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Articles: Guidance

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.

Managing leadership transitions is an organizational process with many moving parts, such as mentoring new leaders and engaging new employees throughout recruitment and onboarding.

At Hamilton Southeastern School District, Michael Beresford is assistant superintendent of staff and student services and Brooke Lawson is district mental health coordinator.

District Mental Health Coordinator Brooke Lawson and Assistant Superintendent of Staff and Student Services Michael Beresford discuss the challenges of addressing mental health issues.

Applications are due at the end of each school year. Schools should have at least 300 students who can participate in experiments.

Projects can be combined and shared across more than one district.

If accepted, they must devise a designated amount of money to fund the project through a fundraiser and/or grants.

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.

Chris Wolk is the principal at Avon Center School in Round Lake Beach, Illinois. He is a regional director for the Illinois Principal Association and a certified principal mentor with the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

Principal preparation programs continue to place more demands on candidates, in some cases requiring a yearlong internship. 

Alex Fertig is a psychologist for the Parsippany Troy Hills School District in New Jersey. He can be reached at afertig@pthsd.net. Ray W. Christner is a psychologist with Cognitive Health Solutions.

Our goal with this column is not to imply that school administrators should take on the role of mental health professionals, but instead it is to impart information on strategies, based on the principles of cognitive behavior therapy, or CBT. 

OPEN PRESS—Students who write news stories at Kirkwood High School have freedom. Writing without needing administrator approval on stories teaches the full scope of the First Amendment, the principal says.

Neither Principal Mike Havener nor any of his administrators preview stories the students at Kirkwood High School produce for their TV broadcast, or for The Kirkwood Call newspaper or its website.

Elementary and middle school students in Bridgeport, Connecticut, dabble in architecture, play music and learn about fashion design with well-known artists and professionals as part of the national Turnaround Arts program.

More and more districts are looking for ways to keep children of incarcerated parents from falling behind in class or winding up in the discipline pipeline.

NO MORE GPA IN EDUCATION—Graduates at Millard South High School in Omaha, Nebraska will no longer be ranked based on GPA in coming years. Administrators hope this will result in students focusing more on content and skills, rather than grades.

Millard Public Schools near Omaha, Nebraska, will switch to a college-like ranking system that designates graduates as magna cum laude, summa cum laude and cum laude.

"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.

Students from Minford High School in Ohio visit with therapy dog Bella after a fellow student was killed.

Here are some tips from Jen VonLintel, of School Therapy Dogs: 

Find studies that show benefits. A binder of research and examples of dogs working in schools can be key to gaining the support of top administrators and/or the school board. Include insurance documents, training data, vet certificates and reports on progress made by students who have worked with therapy dogs.   

In the mountains of western North Carolina, administrators in Buncombe County Schools have seen a steady rise in the number of its 25,500 students who are homeless, food-insecure and involved in domestic violence.

Pomona USD in California has raised its graduation rate to 88 percent. The turnaround began when Pomona formed partnerships with several community organizations and nearby colleges.

No matter how cutting-edge the technology or advanced the curriculum, students have a hard time mastering essays and equations if they’re hungry, traumatized or feeling marginalized by a textbook’s inaccurate portrayal of their ethnic group.

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