Virtual School Meanderings

December 21, 2014

Worth A Read

From Friday’s inbox…

Worth A Read

Breaking the Cycle of Failed School Reforms

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 09:00 PM PST

This excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter looks at using Networked Improvement Communities to “learn fast and implement well.” NICs are: “intentionally designed social organizations, each with a distinct problem-solving focus.”

The Limitations of Self-Report Measures of Non-cognitive Skills

Posted: 17 Dec 2014 09:00 PM PST

Martin West discusses the use of non-cognitive skills to contribute to the information gathered in schools. “As practice and policy race forward, however, research on non-cognitive skills remains in its infancy. There is little agreement on which skills are most important, their stability within the same individual in different contexts, and, perhaps most fundamentally, how they can be reliably measured.”

ESEA In 2015?

Posted: 16 Dec 2014 09:00 PM PST

Andy Rotherham discusses the possibility of ESEA reauthorization in 2015. With the GOP taking control of the Senate, Senator Lamar Alexander, a former secretary of education, will be the new education committee chairman.
The Disruptors

Posted: 15 Dec 2014 09:00 PM PST

Nancy Flanagan reacts to recent commentary by Michael Petrilli in the New York Times: “The school-to-prison pipeline is a real, substantiated thing. Schools that cannot accept students who bring the challenging conditions of their lives with them into the classroom should not be allowed to take public money. Because public money should be spent on building a better society, not isolating the easy-to-educate. And—disruption is not a cancer. It is a symptom. It’s up to us to figure out the disease.”

A link to Petrilli’s piece can be found here.

Do you favor charter schools? Why are we still asking?

Posted: 14 Dec 2014 09:00 PM PST

Erin Horvat, Temple University, and David Baugh, superintendent of the Bensalem (PA) Township School District, discuss changing the dialogue regarding schools. They push for a larger, more encompassing conversation about inequity: “Rather than discussing the merits of charter versus public schools, let’s ask if we favor good schools for all kids. Are we ready to talk about why it’s acceptable to provide a world-class public education to kids in well-funded suburban schools while city kids work to bootstrap into the American Dream in Third World conditions with far fewer resources than their suburban peers? Rather than discussing the merits of one organizational approach over another, a better conversation would untangle our tolerance for this inequality and generate solutions that level the playing field.” This link requires a subscription.

The Road to Redemption: Ten Policy Recommendations for Ohio’s Charter School Sector

Posted: 14 Dec 2014 09:00 PM PST

Chad Aldis and Aaron Churchill, Bellwether Education Partners, published a report that offers ten policy recommendations for stronger charter policy in Ohio. The report comes a week after the CREDO report from Stanford University found weaknesses in Ohio’s charter school policies and accountability.

Teachers’ Needs Must Drive the Professional Learning Agenda

Posted: 11 Dec 2014 09:00 PM PST

Stephanie Hirsh responds to a research report commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Teachers Know Best: Teachers’ Views on Professional Development.

Charter School Cherry-Picking From Admission to Expulsion

Posted: 09 Dec 2014 09:00 PM PST

Carol Burris, principal at South Side High School in Rockville Centre, N.Y., participated in a recent NY Times Room for Debate, which discussed charter schools and suspension, expulsion of students: “When students are pushed out or leave their charter school, they enter the public schools discouraged and further behind.” Additional commentary from leading education reform leaders is also included.

ProQuest/EBSCO Alerts

proquestBeginning with the ProQuest Alert for virtual school.

LETTER: Cyber charter takes issue with editorialThe York Dispatch [York, Pa] 17 Dec 2014.

Full text
Assessing the virtual school experience in MaineGallagher, Noel K. McClatchy – Tribune Business News [Washington] 14 Dec 2014.

Full text
An analysis of teacher communication patterns with parents whose children attend an online schoolFiore Licata, Michelle.University of Florida, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2014. 3581747.

Preview – PDF (738 KB) Full text – PDF (5 MB)

Next, I have not received the ProQuest alert for cyber school for some time.

ebscoMoving on to the EBSCO alert for virtual school.

1. TI- Online Learning Evolves Amid More Scrutiny. (Cover story)
JN- Electronic Education Report
PD- 9/12/2014, Vol. 21 Issue 18, p1-8
PG- 3p
DT- 20140912
PT- Article
AB- The article reports on the evolution of online learning in the U.S. amid more scrutiny. The growth of district-created virtual schools is said to have given providers of K-12 online courses with more opportunities to sell their offerings. Also tackled is the move of the University of California a-g to award approval to courses that are academically challenging.
SU- ONLINE courses
SU- VIRTUAL universities & colleges
SU- WEB-based instruction
SU- INTERNET in education
SU- VIRTUAL classrooms
IS- 10779949
AN- 98259818

Next, I did receive the EBSCO alert for cyber school, but there were no relevant items.

