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Kathy Gomez is superintendent of Evergreen School District in San Jose, California.

One in 10 elementary school students who were “far off track” in reading and math in a 2012 study were able to meet on-track college readiness benchmarks by eighth grade.

Erich May is the principal at McConnellsburg Middle and High School in Central Fulton School District in south-central Pennsylvania.

There is a kind of professional development that we rarely see but that many of us in school leadership could use. Some would call it coaching or mentoring, but what I’m describing is more specific—individualized instruction in an alternative setting off campus.

More and more districts are looking for ways to keep children of incarcerated parents from falling behind in class or winding up in the discipline pipeline.

SCHOOLS SOURCE: Pew Research Center, "Overall Number of U.S. Immigrants Holds Steady Since 2009"

School districts in Los Angeles and other sanctuary cities are bracing for an impact from President Trump’s executive order to withhold federal support from sanctuary cities.

NO MORE GPA IN EDUCATION—Graduates at Millard South High School in Omaha, Nebraska will no longer be ranked based on GPA in coming years. Administrators hope this will result in students focusing more on content and skills, rather than grades.

Millard Public Schools near Omaha, Nebraska, will switch to a college-like ranking system that designates graduates as magna cum laude, summa cum laude and cum laude.

SMILE EVERY DAY—Magazine second-graders brush their teeth during a wellness center event that promotes healthy living for K12 and the community.

Some parents of students in Magazine, Arkansas, can’t afford the gas to drive their sick child 50 miles to the nearest doctor, says Brett Bunch, superintendent of the town’s school district.

Metro Nashville Public Schools has 25 data specialists and managers considering data. Even one person focused on data is a step forward. ( Alex Doubovitsky)

K12 education lags behind U.S. business and industry when it comes to using data to improve outcomes, says a 2016 report by the Center for Data Innovation.

EDUCATION—J. Francis Manning is district superintendent and CEO of Onondaga Cortland Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services in Syracuse, New York.

In 2013, the Onondaga Cortland Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services (OCM BOCES) brought hands-on learning to the next level by embedding some of its state-endorsed career and technical education (CTE) programs at local businesses.

"You can’t be afraid of what you don’t know or we’re never going to move forward in education, particularly when it comes to student voice." — Russell Quaglia

If you want to know what motivates students—and teachers and administrators, for that matter—Russell Quaglia says you have to go to the source.

School superintendency is a family business for the Prusators. Todd Prusator leads Community Consolidated School District 231 in a small community 70 miles west of Chicago. His two brothers, Bob and Jeff, also are Illinois superintendents, all within about 30 miles of each other in the northwest corner of the state. 

SEAT BELTS MAKE THEM SIT—New Hanover County Schools in North Carolina is adding seat belts to some buses as part of a state study. Ken Nance, transportation director, says just having students staying put in their seats reduces distractions to bus drivers, two of whom are pictured above.

More districts are adding seat belts to their bus fleets, following the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s 2015 recommendation that “every child on every school bus” needs a seat belt. 

Interest in virtual reality is becoming an increasing reality in public schools as ed-tech companies offer more cost-effective devices.

As we face a new year with a new president, Newsletter Editor Ariana Fine looked back on 2016 to consider the biggest and most influential stories in K12 education. 

Larry Plank is director of K-12 STEM education in Hillsborough County Public Schools (Fla.). Tomeka F. Thompson is the MSP program coordinator in Polk County Public Schools (Fla.).
High-quality instruction in science, math, engineering and technology requires both teaching expertise and content knowledge. Yet, at the elementary school level, many teachers haven’t had specialized education or training in science.
BoardPaq eases management of board of  education agendas and minutes at Ohio district

Prior to summer 2015, the process of putting board meeting agendas in the hands of the board members of Mohawk Local Schools in Sycamore, Ohio, was entirely manual. Administrative Secretary Jackie Messersmith would type up agendas and file them in large binders, which also held agendas and minutes from previous meetings. The binders were then hand-delivered to each board member.

Todd Whitlock, CEO  Standard For Success

It’s no secret teachers are jumping ship in record numbers, and the dwindling numbers of incoming grads don’t even come close to patching the gap as the demand for teachers rises. The Learning Policy Institute reported in 2016 that enrollment in teaching programs is down 35 percent nationwide (and has been for years), and the annual shortfall could grow to 112,000 teachers by 2018 if current trends persist.