Virtual School Meanderings

September 1, 2021

REL Southeast Director’s Email—September 2021

The first of two REL items – neither with any specific K-12 distance, online, and/or blended learning content this time around.

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REL Southeast

Director’s Email

September 2021

Greetings from the REL Southeast,

This month we have several new evidence-based products to share with you, including a review of early childhood education materials 20 years in the making! You can find brief descriptions and links to each product below. We look forward to sharing more resources with you in the future, and as always, thank you for helping to improve education.

Dr. John Hughes
Director, REL Southeast

Product Spotlight


Systematic review of the literature on the effectiveness of early childhood education curricula and instructional practices on language and literacy development

This study reviews 20 years of research on early literacy interventions aimed at improving language, phonological awareness, print knowledge, decoding, and early writing skills for preschool students. Using a process modeled after the WWC methodology, REL Southeast identified 109 studies, representing 132 interventions, conducted from 1997 to 2017 that it determined were high-quality experimental or quasi-experimental studies.

Explore the report here.

Product Spotlight


Multiplicative Reasoning: Part of the Development of Mathematical ReasoningEvidence-Based Instructional Strategies for Elementary English Learner Students

This infographic is a quick reference to evidence-based practices that can be used daily by elementary classroom teachers to support effective instruction for their English learner students.

Explore the infographic here.

Product Spotlight


Competency-Based Education (CBE) Framework Series

CBE Teaching

Instruction in a CBE environment focuses on each student’s ability, learning style, and learning pace and shifts from teaching to facilitating. This video focuses on the elements contained within the teaching dimension, including teachers as facilitators or coaches, personalized learning, tools and resources for teaching, content expertise, curriculum design, and assessment design and use.

Ask A REL

Ask A REL is a collaborative reference desk service provided by the 10 regional educational laboratories (REL) that by design, functions much in the same way as a technical reference library. It provides references, referrals, and brief responses in the form of citations on research-based education questions.

To submit your question to Ask A REL, click here. Explore Ask A REL responses here.

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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

August 27, 2021

Changing Schools | August newsletter

An item from one of the RELs that may be of interest to readers.

