Virtual School Meanderings

January 19, 2017

Early Childhood | Digital Learning | Community College Success

From yesterday’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

AGENCY NEWS2016’s Top 5 R&D Alert Articles

Which topics did R&D Alert readers find most compelling in 2016? Take a look at our top five articles from the past 12 months:

  1. Helping English Learners Rise to the Challenge of Complex Texts
  2. Empowering Families to Improve Student Learning
  3. Formative Assessment Course Helps Transform Teaching and Learning
  4. Restorative Justice: An Alternative to Traditional Punishment
  5. Research Helps Target Support for Students with Disabilities

Stay tuned this year for articles on infant/toddler care, education technology, effective leadership, and more!

TEACHERS & LEADERSLeading Professional Learning: A Simulation Game for Educators

This fun simulation game engages educators in building a strong school faculty focused on providing the best environment for student learning.

In a non-competitive environment, players take on the role of a professional learning leadership team tasked with planning and leading change in their school.

Visit the Leading Professional Learning resource page to learn more and to order a copy.

SCHOOLS, DISTRICTS, & STATE EDUCATION SYSTEMSWhen Dropouts Return to School: New Research Report

A new REL West report looks at the characteristics and education outcomes of Utah students who dropped out and then returned to high school.

Learn about students seeking a second chance to earn their diplomas.

POSTSECONDARY & CAREERAcademic Planning in Community College: New Research Report

A new REL West study investigates the impact of technology-based counseling interventions — coupled with targeted nudges and guaranteed access to counseling sessions — on community college student outcomes.

Read the key findings and download the report.

LITERACYBuilding Literacy in Middle and High School: Online Professional Learning Opportunities

Register for these upcoming webinars focused on building literacy in middle and high school.

TEACHERS & LEADERSCalifornia Teacher Retirements Over the Next Decade: New Research Report

A new study projects one quarter of California teachers will retire by 2024, suggesting careful local workforce planning will be critical for schools and districts.

Read about teacher retirement projections across California’s 58 counties.

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, & MATHEMATICSSupporting Effective STEM Teaching and Learning

With a focus on high-quality teaching and learning across all STEM subjects, WestEd conducts research and evaluation studies; provides coaching and other professional learning opportunities; and more.

Visit our Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics page to learn about WestEd services, research, and resources.


This six-minute video illustrates the need for babies, once born, to be cared for in a “social womb” that provides the nurturance, protection, and enrichment essential to the healthy development of their still-growing brains.

Watch in English.

Watch in Spanish.

Resource Spotlight

Resource Spotlight

2016 Top Downloads: Early Childhood, Family Engagement, English Learners

Check out 2016’s top downloads, with education topics ranging from improving infant/toddler care and family engagement to leadership development and restorative justice.

Featured Initiative

Featured Initiative

Ready To Learn: Improving Early Learning and School Readiness Through Digital Media

The Ready To Learn (RTL) initiative supports the development of educational digital media for preschool and early elementary school children and their families, with a focus on children from low-income families — a population less likely to be ready for kindergarten.

WestEd conducts extensive research on and evaluation of RTL digital content, including:

  • Formative evaluations
  • Technical needs assessments
  • Impact studies

Visit the Ready To Learn website for more information about this federally funded initiative.

WestEd 50 Years - Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence

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Copyright © 2017 WestEd. All rights reserved WestEd, 730 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

January 13, 2017

Success Story | Focus On Instructional Consistency Leads To Student Gains

From Wednesday’s inbox…

Success Story: Focusing on instructional quality and consistency improves student outcomes
Contact us for a free, 30-minute, no obligation consultation
to get ideas and inspiration for “quick wins” and “game changers” in your district.
Additional Resources

Motivate. Lead. Achieve.
Celebrating fifty years of helping students and educators flourish.
Non-profit education research, development, consulting, and services.
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McREL International
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Denver, Colorado 80237
McREL, 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500, Denver, CO 80237

December 25, 2016

Happy Holidays from McREL!

From the inbox…

Happy holidays and best wishes 
for a successful new year from all of us 
at McREL International!
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McREL International
4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500
Denver, CO 80237
Copyright © 2016, McREL International. All Rights Reserved.
McREL International, 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500, Denver, CO 80237

December 8, 2016

Secondary Literacy | School Turnaround | Native American Students

No K-12 distance, online and blended learning items, but some items that may be of interest…

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.

SPECIAL EDUCATIONStates Collaborate to Improve Outcomes for Children with Disabilities

As states have shifted toward a results-driven approach to special education and early intervention services, the National Center for Systemic Improvement has been helping them implement strategic plans to improve outcomes of students with disabilities. Read the latest R&D Alert Online article to learn more.

Also, download the latest print edition of R&D Alert to learn how data can be used to target support for students with disabilities.

LITERACYLeading for Literacy: A Reading Apprenticeship Approach

This companion to the landmark classroom-focused Reading for Understanding gives schools and districts clear, concrete guidance, tools, and examples to improve the reading of students in middle school through college. Ideal for teacher leaders, coaches, and administrators.

Get your copy of Leading for Literacy: A Reading Apprenticeship Approach today.

TEACHERS & LEADERSTeacher Effectiveness Data, Demographics, and Evaluations: New Research

How can school and district administrators use teacher evaluation results to shape teacher development and make workforce decisions? What patterns do researchers notice based on teacher demographics — such as race, age, and gender — and their ratings in teacher evaluation systems? Check out the new research.

SCHOOLS, DISTRICTS, & STATE EDUCATION SYSTEMSSchool Turnaround and Supporting American Indian/Alaska Native Students: New Resources

How can states help districts with their school turnaround efforts? What strategies can educators use to better support American Indian/Alaska Native students? Download new resources.

