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Articles: Policy & Compliance

Across the country, districts are cutting chronic absenteeism with an array of strategies—some as simple as mailing letters to parents, and others as complex as offering counseling, mentoring and support services.

Security chief relies on his experience as a teacher in his job overseeing 39 schools and 70 officers.

With starting salaries for teachers hovering around an average of $38,600, educators are tapping the rising gig economy for second jobs. This has led districts to consider new policies to prevent disruptions or distractions.

As parents increasingly turn to marijuana to treat children with chronic health conditions and severe maladies such as seizures, school district administrators have had to establish rules for the drug’s use on school grounds.

More than one-third of U.S. school districts have elevated levels of lead in school water. Administrators must work quickly to determine the best and most cost-effective solutions for providing safe drinking water amid a lack of national standards and federal funding.

When North Carolina adopted the Common Core in 2012, Principal Sherry Robinson and her staff at Bald Creek Elementary School spent the year feeling at a loss. The rural Title I school was facing its usual host of challenges—a high achievement gap, a transient population and at-risk students—but now it lacked the resources to shape an instruction plan.

Over the summer, a veteran teacher recommended Mentoring Minds’ Total Motivation, a Common Core-aligned curriculum that includes instructional support for teachers. “We came to a consensus. We wanted to try it,” says Robinson.

ELECTING FOR CHANGE—Former Principal Aimy Steele decided to run for office after she was asked to add classrooms to an already crowded school with no additional funding.

Fed up with funding cuts and policies passed without educator input, the number of teachers and administrators taking political action is on the rise. Balancing a demanding career with a political campaign is just one of their challenges.

A group of researchers and computer scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education is building an artificial intelligence system that can analyze instruction via speech recognition and natural language processing. Developers want to replicate, as closely as possible, the feedback that a content expert might give to a teacher.

The master schedule determines what students learn, who they learn from and who they learn with. Scheduling software is key to maximizing students’ and teachers’ learning time. 

Ty E. Howard is a partner with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP. He regularly represents educational institutions in matters involving compliance, litigation, internal investigations, Title IX issues and related matters.

School investigations pose special challenges. The risks are often high, and school leaders, even those well-versed in typical legal issues, may be inexperienced in conducting investigations. Here are best practices for avoiding a legal nightmare.

District CIOs recommend following the Cybersecurity Framework created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST. The model recommends five functions to address cybersecurity threats.

Districts should develop a strategy for network, application, content, endpoint, cloud/data center, and physical security, according to a Council of the Great City Schools report.

The “Cyber-Security in Today’s K-12 Environment” report from the Council of the Great City Schools outlines six areas of security. Districts should develop a strategy for each one.

When securing edtech infrastructure, district leaders must concentrate on six layers of security—physical, network, applications, content, endpoint and cloud/data centers—to build a comprehensive defense against increasing and evolving cyberattacks.

Eileen Belastock is chief technology officer for Mount Greylock Regional School District in Massachusetts.

Voice-activated tools can create more immersive learning experiences, but school leaders need to consider the potential privacy risks and to safeguard student data.

While testing in the U.S. has become more about ranking schools and even teachers, in most of the developed world, tests make or break a student’s future, sometimes before the age of 12.

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