Spotlights Collection

Education Week Spotlight: Selected Education Week coverage of critical issues


Spotlight on Math Instruction (2015)

FREE! As schools grapple with higher expectations for all students, teachers are finding creative ways to revamp math instruction. In this Spotlight, learn how teachers are developing students' problem-solving skills, nurturing growth mindsets, and applying the Common Core State Standards to their math lessons. Sponsored by: Dreambox (October 30, 2015)

Teaching & Instruction

July 9, 2010 Assessment is complicated in both practical and policy terms, raising myriad questions of how to best gauge student learning. This Spotlight looks at how schools and experts are approaching assessment.
February 15, 2015 As schools strive to prepare students for their postsecondary futures, questions remain on how best to define and promote career readiness. In this Spotlight, see how new tests aim to measure career readiness, explore different opinions on career-ready skills, and learn how community engagement and individualized plans can inspire students.
September 27, 2013 Good teaching and quality assessments go hand-in-hand to support students in the classroom. In this Spotlight discover how formative assessments support teaching and learning, see how testing is changing in the common-core era, and examine key factors needed to build high-quality assessments.
August 1, 2015 As efforts to redefine assessment gain steam, educators are trying new approaches to monitoring student progress. In this Spotlight, explore how teachers are auditing their classroom assessments, using formative assessment tools, and engaging students through self-assessment.
February 15, 2014 In this Spotlight see how educators use social-emotional learning to manage student behavior, hear from leading experts on classroom management strategies, and learn how planning, procedure, and personal solutions can boost instructional practice.
April 1, 2013 Online learning has the ability to motivate underachieving students and engage students beyond traditional brick-and-mortar classrooms. In this Spotlight take a look at online credit recovery programs, see how urban districts are reexamining “seat-time” requirements, and find out how educators are using competency-based education and technology to prepare for common-core assessments.
November 1, 2013 Classrooms are transforming in the 21st century, requiring new approaches to learning that emphasize “deeper” knowledge and understanding. In this Spotlight, explore how research is changing the way math concepts, like fractions, are being taught. See how leading Race to the Top districts are using personalized learning and take a look at classrooms using foreign language programs to prepare students in a globally competitive world.
March 15, 2014 Differentiating instruction and adapting teaching strategies for diverse learners is no easy task. In this Spotlight, explore how teacher-led schools are approaching differentiation and grouping, learn how blended learning can support instruction, and hear expert strategies for assessing student learning.
October 15, 2012 Students face a number of cultural, economic, and educational barriers to completing high school and going on to pursue college and careers. This Spotlight focuses on chronic absenteeism, early-dropout detection, online credit-recovery courses, and how early-college models can reduce dropout rates.
January 15, 2015 The English/language arts skills taught in elementary and middle school are essential to students’ success throughout their academic careers. In this Spotlight, learn how teachers can spark student interest in reading, how some schools are automating student writing evaluations, and how personalized learning can boost English/language arts instruction.
September 1, 2014 Foreign language instruction is being used to help students gain a competitive edge in a global society. In this Spotlight, take a look at schools with language immersion programs, bilteracy certifications, and strategic language courses, geared toward languages like Farsi, Mandarin, and Arabic.
