Virtual School Meanderings

April 29, 2016

Changing Schools | Turning Improvement Inside Out | Vol. 75/Spring 2016

From yesterday’s inbox…

Turning improvement inside out 
What would happen if educators tried to improve schools not from the top down but from the inside out? This issue of Changing Schools builds on McREL’s white paper, The Road Less Traveled: Changing Schools from the Inside Out(2015), considering the implications of a curiosity-based approach, including articles on formative assessment, professional learning, systems improvement, school culture, and project- and maker-based learning.
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McREL International, 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500, Denver, CO 80237

April 23, 2016

McREL e-News April 2016 | Strengthen Your Teaching, Leading, And Learning

From Thursday’s inbox…

April 2016

Strengthen your teaching, leading, and learning
Transform your teaching and leading this summer. Join us in Denver for high-impact professional development sessions that will expand your knowledge and ability to make real changes in teaching, leading, and learning. We’ll present research-based, best-practice strategies you can use immediately to help you—-and your students—-flourish.
Register by April 30, 2016, and receive a 10% discount per person.
Visit our events page to view the complete lineup of PD sessions and register.

Research Roundup

School conditions matter for student achievement, new research confirms
Chalkbeat

Researchers from Brown and Harvard universities looked at annual survey data collected from 278 New York City middle schools between 2008 and 2012 and found that increases in four measures of school climate—-school safety and order, leadership and professional development, high academic expectations, and teacher relationships and collaboration—-led to decreases in teacher turnover. Increases in high academic expectations and school safety were also linked to increases on state math examinations.

Study: High-quality pre-K for all could eliminate reading gaps
Education Week

Researchers analyzed reading and math scores in two of the highest-performing public preschool programs in the U.S. (Boston and Tulsa) and determined that a national high-quality preschool program would benefit African-American and Hispanic students most, potentially reducing the achievement gap in math by 78 percent for Hispanic students, and 45 percent for African-American students by kindergarten entry. In both groups, the achievement gap in reading would be eliminated.

Schools combine meditation and brain science to help combat discipline problems
Chalkbeat

This article profiles an Indiana elementary school that teaches students about neuroscience, brain function, and meditation to improve student behavior and reduce suspensions and office referrals. In the pilot year of the program, the school issued zero suspensions, and office referrals decreased.

Attention, students: Put your laptops away
NPR

This NPR story cites research on student note-taking, which shows that, although students take more notes when typing them on a digital device such as a tablet or computer, students who take hand-written notes better process, understand, and retain the information being taught.

Events & Opportunities

Session | Roots of Empathy International Research Symposium
Toronto, Canada, Apr. 28-29, 2016
Join McREL executive director Dr. Phillip Herman for his featured session on “Culturally Responsive Research and Development in the Pacific.” Dr. Herman, who also directs the U.S. Department of Education’s Regional Educational Laboratory for the Pacific (REL Pacific), will share how the REL Pacific program collaborates with local educators to engage in research and development projects that are culturally responsive, useful, and locally construed.

Learn more and register for the symposium.

Summer PD | Balanced Leadership® Institute for School-Level Leaders
Denver, Colorado, Jul. 18-21, 2016
In this four-day institute, learn the leadership responsibilities that research shows are most strongly connected to student achievement. You’ll receive practical strategies you can use in your school to develop a purposeful and positive school community, initiate and manage change within your school, and choose the right focus for your school’s improvement initiatives. If you cannot attend all four days, you can register for individual days of your choice. Register by April 30, 2016, to receive a 10% discount per person. Learn more and register.

Summer PD | Balanced Leadership Institute for District-Level Leaders
Denver, Colorado, Jul. 21-22, 2016
In this two-day institute, learn a Balanced Leadership approach to improving systems and innovation for student and staff success. You’ll explore the district-level leadership activities and behaviors that research shows are most connected to student and staff success, and how these leadership responsibilities apply to the actions of superintendents, school boards, and central office staff. We’ll share the principles of high-reliability systems and the actions used in healthcare, aviation, and other complex industries, and how these principles can be effectively applied to education systems. Register by April 30, 2016, to receive a 10% discount per person. Learn more and register.

Summer PD | Classroom Instruction That Works®—-Workshop
Denver, Colorado, Jul. 25-27, 2016
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, and in any subject area, to enhance student achievement.
  • Learn new, evidence-based insights from the most recent, rigorous research
  • Get an instructional framework to strengthen instructional design
  • Discover the reasons for choosing certain strategies for certain situations
  • Connect the strategies to essential 21st century skills

Whether the strategies are new to you or something you already use every day, this workshop will help you raise your level of effectiveness. Register by April 30, 2016, to receive a 10% discount per person. Learn more and register.