Finally, I did not receive the EBSCO alert K-12 online learning.

December 20, 2014

Happy Holidays! Creating A Bright Future — McREL e-News December 2014

And another item from Thursday’s inbox…

Having trouble viewing this email? View it online here.

December 2014

Happy Holidays from McREL

We would like to extend our gratitude to you for an exciting and transformative year serving educators across the globe in 2014. We wish you a holiday season filled with joy, peace, and prosperity, and look forward to a bright future in 2015.

Research Roundup

Fusing Career, Academic Skills Benefits Students, Study Finds  

Education Week

Fifth-year results from California’s Linked Learning initiative, which blends real-world career preparation with rigorous academic experiences for high school students, are highlighted in a post on Education Week’s blog, Curriculum Matters. A recent report shows that students in the program were significantly more likely to remain in their school districts and accumulate more high school credits than their peers who were not in the program.

Arts Education Matters: We Know, We Measured It

Education Week


Using a random-assignment research model to identify and measure the effects of exposure to the arts and cultural experiences on students, researchers found that art experiences enhance observation and critical thinking skills, increase empathy and tolerance, and boost students’ knowledge about the arts.

College-and-Career Readiness: States Have Made Progress in Implementing New Standards and Assessments, but Challenges Remain

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)
The latest college- and career-readiness report (GAO-15-104R) from the U.S. GAO outlines the challenges states are facing in meeting Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) amended requirements related to standards and assessments. Among the findings, the report indicates that states are creating new professional development, curricula, instructional materials, and communications strategies, but are still struggling with technology challenges as well as the short time frame given to accomplish implementation, which raises concerns about an initial decline in assessment scores due to content changes.

2014 Native Youth Report

Executive Office of the President of the United States
The White House released a report on December 3 during the Tribal Nations Conference, where the President, Cabinet members, and the White House Council on Native American Affairs met with leaders of the 566 federally recognized nations to launch Generation Indigenous, a Native youth initiative that aims to reduce barriers between Native youth and opportunities to succeed. Among many challenges outlined in the report, it describes educational disparities between Native youth and their non-Native peers, challenges in retaining highly effective teachers, and a lack of Native languages and cultural customs within schools. Included in the report are specific recommendations for changes that address those disparities and support Tribal control of education for Native youth, as well as the integration of Native languages and culture into the school and classroom climate. Read the White House Fact Sheet about the conference here.

In the Field

Upcoming conference presentations


McREL will present sessions or have an exhibit booth at the following national, regional, and statewide conferences in January and February 2015:


Virginia Title III Statewide Consortium Conference in Blacksburg, Virginia, on January 21-22. McREL’s Jane Hill will deliver a keynote address titled “Academic Talk” and facilitate a breakout session on “Classroom Instruction That Works with English Language Learners.”


Texas Association of School Administrators’ Mid-Winter Conference, being held January 25-28 in Austin. Visit us in booth #847.
2015 National Title I Conference, being held February 5-8 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Visit us in booth #1353.

Midwest Education Technology Community’s (METC) Motivate, Engage, Transform, Connect Conference, being held February 9-11 in St. Charles, Missouri. McREL’s Cheryl Abla will deliver a session titled “Social Media in the Elementary Classroom.”

New on the McREL blog


In a new blog post, our executive director of digital solutions, Dr. Howard Pitler, highlights a middle school teacher’s successful integration of technology tools into classroom instruction through project-based learning, which enhanced students’ experiences of learning, creating, and producing.

Events & Opportunities

McREL’s Summer of Learning 2015


Our 2015 summer professional development sessions, held at our headquarters in Denver, Colorado, include workshops and institutes that combine insightful research with best practices for educators at all levels to help improve students’ odds of success. Discounts are available for early registration and groups of five or more.


The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching

June 22-23, 2015

Learn more and register here.


Institute: Balanced Leadership for District-Level Leaders
June 24-26, 2015
Learn more and register here.
Classroom Instruction That Works
July 13-15, 2015
Learn more and register here.
Facilitator training: Classroom Instruction That Works
July 13-17, 2015

Learn more and register here.


Institute: Balanced Leadership for School-Level Leaders

July 20-25, 2015
Learn more and register here.
Classroom Instruction That Works with English Language Learners
July 27-28, 2015

Learn more and register here.


Using Technology with Classroom Instruction That Works

July 29-30, 2015

Learn more and register here.


Helping All Students Achieve with a Multi-Tiered System of Supports

July 29-30, 2015

Learn more and register here.

McREL in the News

Nineteen school educators in Micronesia complete McREL’s Balanced Leadership® Certification Program


In a feature photo on the front page of the December 15 Marianas Variety newspaper, which serves Micronesia, Dr. Mel Sussman of McREL is pictured with 19 school educators from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands’ Public School System (PSS), Commissioner of Education Rita A. Sablan, and other education officials after completing a three-day Balanced Leadership Certification Program.

