Minnesota school district Superintendent Ed Graff says school leadership is "not for the faint of heart," and adds that his office has developed leadership profiles for each school to ease leadership transitions and ensure the best environment for students. In this Q&A, Graff, who formerly led the school district in Anchorage, Alaska, says school success hinges on alignment among stakeholders such as students, community members and parents.
One New York school district, to recruit novice teachers, held a job fair that featured a panel of teachers talking about the rewards of the career. Elizabeth Wood, assistant superintendent for instruction for the district, says they're facing shortages of applicants in areas such as math, special education and computer sciences.
Arkansas' Legislative Council last week cleared revised state school accreditation standards approved by the Arkansas State Board of Education that allow schools to drop formerly required journalism courses. The standards require schools to offer a minimum of 38 courses in broad subject areas such as math and English, but no longer mandate specific courses.
Students at a California middle school are learning about entrepreneurship through the LaunchPad program at the University of California at San Diego. Students spent a week researching a problem that interested them, being mentored by business professionals and presenting their ideas for a product to solve a problem.
Oregon high-school principal David Plotts, who has spent 21 years on the job, at one point served as principal, vice principal and athletic director amid difficult financial times for his district. Plotts now is retiring as the longest-serving principal at the school, but plans to continue as coach of the girls' basketball team.
School district leaders in Minnesota are rethinking their methods for recruiting teachers to address shortages. Some strategies include recruiting at local colleges, hiring students finishing up degrees in needed areas and offering signing bonuses as well as other perks.
The Colorado State Board of Education has approved use of the Next Generation Science Standards in state classrooms. The standards, which are used by 38 states, require students to rely on experiments and inquiry to learn instead of memorization.
Middle-grades students in Connecticut are learning a more diverse version of their state's history since the list of approved historical figures that students can use for research projects was updated to include more African-Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and women. Teacher Wendy Martin said about a third of her students selected one of the newer individuals on the list for their research projects.
A Kentucky middle school's summer camp is teaching students the basics of computer programming. During the weeklong camp, students learn lessons that carry over to other subjects, such as the importance of spelling code correctly and reviewing work carefully to look for mistakes, instructor Stephanie Roemer said.
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