Summer PD | Classroom Instruction That Works—-Authorized Facilitator Training
Denver, Colorado, Jul. 25-29, 2016
Attend our Classroom Instruction That Works (CITW) workshop and authorized facilitator training to learn effective research-based instructional strategies and methods to help teachers learn and implement these strategies in their classrooms. The first three days of this training will solidify your understanding of the nine CITW categories of instructional strategies and an instructional planning framework that maximizes the strategies’ effectiveness. The final two days will prepare you to become an authorized facilitator of CITW workshops in your own district or region. Learn more and register.

Perspectives
Podcast | Podcasts for Leaderful Schools
Oakland University produces a podcast series titled “Podcasts for Leaderful Schools” in which Dr. Robert Maxfield, Dr. Suzanne Klein, and Ms. Linda Tyson from the School of Education discuss current topics in education leadership. The April 11 (Vol. 9, Ep. 4) podcast features an interview with McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin on inside-out reform, Curiosity and Powerful Learning, and school-level leadership development.

Research Says | Looking at student work yields insights
 
Teachers looking together at student work seems like a surefire way to improve teaching and learning, as teachers look at real artifacts and reflect on expectations, practices, and results. However, as with most things in education, success depends not on what teachers do but how they do it, write Bryan Goodwin and Heather Hein in this month’s Research Says column in Educational Leadership.

Blog Post | Water the flowers: Tips for maintaining a positive classroom environment
 
In this blog post, Cheryl Abla offers tips on keeping yourself, and your students, in a positive frame of mind by redirecting classroom energy when it becomes stressful or unfocused. She writes, “A classroom teacher’s day is loaded with both split-second decisions and methodical, deep decisions. It’s those split-second decisions that can transform the classroom atmosphere to a feeling of doom and gloom or of joy and hope.”

Blog Post | Looking on the bright side for school improvement
 
How could looking at a school’s bright spots inform school improvement efforts? In his new blog post, Ben Cronkright suggests that school improvement teams that focus on the positives rather than the deficits can reveal opportunities to improve on and replicate what’s going right in their schools by engaging in higher-order reflection and steering discussion to a path of “shared vision.”

Headlines

PeopleAdmin and McREL partner to bring K-12 districts evaluation technology and actionable data to improve staff performance
McREL and PeopleAdmin, the leader in talent management software for education, haveannounced a partnership aimed at empowering K-12 administrators to more easily use technology and data to improve teacher and principal effectiveness and focus on improving student outcomes.
Client Testimonial
“My training through McREL has made my lesson planning more purposeful and intentional. I have seen growth in my skills as a teacher, which is reflected in the growth I see in my students. It has been a powerful experience to see my students in early childhood and special education become more interested in the classroom activities when they are given a focus for their learning.”
Jackie Warren, Teacher, Francis Howell School District, Missouri
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Follow McREL
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McREL International
4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500
Denver, CO 80237
Copyright © 2016, McREL International. All Rights Reserved.
McREL International, 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500, Denver, CO 80237

April 19, 2016

High Impact PD: Make Real Changes In Teaching, Leading & Learning

A final item from yesterday’s inbox…

Non-profit education research, development, consulting, and services
Take advantage of our Early Bird Registration
discount today!
Register by April 30, 2016 and receive a 10% discount on registration.

Join us in Denver this summer for PD workshops and institutes to gain analytic insights and best-practice strategies that you can use immediately in your school or district.

Balanced Leadership® Institute | School-Level Leaders
July 18-21, 2016
Discover the leadership responsibilities that are shown by research to be most strongly connected to student achievement. Get practical strategies to develop a purposeful and positive school community, initiate and manage change within your school, and choose the right focus for your school improvement initiatives.
Register for the entire four-day institute or for the individual days of your choice.
Balanced Leadership Overview | Monday, July 18
Managing Change | Tuesday, July 19
The Focus of Leadership | Wednesday, July 20
Developing a Purposeful Community | Thursday, July 21
Balanced Leadership® Institute |
District-Level Leaders
July 21-22, 2016
Discover how a Balanced Leadership approach to improving systems and innovation leads to student and staff success. You’ll learn the district-level leadership activities and behaviors that research shows are most connected to student and staff success, and how these leadership responsibilities apply to the actions of superintendents, school boards, and central office staff. Explore the principles of high-reliability systems in complex industries, and how these principles can be effectively applied to education systems. You’ll leave with a map of steps toward improving the quality of instruction and reducing variability in instructional quality within and among your schools.
Classroom Instruction
That Works®  | Workshop
July 25-27 2016
Perfect for K-12 educators in all subject areas, staff developers, curriculum instructors, and building administrators, this three-day workshop will show you 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.
  • Learn new, evidence-based insights from the most recent, rigorous research
  • Get a framework to strengthen instructional design
  • Discover the reasons for choosing certain strategies for certain situations
  • Connect the strategies to essential 21st century skills
Whether the strategies are new to you or something you already use every day, this workshop will help you raise your level of effectiveness.
Become a Classroom Instruction That Works (CITW) Authorized Facilitator
If you’re interested in becoming a registered facilitator of CITW training in your district, extend your CITW workshop another two days. You’ll learn effective research-based instructional strategies and methods to help other teachers learn and implement these strategies in their classrooms.
 
