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Blended learning is having a positive impact in schools and districts across the country, but there are a number of key strategies that can advance blended learning to its next generation of even greater effectiveness and improved achievement. The formula for driving active learning comes from the synergy of blending three key elements: product design, instructional design and school design.


Administrators have a variety of responsibilities in managing a district, but certain tasks can be burdensome and distract from the core mission of the school system. Purchasing, deploying and managing learning resources such as textbooks and other materials are time consuming and costly tasks that can weigh down administrators. However, outsourcing these tasks to an experienced partner can increase efficiency, reduce costs and ensure the right learning resources get in the hands of students.


While administrators have access to more performance data than ever before, too often they are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information and unable to use it strategically, and student performance data is stored in ways that prevent it from being used to inform important decisions. But, creating data dashboards can give district leadership the ability to analyze enormous amounts of disparate data in a simple, visual way, resulting in more effective and informed decision making throughout the school system.


The School District of Lee County in Florida is in the midst of one of the largest education Chromebook implementations in the country, distributing some 18,000 devices along with Google Apps accounts to all students in grades 6-8, in part to meet state mandates that all Florida students use exclusively digital instructional materials by the 2015-2016 school year.


Many of the threats to school districts are events that can happen every day. Bullying, theft, vandalism, harassment and even liability can pose significant challenges for school administrators who want to help keep students and staff members safe. Technology can play a major role in addressing these threats and making campuses safer, but it is important to consider that the effectiveness of virtually any safety technology is reliant upon human factors.


Online and blended learning continue to grow in usage as instructional models while redefining the education landscape, creating better academic outcomes by providing students with the personalized attention, support and resources they need, while enabling teachers to spend more time differentiating instruction.


While teacher quality is known to be the most significant factor both in student achievement and the overall success of a school district, the recruiting and hiring of teachers often lack a cohesive, comprehensive strategy. Hiring less-than-ideal candidates can have far-reaching consequences, negatively impacting student learning as well as strategic district initiatives, and contributing to high turnover and instability.  


Computers and mobile devices aren’t just changing the way that content is delivered, they have changed the way that students engage with their learning and the role of the teacher. But, the expansion of 1:1 and BYOD initiatives, flipped classrooms and anytime, anywhere learning has created a variety of management challenges. Administrators are faced with managing a proliferation of laptops, smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks and other devices with small staffs and limited budgets.  


Virtual learning can offer a variety of benefits to districts as well as students. Implementing virtual and online learning can help to ensure that students are ready for college and career, as well as compensate for teacher shortages in critical areas, help to meet the requirements of the  Common Core and state standards, and get the most out of limited budget resources.


With so much emphasis being placed on testing and accountability, many educators may be missing the single greatest opportunity to drive student outcomes—teacher-created formative assessment with timely, targeted interventions. But can truly personalized learning become a reality when faced with limited classroom time?

Attend this webinar to hear how Minnesota’s Edina Public Schools leveraged powerful assessment solutions to help educators focus their time on what matters most—fueling student growth.

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The changing landscape of K12 education in the 21st century has transformed the role of the school principal. Today the expanded leadership responsibilities of principals have made them more crucial than ever to the success of a school district.


The importance of engaging students in meaningful mathematical discussion has long been identified as an essential component of students’ mathematics learning but has come to the forefront with the more rigorous college and career readiness standards. When students share and exchange their ideas, they are able to reflect on their own understanding while making sense of and critiquing the ideas of others in a collaborative and supportive learning environment.


As the job of leading a district becomes ever more complex, and with many school systems facing large numbers of retirements, succession planning is becoming ever more important. Proactive succession planning for key leadership positions minimizes the costs, upheaval, instability and disruption of long term district goals and initiatives due to leadership turnover.

In the Charlotte-Mecklenberg Schools, administrators have developed a leadership pipeline and succession plan that are helping the eighteenth-largest school system in the country achieve long-term success.


Administrators at Barrington Community Unit 220 School District (Ill.) realized they had a critical need for better organization and proper tracking of educational resources—including textbooks, tablets, STEM devices and special education equipment—a few years ago. The need grew as they began to implement a 1-to-1 program and the district was flooded with even more resources to manage.


While administrators have access to more data than ever before, too often they are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information and unable to use it strategically. But, the right tools can transform this challenge into an opportunity. Creating dashboards can give district leadership the ability to analyze enormous amounts of disparate data in a simple, visual way, resulting in more effective and informed decision making throughout the school system.


One of the newest technologies being applied in K12 today is 3D printing, particularly in integrated STEM courses. This new technology also has potential application beyond engineering classes, however, providing creative ways to enhance the curriculum in a variety of other subjects.

Attend this web seminar to learn how educators in the Marlborough (Mass.) Public Schools are using 3D printing in creative ways, including math and history projects. In addition, learn how STEM projects are enhanced by the inclusion of 3D design challenges.


