Virtual School Meanderings

October 7, 2017

Growth Mindset | English Learners | STEM

Yet another item from Thursday’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.

SCHOOLS, DISTRICTS, & STATE EDUCATION SYSTEMSConnecting Migrant Students with Critical Services

Migrant students are highly mobile and often academically at risk. To help schools connect these students with critical academic and support services, WestEd developed the Migrant Student Information Network. Learn about this statewide system in the latest R&D Alert Online article.

Also, download the latest print edition of R&D Alert for articles on significant topics, including supporting children with disabilities.

EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT & LEARNINGSocial Justice and Equity in Early Childhood Leadership: New Resource

This book, written by Julie Nicholson of WestEd’s Center for Child & Family Studies, broadens traditional concepts of leadership and incorporates perspectives that value — and make visible — diverse and complex human experiences.

Order your copy and learn about effective and inspiring leadership for early childhood in a postmodern society.

SCHOOLS, DISTRICTS, & STATE EDUCATION SYSTEMSStrategic Decision-Making for Improving Student Literacy: New Resource

How can school districts use a strategic decision-making and resource-allocation process to effectively meet school improvement goals?

Download this brief, which outlines how one California school district used a strategic decision-making framework to lay a strong foundation for improving the district’s literacy offerings and student achievement.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERSEnglish Learner Master Plan Development and Implementation: A WestEd Service

Build your school district’s capacity to plan and implement systemic strategies for strengthening policies and practices that help English learners graduate college- and career-ready. Work with WestEd to develop your District Master Plan for English Learner Success.

SCHOOLS, DISTRICTS, & STATE EDUCATION SYSTEMSCultivating the Conditions for Ongoing School Improvement: New Resource

This book introduces the Internal Coherence Framework, a system of research-based practices for assessing and developing conditions that support student and adult learning in schools. School and district leaders can use the framework to better understand a school’s unique strengths and weaknesses, and learn about resources needed to support improvement.

Learn more and order your copy of the book.

SCHOOLS, DISTRICTS, & STATE EDUCATION SYSTEMSPublic School Data Snapshots for Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah: Download Infographics

Curious about the number of public schools, number of students, and percentage of English learner students in four Western states? These new REL West infographicsillustrate these and other important data about public education in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah.

Resource Spotlight

Resource Spotlight

Growth Mindset, Performance Avoidance, and Academic Behaviors: New Research

REL West researchers recently examined student and teacher attitudes about growth mindset, performance avoidance, and academic behaviors in one school district. They found that students’ beliefs about the nature of ability and the payoff that comes from making an effort differed by grade, prior academic achievement, English learner status, and race/ethnicity.

Download your copy to learn more key findings.

Featured Initiative

Featured Initiative

K–12 Alliance: Promoting Change and Fostering Excellence in Science and Math Education

WestEd’s K–12 Alliance aims to help all teachers nationwide expand their understanding of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) so that each student, including English learners, can reach his or her highest potential. Our one-week Institutes enhance participants’ content knowledge and pedagogy appropriate to their designated grade span.

Visit the K–12 Alliance website to learn more about this professional learning initiative, which has positively impacted more than 6,000 schools, 175,000 teachers, and millions of K-12 students.

WestEd at Events

WestEd at Events

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

Follow Us: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Visit us online at

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

October 2, 2017

REL Southeast Director’s Email – October 2017

Also from the inbox over the weekend.

October 2017
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Greetings from the REL Southeast!

This month we’d like to share an exciting new Institute of Education Sciences Practice Guide, Preventing Dropout in Secondary Schools. We hope you find the guide insightful and relevant to your work.

We look forward to delivering additional 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

Preventing Dropout in Secondary SchoolsPreventing Dropout in Secondary Schools

The What Works Clearinghouse has released a new practice guide that offers research-based recommendations to reduce dropping out in secondary school. Preventing Dropout in Secondary Schools will help educators and administrators learn strategies for identifying at-risk students and addressing the challenges they face.

Compiled by a panel of national experts and practitioners, the Practice Guide offers four recommendations:

  • Monitor the progress of all students, and proactively intervene when students show early signs of attendance, behavior, or academic problems.
  • Provide intensive, individualized support to students who have fallen off track and face significant challenges to success.
  • Engage students by offering curricula and programs that connect schoolwork with college and career success and that improve students’ capacity to manage challenges in and out of school.
  • For schools with many at-risk students, create small, personalized communities to facilitate monitoring and support.

