The following resources focus on the educational climate and betterment of those serving the K–12 educational community.

CCSSO and the Aspen Institute Release New State Framework for Advancing Equity through ESSA The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the Aspen Institute Education & Society Program released a new framework to help all states as they work to advance equity in education through the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “Advancing Equity through ESSA: Strategies for State Leaders” identifies eight equity priorities and illustrates how states could leverage the new federal law to improve equity in opportunities and outcomes for all kids.

Looks and Sounds Like an Effective Teacher There are many ways to describe the actions of an effective teacher, and fortunately, The Teaching Channel shares the University of Minnesota’s observable characteristics of effective teaching from their Methods of Evaluation resource. The 20 items provide specific actions that teachers can integrate into the classroom immediately. Take a look to see what actions you may embed into your classroom.

High School Graduation Rate Hits Record High of 83.2 Percent  The nation’s high school graduation rate reached a record 83.2 percent, continuing a steady increase that shows improvement across all racial and ethnic groups, according to federal data released Monday. (Associated Press, Oct. 17)

High Schools Create Career Connections  Many of today’s more targeted career partnerships start with district leaders’ desire to align skills to workforce needs and to train educators to teach the more intricate courses. (District Administration, Oct. 12)

Study: To raise graduation rates, increase number of adults in community  For decades, communities across the U.S. have tried all manner of raising high school graduation rates: higher academic standards, better school funding, stricter testing and calls for arts, vocational, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs. New research suggests there’s another way to raise graduation rates: simply increase the number of adults in a community. (USA Today, Oct. 10)

What’s Your Innovation Index?  Bellwether Education’s new publication,  The U.S. Education Innovation Index: Prototype and Report describes the new education systems that are taking root in cities across the country, how innovation plays a pivotal role in improving schools for urban students, the importance of  measuring innovation, the index framework and methodology, and case scores and case studies on our four target cities: Indianapolis; Kansas City, Mo; New Orleans; and San Francisco. Each city has a very different innovation profile that reflects its local and state contexts (Weeby, Robson, Mu).

Teachers’ Trust is a Must In a new global survey of what constitutes educator effectiveness, teachers, students, parents, school administrators and policymakers in 23 countries cited relationships between teachers and students as the most important factor. While the survey was fielded in 23 countries, respondents from the U.S. were united in their top choice: the ability to develop trusting, productive relationships. The survey explores how people answered by country, role, development level, and many more characteristics (McKnight, Pearson).

Sources of Newly Hired Teachers in the United States: Results from the Schools and Staffing Survey, 1987-88 to 2011-12 This report examines changes in the sources of newly hired teachers at public and private schools between 1987-88 and 2011-12. Newly hired teachers were classified into four groups: newly prepared teachers (began teaching directly after receiving a degree), delayed entrants (began teaching after exiting a different career), transfers (taught in a different school during the prior year), and re-entrants (came back to teaching after a break). The report describes the distribution of newly hired teachers across these categories and also includes data on teacher characteristics, main teaching assignment, and employment and activities in the prior year. In 2011-12, the percentage of public school teachers who were newly hired was about 6 percent, the same level as 1987-88. However, in 1999-00 and 2007-08, that percentage had risen to 10 percent. The percentage of all private teachers who were newly hired teachers fell from 17 percent in 1987-88 to 11 percent in 2011-12. The percentage of first-time teachers, which combines newly prepared and delayed entrants, in both public and private schools increased between 1987-88 and 1999-2000. There were no measurable changes in the percent of first-time teachers in subsequent administrations. Transfers, as a percentage of newly hired teachers, did not change significantly for public or private schools between 1987-88 and 2011-12, while the percentage of teachers who were re-entrants decreased. (National Center for Educational Statistics)

How Kindergarten Entry Assessments are Used in Public Schools and How They Correlate With Spring Assessments  This study examined how many public schools nationwide used kindergarten entry assessments (KEAs), and for what purposes; the characteristics of public schools that used KEAs; and whether the use of KEAs was correlated with student assessment scores in reading and mathematics in spring of the kindergarten year. The sample consisted of 9,370 kindergarten students attending 640 public schools in 2011. Schools that used KEAs were compared to schools that did not in terms of enrollment, student body demographics, and other characteristics. In addition, multilevel regression models were used to compare students’ kindergarten spring assessment scores in early reading and mathematics at schools that did and did not report KEA use, after controlling for fall assessment scores, student demographics, and school characteristics. Overall, 73 percent of public schools offering kindergarten classes reported that they used KEAs. Among schools using KEAs, 93 percent stated that individualizing instruction was one purpose, and 80 percent cited multiple purposes. Schools’ reported use of KEAs did not have a statistically significant relationship with students’ early reading or mathematics achievement in spring of the kindergarten year after controlling for student and school characteristics. (Northeast and Islands Regional Educational Laboratory)

Study Finds Explosion in the Number of School Districts Working on Integration  A study released Friday by the Century Foundation, a think tank focused on inequity, found that 100 school districts and charter schools across the country are currently pursuing socioeconomic diversity plans—a number that has more than doubled since 2007. (Chalkbeat, Oct. 14)