Virtual School Meanderings

March 22, 2015

Free Webinars: Life After High School, and Restorative Justice

From Saturday’s inbox…

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Free Webinars on Life After High School and Restorative Justice

Based on your interest in past Region IX Equity Assistance Center at WestEd webinars, we would like to invite you to two upcoming webinars addressing student access to and engagement with curriculum. A hallmark of our interactive webinars, in the words of a past webinar participant, is “being in contact with such diverse, strong, committed people.” The chat area provides you the opportunity to connect with other participants on these topics to share questions. (For those of you who cannot make these times, the webinar will be archived.) Please see more information below:

Preparing Students for Life after High School: Strategies and Tools to Make Informed Choices”
Date: Thursday, April 2, 2015
Time: 10:30 am-12:00 pm Pacific Time (1:30 to 3:00 pm Eastern Time)
Register at

Presenter Joanne Martens, co-founder and co-director of Green 360, will provide a broad perspective on career readiness, community engagement, and environmental sustainability. She will share tools and strategies to help our youth to contribute solutions as members of the future workforce. This webinar is sponsored by the Region IX Equity Assistance Center at WestEd.

Restorative Justice in Schools: Highlights of Research and Practice in the US”
Date: Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Time: 10:00 am-11:30 am Pacific Time (1:00 to 2:30 pm Eastern Time)
Register at

WestEd’s Anthony Petrosino and Sarah Guckenburg will describe their research on how restorative justice is being used in U.S. schools. They will be joined by Sam Garrison from Camden Street Dream Academy in Newark, New Jersey. He will describe the work of administrators and teachers in using restorative justice at their elementary school site, and the impact on student outcomes. This webinar is sponsored by the Region IX Equity Assistance Center at WestEd and the Equity Assistance Center Region II.

Both webinars are ideal for education administrators, principals, teachers, after school staff, counselors, parents, and leaders in community based organizations and government agencies. Please feel free to forward this webinar announcement to your networks.

Should you have any questions for the presenters or need assistance with registration, please contact

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March 21, 2015

Shake Off Winter, Spring Into Action! — McREL e-News March 2015

And another item from Thursday’s inbox…

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March 2015

Research Roundup

Re-balancing assessment: Placing formative and performance assessment at the heart of learning and accountability  

McREL International and Measured Progress

Given today’s environment of high-stakes testing and top-down accountability, there is growing concern that the way we teach and assess students is not enough to meet the “deeper learning” demands of the 21st century. This white paper examines the current formula of summative assessments and external pressure and recommends replacing it with a new, more balanced formula centered on formative and performance assessments that are embedded in curriculum.

Personality similarity between teachers and their students influences teacher judgement of student achievement

Taylor & Francis Group


According to a new study, teachers rely on non-academic, personality cues when judging a student’s general academic abilities, favoring students whose personalities are like their own.

The ABC of gender equality in education: Aptitude, behaviour, and confidence

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)
Despite major progress toward closing gender gaps in student performance in science and math, this recent PISA reportstates that girls still have less confidence than boys in their academic ability due to persistent social and emotional beliefs about themselves rather than their actual academic performance.

The potential for school-based interventions that target executive function to improve academic achievement: A review

Review of Educational Research
A meta-analysis of data on the link between executive function and achievement finds little evidence that they are causally related.

In the Field

Upcoming conference presentations


Visit with our researchers and consultants at the following events to hear the latest insights and discoveries we’ve made:


ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Houston,March 21-23.Attend of the many sessions led by McREL consultants, and visit us in booth #778. Follow the hashtag #ASCD15 on social media for conference news and updates.


American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting in Chicago, April 16-20. Attend our sessions, and visit our table in the job fair. Follow the hashtag #AERA15 on social media for conference news and updates.


2015 National Forum on Dropout Prevention for Native and Tribal Communities in Prior Lake, Minn., April 26-29.


AQuESTT Empowered by Data Conference hosted by the Nebraska Department of Education in Kearney, Neb., April 27-28.