While administrators have more student information available to them than ever before, the challenge is to use this data effectively and strategically to ensure that students are learning and achieving at high levels, and district resources are allocated efficiently.

Attend this web seminar to learn how two administrators transformed their districts by using data from their student information systems more effectively to improve instruction and create measurable gains, while also improving efficiency and communication between staff, students and parents.


The right mix of tablets, applications and activities can enable new levels of personalized, mobile learning, particularly at the early elementary level. At the Challenge to Excellence Charter School (C2E) in Parker, Colorado, educators are using tablets and Google tools in surprising ways to foster creativity, collaboration and content creation in grades K-3, while also establishing a foundation of knowledge-seeking skills that students will use in later grades.


State legislation, local culture, industry thought leaders and other factors influence the approach a school district takes in defining evaluation frameworks for teachers, leaders and staff. These variables give rise to an ever-changing set of policies, standards and evaluation rubrics that add to the complexity of educator effectiveness programs.


Whether you have just begun your blended learning journey, or it is a path you have been traveling down for several years, it’s important to stay dynamic and reflective on your practice in order to ensure that your blended initiative is having a positive impact on student success.


With students coming to the classroom with a variety of backgrounds and skill levels in math, it can prove difficult to meet each of their needs. By combining high quality curriculum, instruction and digital tools, blended learning has the potential to meet each student’s individual needs at their own pace.


When administrators consider implementing blended learning, they tend to start with technology, evaluating what they have or what they need. But what happens after the technology—the operational side of things—is what can really make or break a blended learning initiative. How do you plan for instruction? Have you prepared your teachers? Where does content come from?


Attend this web seminar to learn how to empower students by giving them time to drive their own learning. Educator Kevin Brookhouser will focus on the simple concept of 20Time: giving students one day a week to work on a project of their choosing—one that serves a real audience and solves a real-world problem.


Central Valley School District near Spokane Washington hadn’t passed a bond in 17 years. In February 2015, the district overcame its history of failed referendums, a vocal No campaign and a 60 percent voter approval requirement to pass its $121.9 million bond with nearly 70 percent approval.


The need for a secure and protected digital learning environment in districts is paramount, but online testing raises serious security concerns. While conducting large-scale online testing requires advanced coordination that is both time consuming and complex, using iPads can save time and simplify the process, so teachers, students, and administrators can focus on teaching and learning, and being better prepared for online exams.


Close reading is a popular term today in elementary literacy classrooms and a requirement in the Common Core ELA standards in order to ensure students are college and career ready. It enables students to independently comprehend increasingly challenging texts. Students need to develop the habits of mind and the skills necessary to unpack the deep, embedded meanings found in complex, challenging texts on their own.

Attend this web seminar to learn the strategies to foster close reading that support comprehension in your district.


Personalized blended and online learning programs have helped many districts provide access to more courses and improve student outcomes. But how do you start a program and then scale it across your school and district? Getting Smart posed this question to innovative educators who have successfully scaled online and blended programs in their districts.


While blended learning has become a common topic of discussion and an increasingly common district-level strategy for driving student achievement, strategies for successfully making the transition to this new model of learning are often ignored.


Using technology effectively at the early elementary level has the potential to improve achievement across grade levels in a district, by preparing elementary students to use the digital tools they will use later on in school, and in college and career.


It’s crucial for today’s students to develop foundational technology skills that can be applied to their core subject learning. To accomplish this goal, districts need to coordinate the efforts of technology and academic staff to embed digital learning into curriculum.


If you only had one tool to communicate with your parents today, what would it be? Flyers, phone calls, emails, text messages? What about a mobile app? Today’s interactive parents are always on, and they expect the same of you. They want access to real-time, personalized information about their student, and they want to know that you can reach them when it counts. More and more, school communication plans must incorporate mobile to more effectively and efficiently connect with digitally fluent parents and students.


A common challenge with district technology initiatives, particularly BYOD or 1:1 programs, is equity of access—ensuring that all students can utilize the same technology, regardless of their socioeconomic status. To address this challenge, Huntsville ISD in Texas was recently awarded a state technology grant to expand the district’s innovative and successful “checkout” program, enabling students to take home Google Chromebooks with Apps for Education if they do not have access to computers or the internet.


When resources are scarce and distances are vast, how can school districts leverage curriculum, technology, and instructional support to deliver customized learning that breaks the industrial-age barriers of time, space, path, and pace?

Attend this web seminar to learn more about the concept of customized learning and how TIE (Technology and Innovation in Education) and Black Hills Online Learning Community in South Dakota are leveraging online learning resources to create customized and blended learning opportunities for students.


Using effective strategies to personalize the math learning experience is key to reaching all levels of learners, especially Spanish-speaking English Language Learners who vary in their English language abilities, math proficiency, and personal circumstances. Attend this web seminar to learn from educators at St. Martini Lutheran School, an innovative school with an 85 percent Latino population in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, about the success they’ve had combining face-to-face instruction with online learning to drive math achievement for their ELL students.