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Springfield Public Schools is the largest district in Missouri, serving some 25,000 students and employing 4,000 staff members across 36 elementary schools, an intermediate school, nine middle schools, five high schools, a center for gifted education and an early childhood center. Personalization is one of the district’s themes, reflected in its motto—“Engaging. Relevant. Personal.”—as well as in a school choice program that offers over a dozen unique learning options through academies and other alternatives.

A variety of research indicates that an engaged and motivated student is more likely to be a high-achieving student. But what does student engagement look like in a digital environment? To keep all students motivated—especially those who struggle or are disengaged—educators need to ensure that engagement is built into the DNA of the curriculum. In a digital environment, engaged students experience more personalized learning and are more likely to actively participate in their learning.

Experts share strategies on room design, curriculum development and identifying funding sources

Makerspaces reinforce STEM skills and enable more authentic learning. While there are a variety of ways to design and build makerspaces, there are some key strategies administrators can employ to ensure their program is successful.

Designing rooms that facilitate access and choice

One day in May 2016, while browsing Twitter, Eric Langhorst stumbled upon a call for participants for the Dremel Idea Builder Ambassador program. Dremel Education, a manufacturer of 3D printers, was looking for 10 educators to use the Idea Builder 3D40 printer in innovative ways in their classrooms.

When STEM3 Academy built its first innovation lab in 2014, one of the first pieces of equipment installed in the space was a 3D printer.

“We saw that it could be a very useful tool to integrate into the curriculum,” says Dr. Ellis Crasnow, director of STEM3 Academy. “We began immediately teaching 3D modeling and using the printer to prototype student designs.”

In the Madison Metropolitan School District, the Research & Program Evaluation Office provides rigorous and high-quality research and analysis to support district priorities. By using data dashboards to create accessible, easy-to-understand visualizations of a wide variety of district information, the office has helped administrators understand what's working, what's not working and why, improving strategic decision making.

The world of work is quickly redefining what it means to be ready—a broader set of goals that reflect fast-paced, complex and diverse workplaces. Students need to be great communicators, collaborators and critical thinkers who can tackle novel problems. To prepare students to be really ready for their futures, we must define what that means for them now—not just once they graduate from high school.

While administrators can face a variety of challenges when it comes to mobile device deployments and BYOD environments, using mobile technologies effectively can provide new opportunities for learning, including rethinking the age-old institution of homework.

Many district leaders are challenged with developing whole-school, data-driven, prevention-based frameworks for improving learning outcomes for every student. Under the new provisions of ESSA, district leaders are also mandated to build curriculum capacity using a layered continuum of evidence-based practices and systems, to improve outcomes for students in Tiers 2-3 and special education.

Learning through problem-solving promotes deep, coherent mathematics understanding. It is a critical tool for creating a highly effective learning environment for students. Through the use of strong routines, students learn how to take an active role in reasoning and sensemaking. Active learning will help students understand new mathematical concepts and relationships as they progress in their school careers.

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