Motivate. Lead. Achieve.
 
High impact professional development for teachers and leaders.
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McREL International
4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500
Denver, Colorado 80237
McREL, 4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500, Denver, CO 80237

April 7, 2016

Video-Based Peer Coaching for Teachers | Early Learning With Digital Media | Family Engagement

And another item from yesterday’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.

R&D Alert Online

ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERSHelping English Learners Rise to the Challenge of Complex Texts

Learn a successful approach to teaching academic content and English language skills simultaneously, as developed by WestEd’s Quality Teaching for English Learners initiative. Read the R&D Alert Online article.

PBS KIDS Transmedia and Digital Learning Games in the Preschool Classroom

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, & MATHEMATICSNew Research Report: PBS KIDS Transmedia and Digital Learning Games in the Preschool Classroom

Download a new research study that explores how the PBS KIDS Curious George’s Busy Day transmedia suite supports preschool mathematics learning.

In addition, visit the new Ready To Learn website, housing formative evaluations, technology needs assessments, impact studies, and outreach materials on educational digital media for young children and their families.

WestEd Webinars

HEALTH, SAFETY, & WELL-BEINGIntegrating Mental Health Services to Strengthen School Climate: Register for Webinar

Learn strategies for implementing comprehensive mental health services in schools that can lead to improvements in school climate. Register for this
April 13 webinar
.

CenterView

TEACHERS & LEADERSPutting a Lens on Teacher Practice — Video-Based Peer Coaching

Video lets teachers see themselves in action and engage in evidence-based discussions to improve practice. Explore video-based peer coaching in the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning’s latest CenterView issue.

WestEd Webinars

HEALTH, SAFETY, & WELL-BEINGDisciplinary Data Use and Research — Challenges and Opportunities: Register for Webinar

Learn how data can inform school discipline policies; the challenges and opportunities of using disciplinary data; and how one school district used data and research to inform its student disciplinary code. Register for this June 14 webinar.

two teachers examining a plant

SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, ENGINEERING, & MATHEMATICSEnhancing Teaching and Learning Across All STEM Subjects

From technology literacy to the use of simulations to enhance student learning, WestEd directs numerous projects and services designed to improve STEM teaching and learning, preK through postsecondary.

Visit our Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics page to learn about our services, research, and resources.

Academic Parent-Teacher Teams

HEALTH, SAFETY, & WELL-BEINGEngaging Families to Improve Student Learning: Two-Day Trainings in Oakland, Long Beach, and Phoenix

Register for one of three interactive training sessions designed to transform the way educators engage families in advancing student learning and achievement in school.

AERA 2016

AGENCY NEWSWestEd at AERA 2016

Join WestEd at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, April 8-12, in Washington, DC.

WestEd Celebrates 50 Years of Excellence

AGENCY NEWSWestEd Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence

In what decade did WestEd’s Program for Infant/Toddler Care become the most widely used system for training caregivers of infants and toddlers in the United States? Learn the answer to this question, and read more historical milestones on WestEd’s Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence page.

Resource SpotlightResource Spotlight

Data Literacy for Educators

Data Literacy for Educators — Making It Count in Teacher Preparation and Practice: 30% Discount!

Designed for schools of education, professional developers, and school districts, this new resource illustrates how data can be used to improve teacher practice at all levels of professional growth.

Featured InitiativeFeatured Initiative

REL West

Regional Educational Laboratory West (REL West): Serving Education Needs in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah

REL West provides research, analytic support, and resources that increase the use of high-quality data and evidence in education decision-making.

Stakeholders needing research-based answers to pressing education questions can use the Ask A REL service.

Visit the REL West website to learn about our scientifically valid research findings and more.

