In the Madison Metropolitan School District, the Research & Program Evaluation Office provides rigorous and high-quality research and analysis to support district priorities. By using data dashboards to create accessible, easy-to-understand visualizations of a wide variety of district information, the office has helped administrators understand what's working, what's not working and why, improving strategic decision making.
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.
Attend this web seminar to learn about these keys to creating coherent assessment systems, from NWEA vice president of education research John Cronin.
The world of work is quickly redefining what it means to be ready—a broader set of goals that reflect fast-paced, complex and diverse workplaces. Students need to be great communicators, collaborators and critical thinkers that can tackle novel problems. In order to prepare students to be really ready for their futures, we must define what that means for them now—not just once they graduate from high school.
While administrators can face a variety of challenges when it comes to mobile device deployments and BYOD environments, using mobile technologies effectively can provide new opportunities for learning, including rethinking the age-old institution of homework.
Learning through problem solving promotes deep, coherent mathematics understanding. It is a critical tool for creating a highly effective learning environment for students. Through the use of strong routines, students learn how to take an active role in reasoning and sense making. Active learning will help students understand new mathematical concepts and relationships as they progress in their school careers.
Many district leaders are challenged with developing whole-school, data-driven, prevention-based frameworks for improving learning outcomes for every student. Under the new provisions of ESSA, district leaders are also mandated to build curriculum capacity using a layered continuum of evidence-based practices and systems, to improve outcomes for students in Tiers 2-3 and special education.
Built on proven best practices, and based on decades of firsthand instructional experience, the Dixon Nolan Adams Mathematics resources from Solution Tree focus on taking approaches to professional development that can enhance the knowledge, skills, and effectiveness of mathematics teachers, promoting deeper student understanding of mathematics concepts and improving student achievement.
Is it possible to help low-performing high school students avoid remedial classes in college reading and writing? Leaders in many states believe it is indeed possible and are now offering “college prep” courses that ensure low-performing students will have the reading and writing skills they need when they graduate from high school.
Attend this web seminar to take a look at the issues around providing effective college prep and to learn about solutions that can assist low-performing students before they enter higher ed.
The maker movement is poised to transform K12 learning. Makerspaces—workshop areas that provide tools and raw materials for students to invent, create, collaborate and learn—reinforce STEM skills and enable more authentic learning. While there are a variety of ways to design and build makerspaces, there are some key strategies administrators can employ to ensure their program is successful.
While developing reading skills as early as possible is vitally important because of its strong correlation to overall academic achievement, engaging elementary students with reading both in school and at home can be a challenge. At the Oak Grove Elementary School—part of the Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida—administrators took an innovative approach to address the reality that just 17 percent of their preK-3 students were reading at grade level.
Professional development in K12 is in the early stages of a paradigm shift, away from the traditional, top-down, “sit and get” model and toward one that is participant-driven, grassroots-oriented and collaborative. Edcamps, PLC’s and the “unconference” movement are seen by many as part of the future of professional development.
Teacher and employee engagement has been found to be a crucial component in the success of a school district, positively impacting student achievement, improving employee retention and reducing turnover.
Professional development is a key component of any district, but what takes professional learning to the next level of engagement and effectiveness is being able to differentiate and personalize professional growth for each teacher or administrator. In a recent survey about the subject, Personalized Professional Learning, over 500 educators from around the country shared their insights on best practices and challenges for creating a personalized professional learning climate in a district.
One of the newest technologies being applied in K12 STEM coursework today is 3D printing, which helps to fuel creativity, problem solving and project-based learning while exposing students to tools they may use later in their careers. 3D printing can also be used at the middle school level to prepare students for more advanced work in high school.
More assessment data is available to district leaders than ever before, providing insights into student learning throughout the school year and at the individual student, classroom, school and district levels. However, all of this data will not have a positive impact unless district leaders have a clear strategy to use the insights gained from assessments to inform crucial decisions.
Personalized learning has become a catch-all phrase, often used to describe technology in the classroom rather than a new approach to teaching and learning. In order for personalized learning to effectively improve student outcomes, however, there are four key components that must be a part of any district’s personalized learning environment.
Attend this web seminar to learn what the Core 4 elements are and how to align professional development to them. It is only when all four are in place that personalized learning succeeds and student achievement increases.
Digital assessment tools provide a unique opportunity to personalize learning, by enabling seamless connection between a district’s curriculum, assessments and achievement data to give immediate feedback that guides teaching and improves learning on a daily basis.
Social-emotional learning (SEL) helps students be able to self-regulate, understand and manage emotions, show empathy for others, develop positive relationships, solve problems with peers and make responsible decisions—all skills that help them succeed in school and in life. Fostering SEL in a district can create safe and inclusive learning environments, boost students’ academic success, and help reduce incidences of bullying, drug use and dropping out.
