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The study of extremists: The new FBI website, “Don’t be a Puppet,” above, works almost like a video game, giving certain facts about extremism. Some education groups fear it might have unintended consequences.

The FBI is trying to prevent American youths from joining violent extremist groups—but some K12 groups worry it might unknowingly exacerbate bullying and bigotry in classrooms.

Young refugees who have fled foreign war zones, religious violence and dire poverty represent some of the country’s most “at-risk” students. In one New York district, for instance, refugee students who recently heard alarms during a fire drill worried the school was being bombed.

A law sponsored by Illinois state Sen. Julie Morrison should help students respond properly when pulled over by police.

State Sen. Julie Morrison of Illinois sponsored a law requiring students in all driver’s ed classes to receive instruction on how to interact with a police officer during a traffic stop. The goal is to teach them how to respond properly when pulled over, and help them avoid panicking or doing anything that might escalate a situation.

I am not a big advocate of movies. I tend to think of them as a 100 plus minute escape from reality. Moreover, movies tend to condition some minds for the oddness that will likely occur in the future. Despite my general disdain of movies, I was recently compelled to watch in its entirety, Bennett Miller/Brad Pitt’s Moneyball (2011)—a noteworthy take on the effects of analytics in Major League Baseball(MLB).

In less than a generation, schools have entered a complex new world of security concerns.  They have gone from a focus on fire drills to “hardening” against intruders to deter the rising threat of shootings and copycat violence across the nation.

With 74 school shootings since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, money is being thrown at the problem.  An estimated $4.9 billion will be spent on security systems by 2017.  Yet our schools cannot become prisons despite the threat of violence, and the money can be easily wasted if used ineffectively.

NYC Men Teach aims to add 1,000 black, Latino and Asian men to the city’s teaching rosters by 2018. (Photo: Gettyimages.com/digital vision)

Research suggests a diverse teaching force can improve students’ learning experiences. That’s the goal of a three-year, $16 million program called NYC Men Teach, designed to add 1,000 black, Latino and Asian men to the city’s teaching rosters by 2018.

Superintendent Genevra Walters has brought a new philosophy for elementary education to Kankakee School District in Illinois.

Superintendent Genevra Walters introduced a new philosophy for elementary education at Kankakee School District in Illinois. Her model calls for a focus on college and career prep from a young ages—students do a minimum of four hands-on, career-oriented projects per year that are based on a specific career strand.

 Cindy Elsberry is the former superintendent of Horry County Schools in South Carolina. The diverse, high-poverty district won national acclaim for its digital transformation under her leadership and was rated as one of the state’s highest-performing districts.

As one of today’s most promising models for instruction, blended learning is growing rapidly across the country. But what really is blended learning, and how can educators use it to improve student outcomes?

This past summer, a number of districts broke ground and got to work . (Photo: Gettyimages.com/martin barraud)

Districts and government agencies spend nearly $50 billion every year on school construction projects across the U.S.

This past summer, a number of districts broke ground and got to work while many others, with their projects still in the planning phase, approved funds for new buildings, upgrades and repairs.

In the 2013-14 school year, there were more than 1.3 million homeless students, a 7 percent increase from the previous year and more than double the number in 2006-07. While that number is troubling, researchers believe it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Click to enlarge: Facebook is the most popular platform among teachers while school and district administrators prefer Twitter. (Source: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company)

Deeper family engagement and PD are among the top priorities for educators, according to the second annual Educator Confidence Report from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Fifty-eight percent of the more than 1,000 educators surveyed desire more parent and family engagement while 84 percent spend their own money on professional learning opportunities.

The Lafayette Parish School System was granted E-Rate funds to fully upgrade the district and to provide 1-to-1 devices to students by 2020.

E-Rate funds kept at least one district connected to the internet through testing—and opened the door for a 1-to-1 initiative rolling out this fall.

The Lafayette Parish School System in Louisiana used to restrict internet access, only granting certain streaming websites to teachers by request. For example, music teachers would be the only ones with access to streaming music—locking out others in the district. And during state testing, schools would disable streaming to ensure exams were not affected.

Measuring movement: The Polar GoFit Ecosystem includes a wristband or chest-based heart rate monitor and fitness assessment software to measure a student’s physical intensity and exertion.

Digitizing education content and learning processes has changed the way students learn and interact during classroom sessions, according to Technavio’s report, “Classroom Wearables Technology Market in the U.S. 2016-2020.”

So classrooms emphasize collaborative learning and visual learning, says Technavio analyst Jhansi Mary J.

Using wearable technology will significantly increase student engagement levels and improve content absorption abilities, says Jhansi Mary J.

A middle school student at Tustin USD in California uses an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. The devices have been used in a pilot project at an elementary school and tested at a high school.

As smartwatches, wristbands, headsets and other wearable products become more sophisticated, expect to see classroom networks of these “ultramobile” devices interacting with each other and enabling students and teachers to share digital information as never before.

Teacher and employee engagement has been found to be a crucial component in the success of a school district, by positively impacting student achievement, improving employee retention and reducing turnover. But recent surveys have found that a large percentage of teachers report that they are not emotionally connected with their workplaces, and they were the least likely of all professionals surveyed to say that they felt their opinions mattered or to describe their workplace as an open and trusting environment.
How can district leaders address this common challenge?

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