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Press Releases

A Teacher’s Reflective Impact Journal: McREL’s newest publication helps educators self-reflect on their professional practices

May 4, 2020 | Denver, CO—Self-reflection is one of the most powerful habits teachers can develop to hone their instructional skills and expertise. To help teachers access the benefits of this highly personal form of professional development, McREL is pleased to introduce A Teacher’s Reflective Impact Journal: Pursuing Greatness Every Day. It’s a guided 144-page journal that lets teachers chronicle which classroom practices are going great, which could stand some improvement, and how they’re growing and changing along the way.

“Educators want to continually grow as professionals, and research supports the notion that journaling speeds up and reinforces this process,” said co-author Pete Hall. “It helps us synthesize and clarify our thoughts, it fosters our creativity and curiosity, and it’s a truly personalized means of professional learning growth.”

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New Book Gives Teachers 21 Ways to Harness the Power of Curiosity in Every Grade and Subject

December 4, 2019 | Denver, CO—Tools for Igniting Curiosity, co-published today by Silver Strong & Associates and McREL International, gives teachers 21 ways to turn students’ natural curiosity into a self-sustaining force for lifelong learning.

Designed to be used in all grade levels and subjects, the book’s tools are aligned with cognitive science to help teachers capitalize on key levers proven to pique student curiosity—levers such as mysteries, controversy, missing information, personal experiences, and emotions. The tools also show teachers how to sustain curiosity over the course of lessons and units so that students actively transform classroom content into deep understanding. By tapping into the natural power of curiosity, teachers increase engagement and help students learn how to learn—and how to love it so much that they want to keep learning.

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New McREL book helps teachers guide their own professional growth using self-refection protocols

October 14, 2019 | Denver, CO — McREL International is pleased to announce the publication of its latest book, Pursuing Greatness: Empowering Teachers to Take Charge of Their Professional Growth by Pete Hall, Alisa Simeral, and Bryan Goodwin with Bj Stone and Bess Scott.

Pursuing Greatness advances the self-reflective practices that education authors and consultants Hall and Simeral have explored in previous bestsellers including Teach, Reflect, Learn: Building Your Capacity for Success in the Classroom. It identifies two dozen of the most common problems of professional practice that teachers face and organizes them along pathways so that whichever problem a teacher chooses to address first, the destination is a classroom in which students experience more ownership of, and investment in, their learning. Along the way, robust tools and tips for reflective practice support the authors’ contention that the most effective professional development is created by teachers themselves.

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McREL selected to provide capacity building and technical assistance services to seven state departments of education over next five years

October 3, 2019 | Denver, CO—McREL International today announced it has won competitive bids to become the primary manager of two of the U.S. Department of Education’s 19 Regional Comprehensive Centers located across the U.S. and in U.S. territories and freely associated states. Beginning October 1, 2019, and running through September 2024, McREL will operate the Region 11 center serving Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, and the Region 12 center serving Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri.

Working in partnership with state departments of education, the regional centers provide capacity-building and intensive technical assistance services and help to implement, scale, and sustain evidence-based programs, practices, and interventions that support improved educator and student outcomes.

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Raz-Plus Users Show Higher Achievement and Interest in Reading According to Ed-Tech Evaluation Efficacy Study by McREL

Our partners Learning A–Z have released the following news about an ed-tech evaluation efficacy study McREL performed on their reading program Raz-Plus®. With our background in research on student achievement, McREL is now a leading evaluation provider to the ed-tech industry.


Students Whose Teachers Use Raz-Plus Blended Learning Platform Show Higher Achievement and Interest in Reading According to Efficacy Study by McREL International

DALLAS. Jan. 29, 2019—As elementary schools look for effective ways to develop students’ reading skills, findings from a new efficacy study by McREL International suggest that Raz-Plus is an effective supplemental resource to improve elementary students’ reading achievement and interest within high poverty and high racial/ethnic minority schools.

The McREL study, which was conducted in the spring of 2018, involved 662 students from 39 classrooms in three rural elementary schools in the southeast United States. All three schools serve predominantly low-income, minority student populations. Teachers used Raz-Plus, a blended learning platform for K-5 reading from Learning A-Z , as a supplemental resource three to five times per week for a total of 60 to 90 minutes per week, on average.

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GG4L and McREL Launch Safer Schools in America $25M Impact Grant

Our partners at Global Grid for Learning (GG4L) released the following news about an ed-tech partnership with McREL to fund and evaluate Safer Schools in America Impact Grants.


SAN FRANCISCONov. 27, 2018 — Global Grid for Learning (GG4L) and McREL International are pleased to announce the open application period for the Safer Schools in America Impact Grant with a total in-kind value of over $25 million over three years.

Starting today, GG4L Member U.S. districts may nominate up to three schools each to qualify for grants that fund several pre-integrated innovative solutions from more than 25 global EdTech providers to be deployed and measured at no cost to the schools for a minimum of three years each. Any U.S. school or school district could be a GG4L member at no cost and apply for the Grant Application. 100 U.S. schools will be selected for the initial phase of the Grant by January 30, 2019, with 400 additional schools to be selected in later phases in 2019.

