April 15, 2021
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Tackling the achievement gap
District brings back distance learning academy
(Pixabay)
Wenatchee Public Schools in Washington state has revived its former high-school online education platform, Wenatchee Internet Academy, to now provide a distance learning option for K-12 students during the pandemic. For high-school students, the academy offers courses through the Apex Virtual Learning School platform, and officials say the district is considering continuing the academy for at least another year.
Full Story: The Wenatchee World (Wash.) (3/19) 
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Some school districts are offering night school to students, including a Virginia district that started a virtual night program for students who are learning English and work during the day -- in some cases, because their families have lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. The options, officials say, ensure students do not have to choose between their education and a paycheck.
Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (4/11) 
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Districts aim to maximize summer learning
(Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)
Districts nationwide are planning summer programs aimed at helping to curb learning loss related to the coronavirus pandemic. Plans include robust summer school, experiential projects and internships, and in Tulsa Public Schools in Oklahoma, high schools will hold camps to help students recover credits.
Full Story: USA Today (4/5) 
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Leadership strategies
Online teacher communities on social media or other online spaces can help support STEM education, writes Naomi Harm, a STEM innovator specialist and global K-12 education consultant. In this blog post, Harm shares three ways she has connected with online teacher communities, including by searching key hashtags.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Education (4/13) 
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Hope is a learnable skill, and educators can take steps to instill hope in students, researchers have found. Researchers and psychologists suggest small changes in curricula, bringing in new activities and addressing trauma of the past year head on.
Full Story: Edutopia (3/26) 
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Effective instruction
Educators should teach students to focus, to avoid procrastination and to study effectively to improve outcomes -- both for students learning in person and online -- suggests Daniel Willingham, a psychologist at the University of Virginia. In this article, Willingham shares 13 tips to help students study, including limiting distractions such as watching TV while studying.
Full Story: KQED-TV/FM (San Francisco) (4/5) 
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Vulnerability helped one math teacher engage students
(Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Sixth-grade math teacher Jessica Peacock of Raleigh, N.C., says that getting her students to participate during the early days of online learning was so disheartening that she broke down in front of her students, telling them that she felt as if she was teaching in an aquarium. Students instantly started turning on their cameras and engaging and soon were sharing their screens, Peacock says.
Full Story: National Public Radio (3/23) 
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Policy & research
Biden proposes 40.8% increase in education budget
Biden (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
President Joe Biden on Friday released his $1.5 trillion spending proposal for fiscal year 2022, which includes close to $103 billion for the Education Department -- a 40.8% increase from the previous fiscal year. The proposal includes $36.5 billion in Title I grants -- $20 billion more than the 2021 level and the largest investment in the program's history.
Full Story: U.S. News & World Report (4/9),  The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (4/9),  K-12 Dive (4/12),  Education Week (4/9) 
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Education Dept. responds to requests for testing waivers
(iStock)
The US Education Department cited Washington, D.C.'s high number of remote students and concerns about safe spaces for test administration in its decision issued last week to grant a broad waiver from the annual assessments required by the Every Student Succeeds Act. The department also said Oregon may reduce the number of tests it gives but did not permit Michigan and Montana to use local tests instead of state assessments, and did not grant New York's request to cancel testing.
Full Story: Education Week (4/7) 
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The latest from Apex
Professional Learning Series
This new webinar series is dedicated to your continued professional learning. We'll evaluate topics such as the role of social and emotional learning in student success, teaching standards for online learning, and special education student needs. Each topic will be shared in a three-part mini-series, and you can attend one, two, or three 30-minute sessions that can count toward a CEU credit as allowed by your school district. The first webinar is Supporting Credit Recovery Students, Part 1: Student Mindset. Watch the webinar.
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Radical Transparency, Compassionate Leadership, and Embracing Failure
The pandemic forced district leaders to make big decisions quickly on how to keep students learning. Dr. Quintin Shepherd, superintendent at Victoria Independent School District in Victoria, Texas, shares his strategies for serving a school community during the pandemic, including what he calls radical transparency and putting the public back in public education. Listen to the podcast.
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Keep Students Engaged and Motivated in a Virtual Learning Environment
The sudden rise in virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic illustrated how, at its best, the increased use of technology can help school districts provide a personalized learning experience. It also showed that districts must address the challenges of keeping students engaged and motivated, especially when they are dealing with external stressors and unexpected interruptions to their educational routines. Read the blog.
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Judge not for your flaws, but for your Triumphs!
Whitney Houston,
singer, actor
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About Apex Learning:
An industry leader with deep expertise in digital curriculum, Apex Learning works closely with school districts across the country to implement proven solutions that increase on-time graduation rates and create opportunities for student success in school and beyond. The company is driven by the understanding that supporting the needs of all students – from struggling to accelerated – strengthens schools and creates stronger communities, brighter futures and a more equitable world. Apex Learning is accredited by Cognia (formerly AdvancED) and its courses are approved for National Collegiate Athletic Association eligibility. Apex Learning, where opportunity thrives. For more information, visit http://www.apexlearning.com.
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