COLLEGE & CAREEREnsuring All Students Are Prepared for Postsecondary Success

Looking for research-based expertise on effective practices that lead to postsecondary and career success?

Visit our College & Career page for services, research, and resources.

LITERACYReading Apprenticeship Is Now on Facebook

Reading Apprenticeship is a research-based and research-proven instructional framework for improving the academic literacy of middle school, high school, and college students.

We invite you to like Reading Apprenticeship’s new Facebook page, where you can learn more about this key initiative and get the latest information about upcoming professional learning opportunities and more.

WestEd Celebrating 50 Years

AGENCY NEWSWestEd Celebrating 50 Years

We hope you’ve enjoyed the highlights of WestEd’s 50 years of making a positive difference in the lives of children and adults. As we head into our 51st year, our agency continues to grow, tackling real-world challenges to ensure success for every learner.

Read a sample list of WestEd’s historical milestones and view the WestEd at 50 video.

Resource Spotlight

English Learner Students’ Readiness for Academic Success

When is the right time to move an English learner student from part-time English language development classes into full-time mainstream English-only classes?

Looking at two student cohorts in Arizona and Nevada, this new REL West report offers insight into this important question. Download your copy.

Featured Initiative


Raising the Bar on Instruction
Helping Educators Transition to College- and Career-Ready Standards

Today’s content standards — including Common Core and Next Generation Science — require greater rigor than ever before in teacher instructional practice. The Raising the Bar on Instruction website supports educators with resources and services in five key areas:

  • Curriculum alignment
  • Assessment and accountability
  • Subject-area expertise
  • Diverse learners
  • Conditions for learning

Visit the Raising the Bar on Instruction website to learn more.

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

December 3, 2016

REL Southeast Director’s Email – November 2016

And another item from yesterday’s inbox…

The latest news and updates from the REL Southeast
at Florida State University
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REL Southeast Email Header

Greetings from the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast!

We are pleased to announce the release of two new products, The characteristics and education outcomes of American Indian students in grades 6-12 in North Carolina, and Leadership characteristics and practices in South Carolina charter schools. 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

Leadership characteristics and practices in South Carolina charter schools

The purpose of this descriptive study was to identify characteristics of charter school leaders in South Carolina, determine how they spend their work hours, understand the time they spend on challenges to their work, and learn who influences their schools’ policies. REL Southeast researchers collaborated with the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) and other charter school policymakers and practitioners to develop a survey based on items from the school and principal questionnaires of the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics Schools and Staffing Survey. SCDE administered the survey to the 66 leaders in charter schools across the state operating during the 2014/15 school year. Forty leaders provided responses. Results indicate that the leaders have many similar demographic, educational, and employment characteristics and reasons for becoming charter school leaders. They worked on average almost 60 hours per week, spending more hours on activities related to communication with families and on school regulations and policies than on other tasks. Many of them spent time daily on school safety. A majority of the leaders were frequently challenged by state education agency requirements and services and sponsor intervention, but leaders were rarely or never challenged by staffing issues or board intervention. In addition, the leaders reported having more influence than any other entity over most of their schools’ policies, except policies related to classroom instruction, academic guidance, athletics, and student assessment, which their staff influenced more and board membership policies that their board influenced more. This study was a first step toward understanding what characteristics and activities of charter school leaders in South Carolina may lead to improved school performance. Further research is needed to link school leadership characteristics and time management practices to school and student performance and other outcomes.

Read the report at:

The characteristics and education outcomes of American Indian students in grades 6–12 in North Carolina

The purpose of this study was to compare American Indian students in grades 6–12 in North Carolina to all other students in the same grades both within the same schools and statewide on student demographics, school characteristics, and education outcomes. The North Carolina State Advisory Council on Indian Education (SACIE) requested this research based on a prior report identifying achievement gaps between American Indian students and White students. The primary source of quantitative data for this study is longitudinal administrative data provided to the Education Policy Initiative at Carolina by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). These data include student-level outcomes for all students in grades 6–12 in North Carolina public schools for the school years 2010/11 through 2013/14. Outcomes considered include state test scores, attendance, retention in grade, advanced course taking, graduation rates, and disciplinary referrals. Quantitative analyses include all American Indian students in grades 6–12 in North Carolina public schools for school years 2010/11 through 2013/14. Students of other ethnicities in the same grades and years both within the same schools and statewide serve as comparison groups. Descriptive analyses compare averages for all student characteristics, school characteristics, and education outcomes for American Indian students compared to their within school and statewide peers. Regression analyses using multilevel modeling were used examine the extent to which controlling for student, school, and teacher characteristics accounts for differences in outcomes between American Indian students and their peers. The analyses found that American Indian students are demographically different from non-American Indian students statewide, but similar to other students attending the same schools. Schools attended by American Indian students are more likely to be rural and in the Coastal plain. American Indians also tend to attend schools that serve more economically disadvantaged students and more disadvantaged minority students. Across all middle school and high school standardized tests, American Indian students have lower average scores than other students statewide and within the same schools. American Indian students are absent more often on average than their peers both statewide and within the same school, are less likely to take advanced courses, and graduate at lower rates, but are equally likely to be retained in grade as their peers. When school and student demographics are held constant, the size of the gaps on most outcomes between American Indian students and their peers both within the same schools and statewide are substantially reduced.

Read the report at:

Contact Us

The Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) build the capacity of educators to use data and research to improve student outcomes. Each REL responds to needs identified in its region and makes learning opportunities and other resources available to educators throughout the United States. The REL program is a part of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education.

Learn more about the REL Southeast at

REL Southeast at Florida State University

2010 Levy Avenue, Suite 100
Tallahassee, FL 32310
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.
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