Discovery Education recently announced the creation of the STEM Careers Coalition and has contracted McREL to perform a multi-year evaluation of the initiative’s impact. In this news item published by Yahoo Finance, Lori McFarling, Discovery Education’s president of corporate partnerships, explains that the project aims to provide free digital content to 10 million students by 2025 to prepare them for the science, technology, engineer, and mathematics work that will be ever more significant in the future. The coalition, which includes some of the biggest names in American business and industry, is reaching out to families in public, private, charter, and tribal schools to build support for STEM education and careers.
Cheryl Abla, a McREL expert on professional learning and effective instruction, participated in the Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo blog, hosted by Education Week, on the question of, “What does ‘student engagement’ mean, and what can we do to promote it in our classrooms?” To Cheryl, “student engagement means connectedness . . . it’s where attitudes and skill sets collide.” She provided seven research-inspired tactics that teachers can put into play ASAP. Several other national experts contributed great ideas, too.
The education technology publication THE Journal continued its coverage of a national school safety grant program offered by Global Grid for Learning (GG4L) that involves McREL as an program evaluation partner. Through GG4L, schools can get free access to 45 “curated” products that support seven areas of student safety: emergency preparedness, emotional and behavioral health, digital and online safety, physical campus security, physical health and wellness, engaged community, and healthy culture. As schools use the products, McREL will conduct evaluation studies of the products’ efficacy and outcomes. The journal quoted GGFL’s CEO, Robert Iskander, as saying, “Data-driven, evidence-informed decision making is essential for those charged with school safety and student wellness.”
A South Carolina superintendent up for his annual board review told the local NBC affiliate that whatever score he gets, it’ll be fair because it comes from McREL’s Central Office and Superintendent Evaluation System.
“I’ve used this instrument in other places, and it’s a nationally known model that’s highly reliable and valid,” Dr. Eddie Ingram of the Berkeley County School District told WCBD-TV.
Ingram predicted he’ll get a “proficient” rating, same as the previous year, which he thought was fair because he’s “still developing in some areas,” such as how to increase personalized learning.
McREL’s Central Office and Superintendent Evaluation System is based on research and analysis of leadership practices that are strongly connected with higher levels of student achievement and organizational improvement.
McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin presented at a large international conference in Doha, Qatar, in April, and the Gulf Times took note. The paper noted that Goodwin, under the sponsorship of the U.S. State Department, traveled to the Fourth Annual International Education Conference of the Qatar Ministry of Education and Higher Education to share McREL’s findings on applying the science of learning to instructional design, as well as what school leaders can do to support effective schools. The conference, themed “Education That Makes a Difference,” drew 1,000 educators from the Persian Gulf states and beyond, the paper said.
McREL International CEO Bryan Goodwin and his counterpart at Community Training and Assistance Center, William J. Slotnik, dug into the research related to a commonly held belief that teachers’ professional skills reach a plateau early in their careers and then barely budge. Their reexamination of the research found this conventional wisdom to be a fallacy, as they outline in the April 2019 issue of Phi Delta Kappan. The authors then present key ways that districts can set aside these past beliefs and encourage a lifetime of learning with a smarter approach to talent development.
The education technology publication THE Journal reported on a grant project of McREL International and the Global Grid for Learning to disburse $25 million worth of safety solutions to as many as 500 schools, and then study the effectiveness of the technologies deployed. The 16 participating vendors focus on a wide variety of safety-related issues, from emotional well-being to managing sports injuries to keeping in touch with parents. McREL’s role will be to build “a better evidence base that helps educators and parents make informed decisions about which approaches will work best for their students and schools,” CEO Bryan Goodwin said.
Education Week blogger Larry Ferlazzo turned to McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin and other leading education commentators for his Thanksgiving question of the week: What are effective strategies for having students teach their classmates and other peers? McREL has embraced reciprocal teaching and peer feedback (among teachers as well as students) for years and, as Goodwin shared in the blog, they are important components of several of our books, quick guides, and whitepapers, including Classroom Instruction That Works and The 12 Touchstones of Good Teaching. Goodwin acknowledges that students can feel awkward at first about giving and receiving peer feedback, and gives a few protocols teachers can use to help students ease into their new role as peer educators. “Reciprocal teaching is a good strategy to help students capture, organize, and reflect on important facts, concepts, ideas, and processes they will need to access later,” he said.
Michigan’s Richmond Community Schools may only have three buildings, but that isn’t stopping it from thinking big for student success. Because McREL partners with regional educational service agencies across the United States, small districts like Richmond have access to world-class professional learning that might otherwise be out of reach. In this instance, as reported by The Voice newspaper, one of the district’s top goals for the 2018–19 school year is to send a five-teacher contingent to Macomb ISD, their local service agency, for PD on McREL’s Classroom Instruction That Works® (CITW), a research-based instructional framework that helps educators focus on the nine most effective strategies to create a great classroom environment for learning and help students develop deep understanding and application of new knowledge. Macomb ISD’s staff have been trained and authorized by McREL to deliver CITW professional development in their region. The district’s elementary school principal told the school board that CITW supports his top goals of improving student achievement in reading, writing, and math, the paper reported.
Ninth-grade English teacher, instructional coach, and McREL-certified Classroom Instruction That Works® (CITW) trainer Sydney Jensen has been named Nebraska 2019 Teacher of the Year, KOLN-TV reported.
Jensen teaches at Lincoln High School (LHS), which has a strong partnership with McREL. LHS principal Mark Larson chose McREL’s CITW framework to help his school team improve instructional consistency, communication, and collaboration. Jensen became an integral part of that initiative by joining McREL’s “training of trainers” program, which is how CITW can be shared throughout a school or district at a fraction of the cost of continually bringing in consultants.
Nebraska Commissioner of Education Matt Blomstedt surprised Jensen with her award at Lincoln High on Oct. 11, KOLN reported. She’ll go on to be considered for National Teacher of the Year.