Virtual School Meanderings

May 25, 2016

McREL e-News May 2016 | How Will You Flourish This Summer?

Also from yesterday’s inbox…

May 2016

Celebrating fifty years of helping students 
and educators flourish
Fifty years ago this June, McREL opened its doors as an educational research laboratory dedicated to bridging the gap between research and practice. In the decades since, our organization has evolved and expanded, but our core focus remains: To provide research and guidance that help educators and students succeed and flourish. We’ll continue our mission as we look forward to the next 50 years of serving educators.
Join us for exceptional summer PD
 
As summer approaches, we invite you to join us in Denver for a series of PD institutes on effective teaching and leading. We’ll share our best insights, research, and strategies to help you transform your classrooms, schools, and districts.

Visit our events page to view the complete lineup of PD sessions and register.

Research Roundup

Local education inequities across U.S. revealed in new Stanford data set
Stanford University

Researchers at Stanford University reviewed test score data from 40 million 3rd- through 8th-grade students over four years to identify and compare achievement gaps. The researchers found that nearly all U.S. school districts with substantial minority populations have large achievement gaps between their white and black and white and Hispanic students. Researchers also studied the relationships among academic achievement, segregation, geography, and resource allocation.

The best school violence prevention program may start with raising test scores, study shows
The Hechinger Report

Researchers from the University of Southern California and Bar Ilan University in Israel looked for links between school climate, school violence, and student achievement, and found a connection between higher academic achievement and reduction in school violence, concluding that achievement gains preceded improvements in school safety, and not the other way around.

Parents, teachers, students split on overtesting
THE Journal

A recent Gallup poll of 4,200 educators, parents, and students showed that parents and students view formative and interim assessments more favorably than educators do. All three groups valued the benefits of classroom tests and quizzes more than state-run standardized assessments. As for the amount of time spent on assessments, while most teachers (83 percent) said they think students spend too much time on tests, most students and parents disagreed, with a majority of both groups saying students were spending the right amount of time or not enough time on assessments.

Curiosity about a topic helps learners retain new information and incidental knowledge
Neuron

New research on parts of the brain that are involved in learning revealed that people retain more information when learning about topics that pique their curiosity, and that curiosity-based learning activates the same dopamine-releasing neural networks in the brain as activities that are intrinsically rewarding.

Events & Opportunities

Conference Session | ISTE National Conference
Denver, Colorado, Jun. 26-29
Join McREL consultant Cheryl Abla for a conference session, “Best Tech Tools for Formative Assessment,” to discover online tools and applications elementary teachers can use to check for student understanding while maximizing student engagement—-including how to help students create their own online assessments tools to help them check for understanding. Also, visit our business partners in the exhibit hall for information on our Power Walkthrough classroom observation system (Media-X Systems booth), and an online tool for improving leadership skills, change management skills, and initiative success based on our Balanced Leadership research and training program (BrightBytes booth). Learn more and register.

Conference Session | NAESP National Conference
National Harbor, Maryland, Jul. 6-8
Join Dr. Grace Gutierrez for her session, “Leveraging Balanced Leadership Research for Effective Change Management,” and learn how to predict potential obstacles to changes in schools and proactively develop and implement plans to achieve better results. Participants will gain insights on effectively initiating, monitoring, and leading change by applying McREL’s four phases of change: Creating Demand, Implementing, Monitoring and Evaluating, and Managing Personal Transitions.Learn more and register.

Summer PD | Balanced Leadership® Institute for School-Level Leaders
Denver, Colorado, Jul. 18-21
Learn the leadership responsibilities that research shows are most strongly connected to student achievement. You’ll receive practical strategies you can use in your school to develop a purposeful and positive school community, initiate and manage change within your school, and choose the right focus for your school’s improvement initiatives. If you cannot attend all four days, you can register for individual days of your choice. Learn more and register.

Summer PD | Balanced Leadership Institute for District-Level Leaders
Denver, Colorado, Jul. 21-22
Explore the district-level leadership activities and behaviors that research shows are most connected to student and staff success, and how these leadership responsibilities apply to the actions of superintendents, school boards, and central office staff. We’ll share the principles of high-reliability systems and the actions used in healthcare, aviation, and other complex industries, and how these principles can be effectively applied to education systems. Learn more and register.

