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From DA

BUILDING BONUS —Island Trees School District in New York saved about $500,000 a year after it reorganized a pair of K4 elementary schools into a K1 building and a school for grades 2 through 4.

Districts devote nearly 80 percent of their budgets to personnel costs—leaving little wiggle room for administrators tasked with maintaining fiscal responsibility and boosting the quality of education in a time of nearly stagnant funding.

K12 district leaders are collaborating with entire communities and using new curricula to help combat the opioid crisis sweeping the nation.

At Hamilton Southeastern School District, Michael Beresford is assistant superintendent of staff and student services and Brooke Lawson is district mental health coordinator.

District Mental Health Coordinator Brooke Lawson and Assistant Superintendent of Staff and Student Services Michael Beresford discuss the challenges of addressing mental health issues.

Districts have several options when introducing a badging program.

For students, the process tends to be more intricate because these badges, often awarded for soft skills and career-preparation activities, contain metadata that details what students did to earn the badges. Such higher-tech “open badges” can be shared on social media and live on an online platform such as Credly, Mozilla or Badgr.

Districts are advised to go through the graphic design process to create high-quality badges that drive engagement—rather than using stock art.

Middle and high school students in Providence, Rhode Island, can earn badges—and class credit—for skills learned in after-school programs.

A growing number of districts now award digital badges to students who demonstrate creativity and critical thinking, and even for noteworthy experiences in after-school programs.

It’s generally understood that integrating ed-tech into schools can be complex, but what’s less often discussed is that it represents one of the most universal pain points for administrators and educators today. And when you look at larger, more densely populated school districts – in urban markets like Los Angeles, Philadelphia, or Chicago – district leaders often face added pressures and challenges to do digital right, and often with little support.   

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rior to Aileen Parsons becoming director of human resources for Pleasanton USD in northern California, she was a school principal in the district. The memory of hiring paperwork was fresh in Parsons’ mind when she switched jobs in November 2015. 

Two years ago, when it became clear that their previous curricula for grades 6 through 8 did not align with required math standards, school leaders at Berwick Alternative K-8 School in Columbus, Ohio, began looking for a replacement. Berwick has 700 students, 60 percent of whom qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. 

Matt Miller is the new superintendent of Lakota Local Schools in Ohio.

Matt Miller, new superintendent of Ohio’s Lakota Local Schools, is reaching community members with his social media savviness.

Applications are due at the end of each school year. Schools should have at least 300 students who can participate in experiments.

Projects can be combined and shared across more than one district.

If accepted, they must devise a designated amount of money to fund the project through a fundraiser and/or grants.

East High School students in the Rochester City School District recently earned the opportunity to send their microgravity experiment to the International Space Station.

Combatting the nation’s opioid crisis is one of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s top priorities.

In an effort to promote movement and educational growth, schools are adding playground equipment for younger students. (Gettyimages.com: fatcamera).

The growing evidence showing that students learn better when they get a chance to move has inspired K12 designers to create classroom furniture and playground equipment that keep youths active, even as they learn.

Free or low-cost resources exist to help districts start or improve computer science education.

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