district management

6 district management challenges, solved

Leading schools and districts is no easy feat--here are some great examples of how leaders solved their district management challenges

District leaders are faced with a plethora of challenges, including how and when to deploy technology initiatives, ensuring equity across schools with different demographics, and promoting cultural awareness.

These challenges are complicated by funding obstacles, teacher and community buy-in, varying resource availability, and more.

Here, we’ve gathered advice of school leaders and administrators in districts across the country. As you read their stories, you’ll learn how they solved problems and challenges unique to their districts, such as making data user-friendly and highlighting tolerance and diversity.

Read on for a handful of new best practices in district management:

1. 9 common leadership missteps to avoid: There are many different characteristics and traits of a good leader, including learning how to recognize missteps
The role of school administrator is evolving from a building manager into an instructional leader. This shift is not easy, and all leaders strive to be the best they can. Being a school leader isn’t easy and you are not going to make the right call all the time. However, you can learn to avoid common missteps.

2. Here’s how we made data usable for our teachers: A California superintendent shares how his district made sense of the data and helped students learn
In today’s digital classroom, teachers have access to more data than ever. With a few clicks, we can view detailed reports on student test scores, formative assessments, progress reports from self-paced software, attendance, and so much more. At times, the amount of data can feel overwhelming, especially when each data point only exists as an isolated channel, unrelated to the next.

3. Six steps to help your district systematically personalize education: Personalizing education requires a transformational shift in the design of schooling that includes every stakeholder
For the past decade, personalization has been a hot topic in education. You may have wondered if it’s a real and attainable goal for your school system or if it’s some holy grail that many seek but few achieve. Community Consolidated School District 93 (CCSD93) in Illinois has been working to shift its instructional delivery system to a more personalized approach since the 2012-13 school year. While many believe that personalized learning is an instructional strategy directly tied to a laptop or tablet, for CCSD93, it goes well beyond that.

4. Three tenets for developing cultural competency in schools: Here are some ways your district can help students feel included, safe, and supported
Although educational equity is a fundamental pillar of the American education system, school districts are struggling to ensure their students feel included, safe, and supported. This is in large part due to a shift in the demographic makeup of the student population (non-white students are expected to make up the majority of public schools by 2024), while the demographic makeup of the teaching workforce remains constant (80 percent of teachers during the 2015-2016 school year were white).

5. Six reasons we broke free from traditional PD: PD was out of touch in our district, so we charted a new path that uses a blended model
For years, professional development (PD) has been out of touch with what educators already know to be best practice, and how we are asking teachers to think about their classrooms. Far too often, PD agendas are set without any input from teachers and do not include time to reflect or discuss real classroom application. Far too often, strategies and tools are discussed once, and then never again.

6. Five reasons we switched to financing edtech instead of buying: Here’s how one district gave students the learning environment they needed
Like many school districts around the country, D.C. Everest (WI) Area School District purchased a hodgepodge of edtech devices over time to meet the needs of our growing student population, teachers, and available budgets.
Four years ago, a study of inventory found that we were close to having one device per student for our K-12 district of more than 6,000 students, yet the way our tech had been purchased didn’t create an equitable environment.

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Laura Ascione
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