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Professional Opinion

Richard Elmore is the Gregory R. Anrig Professor of Educational Leadership at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

In an age of assessments, every school today knows how it is performing and understands the stakes of failing to meet expectations. Yet vast numbers of schools across the nation have been unable to improve, despite the threats of sanctions or outright closure.

Amanda Jelen is a fourth-grade teacher at Holy Redeemer School in Marshall, Minn.

Holy Redeemer School, a Catholic K8 school in Minnesota, is focused on delivering an educational environment that differentiates the learning experience for each child’s specific needs.

Part of that initiative involves giving every student, including those in kindergarten, a tablet to engage them in their education. We had heard stories of failed tablet implementations in other schools, and were determined to avoid similar mistakes in our own rollout.

After two decades implementing technology in schools, one thing that’s become crystal clear is that there’s no single correct model for one-to-one initiatives. And the reality is, the initiatives that fail to meet their desired outcomes weren’t clearly defined from the start. Unless, of course, the objective is merely to put technology in the hands of students and hope that they will figure it out from there – which is a typical case of a solution looking for a problem.

Paula Love, the “Funding Doctor,” brings decades of experience to developing grant strategies for state and local educational agencies, schools and institutions.

Student achievement, teacher quality, school safety, 21st century teaching and learning—these are but a glimpse into the areas of need each administrator must consider when making school spending decisions. Add to each of these spending decisions the impact of student productivity, and your efficiency and financial anxiety might increase.

Donald Aguillard is the superintendent of St. Mary Parish Public Schools in Louisiana.

With several schools in Academic Assistance and test scores lagging behind the state average, St. Mary Parish Public Schools (Louisiana) knew powerful change was needed.

Nancy Willard is director of Embrace Civility in the Digital Age and author of books on bullying.

This is the disturbing opening from a Los Angeles Times article published a year ago:

“Two students from separate schools committed suicide within days of each other this month—which is National Bullying Prevention Month—and both boys apparently had been bullied. Now, parents are asking questions not just about bullying but also about anti-bullying videos, which both schools aired shortly before the incidents.”

William Keswick is K12 science curriculum coordinator, K12 STEM coordinator and county athletic director for Talbot County Public Schools in Maryland.

In schools across the country, students are swapping their pencils and bubble sheets for computing devices and online tests.

Proponents say online assessment is the wave of the future. Opponents say teachers and students aren’t ready. Students from poverty may be at a disadvantage when taking online tests, they argue. I would counter that school should be the place that levels the playing field for those who don’t have access to technology at home.

Chris LaPoint is vice president of product management at SolarWinds.

Just when you thought you had devices figured out, it’s becoming apparent that apps are a new, true threat. BYOD has led to BYOA—bring-your-own-app—and focus must now shift from devices to software.

Kathleen Miller is principal of Mechanics Grove School in Mundelien, Ill.

School administrators are increasingly being made accountable for improving test scores, reducing behavior issues and creating vibrant school cultures where everyone has a sense of belonging. Adding more layers to this already complicated list begins to entangle the educational system with too many change initiatives—unless we can fundamentally alter the roots of our paradigms and relationships.

The 21st century is bringing new ways for sexual predators to prey on children. Providing a safe environment for children to learn is paramount, says John Stephens.

Physical and sexual abuse in schools, once seen as an isolated local concern, is now a national issue.

A Congressional report estimated that as many as 4.5 million K12 students are subject to sexual misconduct and physical or verbal abuse, with other research concluding that less than 10 percent of abusers are ever caught or identified.

A recent U.S. Government Accountability Office report stated that schools lack a systemic approach to preventing and reporting educator sexual abuse on students, despite nearly one in 10 being subjected to this misconduct.

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