All posts by McREL.org

McREL forms strategic partnership with Discovery Education supporting the creation of dynamic digital learning environments

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Today, McREL International announced a new strategic partnership with Discovery Education supporting teacher leaders nationwide as they create dynamic digital learning environments. Through this new collaboration, McREL will support Discovery Education’s global efforts to grow the capacity of teacher leaders by developing innovation configuration (IC) maps for Discovery Education’s Digital Leader Corps.

Discovery Education’s Digital Leader Corps is a comprehensive professional development model that builds and nurtures a network of teacher leaders to design and implement successful and innovative teaching strategies that can be shared with their peers. Featuring a unique combination of professional learning, pedagogy and tools, the Digital Leader Corps helps participating educators learn to integrate educational technologies and digital media into classroom instruction and create dynamic learning environments that meet the needs of all students. Digital Leader Corps provides participants with continuous customized, job-embedded consultation throughout the process with on-going modeling, coaching and feedback from Discovery Education experts in the pre-planning, stakeholder communications, and implementation phases.

IC maps identify the major components of an innovation, capturing current practice and describing the steps for achieving implementation goals—placing these on a continuum, with weak or low-level implementation at one end and ideal or high-fidelity implementation at the other. The construction and use of an IC map communicates a common set of behaviors and expectations related to the implementation of a new initiative, such as the integration of technology with instruction, and provides a unique tool for teacher reflection, feedback, and assistance throughout the implementation process.

With McREL’s support, Discovery Education’s Digital Leader Corps participants are increasing their capacity to develop and use IC maps, which will help drive even deeper implementation of Digital Leader Corps and other improvement initiatives guiding the professional learning of digital leaders.

“By using IC maps within the Digital Leader Corps environment, participating teacher leaders will gain additional clarity on the key components of their roles and have a pathway of clearly described, increasingly sophisticated behaviors that can be supported and strengthened for greater impact and implementation success,” said Dr. Dale Lewis, a senior director at McREL who is leading the project with Discovery Education.

“Discovery Education is pleased to work with McREL to integrate innovation configuration maps into the powerful Digital Leader Corps model,” explained Dr. Karen Beerer, Discovery Education’s vice president of learning and development. “The IC maps are another powerful tool supporting

the growth of the strong pedagogical practice needed to create the dynamic digital learning environments today’s students need for college and career readiness.”

For more information on McREL’s consulting, research, analysis, and evaluation services, visit www.mcrel.org.

For more information on the Digital Leader Corps, or other services and initiatives from Discovery Education, visit www.discoveryeducation.com.

About McREL International
McREL International is a non-profit, non-partisan education research and development organization that turns knowledge about what works in education into practical, effective guidance and training for teachers and education leaders across the U.S. and around the world.

About Discovery Education
Discovery Education is the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12, transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional development, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 3 million educators and over 30 million students, Discovery Education’s services are in half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries. Discovery Education partners with districts, states and like-minded organizations to captivate students, empower teachers, and transform classrooms with customized solutions that increase academic achievement. Discovery Education is powered by Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the number one nonfiction media company in the world. Explore the future of education at www.discoveryeducation.com.

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McREL helps teachers in Guam experience marine robotics

The Guam Daily Post recently highlighted a STEM professional development program organized by McREL that gave teachers the opportunity to learn firsthand about marine robotics. During the three-day training, teacher teams constructed underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and used them in a competition to retrieve objects from the water, similar to a competition that their high school students participate in. The training was provided by Anne Tweed, a STEM consultant at McREL, and Jim McDonnel, a retired engineer who coaches school teams to compete in regional and international marine advanced technology education (MATE) ROV competitions.

Watch a video of the activity.

Ribbon of Hope grant program launches online application system June 1

June 1, 2016

The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation invites community-based nonprofit organizations in North Carolina to use its new online grant application system to apply for Ribbon of Hope grants to support science, health, and education projects.

Starting June 1, the new online system can be found at http://www.ncgskfoundation.org/ribbon-grants.html. Applications for the next Ribbon of Hope grant funding cycle, which are due by October 1, 2016, can be submitted using the new online system or the existing paper application.

The Ribbon of Hope grant program offers $25,000 one-time awards to community-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations in North Carolina to expand or enhance existing programs or help start new initiatives. In addition to financial assistance, recipients benefit from customized consulting services and technical assistance provided by the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits.

The goal of the Ribbon of Hope program is to have a positive impact on the lives of North Carolina’s citizens in each of the state’s 100 counties. Proposed projects should be tightly aligned with the program’s mission to advance science, health, and education in local communities across the state. They should address critical community needs that have been identified through a comprehensive needs assessment, provide clear and concise descriptions of project activities, and demonstrate sustainability after grant funds are expended.

McREL International, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) research and development organization focused on improving education, provides support services for the Ribbon of Hope program.

The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation and McREL will host four informational webinars this summer about the Ribbon of Hope Program, providing potential applicants with information on grant eligibility, the application process, and reporting requirements. These webinars will be held on:

  • Thursday, July 14, 12:00 p.m. EDT
  • Tuesday, July 26, 11:00 a.m. EDT
  • Tuesday, August 16, 3:00 p.m. EDT
  • Thursday, September 1, 12:00 p.m. EDT To register for the webinars, please visit http://ow.ly/V3UA300kFuW.

For more information about the Ribbon of Hope program, including answers to frequently asked questions and a recording of a previous informational webinar, please visit http://www2.mcrel.org/NCGSKFRibbonOfHope/index.asp#.

CITW helps Michigan school district develop college and career readiness

Chippewa Valley Schools in Clinton Township, Michigan, has been working to improve its curriculum and instruction practices with the goal of better preparing its students for post-secondary success. Part of its strategy has been to train every teacher in the district in Classroom Instruction That Works. In this article in a local newspaper, Director of Curriculum Pam Jones said, “Every teacher . . . has been trained in highly effective classroom instruction practices. It’s really about developing collaborative skills in student, and those 21st century skills of creativity, working together, and working cooperatively.”

Read the entire article.

Do teacher evaluations really help teachers improve?

In recent years, annual performance reviews for teachers have become ubiquitous. Between 2009 and 2012 alone, the number of states requiring them jumped from 14 to 43. But do teacher evaluations make a difference in how teachers teach? Do they really help teachers improve?

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Executive director of Alabama ASCD highlights Balanced Leadership book

In the May 2016 newsletter of the Alabama state chapter of ASCD, Executive Director Jane Cobia reflects on the balancing act required of educators, highlighting the insights she’s gained from McREL’s Balanced Leadership for Powerful Learning: Tools for Achieving Success in Your School. The book, Dr. Cobia says, provides “clear research-based data to help us navigate and hopefully increase teacher and student learning” by reminding us that “balance is the key to everything.”

Read the entire column.

McREL helps Nebraska update science standards

A recent article from the Omaha World-Herald (on Omaha.com) highlighted the work of the Nebraska Department of Education in updating the state’s science standards, including partnering with McREL to compare existing standards with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). McREL’s analysis showed content was similar but that the NGSS goes “deeper,” indicating the opportunity for NDE to raise the rigor and complexity of its standards statewide.

Read the entire article.

GreenSTEM Model: Steps for an instructional approach

The 5th-grade class gathered by the creek that ran between their school and neighborhood, reminiscing about years past when it was safe to play in and around this water. The creek was now stagnant, cloudy, thick with algae, and foul-smelling. Thus began their yearlong GreenSTEM project that used STEM concepts and processes to investigate the problem with the creek, and inspired students to design and carry out a solution.

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