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Articles: Professional Development

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.

Many states lack well-defined computer science standards; others don’t count computer science courses toward core graduation requirements. And in many districts, computer science courses aren’t reaching enough students.

Academic performance levels at Windsor Locks Middle School.

Five years ago, Windsor Locks Public Schools in northern Connecticut was designated an Alliance District, meaning it was one of the 30 lowest-performing academic districts in the state and needed help.

Jean Fleming brings over 25 years of experience in education to her role at the Northwest Evaluation Association, where she specializes in PD practices and instructional supports.

Building teacher capacity is the best way to make sure students grow. The research on this is unequivocal: No single school-based factor impacts student achievement more than the teacher.

In Districts of Distinction, honored districts from 23 states were chosen for the national recognition program for their innovative and unique twist on traditional programs.

From providing a range of innovative initiatives, including social-emotional learning programs to giving English language learners quality support, 54 school districts have been named among DA’s newest batch of Districts of Distinction this year.

Chicago is the first large urban district in the country to implement Learn.Plan.Succeed. (Gettyimages.com: miteemaus5).

Chicago Public Schools will require a new first-of-its-kind program to ensure all students leave high school with a post-graduation plan.

Marianna King is a sociologist and is the author of the forthcoming book, "School Violence – Crisis and Opportunity.” Her email address is marianna.king@csupueblo.edu.

The great majority of school violence prevention programs do not work. This is demonstrated by bullying continuing at unprecedented rates.

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