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The 12 new science labs are found on the third floor of the school’s addition, and were designed for flexibility. Fixed cabinetry is restrained to the outer edges, leaving the center open for collaboration. In this physics lab, benches sit at one end of the room while lecture seating with marker surfaces and a smartboard projector are at the other end. Teachers can also mount overhead structures from the ceiling.
New social studies classrooms located on the second floor of the addition have extra space at one end for each teacher to customize based on their needs; for example, as reading areas or group project spaces. Large windows were built to maximize natural light and conserve energy.
The undersized boys’ and girls’ tandem practice gyms at Webster Groves High School were demolished, and replaced with a two-level structure. The first level has multi-purpose rooms for physical education and sports training, cheerleading and other active uses; the second level is a competition gym with bleachers and public access for games. The school expanded into an adjacent service alley to create space for the new structure.
The intersection of hallways in the new third floor science department is roughly the size of a classroom. In this wide area, teachers set up physics demonstrations and experiments in motion, or allow students to lay out large projects for assembly, create posters or test robotics.

The 100-year-old Webster Groves High School, part of the Webster Groves School District in a St. Louis, Mo. suburb, is an important civic landmark. However, its antiquated infrastructure and classrooms ill-equipped for educational media were preventing administrators from fully implementing 21st-century learning models, including blended learning.

Former principal and superintendent Carmen Fariña is the new chancellor of New York City Public Schools.

Former principal and superintendent Carmen Fariña is the new chancellor of New York City Public Schools, appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in December. Fariña helped develop de Blasio’s education platform to include proposals for universal pre-K and more after-school programs for middle schoolers.

Richmond administrator

Dana T. Bedden became superintendent of Richmond Public Schools in Virginia in January. As former superintendent of Irving ISD in Texas, Bedden earned recognition from the state for financial management, academic progress and expanded AP course offerings.

The results of the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) were “encouraging but modest,” according to Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Eighth graders made small gains in reading and mathematics, while fourth graders improved slightly in math but not reading.

Coming this fall, students at six of the nation’s largest urban districts will be served lunch on round plates made of biodegradable sugar cane.

Six of the nation’s biggest school districts have taken another bold step in changing the face of school lunches. The districts in the Urban School Food Alliance—New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami-Dade, Dallas, and Orlando—have banded together to purchase biodegradable trays made of sugar cane to cut down on both cost and waste.

Reports of districts eliminating school nurses or replacing them with unlicensed staffers are increasing nationwide, and student health care is suffering as a result, nursing advocates say. Among nurses’ responsibilities is caring for the estimated 3 million children with food allergies—a number representing an 18 percent increase from 1997 to 2007, according to the Centers for Disease Control—and the 7.1 million children with asthma.

Students in the Highlands School District in Brackenridge, Pa., start computer classes in kindergarten to learn the typing skills needed for Common Core assessments.

Kindergarteners nationwide are stretching their small hands across keyboards to learn the basics of typing in preparation for the online Common Core assessments.

The new standards don’t introduce keyboarding until the third grade, the first year students are assessed. But elementary schools are starting earlier to make sure students are competent in basic computer use before the exams that begin next school year.

New Irving ISD Superintendent Jose Parra previously led the much smaller Lockhart ISD in Texas

Jose Parra became superintendent of Irving ISD in Texas in December. Parra was superintendent of the 5,000-student Lockhart ISD, where he helped raise test scores and graduation rates. He aims to continue his efforts in Irving, which has 35,000 students—that’s seven times the size of Lockhart.

New York City’s expansive charter school network may be in trouble. Mayor Bill de Blasio, who takes office this month, says he plans to charge charters rent for using space in school buildings and to stop new charters from opening. De Blasio says he will focus instead on improving traditional public schools, but the details of his plan for charters remain unclear.

HUNCH students from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham took their project involving the effect of zero gravity on the spine on the low-gravity plane in Houston last April.

Astronaut gear made by high school students in a NASA program will be sent up to the International Space Station in June. It will be the first student projects to be sent to the station during the program’s 10 years of operation.

More than 160 Syracuse students participated in the Say Yes to Education Young Authors Series, and wrote their own books.

A citywide school turnaround program that offers full-tuition college scholarships for urban students has seen early success in increasing high school test scores and college attendance.