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Articles: Professional Development

Thomas A. Wilson is superintendent of Anderson School District Five in South Carolina.

Some school leaders can get so ingrained in a position that they are blind to the external and internal factors that impact a school community, which is just as detrimental to a school as the revolving door mentality.

SHORTAGE SOLUTION?—The Vail School District in Arizona has taken advantage of a new state law that allows it to hire instructors who have expertise in certain fields but who don’t have traditional teaching credentials.

Fourteen teachers in Utah’s Ogden School District reached the classroom via a nontraditional, perhaps looser route.

As of January 2017, of the 46 states that originally adopted the Common Core, eight had officially repealed or withdrawn, and 17 had not yet made any changes.(Gettyimages.com: gjohnstonphoto).

In September, New York’s Board of Regents voted to revise the standards and drop the Common Core name in favor of “Next Generation Learning Standards.”

Linda Cliatt-Wayman was assistant superintendent for all the high schools in Philadelphia before taking the role of principal at the notorious Strawberry Mansion High School.

As the principal who changed two low-performing and violent Philadelphia high schools into safe spaces focused on learning, Linda Cliatt-Wayman developed a program of high expectations.

Digital library content spans fiction, nonfiction, test prep, professional development materials and more.

Overdrive’s catalog has 4 million ebooks, audiobooks and videos, and is used by 17,000 schools worldwide, says David Burleigh, the company’s director of brand.

Schools pick which titles they want access to, how many copies they want and for how long to lend them. Groups of schools can sign up together to share access.

Building a school’s music instruction around more recent artists and hits offers an alternative to a curriculum that’s often based on classical, jazz and marching bands.

Judy Zimny, Ed.D., is the vice president of the National Institute for STEM Education (http://nise.institute), which offers certification programs in STEM best practices and pedagogy for both teachers and campuses.

I came up with 10 questions that busy administrators might ask to help them quickly and confidently make decisions about STEM ideas that deserve an additional look.

Teachers today have more control over how and when they receive professional development.

The percentage of Arkansas high school graduates who have taken an AP exam is nearly 50 percent. (Gettyimages.com: baona).

Requiring high schools to offer at least one AP course would help increase rural student access to rigorous pre-college work, according to a recent report.

Here are five strategies that school administrators are adopting to support the rising demand for special education.

When Deer Creek School District in Edmond, Oklahoma, was asked to participate in a pilot program for Marzano High Reliability Schools, there was an immediate buy-in from Grove Valley Elementary School principal Kelly McCoy.

“We were very excited to see what it could do and if it could make an impact at our school,” McCoy says.

Deer Creek assistant superintendent Diana Jones saw the Marzano HRS model as a way to support student achievement and teacher growth.

GUIDING LIGHT—Principal Marc Martin greets students at Commodore John Rodgers School, a K8 building in Baltimore. Educators at the school, which has achieved a dramatic turnaround in performance, are now mentoring their counterparts at three of the city’s most troubled schools.

Three chronically underperforming Baltimore City Public Schools are now getting intensive, hands-on guidance from educators at a fourth district school that has achieved a dramatic turnaround.

Fatme Faraj is director of School Improvement/Leadership Coaching for ​Dearborn Public Schools. Glenn M. Maleyko is superintendent of Dearborn Public Schools.

Evidence-based best practice is a hot topic in education, especially in regard to the proposed ESSA accountability system.

Districts have several options when introducing a badging program.

For students, the process tends to be more intricate because these badges, often awarded for soft skills and career-preparation activities, contain metadata that details what students did to earn the badges. Such higher-tech “open badges” can be shared on social media and live on an online platform such as Credly, Mozilla or Badgr.

Districts are advised to go through the graphic design process to create high-quality badges that drive engagement—rather than using stock art.

A growing number of districts now award digital badges to students who demonstrate creativity and critical thinking, and even for noteworthy experiences in after-school programs.

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