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In 2012, 30 percent of teachers said they use games in their lessons. In 2010, the number was only 23 percent. (Click to enlarge)

The use of game-based learning in the nation’s classrooms has doubled over the past five years. In 2015, 48 percent of teachers said they use games in their lessons, making them the second-most common form of digital content consumed in the classroom.

Some 82 percent of transgender youth reported feeling unsafe at school in a 2011 study. (Gettyimages.com: chatchaisurakram)

The rights of transgender students in K12 schools became explicitly clear in a directive issued by the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice in May. Schools must let transgender students use the restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity, not what’s listed on birth certificates, the Obama administration says.

Digital assessment tools provide a unique opportunity to personalize learning, by enabling seamless connection between a district’s curriculum, assessments and achievement data to give immediate feedback that guides teaching and improves learning on a daily basis.

Personalized learning has become a catch-all phrase, often used to describe technology in the classroom rather than a new approach to teaching and learning. In order for personalized learning to effectively improve student outcomes, however, there are four key components that must be a part of any district’s personalized learning environment.

McGraw-Hill My Math and Glencoe Math meeting  the needs of New Jersey district conducting a curriculum overhaul

Starting fresh with a new math curriculum was the goal for Gloucester Township Public Schools in fall 2013. The K-8 district, which is located 14 miles southeast of Philadelphia in New Jersey and serves 6,400 students, had a new curriculum and instruction department team charged with the task of updating outdated materials.

Tennessee district sees dramatic achievement gains by engaging Thrive™ Math

Upon receiving a special School Improvement Grant to implement a Tennessee-approved turnaround model in 2013, leaders for Shelby County Schools in Memphis selected seven sites to transform. These schools, designated by the district as i-Zone schools, fall in the bottom 5 percent in the state. Douglass K8 Optional School is one of the selected schools.

Meria Carstarphen came to lead Atlanta’s troubled school system in 2014 after 20 years of experience in education in districts in Texas, Minnesota and Washington, D.C.

Meria Carstarphen is a team player—literally. She has played football in the hot summer sun alongside varsity players at Atlanta Public Schools. The district superintendent also gives her personal cell phone number to staff and students alike. They can text her or call her—any time. In addition, they follow each other on Twitter.

Students from Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida meet with the state’s Million Women Mentors chair, second from right, and use an online program to explore STEM careers.

Adding project-based learning and mentoring opportunities to STEM programs may better ensure that female students do not get left behind. In the United States, women hold fewer than 25 percent of jobs in STEM fields, despite accounting for 47 percent of the workforce

Custom playlist: At Horizons on the Hudson school in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, IT specialist Joseph Catania watches students demonstrate how they use ClassLink to access SAFARI Montage for videos they need for a project.

Let’s face it, digital content—from the Khan Academy to streaming videos to adaptive learning applications—has enveloped K12 education. While some district leaders have only begun replacing printed learning materials with the new technology, other districts are going entirely digital.

Philip A. Streifer has served as superintendent of three Connecticut school districts.

Educators generally agree that we are testing too much. Congress’ latest action puts more authority back with the states, but this risks swinging the pendulum back too far in the other direction. To get accountability right, we need to decide which tests to keep and which to discard.

A school in Georgia made national headlines when parents opposed using yoga to help students relieve stress and increase focus. They said it promotes a Far East religion, though many practitioners disagree with that view.

Integration and simplification top wish lists when it comes to website management tools. Administrators want tools to connect easily and effectively with parents and students as the variety of programs, platforms and devices grows.

Cathy Boshamer is the director of special services for Spartanburg District 5 in South Carolina.

The Office of Special Education Programs revised its accountability operation in 2014 to shift the balance from a system focused on compliance to one that emphasizes results. The new framework has been a breath of fresh air, especially for those of us working in special education.

A teacher at Howe Elementary School in Wisconsin, above, shows a student the steps of how to submit a digital artifact into his own e-portfolio. (Photo: Photo credit: Digital Student Portfolios, Matthew Renwick/Thinkstock.com: 123dartist)

Decades ago, portfolio assessment meant finding room for bulging binders stuffed with paper. But digital technologies that make it far easier to collect, curate, share and store student work have dismantled the physical barriers that once made portfolio assessment daunting.

A digital rendering of Los Angeles USD’s 66-unit, four-story Selma Community complex of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, set to be completed in fall 2016.

From Newark to Los Angeles, districts building affordable homes for teachers hope to better retain and recruit staff as local housing costs rise and salaries remain stagnant.

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