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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.

Teachers Support Social-Emotional Learning, But Say Students in Distress Strain Their Skills  Some research has linked focusing on these social-emotional competencies to higher academic performance and better outcomes outside of school. But while most teachers say it’s important for them to teach these skills, many still don’t feel equipped to help students manage their emotions—especially when it comes to the children who are facing the greatest hurdles, according to a new nationally representative survey from the Education Week Research Center. It’s not just teachers. Colleges of education have been slow to embrace the teaching of social-emotional learning as part of their core curricula for prospective teachers. Principals also report in surveys that they favor the teaching of SEL, but time constraints and lack of teacher training are a major barrier.

Louisiana Schools Chief Touts Teacher Training Program  State Superintendent of Education John White told two U. S. House subcommittees Wednesday that Louisiana’s overhaul of teacher training will provide major dividends. “College seniors aspiring to be teachers in Louisiana now experience year-long residencies under the tutelage of full-time mentor educators singularly dedicated to the resident’s development, so that every graduate of our colleges of education is validated as an effective teacher before his or her first day of full employment,” White said in written testimony. “We owe it to teachers and to their students to prepare them in a professional manner and to declare them effective before they take a full-time job as a classroom teacher,” he said. (The Advocate, July 17) 

Teacher Activism: Teacher Protest Actions on Education Policy  This Policy Outline captures teacher protest actions from February 2018 to May 2019, the motivations behind those actions and state legislative responses to them. Teacher protest actions include strikes, walkouts, sickouts, rallies, and marches.

2020 Census Program Invites Teachers To Become Ambassadors  The U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistics in Schools program invites Illinois teachers to become 2020 Census ambassadors. Ambassadors will champion the 2020 Census in their classrooms, schools, and communities and in doing so help Illinois achieve a complete 2020 Census count. Ideal candidates are active pre-K through 12th-grade teachers who are interested in spearheading a national initiative at their schools while shaping the future of their communities through social media, collaboration, and leadership. Teachers may email to apply by July 31. “We cannot overstate the importance of the census to ensuring Illinois’ students receive all the support they deserve to access to the best possible resources,” said State Superintendent of Education Carmen I. Ayala. “Teacher ambassadors for the 2020 Census will help shape the future for Illinois’ students and schools. I encourage all teachers to consider applying to serve as leaders in their communities and to promote the importance of the 2020 Census with students, parents, and families.”

Michelle Obama Appeals To Teachers: Make Sure Your Students Are Registered And Ready To Vote  Former first lady Michelle Obama is urging teachers throughout the country to make sure students who are eligible to cast ballots actually register and “are ready to vote.” Obama made her call through a video address at two recent teachers union conferences: the annual convention of the National Education Association, the country’s largest labor union, and the American Federation of Teachers. Together, the organizations have as many as 5 million members, most of them educators. Her outreach to teachers is the first piece of a voter registration initiative that she helped launch last year, a national, nonpartisan organization called When We All Vote. Other co-chairs include Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monáe, Chris Paul, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. The teachers unions are partners with the nonprofit initiative, as are other organizations including the League of Women Voters and Rock the Vote.

How One Illinois Program Aims To Train More Resilient, Longer-Lasting Teachers  Just two years out of high school, Leo Sanchez can easily recall the drowsy feeling of sitting in a Chicago classroom on a warm day. So he recognized the moment this month at Julian High School when he needed to rouse his 12 students and had them stand up to work in small groups on presentations on Reconstruction, slave revolts and other Civil War topics. “They want to do something that is engaging and fun,” said Sanchez, a rising junior at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, who aspires to be a teacher and to guard against boring students. “That helps me when it comes to lesson planning and knowing what I want to do with them.” Sanchez and 120 fellow undergrads are spending four weeks this summer student teaching, guided by mentors from the Golden Apple Foundation in a program designed to give prospective teachers hands-on experience. The program invests in a key part of the teacher training pipeline — providing experience in an actual classroom, to foster more resilient teachers. (Chalkbeat, July 19)

NPC 2019: 7 Best Practices Principals Picked Up From Social Media  Though often spotlighted for their perceived counter-productive roles in social discourse, social media platforms — particularly Twitter — have grown to play a prominent role in education, allowing educators from across the globe to share their best practices. It’s a concept that thought leaders and former administrators like Jimmy Casas, Jeff Zoul and Todd Whitaker have come to be known for in their conference appearances, and hashtags like #BFC530 have popped up over the years for a practice some administrators have labeled “PD in your PJs.” And in a crowded Thursday afternoon session at the 2019 National Principals Conference in Boston, three middle school principals had a chance to demonstrate what they’ve learned from their peers on social media.

McHenry County To Give Teachers Youth Mental Health Training  McHenry County will train educators on how to identify and assist youths experiencing mental health issues. The county mental health board is collaborating with 17 school districts in August to bring Youth Mental Health First Aid training to instructors and teach them crisis intervention, the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reported. “It gives you an opportunity for early intervention,” said Kristin Schmidt, assistant director of special education for Crystal Lake Elementary District 47, one of school districts receiving teacher training. “This will provide them a lens of empathy. They can apply it to how they choose to interact with students in their classroom or change expectations for classroom behaviors; modify workload for students with high anxiety.” (Associated Press, WGN9).

Seeking Your Feedback On The Regional Educational Laboratory Program  IES is seeking feedback about what is working well in the current Regional Educational Laboratories (REL) program, what can be improved, and the kinds of resources and services related to evidence-based practice and data use that are most needed by educators and policymakers to improve student outcomes. We are seeking comments that are practical, specific, and actionable, and that demonstrate a familiarity with the mission and work of the RELs.

Teacher-Preparation Programs Again Have a Choice of Accreditors. But Should They?  Once again, teacher-preparation programs have a choice of two accreditors if they want a national stamp of approval. After nearly a decade with a single national body for accreditation—which was formed by a merger in an attempt to unify a diffuse field—there are now two accrediting groups judging programs on how well they prepare their teachers. And two years after the newer, smaller Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation arrived on the scene, it has released its first batch of decisions. Nine programs so far have received accreditation under AAQEP’s standards as of this summer. That’s a far cry from the 238 programs accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, which began issuing decisions in 2016.