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About 1 in 6 students are now diagnosed with a developmental disability, according to a 2011 study in the journal Pediatrics.

Relationships between school districts and the parents of special needs students are notoriously adversarial, and lawyers sometimes get involved in the disputes that arise. Given the increase in students diagnosed with disabilities and the costs involved in serving them, district leaders who want to provide the proper instruction and care, and avoid costly litigation, must stay abreast of the law.

When Hurricane Sandy hit Long Beach, N.Y., a year ago, floodwaters and strong winds destroyed 95 percent of the houses in the small beach community, and damaged all six public schools. Administrators were left to deal with the unprecedented disaster wreaked by the storm, scrambling to relocate students to temporary schools and continue education under extremely adverse conditions.

The district’s most severely damaged school, West Elementary, reopened for the first time this fall.

The question of whether prior experience as an educator should be a required qualification for superintendents has been asked for a number of years. The issue comes to the forefront of education reform efforts, particularly in big city school systems, where former corporate CEOs, politicians, or military officers without prior K12 experience have been appointed district CEO or superintendent.

When districts use WillowTree Apps, which designs engagement platforms, parents only have to use one login and get access to everything—school calendar, attendance, work—in one space.

New platforms are giving parents the chance to track their children’s progress without having to schedule a parent-teacher conference.

The substantial number of high school graduates who land in higher education unprepared academically and have to take remedial courses to catch up are more likely than other students to quit before earning a two- or four-year diploma. Now, districts in several states are intervening more aggressively than in the past to better prepare struggling high school students for college-level classes.

MIND Research Institute's curriculum of K5 math games, ST Math, is used in 30 states by about 21,000 teachers and 500,000 students.

A blue sky with a few clouds and a penguin named JiJi—along with balloons and the occasional flying saucer—are all the graphics MIND Research Institute needs for its curriculum of K5 math games, ST Math.

In Filament Games’ Reach for the Sun, left, high school students ‘become’ a plant and must find the proper amount of water and nutrients to survive.

The player gets to be an archaeologist trying to stop a criminal who’s defacing ancient Mayan temples. But the player doesn’t get laser cannons or magic swords. Catching this video game vandal requires solving geography puzzles, answering math questions, and passing reading comprehension tests.

 Tom Bailey, director of the Community College Research Center at Teacher’s College at Columbia University, says students who take remedial courses are less likely to stay in college.

Nearly two-thirds of all community college students are referred to “developmental education,” typically in English or math, says Tom Bailey, director of the Community College Research Center at Teacher’s College, Columbia University.

But less than half of the students complete the remedial class, and that number drops sharply for students who are forced to take more than one. The completion rate for students taking three classes, for instance, is in the single digits, Bailey says.

Amplify's Lexica sends students into a virtual library that has a collection of classic literature.

The most cognitively challenging and intellectually stimulating video games are more immersive and can take several hours to play, says Justin Leites, vice president for games at Amplify. That’s why the company, which is developing 30 such educational video games for the 2014-2015 school year, wants to take advantage of students’ time outside the classroom, Leites says.

“There’s a huge amount of research, some recent, some going back decades, showing that what kids do outside the classroom is hugely important to their success,” he says.

Do you ever think about air quality when putting a new floor into a school? Only in the past decade has this been among the questions purchasing officers have seriously considered.

From maintenance to color to price, the options for a school floor—an investment that is expected to last 25 to 30 years—are numerous. Amy Bostock, global brand manager for nora systems, Inc., says it’s only recently that administrators have begun considering different types of flooring. Because easy maintenance was previously the primary, and sometimes only, factor, schools typically had wood floors.

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