More Information
Administrator Magazine: Leadership
Scholastic Administrator is a must-read resource for 240,000 of today's results-driven school leaders. Every issue features leadership for education executives, insight, and analysis into what's next in education, and reporting on cutting-edge technologies in real life applications.
Weigh In

Weigh In: What's the Best Decision You Ever Made?

Superintendents share their district’s most beloved and successful programs.

"Our Intersession Program is an amazing addition," says Robert Slaby, superintendent of Storey County (NV) School District. "This is how it works: The 180-day school year for our high school students is divided into two semesters. In between those two semesters, in January, we have what's called our Intersession. During this time, teachers give instruction in a variety of subjects in which they have a strong interest. That could be anything from juggling to snow survival to Shakespeare to ceramics. Students who have done well during the first semester can take any of the enrichment courses, while students who have failed a class during their first semester or who have failed the state's proficiency exams have the chance to make up that work. Since they make up the work immediately—not during summer school, not the following academic year-they don't fall behind and they don't drop out. Instead, they have the whole month of January to get back on track.

"The program has been very successful. The teachers love it. The kids love it. Kids who have done well are rewarded with the opportunity to take a fun class. Kids who have fallen behind get one-on-one attention right away. But there's nothing about this program that by itself makes kids do well. You have to have a good program and very good teachers for kids to succeed."

"We involve our students in leadership decisions," says Tim Hanner, superintendent of Kenton (KY) County schools, "where they can actually make a difference. We've adopted an entire approach to promote student empowerment.

"We started a program called Shining Stars Mentors two years ago when I met with 15 students to talk about ways they could give back to the community. From that meeting, they created a program in which high school students were trained as one-to-one reading coaches to go into the elementary schools after school and tutor kids in reading.

"I agreed to meet with these volunteer tutors once a month to discuss what was and what wasn't working in the program. At our first monthly meeting, the initial 15 kids had recruited about 15 or 20 more kids. By the second meeting, 50 high school kids showed up. By the third meeting, 100 students wanted to be part of the program. With so many students interested in going into the elementary schools, we created a program in which high school students mentor elementary kids in any number of ways, not just in reading.

"By the end of the first year, 104 kids were involved in Shining Star Mentors. By the second year, 320 students participated. Today we have 720 students who are mentors. Here's why it works: The students took control of the program and it just exploded. They devised ways to make their peers want to be involved. They refused to market the program to one demographic, but set out to get all students involved. They created T-shirts that high school kids will actually wear and brought the elementary school children to visit the high schools so that the students could see the success of the program right in front of them. They started a Facebook page. They asked me to do a monthly video blog, or vlog, about the program, but it's their program. The kids have been empowered to take charge and lead it."

"We've built a project-based learning culture," says Brian Davis, superintendent of Holland (MI) Public Schools. "Our district joined the movement to increase 21st-century learning for high school students by joining the New Tech Network, a collaboration of higher education, business/industry, and K-12 education to better prepare graduates for college and career readiness. We implemented a New Tech High School this past fall. New Tech High Schools create a culture that empowers teachers and students through project-based learning in a 1:1 technology environment. Blending strong academic rigor and standards, students also focus on project-team development, creativity, critical thinking, oral and written communication, and problem solving-all standards that prospective employers are looking for. Once we decided to implement this high school, our community responded very positively. We've established several partnerships with higher education and local businesses and nonprofits. Already the results with our students have been quite amazing. Holland is one of the first six districts to open a New Tech High School in Michigan—now the fastest-growing New Tech state in the country."

"We've created ‘Innovation Grant' opportunites for our teachers," says Rosa Atkins, superintendent of Charlottesville City (VA) Schools. "Rather than use the funding we get for remediation solely to provide tutors or extra instruction for students, we also use it to award teacher grants. We ask our teachers to think about what kind of innovative initiative they would like to bring into their classrooms. Teachers then apply for funding by submitting a proposal. We review each submission, including the cost estimate, and then fund their ideas.