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Tools for Classroom Instruction That Works wins Learning Magazine 2019 Teachers’ Choice Award for Professional Development

November 15, 2018 | Denver, CO—Tools for Classroom Instruction That Works, co-published by McREL International and Thoughtful Education Press, has earned a Learning® Magazine 2019 Teachers’ Choice AwardSM for Professional Development.

Tools for Classroom Instruction That Works gives teachers 51 ready-to-use instructional techniques to help their students develop deeper understanding and broader application of what they are learning.

Published in January 2018, the book combines McREL’s well-known research and analysis on the most effective instructional strategies with Thoughtful Education Press’s award-winning Tools for Today’s Educators resources. Co-written by former teacher and McREL instructional trainer Cheryl Abla along with Dr. Harvey Silver and his colleagues from Thoughtful Education Press, Tools for Classroom Instruction That Works provides teachers with a brief synopsis of key research and the benefits of each tool, along with simple step-by-step instructions, classroom examples, reproducible handouts, and tips from real teachers who have used the tool with their students.

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New McREL Book Highlights Power of Curiosity in School, Work, and Life

September 19, 2018

Denver, Colorado — McREL International, a global leader in education research and professional development, today announced the publication of Out of Curiosity: Restoring the Power of Hungry Minds for Better Schools, Workplaces, and Lives, by Bryan Goodwin, the company’s president and CEO.

Drawing from research and reporting in education, management, and the social sciences, Goodwin constructs a compelling case that curiosity is the key to success in school, at work, in relationships, and our civic lives. Readers of Out of Curiosity will learn how to:

  • Inspire innovative teaching and learning.
  • Spark more meaningful conversations and relationships.
  • Avert calamitous boardroom decisions.
  • Generate high levels of personal happiness.
  • Regain civility in our civic and political worlds.

“We’re all born with curiosity; it’s an innate human characteristic. But, starting in childhood and accelerating through adulthood, far too many of us let our curiosity lapse,” said Goodwin. “The good news is, there are things we can do to reawaken our curiosity, to stir up our interest in learning something new about ourselves and the world around us.”

Out of Curiosity is inspired by and builds upon McREL’s Curiosity Works™ resources that support curiosity among teachers, leaders, and learners at every level of learning.

Print and e-book versions of Out of Curiosity are available from McREL (store.mcrel.org) for $18.95.

Praise from advance readers

“Goodwin’s masterful melding of research, real-life experiences, and thought-provoking questions left me committed to putting curiosity at the forefront of how I learn, lead, and live.” – Fred Ende, assistant director of curriculum for PNW BOCES and author of Professional Development That Sticks.

“With heavy doses of wit, research, and real-talk, Out of Curiosity explores a rather obvious—but often untrodden—path to improvement: in work, in school, in relationships, and even politics. This is a book I couldn’t put down, and I’ll read it again and again!” – Pete Hall, president, Strive Success Solutions

“A thoughtful analysis of why curiosity is a missing element in so many lessons, with specific suggestions on how the best teachers tap students’ innate desire to explore the unknown” – Kim Marshall, The Marshall Memo

“Bryan reminds us that wonder and curiosity are natural forces in all of us that need to be rekindled in our schools if we are to make learning engaging and meaningful.” – Harvey Silver, education coach and consultant, co-founder of Silver Strong & Associates, and co-author of The Core Six, The Strategic Teacher, and Tools for a Successful School Year

About McREL

McREL is a non-profit, non-partisan education research and development organization that since 1966 has turned 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.

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For more information, please contact:

Roger Fiedler, marketing director, 303-632-5579, rfiedler@mcrel.org

McREL and CTAC call for strategies that focus on, and honor, educators’ career-long professional development

August 29, 2018

The chief executives of McREL International and the Community Training and Assistance Center (CTAC) have collaboratively published a white paper, “Improving Teacher Practice: Debunking the Myth of Conventional Wisdom,” that urges schools and districts to think systemically about development of teacher talent in order to make bigger difference in student outcomes.

The paper’s authors, McREL CEO Bryan Goodwin and CTAC Founder and Executive Director Bill Slotnik, call out a widespread but, according to recent research, inaccurate belief that new teachers’ expertise and talent is mostly innate, and generally peaks and plateaus within their first few years of teaching. The authors present an alternative, evidence-based viewpoint that most teachers do continue to get better throughout the course of their careers.

“Many districts and schools indicate their need to reset their approach to developing the talent of teachers,” said Slotnik. “By combining reimagined hiring protocols, modeling, peer coaching, and self-directed learning, teachers as well as schools will improve performance trajectories and increase impact.”

To support teachers’ continued growth, the authors recommend fundamental changes in the way schools and districts recruit, hire, train, evaluate, and support teachers over their entire careers. They show how to create a growth-oriented human capital management system that connects and aligns a school district’s personnel, professional development, and instructional practices.

