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

Afterschool Programs: A Review of Evidence Under the Every Student Succeeds Act  ​​​​​​A research review (with companion guide) finds more than 60 afterschool programs that meet the most rigorous evidence standards of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.

50-State Comparison: K-12 School Safety This resource describes the K-12 school safety policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on state statutes and regulations. Florida and 42 other states require a school safety plan in statute or regulation. Florida and 28 other states require law enforcement agencies to be involved in the creation of a school safety plan. Florida and 12 other states have a statutory or regulatory requirement for a school safety audit of school facilities. Florida and at least five other states require law enforcement agencies to be present in conducting this audit. Florida and 41 other states require schools to conduct safety or security drills in state statute or regulation. Other states may require drills through handbooks, guides or other rules. Florida and 27 other states define school resource officers in state statute or regulations. Other states may define school resource officers in handbooks, guides or other rules. Florida and 26 other states require training, either similar to what’s required of traditional law enforcement or tailored specifically for school resource officers. Florida and 29 other states allow school security personnel to possess weapons in schools. Eight states allow other school employees to possess weapons in schools, typically only if they meet certain criteria. Eleven states allow concealed carry permit holders to possess weapons in schools. Twenty-four states give school districts or school boards the authority to decide whether they will allow weapons in school.

First Woman Named IL State Schools Superintendent  A 30-year Illinois public schools veteran [Carmen Ayala] has been named Illinois state schools superintendent. She is the first woman and first person of color to serve in the post in its 48-year history. Gov. J.B. Pritzker endorsed the choice. (Associated Press)

Redefining the School Day  Because school funding is no longer tied to attendance, the law has opened the door to more flexibility in terms of where and how students receive instruction.

The CALDER policymakers council website ( has both pithy policy briefs to synthesize research, and a NEW rapid fire Q&A feature. Check it out!

OPINION: Many rural schools have been ‘minimally adequate’ for too long  Why other states should monitor South Carolina’s school-funding debate.

A Bold Vision for Education in Appalachia  When Dessie Bowling first saw the doublewide trailer in the driveway of the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative, her first thought was, “Send it back; we’re not paying for it.”  The paint was peeling, wires were dangling from the ceiling, and the trailer was in two pieces.  But to Jeff Hawkins, the co-op’s executive director, the derelict structure held endless possibilities for this region—once dependent on the coal industry—that many have written off as a place where future generations can prosper.  The list was long.

Teacher-led and district-level projects needed  The SEL Innovation Fund  is hosted by Education First , in partnership with the NoVo Foundation. They are looking for teacher-led and district-level projects that foster social and emotional skills in students in grades PK-12. We will award up to $5,000 to individual teachers or teacher teams and up to $25,000 for district-level grants to implement an innovative project in their classrooms, schools and/or districts in the 2019-20 school year. We are aiming to fund innovative, culturally responsive SEL practices and initiatives in classrooms, schools and districts grounded in values of compassion, imagination and social justice.  The deadline for applications is Friday, March 22 at 11:59pm PT.

New Illinois State Board of Education Superintendent Supports Increased Funding  “The need for funding in Illinois, as you know, is very great,” said State Board of Education Superintendent, Dr. Carmen Ayala. “Years of proration and the budget impasse inflicted much damage on our schools and our communities.

Illinois to Replace PARCC Exam with New, Shorter Standardized Test  Illinois 3rd through 8th graders will be given a new, shorter standardized test called the Illinois Assessment of Readiness in March, instead of the widely criticized PARCC test.

Visual Arts Matter  The Arts Education Partnership reviewed multiple research studies identified within ArtsEdSearch — a national clearinghouse of rigorous arts education research — to better understand the role visual arts play in student success. This resource explores how visual arts support students’ academic success both within and outside of school settings by cultivating learning skills, boosting academic achievement and enhancing the educational experience of traditionally underserved students.

50-State Comparison: High School Graduation Requirements  This resource provides an overview of state high school graduation requirements. Nearly all states require students to complete a certain number of units per course to earn a standard diploma in the state; but courses, units and assessments outside of exit exams and diploma options vary. Education Commission of the States researched a range of policies — including state statute, state regulations, department guidelines, state standards and state board rules — to create this 50-State Comparison.

Webinar: Making Industry Connections in STEM Programming   ACT Now will be hosting another webinar in a series of STEM PD opportunities for program providers to have an opportunity to strengthen their ability to navigate and implement STEM resources and activities. In this webinar, ACT Now will discuss the STEM pipeline, why STEM supports the workforce, and how to make your own industry connections. This webinar will be held on March 27th from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.