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Articles: Standards

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.

KANSAS CITY, Kansas—Superintendent Cynthia Lane learned the cello a few years ago, but not to fulfill some lifelong dream of soloing with the local symphony. The leader of Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools now performs alongside fourth- and fifth-graders in their annual spring strings concert.

24/7/365?—Some students at Palm Springs USD, above, can take advantage of programs that run before and after school, Saturdays and during the winter and summer breaks to develop a better grasp of the English language and to learn even more about art, dance and science.

Palm Springs USD helps English language learners find success with an extended instructional program that allows students to practice their English skills before or after school, on Saturdays and during breaks.

Across the country, youngsters in all grades are connecting with senior citizens on projects that transcend community outreach to provide students with true curricular value.

Despite the challenges of making all school learning materials accessible to students, district technology leaders should be as proactive as possible. (GettyImages.com: KOHB)

Districts must provide learning materials that are accessible to all students. The consequences of failing to do so can be significant.

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.

The challenge of finding curriculum materials in languages other than English is especially complex for districts embracing a growing trend: dual-language immersion programs, in which native English speakers join English language learners in studying academic subjects in two languages.

Across the country, for reasons both political and practical, even districts with substantial numbers of students who don’t yet know English seldom rely on native-language curricular materials.

Power in Numbers will teach principals how to design collaborative team-building projects and effective ways to analyze student learning in schools with their staff.

This guide helps principals improve instruction by strengthening their coaching techniques to mold teachers and staff into team-oriented leaders.

Stacey McNinch-Curschman, the secondary curriculum director for Visalia USD in California, knew that as her district was ramping up its training efforts around Common Core standards for mathematics in 2013, as well as its own district-level curriculum changes, both administrators and teachers would need to be continually learning and improving themselves.

“If we work effectively as adults and we’re continually learning and continually improving, that’s going to net better results for kids,” says McNinch-Curschman, whose district has more than 27,000 students.

Teachers at Calusa Elementary School in Boca Raton, Florida, are committed to making sure students meet rigorous state standards. Nevertheless, Calusa, which serves about 1,200 students in grades K5, was still struggling to monitor state standards. 

Champaign Unit 4 School District in Illinois wanted to give its teachers a very clear pathway to evolve their math instruction to meet rigorous, Common Core state standards. 

District leaders were very happy with earlier results from McGraw-Hill’s Everyday Mathematics and saw Everyday Mathematics 4, its latest iteration, as an enticing solution, especially in teaching the Common Core state standards, according to Susan Zola, assistant superintendent for achievement, curriculum and instruction. 

Journalism classes at Junction City High School in Kansas—100 miles west of Kansas City—use the short-lived social media app Snapchat to learn long-lived lessons of storytelling.

Education Commission of the States: The state of cursive writing education in the U.S.

Is cursive writing doomed to become a long-lost art? Not if some educators have anything to say about it. After decades of remaining a main component of elementary education, cursive is up for debate under the Common Core standards. 

Fifteen outdoor field trip days are built into the academic year at Plumas USD school district.

Plumas USD, a rural district tucked away in the rugged terrain of northeastern California, uses its own backyard for its “Outdoor Core” K12 curriculum.

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