"This approach has also given us a way to research and develop new ideas in our district. Teachers have an idea, receive the funding for it, and then test it out in their environment. If it works there, we can spread that program to other classrooms—across the grade level, throughout the school, or to the entire district.

"This grant program is two years old. The first year about 15 teachers submitted proposals. This year, nearly 50 teachers did.

"Teachers know that we've now created an environment in which they can take risks. For example, one second-grade teacher wanted to give each of her students a Kindle. We funded that idea. It has been a huge hit with students. We tracked the number of additional books the students read because of the Kindles, and we saw an incredible increase. We reward teachers for thinking outside of the box, and this results in academic gains for our students."

"We're having great success with Walk to Read," says Jule Walker, superintendent of Plevna (MT) School District #55. "This is a leveled reading program in our elementary schools. For reading instruction, students walk to the classroom designated for their reading level. This ensures that they are reading at their level.

"We started it last year, and we're already seeing all students achieve academically. The advanced readers are excelling, and the more remedial readers are catching up. Students' grades in all subjects are improving because reading is so important for academic achievement.

"My second favorite program is called ‘What I Need time,' or win. During the last 30 minutes of the school day, we place elementary students, again according to achievement. They get additional reading instruction if they are reading below grade level. If they are above grade level, they get enhanced lessons-perhaps reading material for another core subject, like science.

"Both programs are successful because we have a very dedicated staff that makes the programs work."

  • Scholastic Store
  • The Scholastic Store  
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets PB

    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets PB

    by J.K. Rowling and Mary GrandPre

    Harry is about to return to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry after a summer with his horrible relatives, but an impish creature warns him to stay away. What challenges and dangers await him? And who -- or what -- is turning students to stone? Your child won’t want to miss the further exploits of Harry Potter in Book Two of this best-selling series.

    $8.79 You save: 20%
    books;paperback books;paperbacks | Ages 9 and Up
    Add To Cart
    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets PB
    Ages 9 and Up $8.79
  • Scholastic Store
  • The Scholastic Store  
    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) eBook

    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) eBook

    by J.K. Rowling and Mary GrandPre

    Note: All Storia eBooks of the Harry Potter series are available for purchase exclusively through Pottermore: a unique online Harry Potter Experience by J.K. Rowling.

    To purchase Harry Potter eBooks you'll be redirected to the Pottermore Shop, where you can complete your order after you sign in or create a new account. Be sure to select Storia as your download option at the end of your purchase to successfully link your new Harry Potter eBooks to your Storia account. Then you'll be able to read and enjoy Harry Potter just like any other Storia eBook you may own or discover at Scholastic.

    The evil Lord Voldemort and his supporters, the Death Eaters, have infiltrated every aspect of the Wizarding world, with frightening and tragic results. With the guidance of Professor Dumbledore, it's time for Harry Potter to join the fight; but first, he must learn all he can about the wizard who intends to kill him.

    Meanwhile, life at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry goes on. The professors are more demanding than ever; especially Professor Snape, whose loyalties are starting to seem very suspect. Harry develops powerful new skills in magic, thanks to a textbook that once belonged to the mysterious Half-Blood Prince. And like 16-year-olds everywhere, Harry and his best friends, Ron and Hermione, experience the perils of love and heartbreak.

    As Harry's inevitable battle with Voldemort grows ever closer, he comes to understand exactly what it will take to defeat the Dark Lord for good. His mission leads him and Dumbledore to the darkest corners of the Wizarding world and into the depths of Voldemort's wickedness; and results in betrayals and sacrifices of epic proportions.

    With touching, funny revelations, a shocking conclusion, and an entirely new set of magical secrets yet to unfold, this sixth volume sets the stage for the monumental final battle to come.

    books;ebooks;pottermore ebooks | Ages 12 and Up
    Add To Cart
    Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) eBook
    Ages 12 and Up $9.99
Help | Privacy Policy




(Separate multiple email addresses with commas)

Check this box to send yourself a copy of the email.


Scholastic respects your privacy. We do not retain or distribute lists of email addresses.