Virtual School Meanderings

June 14, 2017

Transform Your Teaching And Leading | July Institutes

From Monday’s inbox…

Join us in Denver this July for high impact,
low cost professional learning.
Balanced Leadership® Institute
for School-Level Leaders
July 11-14, 2017
Discover the leadership responsibilities that are most strongly connected to student achievement and get practical strategies to develop a purposeful school community, initiate and manage change within your school, and focus on what matters most for your school’s improvement. This institute is designed for principals, assistant principals, new and emerging leaders, principal supervisors, and other district-level leaders.
Register for the entire four-day institute or for the individual days of your choice.
Balanced Leadership Overview | Tuesday, July 11
Managing Change | Wednesday, July 12
The Focus of Leadership | Thursday, July 13
Developing a Purposeful Community | Friday, July 14
District Leadership That Works: Two-Day Institute
July 17-18, 2017
Learn the responsibilities and actions that superintendents, school boards, and central office leaders can take that are most connected to student and staff success. Explore the key principles of high-reliability systems and leave with a map of steps to improve the quality and consistency of instruction within and among your schools. This institute is designed for superintendents, assistant superintendents, school board members, chief academic officers, and other district-level leaders.

Classroom Instruction
That Works® with English Language Learners: Workshop
July 19-20, 2017
Designed for regular classroom teachers, ELL specialists, and ELL program leaders, this workshop covers the stages of second language acquisition and their instructional implications, academic language development, and strategies for engaging ELL students in regular education 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

June 3, 2017

REL Southeast Director’s Email – May 2017

Also from Thursday’s inbox…

May 2017
View this email in your browser

Greetings from the REL Southeast!

We are pleased to announce the release of a new product, Implementing evidence-based literacy practices. More information regarding this research-based publication may be found below.

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

Implementing evidence-based literacy practices

The Implementing evidence-based literacy practices roadmap is a concise and easy-to-use navigational tool that outlines the steps necessary to implement empirically grounded literacy practices.

The infographic may be accessed at

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

2010 Levy Avenue
Suite 100

Tallahassee, FL 32310

May 1, 2017

REL Southeast Director’s Email – May 2017

From Friday’s inbox…

May 2017
View this email in your browser

Greetings from the REL Southeast!

We are pleased to announce the release of six new products:

More information regarding these research-based publications may be found in this email or on our 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

What is the evidence base to support reading interventions for improving student outcomes in grades 1–3?

The goal of this report is to provide administrators, school psychologists, counselors, special educators, and reading specialists with a summary and analysis of the evidence that supports the use of reading interventions in grades 1–3. The review was limited to studies of Tier 2 interventions, those designed to provide preventive services to students at risk for reading difficulties. The initial literature search identified 1,813 articles and reports. After screening them for relevance and conducting a detailed What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) analysis of the rigor of the study designs, the review team determined that only 23 effectiveness studies met WWC evidence standards (Version 3.0). Of those, 22 resulted in either significant, positive, or potentially positive impacts in at least one area of reading. None produced negative outcomes. Twelve of the 13 grade 1 interventions and all seven interventions for grades 2 and 3 produced positive or potentially positive effects. Effects were strongest and most consistent in the area of word and pseudoword reading. Several also produced effects in reading comprehension and passage reading fluency. Reading vocabulary was rarely assessed. Both individually administered and small-group interventions resulted in positive or potentially positive outcomes, although especially in grade 1, more of the interventions were one-on-one. In all cases, the interventionist received some training prior to implementing the intervention. However, these studies differed from common school practice in that implementation was carefully monitored in virtually all instances and coaching or feedback was provided. It is unclear how generalizable these findings are when the typical amount of ongoing support for interventionists is far more limited in practice.

The full report may be accessed at

Educator outcomes associated with implementation of Mississippi’s K–3 early literacy professional development initiative

This study examined changes in teacher knowledge of early literacy skills and ratings of quality of early literacy skills instruction, student engagement during early literacy skills instruction, and teaching competencies between winter 2014 and fall 2015. During the time frame examined, the Mississippi Department of Education began providing early literacy professional development to K–3 teachers through a series of online and face-to-face workshops. Over the course of the study, average teacher knowledge started in the 48th percentile and ended in the 59th percentile. In targeted high-need schools, during observations conducted by state literacy coaches, ratings of quality increased from the 31st percentile to the 58th percentile, student engagement increased from the 37th percentile to the 53rd percentile, and teaching competencies increased from the 30th percentile to the 44th percentile. While this study was not intended to determine if the professional development was effective or caused the observed changes, the changes appeared to be associated with teachers’ participation in the professional development. At the end of the study, teachers who had not yet started the professional development were in the 54th percentile for teacher knowledge, and teachers who had completed the professional development were in the 65th percentile. Similarly, at the end of the study, teachers who had not yet started the professional development were in the 42nd percentile for quality, 39th for engagement, and 38th for teaching competencies, where as teachers who had completed the professional development were in the 59th percentile for quality, 53rd for engagement, and 54th for teaching competencies.

