2019 Outlook issue forecasts innovations and challenges ahead for K12 schools

K12 educators and experts share their forecasts for key issues and offer new ideas
By: | Issue: January, 2019
December 20, 2018

Students and teachers in 2019 will gain more control—over everything from the topics they study to the technology they use to the types of tests they take. Also in the coming year, more educators appear likely to adopt the mindset that enthusiasm is a key to learning—particularly when learners are convinced that classroom content aligns with their college and career aspirations.

One area where students have less control is safety, which is why district leaders will continue to look for innovative security solutions that involve technology, training and community collaboration. At the same time, students may continue the political activism sparked by the Parkland, Florida, shooting in 2018.

In DA’s annual Outlook issue, educators and experts share their forecasts for these and other key issues. On the following pages, you’ll find new ideas and, as always, new challenges. Here’s a breakdown.

Progress check

In our main feature, educators and experts predict where public schools will make the most progress—and where K12 education may fall short—in areas ranging from social-emotional learning to assessment to special education.

The growing influence of students’ “voice and choice” emerged as a recurring theme, with a clear shift toward giving learners more say in how and what they are taught. However, most also expect the pressure of those pesky high-stakes tests to persist.


Read the story: K12 education paves its own path


Did you say ‘blockchain’?

In our annual tech forecast, we asked district leaders to discuss what edtech innovations will have the biggest impacts in 2019, and what concepts may still be a few years away from finding true educational purpose.

Virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, podcasting, and even blockchain will find their way into classrooms to varying degrees. Note: If you’re not entirely sure what blockchain is, you’re not alone—but rest assured that the experts we talked to understand how it works.


Read the story: K12 schools get ready for action with edtech


Soft and hard science

A majority of the more than 330 education leaders who responded to DA’s annual survey said SEL and the mental health needs of students would be a top priority in 2019. This will include a focus on counseling and practicing mindfulness to help students relax.

In the classroom, districts will continue an intense focus on STEM and career and technical education. At the same time, many educators will embed concepts such as growth mindset into instruction in an effort to narrow achievement gaps.


Read the storyFeedback to the future: K12 reader survey for 2019


Top stories of 2018

A look back at last year’s top stories may portend a turbulent 2019. With school shootings averaging an unconscionable one per week in 2018 and teachers in several states striking for higher pay, administrators may face significant challenges in the coming year. On the bright side, many educators experimented with innovative instructional techniques last year, and that trend should only gain momentum in the months ahead.


Read the story: Top stories of 2018—School safety and mid-terms drive activism