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Why is contracting a beneficial option for school districts and communities?

Jay C. Toland is the chief financial officer for Scotland County Schools in Laurinburg, North Carolina.

As a cost-saving measure, consolidation can help save a struggling district.

Some schools are addressing the decline in football participation by switching from 11-player teams to eight-player teams. (Gettyimages.com: yinyang).

A drop in football enrollment is forcing some districts to make tough program cuts, and is inspiring others to seek creative ways to keep the sport afloat.

Nancy Willard is the director of Embrace Civility in the Digital Age.

What schools are trying to do to prevent bullying appears to have had almost no positive impact.

GPS systems not only track buses in real time, but allow administrators to map routes, film drivers for future training purposes and provide data on how well vehicles are functioning. (Gettyimages.co: jaroszpilewski).

A wave of new GPS systems not only tracks buses in real time, but allows administrators to map routes, films drivers for future training purposes and provides data on how well vehicles are functioning.

Lockdown drills can pose health hazards, says Dennis Lewis, president of Edu-Safe, a safety training firm.

Lewis, who spent 17 years as the public safety director for Springfield Public Schools in Missouri, shares the following best practices:

Connect instruction to safety. Rigid, step-by-step drills don’t encourage critical thinking, discussion or variations. Educators can develop lessons that, for example, encourage students to think about wider safety issues and teamwork.

Across the country, schools are weighing the pros and cons of practicing worst-case scenario drills without unduly traumatizing students, staff and the community.

Building a school’s music instruction around more recent artists and hits offers an alternative to a curriculum that’s often based on classical, jazz and marching bands.

Judy Zimny, Ed.D., is the vice president of the National Institute for STEM Education (http://nise.institute), which offers certification programs in STEM best practices and pedagogy for both teachers and campuses.

I came up with 10 questions that busy administrators might ask to help them quickly and confidently make decisions about STEM ideas that deserve an additional look.

Brian Garverick, superintendent of Mansfield City Schools in Ohio, banned electronic devices in an effort to disconnect students from social media.

Brian Garverick, superintendent of Mansfield City Schools in Ohio, has banned electronic devices in an effort to disconnect students from social media. 

Teachers today have more control over how and when they receive professional development.

The percentage of Arkansas high school graduates who have taken an AP exam is nearly 50 percent. (Gettyimages.com: baona).

Requiring high schools to offer at least one AP course would help increase rural student access to rigorous pre-college work, according to a recent report.

Laura Carno is the founder and executive director of FasterColorado.com, an organization that provides firearms training to school staff who are authorized as armed first responders. Deborah Gordon Klehr is the executive director of the Education Law Center in Pennsylvania.

As more states consider allowing staff to be armed in the classroom, we present two perspectives.

ROBOTS MAKE STEM FUN—A St. Vrain Valley high school student takes part in the rigorous STEM program that helps him attain future options, including more relevant job skills once he graduates college, or even high school.

At least five states, including Ohio, Nevada, New York and Texas, offer special endorsements for high school graduates who demonstrate strong achievement in STEM.

Want to start a STEM program that benefits all students? Here are a few tips from our experts:

1. Align preK-12 education with demand from business world. Education should keep up with changing needs of industry, and prepare students to be problem-solvers and design thinkers, says Patty Quinones, assistant superintendent of innovation at St. Vrain Valley School District.

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