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Joseph Davis is currently the superintendent of Washington County Schools in rural Plymouth, North Carolina.

Joseph Davis was named superintendent of the Ferguson-Florissant School District in Missouri in February. He is currently the superintendent of Washington County Schools in rural Plymouth, North Carolina.

Davis will be the second African-American superintendent in Ferguson-Florissant, which came into the national spotlight after the shooting of teenager Michael Brown. The district is in danger of losing its state accreditation for the next academic year due to low test scores.

Princeton City Schools in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area has the fifth-largest complex in the state, a 555,000-square-foot education center housing a middle school, high school and community center that will be complete this year.

The superintendent and school board created a plan in 2009 to secure funding for the unprecedented project in the district. The $130 million construction cost was paid for through a bond levy, government programs and Ohio’s HB 264 Energy Conservation Program.

Funding for preschools increased 12 percent in the 2014-15 school year.

For the third year in a row, policymakers are making significant investments in state-funded preschool programs. Nationwide, state funding for preschool increased by $672 million this year, to a total of $6.3 billion.

Ohio Department of Public Safety Director John Born created a 24/7 tipline that allows students to report potential threats.

Ohio Department of Public Safety Director John Born helped create a statewide anonymous tip line for schools that allows students to identify potential threats, such as a student planning to bring a weapon to school. It is now used in more than 820 districts.

Brian Woods, superintendent of Northside ISD in San Antonio, serves on a regional truancy committee. His district hit a record 96 percent attendanc last school year.

District leaders across the country are broadening and personalizing their approaches to attendance because the old way of sending truants and their families to court often fails to bring students back to school.

New teachers in the first semester at the Wright City School District near St. Louis spend one day every month in PD. Teachers learn about assessment, teaching strategies and classroom management.

Teacher quality is crucial to the success of schooling, yet the teacher-hiring process is sometimes rushed and ad hoc. A late-summer flurry of activity in which subjective factors—from where a candidate went to high school to how many resumes an exhausted principal has already reviewed—can weigh as heavily as meaningful evidence of academic achievement or instructional effectiveness.

Psychologists from Boston Public Schools participate in PD events as part of the district’s Comprehensive Behavioral Health Model.

In many schools, psychologists have time for little more than assessing students. That prevents them from using their range of skills in counseling, data analysis and preventing bullying, suicide and violence. 

Lakota Local School District in Ohio recently increased its communications staff to compete with private and parochial schools.

The era of school choice and open enrollment has driven many district leaders to create innovative programs and to more aggressively publicize their offerings to compete with charters and private schools that have drawn away families and funding.

Here, three districts turned the tide on enrollment with enhanced communication, construction and even recruitment initiatives.

Jasper County Public Schools was one of 36 rural, high-poverty districts to file a lawsuit against South Carolina, claiming that the state’s funding formula was unconstitutional.

After more than two decades, rural schools in South Carolina are tasting a sweet historic victory.

The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in November that the state funding formula denies many poor, rural students their right to an adequate education—21 years after several districts first filed the lawsuit.

Grand View Elementary School in California’s Manhattan Beach USD has cut its trash from 30 bags a day to two, reducing the number of garbage pickups and saving $4,700 a year.

One student generates about five pounds of waste in 180 days from simply drinking a carton of milk each day of the school year, according to the Carton Council, a national industry-sponsored recycling organization. Add in glue bottles, old test papers and leftover lunch, and it’s no wonder schools are looking for ways to reduce both the amount of waste filling trash bins and the money spent to have it hauled away.

An elementary school technician from York School District in Maine helps students record a weekly news broadcast —a job not often assumed by a support technician in the past.

Student-centered CIOs must now focus more on the user experience than on just keeping networks and machines functioning.

“To be successful you have to dedicate 80 percent of your resources toward the service side of IT, and 20 percent to keeping the boxes working,” says Jason Saltmarsh, an education technology consultant and former district technology director. In the past, before students were in charge of their own devices, the opposite was true.

Three quarters of respondents to a DA survey said funding for their district would increase or stay the same in 2015. (Click to enlarge graphic)

Navigating turbulent waters of uncertain budgets, district leaders have a great challenge: Answer the growing push for accountability and heightened community expectations in 2015.

Paula Love, the “Funding Doctor,” brings decades of experience to developing grant strategies for state and local educational agencies, schools and institutions.

Are you ready for another year of doing more with less?

This year, let’s flip this funding challenge into an approach that enables your school district to get a share of the shrinking financial resources. A key approach to winning grants is collaboration.

Why collaborate?

Collaboration is not new. We talk about it, we provide workshops on it and we practice it in our schools and classrooms.

Tigerton School District in Wisconsin has only 250 students, and has faced $800,000 in budget cuts over the past three years.

Funding cuts since the recession have drained the accounts of rural districts, which cannot rely on a resurgence in property tax revenues as heavily as urban school systems can.

Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson

Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson must review every proposed suspension of minority students to ensure equal treatment of all students. The policy, enacted in November, comes as the district approves a settlement with the U.S. Department of Education, which was investigating the district over its inconsistent suspension treatment for black students. The district is also reducing its police presence due to inconsistent policies in disciplinary matters.

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