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District Administration, February 2017

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Features

In the latest round of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) exam, given to more than 500,000 15-year-olds in 72 nations, students in the U.S. once again scored in the middle of the pack—and below average in math—raising concerns and sending educators looking for answers.

In the wake of a divisive presidential election, hundreds of students from about a dozen high schools in Oakland, California, cut class last November to voice their discontent with President-elect Donald Trump. 

On the first Friday of every school year, the new kindergartners of Utah’s Canyons School District look ahead to the future—far ahead. To mark Kindergarten College-Ready Day, the children make construction-paper mortar boards and march in mock graduation ceremonies.

Albemarle County, Virginia—A snake bit Pam Moran in front of her class on her first day of teaching 40 years ago. Moran, now a superintendent in Virginia, had no one to blame but herself on that fateful day in 1975.

District CIO

Andrew Smith, chief strategy officer in North Carolina’s Rowan-Salisbury School System, is leading a digital-first initiative that three years ago aimed to give an iPad or a MacBook Air to all students—and their teachers—from grades 3 through 12. Rowan-Salisbury became 1-to-1 by the 2014-15 school year.

Opinion

In 2013, the Onondaga Cortland Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services (OCM BOCES) brought hands-on learning to the next level by embedding some of its state-endorsed career and technical education (CTE) programs at local businesses.

As a leader in a school system today, it can be difficult to make the choice to move forward with a districtwide change, knowing that the team around you may not fully endorse your decision.

Briefings

Efforts to implement new high school graduation exams in Ohio and New Jersey are faltering, as some educators grow more concerned about the number of students struggling to meet the strict requirements. 

Millard Public Schools near Omaha, Nebraska, will switch to a college-like ranking system that designates graduates as magna cum laude, summa cum laude and cum laude.

Some parents of students in Magazine, Arkansas, can’t afford the gas to drive their sick child 50 miles to the nearest doctor, says Brett Bunch, superintendent of the town’s school district.

K12 education lags behind U.S. business and industry when it comes to using data to improve outcomes, says a 2016 report by the Center for Data Innovation.

While the controversial practice of corporal punishment declines, it remains legal in 19 states. In those states, boys, black students and children with disabilities are more likely to receive physical punishment than other students, according to recent report by the Society for Research in Child Development.

Principal at Mott Hall Bridges Academy in Brooklyn, New York, Nadia Lopez, uses innovative methods to help students become more successful and help K12 instructors teach more effectively. 

The issue of fake news drew national attention during the 2016 presidential campaign, when fabricated stories were widely accepted as genuine. According to recent research, the problem extends to K12 classrooms, where students have trouble judging the credibility of online information.

Departments

If you want to know what motivates students—and teachers and administrators, for that matter—Russell Quaglia says you have to go to the source.