The full report may be accessed at

Impact of Developing Mathematical Ideas (DMI) Professional Development in Fractions for Grade 4 Teachers and Students

The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of the Developing Mathematical Ideas (DMI) professional development program on grade 4 teachers’ in-depth knowledge of fractions as well as their students’ understanding and proficiency with fractions. The study was conducted during the 2014/15 school year. A total of 84 schools from eight school districts in three states (Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina) agreed to participate. Participants included 264 grade 4 teachers and their 4,204 students. The study utilized the “gold standard” methodology involving random assignment of schools to either DMI or the control condition. Teachers in the DMI condition participated in 24 hours of professional development on fractions during fall 2014. They attended eight 3-hour sessions conducted over four days (two 3-hour sessions per day; one day per month). DMI did not demonstrate any impact on student knowledge of fractions. Students of DMI teachers performed at almost the same level as those taught by control teachers; the difference was not statistically significant. The impact of the DMI on teachers’ knowledge of fractions was inconclusive. DMI teachers performed slightly better than teachers who did not participate in DMI, but the result was not statistically significant. It was, however, close to the threshold of statistical significance (p = .051).

The full report may be accessed at

Examining school-level reading and math proficiency trends and changes in achievement gaps for grades 3–8 in Florida, Mississippi, and North Carolina

The purpose of this study was to use growth curve modeling to investigate school-level reading and mathematics achievement trends on the state accountability assessment in Florida, Mississippi, and North Carolina for grades 3–8. In addition, this study investigated school-level achievement trends for race/ethnicity subgroups and for free or reduced-price lunch eligibility to determine if significant changes in achievement gaps occurred over the 4-6 years studied for each state. Results indicated that in general, average school-level proficiency increased for most subgroups across grades and subjects in all three states. In addition, reductions in achievement gaps were observed for most grades in reading and mathematics. However, achievement gaps remained large despite the observed reductions. The use of growth curve modeling in the current study provides stakeholders in Florida, Mississippi, and North Carolina with a more in-depth understanding of trends in school-level proficiency than would have been possible using just the sample mean.

The full report may be accessed at

Implementing the extended school day policy in Florida’s 300 lowest performing elementary schools

Since 2014, Florida law has required the 300 elementary schools with the lowest reading performance to provide supplemental reading instruction through an extended school day. This study found that in 2014/15, on average, the lowest performing schools were smaller than other elementary schools and served higher proportions of racial/ethnic minority students and students eligible for the federal school lunch program. Schools reported using a variety of strategies to comply with the extended school day policy such as increasing reading instruction time each day, increasing staff, providing professional development for teachers, and providing instruction in the extra hour that differed from instruction during the rest of the day. Increased professional development and curricular and pedagogic changes were identified as indirect benefits of implementation.

The full study may be accessed at

Characteristics and Career Paths of School Leaders in North Carolina

This study examines the demographics, educational attainment, licensures, and career paths of those who were assistant principals or principals (“school leaders”) in North Carolina from 2001/02 through 2003/2004. The career path analyses focus specifically on retention and recruitment. The retention analyses describe the top-10 paths that school leaders took, starting from their initial leadership position and over the 10 year period examined. The recruitment analyses describe the top-10 paths for school leaders before they took on their leadership roles during the 10 year period examined. Finally, the study describes and compares the demographics, educational attainment, educational licensure, and career paths of school leaders in rural and non-rural schools over the 10 year period.

Results from the study show that demographic make-up of North Carolina’s principal workforce has largely remained stable from 2001/02 through 2012/12, including in rural schools. Also, overall school leaders have largely earned the same degrees and hold the same licenses. The majority of assistant principals and principals spent time as a classroom teacher prior to becoming a school leader. From 2001/02 through 2012/13, leaders in rural schools were generally similar, in terms of demographics, educational attainment, licenses, and positions held to their peers in non-rural schools. The descriptive study provides a deeper understanding of the backgrounds andc professional paths of school leaders, including in rural schools. North Carolina stakeholders might consider study findings when contemplating their next steps towards increasing the number and improving the quality of school leaders in rural and non-rural schools. Information from the study can also potentially support efforts to enhance retention and succession planning in these schools.

The full study may be accessed at

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

2010 Levy Avenue
Suite 100

Tallahassee, FL 32310

April 21, 2017

Learning Differences; Strategic Planning; And Quality Questioning

A notice from one of the RELs from yesterday’s inbox.

