Virtual School Meanderings

December 3, 2016

REL Southeast Director’s Email – November 2016

And another item from yesterday’s inbox…

The latest news and updates from the REL Southeast
at Florida State University
View this email in your browser
REL Southeast Email Header

Greetings from the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast!

We are pleased to announce the release of two new products, The characteristics and education outcomes of American Indian students in grades 6-12 in North Carolina, and Leadership characteristics and practices in South Carolina charter schools. More information regarding these research-based publications may be found in this email, on our website, rel-se.fsu.edu, and the IES website, ies.ed.gov.

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

Leadership characteristics and practices in South Carolina charter schools

The purpose of this descriptive study was to identify characteristics of charter school leaders in South Carolina, determine how they spend their work hours, understand the time they spend on challenges to their work, and learn who influences their schools’ policies. REL Southeast researchers collaborated with the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) and other charter school policymakers and practitioners to develop a survey based on items from the school and principal questionnaires of the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics Schools and Staffing Survey. SCDE administered the survey to the 66 leaders in charter schools across the state operating during the 2014/15 school year. Forty leaders provided responses. Results indicate that the leaders have many similar demographic, educational, and employment characteristics and reasons for becoming charter school leaders. They worked on average almost 60 hours per week, spending more hours on activities related to communication with families and on school regulations and policies than on other tasks. Many of them spent time daily on school safety. A majority of the leaders were frequently challenged by state education agency requirements and services and sponsor intervention, but leaders were rarely or never challenged by staffing issues or board intervention. In addition, the leaders reported having more influence than any other entity over most of their schools’ policies, except policies related to classroom instruction, academic guidance, athletics, and student assessment, which their staff influenced more and board membership policies that their board influenced more. This study was a first step toward understanding what characteristics and activities of charter school leaders in South Carolina may lead to improved school performance. Further research is needed to link school leadership characteristics and time management practices to school and student performance and other outcomes.

Read the report at: http://bit.ly/2fZp1ZI

The characteristics and education outcomes of American Indian students in grades 6–12 in North Carolina

The purpose of this study was to compare American Indian students in grades 6–12 in North Carolina to all other students in the same grades both within the same schools and statewide on student demographics, school characteristics, and education outcomes. The North Carolina State Advisory Council on Indian Education (SACIE) requested this research based on a prior report identifying achievement gaps between American Indian students and White students. The primary source of quantitative data for this study is longitudinal administrative data provided to the Education Policy Initiative at Carolina by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). These data include student-level outcomes for all students in grades 6–12 in North Carolina public schools for the school years 2010/11 through 2013/14. Outcomes considered include state test scores, attendance, retention in grade, advanced course taking, graduation rates, and disciplinary referrals. Quantitative analyses include all American Indian students in grades 6–12 in North Carolina public schools for school years 2010/11 through 2013/14. Students of other ethnicities in the same grades and years both within the same schools and statewide serve as comparison groups. Descriptive analyses compare averages for all student characteristics, school characteristics, and education outcomes for American Indian students compared to their within school and statewide peers. Regression analyses using multilevel modeling were used examine the extent to which controlling for student, school, and teacher characteristics accounts for differences in outcomes between American Indian students and their peers. The analyses found that American Indian students are demographically different from non-American Indian students statewide, but similar to other students attending the same schools. Schools attended by American Indian students are more likely to be rural and in the Coastal plain. American Indians also tend to attend schools that serve more economically disadvantaged students and more disadvantaged minority students. Across all middle school and high school standardized tests, American Indian students have lower average scores than other students statewide and within the same schools. American Indian students are absent more often on average than their peers both statewide and within the same school, are less likely to take advanced courses, and graduate at lower rates, but are equally likely to be retained in grade as their peers. When school and student demographics are held constant, the size of the gaps on most outcomes between American Indian students and their peers both within the same schools and statewide are substantially reduced.

Read the report at: http://bit.ly/2gkhHLg

Contact Us

The Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) build the capacity of educators to use data and research to improve student outcomes. Each REL responds to needs identified in its region and makes learning opportunities and other resources available to educators throughout the United States. The REL program is a part of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education.

Learn more about the REL Southeast at http://rel-se.fsu.edu.

REL Southeast at Florida State University
http://rel-se.fsu.edu

2010 Levy Avenue, Suite 100
Tallahassee, FL 32310
This Director’s Email was developed by REL Southeast under Contract ED-IES-12-C-0011 from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences.  The content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government.

