Districts see room for growth in principal hiring practices

Effective school leadership is now considered a necessary part of improving schools, according to a new RAND Corp. survey of 192 district leaders across the country. Ninety percent of the 175 leaders from districts with at least 10,000 students responded that school leadership is tied to school improvement in district goals, strategic plans and other district activities. But large districts — those with over 50,000 students — are more likely than medium-sized ones to have many principal pipeline activities that have been found to increase student achievement.

School Practices to Address Student Learning Loss

This brief, written in partnership with the Annenberg Institute at Brown University and Results for America, is one in a series aimed at providing K-12 education decision makers and advocates with an evidence base to ground discussions about how to best serve students during and following the novel coronavirus pandemic. This brief looks at potential interventions for students who have fallen out of typical grade range—particularly those who were struggling before the pandemic.

A Look Back at the 2008 Recession: States That Maintained Education Spending

As the COVID-19 pandemic moves the U.S. economy into a tumultuous recessionary period, state policymakers are making difficult decisions about spending priorities. In education finance, we often use overarching principles to discuss the potential impacts of a recessionary period. However, state- and recession- specific qualities are important in estimating financial impact. After examining state-specific trends from our most recent recession, we found important context around revenue conditions that supports a more hopeful outlook for some states.

How states can lead the conversation on equity

At first glance Ohio and Washington are very different states (coastal vs. Midwest, the Seahawks vs. the Browns and Bengals, blue vs. red) but in reality we’re more alike than we think. In both states, despite hard work, low-income students and students of color lack opportunities to achieve prosperity, success, and upward social mobility. But there is something we can all do about it. A new report by the Aspen Institute and the Council of Chief State School Officers identifies concrete actions state education leaders can take to help achieve educational equity in their states. One of the first recommendations in the report was for state leaders to “proactively initiate and lead conversations about equity.”

Recent State Education Policy Actions Supporting LGBTQI+ Students

While it is difficult to determine the total number of LGBTQI+ students nationwide, a recent national survey estimates 1.3 million high-schoolers across the country identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. Studies show these students experience more bullying, depression and homelessness, as a result of their identities. The CDC’s resource page on LGBT youth stresses the importance of safe schools and homes specifically for these students and their overall health and success. In recent years, states have been setting policies that support LGBTQI+ students, foster safe school environments and promote tolerance and acceptance in school curricula.

Relationships Matter for Student Outcomes, Statistically Speaking

According to BARR’s most recent data, teachers report that they feel increased self-efficacy, believing they can facilitate positive, strength-based changes in their students. They say they feel supported by their administrators, and these teachers, in turn, can change their behaviors. Also evidenced is enhanced collaboration; better use of data; and positive, intentional relationships with students. Student attitudes also change as a result. Students report feeling more supported, that more is expected of them and that they feel more engaged in school. They say they’ve changed their behaviors. They attend school more, have fewer behavioral issues, and improved social and emotional skills.

Expanding Visions of Success in Mathematics for Marginalized Students

This brief brings together insights from 10 early career scholars, two faculty contributors, and a network of senior scholars who served as mentors in the Inclusive Mathematics Environments Early Career Fellowship. Research insights are mapped onto the Building Equitable Learning Environments (BELE) framework and levers for systems change are suggested. The summary identifies new possibilities for defining, recognizing, and eliciting success in mathematics environments.

Amid concerns of widening equity gaps, Black educators suggest a starting point

While students and teachers across the country itch to reenter the classroom, superintendents report many of their Black students prefer staying at home. “They’re saying to me, ‘We good. I’m good,'” said Luvelle Brown, superintendent of New York’s Ithaca City School District. “When I push them, they say, ‘I haven’t been to the [principal’s] office in months. I’m reading material that is responsive to things I want to read about.’ Our young people are in a culturally responsive environment at home, and they’re saying, ‘We’re good.'”

Competency-Based Education: State Policy Options for COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery

States are charting their path forward to reopen schools, but learning loss projections and the potential for additional school closures in the fall loom as major obstacles for supporting student growth and achievement. Education policy leaders have focused on building the capacity of schools and districts to provide remote instruction and student supports, but moving from triage to recovery represents the next step. In response to these challenges, schools may implement new models of learning and assessment, including competency-based education, which could help to remove seat time as a measure of student learning and allow for increased flexibility to meet students where they are.

‘This fall will not be business as usual’: 5 things to know about schools reopening in Illinois

With school buildings reopening in the fall, the Illinois State Board of Education’s new guidelines make it clear that school will not be the same as in the past. Last week, Pritzker signed a bill giving schools districts flexibility to use remote learning days or blended learning days if there is a spike in coronavirus cases and schools close again. The 60-page document provides school districts with recommendations on an array of topics, including public health guidelines, prioritizing vulnerable groups for in-person instruction, assessing students, grading policies, and professional development for educators. School districts should be prepared if the guidance changes again.

Commentary: Illinois PTA calls for statewide learning recovery plan

As the current school year ends in districts across our state, school staff, from teachers and principals to bus drivers and school nurses, have shown to be true heroes for our students and families in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. These truly essential employees have delivered our communities meals, provided health alerts and information, supported our children with a quick transition to remote learning, and served as vital lifelines for countless students and families. We are extremely grateful to them and applaud their strength and commitment.

How the coronavirus could change the way Kansas students are taught for decades

When Kansas K-12 students head back to school in the fall, they may face an altered academic landscape as educators prepare districts for the possibility that the coronavirus will make in-person class time impossible for weeks on end. But a draft of statewide reopening guidance to schools, obtained by The Star, shows that educators preparing districts to navigate the pandemic see their work as an opportunity to advance changes that will affect how students are taught for decades.

School every three days? That could be the new reality of in-person learning in NYC.

Concrete plans on how schools — and their buildings — will operate this fall aren’t likely to be made for weeks. But to help move the planning process forward, education department officials have sent principals preliminary estimates outlining how many students their buildings and classrooms can safely hold while adhering to social distancing and health precautions. While some schools might be equipped to handle half their population at a time, others are having frank conversations with their families about being able to accommodate fewer students than that. Many estimates revealed only about a third of students — and sometimes fewer than that — can be in the building at a given time.