New on our blog

In her post, “Empowering teachers with collective efficacy,” consultant Heather Hoak recalls some tough teaching years that led her to a career building collective efficacy in schools. She writes, “As a teacher, I never felt we lacked the ‘right stuff’ in terms of resources or professional development for staff. Deep down, I felt unable–as an individual teacher–to make broad, sweeping, systemic changes. What was really missing was a collective will and belief that we all needed to move in the same direction.”

Events & Opportunities

Free webinar on family and community engagement 


Join REL Pacific onMarch 26 at 3:30 p.m. (MDT) for this free webinar, “Family and Community Engagement: Building a Cultural Bridge,” to learn more about cultural factors that contribute to family and community engagement and tools that help school staff foster engagement across a wide range of cultural backgrounds. The webinar will introduce the second section of REL Pacific’s Toolkit of Resources for Engaging Family and Community as Partners in Education: Building a Cultural Bridge.

McREL’s Summer of Learning 2015 


Take your teaching and leading to the next level. Join us this summer in sunny Denver! Our workshops and institutescombine insightful research with best practices for educators and leaders at all levels to help improve students’ odds of success. Group discounts available.

McREL in the News

A program evaluator shares her “why” on BOOST blog 


On the Best of Out-of-School Time (BOOST) CollaborativeBreakfast Club Blog, McREL program evaluator Tara Donahue shares why “purpose” and “impact” are her reasons for working in education research and evaluation. She writes, “I have to believe that what I do helps those working daily in the trenches improve their practice… We hope we have had an impact on at least one other human being.”

In This Issue

Featured Content

McREL at ASCD annual conference 

ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show in Houston, March 21-23.Visit us in booth #778 for great giveaways and to get a schedule of the conference sessions led by our consultants. Follow the conference hashtag #ASCD15 on social media for the latest information.

Research says: Simple interventions boost self-esteem 

In his latest Research Says column in ASCD’sEducational Leadershipmagazine, Bryan Goodwin discusses effective ways to help students overcome self-doubt associated with the “stereotype threat” that, according to research, negatively impacts student achievement in classrooms.

Policy brief on educational equity 

Our latest policy brief, “Educational Equity: Challenges for Educator Effectiveness,” provides an overview for policymakers on addressing equity gaps for vulnerable student populations through effective educator equity.

Careers at McREL


We are a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to improve education through applied research, professional development, and service to teachers and leaders at schools, districts, networks and agencies, and higher education institutions.


Having the right people at McREL is important to our mission. Our employees are passionate about the work they do, not only because they are helping enhance lives, but also because they are surrounded by diverse, enthusiastic, and innovative thinkers.


We are seeking qualified candidates for the following roles:


Executive Director of Research, Evaluation, and Expertise



Follow our@McRELJobs Twitter feed and never miss an opportunity to join our staff.


Learn more about our work culture and employment listings at our Careers at McRELsite.

Connect with Us on Social Media


For the latest in professional development opportunities, education news, research, and McREL employment opportunities, follow us on our social media channels.


Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our profile on LinkedIn


Find us on Google+ View our videos on YouTube Visit our blog

McREL International | 1.800.858.6830 | Fax 303.337.3005
4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500
Denver, CO 80237
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March 7, 2015

Free White Paper: Re-Balancing Assessment

From Thursday’s inbox…

Having trouble viewing this email? View it online here.

Re-Balancing Assessment: Placing Formative and Performance Assessment at the Heart of Learning and Accountability
Given today’s environment of high-stakes testing and top-down accountability, there is growing concern that the way we teach and assess students is not enough to meet the “deeper learning” demands of the 21st century. In this free white paper, McREL International and Measured Progress examine the current formula of summative assessments and external pressure and recommend replacing it with a new, more balanced formula centered on formative and performance assessment–in particular, curriculum-embedded performance assessments (CEPAs), classroom-based instructional units that provide multiple opportunities for learning and for both formative and summative evidence-gathering.
Follow McREL International on social media.

