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Articles: Business & Finance

Parents know the difference between platitudes and genuine commitment from school leaders.

Customer service is not traditionally thought of as part of a district administrator’s job—but learning effective communication skills can sometimes mean the difference between retaining or losing students to charter schools, according to a new report.

A successful partnership with a transportation contractor, above, can give a district administrator more time to focus on educating.

Xenia Community Schools in Ohio faced a crisis in 2012 that forced administrators to slash $10 million from its annual budget. The district signed a five-year contract with a transportation contractor and saved $458,000. Still, such a move can be a challenging—and sometimes controversial—issue for many districts.

In most states the first employment contract for a superintendent is a three-year contract. All too often it becomes the last contract as well. Superintendents must realize that job security and longevity are tied to board relationships, and such relationships begin during the interview process. That’s when it is most important for the candidate to communicate his or her beliefs about the superintendent’s role as it relates to the role of the school board.

Many states and districts are facing unprecedented teacher shortages. As a result, many have implemented or are expanding existing programs that offer alternative routes to licensure or certification for those seeking to become teachers from another career.

“What’s the Real Story on K-12 Employee Absences” examined absence data from 4,450 public district. (Click to enlarge)

Districts spend over $25 billion annually on teacher absences, and consistent absences negatively impact student achievement, past studies have shown. A recent study examined teacher and classified staff absence data during that month from4,450 public districts.

Danae Davis, executive director of Milwaukee Succeeds, reads to a class at Milwaukee Public Schools.

Urban districts struggling with budget cuts can increasingly look to foundations, nonprofits and private companies for support in driving district success efforts—from enhancing instruction to expanding healthcare to boosting college preparation.

To practice presentation skills, Stratford Parent SEE participant Migda Carrero speaks to a mock education board, composed of parents, about a special needs issue in Stratford schools.

Several Connecticut communities are training parents to take more active roles in the success of their districts. Parents Supporting Educational Excellence encourages parents to learn about how their districts work and to get involved to help solve problems.

Platforms and apps that provide parents direct communication and unfiltered access to grades, schedules, school news and emergency announcements offer better access than ever before.

Packaged items, crackers, milk, fruits and vegetables are among the items most often donated by schools.

A widespread belief that it’s illegal to give away extra or uneaten school food no longer has any basis in reality. The federal Good Samaritan Act allows schools to donate crackers, milk, fruits, vegetables and other items that would otherwise go to waste.

The Technology for Education Consortium found that the cost for the same iPad can vary, depending on the district.

The education technology market might have become easier for district leaders to navigate, thanks in part to a new nonprofit group, Technology for Education Consortium. Leaders can share their spending limits on certain tech devices, and the consortium produces reports about pricing around the country.

The opt-out movement shows no signs of slowing in the midst of this year’s spring testing season. An estimated two-thirds to three-quarters of a million students could chose not to take state standardized tests this school year.

Guthrie Virtual School provides state-mandated Spanish instruction to about a half-dozen remote Texas towns that couldn’t afford to hire a full-time certified teacher.

  • The Duval County School Board reconceived six schools to focus on early learning, autism, arts, military leadership and advanced studies.

Last summer, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti spearheaded the program and boundary changes to improve low performance and offer stronger educational options to attract students back to traditional public schools.

Forced to make grade reconfigurations, Island Trees School District in New York created Michael Stokes Elementary School, for grades 2 through 4, above, out of a K4 elementary school building to save money and to use staff more efficiently.

School leaders nationwide are exploring innovative group-level groupings and thinking beyond the typical K5 elementary school, grades 6 through 8 middle school and grades 9 through 12 high school model to figure out how to continue to deliver appropriate education with fewer funds.

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.