5. Fighting chronic absenteeism with student support initiatives
Tom Strasburger, Vice President, Strategic Alliances for PublicSchoolWORKS
In 2017, the media increasingly highlighted chronic absenteeism in the nation’s schools. When students skip school – whether it is because they are being bullied, they do not feel safe at school, or there are factors at home that prevent them from going to school – it creates a serious negative impact.
In addition to the obvious effect absenteeism has on a student’s academic success, it also impacts their social and emotional well-being. Many students receive services at school they could not receive otherwise, including free-and-reduced breakfast and lunch, counseling and other wraparound services, and more. Missing out on these services can have serious long-term effects for the student. Additionally, chronic absenteeism also affects a district’s funding.
Schools get federal and state funds based on daily attendance, so if students are chronically absent, schools end up taking a hit in funding. For example, Los Angeles Unified School District’s attendance task force found that if each of its students attended one more day of school last year, the district would have received an additional $30 million in funding. This is a significant amount of money, but it is simply because of the district’s size and is based on other data. However, the impact is scalable to any size district.
Because of the detrimental side effects of absenteeism, schools and districts are beginning to recognize the importance of implementing intervention programs. These initiatives include bullying reporting and prevention programs; additional training to help educators and administrators identify and intervene on non-academic barriers to success, including homelessness, childhood abuse, mental health concerns, and teen dating violence; and the creation of additional student support groups.
6. Recertified equipment to help schools go 1:1
Glenn Collins, Vice President of Mobile Computing at CDI Computer Dealers
As more school districts adopt 1:1 initiatives, we see a rise in the number of districts choosing to purchase refurbished technology. This enables them to substantially reduce their cost per device and get to a 1:1 ratio faster. When purchased from a vendor with a rigorous recertification process, customers find that the refurbished devices perform just as well as new devices and have a lower failure rate.
By implementing 1:1 programs, schools are able to change the way they engage students in the learning process and drastically improve learning outcomes. Once implemented, teachers can easily deploy blended learning techniques or a flipped classroom model and can take advantage of the vast amount of quality online curricula that is now available. The cost of purchasing new technology can be daunting and can be a potential roadblock depending on a district’s budget. For many school districts, choosing refurbished technology has help helped to remove this roadblock and allow them to get to 1:1 faster.
7. Using cloud-based technology for faster access to high stakes assessment data
Brian Apperson, VP of Higher Education at Apperson Inc.
Schools will increasingly use cloud-based technology for high-stakes assessments in 2018. Gone are the days when pencil-and-paper tests were the only option for high-stakes tests and results took months to reach educators. The edtech industry has expanded to provide rich tools that allow schools to create and administer tests online, and then collect and analyze that data quickly and easily. The key to this is cloud-based technology.
Cloud-based assessment platforms integrate easily with SISs and LMSs, making them user-friendly. Housing data in the cloud also makes that data immediately accessible to those who need it. Keeping data in the cloud is actually safer and meets FERPA compliance better than using email to share data reports. Hybrid solutions are also available to help schools that are still transitioning from paper-based tests.
We live in a world that is increasingly gravitating toward online, cloud-based solutions for every aspect of life. Education is no different; that’s why we believe the move to cloud-based assessment platforms will be one of the big trends for 2018.
8. Taking a more proactive role in detecting and deterring cyberbullying
Richard Fuller, CEO of Impero Software
School districts will increasingly turn to technology in 2018 to detect and combat cyberbullying and other concerning behavior among students. A staggering 42 percent of U.S. students report that they have been bullied online, according to bullyingstatistics.org. Because students today have greater access to technology in school, this behavior often occurs during the school day.
10 education #trends for 2018
Luckily, technology exists to help schools monitor how students are using their school devices. Schools can install software that will alert a teacher or administrator of potential concerning situations, such as students bullying others on social media, exploring websites that encourage radicalization or violence, or searching for ways to commit suicide. Technology provides both amazing learning opportunities for students and new opportunities for dangerous or reckless behavior. As schools move to 1:1, they are taking a more proactive approach to stopping inappropriate student behavior.
9. Online schools will become more popular
Aviva Ebner, Ph.D., Principal at Uplift California South Charter, an online workforce readiness school
In 2018, we will see more high school students turning to online schools to earn their diplomas and obtain workforce training. Gone are the days of the traditional student. Students need a personalized approach to learning, and they need classes that fit their schedules and specific needs.
I believe online schooling will continue to grow in popularity because it offers this type of individualized approach. Students can take classes that fit their own flexible schedule, plus have access to course options ranging from college prep to credit recovery to career readiness.
Another reason online schooling will continue to be a trend in 2018 is because there is a swiftly growing need for a skilled workforce in high-demand fields.
Online schools, especially those with a workforce-development component, provide students with the specific classes and certification preparation these careers require. Students who might otherwise become dropouts at their brick-and-mortar schools now have an alternative for pursuing a diploma that not only touts completion of the high school curriculum, but also leads to a career.
Additionally, workforce-oriented online schools may also partner with their communities to offer job shadowing, internships, certification exam preparation, and other career resources to students, making this an increasingly popular option for students who want to enter the job market directly after high school.
10. Social and emotional learning will be an integral part of the school day
Paul LeBuffe, Vice President of Research and Development for Aperture Education
In 2018 we will see more schools adopting social and emotional learning (SEL) programs to help students learn the skills they need to succeed in life, such as personal responsibility, self-management, building relationships, and healthy decision-making.
In order for SEL to become an integral part of the school day, schools need both an effective curriculum that addresses the “whole child” and an assessment to identify a student’s social and emotional strengths as well as the skills that have not yet been acquired. This information can then guide instruction, resulting in more personalized and effective SEL programs.
In addition, schools will need good assessment data to show growth in social-emotional skills in order to document the effectiveness of their SEL programs and initiatives. The passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) opened the door for the use of non-academic measures of school effectiveness in local and state accountability systems. This catalyzed the discussion about–and the adoption of–SEL assessments as one of those measures.
Strengths-based SEL assessments can truly inform the work that schools are doing around SEL. As we look to teach students learn skills that will help them to be good citizens, SEL will become an integral part of the teaching and learning process.