District Management

How to change your school culture on the cheap – Education Article

If you’ve ever been to a special event, a professional or collegiate game, or even a fundraiser, you likely observed a promoter, DJ, or other variation of a court jester launching promotional t-shirts into the crowd. Everyone goes crazy and, as the t-shirts are tossed or shot out of a cannon, people jump up to grab the items with energy and excitement. Why? Is this t-shirt a first edition made exclusive by Ralph Lauren? Made out of diamonds? Certainly not.…

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How we increased our graduation rate and student achievement – Education Article

[Editor’s note: Welcome to our newest feature, Turnaround Tuesdays. Each week, we will share a story about how a district used technology in schools to improve something. Come back each week for insight on transforming everything from reading scores to wireless network performance.] Demographics: Miami-Dade County (FL) Public Schools (MDCPS) is the fourth-largest school district in the United States, comprised of 392 schools, 345,000 students, and over 40,000 employees. Located at the southern end of the Florida peninsula, the school district…

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Are educators using SEL to empower or to manipulate? – Education Article

Our 30 years of experience researching, teaching, and implementing social-emotional learning (SEL) has established that the purpose of SEL is to produce mental health and well-being outcomes for children. However, the current level of thinking about SEL in education is primarily focused on producing academic outcomes. An example of this level of thinking is The Aspen Institute-sponsored National Commission on Social Emotional & Academic Development report, From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope, published in January. While…

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6 lessons our district learned from our move to blended learning – Education Article

Temple Independent School District (ISD), which is located north of Austin and south of Waco, Texas, has a very diverse student population. More than 75 percent of our students are economically disadvantaged and our ethnicity is comprised of roughly equal distribution of African-American, Hispanic, and Caucasian. Like other similar districts, we meet our students’ needs through enhancing instruction, building strong relationships between students and their teachers, and creating opportunities for students to take ownership of their learning. Despite our success,…

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3 steps for bridging the equity divide in classrooms – Education Article

When Robert Runcie became superintendent of Broward County (FL) Public School District (BCPS) in 2011, he faced more than academic challenges. As the sixth-largest school district in the country, serving over 275,000 public and public charter school students, BCPS boasts an extremely diverse student population representing over 200 countries and over 190 languages. The diversity of our student population was not reflective of our teaching staff, which created challenges for students and educators. In addition to developing strategic approaches to improving…

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How to transform a library into a makerspace – Education Article

In a recent edWebinar, hosted by edWeb.net, Michelle Luhtala, library department chair, and Donna Burns, technology integrator, both from New Canaan High School (NCHS) in Connecticut, showcased the transformation of the NCHS library from a collection of used reference and biography books into a living, breathing makerspace. Using mostly recyclable materials, equipment, and furniture, these educators are providing learning opportunities for students and teachers that have changed the school climate and culture. “Making learning more real for students allows them…

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The 7 coolest edtech products I saw at FETC – Education Article

I saw many interesting products at FETC 2019 in Orlando last week, but here are the ones that resonated most strongly because of their uniqueness and immediate classroom application. 1. Lucid for Education Lucid is one of those companies that you may not have heard of, but you definitely should! They have a visual learning toolkit that helps students learn to collaborate using 21st-century skills while making deeper connections to prior knowledge. By creating digital resources and presentations with other students…

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How we turned around our district’s literacy scores – Education Article

[Editor’s note: Welcome to our newest feature, Turnaround Tuesdays. Each week, we will share a story about how a district used technology in schools to improve something. Come back each week for insight on transforming everything from reading scores to wireless network performance.] Demographics: Rowan-Salisbury (NC) School System serves 18,382 students across 35 schools. Biggest challenge: Our school district was considered a low-performing district by the state of North Carolina. Low-performing is given to a district when more than half…

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How to think like a leader – Education Article

Schools are experiencing a dramatic shift from how they’ve been run and structured for over a century. Leaders must establish direction, influence others, and initiate sustainable change as they navigate the ever-evolving landscape of education. Such leadership requires a dynamic combination of positive mindset, influential behaviors, and effective skills. Stepping into a leader role requires a change in thinking from “How can I be the best for me?” to “How can I be the best to help my people do…

