Animals Helping Students
The Utah-based Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ) program started in a Salt Lake City public library. Kids curled up in corners and read books to trained, registered, and certified therapy dogs. That’s where the “magic” began. The library program was so successful that, within a year, it was adopted in several Utah schools.
Boosting Science Education
How can you help kids in your school develop a lifelong passion for science? It helps if teachers recognize a youngster’s early interest. It also helps if teachers get students deeply engaged in learning more than superficial science – mere facts that fail to ignite students’ imaginations.
Superintendent Contract Pitfalls
It started as an anonymous tip sent to reporters at Newsday, a regional newspaper based on Long Island. The result, months later, was a series of reports on pervasive pension abuses involving multiple school districts. Taxpayers deserve nothing but the truth. Are your district’s budgeting practices filled with loopholes?
When Teachers Take Too Many Days Off
Many school boards are scrutinizing excessive teacher absences, and for good reason: Steadily increasing teacher absences can translate into runaway costs. Public schools spend $4 billion per year on substitute teachers. The toll teacher absences takes on student learning has long been suspected, but only recently confirmed.
What You Need to Know From the Lighthouse Project
Can all school boards become more like those in districts with high achievement? Boards in these districts set clear expectations and create conditions for success, hold themselves and district staff accountable for meeting expectations, motivate staff and community to improve student learning, and learn together as a team.
The role of the School Resource Officer
The more than 17,000 School Resource Officers (SROs) serving in schools nationwide are sworn law enforcement officers with full police powers, and they serve as valuable advisers and role models to students and staff. Research proves schools and their communities benefit from SROs, but budget cuts may end the relationship.
Understanding and Preventing Teen Pregnancy
Between 2005 and 2006, the teen birth rate increased for the first time in 15 years, moving up 3 percent. Teen childbearing affects “both ends of childhood,” the teen mothers and their infants. Why is the teen birth rate increasing, and what does it mean for you and your schools?
The Interim Superintendent
With superintendent turnover at 17 percent annually, competition for qualified replacements is often fierce, forcing many districts to hire interims. Clarifying an interim’s role is important. Filling a superintendent slot with an interim forces boards to consider whether the interim should be a placeholder or have the authority to institute change.
Is Crime Up Among Pre-Teens?
Despite a widespread belief that preteen crime is increasing, preteens were arrested for 1 percent of murders committed by juveniles in 2006 – the same rate recorded in 1980. But 70 percent of preteen crimes occur on a school day, and 30 percent of such crimes occur at or near a school.
Funding Financial Literacy Programs
Finance lessons seldom improve students’ spending habits. But there’s hope for students’ financial literacy, if schools and parents share the responsibility. Avoid programs that provide only worksheets and games. Apply the basic economic trilogy – scarcity, choice, and costs – when evaluating new programs or as a way to improve existing programs.
School Board Ethics
Studies demonstrate the value of establishing a “chain of ethics” that flows from the central office outward and downward. The trickle effect is powerful: Employees have a more positive attitude toward the organization when they believe their immediate supervisors are committed to high ethical standards. Boards are an important link in the chain.