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From DA Magazine

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Designing for disasters

Designing new buildings or retrofitting existing ones to meet standards for natural disasters is an especially complex challenge for school leaders. But building to a more modern code makes a district eligible for more federal assistance

Schools building for the future

Growing evidence shows that well-maintained and updated school facilities promote learning, as well as student and staff health, and help curb long-term school expenses.

Who’s still testing with PARCC and Smarter Balanced?

Another group of states in 2015-16 deployed their own Common Core-aligned assessments, adding greater momentum to a national shift away from the PARCC and Smarter Balanced testing consortia.

Results paint complex picture of Common Core

More than five years after many states implemented Common Core, the impact on student achievement remains unclear—though some states show small academic gains, with persistent achievement gaps.

Standout school systems honored

Meeting students’ psychological needs, improving STEM programs and fueling college and career access exemplify innovative solutions increasing student achievement nationwide. The 24 school systems honored in this round of District Administration’s Districts of Distinction national recognition program found creative ways to raise graduation rates and to build up administrative effectiveness.

Schools step up social media monitoring

Technology is a vital part of students’ lives: 92 percent of teens say they go online daily and 24 percent say they are logged in "almost constantly." One challenge for schools has been overcoming the perception that social media monitoring jeopardizes student privacy.

Every Student Succeeds unleashes school funding flexibility

The Every Student Succeeds Act reverses the trend of federal authority over K12 education. The new law returns state and local authority to levels that have not been seen in decades—and one of biggest changes is that ESSA increases fund transferability for key federal programs.

Zoology and botany magnet school comes to Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade County’s BioTECH @ Richmond Heights—a conservation-biology-focused STEM high school that opened in 2014-15 with help from an $11 million federal grant—focuses on zoology, botany, genetics, ecology, chemistry and environmental sciences.

Microcredentials provide highly personalized PD

Few teachers receive individualized professional development, though many are expected to personalize learning for students. Microcredentials—digital badges that teachers earn by learning a skill and demonstrating mastery through student results—offer a PD pathway designed to be highly differentiated and engaging.

New Orleans schools to reunify

With the reversal of the 2005 state takeover of most of New Orleans’ public schools, a charter-based district will for the first time in the United States be accountable to its local school board.