Many states and districts are facing unprecedented teacher shortages. As a result, many have implemented or are expanding existing programs that offer alternative routes to licensure or certification for those seeking to become teachers from another career.
Research shows that when students are provided with the opportunity to engage with just-right, high-interest books and relevant learning activities, they can avoid the “summer slide” that robs them of literacy gains they have made during the school year. But, finding ways to encourage and foster summer reading can be a challenge for many districts.
With the modernization of E-rate and the increase in available funding for school districts, many administrators face a strategic choice when it comes to their network. Some districts may choose a managed service through a third-party vendor, while others want to keep their network managed in-house by district staff. There are pros and cons to each model and several key considerations every district should examine before making this important IT decision.
By leveraging technology and digital content, schools can create highly effective 21st-century teaching and learning environments that significantly impact student engagement and drive achievement. In order to create these environments across a district, however, administrators first need to create a strategic digital conversion plan.
Education leaders are rallying to transform America’s high schools to better prepare students for their future of meeting the economic need of high-skill, high-demand jobs for students right out of school as well as for college graduates. Career readiness programs are igniting a passion for learning in students and providing them opportunities for training and certifications, while keeping them on track to graduate.
References to vocabulary development are interwoven throughout the College and Career Readiness Standards in what might at first seem like jigsaw puzzle pieces. However, when we learn how to put the pieces together, they reveal a coherent picture. The goal is to provide students with the word knowledge and vocabulary strategies they need to succeed as readers, writers, speakers, listeners, and thinkers across many domains to successfully access text, communicate across the curriculum, and acquire the content knowledge needed for college and careers.
A key component of building a data driven culture is ensuring that all teachers and administrators can access and interact with all student data from a variety of sources in one easy-to-access location, providing an accurate, real-time picture of student, teacher, and school performance.
Blended learning is having a positive impact in schools and districts across the country, but there are a number of key strategies that can advance blended learning to its next generation of even greater effectiveness and improved achievement. The formula for driving active learning comes from the synergy of blending three key elements: product design, instructional design and school design.
Administrators have a variety of responsibilities in managing a district, but certain tasks can be burdensome and distract from the core mission of the school system. Purchasing, deploying and managing learning resources such as textbooks and other materials are time consuming and costly tasks that can weigh down administrators. However, outsourcing these tasks to an experienced partner can increase efficiency, reduce costs and ensure the right learning resources get in the hands of students.
While administrators have access to more performance data than ever before, too often they are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information and unable to use it strategically, and student performance data is stored in ways that prevent it from being used to inform important decisions. But, creating data dashboards can give district leadership the ability to analyze enormous amounts of disparate data in a simple, visual way, resulting in more effective and informed decision making throughout the school system.
The School District of Lee County in Florida is in the midst of one of the largest education Chromebook implementations in the country, distributing some 18,000 devices along with Google Apps accounts to all students in grades 6-8, in part to meet state mandates that all Florida students use exclusively digital instructional materials by the 2015-2016 school year.
Many of the threats to school districts are events that can happen every day. Bullying, theft, vandalism, harassment and even liability can pose significant challenges for school administrators who want to help keep students and staff members safe. Technology can play a major role in addressing these threats and making campuses safer, but it is important to consider that the effectiveness of virtually any safety technology is reliant upon human factors.
Online and blended learning continue to grow in usage as instructional models while redefining the education landscape, creating better academic outcomes by providing students with the personalized attention, support and resources they need, while enabling teachers to spend more time differentiating instruction.
While teacher quality is known to be the most significant factor both in student achievement and the overall success of a school district, the recruiting and hiring of teachers often lack a cohesive, comprehensive strategy. Hiring less-than-ideal candidates can have far-reaching consequences, negatively impacting student learning as well as strategic district initiatives, and contributing to high turnover and instability.
Computers and mobile devices aren’t just changing the way that content is delivered, they have changed the way that students engage with their learning and the role of the teacher. But, the expansion of 1:1 and BYOD initiatives, flipped classrooms and anytime, anywhere learning has created a variety of management challenges. Administrators are faced with managing a proliferation of laptops, smartphones, tablets, Chromebooks and other devices with small staffs and limited budgets.
Virtual learning can offer a variety of benefits to districts as well as students. Implementing virtual and online learning can help to ensure that students are ready for college and career, as well as compensate for teacher shortages in critical areas, help to meet the requirements of the Common Core and state standards, and get the most out of limited budget resources.
With so much emphasis being placed on testing and accountability, many educators may be missing the single greatest opportunity to drive student outcomes—teacher-created formative assessment with timely, targeted interventions. But can truly personalized learning become a reality when faced with limited classroom time?
Attend this webinar to hear how Minnesota’s Edina Public Schools leveraged powerful assessment solutions to help educators focus their time on what matters most—fueling student growth.
The changing landscape of K12 education in the 21st century has transformed the role of the school principal. Today the expanded leadership responsibilities of principals have made them more crucial than ever to the success of a school district.