Each recommendation includes research-based strategies and the guide contains more than 30 specific examples for implementing these strategies in secondary schools, including sample tools for organizing school and student level data; strategies for incentivizing, recognizing, and rewarding students; and case studies that demonstrate the recommendations.

This new practice guide updates the Dropout Prevention practice guide, published in 2008. It reflects improvements in monitoring at-risk students and recent evidence on dropout prevention practices, which was assessed using more rigorous standards.

The guide can be downloaded for free at

Preventing Dropout in Secondary Schools is one of more than 20 Educator’s Practice Guides published by the What Works Clearinghouse. To view these guides and learn about other resources, visit

You are receiving this email because you opted in at our website or provided your information at a REL Southeast sponsored event.

Our mailing address is:

REL Southeast at Florida State University

September 21, 2017

Supporting Teachers And Leaders | McREL eNews

And another item from MCREL from yesterday…

Contact us: |

September 2017

Our online bookstore is now open, featuring books to help educators and leaders flourish, increase student achievement, and spark curiosity.

As a nonprofit, mission-directed organization, proceeds from our books sales help us deliver services to teachers and school leaders across the U.S. and around the world.
To celebrate our grand opening, we’re offering a 20% discount on all our books through September 30, 2017 (code WELCOME20). Shop now and save now on your favorite McREL titles.

New from McREL

New Curiosity Works™ Resource Guide! | Unleashing Curiosity with Challenging Learning Tasks
When students believe that new knowledge is attainable, yet just beyond their reach, they’re motivated to learn. This new 8-page guide offers tips and tools teachers can use to create learning environments that unleash student curiosity; introduces four key elements that are integral to creating challenging learning tasks for students; and provides a rubric to reflect on your progress in cultivating self-directed, curious learners.

Success Story | Pacific school system becomes a leader in implementing instructional leadership success strategies
McREL had been working with schools in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands for years when a new goal emerged: Strengthen internal capacity enough to ensure an ongoing supply of highly capable leaders for the country’s 19 schools on 15 islands. Constructing a “principal pipeline” meant diving deeply into McREL’s Balanced Leadership® framework over several years. Ultimately the school system and McREL arrived at an entirely new program that guides the learning journey of everybody in the system, from kindergartener to commissioner, and prepares emerging school leaders for the challenges ahead.

Blog Post | Are we thinking about what we’re asking students to think about?
In his latest blog post, McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin asks, What are students really thinking about as they do [their] work? And is it the right stuff to be thinking about? While it’s tempting to add new technology to the classroom to create better student engagement, it’s more important, he says, to identify key concepts that directly relate to the learning goals, and focus student attention on those goals by assigning tasks that engage students with their own thinking in ways that directly support their own learning.

Blog Post & Infographic | Demanding the best from your students, and helping them believe they can achieve it
Lisa Maxfield delves into the first of three imperatives for teaching —- be demanding, be supportive, and be intentional —- outlined in McREL’s The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching. In this blog post and infographic, she offers tips on how to use standards to set learning goals, how to provide structure and guidance to clarify learning for students, and how to create challenging rubrics, including student-created rubrics, that connect students with the “why” of learning.

Blog Post & Infographic | Supporting student creativity, perseverance, and risk-taking (the good kind)
In the second of three blog posts and infographics on the three imperatives for teaching from The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching, Lisa Maxfield describes how supportive and nurturing learning environments help students better engage with their learning. By creating an “oasis of safety and respect in the classroom,” she says, students will feel more confident in stepping outside of their comfort zones to take calculated risks to meet their goals, despite any stumbles along the way. This allows teachers to interact more meaningfully with students and provide growth-oriented feedback that is specific and timely.

Podcast | Growth-driven performance —- in 3 simple steps
In this podcast from TalentEd by PeopleAdmin, McREL consulting director Dr. Tony Davis draws on his 28 years of experience as a teacher, assistant principal, principal, and K-12 human resources administrator to offer three tips for developing growth-driven performance management processes.

