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

Navigating SEL From The Inside Out — This first-of-its-kind guide funded by The Wallace Foundation offers detailed information about curricular content and features of SEL programs so that practitioners can make informed choices about how to build children’s SEL skills and competencies such as self-control, empathy, conflict resolution, and character.

Lessons for Improving School Choice from Other Policy Areas — School choice systems can be complex and confusing for low-income families. In the search for solutions, researchers and policymakers may have overlooked lessons from other policy arenas. This issue focus suggests strategies from the authors experience designing and evaluating interventions to support low-income people’s decision making in arenas outside P-12 choice systems such as housing and child care.  (MDRC)

State Information Request: Minority Teacher Recruitment and Retention — A staff member at a postsecondary organization asked how states are working to recruit and retain minority teachers and about research related to minority teacher shortages. Our response included an overview of teacher shortages, state-specific examples of legislation addressing teacher recruitment and retention, and additional resources.

State Information Request: School Choice Court Cases — A state senator asked about court cases related to school choice. Our response included examples of court cases around school choice in several states, as well as additional resources.

Letter to the Editor: Let’s Not Get Distracted from the Real Problem, Illinois’ Unfair Funding System — In response to an earlier piece suggesting that Illinois consolidate schools to preserve funds, Marin Gjaja, Board Co-Chair of Advance Illinois, argues that consolidation would do little to fix Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation state school funding formula.

Schools Can Get Better. They Can Also Get Worse. — This recent article in the Huffington Post highlights the positive impact that school leadership has had in Chicago Public Schools.

Why Continuous Improvement Briefs? — What we have learned covers a lot of territory: from candidate recruitment and selection to year-long residencies; academic coursework to field-based coaching; and initial leadership endorsement to ongoing assessment and development of post-licensure candidates for the doctorate. As a result of our commitment to continuous improvement, virtually everything we do now to enact these program elements is different from what we did when we began the program. A core lesson for us has been that each program element inevitably becomes defined by one or more significant “problems of practice” for those seeking to prepare school leaders.

Selection of Leadership Candidates — A significant problem of practice in more selective admissions is assessing and measuring individual characteristics most likely to be associated with later school leader success, including achievement of strong student learning outcomes. This continuous improvement brief, part one of two, describes the progress UIC has made on designing and developing its selection processes to address this problem of practice.

Townhall on School Funding — Communities across the state are coming together for town hall conversations about the state’s broken school funding formula. Join us for the next conversation.

The Atlantic Philanthropies’ School Discipline Reform Portfolio — This report summarizes findings from a two-year evaluation of The Atlantic Philanthropies’ school discipline reform portfolio. The portfolio, which ran from late 2009 to 2016 and invested over $47 million dollars in 57 grants to 38 different grantees, was created to improve educational outcomes for students by reducing the number of zero tolerance suspensions, expulsions, and arrests in schools, particularly for children of color, and enhancing the use of positive disciplinary practices that keep children in school and engaged.