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We are entrusted with creating opportunities for all students to achieve their highest potential. Anyone can relate to this basic need: to be understood for our abilities, not categorized by our challenges. Let’s defy the stereotypes and see students for their potential, not their inability to read; let’s empower each teacher to change lives; let’s recognize each district for its ability to build a better literacy program.

Nationally, the number of English learners continues to grow, presenting district administrators with unique challenges. Blended learning that incorporates computer-adaptive assessments and instruction can be a vital resource to meet the needs of these students and to help them become proficient in English and succeed academically. 

Scheduling and managing special events at school district facilities can be complicated. Maintaining a schedule, understanding staffing and other needs, setting up and tearing down rooms, identifying insurance risks and other tasks can be confusing for administrators, and ultimately, costly to the school system in time, resources and money.

Six years ago, Waconia Public Schools, which is 35 miles west of Minneapolis, launched a 1-to-1 technology initiative. It purchased tablets as part of a pilot program for 10th-grade students. 

After determining that the pilot program was successful, the district expanded it to include students in fourth, eighth and 11th grades. At that point, the district realized that this was not a sustainable program for the long term. 

SafeSchools Training is being used by thousands of school districts across the nation, including 40 of the 100 largest. These districts have access to a comprehensive library of expert-authored online courses, in addition to the ability to automatically document and track safety and compliance training in one online system.

eMPower Assessments™ by Measured Progress is a college and career readiness assessment program for grades 3 through 8. It is based on current research about what students need to know and be able to do for success beyond high school. With three assessment opportunities each year, eMPower provides a cohesive system of interim assessments to districts and a spring summative assessment for states that yields reliable accountability data to show growth over time. eMPower reports provide a direct predictive connection to the PSAT™ 8/9, a part of the SAT® Suite of Assessments. 

Putting technology into classrooms has been a focus for Gwinnett County Public Schools, located in a suburb of Atlanta, for decades. First it was using overhead or slide projectors, and later televisions. Before the district made the decision to add projectors to all classrooms, schools would buy a few on their own, but there was no standardization across schools. 

According to Bruce Gardner, North America Program Director for IBM’s Education Industry Group, IBM is excited to now be helping schools deliver on the promise of personalized learning. When Bruce began working for IBM in education more than 30 years ago, IBM was introducing networking to schools, with servers delivering instructional courseware to workstations moved from the lab into the classroom.

What is the most effective way to teach educators effective literacy instruction? 

We define effective professional development as that which leads to changes in teaching behavior that in turn lead to optimizing student outcomes. Most teachers are not taught any of the finer points of language structure that have to be taught explicitly to students learning how to read. Teachers also need to be introduced to credible scientific guidance about teaching activities, methods and approaches that are going to work best for certain kinds of students. 

What are some of the key benefits of hyperconvergence for K12? 

Hyperconvergence is going to save schools money. The deployment is very easy, and the biggest driver of all is ease of use. School districts often have limited resources and IT specialists, so hyperconvergence is really about being able to take an infrastructure and allow for an IT generalist to be able to manage the infrastructure. 

Talk about managing complicated systems with limited resources as school districts face budget cuts. 

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