To help our readers navigate the coming year in K12 education, District Administration proudly presents its first-ever Year Ahead edition. In-depth stories on the major trends reshaping classrooms this year feature insights on technology, instruction, administration and assessments. Educators and experts also weigh in on how districts can find funding to support initiatives in all these areas.
Massachusetts has led the nation with the top National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores for the fifth consecutive time on fourth- and eighth-grade reading and mathematics assessments.
While we realize that unknown variables are part of the equation, it was this statistical preeminence that led us to send a team from Somerville Public Schools in New Jersey to the Northbridge School District in Massachusetts to investigate instructional practices.
You could say it’s understandable that Kent Scribner’s hobby is working on a 1985 black El Camino. Refurbishing a car takes patience, dedication and an eye for potential. Those are the same qualities this superintendent has been bringing to the Phoenix Union High School District in Arizona since taking over in 2008.
Lawrence Public Schools is the first district in Kansas to adopt federal sex education standards that go beyond what’s required by the state.
Kansas requires all schools to teach some form of human sexuality and HIV awareness, but doesn’t stipulate a curriculum. The Lawrence school board voted last year to adopt the national standards, which provide a more detailed framework for age-appropriate sex education in K12, says Vanessa Sanburn, vice president of the school board.
In an age of assessments, every school today knows how it is performing and understands the stakes of failing to meet expectations. Yet vast numbers of schools across the nation have been unable to improve, despite the threats of sanctions or outright closure.
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were finalized in April 2013 after a lengthy research and development process by the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Achieve and a group of 26 states. Not a set of curricula, the NGSS serves to provide teachers with guidelines for teaching practical, more in-depth science.
Fueled by a growing consensus that students need post-secondary degrees to compete in the world economy, participation in the 58-year-old Advanced Placement program, once reserved for a small band of elite achievers, has doubled in size over the past decade. The much smaller International Baccalaureate program has also grown steadily.
The rollout of the Common Core State Standards in classrooms nationwide this school year has been “bumpy” as states struggle to provide professional development for teachers, align curricular materials and create assessments that adequately measure the standards, according to a February Fordham Institute report.
M. Night Shyamalan, best known for writing and directing such films as The Sixth Sense and The Village, recently took on the role of education researcher, trying to discover the “secret recipe” to successful education in the United States.
The Common Core State Standards assessments will be implemented in the 2014-2015 school year. To prepare, district technology leaders need to look at their networks and systems. Changes may need to be made to handle the challenges of online assessments. This web seminar, originally broadcast on August 8, 2013, featured district and PARCC speakers who discussed the format of the assessments, the technology requirements necessary to deploy the assessments, and the challenges in preparing your networks.
The suburban Pewaukee School District in Wisconsin has won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the highest presidential honor given to U.S. organizations for high performance. It is the seventh public school district to earn the award for using results-driven business tactics to raise student achievement.
The results of the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) were “encouraging but modest,” according to Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Eighth graders made small gains in reading and mathematics, while fourth graders improved slightly in math but not reading.