School Boards

As a contributing editor/columnist for American School Board Journal, I continue to write various features for the National School Boards Association's magazine. I also have a regular column focusing on technology and finance-related issues.

Features

13 Reasons Why (August 2017): The popularity of the Netflix show “13 Reasons Why,” which depicts the suicide of a teenage girl and the tapes she leaves behind, caught school districts off guard this spring. This story looks at the phenomenon, the potential legal and ethical ramifications for districts, and what schools can do to help students, families and staff be prepared.

Aftershock (February-March 2017), a story that looks at the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election and its effect on K-12 schools, was published a week before the inauguration. The story looks at how schools dealt with threats to and protests by students, as well as how to ensure traditionally marginalized children are protected in the wake of unprecedented reports of harassment.

Comeback Season (November-December 2015): A cover story (with accompanying photos) that focuses on a New Jersey district's recovery from a hazing scandal that led to the cancellation of its 2014 varsity football season. (For more on this, including a slideshow I produced for ASBJ.com, go to my Visual Storytelling section.)

Note: Comeback Season received a 2016 Silver Excel Award from Association Media & Publishing in the Magazine Features category (20,001-50,000 circulation). The story and photos also have been reprinted in the New Jersey School Boards Association magazine.

Cracking the Literacy Code (October 2016): Cracking the code on literacy, especially in majority-minority school districts, is no easy task. Large-scale initiatives are costly and time intensive, and the needle on achievement rarely moves quickly. Earning buy-in and support from community and business leaders is critical, as is the need to provide strong professional development to teachers and a rigorous evaluation system that can accurately determine whether a program is working. 

Early Start on STEM (May-June 2015): Early colleges take on many guises and forms, ranging from separate campuses that serve small groups of students in a targeted manner to schoolwide initiatives that offer college-level courses to all eligible students. Students at the STEM Early College, a partnership between North Carolina’s Guilford County Schools and A&T that opened in 2012, will graduate from high school with up to 60 hours of college credit in their chosen field.

Testing Online (December 2014): At least 33 states offer some form of online assessments, and that number is only expected to grow in future years. This feature looks at the hiccups districts have faced in implementing online testing as they have worked to improve their technology infrastructure and broadband access.

Merging Together As One District (September 2013): A look at the voluntary consolidation of two small Western Pennsylvania school districts, the effect it had on both communities, and how the new systems are functioning now.

Columns

Since January 2014, I have written a series of columns focusing on timely and relevant technology and financial issues for school board members and administrators.

Building Up STEAM (June, August 2017): A growing belief for many school districts is that art and science “are better together than apart.” In the June and August issues, I looked at how adding an “A” into STEM helps provide children with a well-rounded education, as well as districts that are doing so successfully.

Simple Logic (March-April 2017): Today, only 24 states allow students to count computer science classes as part of their high school science credits. While more than a half million computing jobs are unfilled in the U.S., just 42,969 computer science students graduated into the workforce in 2015-16. The key to solving this problem? Teaching coding and more computer science.

Apprentice Approach (February 2017): How schools in Colorado are adopting facets of the Swiss apprenticeship model through the CareerWise Colorado initiative is the focus of this column. I accompanied a delegation to Switzerland in October 2016. See a slideshow from the trip in the Events section.

Leading the Leap (December 2016): Online assessments are here to stay, regardless of whether your state has embraced the Common Core Standards. A toolkit scheduled to be unveiled in December 2016 will help schools and districts assess their readiness and ability to effectively deliver these assessments.

Technology Evolution (October 2016): In today's device-filled world, the tools students and teachers use can be terrific, but they have proven time and again to be no replacement for quality instruction. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is taking on the conundrum with its second revision of its technology standards for students. 

Security Goes High-Tech: Technology and security are inextricably linked in K-12 schools. From dealing with crisis situations to safeguarding student and staff data, how you use the tools at your disposal is critical. (July-August 2016)

Online Learning 2.0: Educators nationwide continue to search for ways to meld traditional and digital learning for all students. It’s a combination that has proven full of promise, with more than a few lessons—and potholes—along the way for school boards, administrators, teachers, and communities. (May-June 2016)

Coming Around Again: A look at the comeback story of Career and Technical Education, which now is firmly entrenched in federal law following Congress’ passage of the long-awaited successor to the No Child Left Behind Act. (February 2016) 

Privacy Protection: A look at how vendors and education groups are working together to protect student data from getting into the wrong hands (October 2015)

Outside the Box: How districts can outsource their technology needs to save money. (August 2015)

Tech Visits (March-April 2015): Any school leader knows that ongoing success is contingent on factors that go beyond who lives and works in your community. When your technology programs are versatile enough to be replicated in other districts, that’s even better.

Testing Goes Digital (January-February 2015): The first in a series of columns focusing on school technology issues, this looks at the challenges districts face as they work to implement the Common Core State Standards.

Construction Funds (September-October 2014): How a Delaware school district simultaneously built a $114 million high school while successfully turning around low student achievement.  

Lunch Money (July-August 2014): How the pressure to serve nutritious meals is pinching the budgets of cash-strapped school districts.  

Snow Days (May-June 2014): How the horrible winter of 2014 wreaked havoc on school schedules, maintenance, and student achievement. 

Knowledge Network (March-April 2014): How professional development for school boards can reap benefits for districts in the areas of financial management and, ultimately, academic achievement. 

The Cost of Technology (January-February 2014): My first column as contributing editor at the magazine where I worked for 12 years. The column focused on practical money tips for school board members.