April 1, 2015 Formative assessments can offer educators a powerful approach to personalized learning. In this Spotlight, explore how the common core is changing assessment, how teachers are evaluating and employing formative assessment resources, and how digital tools offer new avenues of assessment.
September 27, 2013 Global connections are as close as the classroom for some students. In the Spotlight, discover how schools are building a global learning and language network through international-student programs, foreign-language courses, international videoconferencing, and immersion initiatives.
December 11, 2009 For many, homework is a school tradition, but that doesn’t mean everyone agrees it should stay that way. This Spotlight explores how much time students spend on homework, research on its usefulness, and challenges surrounding homework practices and policies.
August 15, 2013 Instructional coaches can play a key role in schools, helping teachers in the classroom while planning and strategizing with school leaders. This Spotlight looks at districts that are turning teachers into coaches and examines some of the primary practices and tips needed for effective coaching.
October 30, 2015 FREE! As schools grapple with higher expectations for all students, teachers are finding creative ways to revamp math instruction. In this Spotlight, learn how teachers are developing students' problem-solving skills, nurturing growth mindsets, and applying the Common Core State Standards to their math lessons. Sponsored by: Dreambox
February 5, 2010 Sometimes, the difference between success and failure in class boils down to motivation. This Spotlight on Motivation describes innovative ways of reaching and inspiring students to study harder and take learning further.
April 15, 2013 Increasingly, parent engagement is becoming an important focus for district leaders. In this Spotlight see how leaders are involving parent groups in district decision-making, how national organizations are introducing the common-core standards to parents, and see how digital tools and social media are playing a role in parent communications.
July 15, 2015 Student motivation is no novel concept, but educators across the country are reshaping efforts to engage students in learning. In this Spotlight, discover the benefits and challenges of leveraging non-cognitive factors in classrooms, read commentary on fostering student engagement and inspiring lifelong learners, and reconsider common stigmas of student failure.
February 15, 2015 Project-based learning can offer a powerful tool for capturing student attention and participation. In this Spotlight, read firsthand accounts from teachers engaging students with projects, explore how leaders are making project-based learning a cornerstone in some schools, and learn how English-language learners can thrive in a project-based environment.
August 26, 2010 Heading back to school offers new challenges for teachers and students. This Spotlight offers tips for educators on easing into the new academic year as smoothly and productively as possible.
May 1, 2009 The first year of a new teacher's career is always challenging. This Spotlight provides insight and practical suggestions for getting started on the right foot.
January 31, 2014 Evolutions in classroom-based assessments are changing the way student growth is measured. In this Spotlight take a look and see how formative assessments are being used to inform instruction, how video games assess noncognitive skills, and explore growth in the testing market.
October 1, 2014 Educators are relying more on resources and training when it comes to assessments inside the classroom. In this Spotlight, see how teachers are sizing up formative assessment tools in the digital age, learn from “teacher-researchers,” who are making daily observations in the classroom, and see how schools are developing students who can self-assess their work.
August 1, 2013 States and districts face many barriers when it comes to putting data in the hands of educators. In this Spotlight, learn from schools developing research-based alliances that put data into practice and see how data results are being delivered to improve classroom instruction.

