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

K-3 Policymakers’ Guide to Action Featured on the CPRE Knowledge Hub — Education Commission of the States is excited to announce that we recently worked with the Consortium for Policy Research (CPRE) on the launch of their new initiative, the CPRE Knowledge Hub. The CPRE Knowledge Hub seeks to bring together researchers, policymakers and practitioners to share insights and discuss the most pressing and important issues in education. Our collaboration, a Cool Thinking on Hot Topics feature, brought together expert researchers, policymakers and practitioners involved in K-3 and highlights the recently released K-3 Policymakers’ Guide to Action.

Strategies For School System Leaders on District-Level Change is an annual publication that highlights promising practices in the systemic improvement of K-12 school systems in the United States, with a particular focus on the system-level leadership implications of this work. Each issue explores a particular theme and includes one or more case studies, illustrating how the theme plays out systemically in a real-world context.

A New Vision for Professional Learning   Advancing ESSA’s goals – equity and excellence – will require as much attention to teaching and leadership as to accountability, standards, and assessment.  Learning Forward and EducationCounsel’s new toolkit, A New Vision for Professional Learning, helps states use ESSA to establish learning systems in schools that transform educator practice and improve student learning. The toolkit includes an overview of ESSA’s provisions related to professional learning, checklists for states aligned to the five conditions states must establish to improve professional learning, and a number of new tools to establish a state vision for professional learning, examine current investments, and write a question in ESSA local plans that gets at the heart of professional learning that works.

Lessons Learned From The Middle School Initiative — The George W. Bush Institute began the Middle School Matters (MSM) initiative in 2010 with the goal of increasing the number of students who are prepared for high school and post-secondary success. Six years into this project, we have produced an in-depth look at what we have learned. Lessons Learned From the Middle School Initiative shares what they know about creating and implementing this unique program.

Direct-to-Student Data  Data dashboards and performance feedback can motivate middle-range students to work a little harder to earn a desired grade, a new study found. (Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 2)

Reality Check App Puts Career Planning Tools in the Hands of Youth, Job Seekers  The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has teamed up with the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) on a new Going Mobile initiative that will help teens, young adults and those considering career changes to obtain realistic projections and information. The app tells students and job seekers the reality about their career choice, so they can be prepared now for what the future could bring.