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When Rio Grande City Consolidated ISD introduced a digital reading program two years ago, some teachers balked at student assessments being performed by a computer. Those concerns abated as teachers saw increased proficiency for the 4,100 students using Istation Reading and Istation Español, says Serapio Trillayes, executive director for curriculum and instruction for the district, which is located in South Texas, near the Mexican border.

What does the routing process look like at First Student?

At first, the class was like any other at Georgia’s Quitman County School District. Kids sat at desks while an adult lectured. Despite appearances, this was no ordinary lecture. Schneider Electric organized STEM activities for the kids in this Quitman County high school class. These activities are part of Quitman County’s energy performance contract with Schneider Electric and are designed to engage students in a STEM-inspired engineering shadowing program focused on energy conservation.

A1,100-student school district in Minnesota had been purchasing food supplies through a buying group of five other school systems—but it wasn’t efficient. “We would have to meet quite often,” says Director of Food Service Sandie Rentz of Wadena-Deer Creek Public Schools. “We wrote our own bids and market basket. Then we would go out for bidding and tabulate the results ourselves.”

During Noel Petrosky’s 12 years at different Saint Marys Area School District elementary schools, she saw assessment data accurately predict student performance on state tests and inform instruction that led to student growth. That wasn’t the case at Saint Marys Area Middle School when she became principal two years ago.

“I thought, ‘I can’t go into a system not knowing what my students are capable of,’ ” recalls Petrosky, who wanted to establish a multi-tier system of supports (MTSS) framework at her middle school in rural northwestern Pennsylvania.

Why is personalized learning so important?

Marcy: It leverages a student’s interests, their strengths, then tailors instruction to their specific needs and goals.

Rich: It gets into predictive analytics. Traditionally the analytics type of reporting is a look at what has been happening. Personalized learning is looking at what is going to happen.

Robert Sexton has worked with school-based tech for more than 15 years, so there’s not much he hasn’t seen. “Kids are pretty ingenious; keeping up with them is a challenge,” says Sexton, currently the director of technology for Olentangy Local School District, just north of Columbus, Ohio.

That challenge is mitigated by the district’s secret weapon—AristotleInsight::K12by Sergeant Laboratories, which tracks every digital move students make and alerts the district of potential problems.

What are the top transportation challenges at school startup?

The biggest challenges are routes, drivers and buses. School bus routing is more complex than other routing. District routes can be affected by ongoing school enrollment and by families moving. During the summer, districts experience higher turnover in bus drivers, which can impact startup. Lastly, readying vehicles for service after sitting through the summer and preparing new incoming vehicles for service presents additional challenges.

Teachers in the Susquehanna Township School District are finding success with their new curriculum mapping program using Chalk. With it, they can easily locate and align state standards with lesson plans, and if they have any questions, they can get live technical assistance through “Mr. Chalk,” an online chat feature operated by company employees.

Mr. Chalk used to be available only Monday to Friday, but not on weekends when many teachers were finishing lesson plans for submission to principals Sunday evenings. So Superintendent Dr. Tamara Willis made a call.

Peter DeWitt is a professional development coach and the creator of Collaborative Leadership, a PD service that combines transformational and instructional leadership, and that includes ways to engage the school community with a focus on learning.

Collaborative Leadership is a series of one to four workshops focusing on research-based influences that can foster a supportive and inclusive school climate, increase academic and social-emotional learning, and maximize the efficacy of every school stakeholder.

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