You are here

Feature

Education Secretary Arne Duncan addresses a group of educators at the Association of Career and Technical Education at the VISION 2013 conference in Las Vegas.

Career and technical education isn’t what it used to be. For example, sessions scheduled for the Association of Career and Technical Education’s annual conference in November cover training teachers to use smartphones to improve literacy and how students learn "higher-order thinking” through reading, writing and group learning.

SROs like Kevin Quinn, above, past president of the National Association of School Resource Officers, teach lessons as part of the job.

Districts working to prevent mass shootings and other violent campus attacks are hiring more school resource officers to patrol their buildings, particularly at the elementary level. These SROs, elevated from a more passive role, are now an integral part of school safety planning.

Though more districts are hiring school resource officers to keep students safe, some argue that schools with SROs have more student arrests than schools without the officers, contributing to the school-to-prison pipeline.

Social studies teachers are using controversial news events to drive part of the curriculum in today’s classrooms. Above, an educator at last year’s annual conference discusses the importance of primary sources, such as artifacts, diaries and newspapers, to bring history alive in elementary schools.

Studying controversial events can show students how past events and current conflicts are connected. Examining these stories also can foster critical thinking skills and hone the ability to debate. But such discussions can be a minefield for educators trying to navigate touchy topics.

Foreign language teachers are cultivating global competence in today's classrooms. Above, educators interact at last year’s conference of the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages.

Foreign language has become a necessity for “global competence”—the ability to use a language beyond the classroom, in the workforce and in social settings. The idea of global competence encompasses sensitivity, respect and understanding of other cultural perspectives.

Students are safer in schools, like the one above, that have Data Management Inc.’s Visitor Pass Solutions Software. It gathers updated data on all visitors.

School visitors are no longer just writing their names in a notebook when they sign in. Districts are now scanning fingerprints and eyes to check if a visitor or contractor has a criminal record. The new methods not only provide background checks, but can also track how many times someone has visited a school.

To measure academic excellence, Tacoma Public Schools tracks test scores, graduation rates, college acceptance and participation in extracurricular activities.

Instead of quizzes and tests that interrupt classroom activity, many districts and testing companies are working on ways to integrate formative assessments into daily instruction and use technology to gather real-time feedback on student progress.

At Raymond LaPerche Elementary School in Smithfield, R.I., Amy O’Hara, school data leadershp team member, far left, works with first-grade teachers Lena Martel and Laura Zucker to analyze reading test results and to determine specific skills to target.

A new bounty of academic data is guiding teachers as they adjust instruction in the hopes of boosting student achievement. Some districts are connecting “data coaches” with the teachers’ own professional learning communities to ensure this bounty of information fulfills its pedagogical promise.

A Grand Rapids Public Schools interventionist sits with students on an academic assignment while also discussing cooperation and working together—illustrating the teaching component to the restorative justice discipline method.

Districts large and small, urban and rural, are revamping discipline as increasing numbers of experts and educators find that zero-tolerance—and widespread suspension and expulsion—has been ineffective and even discriminatory.

Donna Schulze, above, is a paraeducator at Phelps Luck School in the Howard County Public Schools in Maryland.

Paraeducators are no longer on the periphery of the classroom. Now a significant part of the learning process, they are facilitating one-on-one and small-group instruction among special needs students.

Pages