4 ways to support teachers after the holiday break

Teachers (and administrators) appreciate breaks as much as students do. Time away from the classroom allows teachers to clear their minds, celebrate the holidays, relax with family and friends, and maybe catch up on grading or lesson planning in comfy clothing, slippers, and with a ready cup of tea or coffee at hand.

Now that teachers have returned to their classrooms refreshed and ready for the second half of the year, school districts should have a plan to help them maintain that energy — and keep burnout at bay.

Here are four strategies school leaders can employ to support their educators, help reduce their stress and maintain their enthusiasm after the holidays (and all year long).…Read More

5 of the biggest education trends in 2023

With the start of a new year and education conference season just beginning, educators and industry leaders are discovering the biggest education trends for 2023. The past few years have seen a significant transformation for education and edtech, and 2023 will continue to bring new ideas and emerging technologies.

This year, schools are placing a focus on supporting students’ individual needs and recovering pandemic learning loss. Because of this, we will see an increase in edtech to support learning, better accommodations for students, a focus on wellbeing, and new approaches to teaching that engage with students’ interests and future careers.

Here are five of the biggest education trends for 2023:…Read More

5 ways our district streamlines edtech ecosystems

Student data privacy has been at the forefront of district leaders’ minds well before the pandemic. However, since COVID-19 shifted schools and classrooms online, it’s not surprising that tech usage has reached an all-time high. Districts are accessing 1,400 edtech tools per month on average, and cybersecurity attacks in our nation’s schools are also increasing.

As an Education Technology Specialist at one of Colorado’s fastest-growing districts, District 49, I was tasked 5 years ago with the responsibility to ensure our district complied with federal and student data privacy laws. Both state and federal laws require vendors and school districts to facilitate safe online learning experiences. However, when the pandemic hit, our district was forced to rethink our approach beyond compliance to further vet our edtech tools and make protecting student data privacy a regular practice of our edtech ecosystem.

For the process to work, I knew we would have to work collaboratively, across departments and buildings, to confirm that our teachers and students were using digital tools that delivered value without exposing student data to risk.…Read More

Is now a good time for a reset?

At this time of year, I hear a common refrain from school leaders I know: 1) This work is challenging, 2) We have a plan for student success, and yet 3) There is a lot more we need in order to deliver on our promise of a high-quality, equitable education for every student. These leaders launched the year with an inspiring vision for creating vibrant schools where all students are engaged in meaningful learning, feel loved, and want to come to school each day. There may have been times where this vision came close to reality.

As we head into the middle of the year, however, gaps often emerge. Student culture may become strained, faculty and staff may feel tired and frustrated, lessons aren’t as strong as they had hoped, and/or the highest needs students aren’t getting the support they need. Which raises the question: What do I do right now? 

In my role as the Vice President of Innovation and Impact at Relay Graduate School of Education, the best part of my job is the opportunity to find, study, and share what is working in schools across our country. One of the moves that we see our most effective leaders do at this moment of the year is lead a strategic reset on a key area of the school that – if improved – will have a significant positive impact on student learning and experience right now.  …Read More

7 TCEA 2023 sessions we want to attend

The 2023 TCEA Convention & Exposition is almost here, and with the conference comes the opportunity for educators to connect in person and share insights and innovations around teaching and learning.

This year’s conference is in San Antonio and, according to the TCEA site, is “the intersection of passion and possibility, curiosity and discovery, education and technology. And it’s the kind of learning that will change the story of education.”

Conferences offer the opportunity for educators–from administrators and classroom teachers to IT leaders and curriculum directors–to attend sessions targeted to their interests and their individual school or district needs.…Read More

3 innovative ways to help teachers feel engaged and valued

As research reveals that relational trust leads to engagement and success, we are reminded that teachers hold our students’ stories and hopes—and here’s how school leaders can lay the foundation for relational trust so that school communities flourish.

In school environments, intellectual growth and community are treasured as exciting pieces of the work that teachers build.  Relationships are critical to everyone in an institution.  Working with people—in addition to working with the technology or materials or curriculum—means that cooperative interactions occur daily.

Because administrators, policy-makers, students, parents, and community members all play key roles in how society values the work of teachers, positive interactions become critical.  For this reason, relational trust is a key factor within the learning environment to have engagement and success (Bryk & Schneider, 2002; Bryk et al., 2009).  Relationships are unique and take time to build.  The impact of healthy environments can empower each individual into making authentic efforts, putting in the rigor/practice, and achieving goals.  Keeping teachers engaged and valued, indeed, becomes the most critical aspect of society in order to develop the next generation of educated citizens.…Read More

How a cloud-based ERP helps schools innovate and be nimble

As school districts emerge from the worst of COVID-19, they’re bringing with them new priorities. Many of the changes that districts have made during the pandemic, such as giving employees the flexibility to work remotely, will be carried forward. Other processes are being reevaluated to serve the needs of students and other stakeholders more effectively.

In looking to update everything from teaching and learning processes to school district operations, one of the most basic steps that K-12 leaders can take to position their schools for success is updating their education resource planning (ERP) solution by moving to a cloud-based system.

We can’t really talk about modernizing and streamlining district operations without discussing ERPs. An ERP is the backbone of a district’s operations, helping administrators manage essential financial functions related to payroll, HR, accounting, and more.…Read More

5 ways video improves school-home communication

Increasingly, district leaders are incorporating video into school-home communication. Many districts that tried video options out of necessity during the pandemic are seeing the benefits that video can provide for parent engagement and are expanding video options even as schools are back to in-person instruction.

Districts are finding that using video can improve school-home communication by making the process of engagement easier for parents. Video options can help with:

  • Removing barriers to school-home communication.
  • Providing educators with real-time connections with students’ families without the hassles of gathering everyone in the same location.
  • Reaching parents who might be hard to engage otherwise. If a parent is working two jobs, doesn’t have access to transportation, or would have other barriers to coming to an in-person meeting, a video call can make the process easier for a parent.
  • An overall shift in individuals’ behaviors and technological skills to rely on video tools.

Here are five tips for school leaders who want to incorporate video into their school-home communication strategies.…Read More

The Cook Center for Human Connection Co-Sponsors National Mental Health Cohort for District Leaders

Salt Lake City, UT — The Cook Center for Human Connection, a Utah-based nonprofit dedicated to eradicating suicide and advocating for mental wellness for everyone, today announced its co-sponsorship of a Mental Health Cohort created in conjunction with AASA, the School Superintendents Association and the Jed Foundation. The purpose of the group is to connect district leaders committed to serving the mental health of students, educators, and their communities. 

The Mental Health Cohort will be led by Anne Brown, the president and CEO of the Cook Center; Paul Imhoff, the superintendent of Upper Arlington Schools in Ohio as well as a past president of AASA; and Rebecca Benghiat, president and CEO of the Jed Foundation. 

“We invite superintendents, district staff, building leaders, and other educational leaders to join the AASA Mental Health Cohort,” said Brown. “Participants will connect with fellow leaders and collaborate in creating resources that every school district can use to address the mental health needs of their communities.”…Read More