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

Big New Study Finds That Performance Bonuses for Teachers Boost Test Scores (A Bit)  A new study, released by the federal government, suggests that merit-based bonuses are the way to go, as they help raise student test scores without making a significant dent in teacher morale. (Chalkbeat)

USDOE seeks applicants from rural areas for the purpose of the School Ambassador Fellowship program  School staff members provide vital leadership in classrooms and schools, but too often lack opportunities to contribute their knowledge to the development of education policy on a broader scale. The U.S. Department of Education designed the School Ambassador Fellowship program to enable outstanding teachers, principals and other school leaders, like school counselors and librarians, to bring their school and classroom expertise to the Department and to expand their knowledge of the national dialogue about education. In turn, School Ambassador Fellows facilitate the learning and input of other educators and community members. Completed applications must be received by 5 p.m. Eastern Time, January 31, 2018.

States Urged to Emphasize Competency-Based Learning in the ESSA Era State policymakers should use the flexibility in the Every Student Succeeds Act to “transform accountability,” and move to more sophisticated models that emphasize competency-based learning and preparation for college and careers, a new report argues. (Education Week)

The Impact of Providing Performance Feedback to Teachers and Principals  A new report finds a positive impact on teacher classroom practices and student achievement with feedback given through teacher and principal performance assessments. (U.S. Department of Education)

Funding & Teacher Shortage Map  Of the 1,006 unfilled teacher positions in the state, 81% are in districts where the majority of students are low-income Check out the data maps to find percentage of funding adequacy for districts with vacancies. (Advance Illinois)

NY – How Diverse Is the Teaching Force in Your District? A New Analysis Highlights the Gap Between Students and Teachers of Color  Siskar’s bond with her students is backed by research: While students of color can develop deep ties with any teacher, there is evidence that having a teacher who resembles them can help improve their test scores, provide them a role model, and raise expectations of what they can accomplish. (Chalkbeat)