The issue of fake news drew national attention during the 2016 presidential campaign, when fabricated stories were widely accepted as genuine. According to recent research, the problem extends to K12 classrooms, where students have trouble judging the credibility of online information.
When Christopher Marczak joined Maury County Public Schools in Tennessee as superintendent in fall 2015, he quickly realized that while every school in his district of 12,000 students was doing the best job possible, each had a vastly different approach to teaching literacy.
Inquiry-based learning means asking questions that demand students use evidence from the text to support their thinking. It means challenging students to respond to the differing ideas of their classmates. And it means pushing students to further their own thinking.
Many students at Oxnard Elementary School District in Southern California have a dual challenge in gaining reading proficiency. Not only do they struggle with developing literacy skills, but over 56 percent of Oxnard’s 17,000 pre-k through 8 students are learning English as a second language.
To help these students overcome their literacy deficiency, in 2014 leaders at Oxnard turned to the 1-to-1 devices purchased the year prior.
Many districts teach formal keyboarding instruction as early as second grade—a shift that requires new approaches to a skill that was once taught only in high school. Today's software feature gamification, captivating graphics and extensive reporting components.
At Napa Valley USD in northern California, classroom technology integration has been a priority since 1997, when the district opened the country’s first New Technology High School. So bringing in digital books in order to provide easily accessible content to the 18,000 students and faculty in 34 schools was a natural—and important—step.
Future Ready Librarians expands concepts of literacy—from books to tech to STEM. The initiative also drives the nationwide transformation of libraries, as librarians take the lead in creating makerspaces in their districts.
Literacy changes taking hold in schools recognize the subject’s expansion from traditional textbooks to online readings, images and audio. New learning standards ask students to read more closely and write more analytically, meaning teachers must adapt curriculum to get students reading earlier.
Increasing the use of digital library content was one of the goals outlined in the North East Independent School District’s (ISD) instructional improvement plan starting in the 2013-14 school year. The San Antonio district, which enrolls 68,000 students, had many eBooks and digital audiobooks, but most students were simply not using the content.
“It is hard to provide everything students could want in one print collection,” says Faye Hagerty, director of library services. “But online collections allow us to provide far more options.”
A wealth of choices. Accessible at home or at school. Both fiction and nonfiction options. Those were the qualifications for new ELA software for the 37,000 students of West Ada School District in western Idaho.
“We had other instructional reading tools, but they were very expensive and did not provide content at the time,” says Laura Gilchrist, ELA curriculum coordinator.
By all accounts, Marysville School District in Michigan is a high-success, high-performance district. While the average state graduation rate hovers at about 78 percent, Marysville graduates 95 percent of its students. It’s a point of pride that students exit Marysville—a suburban community located 55 miles northeast of Detroit—prepared to meet the rigorous demands of higher education.