Virtual School Meanderings

December 4, 2017

REL Southeast Director’s Email – December 2017

A newsletter from Friday’s inbox.

December 2017
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Greetings from the REL Southeast!

I am excited to share a new infographic to assist school and district-level educators prepare career-ready students. I invite you to share this infographic with your colleagues, and explore other REL infographics at

The REL Southeast is working on many more research-based products and resources that will be released in the coming months. Thank you for helping to improve education in the Southeast.

Barbara Foorman, Ph.D.
Director, REL Southeast

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

November 21, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving! Holiday Bookstore Sale | McREL eNews

Also from yesterday’s inbox…

Contact us: |

November 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!
We are thankful to educators everywhere for the work you do to help students flourish. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at McREL!

New from McREL

Curiosity Works | Changing Schools, vol. 78, Fall 2017

Curiosity has the power to reframe teaching, learning, and leading, unleashing more effective improvement and innovation efforts at schools of every performance status. This issue of Changing Schools looks at how curiosity affects student learning and the professional practices of teachers, principals, and system leaders, and how schools and districts can leverage the power of curiosity. We also explore a unique teacher coaching model that uses “triads” —- teams of three teachers taking turns as coach, coachee, and observer —- to turn traditional coaching inside out.

Success Story | Rural region of central Arizona finds success with a train-the-trainer approach to professional development
Keeping the schoolhouse doors open is hard enough in rural Arizona. High-quality professional development for the faculty and leadership seemed like an unattainable luxury. But the Yavapai County Education Service Agency wouldn’t give up, and found success by forging a train-the-trainers partnership with McREL. Affordable and sustainable, the initiative relies on local educators who have become authorized facilitators in the Classroom Instruction That Works and Balanced Leadership frameworks. Now professional development is “part of our culture in this area,” in the words of one small-town principal.

Success Story: “Turnaround” school in Colorado actually turns around…with help from Classroom Instruction That Works

Colorado applies the hopeful phrase “Turnaround Plan” to struggling schools, but the reality is that many of them fail to meet the state’s targets and get reprogrammed out of existence. Gilcrest Elementary challenged that pattern by bringing in a McREL consultant to help implement the strategies in our Classroom Instruction That Works titles. With new practical tools and newfound confidence in themselves, the faculty turned things around so convincingly that Gilcrest soon was recognized as one of the Centennial State’s fastest-improving schools. “The results are incredible,” the district superintendent says.

Blog Post | Can compassion cure indifference?
With the rise in the level of incivility and indifference in the U.S., researchers say we’re losing our ability to empathize. What can educators do to help students who are emotionally burned out? Brain research suggests that compassion, which activates different neurons in the brain than empathy, could be the answer. With modeling, support, and encouragement from teachers and parents, students who engage in service-oriented activities can not only be taught how to be compassionate, but also learn how to sustain it, McREL president and CEO Bryan Goodwin writes.

White Paper | Peer Coaching That Works: The power of reflection and feedback in teacher triad teams
In this free white paper, we describe the research that supports teacher-to-teacher peer coaching and lay out the components of an effective coaching triad, with participants taking turns coaching, being coached, and observing. While school leadership can promote an environment that values and encourages trusting working relationships, the real work of coaching needs to be planned and executed by teachers themselves, the authors say.

McREL Bookstore | Holiday sale! 
10% off storewide in the McREL Bookstore!

10% off through December 31, 2017 | USE CODE: HOLIDAY10.

Now is the time to think about holiday gifts for yourself (or your favorite educators). Enjoy 10% off our entire book catalogue through the end of 2017. Happy Holidays from McREL! (This code cannot be combined with other discount offers.)

