Category Archives: McREL in the News

Technology journal highlights McREL’s role in student safety grant

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.

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Goodwin featured in Education Week Teacher blog on reciprocal teaching

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.

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Small Michigan district has big plans for Classroom Instruction That Works

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.

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McREL trainer named Nebraska 2019 Teacher of the Year

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.

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REL Pacific takes aim at math achievement in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)

In our capacity as administrator of the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Pacific, McREL is working with school leaders and researchers in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands to tear down a roadblock for far too many college students: math.

The Marianas Variety newspaper covered an address at the CNMI Education Summit by McREL’s Phillip Herman, who serves as the lab’s executive director, in which he described his collaboration with the nation’s public schools, its department of labor, the Mount Carmel School in Saipan, and Northern Marianas College (NMC). Their goal: increase the college graduation rate by designing a new high school math course that prepares seniors for college-level math.

The high-school level course wouldn’t offer college credits itself, the paper pointed out, but rather . “help students catch up faster, advance them as fast as they can, and if they pass the course, they will be given the chance to take college-level math at NMC,” Herman was quoted as saying.

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Hamilton County Department of Education adopts McREL’s Balanced Leadership® framework for district- and school-level leaders

The Hamilton County Department of Education’s decision to adopt McREL’s Balanced Leadership framework during the 2017–18 school year was recently profiled on The Chattanoogan.com, an online daily newspaper in Tennessee. This leadership development training and coaching will be connected to the district’s mission and vision, and is intended to focus on specifically supporting school-level leaders. The article quotes McREL consultant Mel Sussman, who explained how school- and district-level leaders will gain access to “a validated research model in how quality, shared instructional leadership should be carried out throughout the district.” Justin Robertson, the district’s assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction, expressed that learning about “McREL’s research-based findings that link school-level leadership with student achievement,” will help ensure that the district’s students are college- and career-ready upon graduation.

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Rome (NY) school board uses McREL’s Superintendent Evaluation framework

The superintendent of the Rome City School District in upstate New York won praise from his board recently—and by extension so did McREL’s Superintendent Evaluation System, which is based on McREL’s Balanced Leadership™ Framework. The Rome Sentinel reported that new Superintendent Peter Blake finished his first year with a “proficient” rating following a McREL evaluation process, which the Sentinel explained is a notable achievement for a first-time superintendent given the rigor of the McREL superintendent evaluation process. The board adopted the McREL evaluation system two years earlier because it was “more comprehensive” than their previous process. The McREL Superintendent Evaluation system helps district leaders and boards focus their reviews on:

  • Purposeful community – using assets to accomplish goals that matter to all community members.
  • Managing change – understanding the implications and adjusting leadership behavior accordingly.
  • Focus of leadership – targeting appropriate areas for school improvement efforts.
  • Management – having a system in place for organizing the work of the school district and prioritizing student learning and safety.

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McREL’s research on school and district leaders outlines their influence on student achievement

What do principals do, and how does their role differ from that of central office administrators? How have their roles and responsibilities changed over the years? In this op-ed in TriCorner News, Pam Vogel, superintendent of Connecticut’s Regional School District No. 1, answers these questions and tells the community that competent principals and central-office leaders influence student achievement. Citing McREL research, Vogel states that “Principals see that student learning and progress occurs in their building; superintendents are to oversee that each school is making progress. This is accountability. This is what students and parents should expect of us and what we owe them.”

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McREL plays key role in Tennessee “principal pipeline” initiative

McREL International was named in August 2017 by the Tennessee Department of Education (TNDOE) as one of a group of agencies and school districts that will receive $1 million in grants to support the state’s Principal Pipeline Partnership. Tennessee needs 260–270 principals every year and has the nation’s most advanced school leadership development program, Education Commissioner Candice McQueen said. Among in-school factors, only teacher quality plays a greater role than leadership in influencing student achievement, she said. The grant program funds principal pipelines in nine regions; McREL is collaborating with Wilson County Public Schools and the Center for Educational Leadership at the University of Tennessee to provide aspiring leaders with training, transition support between program completion and job placement, and an induction program for newly placed leaders.

Read the TNDOE press release.

Balanced Leadership makes news in Tennessee

A dozen educators received kudos from the Blount County, Tennessee, school board for completing the district’s Aspiring Administrator Academy, which is based on McREL’s Balanced Leadership Framework. The Daily Times of Maryville reported that this is the fifth group to complete the training, which is “designed to build potential leaders” through monthly seminars, during which the educators learn the responsibilities of effective leaders in “creating a positive school culture, driving change and focusing on meaningful structures and routines.”

Read the article here.