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These district solutions serve as models for other districts, and cover the K12 spectrum, from English language learners to dropout prevention to data-driven decision-making to water conservation.

The 45 schools and systems recognized by this year’s District of Distinction program have created homegrown initiatives to support students’ social-emotional development, to provide powerful new opportunities for career-focused STEM learning and to improve the skills of educators.

ALTERNATE ROUTES—Students in a growing number of cities travel to class and other school activities via services such as Hop, Skip, Drive. The company hires parents and other caregivers as drivers.

The K12 transportation landscape is getting increasingly complex, as districts wrestle with issues ranging from school choice and questions of equity to how to subsidize mass transit for urban students.

Longtime educator Michael Niehoff writes on transformational leadership and professional development.

Here, a few superintendents elaborate on the advantages of blogging.

What personal information is appropriate for teachers to share with their students? (Gettyimages.com: a-digit).

In fall 2017, an elementary school art teacher in Mansfield ISD in Arlington, Texas, introduced herself to her fourth-grade students with a slide show about her life. It included a photo of her partner, who the teacher presented as her future wife.

AND YOU GET A CAR!—Madison Wilson, a 2017 graduate of West Creek High School, was excited to realize she was the winner of the AP Pass and Go! car last summer. Given the choice of three different models, she drove away in a Toyota Yaris. ( Brittany Persun, CMCSS).

Students at Clarksville-Montgomery County School System can win a brand-new Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent or Kia Rio—or other prizes, such as gift cards—if they score a 3 or higher on exams.

Districts and community organizations now provide transportation, meals, summer lessons and family activities to prepare children for kindergarten reading.

Trish Rubin, former educator and now marketing consultant, wrote BrandED: Tell Your Story, Build Relationships and Empower Learning. Follow her at @trishrubin.

The “4 C’s” smart model is a tool for school brand builders who are on the path to “telling, not selling.”

FINDING THEIR VOICES—Students from the New Haven Urban Debate League in Connecticut are among those across the nation who have been learning the speaking and presentation skills necessary for productive public engagement.

A number of schools nationwide are committed to teaching skills coaches say will last a lifetime, including how to maintain eye contact and ask meaningful questions.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy / Source: Orlando Utilities Commission

Faced with tight budgets and the expanding use of electricity-hungry technology, districts are turning to energy efficiency solutions that don’t sacrifice learning power.

Michael Lauro is associate executive director of the Atlantis Charter School.

There is a disconnect between what students know when they leave high school and what they are expected to know when they enter college and the workplace. So, how do you prevent this disconnect?

Finding innovative ways to make math matter to students is key to improving competency in all grades.

A new organization called Stop Sexual Assault in Schools has launched the #MeTooK12 hashtag to raise awareness about sexual assault and harassment. (Gettyimages.com: jaouad.k).

In Oakland USD, girls who were chronically absent and suspended frequently told researchers in a 2015 study that sexual assault and harassment were among the biggest barriers for them at school.

HANDS-ON LEARNING—The Mandell Academy at the Connecticut Science Center provides opportunities for local teachers to experiment with science in a student-free environment.

Many science centers and museums offer STEM-related PD, and want to partner with districts to develop programs that align with school curriculum and Next Generation Science Standards.

Only a handful of superintendents have launched a brand-new district. Even fewer have done it only months after being involved in a large-scale merger. Meet David Stephens, superintendent of Bartlett City Schools.

With districts facing a shortage of bilingual teachers, paraprofessionals present a rich source of candidates.

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