Virtual School Meanderings

May 14, 2016

High-Impact Summer PD For Teachers And Leaders

From Thursday’s inbox…

Make real changes in teaching, leading, 
and learning outcomes.
Join us in Denver this summer for PD workshops and institutes
to gain insights and best-practice strategies that you can use immediately in your school or district.
Balanced Leadership® Institute | School-Level Leaders
July 18-21, 2016
Change is hard. Or it’s easy. Or both at the same time. Point is, people affected by change don’t all react the same way, and they need different support and guidance to make the change successful. As a school leader or district administrator, there will be times when you’ll need to be directive with your approach, and other times when you’ll need to empower others to take charge. Join us in July to learn the keys to initiating and managing change in your school or district.
Register for the entire four-day institute or for the individual days of your choice.
Balanced Leadership Overview | Monday, July 18
Managing Change | Tuesday, July 19
The Focus of Leadership | Wednesday, July 20
Developing a Purposeful Community | Thursday, July 21
Balanced Leadership® Institute |
District-Level Leaders
July 21-22, 2016
Healthcare and aviation are complex industries that use high-reliability organization (HRO) principles to maximize performance and innovation while reducing crucial mistakes. Education systems are just as complex—-so can we use these HRO processes? Absolutely. Join us in July for two powerful days of learning how to adapt HRO and short-cycle innovation practices for use in education to improve instructional quality, reliability, and innovation across your district.
Classroom Instruction
That Works®  | Workshop
July 25-27 2016
Perfect for K-12 educators in all subject areas, staff developers, curriculum instructors, and building administrators, this three-day workshop will show you 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, 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.
Become a Classroom Instruction That Works (CITW) Authorized Facilitator
If you’re interested in becoming a registered facilitator of CITW training in your district, extend your CITW workshop another two days. You’ll learn effective research-based instructional strategies and methods to help other teachers learn and implement these strategies in their classrooms.
Motivate. Lead. Achieve.
High impact professional development for teachers and leaders.
Non-profit education research, development, consulting, and services.
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McREL International
4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500
Denver, Colorado 80237
McREL, 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500, Denver, CO 80237

May 7, 2016

REL Southeast Director’s Email – April 2016

Also from Thursday’s inbox…

The latest news and updates from the REL Southeast
at Florida State University
View this email in your browser
REL Southeast Email Header

Greetings from the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast!

We are pleased to announce the release of two new products, Self-study Guide for Implementing Early Literacy Interventionsand Can scores on an interim high school reading assessment accurately predict low performance on college readiness exams? More information regarding these research-based publications may be found in this email, on our website,, and the IES website,

We look forward to delivering additional insightful, research-based products and resources in the future, and as always, thank you for helping to improve education in the Southeast.


Barbara Foorman, Ph.D.
Director, REL Southeast

Recent Product

Self-study Guide for Implementing Early Literacy Interventions

The Self-study Guide for Implementing Early Literacy Interventions is a tool to help district and school-based practitioners conduct self-studies for planning and implementing early literacy interventions for kindergarten, grade1 and grade 2 students. This guide is designed to promote reflection about current strengths and challenges in planning for implementation of early literacy interventions, spark conversations among staff, and identify areas for improvement. This self-study guide provides a template for data collection and guiding questions for discussion.

Download the guide at:

Contact Us

REL Southeast at Florida State University
2010 Levy Avenue, Suite 100
Tallahassee, FL 32310

Recent Product

Can scores on an interim high school reading assessment accurately predict low performance on college readiness exams?

