Virtual School Meanderings

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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McREL International
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!

Regards,

The WestEd Team

Questions? Please email us at info@wested.org.

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WestEd

Copyright © 2017 WestEd. All rights reserved.

WestEd, 730 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

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April 19, 2017

Alert: Summer Learning Ahead! Upcoming Workshops And Institutes

From yesterday’s inbox…

Make real changes in teaching, learning,
and leading outcomes.
Gain insights and best-practice strategies for teaching and leading
that you can use immediately in your school or district.

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.
Classroom Instruction
That Works: Workshop
June 19-21, 2017

 
NEW SESSION ADDED 
June 26-28, 2017
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, in any subject area, to enhance student achievement. This workshop is well suited for K-12 educators in all subject areas, staff developers, instructional coaches, principals and other school leaders.

CITW: Authorized Facilitator Training
June 19-23, 2017
NEW SESSION ADDED
June 26-30, 2017
Dive into McREL’s instructional strategies and learn how to effectively deliver CITW workshops on your own to educators in your district or regional service area. Facilitator training is ideal for district professional development staff, instructional coaches, regional education service agency staff, and state- and national-level professional association staff.
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.
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

April 1, 2017

Spring and Summer Professional Learning with WestEd

Also from Friday’s inbox…

2017 Spring and Summer Professional Learning with WestEd
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.
photo of teaching professionals during discussion
Early Childhood Development & Learning

California Infant/Toddler Learning and Development Foundations Seminar

Deepen your understanding of infant and toddler learning and focus on infant and toddler learning and development, including the competencies children typically attain during the birth-to-36-month period.
  • April 8, 2017
    Napa, CA

 

For: Teachers and family child care providers serving children birth to three

Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC) Trainer Institute, Modules III & IV

Build and sustain this comprehensive institute that promotes responsive, caring relationships for infants and toddlers, and employs evidence-based training materials and strategies.
  • June 11–17, 2017
    Berkeley, CA

 

For: Infant/Toddler Program teaching staff, center administration/leadership staff, family child care providers, special educators/early interventionists, college instructors, trainers/adult educators

Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC) Home Visiting Institute

Acquire strategies and tools to build and sustain strong alliances with families, to support their children’s development, and to implement effective home visiting practices.
  • May 7–12, 2017
    Berkeley, CA

 

For: Home visiting program directors, home visitors and health providers, trainers and adult educators

English Language Learners

Quality Teaching for English Learners Summer Institute

Build your expertise to engage, challenge, and support English learners in deep, transferable learning.
  • July 10–14, 2017
    San Francisco, CA

 

For: Teachers, principals, district leaders

Health, Safety, & Well-Being

School Climate & Wellness Partnership

Engage in a 10-month partnership designed to empower your students and staff to implement practices and policies that result in a safer and more supportive school environment.
  • Dates: ongoing throughout the academic school year (Locations: 7 on-site sessions at your school/district with continuous remote support)

 

For: District leaders, teachers, students, families, communities

Literacy

Reading Apprenticeship Introduction

Help students become better readers, writers, and problem solvers. Reading Apprenticeship offers teachers strategies to help students, grades 8-12, construct text-based arguments and communicate clearly what they are learning. Not just in English class, but in every subject.
  • June 26–28, 2017
    Oakland, CA
  • July 31–August 2, 2017
    Oakland, CA

 

For: Middle and high school subject area teachers, teacher leaders

Reading Apprenticeship for Higher Education

Support your students in developing literacy competencies, subject area knowledge, and learner dispositions. Choose from an array of courses, both in-person and online.
  • Location flexible, depending on course:
    Online
    At your site
    At WestEd offices

 

For: Higher education instructors of all subject areas and levels

Schools, Districts, and State Education Systems

Transforming Schools Through Distributed Leadership: A Path to Equity

Design a school improvement process that uses distributed leadership to shape a collaborative culture of teaching and learning, grounded in equity.
  • April 24–25, 2017
    Phoenix, AZ
  • April 27–28, 2017
    Oakland, CA
  • June 1–2, 2017
    Flagstaff, AZ
  • June 20–21, 2017
    Los Alamitos, CA

 

For: District & school administrators, coaches and teacher leaders, interested district and county office leaders

STEM

Aim for Algebra 3-Day Professional Learning Institutes

Experience the Aim for Algebra curriculum as we engage in and develop instructional strategies that can help improve students’ algebra outcomes.
  • June 14–16, 2017
    Redwood City, CA
  • June 26–28, 2017
    Los Alamitos, CA

 

For: Middle and high school teachers, math coaches, teacher leaders, teachers of intervention

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WestEd

Copyright © 2017 WestEd. All rights reserved.