November 19, 2016

e-News November 2016 | Happy Thanksgiving! | 2017 Summer Institutes Registration Open

From Friday’s inbox…

November 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!
We would like to extend our thanks to educators across the globe who worked hard this year tocreate better ways to help students and staff flourish. We wish you a holiday season filled with joy, peace, success, and prosperity.

We’re grateful for the opportunity to work with distinguished educators around the world, offering contextualized consulting, coaching, and support to strengthen improvement efforts and build your school or district’s capacity as a high-reliability and high-performance system.

Let us know how we can help!

Research Roundup

Implicit bias stalls girls’ math achievement early on
Cabinet Report
In a recent study, researchers from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development found that the gender gap in math achievement “is partially due to the lower expectations that teachers hold of girls in math” as early as kindergarten.

Positive school climates can narrow achievement gaps
Review of Educational Research

An analysis of 78 research studies conducted since 2000 on the relationship between school climate, academic achievement, and socioeconomic status finds that positive, supportive school climates can reduce achievement gaps among students.

High- and low-income students have similar chance of being taught by both the most and the least effective teachers
U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (IES)

A recent IES study, designed to determine whether low-income students have equal access to high-quality teachers, found only small differences in the effectiveness of teachers of high- and low-income students in the average study district, and also found that low-income and high-income students had similar chances of being taught by the most or least effective teachers.

New from McREL

Changing Schools, Fall 2016 | Spotlight on social and emotional learning
Social and emotional learning (SEL) practices can help students succeed in academics and in life—-but how can schools approach it systemically? This issue of McREL’s Changing Schools looks at the research behind SEL, how to select and implement the right program and create the culture and conditions to support it, ESSA’s impact on SEL and measuring nonacademic factors of student success, and how SEL connects with student motivation and curiosity.

Events & Opportunities

McREL Summer PD Institutes

Registration for our 2017 Summer Professional Development (PD) Institutes is now open! Join us in Denver for high-impact PD sessions that will expand your knowledge and ability to make significant changes in teaching, leading, and learning in 2017-18 and beyond. You’ll leave with research-based, best-practice strategies you can use immediately to help you —- and your students —-flourish.

Classroom Instruction That Works PD Workshop
Denver, Colo., June 19-21, 2017

Classroom Instruction That Works Authorized Facilitator Training
Denver, Colo., June 19-23, 2017

Balanced Leadership® for School-Level Leaders
Denver, Colo., July 11-14, 2017

District Leadership That Works
Denver, Colo., July 17-18, 2017

Classroom Instruction That Works with English Language Learners
Denver, Colo., July 19-20, 2017

Upcoming Conferences

Association of Educational Service Agencies Annual Conference
Savannah, Georgia, Nov. 30-Dec. 3
McREL will exhibit at the AESA Conference in Savannah later this month. If you are interested in discussing opportunities to build staff capacity and deliver more high-quality training and support services to your district, please contact Lisa Maxfield or stop by our booth and introduce yourself.
Visit our events page or contact McREL to learn more about other upcoming conferences and events.

Perspectives

Research Matters | Flip the script on fate control
 
In the November issue of ASCD’s Educational Leadership, McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin weighs in with the research on how much students can affect their own destinies. “We might wonder how we can help students living with constant reminders of adverse external forces flip the script, so to speak, and see themselves as subjects who can act—-not simply be acted upon,” he writes. Read his column.

Blog Post | From cornfields to classrooms: Why am I doing this?
 
Do you set learning objectives for lessons? In her latest blog post and infographic, McREL’s Lisa Maxfield explains why they’re so important and how they help students relate to the content they’re learning. “When students connect with and personalize the learning objective,” she writes, “they can better understand the relevance of the learning objective.” Read her blog post and view/download the infographic.

Headlines

Superintendent’s report: PUSD board provides map to district success
 
Prescott USD (AZ) superintendent Joe Howard wrote a column for the Daily Courier newspaper, recapping the reasons he nominated his board for a statewide award—-including the board’s support of the district using McREL’s Balanced Leadership and Classroom Instruction That Works training for continuous improvement initiatives. Read the story.

McREL helps Michigan high school with inquiry based instruction
 
Hometown Life, a suburban Detroit news outlet, featured a story about McREL’s recent work with Marian High School. STEM consultant Laura Arndt delivered an interactive PD session to school staff on inquiry based teaching and learning. “The workshop helped Marian teachers craft higher-order content questions that are both thought-provoking and relevant to secondary level content,” the story reported. Read the story.
“The best investment the CNMI PSS has made is partnering with McREL 
in improving our school system.
Vincent Dela Cruz, Principal, PSS-Chacha, Saipan
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November 5, 2016

REL Southeast Directors Email – November 2016

Note the online credit recovery item below.