August 2021
Collective Efficacy: We Can Do This!
Does believing you can accomplish something help you to accomplish it?
Actually, yes. After studying how groups work together in the 1970s, Stanford psychologist Albert Bandura coined the phrase “collective efficacy” to describe the sense of mutual trust and confidence that effective groups feel as they head into a challenge. He showed how the concept can lead to good things happening in all kinds of endeavors, including schools, where educators with strong collective efficacy have students who achieve at higher levels. Our analysis of research on effective school leadership found that collective efficacy has more influence on student achievement even than socioeconomic status or academic press (a school placing emphasis on academics and high expectations).
There’s a virtuous cycle quality to collective efficacy: The more confident that educators are that they and their colleagues can make a difference for students and overcome challenges, the likelier they are to seek out and leverage professional collaboration and learning—and they’re likelier to pass along this sense of optimism to their students. As the pattern repeats itself, the faculty acquire more and more skills, leading to better and better results for students.
Having trust in the team is an important building block of collective efficacy. Genuine trust means knowing we’ve got one another’s backs—sharing common aspirations and goals, and committing ourselves to helping one another—and our students—achieve them.
In the schools we’re currently working with, there is a sense of excitement and optimism for the new school year, but also some anxiety because of the continuing effects of the pandemic. No wonder; we’re all being buffeted by forces that are largely outside our influence. Learning to trust colleagues and build collective efficacy is something we definitely can influence. For the sake of students as well as your own professional satisfaction, I hope you’re fortunate enough to work on a team, in a faculty, that strives to develop collective efficacy in order to change outcomes for kids.
If you need some ideas and strategies for helping develop or strengthen collective efficacy at your school, check out these resources:
Bryan Goodwin, CEO, McREL International
New and Notable
10 Ideas for Maintaining Pandemic-Era Flexibility in Teaching
Teachers had to try all kinds of new methods during the school shutdowns, and the most effective among them had something in common, Meagan W. Taylor writes on the McREL blog: the ability to adapt. This skill is not going to fade in importance just because in-person learning resumes, so Meagan offers 10 tips for looking beyond the specifics of any given tool, technique, or policy, and finding new ways to deliver the learning experience that students are supposed to have.
McREL Helps CYBER.ORG Develop K–12 Learning Standards for Cybersecurity
CYBER.ORG has released the nation’s first-ever voluntary K–12 cybersecurity standards. Developed with McREL’s help, the standards aim to teach students about cybersecurity issues and careers, addressing what it calls “the growing cybersecurity workforce crisis.”
CYBER.ORG is supported by the Department of Homeland Security and 18,000 teachers nationwide have signed up for its teaching materials. The organization says that there are more than 464,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the U.S., even as the country faces “an onslaught of sophisticated cyberattacks.”
Five Steps for Structuring Data Informed Conversations and Action in Education
All educators, whatever their role, use data to inform their decisions. In this new video, REL Pacific shares five ways to bring data into the conversation in ways that help you and your colleagues see the challenges and join forces in addressing them.
Don’t be intimidated! Once you see the steps broken down, you’ll recognize that anybody can collect, organize, and deploy data to make a difference.
Upcoming PD Events
Join us in person this October in Denver for these engaging and evidence-based professional learning sessions.
Balanced Leadership for Student Learning
Oct. 4-7, 2021 | Denver, CO
Learn evidence-based leadership actions that increase student achievement and educator efficacy. Get the knowledge and resources you can use to focus your school on what matters most for student learning, inspire positive change, and cultivate a purposeful school community.
Classroom Instruction That Works
Oct. 11-12, 2021 | Denver, CO
Learn how to hook your students on learning and never let go. Dive into the nine best types of instructional strategies that really make a difference for student learning, and get practical classroom activities and tools you can use with your students.
Research Roundup
A selection of research news that ties into our work on leadership, instruction, school improvement, and professional learning here at McREL.
A proposal to resurrect Indigenous knowledge sharing. A group of elementary school leaders from the Republic of the Marshall Islands are working to incorporate traditional Marshallese knowledge, values, and oral language traditions into their school practices, in an effort to create a more culturally relevant educational system for students and educators. They are proposing that Kanne Lobal, a storytelling structure inspired by the parts of a canoe, could form the foundation of a new, collaborative educational leadership framework. Read their article in the Waikato Journal of Education.
Support for professional learning communities. The professional learning community, or PLC, is a group study format that educators are increasingly embracing for professional development. A small Dutch study found that it increased teachers’ awareness of culturally responsive teaching, and its potential to help close achievement gaps, in secondary schools with large migrant populations. Read the article in the International Journal of Educational Research.
An introduction to teacher leadership. What is teacher leadership? The International Study of Teacher Leadership aims to explore the concept, and this introductory paper in Research in Educational Administration & Leadership lays out the study’s aspirations, which include helping to find new ways for teachers to share school leadership duties with principals.
Evidence vs. beliefs. A teaching practice can have evidence supporting it, but that doesn’t mean teachers will automatically embrace it. An Australian research team conducted a literature review to see how likely teachers are to adopt evidence-based practices in the face of preexisting beliefs, some of which may be contradictory, and the realities of managing a busy classroom. See the study in the International Journal of Educational Research.
GRANT OPPORTUNITIES
Common abbreviations: institutions of higher education (IHEs); local education agencies (LEAs); and state education agencies (SEAs).
Education Research
NCER seeks applications that address one of the following topics: Career and Technical Education; Civics Education and Social Studies; Cognition and Student Learning; Early Learning Programs and Policies; Effective Instruction; English Learners; Improving Education Systems; Postsecondary and Adult Education; Literacy; STEM Education; and Social and Behavioral Context for Academic Learning. These grants can be for up to $760K for up to five years. Applications are due Sept. 9, 2021. Learn more here.
Research Grants Focused on Systematic Replication
NCER seeks applications that aim to identify what works for whom and under what conditions in education through systematic replication. These grants can be for up to $900K for up to five years. Applications are due Sept. 9, 2021. Learn more here.
EHR Core Research (ECR)
The National Science Foundation’s (NSF’s) ECR program invites proposals for fundamental research (curiosity-driven and use-inspired basic research) that has broad relevance and contributes to general, explanatory knowledge underlying STEM education in one or more of the research areas: (1) STEM Learning and Learning Environments, (2) Broadening Participation in STEM Fields, and (3) STEM Workforce Development. Research activities can occur with learners of all groups and ages in formal and informal settings. Grants under this program are available at three funding levels with a duration of 3–5 years for any level: (1) Level I up to $500k; (2) Level II up to $1.5M; and (3) Level III up to $2.5M. Applications are due Oct. 7, 2021. Learn more here.
Advanced Technological Education (ATE)
With a focus on two-year IHEs, the NSF’s ATE program supports improvements to the education of science and engineering technicians for high-technology fields through partnerships between academic institutions (grades 7–12, IHEs), industry, and economic development agencies. The ATE program supports curriculum development, professional development of college faculty and secondary school teachers, career pathways, and other activities. The program also invites applied research proposals that advance the knowledge base related to technician education. Projects must be faculty-driven and programs/courses must be credit-bearing, although developed materials may also be used for incumbent worker education. Grants under this program are wide-ranging in value and duration based on their status, so please refer to the RFA for details. Applications are due Oct. 14, 2021. Learn more here.
Advancing Informal Stem Learning
NSF’s AISL program seeks to advance new approaches to an evidence-based understanding of the design and development of STEM learning opportunities for the public in informal environments; provide multiple pathways for broadening access to and engagement in STEM learning experiences; advance innovative research on and assessment of STEM learning in informal environments; and engage the public of all ages in learning STEM in informal environments. The program supports six types of projects with varying grant values and durations: (1) Pilots and Feasibility Studies (up to $300K across two years); (2) Research in Service to Practice (from $300K–$2M across 2–5 years); (3) Innovations in Development (from $500K–$3M across 2–5 years); (4) Broad Implementation (from $1M–$3M across 3–5 years); (5) Literature Reviews, Syntheses, or Meta-Analyses (up to $250K across two years); and (6) Conferences (up to $250K across two years). Applications are due Jan. 18, 2022. Learn more here.
WE’RE HIRING!
As a growing organization, we’re expanding our team of educators, researchers, project managers, and communicators to provide supports and services to more schools, districts, and education agencies. Interested in joining our team? Check out these current openings on the McREL careers page:
  • Consultant (Denver, Honolulu, or remote)
  • Managing Consultant (Denver, Honolulu, or remote)
  • Research Associate (Denver or Honolulu)
  • Researcher (Denver or Honolulu)
CONTACT US TODAY
Learn more about how our coaching, professional learning, and analysis services can help your school or system reach its goals.
McREL International
P 800.858.6830 | F 303.337.3005
McREL International | 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500Denver, CO 80237

