The following resources focus on the educational climate and betterment of those serving the K–12 educational community.

Different Zip Codes, Different Schools: One in four public schools in America is high-poverty, twice the rate of 20 years ago. AP authors Sara Burnett and Larry Fenn look at the extreme differences in school funding and educational outcomes between wealthy and poor communities, part of Divided America, AP’s ongoing exploration of the economic, social and political divisions in American society.

IL State Board of Education Reworking Expulsion Rules.
 The Illinois State Board of Education is in the early stages of crafting legislation that would prohibit school districts from dropping students from their enrollment rosters for failing to meet minimum academic and attendance standards. (Herald & Review, Sept.15) 

Celebrate Your Principal: October is National Principal’s Month and the National Association of Secondary School Principals invites students to make one-to-two minute videos shouting out why their principal is so awesome. Students can submit videos on YouTube for a chance to win a prize. Educators can honor the hard work of America’s principals all month long, send ecards, post to social media with #ThankAPrincipal and find webinars and valuable resources, too.

What if Students Could Study What They Love, at a Pace That Suits Their Needs?
 Achieving personalized instruction is one of the challenges cited in a new report from two organizations, the New Media Consortium and the Consortium for School Networking. Their annual report, produced by 59 leading experts with online input from others, plots the five-year look ahead for education technology. (Hechinger Report, Sept. 21)

How Much Does it Cost to Educate a Student With Special Needs? Nobody Knows.
 The Michigan Legislature last year paid $399,000 to the Colorado-based firm Augenblick Palaich & Associates (APA) to figure out how much an adequate education costs in Michigan, and they came back with an amount: $8,667 per student plus extra for at-risk students and English-language learners. (Michigan Radio, Sept. 17)

Self-Study Guide for Implementing Literacy Interventions in Grades 3-8. This guide was developed to help district- and school-based practitioners conduct self-studies for planning and implementing literacy interventions. It is intended to promote reflection about current strengths and challenges in planning for implementation of literacy interventions, spark conversations among staff, and identify areas for improvement. This resource provides a template for data collection and guiding questions for discussion that may improve the implementation of literacy interventions. (Source: Southeast Regional Educational Laboratory at Florida State University)

Lots of Talk, Little Action on Funding Schools. (Champaign News-Gazette-September 13). Illinois politicians haven’t addressed public-school funding inequities, but they have spent a lot of time talking about them. In July, Gov. Bruce Rauner appointed a 25-member commission to continue this effort.

Illinois schools eliminating zero-tolerance policies. (Associated Press-September 18). Illinois schools are now required to limit long-term suspensions and expulsions under a new law that also eliminates the use of zero-tolerance policies used to severely punish students for certain offenses. The law that took effect last week is designed to reduce the number of days’ students are pulled from classrooms and encourage school administrators to use suspensions as a last resort.

PA—A National Model for Breaking the School-to-Prison Pipeline. 
The Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program, an initiative that has, on a shoestring using services the city already had in place, more or less shut down the school-to-prison pipeline in Philadelphia—and created a model for how to do so nationwide. (Governing, Sept. 27) 

Student Success: With a New Approach to Discipline, One Indianapolis, IN High School Cut Suspensions in Half.
 Staff and students say the school is better because leaders last fall embraced an approach to student discipline called restorative justice. Instead of relying on punitive punishments, such as suspensions, the new approach, which has gained prominence in schools across the country, focuses on helping students find healthy ways to deal with conflict and repair the damage they’ve caused. (Chalkbeat, Sept. 14)

New AIR Report Offers Vision for Accomplishing STEM for All.
 An aspirational vision for STEM education is set out in a 73-page report just issued by the American Institutes of Research and written by one of the foremost national experts on the subject. (THE Journal, Sept.15) 

Chicago Principal’s Literacy Focus Helps English Learners. (Education Dive—September 13). English learners often struggle on standardized tests because of their literacy skills. They are being held to the same bar as native English speakers on tests that required language fluency to prove their knowledge. A Chicago principal felt her students needed more literacy instruction, and it needed to happen across subjects.

Teacher of the Year Makes School Mathalicious. (NPR Illinois—September 15). Kimberly Thomas is the reigning Illinois Teacher of the Year. The title doesn’t come with a satin sash and a tiara, but you might think it does once you get a taste of Thomas’s extreme effervescence.

Learning From Summer. According to new RAND Corporation findings from the largest research study ever conducted on summer learning, elementary school students with high levels of attendance in voluntary summer learning programs – defined as at least 20 days of a five- to six-week program – experienced benefits in math and reading.