April 2017

Spotlight on Instruction
Improve, accelerate, and innovate your instructional practices across content areas and grade levels. McREL can help you with strategies to challenge students, develop positive relationships, and consistently deliver high-quality learning experiences for all students. Learn more about our services that support instruction.

Contact us today for consulting services, professional learning sessions, and customized solutions, or request a free 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!

New from McREL

Blog Post | Differences, not disabilities
In this blog post, Bryan Goodwin and Heather Hein examine the growing paradigm shift from learning disabilities to learning differences. The key takeaway, they say, is for teachers to reflect on their approach to instruction planning and delivery for each student. Read their blog post.

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 district leaders who take a systems approach to strategic planning can simplify their work and increase the success of their 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.

Webinar | Quality Questioning: A catalyst for thinking and learning
Did you miss our last webinar on quality questioning? Learn more about how teachers can use “quality questioning” to stimulate student thinking and support classroom dialogue and why dialogue is 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

Looking to grow your PLN? 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. Our weeklong “slow chats” begin on Mondays and end on Sundays.

Instructional coaching
April 17-23

Question: How do you benefit from an instructional coach’s advice and insight?

Social and emotional supports
April 24-30

Question: What social and emotional supports are in place for your students?

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
May 1-7

Question: What has been your biggest struggle with Bring Your Own Device?

Professional Learning with McREL

Make significant changes in teaching, leading, and learning, and gain research-based, best-practice strategies to help you —- and your students —- flourish. Join us in Denver for these engaging sessions.

Classroom Instruction That Works® 
June 19-21
New session! Classroom Instruction That Works
June 26-28

Classroom Instruction That Works Authorized Facilitator Training
June 19-23
New session! Classroom Instruction That Works Authorized Facilitator Training
June 26-30

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

ACSA North State Spring Conference
April 28-30 | Reno, Nevada
McREL president Bryan Goodwin will deliver conference sessions, and a luncheon keynote on Saturday, April 29 titled “Are we doing too little…or too much? Finding our beacon in the fog.” He’ll boil decades of research down to one key focal point for school leadership and offer practical ways to turn that focus into results —- not by working longer hours or browbeating teachers, but rather, by flipping our leadership paradigm and getting everyone to work together with single-minded focus. To learn more and register, please visit the conference website.

American Indian/Indigenous Teacher Education Conference
June 15-17 | Flagstaff, Arizona
McREL consultant Dr. Terri Bissonette will be among the keynoters for this conference for preschool, K-12, college, and university educators and concerned community members to share ideas for improving the lives and education of Indigenous children. Dr. Bissonette is a member of the Bay Mills Indian Community of Anishinaabeg in Brimley, Michigan. To learn more and register, please visit the conference website.

ASCD Conference on Teaching Excellence
June 30-July 2 | Denver, Colorado
Let us know if you’re attending ASCD’s Conference on Teaching Excellence in Denver this summer. McREL’s Denver office staff are available for onsite strategy sessions about great teaching practices —- and we can share our favorite restaurants and sightseeing tips. To learn more and register, please visit the conference website.

Visit our Events page or contact McREL to learn more
about other upcoming conferences and events.
Are you a thought leader who’s committed to improving student achievement? We are now hiring for several research and consulting positions in our Honolulu office.
McREL: Helping educators flourish
“Now all teachers and principals, as they go about creating and implementing improvement plans in their schools, know what the focus should be —-  and that focus is the highest quality instructional practice.”
Sarah Salem, Lincoln Public Schools Director of Continuous Improvement
and Professional Learning, Nebraska
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4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500
Denver, CO 80237
Copyright © 2017, McREL International. All Rights Reserved.

McREL International, 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500, Denver, CO 80237

April 20, 2017

Spring & Summer Professional Learning Opportunities with WestEd

Not K-12 distance, online, and/or blended learning focused, but I did want to pass it along all the same.

Forward to a Colleague

April, 2017  |  View on Web

2017 Spring & Summer Professional Learning Opportunitieseducators meeting around conference table

Join us for upcoming professional learning opportunities in such areas as early childhood development, school leadership, and literacy. Gain new knowledge, skills, and understanding to help ensure success for all learners, from infants to adults.

There is still time to sign up for professional learning opportunities in:

  • Early Childhood Development & Learning
  • English Language Learners
  • Health, Safety, & Well-Being
  • Literacy
  • Schools, Districts, & State Education Systems
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (STEM)

Visit our 2017 Spring & Summer Professional Learning with WestEd page to learn more, including dates and locations.

We hope to see you this spring and/or summer!


The WestEd Team

Questions? Please email us at

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Copyright © 2017 WestEd. All rights reserved.

WestEd, 730 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

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