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K12 educators increasingly embrace life skills curricula that promote social-emotional learning, mindfulness, problem-solving and other soft skills. Many districts no longer view such programs as “nice to have,” but as essential components of overall instruction.

Marc Prensky, the founder and executive director of the nonprofit Global Future Education Foundation and Institute, wants to replace traditional curriculum with project-based, real-world problem-solving.

In his new book, Education To Better Their World, Marc Prensky—an authority on the connection between learning and technology—says our current education system is wrong for the future, not because we haven’t added technology and 21st century skills, but because we have the wrong ends or goals in mind.

BoardPaq eases management of board of  education agendas and minutes at Ohio district

Prior to summer 2015, the process of putting board meeting agendas in the hands of the board members of Mohawk Local Schools in Sycamore, Ohio, was entirely manual. Administrative Secretary Jackie Messersmith would type up agendas and file them in large binders, which also held agendas and minutes from previous meetings. The binders were then hand-delivered to each board member.

Todd Whitlock, CEO  Standard For Success

It’s no secret teachers are jumping ship in record numbers, and the dwindling numbers of incoming grads don’t even come close to patching the gap as the demand for teachers rises. The Learning Policy Institute reported in 2016 that enrollment in teaching programs is down 35 percent nationwide (and has been for years), and the annual shortfall could grow to 112,000 teachers by 2018 if current trends persist.

Janet Pittock,  V.P. of Curriculum and Mathematics, Redbird Mathematics,  McGraw-Hill Education, School Group

Educators want to work with students the way they learn best, and we know that one-on-one or small-group instruction is effective. But for the sake of efficiency, schools often employ the “factory” model to teach large numbers of students in a classroom, assuming their age equates to similar positions in their learning progress.

Lisa Gonzales is interim superintendent in the Lakeside Joint School District. Charles Young is superintendent in the Benicia USD.

The definition of an effective teacher remains in flux, and the evaluation process has morphed into numerous different assessments and observations. Fortunately, with the advent of new technologies, opportunities abound to broaden the evaluation process and to truly focus on teacher growth.

When it comes to data analytics, Maribeth Luftglass,CIO at Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia, focuses on ensuring privacy of all student data. And, she adds, it should be a top concern for all CIOs. (Photo: Donnie Biggs, Fairfax County Schools)

Just a few years ago, CIOs—if they were involved in data analytics at all—would run a report, export it into an Excel document and share it with teachers and district leaders once a week or at the end of each semester. Now it’s all about creating systems that aggregate and sort data automatically, making it easier for educators to view crucial information every day

The U.S. Department of Education has released guidance over the new Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, a funding initiative under ESSA. (Gettyimages.com: Macrovector)The U.S. Department of Education has released guidance over the new Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants, a funding initiative under ESSA. (Gettyimages.com: Macrovector)

Schools that offer more comprehensive instruction, increase school safety and student health, and better integrate educational technology may be eligible for new federal funds. A new grant program from the U.S. Department of Education will reward schools that improve access to music, social studies, environmental education and computer science.

From classrooms to condos— The Wilkinson School in St. Louis, which closed eight years ago, will be renovated into apartments for teachers. Aside from offering low-cost housing, it will provide teachers with a collaborative atmosphere.

Bigger paychecks offered by wealthier suburban districts sometimes lure teachers away from St. Louis Public Schools. But a promising solution to a teacher-housing problem faced by many districts has emerged: St Louis schools' collection of more than two dozen vacant buildings.

Joni Carswell,  President & CEO,  LivingTree

Decades of research shows that family engagement is the number one driver of student success. Engaged families result in lower truancy rates, higher test scores, and higher graduation rates.

When two Boston elementary schools needed a core math curriculum,  Everyday Mathematics 4 was the solution

Five years ago, Boston Public School’s John Eliot School in the city’s North End neighborhood was declared an innovation school. What that meant for principal Traci Walker-Griffith was more autonomy in choosing the elementary school’s curriculum for her 570 students. One of the first curricular changes she made was bringing in Everyday Mathematics.

AT&T offers a host of network options to support the needs of schools and libraries and is investing in innovation  to bring even more efficiency and flexibility into network management.

Reliable, affordable and advanced networking is essential to every educational institution. Demand for communication services that support WANs, Wi-Fi and high-bandwidth educational applications continues to rise as curriculum and instruction increasingly shifts to technology-rich environments.

Research regarding the effectiveness of random drug testing of students at school is scarce and inconsistent.

About 27 percent of high schools nationwide have a form of student drug testing. Some schools also perform “reasonable suspicion” testing on students who show evidence of illegal drug use, which can include abnormal behavior or physical symptoms.

In Monroe County School District in Mississippi, the superintendent is elected. But the board, above, has a working document in place, which means whoever is elected immediately becomes familiar with the district’s past work and future direction—and is ready to lead.

In many school districts today, hiring practices for administrative leaders often consist of “replacement filling”—or, waiting for a position to open up before searching for candidates. But a successful succession often requires more proactive planning.

A study of teacher attendance in 40 of the nation’s largest districts found 16 percent of teachers were responsible for more than one third of all absences (Gettyimages.com: Mhj)

It’s no surprise that students suffer when their teacher is absent. Substitutes often lack familiarity with the curriculum and class dynamics. What is surprising to learn is how often it happens.

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