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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.

Today’s students must be able to use digital tools as they develop critical thinking, problem solving and other 21st century skills. Administrators are tasked with the challenge of selecting the right technology resources that incorporate the development of these skills into the classroom. This web seminar, originally broadcast on September 23, 2014, featured an expert on 21st century learning, who discussed the importance of equipping students with 21st century skills and practical ways for integrating those skills into teaching.

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.

With FCC changes to the E-rate program, districts can increase spending on Wi-Fi connectivity. The ability to purchase managed Wi-Fi is another recent change. This web seminar, originally broadcast on September 17, 2014, featured an industry expert, as well as two district technology directors, who discussed key considerations for technology planning around the new Wi-Fi E-rate regulations. They also went over deployment options for managed Wi-Fi and how it can support BYOD, 1-to-1 and improved learning environments.

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.

At the Momentous School in Dallas, a program powered by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, all students are instructed through a variety of brain-compatible approaches and given learning opportunities that are built upon caring, respectful relationships. The school serves 248 students from age 3 through fifth grade, 87 percent of whom qualify for free or reduced lunch. Students are tracked for success all the way through college graduation.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Lindsey Mayer’s job is, quite literally, fun and games. A math interventionist in the Ladue School District in Missouri, Mayer uses playing cards, board games and manipulatives to reinforce tricky math concepts for struggling elementary school students. Guided by Number Worlds, a research-proven math intervention from McGraw-Hill Education for grades preK-8, Mayer presents lesson plans aligned with the Common Core and bolstered by hands-on activities that engage her students.

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.

Students today are innately comfortable with digital tools, and one way to enable personalized literacy instruction is through these tools. Close-reading techniques, student-submitted writing responses to book-specific prompts and other practices are made possible through a new digital platform. This web seminar, originally broadcast on May 28, 2014, featured an innovative superintendent who implemented this platform in her district to foster a more personalized learning environment, as well as the president of myON, who described the solution in more detail.

One of the key struggles in implementing most 1-to-1 programs is figuring out how to manage device deployments with limited staffing. However, a comprehensive enterprise-grade support system like Sprint’s Wireless Campus Manager can help districts with device management support efforts such as asset staging, asset tagging and tracking, and remote control of the device.