Professional Development

August 15, 2015 To improve instruction, schools are empowering teachers through effective professional development. In this Spotlight, learn how districts are using the talents of teachers in meaningful leadership roles and supporting teachers in sharing their expertise.
August 1, 2013 In a recent survey, half of the teachers said they felt unprepared to teach the common-core standards. Major shifts are ahead in instruction and professional learning is a key component in standards implementation. This Spotlight examines how teachers are using virtual professional development, interdisciplinary instruction, and teacher collaboration, among other strategies, to prepare for the standards.
November 1, 2011 Educators have turned to Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) as a way to develop professional skills and improve student learning. This Spotlight offers tips and practical experience from those using PLCs as a way to build teacher-to-teacher collaboration, including how to start teacher learning communities and how to maintain group motivation and avoid burnout.

Common Standards

December 1, 2013 The common core has challenged test-makers and educators to craft assessments that measure the depth of knowledge expected by the standards. This Spotlight examines early results on common-core assessments, previews test items, and explores challenges still ahead for math and reading assessments.
December 1, 2013 The common-core standards are giving new shape to curriculum and student assessment across the country. This Spotlight explains how the standards will impact curriculum development and the crafting of common assessments.
March 1, 2015 In this Spotlight, explore how teachers are leading the way in implementing the common core, review the effects of new math standards, and read interviews and commentary on the common-core literacy standards.
July 1, 2014 Many teachers are transitioning to the common core with new instructional strategies in place for their classrooms. In this Spotlight, see what strategies are working best for teachers, learn how “teacher researchers” are using formative assessments, and see how teachers are collaborating to support students with special needs.
November 1, 2012 As states and districts plan for the Common Core State Standards, educators are left to wonder how digital literacy fits into the standards. This Spotlight focuses on how to incorporate digital literacy, explores public-private efforts to close the digital-skills gap, and looks at competency-based and technology-driven programs attempting to give students a head start on common-core assessments.
January 2, 2013 As the Common Core States Standards take hold in schools, educators are changing approaches to teaching, testing, textbooks, and professional development. This Spotlight reviews some of the new texts aligned to the standards, results from the earliest student assessments, principal training efforts, and ways to reduce costs associated with common-core implementation.
March 1, 2014 Many English/Language arts teachers are preparing their students for the Common Core State Standards. In this Spotlight, look at how instructional materials are being evaluated in the common core-era, understand how “skimming” is used in literary analysis, and see how films can be a tool for critical reading.
May 1, 2013 The transition to the common-core math standards has resulted in shifts in classroom teaching and course materials. In this Spotlight, take a look at how the common core is influencing math instruction, see how teachers are preparing at-risk students for the standards, and examine early assessments aligned to the common core.
June 1, 2014 Supplying teachers with quality professional development is one requirement for common-core implementation. In this Spotlight, take a look at new talent development models, how schools are rethinking instructional practice, and what educators are saying they need to do to feel more prepared for the common-core era.
October 1, 2014 Students with cognitive disabilities and special needs are transitioning to new assessment and instructional practices under the Common Core States Standards. In this Spotlight, take a look at how alternative assessments align to the common core, see how testing accommodations differ between consortia, and examine how a results-driven accountability system is giving new to life to instruction.
December 1, 2012 Teachers are preparing for a variety of instructional shifts with the introduction of the Common Core State Standards. This Spotlight explores some of the ways educators are getting ready for the standards, including using virtual professional development, forming educator cadres to prepare for common assessments, producing e-textbooks, and building capacity for new instructional approaches.

Reading & Writing

November 19, 2010 Reading is considered a bedrock skill in the overall process of learning. This Spotlight explores innovative programs aimed at helping students who struggle with reading.
June 1, 2010 Many educators are learning that it's not just young children who need help with literacy skills. This Spotlight explores unique strategies and programs for working on literacy with middle and high school students.
June 29, 2009 Few topics arouse such strong passion as how best to teach children to read. This Spotlight focuses on research on what works in teaching reading and successful tools and tactics already at work in classrooms.

Math & Science

May 1, 2015 In this Spotlight, explore why elementary and middle school foundations are essential to later algebra success, how new research offers practical strategies for improving algebra instruction, and what a global perspective can add to math class.
January 15, 2014 New research on elementary school math is helping to give shape to instruction that builds math skills at an early age. In this Spotlight, see how schools are taking new approaches to teaching fractions, developing young learners’ spatial and task skills, and opening new doors to math learning.
October 15, 2014 Math instruction is undergoing shifts in the common-core era. In this Spotlight, see how teachers are building math coherence across grades, find out how the common core is impacting math instruction, and learn how blended learning can be implemented in math classrooms.
April 29, 2011 Engaging students in effective and meaningful science instruction is a priority for both teachers and researchers. This Spotlight takes a look at innovative science education programs and the challenges of producing the “next generation” of scientists.
April 15, 2014 High school math is undergoing instructional shifts in the common-core era. In this Spotlight, see how high schools are using transitional coursework to prepare students for college math, discover how educators are preparing for common-core assessments, and learn about using statistics to foster data literacy.
May 15, 2015 In this Spotlight, explore inclusive STEM high schools, inter-district and museum resources for teaching STEM, how nanoscience lessons can engage students in science, and the civic importance of science instruction.
March 1, 2012 Schools and policymakers emphasize STEM as a way to prepare students for 21st century challenges, leaving teachers with their own challenge: How do you successfully engage students in these subjects? This Spotlight offers tips on how to create effective science and math learning opportunities for students.

