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PROOF OF PURCHASE—Educators at Dysart USD must justify the learning value of all technology purchases, such as the laptop (above) being used by a student at Sonoran Heights Elementary School.

Administrators now strive to align strong technology plans with district strategic goals.

All districts face employee issues. Some have learned better than others how to address problems early, before they erupt.

Educators and psychologists propose a host of explanations for the apparent uptick in student anxiety. Some point to public events – terrorism, school shootings, opioid addiction, the coarsening of political discourse in the age of Trump.

Others blame technology—devices that substitute electronic contact for face-to-face interaction, and social media that transform school-hours drama into a 24-7 preoccupation.

Still others look to family dysfunction, or pressure to match parental achievements. “The anxiety comes from so many different sources.

the best medicine—A “laughter yoga” session reduces student stress in the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District in New Jersey. The district has also provided PD to show teachers how to conduct meditation and breathing exercises to ease their own and students’ anxiety.

Across the country, districts are grappling with rising levels of student anxiety attributed to everything from academic pressures to larger social forces. 

Daniel Koretz, one of the nation’s foremost experts on education testing, is the Henry Lee Shattuck professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and author of "The Testing Charade: Pretending to Make Schools Better."

In The Testing Charade: Pretending to Make Schools Better, Daniel Koretz says the pressure to raise achievement test scores often leads to outright cheating.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy / Source: Orlando Utilities Commission

Faced with tight budgets and the expanding use of electricity-hungry technology, districts are turning to energy efficiency solutions that don’t sacrifice learning power.

Homework. Students dread it. Parents have a love/hate relationship with it. Teachers feel they need to give it. There are arguments on all sides. Some cite studies which show that homework doesn’t help students, while others defend it to the bitter end.

What if…

Breaking down silos is far from a new concept. More than 25 years ago, Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, championed the idea of working across organizational boundaries.

Today, we live in a far different world. Our communications technologies have dramatically improved, and we have instant access to massive amounts of information. The promise of eliminating hierarchical, siloed and fragmented processes and culture seems certain.

Dallas ISD’s morning drop-in centers for homeless high school students provide necessities such as take-home food, hygiene products and a place to wash clothes.

Cheryl Logan will be superintendent of Omaha Public Schools, Nebraska’s largest school district.

On July 1, Cheryl Logan begins her tenure as superintendent of Omaha Public Schools, Nebraska’s largest school district.

EXTRA SUPPORT—At the ESL academy, high school ELLs get after-school help with homework and other study support. Teachers from all disciplines are available while students work independently, in teams or in small groups.

A combination of grants and community outreach allowed Piscataway Township Schools to adopt a “cradle to career” approach to serve its large—and rapidly growing—population of ELLs more effectively.

Source: “States Leading for Equity: Promising Practices Advancing the Equity Commitments,” 2018;  The Council of Chief State School Officers, America’s Promise Alliance  and The Aspen Institute; DAmag.me/ccsso

In 2016, state education leaders, advocates and civil rights leaders gathered together to develop actions to support education equity. A year later, 10 general equity-boosting practices have emerged from across the U.S. 

Most state standards fail to include meaningful requirements for learning about slavery. (GerryImages.com)

Schools fail to adequately teach the history of American slavery, partly because teachers lack the preparation to cover it, according to a recent study from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

When hiring teachers, districts are more likely to select better candidates if they use screening tools designed to align closely with actual classroom experiences and expectations.

Source: International Labor Organization

New California laws make the state first in the nation to adopt human trafficking and sexual abuse prevention education and training for students and teachers.

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