Virtual School Meanderings

October 11, 2016

Changing Schools | Spotlight On Social And Emotional Learning

One of the REL newsletters to finish a second slow blogging day…

Spotlight on social and emotional learning 
Social and emotional learning practices help students succeed in academics and in life–but how can schools approach SEL systemically? This issue of McREL’s Changing Schools magazine looks at the research behind SEL, how to select and implement the right program and create the culture and conditions to support it, and how SEL connects with student motivation and curiosity.
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October 6, 2016

Teacher Effectiveness | Native American Students | Literacy

No K-12 distance, online or blended learning items in this newsletter, but some good research-based resources all the same…

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

TEACHERS & LEADERSUsing Teacher Effectiveness Data in Meaningful Ways

Schools and districts can use teacher performance data to support and improve their teacher workforces. Find out more in this new R&D Alert Online article.

Improving the Academic Achievement of Native American Students

SCHOOLS, DISTRICTS, & STATE EDUCATION SYSTEMSImproving the Academic Achievement of Native American Students: New Resource

Discover best practices — and supporting research — designed to close the achievement gap between Native American students and their grade-level peers. Download your copy of this annotated bibliography.

English Learners’ Academic Progress and Reclassification Guidance

ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERSEnglish Learners’ Academic Progress and Reclassification Guidance: New Resources

Examine the academic progress of English language learners in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, and get guidance on key policy and technical issues defining this population of students.

Download these two new resources:

Online Professional Learning Opportunities

LITERACYOnline Professional Learning Opportunities

Register for upcoming literacy webinars focused on Universal Design for Learning and performance assessments.

Leading for Literacy

LITERACYLeading for Literacy — A Reading Apprenticeship Approach: New Resource

This companion to the best-selling Reading for Understandingshows educators how to implement the research-based Reading Apprenticeship framework for improving student reading across secondary schools and colleges.

Visit the Leading for Literacy: A Reading Apprenticeship Approach resource page to learn more and pre-order your copy.

Improving the Capacity of All Young Children to Develop and Learn

EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT & LEARNINGImproving the Capacity of All Young Children to Develop and Learn

WestEd works to improve the capacity of all young children to develop and learn, and addresses needs from early childhood mental health and social/emotional development to training for child care professionals.

Visit our Early Childhood Development & Learning page to learn about WestEd services, research, and resources.

Building a Positive School Climate for All

HEALTH, SAFETY, & WELL-BEINGBuilding a Positive School Climate for All: Register for California Event

This free one-day event will address issues of school climate and equity, and offer opportunities to learn promising implementation practices from experts and colleagues.Register today for the Northern California (Sacramento,October 13, 2016) or Southern California (Ontario, October 18, 2016) event.

WestEd Celebrates 50 Years

WestEd Celebrating 50 Years

In the 1980s, WestEd’s Curriculum Alignment Program began in two schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District and proved so effective the program was expanded to all of the district’s elementary schools.

Learn more WestEd historical milestones and view our WestEd at 50 video.

Product Spotlight

Product Spotlight

Teacher Learning in the Digital Age — Online Professional Development in STEM Education: 30% Discount

What are efficient and effective ways to leverage technology to support teacher learning in STEM education? Find out in this timely volume that examines exemplary models of online and blended teacher professional learning. Order your copy today.

Featured Initiative

Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center

Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center:
Helping State Leaders Support, Scale Up, and Refine Key Education Reforms

With a focus on school reform, the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center offers Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania:

  • Strategic planning assistance
  • Research-based information
  • Organizational and resource analysis
  • Connections to reform leaders in other states
  • Other school reform resources

Visit the Mid-Atlantic Comprehensive Center website for more information about this federally funded initiative.

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

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

September 28, 2016

REL Southeast Director’s Email – September 2016

From Tuesday’s inbox…

The latest news and updates from the REL Southeast
at Florida State University
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REL Southeast Email Header

Greetings from the Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast!

We are please to announce the release of three new products, Predicting math outcomes from a reading screening assessment in grades 3-8, A guide to developing and evaluating a college readiness screener, and Summary of 20 years of research on the effectiveness of adolescent literacy programs and practices. More information regarding these research-based publications may be found in this email, on our website,, and the IES website,

We look forward to delivering additional insightful, research-based products and resources in the future, and as always, thank you for helping to improve education in the Southeast.