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between measures of reading comprehension, decoding, and language with college-ready performance. This research was motivated by leaders in two Florida school districts interested in the extent to which performance on Florida’s interim reading assessment could be used to identify students who may not perform well on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) and ACT Plan. One of the districts primarily administers the PSAT/NMSQT and the other primarily administers the ACT Plan. Data included the 2013/14 PSAT/NMSQT or ACT Plan results for students in grade 10 from these districts, as well as their grade 9 results on the Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading – Florida Standards (FAIR-FS). Classification and regression tree (CART) analyses formed the framework for an early warning system of risk for each PSAT/NMSQT and ACT Plan subject-area assessment. PSAT/NMSQT Critical Reading performance is best predicted in the study sample by a student’s reading comprehension skills, while PSAT/NMSQT Mathematics and Writing performance is best predicted by a student’s syntactic knowledge. Syntactic knowledge is the most important predictor of ACT Plan English, Reading, and Science in the study sample, whereas reading comprehension skills were found to best predict ACT Plan Mathematics results. Sensitivity rates (the percentage of students correctly identified as at risk) ranged from 81 percent to 89 percent correct across all of the CART models. These results provide preliminary evidence that FAIR-FS scores could be used to create an early warning system for performance on both the PSAT/NMSQT and ACT Plan. The potential success of using FAIR-FS scores as an early warning system could enable districts to identify at-risk students without adding additional testing burden, time away from instruction, or additional cost. The analyses should be replicated statewide to verify the stability of the models and the generalizability of the results to the larger Florida student population.

Read the report at:

This Director’s Email was developed by REL Southeast under Contract ED-IES-12-C-0011 from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences.  The content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government.

May 4, 2016

Equity | First-Graders’ Math | Talent and Turnaround

From today’s inbox…

WestEd E-Bulletin
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Monthly highlights of WestEd’s research, resources, services, and events to help all learners succeed in school and career.

R&D Alert Online

SCHOOLS, DISTRICTS, & STATE EDUCATION SYSTEMSPutting Equity at the Center — Q&A with WestEd’s Rose Owens-West

The Region IX Equity Assistance Center (EAC) helps educators ensure that all students — regardless of race, gender, or national origin — receive the resources to thrive and succeed academically. Learn how the Region IX EAC provides highly effective services in pursuit of its mission.

Also, check out the new print edition of R&D Alert. Topics include partnering with families to boost early learning, digital media that improves math learning, and 21st century assessments that provide deeper understanding.

REL West Research Digest

SCHOOLS, DISTRICTS, & STATE EDUCATION SYSTEMSREL West Research Digest: Timely Research-Based Responses to Pressing Education Questions

Through the national Ask A REL network, the REL West Reference Desk produces quick turnaround memos in response to questions from the field about any number of education topics. Learn more about this free service.

Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning

Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning: New Research

This REL Northeast & Islands study helps to illustrate the need for greater coherence between teacher evaluation and teacher professional learning. Download the report to read the research findings and more.

Using Federal Education Forumula Funds for School Turnaround Initiatives

SCHOOLS, DISTRICTS, & STATE EDUCATION SYSTEMSUsing Federal Education Formula Funds for School Turnaround Initiatives: New Resource

State education agency leaders and staff can consult this new handbook to help districts and schools maximize federal formula funds to support school turnaround efforts.


First-Graders’ Math Knowledge Increases with PBS KIDS’ ODD SQUAD: New Research

WestEd research shows that content from the PBS KIDS’ ODD SQUAD series helps children from low-income families boost their knowledge of numbers and operations, and algebraic thinking. Read the new research report.

The Center on School Turnaround

SCHOOLS, DISTRICTS, & STATE EDUCATION SYSTEMSTalent and Turnaround: Support for Systemic Change — New Event

Join the Center on School Turnaround to help launch the Equitable Access and School Turnaround Professional Learning Network. June 15-17, Houston, TX. Learn more.

American Indian/Alaska Native Students and the New Standards

STANDARDS, ASSESSMENT, & ACCOUNTABILITYAmerican Indian/Alaska Native Students & the New Standards

Learn how the Common Core State Standards could impact American Indian/Alaska Native students and how to implement the standards to increase college and/or career success for this student population. Download the report.