Follow us on Twitter  View our profile on LinkedIn  Like us on Facebook  Find us on Google+  View our videos on YouTube  Visit our blog

Follow McREL’s Education Policy Twitter account.

Follow us on Twitter
McREL International | 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500 | Denver | CO | 80237

March 6, 2015

Teacher Evaluation, English Learners, and Student Voice

From Wednesday’s inbox…

March | Email to a Friend | View in browser | View Past Issues   WestEd on FacebookWestEd on TwitterWestEd on Google+WestEd LinkedIn
Welcome to the WestEd E-Bulletin, presenting this month’s picks of the latest research-based projects and services, innovative new resources, and upcoming professional development events—all designed to help learners succeed in school and career.
R&D Alert Online

Students’ Personal Stories Can Help Reduce High School Dropout Numbers

Read the latest R&D Alert article to find out how a school district collaborated with students who dropped out in order to learn why they left school and what the district can do to better address their unique challenges.

Washoe County School District in Nevada used a new student-voice toolkit that enables educators to engage and empower students to address local school-improvement problems.

Through this work, Washoe students produced a powerful video that has become a centerpiece of the district’s Social and Emotional Learning Initiative, and is a part of its effort to increase graduation rates.

Redesigning Teacher Evaluation

Redesigning Teacher Evaluation: Lessons from a Pilot Implementation

What are the opportunities and challenges for school districts implementing statewide teacher evaluation systems? How do districts interpret state policies and guidelines? What are the lessons learned from early implementation in New Hampshire?

Read the research and findings in this Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands study.

Teacher and Students


Helping Learners—From Infants to Adults—Succeed

Enroll in one of our many institutes and training sessions focused on the success of infants, preschoolers, and K-12 and college students.

  • Making Sense of SCIENCE supports pre-service and practicing teachers, teacher educators, staff developers, and curriculum specialists in building a scientific way of thinking in teachers and students. Learn more.
  • Program for Infant/Toddler Care offers training for early childhood professionals designed to help infants get a safe, healthy, emotionally secure, and intellectually rich start in life.Learn more.
  • Quality Teaching for English Learners Summer Institutes help teachers engage English language learners and all other students in discipline-specific deep, transferable learning.Learn more.
  • Reading Apprenticeship offers a practitioner-tested and research-validated approach to increasing student engagement and achievement in subject area literacy for secondary and college levels. Learn more.
CCSSO Strengthening Policies

Strengthening Policies and Practices for the Initial Classification of English Learners

Misclassifying students as English language learners who are in fact English fluent, or vice versa, could lead to long-term negative academic outcomes.

Download this report examining issues and options in strengthening initial classification of English learners.

WestEd Webinars and Partners


Next Generation Science Standards, Career and College Readiness, and Literacy

Practitioner Data Use

Practitioner Data Use in Schools: Workshop Toolkit

This free toolkit shows administrators, coaches, and teachers how to conduct workshops that build school-based educators’ capacity to understand, interpret, and use education data to improve instruction.

Download this Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands resource.

Math Placement Document

Math Placement: The Importance of Getting It Right for All Students

Given the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, California’s history of math acceleration in the middle grades, and the concern for correct math course placement for all students, this brief examines patterns from the past to shed light on considerations for the future.

Download this brief, which also presents the results of further analyses of data from 24 school districts in California that were analyzed in a report released earlier.

Incorporating Early Learning Strategies

Incorporating Early Learning Strategies in the School Improvement Grants Program

A new research report shows that achievement gaps in persistently low-performing schools are detectable, in many instances, prior to children entering kindergarten.

This resource from the Center on School Turnaround, in collaboration with the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes, highlights three schools that have used School Improvement Grant funds to implement early learning strategies to help close the achievement gap and turn schools around. Download today.

