Virtual School Meanderings

June 21, 2016

McREL e-News June 2016 | Summer break? Check. Summer reading? Check.

Also from yesterday’s inbox…

June 2016

Bring us along on your summer plans!
What are your summer plans? Have you made your summer reading list yet? Our books leverage our extensive knowledge base on what works in teaching and leading to help improve and strengthen your practice. Our authors, who are themselves lifelong educators, present practical guidance you can use today—-and into the future—-to enhance student achievement. We can also provide deeper, contextualized guidance and support for educators through book study groups, professional development, and consulting services.
Join us for exceptional summer PD
This summer, 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

New Balanced Leadership study shows growth for principals in key areas
Educational Administration Quarterly

Results from a study of McREL’s Balanced Leadership (BL) PD program by education researcher Roger Goddard and colleagues showed that 100 principals in rural Michigan who participated in the PD program reported growth on the majority of outcomes targeted by BL, as compared with a control group that did not receive the training. The largest impacts were on sense of efficacy for instructional improvement, reported ability to bring about change, and strength of norms for teachers’ instructional practice.

Read the complete report. (Subscription required.)            Read our summary.

New data show 6.5 million U.S. students chronically absent
U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights

The recent release of the U.S. Department of Education 2013-14 Civil Rights Data Collectionshowed that 13 percent of all K-12 students are chronically absent—-defined as missing 15 or more days in a school year—-with a higher rate of absenteeism (18 percent) among high school students.

Half of teachers comfortable with classroom technology
Education Week

In Education Week’s Technology Counts 2016: Transforming the Classroom report, while more teachers are enthusiastic about using classroom technology, only about 50 percent of teachers surveyed report that they’re comfortable adapting and using technology for instruction. About 700 teachers participated in the survey, from a sample representing a diverse grade levels, locations, and student poverty levels


McREL and BrightBytes district leadership module
Developed in partnership with McREL and based on our research on effective school leadership, the BrightBytes leadership module provides a 360° view of the effectiveness of school leadership, identifies strengths and areas for growth, and delivers useful recommendations quick wins and long-term gains. The module also tracks the success of initiatives by providing insight into potential roadblocks and illustrating how teachers feel about what they are being asked to do. Learn more.

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.

Conference Sessions | NSTA Annual STEM Expo
Denver, Colorado, Jul. 27-29
The 5th Annual STEM Forum & Expo, hosted by NSTA, brings together educators, administrators, and companies who are interested in-and have tools and resources to share-successful implementation of STEM education into our schools and communities.
Join McREL consultants Anne Tweed and Whitney Cobb for their sessions on a professional development model for GreenSTEM programs, citizen scientists’ virtual exploration of our universe, STEAM education connecting art and science concepts using images from NASA missions, and how to harness the power of out-of-school-time partnerships to enhance STEM programs.

In addition, stop by the McREL booth in the Exhibit Hall to learn more about our services that support the development and implementation of high-quality STEM instruction and experiences for students. Learn more and register.

Speaking Out: Leadership is everybody’s business
In the May/June issue of NAESP’s Principal magazine, read about systemic leadership development grounded in shared leadership from McREL’s Matt Seebaum and Sublette County District #1 (WY) Superintendent Jay Harnack’s point of view. Read the entire article.

Blog Post | Do teacher evaluations really help teachers improve?
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 promising results of research on how peer feedback affects the performance of mid-career teachers, especially those with low levels of student achievement. Read their blog post.

Facing resistance? Try a new hat
In the summer issue of Educational Leadership, a feature article by McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin describes how people respond differently to challenges depending on their dominant thinking preferences—-of which there are four main types: thinkers, doers, energizers, and connectors. He aligns these preferences with McREL’s research on practices of effective school leaders, showing how these thinking preferences may play out when it comes to four areas in which effective leaders can fall short when leading complex change: input, order, communication, and culture.Read the entire article.


McREL partners with Discovery Education to support creation of dynamic digital learning environments
In an exciting new partnership, McREL will now provide support and expertise for development of innovation configuration (IC) maps for Discovery Education’s Digital Leader Corps, which helps participating educators learn to integrate educational technologies and digital media into classroom instruction. IC maps identify the major components of an innovation, capturing current practice and describing the steps for achieving implementation goals. Read our press release.

McREL helps teachers in Guam experience marine robotics
The Guam Daily Post recently highlighted a STEM professional development program organized by McREL that gave teachers the opportunity to learn firsthand about marine robotics. During the three-day training, teacher teams constructed underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and used them in a competition to retrieve objects from the water, similar to a competition that their high school students participate in. The training was provided by Anne Tweed, a STEM consultant at McREL, and Jim McDonnel, a retired engineer who coaches school teams to compete in regional and international marine advanced technology education (MATE) ROV competitions.   Read the entire article.
Marine Robotics in Guam
Marine Robotics in Guam

CITW helps Michigan school district develop college and career readiness
Chippewa Valley Schools in Clinton Township, Michigan, has been working to improve its curriculum and instruction practices with the goal of better preparing its students for post-secondary success. Part of its strategy has been to train every teacher in the district in Classroom Instruction That Works (CITW). In an article for C&G Newspapers, Director of Curriculum Pam Jones said, “Every teacher . . . has been trained in highly effective classroom instruction practices. It’s really about developing collaborative skills in student, and those 21st century skills of creativity, working together, and working cooperatively.” Read the entire article.
Client Testimonial
“All of my administrators said that McREL’s Balanced Leadership professional development was extremely meaningful to their practice and allowed them to be reflective learners.”
Debra Kaplan, Superintendent, West Covina Unified School District, California
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