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Teaching and leadership resources

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

How Do We Improve Lower-Performing Schools?  Earlier this year, the Education Commission convened national experts and top education policy leaders to discuss strategies to address lower-performing schools. This two-day meeting resulted in this new brief, a unique resource composed of core ideas plus questions to guide you to a better understanding of your state’s accountability and school improvement systems, your roles and responsibilities in those systems, and how your state measures and builds on success. You’ll also find state examples and links to key related resources to further assist your efforts.

2 Chiefs on What It Takes to Improve Schools  Carey Wright, state superintendent in Mississippi, and Tony Smith, state superintendent in Illinois, share some of the key components for school improvement efforts at the state level.

CO – Denver’s Newest Group of Teachers Is Its Most Diverse Ever  Thirty percent of the nearly 750 new teachers who will join the Denver school district this fall are teachers of color, making this year’s class of recruits the most diverse in recent history. (Chalkbeat)

How California Is Transforming Bus Drivers, Clerks and Yard Supervisors Into Teachers   The $20 million grant program was approved by state legislators in 2016 to combat California’s teacher shortage. The grants pay $4,000 annually per participant for up to five years to help them complete a bachelor’s degree and earn a teaching credential. (The Sacramento Bee)

Enrollment Is Down at Teacher Colleges. So They’re Trying to Change   Colleges of education are in a Catch-22: They’re needed more than ever to produce well-trained teachers as school districts struggle to fill certain positions. But fewer and fewer people are enrolling in their programs.  That’s one of the findings in a comprehensive report of the state of teacher preparation by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, released today for the organization’s 70th anniversary. The report examines the steps colleges of education have taken to revamp themselves in light of increasing challenges for the teaching profession.

Working toward a consensus between reformers and those often opposed to them   Bill Honig discusses that there is a good chance for reconciliation and a working consensus between “reformers” and those who have had major problems with reform policies, implementation, and assumptions.

How Do You Improve Schools? Start by Coaching Principals, Says New Study  The research, by Vanderbilt University and Mathematica Policy Research, suggests that radically changing the job description of such supervisors to emphasize coaching and mentoring instead of operations and administration could refocus school communities on improving student achievement, retaining more teachers, and strengthening school climate. (Chalkbeat)

Implementing Your State’s ESSA Plan  Now that states have detailed how they will comply with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the focus shifts to implementation. Visit the ESSA Co-Pilot site to read the latest news, see what other states are doing, and find implementation resources. You can also learn how AIR can help.

10 Bold Ideas Principals Can Embrace This School Year  Principals, the start of a new school year can be hectic. But it’s also a time to reflect – and potentially change your ways. (Think of the new year as a fresh slate.)  Have you considered tackling a perennial issue head on this year? Or totally rethinking one of your school’s standard practices?  Here are 10 suggestions-big and small-for shaking things up.

How Big Data Can Help You Personalize Learning AnEdWeek webinar  (11 a.m. EDT Wednesday, August 22)  Personalized learning is based around students’ personal interests and their natural ability to learn in order to develop their skills further and increase engagement in class. But the question remains, how can we create an environment that enables this framework in a practical way to support the needs of every student in the classroom?  That’s where big data and learning analytics comes in. Data empowers educators and administrators to better understand their students, helping them make instructional decisions that will enable all students to reach their full potential. Data empowers students to become partners in their own learning, enabling them to track their progress towards their learning goals. Finally, data empowers ed-tech developers so that they can continue to improve the user experience for teachers and students alike.  All of these applications of big data and what it means for personalized learning-today and in the future will be addressed.

Fit for Purpose: Taking the Long View on Systems Change and Policy to Support Competency Education – an iNACOL webinar (2 p.m. EDT Tuesday, August 28)  To build a vision for coherent, student-centered systems – and to encourage all stakeholders to take ownership of education innovation – we must take the long view in our approach to state policy. The work begins with unpacking brave new ideas about education, piece by piece so that policymakers understand each issue that must be addressed for sustainable education transformation.  You’re invited to join iNACOL’s president and CEO and policy team to discuss the long game in moving toward personalized, competency-based education in the United States in an iNACOL Special Edition Webinar.

Is Leadership Coaching the Ignored Professional Development?  The job of a building leader is a demanding job, and it seems to be getting even more demanding. Principals are asked to do a great deal, and cannot always find the time to do it. What this means, and what principals and their district supervisors need to understand, is that they cannot do alone.  Unfortunately, this leads to yet another challenge of leadership.

Encouraging More High School Students to Consider Teaching  In the last 10 years, interest in pursuing an education major has declined. Once a top four major of interest among high school graduates taking the ACT, it was eighth-most popular in 2017. A new report from ACT, Encouraging More High School Students to Consider Teaching, aims to better understand the reasons for declining interest in the teaching profession among high school students. With results provided by the level of student interest in teaching, the report proposes steps toward generating greater student interest in the profession, including increasing starting salaries, educating students about overall financial benefits of teaching and targeting recruitment efforts through grow-your-own programs.