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There is an increased demand nationally for dual-language programs in Portuguese, German, French and Mandarin. ( nito100)

Foreign language instruction is moving toward a proficiency-based approach. Today’s students need to develop interpretive, presentational and interpersonal skills, moving beyond conjugating verbs and memorizing vocabulary.

Inquiry-based instruction allows teachers to translate the C3 framework for social studies standards into hands-on classroom lessons ( Henrik Jonsson)

Technology is quickly becoming a popular tool in social studies classrooms as teachers find ways to make history come alive for their students, who simultaneously learn about content and improve their technology skills.

Teacher Ron Hustvedt is selling a smart product.

In his classroom at the Salk STEM Magnet School in Elk River School District in Minnesota, Hustvedt encourages his history students to buy into his brand of inquiry-based learning.

This year’s National Council of the Social Studies Outstanding Teacher of the Year at the middle school level says his students are learning about people, places, viewpoints and character, among other lessons.

Atlanta’s film industry has in recent years boomed to third place behind Los Angeles and New York City, and incoming studios noted a major skills gap when looking for videographers, scene constructors, prop creators and costume designers. Leaders of Fulton County Schools in Georgia responded

Young adults in Fulton County, Georgia, who have learning and developmental disabilities such as cerebral palsy and autism, continue to gain career support from their school district even after they’ve completed high school.

The Learning Independence for Employment (LIFE) program connects students age 18 to 22 with jobs at Atlanta-area employers, such as Georgia State University, Verizon Wireless, Kimberly-Clark Corporation and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.

COMPASSION IN ACTION—At Johnston Elementary School in Buncombe County Schools, police officers spent time with students last summer after three shootings in the community. The school uses “compassionate response,” which in part means giving students specific duties to feel proud of themselves and valued by staff.

Educators across the country have boosted student performance by weaving social-emotional lessons—such as regulating emotion, accepting mistakes and coping with stress—into everyday instruction.

NAVIGATING REFERRALS—Chris Walker, principal of Central High at Muncie Community Schools, works with Samantha Ivy, a family navigator at the school. Navigators in part handle referrals and intakes for students and families who may need behavioral health services, based on an assessment from a local mental health agency.

Here are three approaches to social-emotional learning

Washoe County Schools, Nevada

District social-emotional learning standards address five crucial competencies—self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and decision-making.

The district has defined indicators for development in each area, such as “demonstrates knowledge of personal strengths, challenges and potential.”

Educational publishers say they understand the draw of free or one-off materials for purchase online. But they caution administrators: Just because you can build a car from parts and tutorial videos from the internet, it doesn’t mean it makes sense.

Many publishers employ experts who have doctorates in instructional and curriculum design—which they say is a different skill set from classroom teaching.

Collaborative work: Grandview Elementary School teachers sit in on a professional development workshop on fluency. The Washington district’s homegrown curriculum is created by district coaches and consultants, along with teacher input.

When only 13 percent of sophomores at the Grandview School District in Washington passed the state math exams six years ago, administrators decided to develop their own curriculum.

District Administration surveyed readers on the race for president. (Click to enlarge)

When the next president takes office in January, he or she will preside over major shifts in the K12 education landscape—from implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act and Common Core, to the rollout of nationwide STEM initiatives, to the simmering battles over charters, school choice and teachers unions.