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

Getting Principal Preparation Right Webinar   Thursday, March 9 at 12 PM ET  Looking to gain positive attention for your leadership preparation program? Join UCEA for an important webinar detailing how members of the UCEA consortium have distinguished themselves from the broader field of educational leadership preparation providers.

LEGISLATOR FORUM 2017: What the Every Student Succeeds Act Means for State Leaders and Communities  Presented by Advance Illinois from 6-8 p.m. (CDT) Tuesday, March 14, 2017, Springfield, Illinois.  You are invited to join in!  Tony Smith is the state superintendent of education and Ryan Smith is executive director of Education Trust—West. Both have worked as community leaders and as education advocates. Our keynote speaker, Ryan Smith, will explore how Illinois can create a school accountability system that sets fair, clear and ambitious expectations for all schools and supports improved learning experiences that meet the needs of all students—especially low-income students, students of color, students with disabilities, and English learners. Over the last year, the Illinois State Board of Education has proactively sought and received feedback from stakeholders statewide on its plan for ESSA. After Ryan’s remarks, attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions of him as well as Tony Smith and other stakeholders, about the development and implementation this new plan with its far-reaching implications for Illinois’ education system.

Betsy DeVos Sees Choice-Friendly Florida as a K-12 Model for the Nation  Education Secretary Betsy DeVos in a recent interview addressed a variety of topics, such as school choice, Common Core and the Every Student Succeeds Act. On school choice, DeVos said, “Florida is a good and growing example of what can happen when you have a robust array of choices.”

Principal Supervision 101: What Do Highly Effective Principal Supervisors Do to Support the Improvement of Principal Performance   Participants will leave the sessions with the following learning outcomes:

  • A working knowledge of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) 2015 Model Principal Supervisor Standards.
  • Critical aspects of the 2015 Model Principal Supervisor Standards and how to leverage the standards to practical applications.
  • Understanding the unique role of the Principal Supervisor as the coach, mentor and supervisor.
  • Ability to develop and use principal learning plans as a key practice tool.
  • Understanding of promising practices from leading districts across the country.

Do Happier Teachers Lead to Better Student Outcomes?  It’s no surprise that teacher job satisfaction affects their performance, but a new study by Neena Banerjee of Valdosta State University and three professors from University of North Carolina-Charlotte confirms that students’ reading scores are higher when they are taught by educators reporting high job satisfaction levels. However, being part of a professional learning community can mitigate the effects of job dissatisfaction (Education Week, Feb. 16).

Indiana-Indianapolis Is Experimenting with a New Kind of Teacher—And It’s Transforming This School  School 107 is one of six district schools piloting the opportunity culture program, which allows principals to pay experienced teachers as much as $18,000 extra each year to support other classrooms. Next year, the program will expand to 10 more schools. (Chalkbeat, February 16)

Tennessee-Memphis Charter Office Seeks to Double in Size to Keep Up with Growing Sector  With charter schools now firmly entrenched in Memphis’ education landscape, the district has sought to step up its oversight of them. Last year, Shelby County Schools issued its first-ever report on the state of charter schools in Memphis. (Chalkbeat, February 22)

Representatives Roll Back Obama’s ESSA Rules  Last week, the House of Representatives voted to roll back regulations that interpret the accountability provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Brandon Wright discusses the process of removing ESSA regulations and the risks associated with the ambiguous assurances from the executive and legislative branches. (Real Clear Education)

A Guide to Calculating District Expenditure-to-Performance Ratios Using Publicly Available Data  One measure that is sometimes used as a proxy for school district efficiency is an expenditure-to-performance ratio, for example a ratio of per pupil expenditures to student academic performance. This guide shows states and districts how to use publicly available data about district-level expenditures and student academic performance to create six expenditure-to-performance ratios. By illustrating the steps needed to calculate different expenditure-to-performance ratios, the guide also provides states and districts with a straightforward strategy for exploring how conclusions about district efficiency may vary, sometimes substantially, depending on which types of expenditures and which measures of performance are considered. Through the illustration of the steps necessary for calculating expenditure-to-performance ratios, the guide provides states and districts with a set of steps they can use to explore districts’ resource use.  (Northeast and Islands Regional Educational Laboratory)

Illinois Lottery Exacerbates Inequities in Chicago  Every year, the Illinois State Lottery contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to help fund public education in Illinois, but areas with high lottery sales often also have school districts that remain severely underfunded. Where does the money go? (South Side Weekly)

Teacher Shortage is Statewide Problem A 2016 survey by the Illinois Association of Regional Education Superintendents shows about 60 percent of districts in the state have staffing issues. Educators share perspectives on the issues driving the shortage.