Technology & Digital Learning

May 14, 2014 1-to-1 computing programs require a coordinated strategy to both implement and manage students and their laptop and tablet use. In this Spotlight, take a look at how some districts are using 1-to-1 computing, explore how students are learning in “1-to-many” environments, and learn about device management concerns and solutions.
April 2, 2012 Technology is dramatically altering K-12 curriculum, but integrating digital tools into instruction can be challenging for educators. This Spotlight explores how districts are using technology to improve student learning, introducing games into classrooms, and using multimedia resources across the subject areas.
February 15, 2015 Met with both praise and skepticism, blended learning dramatically shakes up the traditional classroom models. In this Spotlight, explore the costs, benefits, and drawbacks of this new approach to K-12 instruction.
May 1, 2013 School districts are experimenting with blended learning and adaptive instruction, mixing face-to-face instruction with online learning. This Spotlight explores blended learning models and their effectiveness, using adaptive testing in common-core assessments, and tailoring word problems to increase student confidence in math.
September 15, 2012 In order to build the digital district, ed-tech leaders must ensure that back-end services run smoothly and securely. This Spotlight illustrates how districts can maintain reliable technology programs, like multidistrict online collaborations, effective data- security plans, cloud computing, and virtual-learning environments.
January 15, 2015 The recent overhaul of the federal E-rate program promises wide-reaching implications for schools’ Web connectivity. In this Spotlight, review the historic E-rate funding increase, consider the winners and losers of these changes, and explore the continued relevance of the program for K-12 schools.
October 1, 2012 Teachers and students are already driving change, and it’s up to technology leaders to harness it for improved student learning and assessment. In this Spotlight, learn how ed-tech leaders are balancing the benefits and drawbacks of a “flipped” model of instruction, handling school innovation and social media communications, and ensuring districts are tech-ready for the common core’s online assessments.
April 15, 2014 Technology is providing new ways to support opportunities in educational access and learning. In this Spotlight, see how districts are using technology to improve formative assessments, look at programs expanding the use of distance learning, and hear how teachers manage technology in their classrooms.
May 1, 2012 Online and blended learning models have reshaped how students learn. Remote learning can assist students with a variety of needs, but there are also accountability challenges associated with virtual education. This Spotlight offers tips on how to best use and apply online learning, inside and outside the classroom.
December 1, 2014 As mobile devices enter the classroom, educators must know how to best use the technology. In this Spotlight, discover how schools track and manage tech tools, learn about “school-to-home” policies for mobile devices, and take a look at security and privacy concerns.
April 30, 2014 Districts, both big and small, are using personalized learning to address individualized learning. In this Spotlight, see how schools are building feedback and assessment loops with technology, using adaptive math resources tied to the common core, developing individually paced learning in rural districts, and analyzing the risks of device-centered learning.
August 1, 2012 Students are using more than just Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube in the classroom. Many new social media and networking sites are designed specifically for schools. This Spotlight examines the wide range of social media platforms and explores how educators are integrating these tools into instruction.
May 28, 2009 Education technology is evolving at a fast pace and in surprising new ways. This Spotlight takes a closer look at innovative high-tech resources that are transforming classrooms and learning.
March 1, 2015 With the rise of open educational resources and other digital materials, educators have access to more resources than ever. In this Spotlight, learn how teachers, districts, and publishers are navigating the expanding digital-content marketplace.
October 1, 2014 Technology collaboration means choosing the right digital tool, experimenting with new online resources, and opening the classroom to a digital world. In this Spotlight, see how you can dig deeper into your library’s digital resources, integrate instruction with your student’s devices, and develop out-of-school learning opportunities that connect to the world.