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6 apps for parent-teacher communication – Education Article

Communication between parents and teachers is an essential ingredient that fuels the learning process for students. When parents and teachers keep each other in the loop, they can notify each other of achievements, behavioral problems, health issues, and more. Unfortunately, even the most well-intentioned students forget to pass on information to their parents. Or they might have difficulty remembering the correct details, meaning that parents ultimately get inaccurate messages. Sometimes, poor communication also means that kids miss out on opportunities.…

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Feeling the midyear slump? Recharge your meetings with MicroPD – Education Article

As principal of a middle school, I meet weekly with teachers and school counselors to discuss team and department progress of our students. I know that teachers—tasked with helping students achieve and dealing with adolescents—can quickly become energy depleted, even disenfranchised, seeing slow progress for the most at-risk and time-consuming among our students. At the beginning of the year, when we are euphoric and well-rested and looking forward to helping all children, we establish SMART goals and meeting protocols. The middle…

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5 easy ways to get parents involved in SEL – Education Article

Social-emotional learning (SEL) equips students with the skills to regulate their emotions, build resilience to stress and challenges, make responsible decisions, collaborate well with others, and empathize and communicate effectively with their peers—all the skills needed to live a healthy and productive life. SEL is becoming the foundation of many schools across the globe. However, building these core social emotional skills takes time. Like all other skills, social-emotional skills need to be nurtured and learning needs to be ritualized. SEL…

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5 things standing between K-12 schools and innovation – Education Article

Sustaining and scaling innovation is one of the top hurdles K-12 district leaders face as they strive to bring new and bold ideas to education, according to a new CoSN report. Hurdles are more than just “pesky obstacles” to innovation, the authors note in Driving K-12 Innovation: 2019 Hurdles. These challenges slow down progress and force educators to make sure they’re prepared for the leap to innovation. The report is the first of three in a series focusing on hurdles,…

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5 big ideas for education innovation in 2019 – Education Article

Over the last year, education innovators around the country continued to pursue expanded definitions of student success, personalized approaches, and wholly new models of school. For many, the very real challenges of change management and discovering ways to promote scale with quality dominated 2018. But for those conversations to go a level deeper, we can’t assume that these new measures and new models are fully baked or that everything deemed “new” is at it seems. Looking ahead, here are five…

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Why leveraging computer science is crucial to every classroom – Education Article

In the ever-changing technological world, computer science is not only becoming more prominent in classrooms, but a staple in education. Computer science combines the principles of technology and use of computers to educate learners on both the hardware and software of computer technology. The field of computer science is exceptionally diverse, as the skill sets are in-demand across practically every industry—serving as a lucrative and stable career pathway. In addition, computer science has many facets, meaning educators can leverage various…

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9 innovation tips from pioneering schools – Education Article

Stories about innovation seem to be everywhere, and with good reason–educators are searching for groundbreaking strategies to inspire and improve education for every student in every classroom. Because innovation is topmost in many educators’ minds, eSchool News put out a call for innovative educators, schools, and districts across the U.S. through the inaugural Distinguished Innovator Awards program. (Read more about our winners here!) Our panel of judges chose one winner per category, but we received so many inspiring nominations that…

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Benefits & advice for transitioning edtech to the cloud – Education Article

At the beginning of the edtech wave, superintendents saw many benefits from using digital resources in the classroom. But, they also saw a large number of resources being recommitted to just this one aspect of education: space for server farms, money for hardware and software upgrades, overworked personnel, etc. District IT offices were taking on the same tasks as Fortune 500 companies without the ability to implement them as effectively. For administrators looking to take the focus of edtech away…

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How to cut your bus disciplinary referrals by 67 percent – Education Article

Several years ago, my school adopted a Positive Behavior Support Program (PBSIS) program. Solutions to persistent problems pointed school climate in the right direction, reduced disciplinary referrals, and tackled bullying incidents (suspensions decreased by four times, and bullying incidents by three times). PBSIS and programs like it are replicable, if school communities and their leaders are patient and sustained in adoption. Resources are available for free. Part of implementing such a program includes a schoolwide identification of problem areas in…

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How to instill an entrepreneurial mindset district-wide – Education Article