WestEd, 730 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

March 31, 2017

REL Southeast Director’s Email – April 2017

Note specifically K-12 online learning focused, but this particular REL has been good with K-12 distance, online, and blended learning work in recent years.

April 2017
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Greetings from the REL Southeast!

We are pleased to announce the release of four new products, Rubric for Evaluating Reading/Language Arts Instructional Materials for Kindergarten to Grade 5, Identifying South Carolina charter schools that are “beating the odds”Beating the odds in Mississippi: Identifying schools exceeding achievement expectations, and The relative effectiveness of two approaches to early literacy intervention in grades K–2. 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

Rubric for Evaluating Reading/Language Arts Instructional Materials for Kindergarten to Grade 5

This rubric was developed in response to a request by Improving Literacy Research Alliance members at the Florida Department of Education to be used in their instructional materials review process. It is a tool for evaluating reading/language arts instructional and intervention materials in grades K–5 based on rigorous research and standards. It can be used by practitioners at the state, district, or school level or by university faculty involved in reviewing instructional materials. The rubric is organized by content area for grades K–2 and for grades 3–5. Each item is aligned to recommendations from six What Works Clearinghouse practice guides. Each content area (for example, writing) includes a list of criteria that describe what should be consistently found within the instructional materials. Reviewers use a 1-5 scale to rate the degree to which the criteria were met. The rubric includes a guide for when and how to use it, including facilitator responsibilities, professional learning for reviewers, and ways to use the scores. Alliance members and reading coaches involved in a statewide literacy initiative in Mississippi provided feedback on the rubric.

The rubric may be accessed at http://bit.ly/2j4CG3r.

Beating the odds in Mississippi: Identifying schools exceeding achievement expectations

The purpose of this report was to determine which Mississippi public schools perform better than could be predicted, considering demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Additionally, this study identified profiles of schools within Mississippi, or groups of schools with similar socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. This study identifies Mississippi public schools as “beating the odds” when they outperform their predicted level of performance on standardized tests given school demographics using a multiple linear regression approach. The study identified distinct socioeconomic and demographic profiles of schools using latent profile analysis. Results indicate that 18 schools are beating the odds in English language arts and 19 schools are beating the odds in mathematics. Seven schools (about 3 percent) are beating the odds in both English language arts and mathematics. Four distinct demographic profiles of schools were identified, with the majority of schools having a profile consisting of high percentages of minority and low socioeconomic status students. The results of this study can inform decisions related to the improvement of low performing schools in Mississippi.

The report may be accessed at http://bit.ly/2lm5s2Z.

Identifying South Carolina charter schools that are “beating the odds”

The purpose of this report was to determine which South Carolina charter schools performed better than could be predicted, considering demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. This study identified South Carolina charter schools as “beating the odds” when they outperform their predicted level of performance on standardized tests given school demographics using a hierarchical linear model approach. Results indicate that for grades 3–5 13 schools beat the odds in English language arts and 14 schools beat the odds in mathematics. For grades 6–8, 12 schools beat the odds in English language arts and nine schools beat the odds in mathematics.

The report may be accessed at http://bit.ly/2mcAlV3.

The relative effectiveness of two approaches to early literacy intervention in grades K–2

This study examined whether using a stand-alone intervention outside the core curriculum leads to better outcomes than using the embedded curriculum for small group intervention in grades K–2. Fifty-five schools located across Florida were randomly assigned to stand-alone or embedded interventions delivered daily throughout the school year for 45 minutes in small groups of four or five students. Students below the 30th percentile in reading-related skills and/or vocabulary were eligible for intervention. One-third of participating students were English language learners. Both interventions were implemented with high fidelity. The stand-alone intervention significantly improved grade 2 spelling. However, impacts on other student outcomes were comparable. On average, students showed improvement in reading and language skills in both interventions. The two interventions had relatively similar impacts on reading and language outcomes among English learners and non-English learners, with the exception of some reading outcomes in kindergarten.

The study may be accessed at http://bit.ly/2lx7ARD.

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

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