Leadership & School Policy

February 1, 2012 State legislatures have recently passed anti-bullying laws to protect students and principals and teachers face the challenge of keeping students safe. This Spotlight offers school leaders practical tools and strategies for bullying prevention.
March 15, 2013 The path to college comes with many unique challenges for students. In this Spotlight examine the digital divide in the college admissions process, see how districts instill higher education ambitions with early outreach and early-college models, and discover how schools are preparing students for the academic and financial demands of college.
August 1, 2015 The increasing availability of student data is creating debate over how to effectively use the information to drive district decisions. In this Spotlight, explore how states are developing governance structures to guide data collection and use, consider the difficult balancing act between data collection and privacy concerns, and learn how some educators are making data work in their schools.
April 1, 2013 To create school and district leaders, school systems must provide opportunities for training, professional development, and meaningful feedback. In this Spotlight, see how some districts are remaking principal evaluations, find out what it takes to build a positive school culture, and look at schools using on-site training to prepare principals for their jobs.
March 1, 2013 States and districts use many different strategies when it comes to using data to improve school performance. In this Spotlight, learn about successful district efforts in data-driven reform, how to put data into practice, and discover new tools used to predict student outcomes.
August 1, 2014 At the district-level, data can play a key role in day-to-day operations. In this Spotlight, learn how data trackers can detect dropout risks, examine the role of big data in a digital district, and see how one district is releasing data and allowing developers to create custom tools.
March 15, 2015 Effective district leadership demands a skillful mix of innovation, collaboration, and support. In this Spotlight, read how leaders are fostering innovation, how teachers and students are shaping district policy, and how districts are adopting cutting-edge R&D models.
August 4, 2009 With funding shrinking, schools and districts are looking for ways to do more with less when it comes to technology. This Spotlight explores how information technology professionals and educators can rise to the challenge.
July 15, 2015 For district leaders, the shift in educators' roles requires new approaches to hiring and building better leadership development systems. In this Spotlight, examine the work conditions that trigger high rates of teacher attrition, read how districts are improving the screening process for hiring teachers and learn about creating effective recruitment and retention strategies.
May 15, 2015 Next to teachers, school leaders are widely considered one of the most essential in-school determinants of student achievement. In this Spotlight, explore competing models and standards for principal evaluation, read research and commentary on improving school leadership, and reconsider the role of principal supervisors.
June 21, 2010 Principals have long been seen as important to the success of schools. This Spotlight takes a closer look at effective school leadership and the challenges principals face.
December 15, 2013 FREE! There is a need for proven leaders in American education, both at the school and district levels. These leaders are experimenting with new policies and procedures that are helping to reshape schools. In this Spotlight, see how some districts build and develop the talent of leaders from nontraditional backgrounds; understand how principal and superintendent turnover is changing the way leaders are selected and evaluated; examine districts that are changing their school governance model to incorporate charters; and hear from leaders who are using innovative practices in STEM and social networking.
April 13, 2010 School uniforms and student dress codes can be the source of heated debate. This Spotlight examines the research on school uniforms and the challenges schools face in implementing dress codes.
September 1, 2014 To attract and retain top talent in schools today, districts are using a mix of recruitment strategies and performance-based incentives. In this Spotlight, see how schools are growing principal leadership from within and learn about practices to engage and recruit new teachers.

