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Teaching math in middle school is challenging! Teachers deal with adolescent volatility, a wide variance in student ability, and a surprisingly sophisticated set of mathematical ideas. Adding to these challenges, the new Common Core assessments probe students’ understanding of mathematical concepts at a depth not previously widespread on State tests.

The 37,000 students in Escambia County Schools in northwest Florida—like all students today—are constantly bombarded with multiple types of digital media in their lives. Getting them to focus on the important messages in the classroom when they are used to so many distractions can be a challenge. “My experience has been that many children cannot filter the different types of noises and focus their attention on a singular voice,” says Marcia Nowlin, the district’s Title I director.

Kimberly Moritz is in her seventh year as the superintendent of Randolph Central School District. Prior to leading the district of 977 K12 students in this rural community in western New York, Moritz worked as a teacher for ten years in a neighboring rural school district and as a principal in two other school districts. Moritz joined Randolph with the goal of raising the district’s historically average student achievement; for over a decade, Randolph was seeing mediocre results on state assessments.

The 9,000-student Council Bluffs Community School District in Iowa was one of the first K12 districts in the country to use Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education in a 1-to-1 implementation, beginning in 2011. The district has seen improved student achievement, rising graduation rates and decreasing dropout rates, with some of the most significant improvement in the state.

By integrating technology into mathematics classrooms to complement face-to-face instruction, educators can provide uniquely individualized learning for all students. This web seminar, originally broadcast on August 28, 2014, featured administrators and a blended learning expert, who shared successful approaches for implementing this technique, including strategies, tips for modeling blended learning for elementary mathematics, and as well as first hand comparisons of student growth with the amount of time digital tools are used in each classroom.

ince its inception in 2001, the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) has required internet content filtering to keep students safe online. Policymakers amended CIPA in 2008, requiring that students also be educated on internet safety. In addition to providing this required online safety training, schools must show evidence that training has occurred. With the new requirement taking effect for the 2012 school year, school administrators in many Ohio districts expressed their anxiety about meeting the new standards and retaining their E-Rate funding to state education officials.

Numerous studies have shown that today’s students are struggling to make sense of the overwhelming amount of data now available. Recent developments in K12 curriculum and assessment—such as the adoption of Common Core and similar state standards, and changes to the SAT—reflect an increased focus on developing critical-thinking skills and underline the importance of helping students find, evaluate and use information more effectively.

At one large suburban school system in Westchester County, New York, an online assessment tool first used to comply with state law is now the foundation for a district-wide technology program that’s preparing students for life beyond their school days. Christine Coleman, director of technology for the City School District of New Rochelle, introduced TechLiteracy Assessments from several years ago to determine how well eighth grade students had grasped lessons on cyberbullying and internet safety.

When Michael Lubelfeld came to Deerfield Public Schools District 109 (Ill.) last summer, the superintendent known as a super-communicator knew that engaging students was crucial to their education. So the new superintendent leveraged the district’s technology, including school administration software, to keep students in regular contact with teachers, administrators and each other. “My administration is centered on clear communication and a healthy organizational culture and climate,” says Lubelfeld, whose K8 district is about 25 miles north of Chicago and six miles west of Lake Michigan.

Middle school is a time of development, discovery and transition for students, as well as an exciting and powerful time for math education. Math starts to get more complex, and students must build connections between content. This web seminar, originally broadcast on September 22, 2014, featured blended learning expert Tom Vander Ark, CEO of Getting Smart, who shared research and findings from successful implementations of blended learning in middle schools across the nation, as well as lessons learned and best practices for blending middle school math.