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Hopkins Public Schools, with 7,200 students in K12 near the Twin Cities in Minnesota, was having a problem with an increasing demand for substitute teachers during the 2013-14 school year and being unable to maintain a steady supply of candidates.

Human resources staff from the district had to recruit, hire, train and manage substitute teachers, according to Nik Lightfoot, assistant superintendent and director of administrative services.  

Stacey McNinch-Curschman, the secondary curriculum director for Visalia USD in California, knew that as her district was ramping up its training efforts around Common Core standards for mathematics in 2013, as well as its own district-level curriculum changes, both administrators and teachers would need to be continually learning and improving themselves.

“If we work effectively as adults and we’re continually learning and continually improving, that’s going to net better results for kids,” says McNinch-Curschman, whose district has more than 27,000 students.

District Administration welcomed education policy expert Robert Balfanz for this web seminar about what the last 10 years of research has found when it comes to improving the most challenged and lowest-performing schools, as well as the implications of the Trump administration and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on these efforts.  Balfanz is research professor at the Center for the Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, where he is co-director of the Talent Development Secondary reform model and director of the Everyone Graduates Center.&

Teachers at Calusa Elementary School in Boca Raton, Florida, are committed to making sure students meet rigorous state standards. Nevertheless, Calusa, which serves about 1,200 students in grades K5, was still struggling to monitor state standards. 

Champaign Unit 4 School District in Illinois wanted to give its teachers a very clear pathway to evolve their math instruction to meet rigorous, Common Core state standards. 

District leaders were very happy with earlier results from McGraw-Hill’s Everyday Mathematics and saw Everyday Mathematics 4, its latest iteration, as an enticing solution, especially in teaching the Common Core state standards, according to Susan Zola, assistant superintendent for achievement, curriculum and instruction. 

Janna Payne Sells remembers well “the crate”—a 75-pound behemoth crammed with 200-plus folders she needed to review as instructional facilitator for an inner-city, dual-immersion, Title I elementary school. 

Sells, now district MTSS coordinator for the 20,000-student Iredell-Statesville Schools in North Carolina, also remembers her initial reaction to RtI: Stored!, an online platform that houses all data and documentation collected and completed through the Response to Intervention/Multi-Tier System of Supports process. 

A few years ago, when Acequia Madre Elementary Principal Ahlum Scarola looked at his school’s New Mexico state report card, it showed some troubling numbers.

The span of abilities of the 13,000 students in the Metropolitan School District of Warren Township had been increasing over a period of ten years.

Steph Jensen,

Director, Community Contracts and National Training,

Boys Town National Training

Now more than ever, why is social emotional learning a key area on which administrators need to focus resources?

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.

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