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Articles: Teaching & Learning

Leighangela Brady is an assistant superintendent in the Encinitas USD. Lisbeth Johnson served nine years as superintendent of the Santee School District.

In their book, Transforming Ice Age Schools: A Practical Guide for School Leaders, Leighangela Brady and Lisbeth Johnson argue that, beyond superficial “fixes,” little has changed in the underlying structure of education. The result: students unprepared for the complex challenges that await them after high school.

In this objective look into a subject that has generated much debate, Ovid K. Wong and Chak Lau examine critical elements in preparing teachers and decision-makers for the tenure application process.

By all accounts, Marysville School District in Michigan is a high-success, high-performance district. While the average state graduation rate hovers at about 78 percent, Marysville graduates 95 percent of its students. It’s a point of pride that students exit Marysville—a suburban community located 55 miles northeast of Detroit—prepared to meet the rigorous demands of higher education.

Students from Minford High School in Ohio visit with therapy dog Bella after a fellow student was killed.

Here are some tips from Jen VonLintel, of School Therapy Dogs: 

Find studies that show benefits. A binder of research and examples of dogs working in schools can be key to gaining the support of top administrators and/or the school board. Include insurance documents, training data, vet certificates and reports on progress made by students who have worked with therapy dogs.   

School’s certainly in session for canines throughout the nation: Therapy dogs, security dogs, and service dogs walk the halls alongside students in many schools. Here is a look at five more districts that have welcomed canines into classrooms in recent years.

Students can use a free Khan Academy test prep program to better prepare for the redesigned SAT.

The redesigned SAT seeks to expand opportunities for all students to go to college—but its focus on reading comprehension may make the exam more difficult for English-language learners and low-income students.

Disabled students are in every group, including this graduating class. The national graduation rate hit a historic high of 82 percent in 2014; however, students with disabilities graduated at a rate of 63 percent. (Photo: Communities In Schools)

While national graduation rates hit an all-time high of 82 percent in 2014, the trend for students with disabilities remained flat at nearly 63 percent. In three states, students with disabilities graduated from high school at half the rate of their non-disabled peers.

Collaborations between businesses and districts run deeper than internships. Business representatives help districts create curriculum and train teachers. They also volunteer as coaches and mentors to help students gain college and career readiness skills.

Pomona USD in California has raised its graduation rate to 88 percent. The turnaround began when Pomona formed partnerships with several community organizations and nearby colleges.

No matter how cutting-edge the technology or advanced the curriculum, students have a hard time mastering essays and equations if they’re hungry, traumatized or feeling marginalized by a textbook’s inaccurate portrayal of their ethnic group.

In the mountains of western North Carolina, administrators in Buncombe County Schools have seen a steady rise in the number of its 25,500 students who are homeless, food-insecure and involved in domestic violence.

In January, the Jackson Public Schools became the first district in Mississippi to launch an evening high school that students attend from 2:30 to 8:30 p.m. It’s designed for students whose other commitments—such as jobs or caring for their own children or younger siblings—make traditional school hours difficult.

First-time Superintendent Bilal Tawwab took over Flint's public schools just a month before the city's water crisis erupted.

First-time Superintendent Bilal Tawwab started work at Flint Community Schools in September, prepared to take on the district’s budget deficit of $10.5 million and a number of poor-performing schools. The city’s infamous water crisis erupted during his first month at the helm of the district of 7,000 students

Leaders in Johnston County Schools in central North Carolina knew they needed to find more effective ways to help struggling students, close the achievement gap and meet their core instructional priorities. So they carefully planned a pilot program to choose the best adaptive learning system for the district’s 25,000 K8 students and their educators.

Connecticut elementary schools see boost in books read and Lexile scores after implementing myON

The push toward digital learning in Meriden Public Schools in Connecticut started about six years ago with a simple premise: Learning doesn’t stop when school ends. Superintendent Mark D. Benigni understood that advancing off-campus education would require a strong and engaging digital reading program. Soon he knew he had a winner with myON, which provides anytime, anywhere access to more than 10,000 enhanced digital books with multimedia supports, real-time reporting and assessments, and embedded close reading tools.

Educators constantly face new challenges that often require resources that may be in short supply. But this round’s Districts of Distinction honorees show a surplus of exemplary creativity, innovation and problem-solving skills that are increasing student achievement and graduation rates and, most importantly, facilitating education.