Our expert researchers, evaluators, and veteran educators synthesize information gleaned from our research and blend it with best practices gathered from schools and districts around the world to bring you insightful and practical ideas that support changing the odds of success for you and your students. By aligning practice with research, we mix professional wisdom with real world experience to bring you unexpectedly insightful and uncommonly practical ideas that offer ways to build student resiliency, close achievement gaps, implement retention strategies, prioritize improvement initiatives, build staff motivation, and interpret data and understand its impact.

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Recovering from interrupted learning: Minimizing the impact of the COVID pandemic on children and staff

At long last, the end of the pandemic may finally be in sight. As of this writing, COVID-19 is not yet behind us, but we can at least see some breaks in the clouds, so to speak. Vaccines are now widely available, infection rates are dropping in many places, and more schools are back to in-person learning—or planning now to be back next school year. Soon, we will re-emerge from the pandemic and, like after any storm, we’ll begin to survey the aftermath. In an upcoming series of blog posts, we’ll explore some key areas educators should consider as they return to in-person teaching and learning—sharing insights from research and our positive approach to help you see and build on spots in your own schools and classrooms.

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How educators and ed-tech developers can hear one another

Billions of COVID-19 relief dollars are en route from the federal government to American school districts, and much of that money is likely to be spent on ed-tech interventions designed to help students regain ground. With this much money on the line—and, more importantly, the urgency of helping students deepen and accelerate their learning—educators and developers need to avoid talking past one another or getting lost in jargon.

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What principals can do to boost student and teacher curiosity

The consequences of a curiosity-deficient school environment are as apparent as they are disheartening: Students lose motivation to engage in their learning and with the school community, their postsecondary plans lose focus, and as time goes on and they move into adulthood, research finds, they can experience poorer professional opportunities. But are there things principals can do to promote a schoolwide culture of curiosity—among students and staff. Here are some ideas from Building a Curious School.

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It’s clearer than ever that principals matter to students. What happens next?

The revolution in understanding school leadership that McREL launched in 2005—that principals can influence student achievement—is now so widely accepted that some researchers are saying it’s time to move beyond “whether” and focus on “how.” As society’s expectations of principals continue to evolve, so does our Balanced Leadership program.

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Research Matters: Moving from absent to present

What if poor student engagement indicated a problem not with the student, but with the school environment? That would actually be good news for educators because there are so many relatively simple things they can do to improve the environment, McREL’s Susan Shebby and Tameka Porter write in the March Research Matters column of ASCD’s Educational Leadership. One step they recommend: Talking to students as fellow human beings who have interesting things to say, rather than merely expecting them to recall content, can work wonders.

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