

While teacher quality is known to be the most significant factor both in student achievement and the overall success of a school district, the recruiting and hiring of teachers often lacks a cohesive, comprehensive strategy. Hiring less-than-ideal candidates can have far-reaching consequences, negatively impacting student learning as well as strategic district initiatives, and contributing to high turnover and instability.

Computers and mobile devices aren’t just changing the way that content is delivered, they have changed the way that students engage with their learning and the role of the teacher. But, the expansion of 1-to-1 and BYOD initiatives, flipped classrooms, and anytime-anywhere learning has created a variety of management challenges. Administrators are faced with managing a proliferation of laptops, smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks and other devices with small staffs and limited budgets.

Marty Creel, chief academic officer and vice president, curriculum & instruction, Discovery Education

How can administrators ensure a smooth and successful digital transition?
Leading the digital transition is a process that should start with emphasizing good instruction. It is crucial to select the right technology pieces and to prepare networks for increased use, but those decisions alone do not make for increased learning potential. The districts that are getting the best results are the ones in which leaders are focused on improving instruction as the means to high achievement, and are using technology as a tool to help reach that vision.

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