• Featured Article

    Customer Story: Margate Elementary

    written April 20, 2016 by Lauren Bouffard

Latest Articles

Restorative Justice in the Real World

Best practices from a New Orleans school district that improved their outcomes through Restorative Justice. At Hero, we love hearing about school districts (like the one covered in this US News & World Report article) that are changing their school climate by revamping their disciplinary policies. School culture and student behavior some of the most challenging aspects of education. But we know with the right approach—and the right tools—school systems can begin to turn the tide. Sci Academy, one of three schools in the Collegiate Academy public charter school network, is situated in New Orleans East District. The impoverished area was hit hard in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina and has never fully recovered. The trauma many of the students experienced has held them back...

written August 8, 2016 by The Hero Collective

The Only Ones Who Can Destroy the School-to-Prison Pipeline

The school-to-prison pipeline refers to the link between school disciplinary policies and the growing number of juveniles in the criminal justice system. Essentially, the math goes like this: The more kids kicked out of school for misbehaviors and infractions = more kids ending up in prison or detention centers. As Dr. Stephen Green put it in his op-ed to Atlanta’s Channel 11, “…dismissing a young person for bad behavior in school often simply pushes that bad behavior out into the world.” He continues by saying, “We believe we should make every possible effort to keep more of our young men where they belong – in the classroom. For many, that’s the most structured, safest place to help them gain the social skills they need...

written August 2, 2016 by The Hero Collective

Should Schools Test Soft Skills?

The importance of soft skills is becoming a universally accepted idea. But is there a reliable way to test those skills? A relatively new trend among some schools embracing social-emotional learning programs is testing students for soft skills like “growth mindset,” “self-efficacy,” “self-management,” and “social awareness.” This trend in social-emotional testing is partly inspired by the noted success of an analysis in 2011 of 213 schools which found that using school-wide social emotional learning (SEL) programs improved academic scores by 11 percent. While no one would argue with the findings of the meta-analysis, or the need for students to learn critical life skills, it is debatable whether a school can or even should test such skills. As shown in this New York Times article,...

written July 11, 2016 by The Hero Collective

Why We Must Change Our Discipline Policies: A Superintendent’s Passionate Plea

When your school district reports more than 15,000 disorderly conduct charges, what do you do? For schools adopting a Zero-Tolerance policy, school attendance would be decimated, removing thousands of students from the classrooms, leaving them to roam the streets of Atlanta in their massive spare time. While out-of-school suspensions may bring temporary relief to the classroom by removing disruptive students, this traditional disciplinary approach would only exacerbate a much bigger problem—school-age children with lots of time on their hands, making them more susceptible to all sorts of negative consequences. These are the tragic consequences DeKalb County superintendent Dr. Stephen Green hopes to avoid, and why he’s choosing a different answer to the serious problem facing Atlanta’s schools. In his passionate op-ed for Atlanta’s WXIA...

written July 7, 2016 by The Hero Collective

Zero Tolerance: Not a Good Strategy for School Discipline

Zero Tolerance policies were enacted under the best of intentions—to keep students safe. But should good intentions be the foundation for school discipline strategies? The reality about education is that it’s an emotionally high stakes game, with the safety and welfare of our students as the main motivator in many decisions. Therefore, it’s only natural that educators and administrators approach the creation of new behavior policies with a bit of an emotional bias, intentional or otherwise. This leads to policies based on good intentions rather than best practices. We often neglect measuring the outcomes of our policies—specifically when it comes to student discipline—for fear that our methodology isn’t working anymore (if it ever had). Movements in education that started as good intentions and have...

written June 14, 2016 by The Hero Collective

How a School-Wide PBIS Program Is Changing a City

Salinas, California is fighting violence with a school-wide positive behavior program. We like to highlight schools around the nation that are implementing positive behavior programs, like PBIS, well in their school. We believe that creating a positive school environment has an effect that reaches beyond campus—and the school district of Salinas, California is proof. Through their dedication to a school-wide positive behavior program (SWPBIS), they are combating violence beyond the school walls. Positive and safe school climates have a direct effect on the communities in which they live. Salinas, CA is one of the least educated cities in America with one of the lowest numbers of doctors per capita. Endemic violence has ruled the city for years with over 22 known gangs in residence...

written June 13, 2016 by The Hero Collective

Testimonials

  • "What Hero is able to do is offer a management system to problem solve on what’s working, what’s not, and how do you go about creating new systems and processes to overcome your challenges."

    Dr. Nikolai Vitti

    Superintendant, Duval County Public Schools

  • "Hero is changing the conversation. Where a teacher might be more apt to focus on certain behaviors in their classroom, this focuses them on school-wide behaviors that we want to see."

    Terry Connor

    Principal, Samuel Wolfson High School

  • "I feel that Hero is instilling positive reinforcement with the kids... In education, we're used to the culture of reinforcing negative behaviors. Now, we're creating a positive culture where students are publicly recognized. There's a reward system. They're recognized by their peers, they're recognized by the faculty and staff, they're recognized by their principal, and it starts to spread throughout the school."

    Carlos Alvarez

    Principal, Hialeah Educational Academy

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PlascoTrac is now Hero K12

For over a decade our company has evolved and so has the world of education. EdTech companies are working with schools and districts nationwide to improve student outcomes at all levels. This evolution requires companies operating in this market to become more and more focused, nimble, and dedicated. When we launched the new Hero product in January 2014, we found the name resonated. Hero became far more than a product. Hero became what we live, every day. Our customers, partners, and everyone we’ve met along the way have responded so well to the Hero brand, it’s humbling. To support our commitment to our current and future customers, we are building a new organization to focus solely on K-12 education. Effective November 1, 2014, we are known simply as Hero K12. And we couldn’t be more excited for the future.

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