October 21, 2021
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Tackling the achievement gap
District embraces remote learning with virtual academy
A Tennessee school district's experience with remote learning last year led the district to petition the state for a new virtual academy this year to meet the needs of students in grades 6-12 who opt to continue learning remotely. In addition to the required core classes, the new academy offers dual-enrollment options and extra curricular clubs.
Full Story: The Wilson Post (Lebanon, Tenn.) (10/18) 
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Data project aims to lessen learning gaps
NWEA, Harvard University's Center for Education Policy Research and CALDER at the American Institutes for Research are partnering with 10 school districts to analyze real-time data to help recover learning loss stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. The data will be used to evaluate programs and interventions, such as tutoring and after-school support, to help school leaders adjust strategies if needed.
Full Story: The 74 (10/6) 
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A partnership with Apex Learning is allowing Ohio's Reynoldsburg City Schools to support the nearly 250 middle- and high-school students who opted to attend school virtually for the 2021-22 year. The district purchased additional licenses to accommodate the middle-school learners who are opting to stay remote this year.
Full Story: The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) (tiered subscription model) (9/24) 
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Leadership strategies
School principals likely will face conflicting demands this school year -- such as closing learning gaps while avoiding staff burnout -- writes Zachary Scott Robbins, a high-school principal in Las Vegas. In this article, Robbins shares strategies to navigate those demands and advises to prioritize what will do the most to support students.
Full Story: Edutopia (10/15) 
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How K-12 schools can strengthen network security
School cybersecurity threats are on the rise, and K-12 administrators can act now to strengthen school network security, said Doug Levin, national director of K-12 Security Information Exchange. Levin said schools should focus on protecting network traffic, end-user devices and personal information, while conducting regular patches and maintaining offline backups.
Full Story: K-12 Dive (10/12) 
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Effective instruction
Rather than focusing on potential learning loss during the coronavirus pandemic, teachers can focus on what they've learned, suggests Lauren Gehr, a high-school English teacher. In this article, Gehr shares three lessons learned during remote instruction: the importance of independent learning, being flexible and having consistent communication.
Full Story: Edutopia (10/13) 
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Policy & research
Report looks at trends in high-school graduation rates
(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Early data shows little change in graduation rates for the class of 2020, compared with a record high of 85.8% in 2019, according to a report from Civic and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, America's Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education. However, the report notes that the country is off pace to meet its goal of a 90% graduation rate, and the report's authors make recommendations to help mitigate the effect of the pandemic, which is disproportionately affecting students from historically disadvantaged groups.
Full Story: District Administration (10/6),  K-12 Dive (10/6) 
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The percentage of school districts that have set limits on class sizes has grown from 68% in 2016 to 87% in 2021, but of those schools, only prekindergarten limits have gone down from an average of 20 to 17 students, according to the National Council on Teacher Quality. The pandemic and virtual learning have led to increased attention to class sizes, and some schools are using federal relief dollars to reduce the number of students per class.
Full Story: K-12 Dive (10/18) 
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The latest from Apex
The New Learning Experience: Educators Inspiring Educators
Over the past year, the Apex Learning EdChat webinar series has welcomed nationally renowned educators who have uncovered innovative ways to equip their students for success in-person and online in our new normal. "The New Learning Experience," brings together the most inspiring thoughts from these experts into one 15-minute video that will motivate you as you continue to plan for the year ahead. Watch the video.
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What High-Achieving Students Have Discovered Through Virtual Learning
To stay at the top of their game both athletically and educationally, student athletes must learn to balance their demanding training and travel schedules with academics. For these students, there are clear benefits to virtual learning, including flexibility, efficiency, and the self-directed nature of learning. In this special report, we hear from the students who describe their experience with virtual learning, along with their insights and advice for their peers. Read the report.
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Apex Learning Virtual School Gives Aspiring Musician More Flexibility
Anna, a classical and jazz percussionist, needed a better option for learning as her rehearsal schedule became more demanding. The flexibility of Apex Learning Virtual School (ALVS) courses allowed Anna to pursue music studies alongside her academic coursework. Read the case study.
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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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