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While testing in the U.S. has become more about ranking schools and even teachers, in most of the developed world, tests make or break a student’s future, sometimes before the age of 12.

Districts are building supports for students in foster care—from raising awareness, providing PD and creating special programs to adding specialized staff and even running permanent group homes.

Increasing awareness for educators is critical. Here are seven things to know.

How young people who age out of foster care can help current students.

1. Server room to classroom—Expand your focus from maintaining networks and hardware to helping choose instructional software.

2. Gearhead to gear guide—Fix devices and show teachers and students how to use them.

3. Tech provider to tech trimmer—Assess what programs and applications drive student achievement.

4. Data generator to data analyzer—Provide easy-to-read reports from various platforms so administrators and teachers can quickly assess student progress.

How PD enables K12 educators to create an inclusive environment that allows all learners to thrive.

Developers of equity programs offer the following tips for success:

You need it first—Equity PD gets the best results when leaders—from superintendents to school board members to principals—are trained before their staff.

Dialogue, collaboration and role-play—Kids don’t love PowerPoints or lectures, and neither do educators. PD that gets teachers talking, collaborating and even role-playing seems to be most effective.

Community projects and service learning initiatives allow students to use their classroom skills to benefit the world around them.

To overcome the geographic, fiscal and cultural obstacles to educating their students in STEM, rural superintendents are tapping new funding sources, forming partnerships and exploiting technology.

A look at some of the STEM projects rural students participate in:

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