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21st-century learning

New York schools may soon undergo a transformation, with extended learning time, higher-paid “master teachers,” and full-day pre-kindergarten programs in high-need communities, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The governor’s plan, based largely on a report from the New York Education Reform Commission, also calls for integrating social and health services through community schools, and recruitingGov. Andrew Cuomo addresses gun control in Albany, N.Y. in January.

In January, the controversial results of the StudentsFirst State Policy Report Card made national headlines. The report, which ranked states A through F based on how well their policies aligned with the reform group’s agenda, gave 11 states a failing grade, and awarded none an A. It also underscored the role of district leaders in enacting school reform by outlining each state’s policies and determining where administrators can implement changes.

Students in five states will soon spend at least 300 extra hours in the classroom for the next three years or more, thanks to an initiative that aims to increase student achievement across socioeconomic lines by providing more in-school educational opportunities, announced last December.

U.S. education is increasingly going global: The U.S. Department of Education recently announced its first-ever, fully articulated international strategy, designed to strengthen schools and advance the nation’s international priorities.

cyber cafe

If your school librarians are feeling beleaguered these days, well, they have good reason. Consider:

• The ranks of certified school librarians have been decimated in recent years by districts struggling to balance budgets.

• The explosive growth of anywhere-anytime digital content in K12 districts threatens to make the concept of library-as-media-center an anachronism.

A robust network that allows students and staff to access the internet is critical for every school district. However, to protect students and comply with CIPA and local regulations, a multi-strategy approach with reporting, monitoring, and flexibility tools is essential.

Students from a NAF Academy of Engineering in San Francisco gain internship experience on construction sites of major transit projects.

A new assessment system for high school students providing multiple measures of college and career readiness launched this fall, helping students in career-themed public high schools understand what skills they need to enter the 21st-century workforce. The National Academy Foundation (NAF), the largest developer of career-themed public high schools in the country, partnered with education research agency WestEd to create the multi-method test, marking a move toward more effectively measuring college and career readiness.

Collaborative virtual workspaces are one of the most effective new ways to assist in providing a high quality 21st century education. ePals’ latest platform, LEARN365, fosters social learning by providing a virtual space that is not bound by space or time for students and teachers to come together and exchange information. This web seminar, originally broadcast on November 14, 2012, addressed the importance of social and collaborative learning technology and Web 2.0 tools in providing a holistic, connected, social education for today’s students.

The Speak Up National Research Project’s Fall 2011 findings revealed that students want technology effectively utilized in their schools. They, as well as parents, teachers, and administrators, are seeking a high level of personalization that will engage and motivate them. The future of personalized learning is dependent on the new technologies and digital content that transform learning.

To implement blended learning effectively, administrators must gain a thorough understanding of the best tools, training, and processes necessary for teacher and student success. Thesys International offers custom curriculum designed to improve learning outcomes through blended learning. This web seminar, originally broadcast on October 25, 2012, featured Fairmont Preparatory Academy and the Pasadena (Calif.) Unified School District, which are in varying stages of implementing blended learning, with help from Thesys International.