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Districts of Distinction: A revolution in K12 service learning

Beekeeping and raising chickens are among the projects that Maplewood Richmond Heights School District students relish. The district, which covers less than three square miles outside of St. Louis’ inner city, has brought service learning—and student achievement—to new heights.

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Districts of Distinction honors K12 innovation

Nearly 50 school districts that are leading the way with innovative and effective new ideas have been named Districts of Distinction, District Administration magazine’s new tri-annual award program. The honorees, which were selected from hundreds of nominations submitted from around the country, are districts of various sizes and demographics that represent 28 states.

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Do you need a residency program for your next group of teachers?

Teacher preparation programs have been criticized for not providing educators with sufficient classroom skills. But residency programs are now pairing theory with hands-on experience to give teacher candidates the skills needed to improve student achievement.

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Software climbs into the cloud

The move toward personalized learning and the ability to deliver resources via the cloud are transforming the way districts purchase digital content for math, reading and other parts of the curriculum. As this landscape changes, district also are spending more on digital resources.

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What E-rate changes mean for your district

High-speed broadband is in and phones are out, according to the recent FCC order to update the federal E-rate program. Administrators will have new funds to expand district Wi-Fi capacity, but will need to make up for lost phone and email subsidies.

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Police presence powers up

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.

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Coping with concussions beyond the field

A student athlete with a concussion doesn’t face challenges only in returning to play. Their injury also can hinder their performance in the classroom, and administrators must make sure students who need rest or have to work more slowly are able to keep up with schoolwork during recovery.

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Career tech expands into new territory

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.

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A public outcry has schools returning surplus military equipment

Grenade launchers and M16s are some of the weapons school districts are now giving back to the U.S. government. Now, amid widespread criticism, some districts have returned the weapons to the military.

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Social studies get comfortable with controversy

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.

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