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Articles: Teaching & Learning

Many district leaders are challenged with developing whole-school, data-driven, prevention-based frameworks for improving learning outcomes for every student. Under the new provisions of ESSA, district leaders are also mandated to build curriculum capacity using a layered continuum of evidence-based practices and systems, to improve outcomes for students in Tiers 2-3 and special education.

Learning through problem-solving promotes deep, coherent mathematics understanding. It is a critical tool for creating a highly effective learning environment for students. Through the use of strong routines, students learn how to take an active role in reasoning and sensemaking. Active learning will help students understand new mathematical concepts and relationships as they progress in their school careers.

Now more than ever, education leaders are being asked to develop assessment systems that support a huge variety of needs—student learning, system accountability, program evaluation and more—while providing the most value in the least amount of time. To meet this challenge, there are several principles that can guide administrators in creating the most effective assessment systems that meet their district’s needs.

In this web seminar, the vice president of education research at the NWEA discussed some of the keys to creating coherent assessment systems.

LAUSD’s 186th Street School jumps at a chance to expose primarily low-income students to the possibilities of a medical science career when a local health care provider offers a science enrichment curriculum for gifted-and-talented fifth-graders.

This year, District Administration’s Readers’ Choice Top 100 Products features selections from more than 1,500 nominations that range from cutting-edge student information systems and cloud-based security to innovative gamification software and state-of-the-art classroom projectors.

Administrators and school leaders nationwide have shared feedback on a wealth of education resources to help their K12 peers find the best products to achieve district excellence.

Superintendent Yolanda Valdez rallied community support in raising the graduation rate in her Central California district from 76 percent to 92 percent.

Superintendent Yolanda Valdez takes messaging seriously. Not emoji-filled texts or IMs, but messages that convey a goal for 4,000-plus students at Cutler-Orosi Joint USD in rural California: That they will attend college.

K12 educators increasingly embrace life skills curricula that promote social-emotional learning, mindfulness, problem-solving and other soft skills. Many districts no longer view such programs as “nice to have,” but as essential components of overall instruction.

Marc Prensky, the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Global Future Education Foundation and Institute, wants to replace traditional curriculum with project-based, real-world problem-solving.

In his new book, Education To Better Their World, Marc Prensky—an authority on the connection between learning and technology—says our current education system is wrong for the future, not because we haven’t added technology and 21st century skills, but because we have the wrong ends or goals in mind.

Lisa Gonzales is interim superintendent in the Lakeside Joint School District. Charles Young is superintendent in the Benicia USD.

The definition of an effective teacher remains in flux, and the evaluation process has morphed into numerous different assessments and observations. Fortunately, with the advent of new technologies, opportunities abound to broaden the evaluation process and to truly focus on teacher growth.

The U.S. Department of Education has released guidance over the new Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, a funding initiative under ESSA. (Gettyimages.com: Macrovector)The U.S. Department of Education has released guidance over the new Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, a funding initiative under ESSA. (Gettyimages.com: Macrovector)

Schools that offer more comprehensive instruction, increase school safety and student health, and better integrate educational technology may be eligible for new federal funds. A new grant program from the U.S. Department of Education will reward schools that improve access to music, social studies, environmental education and computer science.

When two Boston elementary schools needed a core math curriculum,  Everyday Mathematics 4 was the solution

Five years ago, Boston Public School’s John Eliot School in the city’s North End neighborhood was declared an innovation school. What that meant for principal Traci Walker-Griffith was more autonomy in choosing the elementary school’s curriculum for her 570 students. One of the first curricular changes she made was bringing in Everyday Mathematics.

Research regarding the effectiveness of random drug testing of students at school is scarce and inconsistent.

About 27 percent of high schools nationwide have a form of student drug testing. Some schools also perform “reasonable suspicion” testing on students who show evidence of illegal drug use, which can include abnormal behavior or physical symptoms.

In Monroe County School District in Mississippi, the superintendent is elected. But the board, above, has a working document in place, which means whoever is elected immediately becomes familiar with the district’s past work and future direction—and is ready to lead.

In many school districts today, hiring practices for administrative leaders often consist of “replacement filling”—or, waiting for a position to open up before searching for candidates. But a successful succession often requires more proactive planning.

Matthew Peterson, CEO and co-founder of Mind Research Institute, is intent upon transforming the perception of math from intimidating to something that’s exciting and approachable. And the Math Fair is integral to this effort, giving attendees plenty of fun, hands-on mathematical experiences.

Clark County School District Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky has tasked successful principals with the management of multiple schools.

Pat Skorkowsky, superintendent of Clark County School District in Nevada, has expanded a franchise principal concept in which successful principals take over management of multiple schools, replicating the same educational approach in each.

Following a successful pilot last year with two principals, the initiative involves training a core of administrative leaders who can continue to implement the policies and goals that have been working at each school.

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