Ohio-Kasich: Teachers Should Job Shadow with Businesses to Renew Licenses  Teachers would have to complete “externships”–essentially, a high-level job shadow – with a local business to renew their licenses under a provision in Gov. John Kasich’s budget proposal. (Times Recorder, February 14)

New Jersey-Can Blended Learning Improve Equity in One of Nation’s Most Diverse Districts?  The district-wide shift towards blended learning began in 2015 when Erica Hartman was hired as Supervisor of Technology Integration. Hartman stresses that the district remains committed to finding what works best for students, with or without technology. (EdSurge, February 14)

Niche Training for Principals Aims to Fill Skill Gaps  About alternative school leader training programs, the article highlights how NYCLA incorporates issues of equity into its aspiring principals program and features NYCLA alum Brandon Cardet-Hernandez. (Education Week)

What School Leaders Must Learn About Equity   This commentary calls on states to include in their state ESSA plans professional development and other work to support school leaders in tackling inequities in schools and districts. (Education Week)

Trump Considers Federal School Choice Tax Credit  The Trump administration is considering a first-of-its-kind federal tax credit scholarship program that would channel billions of dollars to families from working-class households to enable their children to attend private schools, including religious schools. (Real Clear Education)

Legislator Forum 2017: What the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Means for State Leaders and Communities. This year’s discussion will feature Ryan Smith, executive director of the Education Trust-West and Tony Smith, state superintendent. The forum will be held from 6-8 p.m. March 14, 2017, in Springfield, Illinois.

One Small Step For Big School Funding Reform  State Rep. Will Davis filed a school funding reform package last week that promises to makes school funding in Illinois more equitable. How much will it cost? How much will each school district gain or lose? Will the bill be called for a committee hearing? Rep. Davis weighs in. (NPR Illinois)

Running in Place: How New Teacher Evaluations Fail to Live Up to Expectations  Running in Place finds that within the 30 states that require student learning measures to be at least a significant factor in teacher evaluations, state guidance and rules in most states allow teachers to be rated effective even if they receive low scores on the student learning component of the evaluation. Recommendations for how states can address this challenge are also included in the report.  (National Council on Teacher Quality)

Here’s An Alternative to Betsy DeVos’ Privatization Agenda  This Education Week article talks about the alternative to Betsy DeVos’ agenda to privatize schools. The alternative…make government funded schools better. (Education Week)

New Resource to Help Bring Teacher Leadership to Your State: State Teacher Leadership Toolkit  The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) gives states the opportunity to access the funding and support needed to advance their approach to teacher leadership. Leading Educators and Education First recently developed a new State Teacher Leadership Toolkit to help states make the most of this ESSA opportunity. This interactive toolkit represents a synthesis of best practices and emerging models from Iowa, Massachusetts, Tennessee and other leading states. It guides state and district leaders through the planning, design, implementation and assessment of teacher leadership initiatives.

Federal Spending in the States  The federal government spent $3.3 trillion in the states during fiscal year 2014, including grants, contracts, retirement benefits, and more. Understanding this trend is important for state and local policymakers as the new administration makes federal budget decisions.

NYCLA launches blog on leadership and equity  The NYC Leadership Academy has launched a new blog on school leadership and creating equitable learning environments for all students. Called Leadership Insights, the blog offers observations, wonderings, and tools from our staff of school and district leadership experts, and other experts in the field. Full of insights into how we think, talk about, and conduct our leadership work with an equity lens, our posts will be conversation starters or calls to action, and offer tools readers can use in their own schools or districts.

CCSSO Announces Innovating ESSA Educator Engagement Grant Opportunity  CCSSO is offering states an Innovating ESSA Educator Engagement Grant opportunity designed to increase SEA capacity and efforts to meaningfully engage with educators around Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).