To help keep students safe amid increased rates of gun violence, school leaders should create threat-assessment teams to discuss potential situations, Superintendent Lawrence Filippelli of Lincoln Public Schools in Rhode Island recommends, and Joe Erardi, a retired district superintendent in Connecticut, advises school leaders to maintain a professional relationship with the community's top public safety official. In some urban districts, community organizations are hiring people to stand watch on walking routes to schools.
Bringing students and all their devices back into school buildings can strain internet bandwidth, network consultant Ethan Banks writes. Properly managing all a school's wireless access points and monitoring network junction utilization can improve internet connections and help schools plan technology budgets wisely, Banks advises.
School districts across the country are working to fill teacher and staff vacancies with strategies such as recruiting former military personnel and adjunct professors, offering four-day weeks or signing bonuses and encouraging high-school students to pursue teaching careers. In Massachusetts, the National Guard has been enlisted to help drive school buses, while a Nevada district is recruiting retired employees to work in special education.
The District of Columbia Public Schools has increased the number of early hires for high-needs schools by 158% since 2016-17, according to a report from think tank FutureEd. Since 2009, the district has used the five-step TeachDC hiring process, which has also led to increased diversity among the district's teaching staff and improved retention of top teachers, the report finds.
Charter-school enrollment grew by 7% in 2020-21 over the previous year, the biggest increase in five years, according to a report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools covering 41 states and the District of Columbia. During the same period, public-school enrollment declined by approximately 3.3%, led by decreases in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten -- a pandemic-related figure that's expected to bounce back this year, researcher Robin Lake of the Center on Reinventing Public Education says.
The Wyoming State Board of Education has asked the state Education Department to add suicide-prevention awareness to the health curriculum for students in grades 6-12 after a related bill didn't make it out of the state Legislature last year. Recent public comment on a review of state health standards showed 64% of respondents noting a need for suicide-prevention education.
If details for a new charter-school approval process in Iowa are finalized by January, applications received by February by the State Board of Education could result in charter schools opening in time for the 2022-23 school year, education department general counsel Thomas Mayes said last week. The new pathway to charter-school approval in the state, approved last year, will allow a school's founding group to bypass local school board approval and go straight to the State Board of Education for a ruling.
More after-school programs offered STEM opportunities between 2014 and 2020, but participation in such programs dropped by 1.3 million students, with 79% of the decline representing students from lower-income households, according to the nonprofit Afterschool Alliance. The programs' costs and families' struggles with providing transportation are the biggest barriers to increasing access, the study says.
Giving students ownership of their education, helping teachers become inspiring and focusing on digging deep with curriculum -- even for one part of one subject -- can help schools inspire students and teachers to create "beautiful" and meaningful work, veteran educator and author Ron Berger asserts in this Q&A. Schools and school leaders can work toward this goal by creating an environment that values a growth mindset among teachers, with more time for teamwork, collaborative planning and professional learning opportunities, Berger says.
Twenty-three private or religious schools in the country were included among 325 to receive the 2021 National Blue Ribbon Schools designation from the US Department of Education. Among the awardees were several Catholic schools within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
- Page 1