Conference Sessions | Annual CASE Convention
Breckenridge, Colorado, Jul. 25-29
Join McREL staff at the Colorado Association of School Executives’ annual leadership conference for two presentations:
Bryan Goodwin will lead a session on unleashing student and teacher potential, revealing the leadership keys to shifting to an “inside-out” improvement approach that taps teachers’ intrinsic motivation to get better every day and focuses on a powerful driver of success: student curiosity.

Matt Seebaum will present a high-reliability approach to system improvement and leadership development, offering a model and examples of districts that have successfully connected the principles of High Reliability Organizations (HROs) and Improvement Cycles with a focus on developing leadership at all levels. Learn more and register.

Summer PD | Classroom Instruction That Works® | Workshop
Denver, Colorado, Jul. 25-27
Learn research-based, practice-proven instructional strategies and ways to implement them in the classroom. Discover how each strategy can be effective with any student, at any grade level, and in any subject area, to enhance student achievement.
  • Learn new, evidence-based insights from the most recent, rigorous research
  • Get a framework to strengthen instructional design
  • Discover the reasons for choosing certain strategies for certain situations
  • Connect the strategies to essential 21st century skills

Whether the strategies are new to you or something you already use every day, this workshop will help you raise your level of effectiveness. Learn more and register.

Summer PD | Classroom Instruction That Works | Authorized Facilitator Training
Denver, Colorado, Jul. 25-29
Attend our Classroom Instruction That Works (CITW) workshop and authorized facilitator training to learn effective research-based instructional strategies and methods to help other teachers learn and implement these strategies in their classrooms. The first three days of this training will solidify your understanding of the nine CITW categories of instructional strategies and an instructional planning framework that maximizes the strategies’ effectiveness. The final two days will prepare you to become an authorized facilitator of CITW workshops in your own district or region. Learn more and register.

Perspectives
Podcast | TLTalkRadio interviews Bryan Goodwin on inside-out reform and the role of curiosity in learning
An interview with McREL President and CEO Bryan Goodwin is featured in the latest episode of TLTalkRadio, a weekly podcast focused on leading schools in the digital age. Hosts Lynn Fuini-Hetten and Randy Ziegenfuss talk to Bryan about the future of education, inside-out reform, and McREL’s two most recent whitepapers, The Road Less Traveled and Rebalancing Formative Assessment. Learn more and listen to the podcast.

Research Says | Evaluating and improving: Not the same thing
 
In recent years, annual performance reviews for teachers have become ubiquitous. But do teacher evaluations make a difference in how teachers teach? Do they really help teachers improve? McREL’s Bryan Goodwin and Heather Hein look at the research to answer those questions in this month’s Research Says column in Educational Leadership.

Blog Post | GreenSTEM Model: Steps for an instructional approach
 
You’ve heard of STEM, but have you heard of GreenSTEM? In this blog post from Laura Arndt, she describes the GreenSTEM Model, and how GreenSTEM projects can deepen students’ understanding of STEM concepts by directly addressing environmental challenges within students’ communities.

Headlines

Executive director of Alabama ASCD highlights Balanced Leadership book
In the May 2016 newsletter of the Alabama state chapter of ASCD, Executive Director Jane Cobia reflects on the balancing act required of educators, highlighting the insights she’s gained from McREL’s Balanced Leadership for Powerful Learning: Tools for Achieving Success in Your School. The book, Dr. Cobia says, provides “clear research-based data to help us navigate and hopefully increase teacher and student learning” by reminding us that “balance is the key to everything.”Read the entire column.

McREL helps Nebraska update science standards
A recent article from the Omaha World-Herald (on Omaha.com) highlighted the work of the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) in updating the state’s science standards, including partnering with McREL to compare existing standards with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). McREL’s analysis showed content was similar but that the NGSS goes “deeper,” indicating the opportunity for NDE to raise the rigor and complexity of its standards statewide. Read the entire article.
Client Testimonial
“Once the Instructional Planning Framework model clicked for me, a flood of ideas came to me on how to implement procedures to create a LEARNING environment for my students.”
Monica Kahe, Teacher, Hopi Jr./Sr. High School, Arizona
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