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Articles: Assessment

Across the country, for reasons both political and practical, even districts with substantial numbers of students who don’t yet know English seldom rely on native-language curricular materials.

Power in Numbers will teach principals how to design collaborative team-building projects and effective ways to analyze student learning in schools with their staff.

This guide helps principals improve instruction by strengthening their coaching techniques to mold teachers and staff into team-oriented leaders.

Stacey McNinch-Curschman, the secondary curriculum director for Visalia USD in California, knew that as her district was ramping up its training efforts around Common Core standards for mathematics in 2013, as well as its own district-level curriculum changes, both administrators and teachers would need to be continually learning and improving themselves.

“If we work effectively as adults and we’re continually learning and continually improving, that’s going to net better results for kids,” says McNinch-Curschman, whose district has more than 27,000 students.

Teachers at Calusa Elementary School in Boca Raton, Florida, are committed to making sure students meet rigorous state standards. Nevertheless, Calusa, which serves about 1,200 students in grades K5, was still struggling to monitor state standards. 

Champaign Unit 4 School District in Illinois wanted to give its teachers a very clear pathway to evolve their math instruction to meet rigorous, Common Core state standards. 

District leaders were very happy with earlier results from McGraw-Hill’s Everyday Mathematics and saw Everyday Mathematics 4, its latest iteration, as an enticing solution, especially in teaching the Common Core state standards, according to Susan Zola, assistant superintendent for achievement, curriculum and instruction. 

Journalism classes at Junction City High School in Kansas—100 miles west of Kansas City—use the short-lived social media app Snapchat to learn long-lived lessons of storytelling.

Tina Weaver is director of teaching and learning for Madison County Public Schools in Virginia.

Seeking alternatives to expensive professional development that takes teachers out of their classrooms and requires substitutes, Madison County Public Schools in Virginia developed a solution.

Education Commission of the States: The state of cursive writing education in the U.S.

Is cursive writing doomed to become a long-lost art? Not if some educators have anything to say about it. After decades of remaining a main component of elementary education, cursive is up for debate under the Common Core standards. 

WIDER WORLDVIEWS—At Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies in Washington, students Skype with their partner class in Brazil as part of UNESCO International’s Youth Virtual Town Hall on Global Citizenship. They worked on projects focused on sustainability, human rights and other topics.

In rural eastern Kentucky, teacher Jill Armstrong connects her high school students not just with towering historical figures, but also with real-live teens from schools on the other side of the world.

Learning social skills such as sharing and teamwork in preschool has become all the more critical as kindergarten has become more rigorous and focused on academic assessments, says Jenifer Cline, student services coordinator in Great Falls Public Schools in Montana.

Fifteen outdoor field trip days are built into the academic year at Plumas USD school district.

Plumas USD, a rural district tucked away in the rugged terrain of northeastern California, uses its own backyard for its “Outdoor Core” K12 curriculum.

ACTION—Students at New Rochelle High School in Westchester County, New York, write and shoot their interpretations of classic literature as part of English curriculum.

At New Rochelle High School, about 20 miles north of New York City, students use smartphones and tablets to create short movies based on classic works of literature.

Adrian Vega is the school superintendent of San Benito Consolidated ISD in Texas.

Adrian Vega, superintendent of San Benito Consolidated ISD in Texas, has implemented leadership prep academies that promote professional development among aspiring leaders in the district.

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.

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