WestEd Presentations in 2015

Join WestEd at National Education Conferences

Attend WestEd staff presentations and stop by our booth at these education conferences:

  • Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, March 5-7, Washington, D.C.
  • National Science Teachers Association, March 12-15, Chicago, IL
  • Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, March 21-23, Houston, TX
Reposition Culture in Evaluation

Continuing the Journey to Reposition Culture and Cultural Context in Evaluation Theory and Practice

Social science researchers and evaluators should approach their work in a culturally responsive way. What does it mean to be culturally responsive? Find out in this new resource, which explores questions, issues, theories, and practices in culturally responsive evaluation and assessment.Order today.


West Comprehensive Center Website

West Comprehensive Center: Supporting Arizona, Nevada, and Utah on Key Education Initiatives

The West Comprehensive Center (WCC) works with state education agencies (SEAs) to implement and sustain statewide initiatives designed to improve student outcomes.

The WCC, in collaboration with content centers, works closely with SEAs in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah to:

  • Strengthen SEA organizational capacity to implement, support, scale up, and sustain statewide initiatives
  • Build SEA leadership capacity to lead and support their local education agencies and schools in improving student outcomes

Visit the West Comprehensive Center website to learn more.

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San Francisco, CA 94107

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February 27, 2015

REL Southeast Director’s Email – February 2015

From yesterday’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!

Greetings from the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast! We are pleased to announce the release of our first product of 2015, the Summer Reading Camp Self-study Guide tool. We hope school, district, and state leaders use this tool to plan and evaluate summer reading programs. Additional information about this tool is listed below. We look forward to announcing more exciting REL Southeast products in the near future and as always, thank you for helping to improve education in the southeast.

Barbara Foorman, Ph.D.
Director, REL Southeast

Featured IES Product

Summer Reading Camp Self-study GuideThis guide is designed to facilitate self-studies of planning and implementation of state-required summer reading camp programs for grade 3 students who scored at the lowest level on the state reading assessment. It provides a template for data collection and guiding questions for discussion that may improve instruction and increase the number of students meeting the grade-level standard by the end of the summer reading camp.

The guide is composed of a scoring guide and consensus rating form. The scoring guide includes guiding questions and potential sources of evidence. After completion of the scoring guide, a facilitator will guide the self-study team through a consensus rating process to come to agreement on the current status of implementation in the district or school and planning for next steps. The content of the scoring guide is based on eight areas that research indicates are important for summer reading camp implementation: teacher effectiveness and qualifications; student selection and enrollment; instructional time; content and instruction; assessment selection and data use; mentoring and/or paraprofessional use; learning environment; and communication with administration, staff, and parents.

A complete copy of the tool may be viewed at

Upcoming Events

Preschool Dual Language Learners Intervention Practices

Monday, March 2, 2015
3:00 – 4:30 p.m. EST
Online WebinarJoin the REL Southeast for this free online webinar, designed for early education practitioners and specialists at the Pre-K level. Participants will learn about the latest results of a recently conducted randomized control trial to promote school readiness skills in dual language learners. Major findings that will be discussed include improvements in Latino DLL’s letter identification, writing, receptive conceptual vocabulary, mathematics and overall teacher instruction. After learning about the intervention and study results, participants will have the opportunity to view a video of teachers talking about their participation in the program. The webinar will conclude with a question and answer session where all participants will be encouraged to ask or submit questions.


  • Dr. Dina Castro, Professor and Velma E. Schmidt Endowed Chair in Early Education, College of Education, University of North Texas
  • Dr. Cristina Gillanders, Associate Professor, School of Education and Human Development, University of Colorado- Denver
  • Dr. Ximena Franco, Investigator, FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Dr. Debbie Mazzeo, School Readiness Research Alliance Manager, REL Southeast

Contact Us

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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