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BUILDING BONUS —Island Trees School District in New York saved about $500,000 a year after it reorganized a pair of K4 elementary schools into a K1 building and a school for grades 2 through 4.

Districts devote nearly 80 percent of their budgets to personnel costs—leaving little wiggle room for administrators tasked with maintaining fiscal responsibility and boosting the quality of education in a time of nearly stagnant funding.

Now more than ever, education leaders are being asked to develop assessment systems that support a huge variety of needs—student learning, system accountability, program evaluation and more—while providing the most value in the least amount of time. To meet this challenge, there are several principles that can guide administrators in creating the most effective assessment systems that meet their district’s needs.

In this web seminar, the vice president of education research at the NWEA discussed some of the keys to creating coherent assessment systems.

Students in North Carolina school district excel in national biology exam with AP advantage by McGraw-Hill Education

Lyceum Academy offers a rigorous, fully integrated AP® and honors-based curriculum at New Hanover High School in Wilmington, North Carolina. This 200-student “school within a school,” part of the most diverse school in New Hanover County, attracts students ready to face an educational challenge.

Leaders in Johnston County Schools in central North Carolina knew they needed to find more effective ways to help struggling students, close the achievement gap and meet their core instructional priorities. So they carefully planned a pilot program to choose the best adaptive learning system for the district’s 25,000 K8 students and their educators.

i-Ready and Ready help close achievement gaps in North Carolina district

Counties in North Carolina are rated on a scale from Tier 1 to Tier 4 for economic wealth, with Tier 1 counties being the most economically disadvantaged. Montgomery County Schools is located in a rural Tier 1 county in the geographic center of the state, with 77 percent of its 4,200 students receiving free and reduced lunch.

Curriculum Associates

Improving the writing skills of all 6,500 students emerged as a top priority for the administrators of Mississippi’s Gulfport School District beginning in fall 2014. “We needed a resource that addressed the rigorous writing requirements of the Common Core, as well as one that would allow educators to teach writing in a systematic way,” says Patty Cooper, ELA Curriculum Specialist for Gulfport.

Audio Enhancement

Like most districts, increasing the graduation rate is a top priority in the School District of Palm Beach County. And with 187 schools and 183,000 students, the Florida district has a large challenge.

Kimberly Moritz is in her seventh year as the superintendent of Randolph Central School District. Prior to leading the district of 977 K12 students in this rural community in western New York, Moritz worked as a teacher for ten years in a neighboring rural school district and as a principal in two other school districts. Moritz joined Randolph with the goal of raising the district’s historically average student achievement; for over a decade, Randolph was seeing mediocre results on state assessments.

The state of Alabama has made a bold move toward ensuring that all students are college- and career-ready by the time they graduate high school.

As opposed to the concept of “big data,” the compilation of system-wide information that provides a rear-view mirror’s perspective of behaviors and trends, “little” data for educators refers to the real-time, in-the-moment insights that can improve lesson delivery and learning outcomes. Significant investments have been made in classroom technologies, but few have provided teachers with the data and insight they need to assess each student’s comprehension in the moment of learning.

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