WestEd at Events

WestEd at Events

Join us at national and local events. Browse our up-to-date calendar!

WestEd 50 Years - Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence

Follow Us: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Visit us online at WestEd.org

Copyright © 2016 WestEd. All rights reserved WestEd, 730 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

March 24, 2016

McREL e-News March 2016 | Get A Head Start On Your Summer PD

Also from Tuesday’s inbox…

March 2016

Get a head start on your summer PD!
Spring is here, and summer is fast approaching as the 2015-16 school year draws closer to the finish line. Were there challenges you faced this year that you’d like to get a head start on solving for next year? Join us in Denver this summer for our professional development sessions, and deepen your knowledge and ability to make real changes in teaching, leading, and learning. We’ll present research-based, best-practice strategies you can use immediately to help you—-and your students—-flourish.
Register by April 30, 2016, and receive a 10% discount per person.
Visit our events page to view the complete lineup of PD sessions and register.

Research Roundup

Far higher share of students are passing at least one AP test during high school
The Washington Post

The College Board released a new report on Advanced Placement (AP) scores for public high schools, showing that the percentage of students passing at least one AP exam rose from 13.3% in 2005 to 22.4% in 2015. Participation in AP has also risen from 21.2% in 2005 to 37.3% in 2015.

Cognitive fatigue influences students’ performance on standardized tests
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Results from this study out of Denmark suggest that the time of day a test is taken plays a role in student performance on standardized tests. Scores for public school students who took tests later in the day decreased by 0.9% of a standard deviation for each later hour. The study attributes the lower scores to the cognitive fatigue that develops over the course of a day. The study also found that taking a 20- to 30-minute cognitive break prior to testing can help improve scores.

Events & Opportunities

Webinar | Multicultural Validity and Evaluation Theory
Mar. 30, 2016, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. (HST), 4:00-6:00 p.m. (EDT)
What is the relationship between culture and validity in evaluation and how might we distinguish between terms like culturally competent, culturally responsive, multicultural, and cross-cultural? When mapping significant cultural dimensions of context in evaluation, what should evaluators consider? What are some key aspects of cultural location of evaluation theory and cultural dimensions of context that should be addressed in culturally sound evaluations? Join REL Pacific at McREL and Dr. Karen Kirkhart, professor at Syracuse University and former president of the American Evaluation Association, to explore these important matters.
National Science Teachers Association | National Conference
Nashville, Tennessee, Mar. 31-Apr. 3, 2016

Join McREL consultants Anne Tweed, Laura Arndt, and Whitney Cobb at the 2016 NSTA conference for a variety of presentations on STEM, GreenSTEM, and NGSS curriculum, lesson/project planning, and instructional strategies:

Professional Learning Institute
GreenSTEM: Applying the Engineering Design Process

to Community-Based Projects
Date
Mar. 30, 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Session
GreenSTEM: Transforming Your Existing Lessons to Be Community Relevant and Project Based
Date/Time
Apr. 1, 9:00 a.m.
Session
Curriculum Audit: Where Will You STEMify Your Curriculum?
Date/Time
Apr. 1, 11:00 a.m.
Session
STEM Models: Where Do I Start and How Do I Decide?
Date/Time
Apr. 1, 2:00 p.m.
Session
Art and the Cosmic Connection
Date/Time
Apr. 2, 8:00 a.m.
Presenter
Learn Strategies to Help You Implement the NGSS Practices
Date/Time
Apr. 2, 11:00 a.m.
ASCD Annual Conference
Atlanta, Georgia, Apr. 2-4, 2016

Join McREL staff at the 2016 ASCD conference for their presentations on instructional strategies, continuous improvement, and leadership development, and stop by the McREL booth (#1435) in the Exhibit Hall to learn about our latest products and services to help students and educators flourish.

Pre-Conference Institute
Balanced Leadership for Powerful Learning
Date/Time
Mar. 31-Apr. 1, 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Presenters
McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin and Learning Crest’s Greg Cameron
Session
Shared Leadership and Continuous Improvement
Date/Time
Apr. 2, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Presenters
McREL managing consultant Dr. Bess Scott
Session
How Do I Finish What I Started?
Date/Time
Apr. 2, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Presenter
McREL consulting director Dr. Bj Stone
Session
Raising the Bar for Principal Involvement in Teacher Professional Growth
Date/Time
Apr. 2, 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Presenters
McREL director of research and evaluation Dr. Katie Andersen
Session
Questioners: Unleashing the Hidden Power of Student Curiosity
Date/Time
Apr. 4, 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Presenter
Bryan Goodwin

Summer PD | Balanced Leadership® Institute | School-Level Leaders
Denver, Colorado, Jul. 18-21, 2016
In this four-day institute, discover the leadership responsibilities that research shows are most strongly connected to student achievement. Learn practical strategies you can use in your school 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. If you cannot attend all four days, you can register for individual days of your choice. Register by April 30, 2016, to receive a 10% discount per person. Learn more and register.