Education Policy

July 31, 2010 Persistent gaps in student achievement are among the most vexing problems facing schools today. This Spotlight explores progress and setbacks on the achievement gap front and what schools are doing to improve learning results for all children.
July 2, 2009 The No Child Left Behind Act is perhaps the most controversial and far-reaching federal education law on the books. This Spotlight looks at where adjustments have been made to NCLB and what lies ahead for the law and schools.
May 1, 2009 Should teachers’ pay be based on their students’ academic performance? Some reformers say yes, but others question the effectiveness of performance–or merit–pay. This Spotlight takes a closer look at the issue of pay for performance.
February 17, 2010 The $4 billion Race to the Top initiative is the Obama administration's signature education program. This Spotlight examines insider perspectives on Race to the Top policy, the role of standards in the competitive grant program, and states' preparations to secure their piece of the funding pie.
June 23, 2011 The role that religion plays in schools is a contentious and often hard fought battle. This Spotlight examines growing debates, from the classroom to the courtroom, on topics like evolution, religion in textbooks, and school choice.
February 1, 2012 An influx of federal funds targeting the nation’s lowest performing schools has state and districts sorting through how to implement the four intervention models. This Spotlight explores the logistical and practical impact of U.S. Department of Education’s School Improvement Grant (SIG) program on improving underperforming schools across the country.
April 15, 2013 Teacher evaluation is being hotly debated in education policy circles. In this Spotlight, explore the subtleties between teachers deemed highly effective and ineffective, understand how combined measures can provide a more balanced picture of teacher performance, and see why researchers urge caution in using ‘value added’ evaluations.
October 1, 2012 Programs serving the nation’s economically disadvantaged students and those with disabilities receive federal funding through No Child Left Behind’s Title I. This Spotlight examines continuing oversight on NCLB waivers, growing academic achievement by Title I students, gains by turnaround schools, and suggestions for repairing Title I funding.

English-Language Learners

April 1, 2013 The Common Core State Standards are placing new demands on English-language learners. In this Spotlight take a look at how schools are making the standards accessible to ELLs, understand how the common core may help establish uniform definitions for ELLs, and see how teachers are preparing for instruction and assessment challenges.
May 28, 2009 Teaching English-language learners is a complex endeavor that requires skill and patience. It is also a reality that more and more schools are facing. This Spotlight examines assessment and instruction in the everyday world of ELLs and their schools.
September 1, 2012 One out of every five children now enrolled in American public schools speaks a language other than English at home. This Spotlight focuses on ways to meet English-Language Learners’ needs, including teacher professional development, early detection of dropouts, and what the new common-core standards mean for ELL students.
March 15, 2015 New policies and approaches to educating English-language learners are reshaping the K-12 education landscape. In this Spotlight, explore dual-language programs, common-core instruction for English-learners, and new ELL guidelines.

Special Education

November 30, 2009 With autism more frequently diagnosed than ever among American schoolchildren, educators are confronting their students' numerous and diverse needs. This Spotlight examines technology, research, and parent and advocate perspectives about the complex disorder and how schools can rise to the challenge of teaching children on the autism spectrum.
August 18, 2010 Providing gifted students with meaningful challenging work that keeps them engaged in learning is not always an easy task. This Spotlight explores different ways schools are approaching gifted learning and the numerous issues facing gifted students and those who teach them.
May 28, 2009 American schools use many strategies to make classrooms more inclusive of students with disabilities. This Spotlight looks at inclusion and school technology’s growing role in supporting it.
September 1, 2012 A recent survey of administrators found that a majority of school districts now use response to intervention frameworks. RTI can be applied at almost any grade level and is expanding beyond its uses in early-childhood literacy and special education to reach all students. This Spotlight examines the role RTI plays in boosting student achievement, guiding implementation of the common-core standards, and the related challenges of allocating funding to support district-wide implementation.
March 1, 2012 Educators and schools require resources and training to address students' special learning needs. This Spotlight examines major trends in special education including how schools can work to improve their instructional cultures, using brain research for students with disabilities, and the role of response to intervention.

Charter Schools & Choice

May 28, 2009 Successful charter schools come in many flavors, but many are especially concerned with developing effective leadership. This Spotlight examines the ways schools cultivate new leaders and the many strengths and skills those leaders must draw upon.
March 8, 2011 Charter schools have gained increased prominence in the national education landscape in recent years. This Spotlight examines research on student achievement, student enrollment patterns, and scalability issues in charter schools.

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