Virtual School Meanderings

August 25, 2016

e-News August 2016 | New School Year, Fresh Start!

Also from Tuesday’s inbox…

August 2016

New school year, fresh start!
Have you set your goals for student and personal success this year? Now’s a great time to take stock of what you know works in your schools and classrooms and build on it to reach new levels of achievement. Building trust begins on the first day of school and sets a foundation for student and staff success. Here are a few tips to help get you in the school mindset.
“Let students know you believe they can learn and that
you will partner with them to succeed.”
-Consulting Director Bj Stone
“Remember to encourage risk-taking and questioning in your classroom.
In order for students to learn, they need to feel both safe and accepted.”
-Managing Consultant Cheryl Abla
“No matter how little or how much English an English learner (EL) speaks
upon arrival at school, no matter how much of the EL’s native language
the educator speaks, a smile transcends all.”
-Managing Consultant Jane Hill
Need a customized solution?
We can provide you with contextualized consulting, coaching, and support to achieve your goals. Just let us know how we can help!

Research Roundup

Perceptions of school climate are predictive of student literacy results
McREL International

The Department of Education and Training in Victoria, Australia contracted with McREL to develop a highly reliable staff opinion survey to measure five key areas of school function: school climate, school leadership, professional learning, staff safety and well-being, and teaching and learning. Using a predictive validity study to examine the survey results as they relate to student achievement on standardized assessments, McREL researchers found that school climate was the greatest predictor of Grade 5 achievement in literacy. Further statistical analysis showed that strong leadership led to better teacher collaboration, which then led to academic optimism.

Caution flags for tech in classrooms

This NPR story profiles three recent studies on educational technology and its effect on student learning, which showed mixed results. In some cases, technology inhibited learning when overused or when students’ understanding of the purpose for the technology was limited and their use of technology was not fully supported.

U.S. Department of Education’s experiences with flexibility waivers could inform efforts to assist states with new requirements
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO)

GAO’s analysis of the ESEA flexibility waiver program revealed that 12 of the 43 states with waivers had difficulty with implementation, and the GAO recommends that, as the new ESSA law begins to be implemented, the Department of Education should incorporate applicable lessons learned.

New from McREL

White Paper | Applying best practices for effective vocabulary instruction
VocabularySpellingCity, in partnership with McREL, released a report showing that direct vocabulary instruction, coupled with engaging word study activities, builds critical vocabulary skills necessary to ensure academic success. Research has consistently shown the power of vocabulary in determining academic destiny. Students with weak vocabularies tend to decline academically, while students with stronger vocabularies tend to learn faster. Download the white paper.

How to select school interventions
Selecting and implementing the right intervention for your students’ needs can be a daunting task. Our newest resource, Recommended Protocol for Selecting School Interventions, walks school leaders and teams through seven key steps to take when selecting school interventions to accelerate student growth. From the first step (collect and analyze data to identify your priority area of focus) to the last (evaluate the efficacy of the intervention), the document provides multiple action steps and questions to consider that will help you make better intervention decisions. Download this free resource.


Blog Post | Igniting students’ passion to learn through National History Day
In this blog post for the Boost Collaborative Breakfast Club Blog, McREL managing researcher and evaluator Tara Donahue shares her experience visiting a Michigan classroom to view students’ exhibits for the National History Day competition, and offers her thoughts on why meaningful projects help students stay engaged and challenged.

Blog Post | Four fallacies that keep us from finishing what we start
What keeps us from finishing school improvement initiatives that we start? Often it can be traced back to fallacies that form our belief systems about school improvement. In this blog post, McREL consulting director Bj Stone offers four valuable tips to help implement and sustain initiatives and get them across the finish line. Read her blog post.


Simi Valley Unified rings the schoolbell
The Simi Valley Acorn reported that Simi Valley USD teachers received McREL’s Classroom Instruction That Works professional development over the summer. “This is giving us a systematic approach with regards to classroom instruction that we haven’t had for quite some time,” Superintendent Peplinksi said. Read the story.

Events & Opportunities

McREL consultants will be at the following conferences to present sessions and/or to share information in exhibit areas. If you or your colleagues will attend, please be sure to introduce yourself to our staff.
Visit our events page or contact McREL to learn more about each event.

Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents Fall Conference
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Sept. 11-14

South Dakota Indian Education Summit
Pierre, South Dakota, Sept. 25-27

Region 13 ESC – Advancing Improvement in Education Conference
San Antonio, Texas, Oct. 4-6

Georgia Department of Education Instructional Leadership Conference
Stone Mountain, Georgia, Oct. 5-6

MENA Teacher Summit
Dubai, UAE, Oct. 7-8

American Association of School Personnel Administrators Annual Conference
Orlando, Florida, Oct. 11-14
Client Testimonial
“The Classroom Instruction That Works framework is the design 
to provide quality instruction for all students.
Dr. Nancy Alexander, Retired School Superintendent, Alexander Consulting
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Denver, CO 80237
Copyright © 2016, McREL International. All Rights Reserved.
McREL International, 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500, Denver, CO 80237

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