Summer PD | Balanced Leadership Institute | District-Level Leaders
Denver, Colorado, Jul. 21-22, 2016
In this two-day institute, learn a Balanced Leadership approach to improving systems and innovation for student and staff success. You’ll learn the district-level leadership activities and behaviors that research shows are most connected to student and staff success, and how these leadership responsibilities apply to the actions of superintendents, school boards, and central office staff. We’ll share the principles of high-reliability systems and the actions used in healthcare, aviation, and other complex industries, and how these principles can be effectively applied to education systems. Register by April 30, 2016, to receive a 10% discount per person. Learn more and register.

Summer PD | Classroom Instruction That Works® | Workshop
Denver, Colorado, Jul. 25-27, 2016
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, and in any subject area, to enhance student achievement.
  • Learn new, evidence-based insights from the most recent, rigorous research
  • Get an instructional framework to strengthen instructional design
  • Discover the reasons for choosing certain strategies for certain situations
  • Connect the strategies to essential 21st century skills

Whether the strategies are new to you or something you already use every day, this workshop will help you raise your level of effectiveness. Register by April 30, 2016, to receive a 10% discount per person. Learn more and register.

Summer PD | Classroom Instruction That Works | Authorized Facilitator Training
Denver, Colorado, Jul. 25-29, 2016
Attend our Classroom Instruction That Works (CITW) workshop and authorized facilitator training to learn effective research-based instructional strategies and methods to help teachers learn and implement these strategies in their classrooms. The first three days of this training will solidify your understanding of the nine CITW categories of instructional strategies and an instructional planning framework that maximizes the strategies’ effectiveness. The final two days will prepare you to become an authorized facilitator of CITW workshops in your own district or region. Learn more and register.

Perspectives
White Paper | The Road Less Traveled: Changing Schools from the Inside Out
McREL International
In this white paper, Bryan Goodwin urges education leaders and policymakers to rethink the way we’ve been approaching reform for the past three decades and consider what might happen if we improved schools not from the top down but instead from the inside out-putting curiosity at the center of learning and unleashing a powerful, more engaging system of schooling. Goodwin shows how schools can flip the top-down paradigm by taking a few key, consistent actions that put student engagement, motivation, and true problem-solving at the heart of teaching and learning to create new, more powerful outcomes that set students up for lifelong success.

Research Says | The X factor in college success
 
Despite U.S. high school graduation rates reaching an all-time high, research shows that once they get to college, these same graduates seem to have a harder time, with only 59% completing their four-year degrees within five years. In this Research Says column for the March issue of Educational Leadership, Bryan Goodwin and Heather Hein examine the elusive “X factor” of student success, those characteristics not neatly tied to high school GPAs or college entrance exam scores.

Blog Post | Six important tenets of student engagement
 
In this blog post, Dr. Bj Stone offers six important tenets of engagement that help capture students’ attention and build a supportive classroom learning environment. These practices, she says, make students partners in the learning process, are supported by research, and permeate engaging learning environments.

Headlines

McREL to help expand online educational programs for NASA’s CosmoQuest
McREL is among ten collaborating institutions that will work to expand and enhance public education and outreach efforts for NASA’s CosmoQuest Virtual Research Facility. TheCosmoQuest.org “citizen science” website provides students, teachers, and the public with an online experience similar to those at traditional brick-and-mortar research centers, and includes science projects, online classes, seminars, and teacher materials. McREL will help integrate CosmoQuest activities into the classroom, strengthen teachers’ professional learning on space and earth sciences, and conduct rigorous internal evaluation of the $11.5 million project. Read our press release.
Client Testimonial
“We have relied on McREL as we continue to seek student improvement in our district. We appreciate that all of McREL’s resources are research-based and proven effective. They’ve helped our staff to grow professionally and have a bigger impact on student learning.”
Darrel Kohlman, Superintendent, Nemeha Central Schools, Kansas
Follow on Twitter
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List
Follow McREL
on social media
 
Follow us on Twitter  View our profile on LinkedIn  Like us on Facebook  View our videos on YouTube
McREL International
4601 DTC Blvd., Suite 500
Denver, CO 80237
Copyright © 2016, McREL International. All Rights Reserved.

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