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From DA

For administrators taking on the challenge of turning around failing schools, developing a strategic focus for improvement efforts is crucial. The Stringfellow Elementary School—a pre-K through 5 school in the Colquitt County Schools in Georgia—had been one of the lowest-performing schools in the state, was given a failing grade by the Georgia DOE and was under risk of state takeover.

In the Wright City R-II School District in Missouri, the Wright City Academy provides online alternative education and credit recovery programs for at-risk high school students attending Wright City High School. In 2013, the academy began using Fuel Education original credit courses and credit recovery courses, helping the school meet a wide range of intervention and improvement needs while turning frustrated and unsuccessful students into motivated learners who take pride in their work and aspire to earn their high school diploma.

Today’s educators need versatile products that can be used to teach more than one aspect of STEAM. Schools want to engage students with hands-on activities that, for example, blend art and reading with core science and math instruction.

The Fairmount Kindergarten Center near Seattle hopes to use innovative design to maximize classroom learning time when it opens in September for the 2017-18 school year.

Fifteen outdoor field trip days are built into the academic year at Plumas USD school district.

Plumas USD, a rural district tucked away in the rugged terrain of northeastern California, uses its own backyard for its “Outdoor Core” K12 curriculum.

ACTION—Students at New Rochelle High School in Westchester County, New York, write and shoot their interpretations of classic literature as part of English curriculum.

At New Rochelle High School, about 20 miles north of New York City, students use smartphones and tablets to create short movies based on classic works of literature.

Springfield Public Schools is the largest district in Missouri, serving some 25,000 students and employing 4,000 staff members across 36 elementary schools, an intermediate school, nine middle schools, five high schools, a center for gifted education and an early childhood center. Personalization is one of the district’s themes, reflected in its motto—“Engaging. Relevant. Personal.”—as well as in a school choice program that offers over a dozen unique learning options through academies and other alternatives.

Changes in federal education policy that will come under the Trump administration are still unclear, but many states are nevertheless proceeding with plans to meet requirements of the Obama administration’s Every Student Succeeds Act.

Adrian Vega is the school superintendent of San Benito Consolidated ISD in Texas.

Adrian Vega, superintendent of San Benito Consolidated ISD in Texas, has implemented leadership prep academies that promote professional development among aspiring leaders in the district.

While online curricula platforms have propelled personalized learning to new levels, Coppell ISD in north Texas takes the concepts a step further.

When the central Connecticut town of Cheshire moved to reduce power use, it upgraded six of its eight public schools with the latest internet of things technology. The plan combined energy-efficient LED fixtures with sensors and cloud-based servers that automatically turn the lights off in an empty room or adjust brightness.

The district cut its electricity bill by 84 percent, saving about $390,000 out of an annual $65 million budget.

Many districts across the country struggle with increasing demographic homogeneity more than 60 years after the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. 

Elementary and middle school students in Bridgeport, Connecticut, dabble in architecture, play music and learn about fashion design with well-known artists and professionals as part of the national Turnaround Arts program.

Susan German advises new K12 teachers to create a network of colleagues at the NSTA conference.

Susan German, a science teacher at Hallsville Middle School in Columbia, Missouri. German, named the NSTA’s distinguished teacher in 2011, teaches eighth-grade science. During her 20-year career, German has taught science and math in grades 6 through 12. We asked her for words of wisdom.

With the U.S. Department of Education doling out billions of dollars to promote diversity and to support low-income schools in 2017, administrators across the country are also working to better serve students of all backgrounds, abilities and interests.

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