Events & Opportunities

2018 Professional Learning Events

We’re excited to announce our 2018 Professional Learning lineup! We’ve added several new innovative sessions, both in the summer and fall, and are offering a bonus: Each of our Denver-based academies and workshops now includes extended coaching for the 2018-19 school year to support your continued development!
Tools for Classroom Instruction That Works Academy (LA-Metro)
Gain 50 classroom-ready teaching tools to support deeper learning! Join educational leaders and authors Dr. Harvey Silver and Cheryl Abla as they present practical instructional tools from the upcoming book, Tools for Classroom Instruction That Works (co-published by McREL and Thoughtful Classroom™ and available in December 2017). Aligned with McREL’s Classroom Instruction That Works strategies and framework, this professional learning academy is an intensive learning, working, and planning session for teachers, instructional coaches, principals, and central office PD leaders.
Tools for Classroom Instruction That Works Academy (Denver)
Aligned with McREL’s renowned Classroom Instruction That Works strategies and framework, this two-day academy will deliver an intensive learning, working, and planning session for classroom teachers, instructional coaches, teacher mentors, principals and assistant principals, and central office PD leaders. Participants will also receive a personal copy of the book, Tools for Classroom Instruction That Works.
JUNE 13-14
Helping ELLs Flourish With Academic Language Development (Denver)
This two-day professional development workshop will help all teachers —- general education and ELL specialists —- apply effective research-based instructional strategies to the five stages of language acquisition and develop students’ academic language during subject-matter instruction, using McREL’s Academic Language Framework. Registrants will receive a coupon code to get 20% off the recommended book for this class.
School Leadership That Works: Evidence-Based Strategies for Sharpening Instructional Focus, Managing Change Processes, and Creating Shared Vision (Denver)
Discover the leadership responsibilities that are most strongly connected to student achievement and learn practical strategies to develop a purposeful, positive school community, initiate and manage change within your school, and choose the right focus for your school’s improvement initiatives. Registrants will receive a coupon code to get 20% off the recommended book for this class.
District Leadership That Works: Connecting Strategic Vision, Action, and Results Across Your System (Denver)
During this 3-day session, participants will learn the principles of high-reliability systems and the actions used in health care, aviation, and other complex industries, and how these principles can be effectively applied to education systems. Determine the current state of your district systems and begin to map steps toward improving the quality of instruction and reducing variability in instructional quality within and among your schools.

Unleashing Student Curiosity to Learn (Denver)
Explore why and how curiosity can be sparked and sustained within your students, helping them become engaged, motivated, self-directed learners who “own” their educational journeys. Get tools, tips, and ideas for creating challenging learning tasks and higher-order questions that push students to deeper levels of content understanding and application. Registrants will receive a coupon code to get 20% off the recommended book for this class.
JULY 10-11
Managing Change: Evidence-Based Strategies for Starting and Sustaining New Policies, Practices, and Processes (Denver)
Change is constant in schools: Every new program, policy, or procedure comes with the need to implement and manage change well.  Attend this research- and evidence-based session to learn the keys to helping your school team not just survive change, but thrive in it. Registrants will receive a coupon code to get 20% off the recommended book for this class.
JULY 12-13
Instructional Coaching That Works (Denver)
Learn a new, more effective approach to instructional coaching that is focused on inside-out, strengths-based peer coaching that brings small teams of teachers together, building on the bright spots while learning and growing as peers and professionals. You’ll leave this session knowing how to create belief among your school team that personal and collective growth are possible, and use data to drive coaching decisions that will have positive effects on outcomes that matter to all.

JULY 17-18
How to Move Your School from Improvement to Innovation: A Guided Pathway for Success (Denver)
You’ll leave this intensive two-day session with an understanding of the important differences between an inside-out, curiosity-driven approach to school improvement and an outside-in or top-down approach. Learn how to focus for improvement or innovation; how to identify high-leverage strategies for action; and gain an understanding of the importance of monitoring change, both for the organization and for individuals.
JULY 19-20

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 | Work-Home balance
November 27-December 3

How do you balance your work and home life?

Topic | Differentiating homework
December 4-10

How do you differentiate homework for your ELL students?

Topic | Holiday traditions
December 11-17

What is your favorite holiday tradition that you share with your students?

Topic | Teacher check-in
December 18-24

Are you the teacher you’d want your own family member to have as their teacher? Why?

Upcoming Conferences
AESA Annual Conference
November 30-December 2 | San Antonio, Texas
Join McREL staff for sessions and visit with us in the exhibit hall to learn how we partner with education service agencies across the country to deliver great professional learning, coaching, and strategic consulting to their member districts and schools.
  • Leading to Learn: Evaluation of an innovative school leadership program. Co-presented by Karen Bumgardner and the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative on Thursday, Nov. 30, 10:45 a.m.
  • Evaluation Systems: Optimizing levers of support. Co-presented by Bryan Goodwin and Region 13 ESC on Friday, Dec. 1, 2:45 p.m.
Visit our Events page or contact McREL to learn more
about other upcoming conferences and events.
McREL: Helping educators flourish
“The Classroom Instruction That Works and Power Walkthrough professional development workshops provided excellent and practical information, and the McREL team has been very responsive to the requests, suggestions, and needs of our district.”
David A. Smith, Chief of Staff, Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools
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Copyright © 2017, McREL International. All Rights Reserved.

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

November 18, 2017

Literacy | Family Engagement | Science Teaching & Learning

From Wednesday’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 SYSTEMSDeveloping Leaders to Transform Troubled Schools

In need of ensuring effective leaders for their struggling schools, five states participated in an innovative education leadership program that sparked profound improvements.Learn more about the progress of these states in the latest R&D Alert Online article.