The latest news and updates from the REL Southeast
at Florida State University
View this email in your browser
REL Southeast Email Header

Greetings from the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast!

We are pleased to announce the release of three new products, Professional learning communities facilitator’s guide for the What Works Clearinghouse practice guide: Foundational skills to support reading for understanding in kindergarten through 3rd grade, Academic outcomes for North Carolina Virtual Public School credit recovery students, and Investigating Developmental and college-level course enrollment and passing before and after Florida’s developmental education reform. More information regarding these research-based publications may be found in this email, on our website, rel-se.fsu.edu, and the IES website, ies.ed.gov.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

Academic outcomes for North Carolina Virtual Public School credit recovery students

This report describes the results of a REL Southeast study comparing short- and longer-term student successes after completion of online credit recovery courses compared to student successes after completion of other credit recovery options, such as traditional face-to-face courses and summer school courses. Credit recovery refers to when a student fails a course and then retakes the same course to earn high school credit. This research question was motivated by the growing importance of online learning in traditional public school settings and a desire on the part of many stakeholders to understand better how students are adjusting to that transition. The data for this study covered eleven core high school courses (courses required for graduation) taken between 2008/09 and 2011/12 in North Carolina. The study compares the likelihood of a student: (a) succeeding on the state end-of-course test for the recovered course; (b) succeeding in the next course in a recovered course sequence (for instance, in English II after English I); (c) remaining in school after credit recovery; and (d) graduating and graduating on time. Results suggest that there was little difference between the short-term success rates of students who completed state-supported online credit recovery and students who completed other credit recovery options. However, on measures of longer-term success, students who completed state-provided online credit recovery courses and did not subsequently drop out were more likely than other credit recovery students to graduate on time. Among credit recovery participants in state-provided online courses, Black students were less likely to reach proficiency in their recovered courses but more likely than their peers to succeed in later coursework after their online experience. Because of limitations in the analyses possible with available data, it is not possible to directly attribute these outcomes to participation in online credit recovery, but the results do point toward intriguing and potentially beneficial areas for future, more rigorous study.

Read the report at: http://bit.ly/2f792uT

Contact Us

The Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) build the capacity of educators to use data and research to improve student outcomes. Each REL responds to needs identified in its region and makes learning opportunities and other resources available to educators throughout the United States. The REL program is a part of the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education.Learn more about the REL Southeast at http://rel-se.fsu.edu.

REL Southeast at Florida State University
http://rel-se.fsu.edu

2010 Levy Avenue, Suite 100
Tallahassee, FL 32310

Professional learning communities facilitator’s guide for the What Works Clearinghouse practice guide: Foundational skills to support reading for understanding in kindergarten through 3rd grade

The Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southeast developed a Professional Learning Community (PLC) Facilitators Guide to support educators in the implementation of recommendations from the What Works Clearinghouse’s. The practice guide focuses on the foundational reading skills that enable students to read words, relate those words to their oral language, and read connected text with sufficient accuracy and fluency to understand what they read. The practice guide, developed by a panel of experts comprised of researchers and practitioners, presents four recommendations that educators can use to improve literacy skills in the early grades.

Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) are a form of professional development in which small groups of educators with shared interests work together with the goals of expanding their knowledge and improving their craft. REL Southeast developed PLC materials focused on the practice guide that were designed to assist a literacy leader in guiding a professional learning community in applying the recommendations from the practice guide. The materials include a facilitator’s guide, participant activities, and videos. The facilitator’s guide includes a framework for facilitators to conduct each of the ten PLC sessions. It also includes participant activities, discussion questions, small- and whole-group activities, and implementation and reflection activities. The participant’s activities include reflection questions, lesson plan examples and templates, video-viewing guides, and sharing opportunities. The videos illustrate practices presented in the foundational reading skills practice guide.

Read the report at: http://bit.ly/2cyMQo5

Investigating Developmental and college-level course enrollment and passing before and after Florida’s developmental education reform

Beginning with 2014 fall semester, developmental education in Florida was made optional for most students. This report compares enrollment and passing rates in developmental reading, writing, and mathematics courses as well as gateway English and mathematics courses for a cohort of first-time-in-college students in fall 2014 to three cohorts of students in the fall semesters prior to 2014. Compared to prior semesters, once developmental education became optional fewer students enrolled in developmental education courses. Passing rates for developmental education courses in reading, writing, and math increased an average of 2.0 percentage points over fall 2013. More students enrolled in gateway (entry-level, college-credit bearing) courses. Gateway course passing rates declined compared to previous years, with the largest declines occurring in intermediate algebra. The proportion of the first-time-in-college fall cohort students passing a gateway course increased compared to previous years.

