Virtual School Meanderings

March 26, 2017

McREL e-News | Spring Break | A Time To Reflect And Recharge

And from Thursday’s inbox…

March 2017

Spring break offers educators
time for reflection and rejuvenation
Many U.S. districts are on spring break around this time of year, offering educators a time to recharge and reflect on this year’s progress. As you revisit your goals and growth, let us know if you and your colleagues need ideas or assistance for recharging an important initiative, making sense of your data, or creating strong goals and action plans for the next school year. Contact us today for a strategic session with one of our experts. No fee, no obligations, just good ideas and inspiration for quick wins and game changers to keep your school, district, agency, or system on track for success.
Let us know how we can help!

Meet us in Anaheim and San Francisco
If you’re attending the ASCD or Carnegie national education conferences this month, we’d love to meet you there and hear how your school year is going. We want to know what’s working well, what’s on your plate for the remainder of the current school year, and what big goals and initiatives you’re thinking about for next year.

To set up a specific time to visit with us about strategies for improvement, acceleration, or innovation in your school or system, contact Madonna Shafer at or 303.632.5507.

New from McREL

White Paper | Finding Simplicity on the Other Side of Complexity: A Strategic Planning Process Streamlines District Work and Improves the System for All
Managing a school district has become an increasingly complex endeavor. But one school district in Pinedale, Wyoming, has found that taking a systems approach to strategic planning not only simplifies district work but also increases the success of principals, teachers, and students.

In this white paper, Jay Harnack, the superintendent of Sublette County School District #1, and Matt Seebaum, senior director at McREL, show how a strategic planning process reduces redundancy and workload by integrating district goals, strategic planning, and school improvement into one streamlined process. Read the white paper.

Blog Post | Can teacher curiosity assist in whole school improvement?
How many times throughout the day do you pause to ask yourself a question related to the work you’re doing? In this post, Tonia Gibson delves into teacher curiosity and its importance in cultivating student curiosity, promoting learning, and contributing to school improvement efforts. “Curiosity is contagious,” she writes. “If I want others to be curious, I must, myself, demonstrate curiosity.” Read her blog post.

Blog Post | What does it really take to personalize learning?
In this post, Bryan Goodwin looks at the research on personalized learning, and identifies three key shifts that must occur during implementation to strengthen its impact and support long-term success. Read his blog post.

Webinar | Quality Questioning: A catalyst for thinking and learning
How can teachers use “quality questioning” to stimulate student thinking and support classroom dialogue? Why is dialogue essential to meaningful formative feedback? Jackie Walsh and Beth Sattes, authors of the new 2nd edition of Quality Questioning: Research-Based Practice to Engage Every Learner, explored these questions in our February webinar (originally recorded on February 28, 2017). View the webinar.

Events & Opportunities

Weeklong Chats on Twitter

In the spirit of collegiality and sharing of best practices and common (or uncommon) struggles and successes, we’re hosting a weekly series of chats on Twitter. Follow us on Twitter and use the hashtag #McRELchat to share your thoughts and ideas on each week’s theme with other educators. Our weeklong “slow chats” begin on Mondays and end on Sundays.

Informal classroom walkthroughs
March 20-26
Question: How have informal classroom observations and walkthroughs helped you and your school?

Classroom looping
March 27-April 2
Question: What are the benefits or downfalls of looping (students retaining the same teacher for two or more years)?

Student impact on teachers
April 3-9
Question: How has a student impacted your teaching career?

Working walls
April 10-16
Question: What are the benefits of using a “working wall” in your classroom?

Instructional coaching
April 17-23
Question: How do you benefit from an instructional coach’s advice and insight?

Professional Learning with McREL

Secure your spot in our high-impact professional learning sessions this summer. Expand your knowledge and deepen your capacity to make significant changes in teaching, leading, and learning.

Classroom Instruction That Works® 
June 19-21

Classroom Instruction That Works Authorized Facilitator Training
June 19-23

Balanced Leadership® for School-Level Leaders
July 11-14

District Leadership That Works® 
July 17-18

Classroom Instruction That Works with English Language Learners®

July 19-20

Upcoming Conferences

ASCD Annual Conference “Empower 17”
March 25-27Anaheim, California
Attend conference sessions led by McREL staff and visit us in the exhibit hall (booth #1519, near the General Session entrance) to learn how we help educators flourish with school and system improvement, acceleration, and innovation services; teacher and leader training and coaching; curriculum-instruction-assessment-standards reviews and alignment; and research, data analysis, and program evaluation services.
Follow us on Twitter to participate in McREL’s exhibit hall activities and win prizes, including Visa® gift cards, free registrations to McREL summer professional learning sessions, or a set of McREL’s books. For ongoing conference updates, follow the conference hashtag: #Empower17

To set up a specific time to visit with McREL staff at the conference, contact Madonna Shafer at or 303.632.5507.

McREL Sessions

  • Leading with Focus and “Simplexity” in Your School. Saturday, March 25, 1-2:30 p.m., session #1216, with Bryan Goodwin
  • Inside-out Coaching: Helping Teachers Flourish. Sunday, March 26, 1-2 p.m., session #2225, with Bj Stone and Kathleen Dempsey
To learn more and register, please visit the ASCD conference website.

Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education
March 27-29San Francisco, California
Join McREL staff and educators from across the country to explore the latest research, strategies, and innovations in systemic education improvement. Visit with McREL staff during the poster sessions to learn about real-world applications and outcomes.

To set up a specific time to visit with McREL staff at the conference, contact Madonna Shafer at or 303.632.5507.

To learn more and register, please visit the Carnegie Foundation conference website.
Visit our events page or contact McREL to learn more about other upcoming conferences and events.
McREL: Helping educators flourish
“The cohesiveness and alignment between 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, ESC Region 18-TxCEE, Texas
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