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Educational publishers say they understand the draw of free or one-off materials for purchase online. But they caution administrators: Just because you can build a car from parts and tutorial videos from the internet, it doesn’t mean it makes sense.

Many publishers employ experts who have doctorates in instructional and curriculum design—which they say is a different skill set from classroom teaching.

By revamping the much-maligned No Child Left Behind law of 2001 with the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015, the federal government gives states more control over their own school accountability standards. How much change occurs will depend directly on each state’s legislative actions

Collaborative work: Grandview Elementary School teachers sit in on a professional development workshop on fluency. The Washington district’s homegrown curriculum is created by district coaches and consultants, along with teacher input.

When only 13 percent of sophomores at the Grandview School District in Washington passed the state math exams six years ago, administrators decided to develop their own curriculum.

Is that a giraffe in the hallway? Using the app, Aurasma, new students at Greenwood Elementary in Minnesota play Grizz-e-mon to feel more familiar and safe in their new school. In the example above, students “freed” this giraffe from inside of an egg.

One elementary school in Minnesota riffed on the wildly popular Pokémon Go app to create its own virtual reality game that helps incoming students feel more comfortable with beginning the school year in an unfamiliar building.

SIS vendors are working to develop technologies that work across all platforms and are cloud-based. Particular effort is being devoted to the design of user interfaces to create easy and intuitive functionality so that accessing an SIS is as simple as navigating a social media program on a phone.

Half of the general population approves of the standards—down from 83 percent just three years ago ( dny59)

Public support for the Common Core standards is plummeting—but that doesn’t mean much to K12. Half of the general population approves of the standards—that’s down from 83 percent just three years ago. Support among teachers has fallen to only 44 percent, according to the latest Education Next survey

Paul S. Haughey is principal of Millville Elementary School in the Blackstone-Millville Regional School District in Massachusetts.

Elementary schools differ in many ways—even within the same district—but new principals can follow leadership practices in keeping the focus on teaching and learning every school day.

District Administration surveyed readers on the race for president. (Click to enlarge)

When the next president takes office in January, he or she will preside over major shifts in the K12 education landscape—from implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act and Common Core, to the rollout of nationwide STEM initiatives, to the simmering battles over charters, school choice and teachers unions.

Bill Siegel is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy winning documentary filmmaker and vice president of School Programs for the Great Books Foundation, a Chicago-based nonprofit educational organization.

Inquiry-based learning means asking questions that demand students use evidence from the text to support their thinking. It means challenging students to respond to the differing ideas of their classmates. And it means pushing students to further their own thinking.

STEM, ahoy! First-grade students at Spotswood Elementary School in Harrisonburg, Virginia, prepare to test the results of a STEM design challenge using a plastic pool of water.

Harrisonburg City Public Schools in Virginia incorporates a technical- and engineering-based STEM curriculum starting with kindergarten and continuing right through high school.

The nation needs more STEM-focused youths, as only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in math and interested in a STEM career, according to the U.S. Department of Education (DOE).

A new survey says "increasing knowledge"—rather than increasing salary—motivates teachers to take online professional development. ( Dragan Radojevic)

Most educators are enrolling in online professional learning courses. The most common areas are classroom and behavior management, education software training and digital device training.

Passion project: Students in Deerfield Public Schools in Illinois created a healthy and tasty snacks project, with a goal to reveal the guidelines of the district's Food Management Plan snack policy.

Shortly after a teacher inadvertently gave almond biscotti to a student allergic to dairy and nuts, Deerfield Public Schools Superintendent Michael Lubelfeld convened the first of several meetings for parents of students with allergies.

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.