Barbara Foorman, Ph.D.
Director, REL Southeast

A guide to developing and evaluating a college readiness screener

This guide describes core ideas for colleges to consider when developing a screening tool for estimating college readiness. A key focal point within the guide is a discussion of ways to improve how well a screening tool can identify individuals needing remedial or developmental education along with key considerations that a user or developer of such a tool must address. Specifically, the following steps are discussed:

  1. Creating an operational definition of success and college readiness
  2. Selecting potential predictors of college readiness
  3. Prioritizing types of classification error
  4. Collecting and organizing the necessary data
  5. Developing predictive models
  6. Evaluating the screening results and selecting the final model

Read the report at:

Contact Us

REL Southeast at Florida State University
2010 Levy Avenue, Suite 100
Tallahassee, FL 32310

Predicting math outcomes from a reading screening assessment in grades 3-8

District and state education leaders and teachers frequently use assessments to identify students who are at risk of performing poorly on end-of-year reading achievement tests. This study explores the use of a universal screening assessment of reading skills for the identification of students who are at risk for low achievement in mathematics and provides support for the interpretation of screening scores to inform instruction. The study results demonstrate that a reading screening assessment predicted poor performance on a mathematics outcome (the Stanford Achievement Test) with similar levels of accuracy as screening assessments that specifically measure mathematics skills. These findings indicate that a school district could use an assessment of reading skills to screen for risk in both reading and mathematics, potentially reducing costs and testing time. In addition, this document provides a decision tree framework to support implementation of screening practices and interpretation by teachers.

Read the report at:

Summary of 20 years of research on the effectiveness of adolescent literacy programs and practices

This literature review searched the peer-reviewed studies of reading comprehension instructional practices conducted and published between 1994 and 2014 and summarizes the instructional practices that have demonstrated positive or potentially positive effects in scientifically rigorous studies employing experimental designs. Each study was rated by the review team utilizing the What Works Clearinghouse standards. The review of the literature resulted in the identification of 7,144 studies. Of these studies, only 111 met eligibility for review. Thirty-three of these studies were determined by the study team to have met What Works Clearinghouse standards. The 33 studies represented 29 different interventions or classroom practices. Twelve of these studies demonstrated positive or potentially positive effects. These 12 studies are described and the commonalities among the studies are summarized.

Read the report at:

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.

September 23, 2016

e-News September 2016 | Four Big Ideas About Change For School Leaders

Another item from Wednesday’s inbox…

September 2016

Responding to change
Starting new programs, processes, and procedures this year? Balanced Leadership for Powerful Learning helps principals and other school-level leaders harness the power of change and effectively implement powerful and lasting improvement initiatives. Balanced Leadership isavailable through ASCD.
Need a customized solution?
Beyond the book, we can provide school and system leaders with contextualized consulting, leadership coaching, and support to achieve 2016-17 school-year goals.
Just let us know how we can help!

Research Roundup

Learning from Summer: Effects of voluntary summer learning programs on low-income urban youth
RAND Corporation and The Wallace Foundation

A two-year summer learning study by RAND and The Wallace Foundation found that 3rd-grade students with high attendance rates (defined in the study as 20 or more days) in a voluntary, free, five- to six-week summer learning program did better on state math and reading tests than similar students in the control group, and held on to the gains in subsequent years.

Head Start program affects middle-school academic outcomes, attendance, and progress
Georgetown University

A study of a Head Start program in Tulsa, Okla., by Georgetown University researchers found that the early childhood education program had “significant and consequential effects into the middle school years,” with participating students having higher achievement test scores in math, and lower rates of grade retention and chronic absenteeism.

Making whole-child education the norm
Economic Policy Institute

This policy brief from the Economic Policy Institute looks at existing research and policy on the effects of noncognitive skills on child development, social-emotional learning, achievement in school and career, and lifetime productivity. It suggests that noncognitive skills can change, and “they are responsive to differences in school quality, children’s environment, and various parental investments.” The brief includes pilot examples that can help inform future initiatives and “the thinking about school design and culture needed to make these skills a core component of education.”

Nearly half of U.S. parents underestimate harm of school absences
U.S. Department of Education

A recent press release from the U.S. Department of Education and the Ad Council on results of research on parents’ perceptions of absenteeism showed that nearly half of parents believe that absences of three or more days per month are not harmful to students’ education. In reality, missing just two days or more per month correlates to a higher risk of falling behind on achievement and not graduating from high school.

New from McREL

REL Pacific Toolkit | Resources for Engaging Families and the Community as Partners in Education
A new toolkit from the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Pacific at McREL is designed to help 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.

Success Story | Study finds link between school climate and literacy achievement
The Department of Education and Training in Victoria, Australia contracted McREL to develop a highly reliable staff opinion survey to measure five key areas of school function: school climate, school leadership, professional learning, staff safety and well-being, and teaching and learning. Examining the survey results as they relate to student achievement on standardized assessments, McREL researchers found that school climate was a predictor of Grade 5 achievement in literacy. Further analysis showed that strong school leadership led to better teacher collaboration, which then led to academic optimism. Read the whole story.

Blog Post | Four tips for using nonlinguistic representations
Nonlinguistic representations can be powerful tools in classroom instruction, allowing students to process new information in a variety of ways without relying solely on language. In this blog post, Classroom Instruction that Works co-author Dr. Bj Stone offers four valuable tips for engaging students in nonlinguistic learning.

Research Matters | “High touch” is crucial for “high tech” students
In September’s Educational Leadership magazine, McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin discusses the effects of our “plugged in” culture on students and teachers. One clear effect, he finds, is how students relate to others: One analysis of more than 70 student surveys, for example, found that empathy among college students is at its lowest level since 1979—-a whopping 40 percent lower. Today more than ever, Goodwin says, teachers need to show and model empathy and provide opportunities for students to make real human connections by balancing their high-tech lives with high-touch learning environments.

