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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. 

Ultimately, the answer to delivering school bandwidth might require a radical rethink in which districts scrap expensive IT infrastructure in favor of pure wireless connections.

Source: The Broadband Imperative II: Equitable Access for Learning, SEDTA (DAmag.me/bbd)

Educators and students, of course, increasingly rely on the internet for everything from online curriculum and research to playing edu-games and posting grades.

Paul Tough offers practical steps that adults can take to improve students’ chances for a positive future in his book Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why (2016, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

In his previous book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character, journalist Paul Tough looked at how non-cognitive personal qualities like perseverance, self-control and conscientiousness play a critical role in children’s success.

Years ago, educators at Fremont Middle School in Illinois provided students with engaging projects. But not until the 2015-16 school year did teachers have designated areas where students could work on assignments comfortably or have access to digital technology. 

The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), which helps schools find resources to teach the subject, is among several organizations campaigning for state bills that would mandate media literacy instruction in public schools. 

“The goal is not to create cynical people who don’t trust anything—it’s about creating informed skeptics,” says Michelle Ciulla Lipkin, NAMLE’s executive director. “The core is prompting learners of all ages to think critically and immediately ask, ‘Oh, how do you know that’s true?'”

Allowing students to explore news articles that spark their curiosity can provide a bigger literacy boost than having them read nonfiction texts about random topics far removed from a youngster’s interests. 

Students work on creative team projects with a focus on project-based learning.

Going from rhetoric to reality in the era of outcomes.

The forensic biotechnology pathway at James C. Enochs High School in Modesto City Schools, California, incorporates the science behind the popular CSI TV show to excite students about a career in the science behind criminal investigations. 

Vincent Matthews, the new superintendent of San Francisco USD, previously served as state-appointed superintendent of Inglewood USD, as superintendent of San Jose USD and Oakland USD, and as area superintendent for San Diego City Schools.

Vincent Matthews has been named superintendent of San Francisco USD.

WELCOME RESPITE—Wellness centers at Gunn High School, left, and Palo Alto High School, right, are designed to stem the number of teenage suicides in the U.S. The centers work to teach students certain skills to help cope with stress and personal problems.

There’s a new tool in the battle against student depression, anxiety and suicide—the in-school wellness center.

Look for role models. Districts should find preschools that are already teaching STEM, consider what elements make it a strong program, and think about ways they could modify instruction for their own classrooms, says Phil Hampton, network director of VC STEM, an alliance of organizations working to enhance STEM instruction for students of all ages.

PRESCHOOL AND PINE CONES—A preschool student at Hopkins Public Schools, above, is already learning how to inspect a pine cone with a magnifying glass as part of a lesson in STEM subjects.

Preschool math performance predicts future academic achievement more consistently than reading or attention skills, according to new research from New America and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.

Jason R. Olsen is communications officer for the Salt Lake City School District.

While the news media environment has changed, our goal as communications professionals hasn’t—create a simple, accurate and relevant message for quick delivery to parents, employees, students and community.

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