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

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.

“We are thrilled to partner with Pete and Alisa on this project,” said Bryan Goodwin, co-author of the book and CEO of McREL. “They are thought leaders in the area of using self-reflection processes to help educators advance their professional growth. Combining their insights with McREL’s instructional strategy expertise in Pursuing Greatness results in a great resource for teachers everywhere.”

Readers of the book also have access to downloadable materials that will help them identify additional problems of practice—whatever is most pressing to them at this stage in their career—and work through the reflective cycle to pursue mastery over it.

Pursuing Greatness: Empowering Teachers to Take Charge of Their Professional Growth is available now at


For more information, please contact:

Roger Fiedler, 303.632.5579,

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

October 3, 2019

Denver, Colorado — 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.

McREL has managed the North Central Comprehensive Center, serving Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, since 2012. In the new award cycle, this center will be renamed Region 11. McREL’s Joe Simpson will be based in Wyoming and will serve as director of the Region 11 Center.

“In the past, the Comprehensive Centers worked on several initiatives in each state, and an exciting change this time around is that states can identify a single ‘high-leverage problem’ that they need help with and go deep on it, creating opportunities to show significant outcomes to the public,” Simpson said. “In North Dakota we’ll focus on schools that have been targeted for support. In South Dakota we’ll help Indian school communities to build a framework for improvement. In Wyoming, K–3 reading will be the emphasis. And in Nebraska we’ll help educators identify open-source social studies resources that are of high quality and aligned with state standards.”

Dale Lewis, based in McREL’s Denver office, will direct Region 12. The center’s work in Kansas will focus on redesigning schools at all levels to help students develop a broad array of academic and non-academic competencies. In Missouri, the center will help address student underperformance by focusing on strengthening school leadership. The center’s emphasis in Colorado is currently under discussion with that state’s education department.

“These centers help students by providing a way for local educators to connect with national resources and best practices,” Lewis said. “Our role is to help the states turn a great idea into real-world results, and I’m excited to get started.”

In addition to managing Regions 11 and 12, McREL will support the work of organizations managing Region 2 (serving Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), Region 18 (the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, and Palau), and Region 19 (American Samoa, Hawaii, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands) as a subcontracted technical adviser or evaluator.


For more information, please contact:

Roger Fiedler, 303-632-5579,

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.

Pre- and post-assessments show statistically significant differences between the treatment and control groups in this randomized controlled trial. Students whose teachers used Raz-Plus had higher reading achievement scores than students in the control group, as measured by the STAR assessment. In addition, students whose teachers used Raz-Plus showed a higher level of interest in both academic and recreational reading than students in the control group, as measured by the Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (ERAS).

“Building a strong connection between reading instruction and practice is key to improving student outcomes. It’s also important to provide an engaging environment that makes reading practice rewarding and keeps students motivated to read,” said Patrick Marcotte, president of Learning A-Z. “The McREL study findings support what teachers tell us they see in their classrooms each day—that Raz-Plus is making a positive difference in reading outcomes and helping students develop a love of reading.”

Raz-Plus provides effective teacher-led instruction, developmentally appropriate reading practice, formative assessment, and data-driven reporting to improve the reading skills of every student, at every level. It combines teacher-led whole-class and small-group instruction with technology-enabled resources for personalized reading practice. All resources are accessible online and available in printable, projectable, and digital formats to strengthen the connection between what is being taught and what students independently practice.

For a free trial or to learn more about Raz-Plus, visit

About McREL International

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. For information, visit

About Learning A–Z

Learning A-Z is a literacy-focused PreK-6 educational provider of technology-enabled learning solutions. Our products blend traditional teacher-led instruction with robust online resources to make teaching more effective and efficient, practice more accessible and personalized, assessment more strategic and automated, and learning more informed and proactive. Our suite of products includes: Raz-Plus, Reading A-Z, Raz-Kids, Headsprout, Science A-Z, Writing A-Z, and Vocabulary A-Z. Learning A-Z products are used by more than 7 million students in more than 170 countries. Learning A-Z is a business unit of Cambium Learning® Group, Inc.

For more information, please visit or find us on Facebook or Twitter.

About Cambium Learning Group, Inc.

Cambium Learning Group is an award-winning educational technology solutions leader dedicated to helping all students reach their potential through individualized and differentiated instruction. Using a research-based, personalized approach, Cambium Learning Group delivers SaaS resources and instructional products that engage students and support teachers in fun, positive, safe and scalable environments. These solutions are provided through Learning A-Z (online differentiated instruction for elementary school reading, writing and science), ExploreLearning (online interactive math and science simulations and a math fact fluency solution), Voyager Sopris Learning (blended solutions that accelerate struggling learners to achieve in literacy and math and professional development for teachers), and VKidz Learning (online comprehensive homeschool education and programs for literacy and science). We believe that every student has unlimited potential, that teachers matter, and that data, instruction, and practice are the keys to success in the classroom and beyond.

Come learn with us at


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