Math in Common

STANDARDS, ASSESSMENT, & ACCOUNTABILITYCommon Core State Standards & Site-Based Teacher Learning Structures

What does site-based, lesson-focused teacher professional learning in the Common Core era look like? Read about the experiences of four school districts, including lessons learned and plans for the future.

student and teacher at chalk board

SCHOOLS, DISTRICTS, & STATE EDUCATION SYSTEMSEnhancing the Effectiveness of Education Systems at All Levels

From improving education outcomes to assisting in/supporting school transformation, WestEd partners with schools, districts, and state education agencies to build capacity and create highly effective learning organizations.

Visit our Schools, Districts, & State Education Systems page to learn about our services, research, and resources.

WestEd Celebrates 50 Years of Excellence

AGENCY NEWSWestEd Celebrating 50 Years

A National Science Foundation study found that students whose teachers participated in WestEd’s Making Sense of SCIENCE training outperformed their peers by 40 percent. Read about this and more WestEd historical milestones on ourCelebrating 50 Years of Excellence page.

In addition, download WestEd 2015 Year in Review and read about our agency’s impact over the past year.

Resource SpotlightResource Spotlight

Data Literacy for Educators

Data Literacy for Educators — Making It Count in Teacher Preparation and Practice: 30% Discount!

Designed for schools of education, professional developers, and school districts, this new resource illustrates how data can be used to improve teacher practice at all levels of professional growth. Order your copy today.

WestEd at Events

WestEd at Events

Join us at national and local events. Browse our up-to-date calendar!

WestEd 50 Years - Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence

Follow Us: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Visit us online at

Copyright © 2016 WestEd. All rights reserved WestEd, 730 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

April 29, 2016

Changing Schools | Turning Improvement Inside Out | Vol. 75/Spring 2016

From yesterday’s inbox…

Turning improvement inside out 
What would happen if educators tried to improve schools not from the top down but from the inside out? This issue of Changing Schools builds on McREL’s white paper, The Road Less Traveled: Changing Schools from the Inside Out(2015), considering the implications of a curiosity-based approach, including articles on formative assessment, professional learning, systems improvement, school culture, and project- and maker-based learning.
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McREL International, 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500, Denver, CO 80237

April 23, 2016

McREL e-News April 2016 | Strengthen Your Teaching, Leading, And Learning

From Thursday’s inbox…

April 2016

Strengthen your teaching, leading, and learning
Transform your teaching and leading this summer. Join us in Denver for high-impact professional development sessions that will expand your knowledge and ability to make real changes in teaching, leading, and learning. We’ll present research-based, best-practice strategies you can use immediately to help you—-and your students—-flourish.
Register by April 30, 2016, and receive a 10% discount per person.
Visit our events page to view the complete lineup of PD sessions and register.

Research Roundup

School conditions matter for student achievement, new research confirms

Researchers from Brown and Harvard universities looked at annual survey data collected from 278 New York City middle schools between 2008 and 2012 and found that increases in four measures of school climate—-school safety and order, leadership and professional development, high academic expectations, and teacher relationships and collaboration—-led to decreases in teacher turnover. Increases in high academic expectations and school safety were also linked to increases on state math examinations.

Study: High-quality pre-K for all could eliminate reading gaps
Education Week

Researchers analyzed reading and math scores in two of the highest-performing public preschool programs in the U.S. (Boston and Tulsa) and determined that a national high-quality preschool program would benefit African-American and Hispanic students most, potentially reducing the achievement gap in math by 78 percent for Hispanic students, and 45 percent for African-American students by kindergarten entry. In both groups, the achievement gap in reading would be eliminated.

Schools combine meditation and brain science to help combat discipline problems

This article profiles an Indiana elementary school that teaches students about neuroscience, brain function, and meditation to improve student behavior and reduce suspensions and office referrals. In the pilot year of the program, the school issued zero suspensions, and office referrals decreased.

Attention, students: Put your laptops away

This NPR story cites research on student note-taking, which shows that, although students take more notes when typing them on a digital device such as a tablet or computer, students who take hand-written notes better process, understand, and retain the information being taught.