Read the report at: http://bit.ly/2eaO21y

This Director’s Email was developed by REL Southeast under Contract ED-IES-12-C-0011 from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences.  The content does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IES or the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government.

October 25, 2016

Academic Outcomes for Students Who Took Online Credit Recovery Courses

From the inbox earlier today…

Institute of Education Sciences - Newsflash Find IES Research on Facebook Connect with IES Research on Twitter IES Newsflash

Academic Outcomes for Students Who Took Online Credit Recovery Courses

A new study finds that students who completed online credit recovery courses were less likely to graduate than students who took other types of credit recovery courses. However, those online course takers who did graduate were more likely to do so on time than their peers who took other credit recovery courses.

The study by Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southeast compared outcomes across four years for North Carolina students who failed and retook a course either through the state-provided North Carolina Virtual Public School or through other in-person credit recovery options, including face-to-face courses or summer school.

Results suggest that there was little difference in short-term success rates, such as passing an end-of-course exam. On measures of longer-term success, however, students who completed online credit recovery courses were less likely to graduate than other credit recovery students, but those who did graduate were more likely to do so on time. Among credit recovery participants in online courses, Black students were less likely than other students to reach proficiency in their recovered courses. However, Black students were more likely than their peers to succeed in later coursework in the same subject area after completion of the online credit recovery course.

Read the report at: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs/projects/project.asp?projectID=4462

*****
The Regional Educational Laboratories (RELs) build the capacity of educators to use data and research to improve student outcomes. Each REL responds to needs identified in its region and makes learning opportunities and other resources available to educators throughout the United States. The REL program is a part of theInstitute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education. To receive regular updates on REL work, including events and reports, follow IES on Facebook and Twitter. To provide feedback on this or other REL work, email Contact.IES@ed.gov.

The Institute of Education Sciences, a part of the U.S. Department of Education, is the nation’s leading source for rigorous, independent education research, evaluation and statistics.
You have received this message because you subscribed to a newsflash service through IES or one of its centers.
Change your options or unsubscribe from this service.

By visiting Newsflash you may also sign up to receive information from IES and its four Centers NCES, NCER, NCEE, & NCSERto stay abreast of all activities within the Institute of Education Sciences (IES).

To obtain hard copy of many IES products as well as hard copy and electronic versions of hundreds of other U.S. Department of Education products please visit http://www.edpubs.org or call 1-877-433-7827 (877-4-EDPUBS).

October 21, 2016

e-News October 2016 | Making Sense Of ESSA And Social Emotional Learning

Another item from yesterday’s inbox…

 

October 2016

Making sense of ESSA
Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states and districts now have more flexibility in measuring student outcomes. ESSA incorporates broader definitions of student success, including factors related to social and emotional learning. Our contextualized consulting, coaching, and support can help you align your improvement efforts with ESSA and build your school or district’s capacity as a high reliability and high performance system.
Just let us know how we can help!

Research Roundup

U.S. high school graduation rate reaches record high
The White House

U.S. high school graduation rates reached an all-time high of 83.2 percent in the 2014-15 school year, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics recently highlighted by President Obama. Increases in graduation rates were seen across demographic subgroups of learners, but English learners showed the largest increase, a 6.1 percent gain from 2010-11 to 2014-15. Read the White House Fact Sheet.

Digital Education Survey: Explore emerging trends in digital education technology

Deloitte

Deloitte surveyed more than 2,800 teachers, students, and parents to find out what types of technology are being used in and out of the classroom for learning, and how often. Among the findings, 42 percent of teachers said they use digital technology in the classroom every day; top uses were online educational videos, educational apps or software, websites for research, and content- or skill-specific games. Interestingly, a strong majority of students (75 percent) said they wanted to spend more time using digital content at home to learn more about what they study in school—-an idea that most teachers (84 percent) and parents (88 percent) also supported. Read the 2016 Digital Education Survey.

Five reasons teacher residencies often outperform traditional training
The Hechinger Report

In response to the new teacher preparation program regulations recently set by the U.S. Department of Education, this article outlines five benefits for teachers who completed a high-quality residency under the guidance of mentor teachers: effective classroom management skills, high-quality lesson planning, improved quality of teaching, better professionalism, and employability and retention.