Research Roundup 
2017 PDK Poll shows support for career education
PDK Educational Foundation
The 2017 national PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools reveals that Americans want more from schools than just academic learning, and back the idea that public schools should also offer student supports for both career preparation and the development of interpersonal skills.
Scientists to schools: Social, emotional development crucial for learning
Education Week
This article summarizes the findings of a group of 28 academic researchers who study student motivation, school climate, and social-emotional learning (SEL), suggesting that in order to meet the needs of the whole child in a school setting, schools must broaden their purview beyond purely student academic work. The report grouped SEL skills into three actionable areas —- cognitive skills, emotional competencies, and social and interpersonal skills —- suggesting that these “soft skills” are integral to student success.
Education at a glance 2017
OECD Indicators
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Education at a Glance 2017reveals new trends in education, teacher pay, and education completion, focusing on their impact on labor markets around the globe. Among its findings: U.S. teachers are paid, on average, nearly 60 percent less than other professionals with similar education levels; and the workforce in the 35 countries studied has become better educated since 2000, with 46 percent of 25-to-34-year-olds in the U.S. holding a college degree.

McREL in the News
Rome (NY) school board uses McREL’s Superintendent Evaluation framework
The superintendent of the Rome City School District in upstate New York won praise from his board recently —- and by extension so did McREL’s Superintendent Evaluation System, which is based on McREL’s Balanced Leadership® Framework. The board adopted the McREL evaluation system two years earlier because it was “more comprehensive” than their previous process.

Events & Opportunities

Weeklong Chats on Twitter

Looking to grow your professional learning network? Join us for our weeklong Twitter chats, where participants share best practices, strategies, and common (or uncommon) struggles and successes. Follow us on Twitter and use the hashtag #McRELchat to share your thoughts and ideas on each week’s theme with other educators.
Topic | Whole child needs
September 25-October 1

Topic: How do you meet the needs of the whole child?

Topic | Personalized learning platforms
October 2-8

Topic: What platform does your school use for personalized learning: Edmodo, Google Classroom, Schoology, or another?

Topic | Student empathy
October 9-15

Topic: How do you teach your students empathy?

Topic | Digital citizenship
October 16-22

Topic: What curriculum are you using to teach digital citizenship?

Upcoming Conferences
South Dakota Indian Education Summit 2017
September 24-26  | Pierre, South Dakota
Join McREL staff at the South Dakota Indian Education Summit to access high-quality professional development and information on best practices to support Native American students and schools. Visit with McREL staff in the vendor area, and attend a breakout session with Dr. Terri Bissonette titled “Trauma-Informed Schools and Communities” to learn about research on the lasting effects of adverse childhood experiences, and promising systemic approaches and strategies to mitigate the effects of trauma.
National Indian Education Association Annual Convention
October 4-7 | Orlando, Florida
Join Dr. Terri Bissonette from McREL for a session on trauma-informed schools and communities. Dr. Bissonette will share research on the lasting effects of adverse childhood experiences (including multi-generational issues), and how these physical and emotional stressors influence student behavior and learning in the classroom. Dr. Bissonette will share examples of promising practices being used in school communities that have shown results in mitigating the effects of trauma. This session will be held on Thursday, October 5 at 10:15 a.m.
iNACOL Symposium
October 23-25 | Orlando, Florida
Research shows that most online learning schools today aren’t improving students’ outcomes. Are there online learning environments that can actually help them flourish? If so, how might these environments differ from what we’re currently doing? Join McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin and co-presenter Erika Twani from Learning One to One at the iNACOL Symposium for their session titled “Let’s Rethink Online Learning” to explore key practices that enable the growing online student population to succeed academically and in life. This session will be presented on Tuesday, October 24 at 11:15 a.m.
ASCD Conference on Educational Leadership
October 27-29 | Kissimmee, Florida
Join McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin on Friday at the ASCD Conference on Educational Leadership for a session on empowering leaders to make positive changes in their schools. Co-presented with education consultant and author Pete Hall, this session will weave together insights on instruction, teacher coaching, leadership, and school improvement into a practical model for becoming an empowering leader —- encouraging people to change not through top-down punishments and rewards but through intrinsic motivation (not forcing them to drink but making them thirsty). Attendees will receive techniques they can use right away in their schools to inspire people to change by connecting with their mission and seeing themselves as capable of change. This session will be offered on Friday, October 27 from 10:30 a.m.-noonand repeated from 1:30-3:00 p.m.
American Evaluation Association National Conference
November 6-11 | Washington, D.C.
Join McREL researchers and evaluators at AEA’s 31st Annual Conference to share and explore best practices in evaluation and learn how evaluation projects can help create better practices and outcomes in education. Sessions presented by McREL staff include:
Developing a classroom observation protocol when treatment and control classrooms don’t look anything like each other
Presenters: Phillip Herman, Karen Bumgardner, Ashli Knotts, and Kevin Knoster
Date and timeThursday, November 93:15-4:15 p.m.
Coaching evaluative thinking: Meaningful client engagement in a small-scale quasi-experimental study
Presenters: Sheila Arens and Barbara Kruger (VocabularySpellingCity)
Date and timeFriday, November 105:30-6:15 p.m.

