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Articles: Evaluation

District leaders and experts weigh in on the four steps to having a successful intervention.

When Gary Brantley began his career as an IT leader 14 years ago, he primarily provided technical support and made sure the hardware was running. “It had everything to do with techy stuff,” he says.

BUILDING BONUS —Island Trees School District in New York saved about $500,000 a year after it reorganized a pair of K4 elementary schools into a K1 building and a school for grades 2 through 4.

Districts devote nearly 80 percent of their budgets to personnel costs—leaving little wiggle room for administrators tasked with maintaining fiscal responsibility and boosting the quality of education in a time of nearly stagnant funding.

Jennifer Abrams is a communications consultant and author of Having Hard Conversations, The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicate, Collaborate and Create Community. She can be found at jennifer@jenniferabrams.com and on Twitter @jenniferabrams.

Positive public relations experiences are critical to our survival as public entities and, unfortunately for many school leaders, we face an uphill climb. According to a June 2016 Gallup poll, only 30 percent of Americans feel “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in public schools, down from an equally disheartening 36 percent when the survey was administered a decade earlier.

Andre Spencer is the superintendent, Rupak Gandhi is the research, data, and accountability officer, and Laurie Eastup is the RDA Coordinator at Harrison School District Two in Colorado Springs.

In the 2010-11 school year, the Harrison School District Two in Colorado Springs began one of the most rigorous pay-for-performance plans in the nation: Called “Effectiveness and Results,” this overhaul of the human capital management system was a risk worth taking because the status quo failed to adequately serve 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.

The assessment that prospective principals must take to obtain an administrative license in 18 states may be a barrier to non-whites and urban educators, says a 2017 study.

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.

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.

On the first Friday of every school year, the new kindergartners of Utah’s Canyons School District look ahead to the future—far ahead. To mark Kindergarten College-Ready Day, the children make construction-paper mortar boards and march in mock graduation ceremonies.

States have to create education reporting systems during the 2016-17 school year, run pilots in the 2017-18 year, and begin implementing in the 2018-19 year. (GettyImages.com: DragonImages)

A new accountability and data collection system that the U.S. Department of Education proposed for teacher preparation programs last fall already faces challenges.

Diane Stark Rentner, the deputy director of Center on Education Policy, says teacher morale will improve if they have more say in the directions of their directions.

A new survey not only indicates that public school teachers are frustrated with shifting policies, but a majority are losing enthusiasm for the job. Moreover, nearly half say they would quit teaching now if they could find a higher-paying job.

A teacher at Howe Elementary School in Wisconsin, above, shows a student the steps of how to submit a digital artifact into his own e-portfolio. (Photo: Photo credit: Digital Student Portfolios, Matthew Renwick/Thinkstock.com: 123dartist)

Decades ago, portfolio assessment meant finding room for bulging binders stuffed with paper. But digital technologies that make it far easier to collect, curate, share and store student work have dismantled the physical barriers that once made portfolio assessment daunting.

High achievers did significantly better in reading while staying stagnant in math, according to the Nation’s Report Card. (Click to enlarge)

From 2013 to 2015, reading scores dipped from 288 to 287, out of 500 total. Math scores also went down a point, from 153 to 152, out of 300. The lowest-performing students showed the biggest drop.

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