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

Micro-credentials for Teachers: What Three Early Adopters Have Learned So Far  Micro-credentials are an approach to professional learning that provides teachers with the opportunity to learn and demonstrate competency in new skills, while also getting feedback from an outside evaluator and earning recognition for mastery by earning the micro-credential. Commonly, each micro-credential addresses a fine-grained, discrete set of educational practices. One reason micro-credentials are appealing is that they break down complex instructional skills into fundamental parts. Educators can develop and demonstrate competence in each bite-sized element of instruction, and then weave together these skills to demonstrate mastery in complex skills. This report focuses on three early adopter states –Arkansas, Delaware, and Tennessee – and the lessons learned from each state. The lessons fall into five broad categories: 1) decide on your purpose; 2) start small; 3) provide choice (but not too much); 4) keep an eye on the source; and 5) communicate.  (American Institutes for Research)

Congress Returns to a Lengthy Education To-Do List  After a summer in which tempers flared over education issues like budgets and school choice, the House and Senate returned to Washington Tuesday with a lengthy to-do list, nearly all of which touches on education.  (The 74)

2016 Census Data  The U.S. Census Bureau released its 2016 annual data on income, poverty and health coverage indicating positive gains on the aggregate for all three measures-the first time these all improved for two years in a row. Read more from the Center on Budget and Policy PrioritiesCenter for Law and Social Policy, and First Focus for coverage of what the data mean for children and families.

Education Commission of the States researched Teacher License Reciprocity and announces four comprehensive resources:
50-State Review: Policy report summarizing data trends across the country.
50-State Comparison: Online resource providing access to 11 data points for all states.
State Profiles: Online resource detailing the 11 data points for each state.
Data Visualization: Web interface allowing for interactive data exploration.

Teacher License Reciprocity  Education Commission of the States President Jeremy Anderson provides a brief overview of the teacher license reciprocity issue.

‘Playbook’ Offers Roadmap for State Policy to Transform Educator Preparation  A new report from the Council of Chief State School Officers highlights lessons from 15 states participating in the Network for Transforming Educator Preparation, a multiyear effort addressing policy recommendations from a 2012 report. AACTE’s Aaron Goldstein notes numerous AACTE member institutions involved in the work and key steps recommended in the new “playbook.”

NYCLA expands portfolio of equity-focused leadership simulations  NYCLA has added two leadership simulations to its growing suite of Equity Sims, interactive, video-based tools that engage leaders in scenarios focused on issues of inequities that reflect the experiences facing school and system leaders. Each simulation places users – principals, district leaders, and/or leadership coaches – into realistic situations that push them to make leadership decisions, deal with the intended and unintended consequences of their decision-making, and reflect on their choices. Our latest simulations for system leaders focus on navigating the political terrain within school systems while allocating the appropriate time and resources to close opportunity gaps for students.  To learn more about Equity Sims and to see an excerpt of a simulation in action, join our free webinar at 1 p.m. EST Thursday, October 5.

Realizing the Full Vision of School Discipline Reform: A Framework for Statewide Change   This report draws on the experience of five states (California, Connecticut, Illinois, North Carolina, and Tennessee) to present strategies that all states can use to achieve significant reductions in their use of school suspensions. Each of the five states pursued a distinct combination of approaches to reduce the use of suspensions, with three common strategies at the core of their success: collecting and analyzing comprehensive school discipline data to document and understand the impact of school discipline policies and practices, sharing school discipline metrics regularly with policymakers, state and local educational leaders, parents, students, and the public, and using data to inform and shape legislative and administrative improvements. The report also offers recommendations for applying a data-driven approach to ensure that school discipline reforms not only reduce suspensions, but also foster supportive learning environments and ultimately improve outcomes for all students.  (Council of State Governments)

New Webinar Series to Discuss Principals’ Transforming Roles, Preparation This fall, AACTE will present a new webinar series called “Principals as Transformation Leaders,” exploring topics from leaders’ changing roles to the unique demands of different settings and effective preparation practices. Donna Cooner and Wendy Fothergill, faculty at AACTE member institution Colorado State University and moderators for the webinar series, introduce the panelists for the October 12 series kickoff.

More States Are Making It Easier to Transfer Your Teaching License  In the teaching realm, a handful of states offer full reciprocity—meaning certified teachers can come from any other state and be considered fully licensed right away. But the majority of states require incoming teachers to at the least take some additional coursework or assessments. (Education Week)