Virtual School Meanderings

December 21, 2013

McREL e-News December 2013

From Friday’s inbox…

December 2013

Research Headlines

Education Week

Results from the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) are in, and U.S. scores in reading, math, and science stayed flat while other countries have improved. In 2009, nine countries scored better than the U.S. in reading; in 2012, that number went up to 19. In math, 29 countries outperformed the U.S. in 2012, up from 23 three years ago. Countries outperforming the U.S. average include not just the traditional top performers like South Korea and Singapore but also Austria, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

U.S. News & World Report

A new study from the National Council on Teacher Quality finds that, although most teacher preparation programs give students some instruction on classroom management, they don’t address the strategies that research has proven to be the most effective. Researchers looked at the programs of 122 colleges and universities and found that few of them drew from the “Big Five” of classroom management strategies: establishing rules, building routines, giving praise, imposing consequences for misbehavior, and maintaining student engagement. While more than half of the program included some of the strategies, only 17 programs included all five.

A new report from the global-management consulting firm Bain & Company highlights the challenge of most school systems to methodically develop talented educators into prospective school leaders. Based on surveys of teachers, teacher leaders, assistant principals, and principals, the report finds that most teachers and teacher leaders and more than one-third of assistant principals have no interest in becoming principals. The report outlines several common “roadblocks” to robust leadership development models and offers recommendations for school systems in improving their ability to develop transformational school leaders.

For additional reading on the research and practice of developing effective school leaders, download McREL’s free Balanced Leadership Framework guidebook.

New from McREL

REL Pacific report on data-driven decision making

REL Pacific at McREL’s new guide, Five Steps for Structuring Data-Informed Conversations and Action in Education, written by Wendy Kekahio and Myriam Baker, provides readers with five key steps to drive data-based decision making and action: setting the stage, examining the data, understanding the findings, developing an action plan, and monitoring progress and measuring success.

Policy brief examines implications of the Common Core for special populations

Our latest policy brief, written by Jane Best and Courtney Cohen, explores the potential impact of the implementation of Common Core State Standards on students with disabilities, Native American students, and English language learners. The brief also gives examples of implementation targeting these populations as well as recommendations and questions for policymakers to consider.

Mathematical practices for deep understanding

This article in the December/January issue of Educational Leadership looks at the challenges of the mathematical practices recommended by the Common Core Initiative and how formative assessment is the key to helping students master them. Authors Ceri Dean and Susan Brookhart give examples of how instruction, feedback, and assessment can be modified-using formative assessment strategies-to help students develop all eight of the mathematical practices.

Teachers rally around writing: Shared leadership transforms low-performing Colorado elementary

Written by Dana Frazee, Kay Frunzi, and Heather Hein, this article in the December issue of JSD highlights the work undertaken by Sedalia Elementary in Colorado to establish shared leadership and other structures and processes, in order to get everyone focused on student achievement and maximize school improvement efforts.

In This Issue

Featured Content


Join authors Bryan Goodwin and Elizabeth Ross Hubbell for a three-part online webinar based on their new book, The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching: A Checklist for Staying Focused Every Day. Learn how to use a simple, research-based checklist of best practices to help you plan, problem-solve, and create a student-centered classroom. Click here for more information.

Events & Opportunities

Saginaw, MI: Classroom Instruction That Works 

McREL is offering a three-day Classroom Instruction That Works® (CITW) workshop with accompanying two-day facilitator training in Saginaw, Michigan, on February 24-28. Participants who complete the facilitator training will be licensed to deliver CITW to educators in their districts or service areas.


Attend this workshop on February 11-12 to gain essential tools, templates, and information to develop lesson plans and align assessments for Common Core mathematics standards. An extra day of facilitator training on February 13 allows you to become licensed to deliver this workshop.

Attend this workshop on February 11-12 to gain essential tools, templates, and information to measure text complexity and teach strategies for close reading of complex texts. An extra day of facilitator training on February 13 allows you to become licensed to deliver this workshop.


Contact Us
McREL International
4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500
Denver, CO 80237
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4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500
Denver, CO 80237
McREL International | 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500 | Denver | CO | 80237

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