August 12, 2021

Teaching resources that support professional curiosity

Another item from one of the RELs that may be of interest to readers.

Ready to help your students accelerate their learning?
Support your classroom goals this year by tapping into the power of a more effective instructional model and a self-directed approach to your own professional inquiry and growth.
Books for Educators
evidence-based insights plus practical tips and strategies
Tools for Classroom Instruction That Works
Ready-to-Use Techniques for Increasing Student Achievement
Tired of “PD” that never fits your actual classroom needs and goals? Take charge of your own professional learning with a guided cycle of self inquiry and improvement. Get insights, ideas, and practical tips you can customize for your specific situation, to tackle any or all these big goals:
  • Nurturing a positive classroom culture and environment that supports high-quality learning.
  • Helping students challenge themselves by committing to mastery-level learning.
  • Designing engaging lessons and activities that allow students to personalize and “own” their learning.
  • Motivating your students with feedback that encourages improvement and a growth mindset.
  • Using formative assessments as an integral, useful part of the teaching-learning process.
  • Creating dynamic and collaborative small-group learning activities for your students.
What’s going great in your classroom that you want to celebrate and keep going? What’s something that’s not as successful that you want to improve?
This weekly journal is filled with inspiration and guidance that can help you write and reflect about your teaching practices and their impact on student learning. A great companion to Pursuing Greatness, but can also be used on its own.
How to Choose One and How to Use One
More than likely, your school is doing the right things. So why won’t student achievement budge? You may be lacking a straightforward yet powerful tool that can work wonders in aligning expectations and talents: an instructional model.
Learn about the variety of instructional models available to today’s educators and get step-by-step process for selecting the right model for your school and turning doubters into doers.
Classroom-Ready Techniques for Increasing Engagement and Inspiring the Love of Learning
Want to really capture your students’ attention and get them excited about learning? Learn why and how to incorporate curiosity into your lessons and activities to ignite and sustain your students’ interest and motivation, developing their yearning for learning.
Get 21 ready-to-use learning activities that can help your students engage with new content and ideas, and then develop deeper, more sophisticated and applicable knowledge.
Want to dive deeper into these ideas and resources? Strengthen your school’s capacity to impact student learning with professional learning services from McREL. Contact us today to learn more.
– – –
Online, Onsite & Hybrid Services Available
McREL International
P 800.858.6830 | F 303.337.3005
4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500
Denver, CO 80237
© McREL International. All rights reserved.
McREL International | 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500Denver, CO 80237

August 4, 2021

REL Southeast Director’s Email—August 2021

See the CBE items below – as that is often used by for profit K-12 online learning programs to maximize their earnings.

