Virtual School Meanderings

September 23, 2016

e-News September 2016 | Four Big Ideas About Change For School Leaders

Another item from Wednesday’s inbox…

September 2016

Responding to change
Starting new programs, processes, and procedures this year? Balanced Leadership for Powerful Learning helps principals and other school-level leaders harness the power of change and effectively implement powerful and lasting improvement initiatives. Balanced Leadership isavailable through ASCD.
Need a customized solution?
Beyond the book, we can provide school and system leaders with contextualized consulting, leadership coaching, and support to achieve 2016-17 school-year goals.
Just let us know how we can help!

Research Roundup

Learning from Summer: Effects of voluntary summer learning programs on low-income urban youth
RAND Corporation and The Wallace Foundation

A two-year summer learning study by RAND and The Wallace Foundation found that 3rd-grade students with high attendance rates (defined in the study as 20 or more days) in a voluntary, free, five- to six-week summer learning program did better on state math and reading tests than similar students in the control group, and held on to the gains in subsequent years.

Head Start program affects middle-school academic outcomes, attendance, and progress
Georgetown University

A study of a Head Start program in Tulsa, Okla., by Georgetown University researchers found that the early childhood education program had “significant and consequential effects into the middle school years,” with participating students having higher achievement test scores in math, and lower rates of grade retention and chronic absenteeism.

Making whole-child education the norm
Economic Policy Institute

This policy brief from the Economic Policy Institute looks at existing research and policy on the effects of noncognitive skills on child development, social-emotional learning, achievement in school and career, and lifetime productivity. It suggests that noncognitive skills can change, and “they are responsive to differences in school quality, children’s environment, and various parental investments.” The brief includes pilot examples that can help inform future initiatives and “the thinking about school design and culture needed to make these skills a core component of education.”

Nearly half of U.S. parents underestimate harm of school absences
U.S. Department of Education

A recent press release from the U.S. Department of Education and the Ad Council on results of research on parents’ perceptions of absenteeism showed that nearly half of parents believe that absences of three or more days per month are not harmful to students’ education. In reality, missing just two days or more per month correlates to a higher risk of falling behind on achievement and not graduating from high school.

New from McREL

REL Pacific Toolkit | Resources for Engaging Families and the Community as Partners in Education
A new toolkit from the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Pacific at McREL is designed to help schools and districts improve their outreach to families and community members. The toolkit is divided into four parts, each including a series of activities that can be used with family and community members as well as other diverse cross-stakeholder groups. The activities involve reading, writing, discussions, and creative exercises using graphics, scenarios, worksheets, and planning templates. Find the guides at the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences website.

Success Story | Study finds link between school climate and literacy achievement
The Department of Education and Training in Victoria, Australia contracted 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. Examining the survey results as they relate to student achievement on standardized assessments, McREL researchers found that school climate was a predictor of Grade 5 achievement in literacy. Further analysis showed that strong school leadership led to better teacher collaboration, which then led to academic optimism. Read the whole story.

Blog Post | Four tips for using nonlinguistic representations
Nonlinguistic representations can be powerful tools in classroom instruction, allowing students to process new information in a variety of ways without relying solely on language. In this blog post, Classroom Instruction that Works co-author Dr. Bj Stone offers four valuable tips for engaging students in nonlinguistic learning.

Research Matters | “High touch” is crucial for “high tech” students
In September’s Educational Leadership magazine, McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin discusses the effects of our “plugged in” culture on students and teachers. One clear effect, he finds, is how students relate to others: One analysis of more than 70 student surveys, for example, found that empathy among college students is at its lowest level since 1979—-a whopping 40 percent lower. Today more than ever, Goodwin says, teachers need to show and model empathy and provide opportunities for students to make real human connections by balancing their high-tech lives with high-touch learning environments.

Video | Closing the American Indian Opportunity Gap
Closing the American Indian Opportunity Gap
This video from the North Central Comprehensive Center at McREL, in partnership with a network of Comprehensive Centers, the National Indian Education Association, and the Council of Chief State School Officers, shares insights from a recent meeting of key stakeholders including state education department leaders and Native education experts who discussed the opportunity ESSA presents for a strong focus on American Indian and Alaska Native education, including greater tribal involvement and greater coordination among states and tribes.

Consulting and Training | District Leadership That Works
McREL’s research and analysis show that superintendents, school boards, and central office administrators have the power to increase student achievement if they fulfill certain key responsibilities of effective systems-level leadership. We can help you and your district leadership team understand why and how to strike the right balance among these key responsibilities and set a course to become a high-reliability school system. Learn more about this service.

Events & Opportunities

McREL staff 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.

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

National Indian Education Association Annual Convention
Reno, Nevada, Oct. 5-8

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

American Association of School Personnel Administrators Annual Conference
Orlando, Florida, Oct. 11-14
“The cohesiveness and alignment between [McREL’s] Balanced Leadership
and Classroom Instruction That Works allows leaders to intently lead with instruction
at the forefront of planning, development, and support.
Chastity Jeff, Project Manager, Texas Center for Educator Effectiveness ESC Region 18
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