Educators at a Florida middle school have worked to change the school's culture and academic offerings and have improved its state rankings from an "F" to a "C." The school is launching six academic academies that allow students to focus on pathways from law to tourism, and has created community partnerships that provide free supplies, mentoring and online access to high-school classes.
A Minnesota school district is opening a new school to help fourth- and fifth-graders prepare for the transition between elementary and middle school. Students will have access to lockers and will be grouped in houses that will switch between two classrooms to get them used to a multi-classroom setting.
New Hampshire elementary-school principal Chas Miller is hosting a listening tour to hear the concerns of teachers, students and parents as he begins his new job. Miller says he wants to understand the needs of stakeholders and says he believes "everybody needs a voice in the school."
Middle-schoolers developed business skills through a summer camp called Camp Innoventure, held by New Mexico State University, where they made items and sold them at a farmers market. Students learned about branding, marketing and profits, and kept the money made by selling their goods.
Officials in some South Carolina school districts say they're struggling to find enough teachers and bus drivers for the school year. One district has offered employees a $500 bonus if they recruit a bus driver who stays on the job for at least six months.
The Mississippi Board of Education has voted to delay a decision on approving a new A-F grading system for schools until the state School Accreditation Commission has had more time to discuss the policy. Board members say, without the change, fewer high schools would be able to earn A's and more would see F grades.
An Illinois junior high school is aiming to change how it grades students to offer feedback beyond grades. According to the proposal, teachers would rank students on a number scale for academic habits, such as classroom engagement and initiative, while practice assignments, such as homework and quizzes, would receive more weight in letter grades.
K-12 education experts say some of the top concerns for district leaders implementing the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act center on such areas as testing and fair distribution of funding. Jeff Simering, director of legislative services for the Council of the Great City Schools, says he expects leaders to have more questions as states finalize their accountability plans.
Organizations that make the most progress incorporating diversity into their mission are those that have the full support of top leaders, says Joelle Emerson, CEO of consulting company Paradigm. In this Q&A, Emerson notes the most effective leaders are those who prioritize diversity and hold workers accountable for achieving that goal.
Poor professional development for teachers and lack of home internet access for students are among the reasons teachers struggle to integrate technology in their classroom, Brendon Hyndman writes in this commentary. Training sessions aimed at addressing different tech scenarios and a community that lets teachers share practices can help ease this process, Hyndman says.
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