Helping decision-makers understand problems of practice: An example from the Pacific region
Presenters: Phillip Herman and Sheila Arens
Date and timeSaturday, November 11, 11:15 a.m.-noon

Visit our Events page or contact McREL to learn more
about other upcoming conferences and events.
McREL: Helping educators flourish
“The three imperatives [from The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching] are very applicable for all teachers, and we can’t think of a current staff member who doesn’t benefit from the pursuit of being more demanding, supportive, or intentional.”
Sublette County School District #1, Wyoming
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Now Open! Save 20% In McREL’s Online Bookstore

From the inbox over the last day or two…

Looking for ways to transform
your teaching and leading?
We wrote the book on it.

McREL’s online bookstore is open; now you can order popular McREL titles directly from us! Our books leverage our extensive knowledge base on what we know works in teaching and leading with trends we see developing in education to help improve and strengthen your practice as an educator. Our authors, who are themselves lifelong educators, present practical guidance you can use today —- and well into the future —- to increase student achievement and spark curiosity.

As a non-profit, mission-directed organization, every dollar you spend in our secure online bookstore directly supports our mission to deliver high-quality professional development and consulting services to educators, and to continue conducting education research that helps this and future generations of students and educators flourish.
To celebrate our grand opening, we’re offering 20% off every title in our bookstore through September 30, 2017. Use the code WELCOME20during checkout to receive your discount!
NEW from McREL!
Unleashing Curiosity with Challenging Learning Tasks
When students believe that new knowledge is attainable, yet just beyond their reach, they’re motivated to learn. This guide offers tips and tools teachers can use to create learning environments that unleash student curiosity; introduces four key elements that are integral to creating challenging learning tasks for students; and provides a rubric to reflect on your progress in cultivating self-directed, curious learners.
Books on Leadership
Balanced Leadership for Powerful Learning: Tools for Achieving Success in Your School
Thousands of school leaders worldwide have improved their leadership skills and their students’ achievement with our research-based Balanced Leadership® program. This book shares the lessons we’ve learned, the stories we’ve heard, and the guidance that has made the biggest difference in student achievement and staff success. You’ll learn how a balanced approach enables more effective implementation of the fundamental components of leadership: establishing a clear focus on what matters most for the entire school; managing the challenges associated with change to sustain improvement efforts; and creating a committed, purposeful, and positive community of teachers and staff.
Curiosity and Powerful Learning | Book Series
Curiosity drives the impulse to learn —-and our Curiosity and Powerful Learning model shows school teams how to systemically develop and support curious learners and create an effective, sustainable learning system supported by students, staff, and school leaders. Based on a successful school improvement effort in Melbourne, Australia, these manuals are designed to help teachers, instructional coaches, school leaders, and system administrators embark on a professional journey to lift student literacy, numeracy, and curiosity. Written originally for Australian educators, the theories of action and recommended activities outline practices that have been tested and refined in schools over time and can be adapted and used by schools and districts around the world, including the U.S.
Simply Better: Doing What Matters Most to Change the Odds for Student Success
We all want —- and strive for —- student success. But increasing student success isn’t as much about doing more or working harder as it is about doing the right things —- especially when resources available are limited. Bryan Goodwin presents research findings and real-life examples to show how “less is more” in education reform. Understand why five specific principles —- instruction, curriculum, student support, high-performance school cultures, and data-driven districts —- are key to helping all students succeed. Learn how strategic “touchstones” can challenge and nurture students, standardize yet personalize curriculum, counteract negative out-of-school factors, and reduce variance in teacher quality.
Books on Instruction
The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching: A Checklist for Staying Focused Every Day
Even the most dedicated and experienced teachers can benefit from having a strategic checklist to boost their effectiveness. What are the 12 simple but essential things you can do every day to deliver high-quality instruction and positively impact student outcomes? Bryan Goodwin and Elizabeth Hubbell reviewed thousands of research studies, books, and articles to supply the answer. In addition to identifying the 12 touchstones, the authors also define three key imperatives for quality teaching and learning —- be demandingbe supportive, and be intentional —- and offer strategies for integrating them into classroom practice.
Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement
This book is one of the most widely used tools for increasing student achievement for good reason: It provides evidence-based insights from rigorous research to strengthen instructional planning and delivery. You’ll understand why and how the nine research-based teaching strategies presented in the book work best for specific situations and see how these methods connect directly to students gaining key 21st-century skills. Learn how to select the teaching techniques that will work best in your classroom to heighten engagement and deepen understanding with your students.
Classroom Instruction That Works with English Language Learners
English-language learners (ELLs) have specific learning needs and challenges that require a specialized approach. The nine evidence-based teaching strategies introduced in our best-selling book,Classroom Instruction That Works, are applied to the stages of language acquisition in this comprehensive instructional guide, making it easier to work with all students at any stage of language proficiency or grade level. Ensure that your instruction aligns to higher-order thinking skills and apply a template that helps you select academic language that encourages productive discussions among your ELL students.
A Handbook for Classroom Instruction That Works