New from McREL

Changing Schools, Fall 2016 | Spotlight on social and emotional learning

Social and emotional learning (SEL) practices can help students succeed in academics and in life—-but how can schools approach it systemically? This issue of McREL’s Changing Schools looks at the research behind SEL, how to select and implement the right program and create the culture and conditions to support it, ESSA’s impact on SEL and measuring nonacademic factors of student success, and how SEL connects with student motivation and curiosity.  Read the new issue online.

NASA honors 2016 Dawn Mission communications and outreach team from McREL
NASA recently honored several McREL staff members for their “outstanding execution” as part of the agency’s public communications campaign for the Dawn mission. The Dawn spacecraft traveled to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter to explore the protoplanet Vesta in 2011-2012 and is now exploring dwarf planet Ceres. Learn more about the Dawn Mission.

Video | NASA Impact of Discovery/Mission Makers Workshop
 

In April 2016, 230 participants at four sites across the U.S. joined mission scientists from NASA Discovery and New Frontiers and teams fromEurekus and McREL for a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) experience to gain engineering literacy and classroom “maker project” ideas by constructing simple machine instruments for a shoe-box model rover. Watch a short video documentary of this experience and learn more about McREL’s STEM and STEAM consulting services.

REL Pacific Toolkit | Resources for Engaging Families and the Community as Partners in Education
 
A toolkit from the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Pacific at McREL helps schools and districts improve their outreach to families and community members. The toolkit is divided into four parts, each including a series of activities that can be used with family and community members as well as other diverse cross-stakeholder groups. The activities involve reading, writing, discussions, and creative exercises using graphics, scenarios, worksheets, and planning templates.Find the guides at the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences website.

Free Resource | How to select school interventions
 
Selecting and implementing the right intervention for your students’ needs can be a daunting task. Our Recommended Protocol for Selecting School Interventions document outlines key action steps and questions to consider that will help you make better intervention decisions. Download this free resource.

Events & Opportunities

McREL consultants will be at the following conferences to present sessions and/or to share information in exhibit areas. If you or your colleagues will attend, please be sure to introduce yourself to our staff.
Visit our events page or contact McREL to learn more about each event.

Colorado Department of Education Equity and Excellence Conference
Denver, Colo., Nov. 3-4

League for Innovation in the Community College’s STEMtech Conference
Chattanooga, Tenn., Nov. 7

Association of Educational Service Agencies Annual Conference
Savannah, Georgia, Nov. 30-Dec. 3

Perspectives

Research Matters | Model lesson plans offer a lifeline to new teachers
 
In the October issue of ASCD’s Educational Leadership, McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin offers research-based evidence that providing first-year and struggling teachers high-quality lesson plans helps improve teacher performance and might aid in teacher retention. Read his column.

Blog Post | Career Readiness: What does it really mean and how do we get there?
 

McREL consultant Susan Ryan looks at the changing landscape of career and technical education, and what it means to be career-ready. “Ultimately,” she writes, “as career training programs and academic education systems work together to prepare students for their future careers, it’s important that we acknowledge the differences among learning benchmarks that mark a variety of career pathways.” Read her blog post.

Headlines

McREL training in Guam helps teachers and students “reach for the stars”
 
To spark student interest in STEM, the Guam Department of Education and McREL are working together to train teachers on astronomy and planetary science, including how to build rovers that can travel to different worlds throughout the universe. The CosmoQuest Project, which is supported by NASA, offers teachers first-hand experiences in order to get them engaged in STEM and “take that energy and excitement back into the classroom and be truly inspiring to their students,” said McREL consultant Whitney Cobb. Read the story.

Bahamian educators implement McREL’s Balanced Leadership
 
An article in the Abaconian highlighted McREL’s Balanced Leadership work with school leaders throughout the Bahamas, including the Abaco Islands. The article focuses on how McREL’s Balanced Leadership framework supports the Abaco district’s theme for the current school year, “Educate Students to Create Long Time Learners,” by helping school leaders adjust to the shifting, more demanding expectations placed on them. According to Superintendent Dr. Lenora Black, the district’s goal is effective leadership at all levels, from teachers and teacher leaders to district administrators and national education leaders. Read the story.
“We began our partnership with McREL in 2008. The ultimate beneficiaries are our staff and students, as our district is more thoughtful and strategic in how we 
implement change and determine focus.
Dr. B.J. Worthington, Superintendent, Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools, Tennessee
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