McREL evaluator featured on Transformative Change Initiative blog series


Managing evaluator Dr. Tara Donahue was featured in a recent blog post as part of the Transformative Change Initiative blog series produced by the Office of Community College Research and Leadership, College of Education, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Donahue offers advice for Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant evaluators on communication strategies for project staff and stakeholders.

In This Issue

Featured Content

Changing Schools: Coaching that makes a difference

Our latest issue ofChanging Schoolsmagazine offers multiple perspectives on coaching and ways to develop the next generation of great teachers and school leaders.

Do STEM schools make a difference?


In the latest “Research Says” column in ASCD’sEducational Leadershipmagazine, McREL’s Bryan Goodwin and Heather Hein look at the research on the effectiveness of STEM schools, which shows mixed results on whether they actually improve student achievement in STEM. The authors suggest, however, that the way students are taught STEM may matter more than mere participation in STEM classes or academies in raising student interest in STEM. Other research has shown that students who pursue STEM in college are more likely to have received instruction based on rich research experiences and real-world applications–which remains the exception rather than the rule in U.S. schools.

Careers at McREL


McREL is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to improve education through applied research, development, and service to teachers and leaders at schools, districts, networks and agencies, and higher education institutions.


Having the right people at McREL is important to our mission. Our employees are passionate about the work they do, not only because they are helping enhance lives, but also because they are surrounded by diverse, enthusiastic, and innovative thinkers.


We are seeking qualified candidates for the following roles:


Executive Director of Research, Evaluation, and Expertise


Director of Client Solutions–Pacific Region


Follow our@McRELJobs Twitter feed and never miss an opportunity to join our staff.


Learn more about our work culture and employment listings at our Careers at McRELsite.

Connect with Us on Social Media


For the latest in professional development opportunities, education news, research, and McREL employment opportunities, follow us on our social media channels.


Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our profile on LinkedIn


Find us on Google+ View our videos on YouTube Visit our blog

McREL International | 1.800.858.6830 | Fax 303.337.3005
4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500
Denver, CO 80237
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McREL International | 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500 | Denver | CO | 80237

Hear From Our Mastery Series Graduates

Also from Thursday’s inbox…

Online Learning Consortium twitterfacebookinstagram
JAN 9.
Dear OLC Friend,

The Mastery Series program was created based on feedback from workshop participants expressing a need to specialize in a particular area of online learning. We know this workshop series can help your online teaching, but don’t take it from us. Hear from some of our graduates:

This series has enabled me to integrate mobile learning technologies and techniques into my curriculum, not only from a pedagogical improvement point of view, but also to make learning fun and engaging for the students.”
Arun Madapusi, Drexel University

This series on teaching lab sciences on line provided a wealth of great ideas and a diversity of perspectives that were most helpful as I continue teaching science with online labs!
Joan Esterline Lafuze, Indiana University East

An excellent, hands-on, practical Mastery class that addresses all of the important issues educators need to know and understand if they are contemplating social media use in classes or programs.
Ronald G. Hannaford, Ph.D., Biola University

Need to know more? Contact
Best regards,
Sandra Coswatte | Director, OLC Institute for Learning
Forward this email
The Online Learning Consortium | P.O. Box 1238 | Newburyport | MA | 01950

Professional Certificate In Online Education: Registration Open

From Thursday’s inbox…

View in browser
Registration open for UW-Madison Professional Certificate in Online Education
When: Feb 17-Aug 31, 2015
Where: Totally online
Certificate from: University of Wisconsin-Madison
CEUs: 7 (70 hours)
Join the hundreds of teaching and training professionals rising to the top of their field through UW-Madison’s Professional Certificate in Online Education (PCOE).

This internationally-recognized UW-Madison program provides evidence-based principles, practical foundational knowledge, and personalized learning to help you stay abreast of the rapidly growing world of online, distance, and blended learning.

Who can enroll?

The PCOE is open to everyone—from newcomers to more seasoned educators and trainers—interested in honing their skills and improving core competencies in online teaching.

What will you learn?

You’ll complete a professional ePortfolio to showcase your knowledge and expertise. The ePortfolio will be yours to use and expand on as you grow your online teaching skills. You’ll also earn 7 continuing education units (CEUs).

Covers key topics, including:

  • Online teaching fundamentals
  • Introduction to instructional design
  • Writing objectives for online learning
  • Online assessments
  • Online discussion
Don’t delay registering! Spring cohort begins Feb 17!
Questions? Contact Bonnie Schmidt :: :: 608-262-8530
UW-Madison Continuing Studies :: Distance Education Professional Development
This message was sent to from:

UW-Madison Continuing Studies | | UW-Madison Continuing Studies | 21 N Park St | Madison, WI 53715

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