The following is a list of recent resources for those focused on the professional improvement of teachers, principals, and other educational leaders. 

Influence Policy: TeachPlus launches a free online course “Teach Plus Online: What Teachers Need to Know to Influence Policy Decisions” on July 7. The course encompasses core modules including: Teachers as Policy Influencers; Policy 101; Storytelling for Impact; and Advocacy 101. It also includes a module on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Teach Plus is recruiting Teacher Leaders with an interest in PARCC.  Teachers will receive training in how to support students and parents in preparing for the exam, and then lead a workshop for their peers at the beginning of the year. Teachers must apply to be a part of the program.

NYCLA Releases Publication on Effective Residencies for Aspiring Leaders. The NYC Leadership Academy, in partnership with the American Institutes for Research (AIR), has published “Ready to Lead: Designing Residencies for Better Principal Preparation.” This resource provides insight, synthesized from leading principal preparation programs around the United States, into the critical elements of a quality residency experience for aspiring school leaders. It is intended to help those engaged in principal preparation design or strengthen the practical, school-based components of their programs.

Common Core Math in the K-8 Classroom: Results from a National Teacher Survey.
 The Fordham Institute released a report titled “Common Core Math in the K-8 Classroom” which takes a closer look at how educators are implementing the Common Core math standards. The report finds that most teachers believe Common Core State Standards will improve students’ math skills and prepare them for college and beyond, but many classroom materials are not well-aligned to the standards. The nationally representative survey of over one thousand teachers reveals that they are increasingly familiar with the Common Core and believe that it will benefit students.

How We Ought to Rethink Substitute Teachers. Schools spend $4 billion per year on substitute teachers, and there aren’t even enough of them to go around. Social entrepreneur Jane Vialet says the model is broken. “If you described the way we do substitute teaching to an alien, they wouldn’t believe it,” she says. She proposes replacing busywork and babysitters with guest instructors who could “come into a classroom and lead it with your authentic, exuberant passion.” She imagines professionals in finance or computer science sharing what they do with kids instead of finding anyone willing to fill the time (Eisenberg, NextAvenue.org).

What This Principal Learned by Guest-Teaching Every Class. Principal William Bernhard wanted to know the inner workings of his Long Island, N.Y., school and thought there was no better way to do that than to “guest teach” classes in every subject offered there. During this school year, he “taught a lesson on Aristotle on English, played Frisbee in physical education, spoke about immigration in social studies and even pounded a chicken breast” in a family and consumer science course (Tyrrell, Newsday).

Outdated Literacy Practices That It’s Time to Abandon. University of Michigan Professor Nell K. Duke lists five literacy instruction practices that we should avoid in the 2016-17 school year. We guarantee some will sound familiar to your own elementary school days, even if you’re not using them in your own classroom these days. Perhaps most controversially, take a look at why Duke discourages unsupported independent reading time (Edutopia).

There’s Now a Body of Research on What It Means to Be a Teacher Leader. All teachers have the capacity to be leaders, researchers wrote in a recent comprehensive review of literature on teacher leadership—but not all teachers want to be. A new review of literature around teacher leadership has been published.

Recruiting — and Keeping — Teachers of Color. A growing chorus of voices is calling for more minority teachers to fill America’s classrooms, especially as minority students become the majority. But even when schools can recruit minority teachers, the challenge is to keep them. Find out more about some programs that are aiming to address the problem in Harvard’s Ed Magazine article by Josh Moss. And also see some of the action steps Black male educators in Philadelphia are taking to try to get more of their counterparts into classrooms (Wolfman-Arent, NewsWorks).

Where Are All the Principals of Color? (The Atlantic – June 21). Today, the role of the school principal has grown more complex. The Center for American Progress in 2014 examined the shifting terrain of school leadership and found that principals, once considered building managers, must be a hybrid of “an aspirational leader, a team builder, a coach, and an agent of visionary change.” Yet even with this changing landscape, one notable characteristic has remained intact—public-school principals, like teachers, are overwhelmingly white.