“Smart companies in every industry know that employee talent needs to be developed over entire careers, even if they’re hiring the best and the brightest to begin with,” said Goodwin. “In education, professional learning should be approached as an embedded, lifelong, mutually beneficial partnership between school districts and teachers.”

The paper is freely available on each organization’s website (www.mcrel.org and www.ctacusa.com).

In addition to publishing this paper, McREL and CTAC are launching a talent development consortium to assist districts that seek to improve and innovate their human capital management policies, procedures, and practices.

About McREL International

Headquartered in Denver, McREL is a non-profit education research-and-development organization that conducts research and evaluation and analyzes best practices in teaching and school leadership, and transforms that knowledge into strategic guidance, training, and resources for educators.

About CTAC

Headquartered in Boston, CTAC is a non-profit organization that provides technical assistance, research and evaluation, and public policy consulting at local, state, and national levels to achieve significant, long-term improvements in student achievement, teacher effectiveness, and organizational capacity.

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For more information: 
Natalie Nier, CTAC communications manager, 617.423.1444, nnier@ctacuse.com
Roger Fiedler, McREL marketing director, 303.632.5579, rfiedler@mcrel.org

Discovery Education’s Spotlight on Strategies Content Now Aligned to McREL International’s Six-Phase Model for Learning

May 29, 2018

*The following is a press release from Discovery Education, regarding a partnership project with McREL.

Silver Spring, Md. (May 29, 2018)Discovery Education, the leading provider of digital content and professional development for K-12 classrooms, today announced it has aligned its popular Spotlight on Strategies content to McREL International’s six-phase model for learning.  The alignment of this popular series of digital professional learning resources to McREL’s model helps educators quickly chose the appropriate classroom tactics for aiding the acquisition and recall of information. McREL International is a non-profit, non-partisan education research and development organization that since 1966 has turned 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.

Available in all Discovery Education Techbooks and Streaming services, the Spotlight on Strategies or SOS series offers creative, research-based instructional videos and supporting materials developed for teachers, by teachers. An example of an SOS can be found in a short video about the A-E-I-O-U strategy, through which students interpret information from images or videos they have viewed, write down their thoughts next to five descriptive categories, then pair-share their favorite parts.  This strategy provides scaffolding that helps students look for and remember key ideas about the information presented in the video segment and provides a conversation structure for debriefing with classmates and reporting out.

Another SOS example is the Table Top Texting strategy, which engages students in content by encouraging them to reflect and respond to videos or images they are presented by creating a written dialogue with their neighbor in the form of a “text thread.”  In this way, students connect to digital content in a way they communicate on a daily basis as they are encouraged to think and respond on a higher level.

McREL’s six-phase model was recently outlined in a McREL whitepaper entitled Student Learning that Works, and consists of:

  1. Become interested in learning,
  2. Committing to learning,
  3. Engaging in learning,
  4. Making sense of learning,
  5. Practicing new learning, and
  6. Applying learning and finding meaning.

Thanks to Discovery Education’s alignment of the over 130 SOS videos and their accompanying support materials to these six phases, educators can now quickly and easily find SOS strategies that support students’ needs no matter where they are on McREL’s model for learning.

“The SOS videos are one of the most useful professional learning resources available to teachers today,” said Susan Bowdoin, a Library Media Specialist in New Mexico’s Albuquerque Public Schools.  “The alignment of the SOS resources to McREL’s six-phase learning model is an incredibly valuable timesaver, as it allows me quickly cross-reference what phase of learning students are in and then choose a strategy that will help them progress to the next level.”

The SOS initiative grew out of the Discovery Education Community. A global community of education professionals, the Discovery Education Community connects members in school systems and around the world through social media, virtual conferences, and in-person events, fostering valuable networking, idea sharing and inspiration.

“Just as McREL is dedicated to helping educators flourish by turning research into solutions, Discovery Education seeks to empower educators worldwide with the content and professional learning they need to accelerate student achievement,” said Jannita Demian, Senior Director, Learning Communities and Instructional Content. “By aligning McREL’s research on learning to Discovery Education’s content, we’ve created an innovative tool educators can use to support the success of all their students.”

For more information about Discovery Education’s services and the Spotlight on Strategies videos, visit www.discoveryeducation.com, and stay connected with Discovery Education on social media through Facebook, follow us on Twitter at @DiscoveryEd, or find us on Instagram and Pinterest.

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About Discovery Education
As the global leader in standards-based digital content for K-12 classrooms worldwide, Discovery Education is transforming teaching and learning with award-winning digital textbooks, multimedia content, professional learning, and the largest professional learning community of its kind. Serving 4.5 million educators and over 50 million students, Discovery Education’s services are available in approximately half of U.S. classrooms, 50 percent of all primary schools in the UK, and more than 50 countries around the globe. Inspired by the global media company Discovery Inc., 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. Explore the future of education at DiscoveryEducation.com.