As the superintendent of a large urban high school district, I have the opportunity to help identify and implement innovative programs that help prepare our students for success. In my seven years leading East Side Union (CA) High School District (ESUHSD), I’ve watched our schools empower students to transform their lives and thrive in a global society. We’ve seen impressive growth, and a big element of our success is due to the partnerships we have forged. We’ve collaborated successfully with curriculum partners…

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Language barriers still impede home-school communication – Education Article

Just a little more than half (55 percent) of teachers in a recent survey say their schools translate parent correspondence into other languages, despite federal data showing that almost 5 million U.S. students are English language learners (ELL). The survey from communication app ClassDojo highlights the communication challenges teachers and families face each day due to language barriers. Of the teachers who say their school does translate communications, 36 percent say they rely on a teacher who speaks the language…

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Student wellbeing & SEL are more important than you think – Education Article

[Editor’s note: eSchool News is thrilled to partner with The Brzycki Group to help our audience navigate the growing body of work and best practices in student wellbeing and social-emotional learning (SEL). These are important topics for eSchool News, and we’re excited to work with the Bryzcki Group, who have provided leadership to student wellbeing for more than 30 years. We want to be the central source for our audience and help highlight the great work institutions are doing to address these…

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Improving student achievement through choice – Education Article

Exeter (CA) Unified School District is a small, rural district with approximately 2,800 students, 61 percent of whom are Hispanic and 62 percent of whom are socioeconomically disadvantaged. Approximately one in seven of our students are English language learners. When we looked at our reading and math scores a few years back, we found that we weren’t seeing the growth we were hoping to see. With a renewed focus on the basics of literacy and math, a technology infusion, and a…

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One small, shy child changed my school’s dress code – Education Article

So often, when children attempt to advocate for something they believe in at school, adults make the mistake of getting defensive and worse, stand by the mantra that “This is the way things are,” without ever examining why they are the way they are. Last spring, as the weather warmed in New Jersey, we announced and reposted our dress code. Rather than the usual murmurs and griping about fairness we often hear among middle-school adolescents, an interesting thing happened. The…

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15 trends that hinder, accelerate, and enable K-12 innovation – Education Article

While new trends such as extended reality and mobile devices are enabling expansive changes in K-12 education, innovation is often impeded by obstacles such as clunky professional development and digital equity, according to new research. These new insights on what hinders and what support K-12 innovation come from CoSN’s Driving K-12 Innovation series, which highlights new trends supporting the use of emerging technology in K-12 education. As part of the initiative, CoSN convenes a global advisory board of K-12 leaders,…

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7 ways to rethink school/family partnerships – Education Article

The current toolbox for growing the school/family partnership is broken. It is a system built on old communication methods, inequitable access, and ineffective gatherings. This leaves the support and synergy between home and school less than optimal in most situations. The old open house, parent conference, and PTO model leaves all parties disappointed around an essential partnership needed to support students through the growing complexities of school and life. Instead of doing the same things marginally better, schools and districts…

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3 lessons from students about improving school culture – Education Article

When the administrators at Vestavia Hills High School in Alabama were tasked with creating a leadership program, they knew one thing right away: They did not want to develop another program that tapped only the top students and did nothing the engage the rest of the student body. The resulting Youth Leadership program has not only had a positive impact on the school’s culture, but also provided the school’s administrators with several important lessons. In their edWebinar, “Build a Positive…

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Teaching faculty to think like innovators – Education Article

The rapid pace of technological change has forever transformed the face of the global workplace. In fact, its future is unimagined; 85 percent of jobs that will exist in 2030 have yet to be created. As all brave explorers on any frontier know, survival in an uncertain world requires adaptability, resilience, and resourcefulness. Today’s educators must nurture these traits in students to prepare them to meet whatever challenges await and to succeed in a new order. Schools are thus charged with…

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Cross training can help district leaders sleep more soundly – Education Article

Would you panic if a key employee left your school or district? That should never happen from a business situation, as shortsightedness can cause massive problems for an organization. One of the most inefficient ways to save money in the short term is to not replace employees in mission-critical functions throughout the school or district. Mission-critical tasks are exactly that. Too often, complacency can turn tragic. There are many cases where the district relies on a single long-term employee to…

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