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

The Importance of a Diverse Teaching Force Research indicates that minority students do better contemporaneously in school – and likely in the long run as well – when they are exposed to teachers of their same race or ethnicity. For example, a disadvantaged black male’s exposure to at least one black teacher in elementary school reduces his probability of dropping out of high school by nearly 40 percent. As a consequence, the underrepresentation of minority teachers relative to the proportion of minority school-aged students could be having the effect of limiting minority students’ educational success. A major driver of this underrepresentation appears to be the striking differences in the likelihood that young adults from different demographic groups have attained a bachelor’s degree, generally a prerequisite to teach. Therefore, the author argues, a move to increase minority college attendance and completion could be the key to greater minority representation in the teaching force.  (Brookings Institution)

National Board Resource Center (NBRC) Professional Development Opportunity The NBRC is seeking administrators interested in a research-based ongoing professional development opportunity. There are currently 40 National Board Professional Development Schools in Illinois led by administrator leaders. The NBRC is expanding this program to include an additional 25 schools/districts to take part in this opportunity during the 2018-19 school year. This program is school based and includes several research-based instructional strategies that focus on implementing effective teaching approaches that nurture critical thinking. Application deadline is March 26, 2018. Call Debra Kasperski at (309) 438-1833 for more information or to set up an appointment.

Improving Teacher Preparation Policy and Programs: Building a High-Quality Teacher Workforce in the State of Illinois  With the support of a grant from the National Governors Association, the Office of Governor Bruce Rauner released a report and a set of recommendations to improve educator preparation and to address shortage areas throughout the state. “Improving Teacher Preparation Policy and Programs: Building a High-Quality Teacher Workforce in the State of Illinois” was developed by a group of diverse, expert stakeholders from throughout the state, including Erika Hunt, Ph. D., from the Center for the Study of Education Policy.

What 150 Years of Education Statistics Say About Schools Today  The National Center for Education Statistics celebrates its 150th anniversary (albeit without a permanent commissioner in place). Though the agency remains independent of the Education Department, its work has laid a bedrock for education policy in the United States in areas from large-scale testing, to tracking students over time, to using surveys and local administrative data to understand changes in schools. (Education Week)

Survey Finds State Interest in Improving On-the-Job Supports for Principals  Mentoring principals. Ensuring they get good professional development. Building their capacity to develop teachers. Providing these types of on-the-job supports to boost principal effectiveness is the priority most commonly named by two dozen states involved in an initiative to help boost school leadership. In addition, these states overwhelmingly agreed that incorporating their principal-focused work into federally funded school improvement plans is another priority for them.  That’s according to a new report, State Efforts to Strengthen School Leadership: Insights From CCSSO Action Groups, by the Policy Studies Associates, Inc. research organization.