Also, download the latest print edition of R&D Alert for articles on significant topics, including implementing restorative justice in schools.


WestEd recently became home to Carnegie Math Pathways (CMP), an evidence-based program committed to improving college students’ learning and success in mathematics, including developmental mathematics. Created in 2009 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, CMP helps students go on to earn more college credits, graduate, and transfer at significantly higher rates than their peers.

Consider joining the growing network of colleges and universities engaging with CMP to empower all students to reach their college and career goals by transforming their mathematics learning experience.

LITERACYReading Apprenticeship: Creating Better Readers, Writers, and Problem Solvers

Reading Apprenticeship supports teachers to use their subject-area expertise to help middle school, high school, and college students understand what they are reading, construct text-based arguments, and communicate clearly about what they are learning — not just in English class, but in every subject.

Sign up for professional learning.

HEALTH, SAFETY, & WELL-BEINGUsing School Climate Data to Drive Student Engagement and Motivation: Webinar, November 29

School climate and wellness are essential aspects of school improvement efforts that can lead to increased student engagement, attendance, achievement, and success. But cultivating and sustaining a positive school climate that creates the necessary conditions for learning and teaching can be challenging.

Join this webinar to explore what key questions might arise when school leaders examine school climate data, and how schools might collect additional information to guide policy and practice.

TEACHERS & LEADERSTeachers Leading the Way — Teacher-to-Teacher Professional Learning: New Resource

Teacher leaders are positioned to help colleagues reflect on practice, try new pedagogical approaches, and puzzle through instructional challenges. To be effective in this role, they need support in developing leadership skills. They also need site-level conditions that foster teacher-to-teacher professional learning.

Find out what schools can do to support strong teacher leadership aimed at improving instruction.

STANDARDS, ASSESSMENT, & ACCOUNTABILITYMath Standards: What It Takes for Successful Implementation

When implementing new standards, it can be helpful to look at districts that have done so effectively, and to consider how educators feel about and use available instructional materials. Two new reports from the Math in Common Initiative help you to do both.

SCHOOLS, DISTRICTS, & STATE EDUCATION SYSTEMSSupporting New York Schools and Districts

WestEd has worked with New York education agencies since 2003, providing high-quality professional learning, expert consulting and technical assistance, and rigorous research and evaluation. Our partners include the New York State Education Department, the New York City Department of Education, and the New York Hall of Science.

Visit our New York page to learn how WestEd can help your school, district, or organization.

AGENCY NEWSJoin WestEd at Upcoming Conferences

Check out our staff presentations at these upcoming meetings and conferences and visit the WestEd booth to pick up free resources and join our mailing list.

Resource Spotlight

Resource Spotlight

Making Sense of SCIENCE: Matter for Teachers of Grades 5–12, Second Edition

Making Sense of SCIENCE helps teachers gain a solid grasp of challenging science concepts, analyze effective teaching practices, and explore how literacy supports impact learning.

This new edition of the Making Sense of SCIENCE: Mattercourse further emphasizes engaging students in discourse-rich practices, systems thinking, development of scientific explanations, and phenomena-based learning.

Learn more about this nationally field-tested professional learning resource.

Featured Initiative

Featured Initiative

Quality Teaching for English Learners: Supporting English Learners and Their Teachers

Through intensive workshops, discipline-specific institutes, and sustained work with districts and schools, WestEd’s Quality Teaching for English Learners (QTEL) helps educators develop the skills and dispositions they need in order to prepare all students, particularly English learners, for success in college and life.

Visit the QTEL website to learn more about this unique professional development initiative.

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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November 3, 2017

REL Southeast Director’s Email – November 2017

Another newsletter from Wednesday’s inbox.

November 2017
View this email in your browser

Greetings from the REL Southeast!

This month we’d like to share some exciting ways in which you can engage online with the REL Southeast and make the most of our research-based products and services. We hope you find them 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

National Center for Education and Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE) Blog

NCEE maintains a blog dedicated to the development and use of research and evaluation throughout the United States. Visit to learn about evidence standards, find practical recommendations and instructional tips, and discover articles that make understanding research fun and engaging.

This recent article discusses the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) by using an infographic and video to highlight the services intended users and explain its benefits.

REL Southeast Twitter

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from REL Southeast by following our Twitteraccount. Our daily tweets cover topics related to education research and instructional practice presented in engaging multimedia formats including videos, podcasts, and infographics. Follow us today @REL_SE.


Ask A REL is a collaborative reference desk service provided by the ten RELs that by design, functions much in the same way as a technical reference library. Research-based educational questions are posed by regional stakeholders and addressed by the local REL.

Submit your research-based educational question today 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

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

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