View this email in your browser

REL Southeast

Director’s Email

August 2021

Greetings from the REL Southeast,

As educators around the region prepare for the upcoming school year, we are excited to share several new products with you. You can find brief descriptions and links to each below. We look forward to sharing more resources with you in the future, and as always, thank you for helping to improve education.

Dr. John Hughes
Director, REL Southeast

Product Spotlight


Literacy Tips for Parents of AdolescentsLiteracy Tips for Parents of Adolescents

This infographic provides activity suggestions that parents can initiate at home to help ensure successful literacy outcomes for their adolescent students.

Explore the infographic here.

Product Spotlight


Multiplicative Reasoning: Part of the Development of Mathematical ReasoningMultiplicative Reasoning: Part of the Development of Mathematical Reasoning

This infographic defines multiplicative reasoning, addresses why multiplicative reasoning is an important foundation in the numerical progression, and shows how teachers can recognize multiplicative reasoning in their students.

Explore the infographic here.

Product Spotlight


Proportional Reasoning: Part of the Development of Mathematical ReasoningProportional Reasoning: Part of the Development of Mathematical Reasoning

This infographic defines proportional reasoning, addresses why proportional reasoning is an important foundation in the numerical progression, and shows how teachers can recognize proportional reasoning in their students.

Explore the infographic here.

Product Spotlight


Competency-Based Education (CBE) Framework Series

CBE Culture

School leaders play a key role in setting the vision and creating the culture within a school. This video features school principals who have shifted their school’s grading practices from a traditional letter-grade system to a CBE mastery-based grading protocol to understand how key cultural elements were addressed.
CBE Structure

This video highlights the role of administrators at the state, district, and school levels in putting elements in place that allow for Competency-Based Education (CBE) implementation. State, district, and school administrators tend to have the most control over the structure elements that cultivate and promote CBE, from employing an appropriate learning management system to creating a conducive school schedule. This video also features administrators who are implementing CBE.

Ask A REL

Ask A REL is a collaborative reference desk service provided by the 10 regional educational laboratories (REL) that by design, functions much in the same way as a technical reference library. It provides references, referrals, and brief responses in the form of citations on research-based education questions.

To submit your question to Ask A REL, click here. Explore Ask A REL responses here.

Twitter
Website
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 29, 2021

Books & Online Resources for Teachers and School Leaders

More resources from one of the RELs.

Professional Learning Resources for Teachers and School Leaders
Books & Online Courses
Whether you’re teaching online or in person (or both), high-quality, research-backed strategies can help engage your students, spark their curiosity, and deepen their learning. We’re here to help with books and professional development resources that supplement your expertise.
Books for Educators
evidence-based insights plus practical tips and strategies
Tools for Classroom Instruction That Works
Ready-to-Use Techniques for Increasing Student Achievement
Deepen student learning with these ready-made, award-winning activities. Check out this free download with selected examples of the 50+ research-based tools cited in the book.
Seven Simple Shifts That Can Substantially Improve Student Learning
Transform your classroom learning climate in just a few seconds. Use these 7 easy-to-use shifts in your teaching to boost student engagement, minimize distractions & improve instructional clarity.
Self-reflection is one of the most powerful habits a teacher can develop. This guided journal will help you chronicle which classroom practices are going great, which could be improved, and how you’re growing and changing along the way.
A Brain-Based Model for K-12 Instructional Design and Delivery
Combining key insights from cognitive and learning sciences, this book shows how to design and sequence lessons in a way that will challenge, inspire, and engage your students. Learn to teach with more intentionality—understanding not just what to do but also when and why to do it.
Online Courses for
Teachers and School Leaders
self-paced, on-demand professional learning
Visit mcrel.org/learn-online to explore our highly rated online PD courses for teachers and school leaders.
Quick Courses
Cost & time effective solutions for educators
  • Creating the Environment for Learning
  • Managing Change
  • Monitoring Implementation of School Initiatives
  • Developing Collective Efficacy
In-Depth Courses
Certificate of PD hours available upon course completion
  • Quality Questioning for Student Learning
  • Learning That Sticks: A Brain-Based Model for Teaching & Learning
  • Classroom Instruction That Works with English Language Learners
  • Nurturing a Positive Learning Environment
Build your school’s capacity to impact student learning with professional learning support from McREL.
– – –
Online, Onsite & Hybrid Services Available
McREL International
P 800.858.6830 | F 303.337.3005
4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500
Denver, CO 80237
© McREL International. All rights reserved.
McREL International | 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500Denver, CO 80237
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