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Glenn E. Gustafson is chief financial officer and Jessica Reijgers is employee benefits manager for Colorado Springs District 11.

School districts have struggled for many years with the escalating cost of healthcare. Do you have to reduce benefits to be affordable? Do you have to shift costs between the district and the employee? Is there a better way? In Colorado Springs School District 11, we think we have found one.

Students can step inside an astronaut’s’ boots to experience life and research onboard the international space station with online science courses offered by the Virtual High School, which supplements public school instruction.

Although traditional projectors remain popular, many school districts now opt for ultra short-throw, interactive devicesall-in-one solutions that replace the costs and technological support once needed for whiteboards, flat screen monitors and other display technologies.

Ultra short-throw projectors—which can be mounted above a blank surface or a whiteboard—provide bright, shadowless images and can be connected to any number of display sources, including laptops and tablets.

Kits to books: Just a few items that a fifth-grade math and science teacher  at River Valley Elementary in the West Ada School District received from crowdfunding sites.

While auditing New Hanover County Schools in North Carolina, Nancy Braswell noticed assets coming into the district from unfamiliar sources. When she investigated, Braswell found that teachers were turning to a variety of companies and nonprofits to help fund classroom resources through social media.

Educatin’ with Satan: The After School Satan Club’s website, pictured above, attempts to teach young students about free inquiry and rationalism—something that doesn’t link to religion.

The Satanic Temple—an atheist group known for its public political stances against religion in state affairs—reached out to districts in nine cities this past summer to bring its philosophy to elementary schools in after-school programs.

Egg cartons and Chinese food containers: Comprised of Washington public school teachers, MESA and Washington STEM Engineering Fellows take part in PD activities to bring innovative STEM lessons to students.

The technology sector is one of the least diverse industries in the U.S. Only 25 percent of women participate. Less than 1 percent of computer scientists are people of color.

Universal Design for Learning, or UDL, leverages the what, how and why stages of learning. (Gettyimages.com: sergey7777)

A new teaching model that’s gaining traction in classrooms bases instruction on how different areas of the brain function. The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) consists of three primary principles to leverage the what, how and why stages of learning.

Twenty-three states have sued the federal government over a directive from the U.S. justice and education departments allowing transgender students to use bathroom facilities consistent with their gender identity. If districts don’t comply, they may lose federal aid.

Big high school football stadiums in Texas have come under scrutiny from local fiscal watchdogs, but pushback is just part of the story about sports facility finance—where expenditures and potential revenue sources have grown more complex and potentially lucrative.

Almost four years after the tragic shootings, the $50 million, 86,000-square-foot Sandy Hook Elementary School opened in late August to 400 students in pre-K through grade 4. The building includes a number of new safety measures, such as secure doors, video monitoring and impact-resistant windows. 

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires districts to grant homeless students credits for work done in other school systems.

The number of homeless students increased in the 2016-17 school year to about 1.3 million—doubling since 2006-07. Districts and states that have done the best job graduating homeless students have now seen some of their practices enshrined in federal law as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act.

DeRay Mckesson is the interim chief human capital officer for Baltimore City Public Schools in Maryland.

DeRay Mckesson is the interim chief human capital officer for Baltimore City Public Schools in Maryland, managing personnel, staffing, benefits and other related issues. The civil rights activist and former Baltimore mayoral candidate returns to the human capital office, where for 2 1/2 years he oversaw key reforms as a strategist and special assistant.

He now manages 56 employees and a $4 million budget. Mckesson also served in Minneapolis Public Schools until he resigned two years ago to protest the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson.

Equity in K12 education doesn’t mean the same thing as equality. In fact, achieving true equity often requires providing lower-income schools and students with more resources than are given others in the same district, says Joel Boyd, superintendent of Santa Fe Public Schools in New Mexico.

Plan divides the schools into an “old” district—a legal entity which will pay down debt over time—and a new debt-free district known as the Detroit Public Schools Community District, which will be given a $150 million startup loan from the state.

A 2014 study from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory examined five districts using propane in their bus fleets, and some saved nearly 50 percent on a cost-per-mile basis for fuel and maintenance. (Photo: Gettyimages.com/Leekris)

Transitioning to eco-friendly propane school buses may help districts save money and safeguard student health. A propane bus costs about $15,000 more than a diesel vehicle, but is less expensive to operate and maintain.

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