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Tech time in schools.

Technology can be used to accelerate language development for ELLs, according to a recent study by Bernadette Musetti, associate professor of Liberal Studies at Loyola Marymount University.

HANDS-ON TECH—Students at Paulding County High School use high-tech equipment in peer-reviewed research projects as part of their biotech learning pathway.

In Georgia, students in Paulding County High School’s biotechnology career pathway program use atomic absorption spectrometers, lectroporators, nano-injectors, micro-manipulators and other advanced equipment.

For most school districts, internet filters are crucial for complying with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA), which requires restricting students from accessing inappropriate online content.

Filtering also allows districts to manage limited bandwidth.

Below are a list of internet filtering providers:


Link to main story: Digital gatekeepers for K12


Blocksi, blocksi.net

Steven Langford,  CIO, Beaverton School District (Ore.)

Here are five crucial decisions to make in developing best practices for the wide variety of internet filters—and your options for using them—in K12 schools.

Lisa Gonzales is president of the Association of California School Administrators and is assistant superintendent of educational services in Dublin USD.

In a world of round-the-clock distractions, being a mindful leader is a powerful tool. Mindfulness is simply the act of being consciously aware and of focusing on the present moment in a nonjudgmental way.

While innovations typically involve a high degree of novelty and a paradigm shift, tried-and-true best practices often serve as their launch pad and rocket fuel.

In designing and selecting professional development opportunities that harness and reflect best practices in education, there are four key elements for a high-quality experience: authenticity, contextual learning, a creative climate, and reflection and transference.

Two years ago, Elizabeth Rincon was seeking to end the last-minute scramble to cull professional development for approximately 125 special education paraprofessionals on days when teachers had preplanned PD.

“Principals had to either swiftly get something together for paraprofessionals in terms of PD or they would email me and I would have to quickly plan a PD module,” says Rincon, director of special education for Timberlane Regional School District in southern New Hampshire.

How closely is professional development linked to student achievement?

Professionalism expects learning to be in the collective. We should think of our own learning and growth as part of a mutually beneficial ongoing professional development process. A big part of that idea is that we share and become more transparent in our practice as educators. 

When Mark MacLean became superintendent of the Merrimack Valley and Andover School Districts in New Hampshire four years ago, he wanted to find an online solution for teacher evaluation that could also link to professional development.

After some research with his leadership team, MacLean found TeachPoint, which offers a Professional Development Tracking Solution that also enables districts to link ongoing professional development with its Educator Evaluation Solution. MacLean decided to use the Evaluation Solution on its own for one year before adding the PD Tracking Solution.

When it comes to professional development, Regina Teat believes building the instructional capacity of every instructor and classroom teacher is the most effective use of time and money of any program, especially using grant funding.

“When the money goes away, the capacity and knowledge through good professional development for the teacher remains,” says Teat, Director of Elementary Education and Title I & II for Dorchester County Public Schools, a rural district located on Maryland’s eastern shore.

Timothy Collier has been teaching high school mathematics for more than 30 years, most of them at McAlester High School in southeast Oklahoma, where he is the department chair. State budget cuts have affected McAlester High School and the district’s eight other schools, especially in the area of professional development for teachers, who were facing shifting state standards in math and science.

School districts know that “sit-and-get” professional development isn’t working and can have extreme consequences, such as high teacher turnover and poor student performance. To combat this, across the country there is an ongoing, rapid evolution of professional development to be more personalized. While change in education is often slow, this long-overdue advancement is quickly taking shape. 

FOOD FRIENDS—Students at Top of the World Elementary School in Laguna Beach USD donate lunch items that are either served as snacks in after-school programs or shared with a local food pantry.

Many schools are devising successful strategies and programs to redistribute, recycle and conserve cafeteria food and other, non-organic waste.

Trish Rubin, former educator and now marketing consultant, wrote BrandED: Tell Your Story, Build Relationships and Empower Learning. Follow her at @trishrubin.

Branding is an empowering trend for educators who move out of their typical professional silos into understanding marketing tools.

When done right, international travel exposes students to a diversity of people and perspectives, teaching them to communicate and relate with others.

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