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WELCOME RESPITE—Wellness centers at Gunn High School, left, and Palo Alto High School, right, are designed to stem the number of teenage suicides in the U.S. The centers work to teach students certain skills to help cope with stress and personal problems.

There’s a new tool in the battle against student depression, anxiety and suicide—the in-school wellness center.

Look for role models. Districts should find preschools that are already teaching STEM, consider what elements make it a strong program, and think about ways they could modify instruction for their own classrooms, says Phil Hampton, network director of VC STEM, an alliance of organizations working to enhance STEM instruction for students of all ages.

PRESCHOOL AND PINE CONES—A preschool student at Hopkins Public Schools, above, is already learning how to inspect a pine cone with a magnifying glass as part of a lesson in STEM subjects.

Preschool math performance predicts future academic achievement more consistently than reading or attention skills, according to new research from New America and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.

Jason R. Olsen is communications officer for the Salt Lake City School District.

While the news media environment has changed, our goal as communications professionals hasn’t—create a simple, accurate and relevant message for quick delivery to parents, employees, students and community.

In rural Indiana, Jay School Corporation supports local manufacturers—which make up about half the private employment in Jay County—with educational programs geared to the jobs that need to be filled.

The school now has 80 students in manufacturing, advanced manufacturing and robotics programs, and is working with other organizations and a nearby college to develop a regionally recognized certificate.

“We are creating an employer-driven program for both adults and students, focusing on economic outcomes and the talent pipeline,” Superintendent Jeremy Gulley says.

School districts are focusing more attention on manufacturing as the need for middle-skill jobs increases.

Alex Fertig is a psychologist for the Parsippany Troy Hills School District in New Jersey. He can be reached at afertig@pthsd.net. Ray W. Christner is a psychologist with Cognitive Health Solutions.

Our goal with this column is not to imply that school administrators should take on the role of mental health professionals, but instead it is to impart information on strategies, based on the principles of cognitive behavior therapy, or CBT. 

MISCALCULATING MR. MIX-UP—Sara Gardner, a preschool instructor at Edward Everett School in Boston Public Schools, has the puppet Mr. Mix-Up purposefully count apples incorrectly so students can explain his mistakes.

When beginning kindergarten, Latino students are three months behind in math literacy when compared to their white peers, says a 2017 study conducted by Child Trends.

Deeper learning doesn’t have to be expensive, says Stephanie Wood-Garnett, vice president of policy to practice at the Alliance for Excellent Education, a national advocacy group for at-risk students.

“Deeper learning is not about buying things, but deeper learning done well could allow us to think more effectively or differently on how to enhance the time we have,” Wood-Garnett says.

Today’s deeper learning proponents urge schools to master rigorous academic content; think critically and solve problems; work collaboratively; communicate effectively; direct one’s own learning; and develop an academic mindset. 

Despite the challenges of making all school learning materials accessible to students, district technology leaders should be as proactive as possible. (GettyImages.com: KOHB)

Districts must provide learning materials that are accessible to all students. The consequences of failing to do so can be significant.

Linda Mulvey is chief academic officer, Nate Franz is assistant superintendent of teaching and learning at Syracuse City School District and Manami Tezuka is supervisor of library media services.

The Syracuse City School District serves more than 20,000 students across 34 schools, most of which have been classified by the New York State Education Department as either “priority” or “focus” schools.

By combining the plumbing of the internet with heavy-duty encryption, a VPN can help keep a district’s secrets. Under the surface, VPNs use a technique known as tunneling to create an encrypted data path from sender to receiver and back.

How a VPN sidetracks the internet, keeping the data at your school secure.

Schools thrive on free and open exchanges of information, but as soon as a principal reviews attendance records or examines student grades held on a district server, that openness must end.

The assessment that prospective principals must take to obtain an administrative license in 18 states may be a barrier to non-whites and urban educators, says a 2017 study.

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