Video | Closing the American Indian Opportunity Gap
Closing the American Indian Opportunity Gap
This video from the North Central Comprehensive Center at McREL, in partnership with a network of Comprehensive Centers, the National Indian Education Association, and the Council of Chief State School Officers, shares insights from a recent meeting of key stakeholders including state education department leaders and Native education experts who discussed the opportunity ESSA presents for a strong focus on American Indian and Alaska Native education, including greater tribal involvement and greater coordination among states and tribes.

Consulting and Training | District Leadership That Works
McREL’s research and analysis show that superintendents, school boards, and central office administrators have the power to increase student achievement if they fulfill certain key responsibilities of effective systems-level leadership. We can help you and your district leadership team understand why and how to strike the right balance among these key responsibilities and set a course to become a high-reliability school system. Learn more about this service.

Events & Opportunities

McREL staff 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.

South Dakota Indian Education Summit
Pierre, South Dakota, Sept. 25-27

Region 13 ESC Advancing Improvement in Education Conference
San Antonio, Texas, Oct. 4-6

Georgia Department of Education Instructional Leadership Conference
Stone Mountain, Georgia, Oct. 5-6

National Indian Education Association Annual Convention
Reno, Nevada, Oct. 5-8

MENA Teacher Summit
Dubai, UAE, Oct. 7-8

American Association of School Personnel Administrators Annual Conference
Orlando, Florida, Oct. 11-14
“The cohesiveness and alignment between [McREL’s] Balanced Leadership
and Classroom Instruction That Works allows leaders to intently lead with instruction
at the forefront of planning, development, and support.
Chastity Jeff, Project Manager, Texas Center for Educator Effectiveness ESC Region 18
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September 10, 2016

Research & Evaluation | Formative Assessment | English Learners

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.

R&D Alert Online

TEACHERS & LEADERSFormative Assessment Course Helps Educators Transform Teaching and Learning

An innovative digital learning course helped over 700 teachers learn to implement formative assessment practices that engage and support allstudents. Find out more in this new R&D Alert Online article.

Also, download the latest print edition of R&D Alert to learn how partnering with families can boost student learning.

Research & Evaluation

AGENCY INITIATIVEResearch & Evaluation: New Feature Highlights Extensive Knowledge Base

WestEd draws on extraordinary expertise and five decades of experience to investigate significant issues in the fields of teaching and learning and human development.

Visit Research & Evaluation on to learn from a wide variety of studies, reports, news, and more.

English Language Learners

ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERSLeading with Learning: Improving Teaching and Learning for English Learners

Leading with Learning provides school districts with comprehensive, systemic support for improving education outcomes for English learners. Visit the Leading with Learning website for more about this new initiative.

Professional Learning

PROFESSIONAL LEARNINGUpcoming Webinars: English Language Learners, Literacy, and Supporting Reenrollees

Register for these professional learning opportunities.

Early Childhood Development & Learning

EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT & LEARNINGIncluding Relationship-Based Care Practices in Infant-Toddler Care

Implementing relationship-based care policies and practices of primary caregiving and continuity of care provides the structure for infant/toddler care teachers to develop and maintain the most beneficial relationships for young children. Download this research brief to learn about strategies for promoting relationship-based infant and toddler care policies and practices.

Teachers & Leaders

TEACHERS & LEADERSSupporting Teachers and Administrators

From teacher mentorship to leadership development, WestEd develops quality practices, policies, and programs designed to build and support highly effective teachers and administrators.

Visit our Teachers & Leaders page to learn about WestEd services, research, and resources.

Health, Safety, & Well-Being

HEALTH, SAFETY, & WELL-BEINGViolence Prevention Research: Congressional Briefing, September 27

What does the best research say about the problem of violence and how to prevent it? The Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University and the WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center will bring together national experts to discuss violence prevention research and strategies. Learn more about this upcoming Congressional Briefing in Washington, DC. We hope you can join us!

WestEd Celebrates 50 Years

AGENCY NEWSWestEd Celebrates 50 Years

In the 1960s, WestEd developed the “I See Sam” reading series, which helped more than three million children learn how to read. Learn more WestEd historical milestones and view our WestEd at 50 video.

Resource Spotlight

Resource Spotlight

Summer 2016 Best Sellers and Top Downloads: English Language Learners, Literacy, Assessment, Leadership

Check out this summer’s best sellers and top downloads, with education topics ranging from improving English learner academic achievement to mentoring new teachers.

Featured Initiative

California Comprehensive Center

California Comprehensive Center: Helping the California Department of Education Improve Teaching and Learning for All Students

The California Comprehensive Center works to increase the California Department of Education’s capacity to:

  • Set and support expectations for high-quality schooling
  • Identify and share research-based and promising practices
  • Support high-quality local implementation of improvement strategies

Visit the California Comprehensive Center website for more information about this federally funded key initiative.

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

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

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