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Articles: Professional Development

Susan German advises new K12 teachers to create a network of colleagues at the NSTA conference.

Susan German, a science teacher at Hallsville Middle School in Columbia, Missouri. German, named the NSTA’s distinguished teacher in 2011, teaches eighth-grade science. During her 20-year career, German has taught science and math in grades 6 through 12. We asked her for words of wisdom.

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.

Los Angeles USD and the New York City Department of Education both received electronic bomb threats on December 15, 2015. LAUSD called off school. New York students remained in class. Which district made the right call?

Serving Students Who Are Homeless is one of the four books on education DA promotes in this month's Noteworthy Books feature.

DA promotes four books about serving homeless students, inspiring disengaged kids, improving communication skills and studying personalized learning in K12.

Jon Saphier says policy-makers could create regulations that positively affect the levers of influence on what teachers do, such as teacher education and teacher certification.

As founder of Research for Better Teaching— an organization dedicated to improving instruction and leadership— Jon Saphier says underperforming students need to believe that “smart is something you can get.”

Ross Kasun is superintendent of Freehold Township Schools in New Jersey. Pamela Haimer is assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

As a leader in a school system today, it can be difficult to make the choice to move forward with a districtwide change, knowing that the team around you may not fully endorse your decision.

"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.

Principal at Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brooklyn, New York, Nadia Lopez, uses innovative methods to help students become more successful and help K12 instructors teach more effectively.

Principal at Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brooklyn, New York, Nadia Lopez, uses innovative methods to help students become more successful and help K12 instructors teach more effectively. 

Albemarle County, Virginia—A snake bit Pam Moran in front of her class on her first day of teaching 40 years ago. Moran, now a superintendent in Virginia, had no one to blame but herself on that fateful day in 1975.

Autumn Blanchard, director of marketing and communications, says it’s not a question of will when tackling tough equity issues for district leaders in education. It’s a matter of capacity, support, and the time and space to strategize.

School district leaders in the southern United States looking to tackle equity challenges have some help on the way.

Jody Spiro, Wallace Foundation’s director of education leadership, says the “Principal Pipeline” program allowed six districts to replace their retiring principals and assistant principals with graduates of high-quality training programs.

Jody Spiro, the Wallace Foundation’s director of education leadership, talks about how the “Principal Pipeline” program identifies and develops qualified educators to take on the rigors of becoming a principal.

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.
Lisa Gonzales is interim superintendent in the Lakeside Joint School District. Charles Young is superintendent in the Benicia USD.

The definition of an effective teacher remains in flux, and the evaluation process has morphed into numerous different assessments and observations. Fortunately, with the advent of new technologies, opportunities abound to broaden the evaluation process and to truly focus on teacher growth.

In Monroe County School District in Mississippi, the superintendent is elected. But the board, above, has a working document in place, which means whoever is elected immediately becomes familiar with the district’s past work and future direction—and is ready to lead.

In many school districts today, hiring practices for administrative leaders often consist of “replacement filling”—or, waiting for a position to open up before searching for candidates. But a successful succession often requires more proactive planning.

Serious shortages in math, science and special education teachers have been reported in more than 40 states, and more than 30 states are seeing serious shortages for ELL teachers. The biggest shortages are in schools that serve low-income and minority students.

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