Use this handbook to learn how to easily apply the various teaching practices described in our best-selling book, Classroom Instruction That Works

 (CITW), in your classroom, school, or district. Get expert tips for implementation and save time by using the included samples, worksheets, and other tools for planning classroom activities. Check your understanding of the nine teaching strategies with straightforward exercises, and use the supplied rubrics to assess effectiveness and improve your methods. Make your classroom environment the paradigm for CITW!

McREL also provides guidance and support for educators looking to deepen their knowledge and skills through book study groups, professional learning, and consulting services that align practice with the research and strategies we present in our books.
Motivate. Lead. Achieve.
Turning research into guidance
for educators around the globe.
Non-profit education research, development, consulting, and services.
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McREL, 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500, Denver, CO 80237

September 14, 2017

Mathematics | English Learners | Community College

The regular newsletter from one of the RELs.

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

R&D Alert Online

COLLEGE & CAREERData System Helps Colleges Stay in Step with Changing Employment Demands

A new data system significantly expands the academic and labor market information available to California community colleges, helping educators understand and improve their students’ employment outcomes. Read the latest R&D Alert Online article to learn more about the LaunchBoard system.

Also, download the latest print edition of R&D Alert for articles on important topics, including how to best support children with disabilities.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERSImproving English Language Learners’ Academic Success: Professional Learning

Strengthen your ability to support English learners with these research-informed, standards-based professional learning opportunities:

SPECIAL EDUCATIONAssessing and Improving Special Education: New Resource

Special education programs are a key component of school improvement efforts. Download this program review tool, designed to help school districts and leaders engage in conversations about — and review and improve — the quality of their special education programs.

LITERACYLeading for Literacy Webinar for Teacher Leaders and Coaches: September 27

Do you have an informal or formal teacher leader or coach role at your middle school, high school, or college? Do you face challenges helping your colleagues implement effective literacy practices in the context of their subject area teaching?

The book Leading for Literacy: A Reading Apprenticeship Approach offers practical examples, protocols, and insights from practitioners around the country working to transform classrooms and schools using the Reading Apprenticeship framework.

Join this webinar to learn from experienced teacher leaders and coaches currently using the book at their school sites.

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, & MATHEMATICSScience & Mathematics Resources and Services Catalog: New Resource

WestEd’s Science & Mathematics Catalog highlights resources and services designed to improve student achievement in this era of new standards.

Visit the 2017–2018 Science & Mathematics Catalogresource page to download or order a free copy.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERSQuality Education for English Learners and Multilingual Learners: New Resources

Download these briefs to explore what quality education for English language learners (ELLs) and multilingual language learners (MLLs) looks like when informed by the work of WestEd’s QTEL initiative led by Aída Walqui:

AGENCY NEWSJoin WestEd at Upcoming Conferences

WestEd staff will present at upcoming conferences in mathematics and evaluation.

Resource Spotlight

Resource Spotlight

Top 10 Best-Selling Resources: English Learners, Literacy, Leadership

Check out the latest top 10 best-selling resources from WestEd this summer. You’ll find a range of materials educators are using to support all learners.

Featured Initiative

Featured Initiative

National Math Center: Improving Middle School Student Learning in Math Concepts and Skills

The National Research & Development Center on Cognition & Mathematics Instruction, also known as the Math Center, aims to enhance the conditions of instruction and improve learning outcomes for middle school students in important and challenging mathematics concepts and skills.

Visit the Math Center website, where you can watch videos explaining research-based design principles and access publications from the federally funded Center.

WestEd at Events

WestEd at Events

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

Follow Us: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Visit us online at

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

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