Spotlight Story

Ross Kasun is superintendent of Freehold Township Schools in New Jersey. Pamela Haimer is assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
1/19/2017

As a leader in a school system today, it can be difficult to make the choice to move forward with a districtwide change, knowing that the team around you may not fully endorse your decision.

For us, the implementation of personalized learning across Freehold Township Schools in New Jersey was a move we knew would require all hands on-deck. It was the best decision for our students, and our teachers were going to be the ones making major changes to their lessons.

Because of this, we made sure to include many teachers in the process from the start—building excitement and early buy-in for the work.

This is how we made change happen—and how you can, too.

Make it fun

As we embarked on our journey, the first activity we performed as a team was the Marshmallow Challenge—to show the power of iteration and that it is OK to fail forward.

From DA

K12 school leaders forecast top 2017 trends

Matt Zalaznick
January, 2017
Patricia Baltzley, board chair of the Gardiner School District in Montana, many high schools will to redesigned to meet new instructional needs.

Patricia Baltzley

Board chair, Gardiner School District (Mont.)

"The way high schools are currently designed—both with architecture and teaching and learning—needs to be revisioned in all high schools, not just those considered innovative. Instructional needs of the students are different and will continue to be different. We need to get out of the Industrial Age of schooling and move into a more progressive stage."

Douglas County principal reduces tardies with "class bells" music

Ray Bendici
January, 2017
Principal DeMarcos Holland created “Fantastic Fridays" to interact with K12 students on social media.

Principal DeMarcos Holland, of New Manchester High School in the Douglas County School System in Georgia, has replaced traditional class tardy bells with music, including compositions created by students and teachers. The friendlier sounds have lowered the average number of tardies from between 50 and 60 per day to less than 10.

Family sets tradition of school leadership

Angela Pascopella
January, 2017
PRUSATOR SUMMIT—The Prusator education superintendents get together about four times per year, sometimes bouncing ideas off each other. They joke that one of them will “get it right.” Clockwise from top left, Jeff Prusator, Todd Prusator, father, Robert, who is retired, and Bob Prusator.

School superintendency is a family business for the Prusators. Todd Prusator leads Community Consolidated School District 231 in a small community 70 miles west of Chicago. His two brothers, Bob and Jeff, also are Illinois superintendents, all within about 30 miles of each other in the northwest corner of the state. 

K12 leadership network aims to eliminate equity gaps

Avi Asher-Schapiro
January, 2017
Autumn Blanchard, director of marketing and communications, says it’s not a question of will when tackling tough equity issues for district leaders in education. It’s a matter of capacity, support, and the time and space to strategize.

School district leaders in the southern United States looking to tackle equity challenges have some help on the way.

Sponsored content

Todd Whitlock, CEO  Standard For Success

It’s no secret teachers are jumping ship in record numbers, and the dwindling numbers of incoming grads don’t even come close to patching the gap as the demand for teachers rises. The Learning Policy Institute reported in 2016 that enrollment in teaching programs is down 35 percent nationwide (and has been for years), and the annual shortfall could grow to 112,000 teachers by 2018 if current trends persist.

BoardPaq eases management of board of  education agendas and minutes at Ohio district

Prior to summer 2015, the process of putting board meeting agendas in the hands of the board members of Mohawk Local Schools in Sycamore, Ohio, was entirely manual. Administrative Secretary Jackie Messersmith would type up agendas and file them in large binders, which also held agendas and minutes from previous meetings. The binders were then hand-delivered to each board member.

Terry Roberts,  President,  Heartland School Solutions

There are single-solution platforms that alleviate time spent managing funds while improving customer service to parents.

Flexible, “invisible” furniture can be a part of creating multipurpose learning spaces

Classroom environments must keep pace with technology, including 1-to-1 devices, digital curriculum and personalized learning tools, as well as students’ varied learning styles.

Anthony Kim,  CEO and founder,  Education Elements

The amount of access to information we have today is at times wonderful, empowering and overwhelming. In these conditions, it’s upon leaders to help teams organize and synthesize information so that they can move together toward the same goals. And it is crucial for teachers to do the same for their students.