Events & Opportunities

Session | Roots of Empathy International Research Symposium
Toronto, Canada, Apr. 28-29, 2016
Join McREL executive director Dr. Phillip Herman for his featured session on “Culturally Responsive Research and Development in the Pacific.” Dr. Herman, who also directs the U.S. Department of Education’s Regional Educational Laboratory for the Pacific (REL Pacific), will share how the REL Pacific program collaborates with local educators to engage in research and development projects that are culturally responsive, useful, and locally construed.

Learn more and register for the symposium.

Summer PD | Balanced Leadership® Institute for School-Level Leaders
Denver, Colorado, Jul. 18-21, 2016
In this four-day institute, 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. Register by April 30, 2016, to receive a 10% discount per person. Learn more and register.

Summer PD | Balanced Leadership Institute for District-Level Leaders
Denver, Colorado, Jul. 21-22, 2016
In this two-day institute, learn a Balanced Leadership approach to improving systems and innovation for student and staff success. You’ll 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. Register by April 30, 2016, to receive a 10% discount per person. Learn more and register.

Summer PD | Classroom Instruction That Works®—-Workshop
Denver, Colorado, Jul. 25-27, 2016
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 an instructional 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. Register by April 30, 2016, to receive a 10% discount per person. Learn more and register.

Summer PD | Classroom Instruction That Works—-Authorized Facilitator Training
Denver, Colorado, Jul. 25-29, 2016
Attend our Classroom Instruction That Works (CITW) workshop and authorized facilitator training to learn effective research-based instructional strategies and methods to help 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.

Podcast | Podcasts for Leaderful Schools
Oakland University produces a podcast series titled “Podcasts for Leaderful Schools” in which Dr. Robert Maxfield, Dr. Suzanne Klein, and Ms. Linda Tyson from the School of Education discuss current topics in education leadership. The April 11 (Vol. 9, Ep. 4) podcast features an interview with McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin on inside-out reform, Curiosity and Powerful Learning, and school-level leadership development.

Research Says | Looking at student work yields insights
Teachers looking together at student work seems like a surefire way to improve teaching and learning, as teachers look at real artifacts and reflect on expectations, practices, and results. However, as with most things in education, success depends not on what teachers do but how they do it, write Bryan Goodwin and Heather Hein in this month’s Research Says column in Educational Leadership.

Blog Post | Water the flowers: Tips for maintaining a positive classroom environment
In this blog post, Cheryl Abla offers tips on keeping yourself, and your students, in a positive frame of mind by redirecting classroom energy when it becomes stressful or unfocused. She writes, “A classroom teacher’s day is loaded with both split-second decisions and methodical, deep decisions. It’s those split-second decisions that can transform the classroom atmosphere to a feeling of doom and gloom or of joy and hope.”

Blog Post | Looking on the bright side for school improvement
How could looking at a school’s bright spots inform school improvement efforts? In his new blog post, Ben Cronkright suggests that school improvement teams that focus on the positives rather than the deficits can reveal opportunities to improve on and replicate what’s going right in their schools by engaging in higher-order reflection and steering discussion to a path of “shared vision.”


PeopleAdmin and McREL partner to bring K-12 districts evaluation technology and actionable data to improve staff performance
McREL and PeopleAdmin, the leader in talent management software for education, haveannounced a partnership aimed at empowering K-12 administrators to more easily use technology and data to improve teacher and principal effectiveness and focus on improving student outcomes.
Client Testimonial
“My training through McREL has made my lesson planning more purposeful and intentional. I have seen growth in my skills as a teacher, which is reflected in the growth I see in my students. It has been a powerful experience to see my students in early childhood and special education become more interested in the classroom activities when they are given a focus for their learning.”
Jackie Warren, Teacher, Francis Howell School District, Missouri
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Copyright © 2016, McREL International. All Rights Reserved.
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