Curriculum Associates Names 31 Exemplar Teachers to Its 2023 Class of Extraordinary Educators™

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass.—Curriculum Associates recently named its 2023 class of Extraordinary Educators, an annual program that celebrates and connects exemplar teachers in Grades K–8 from around the country. Representing 25 different states, this year’s 31 selected teachers all exhibit best-in-class use of i-Ready, i-Ready Classroom Mathematics, and/or Ready, illustrate growth and achievement via formal assessments, demonstrate innovation and engagement practices for students, are evangelists for high expectations and student achievement, are champions of equity, and have been teaching for at least two years.

“Teachers are true rockstars,” said Emily McCann, vice president of educator community at Curriculum Associates. “This year’s Extraordinary Educators are no exception – they were chosen from hundreds of nominations and represent the best of the best. We are happy to recognize and celebrate these educators’ amazing work and achievements, as well as provide them with ongoing professional learning and networking opportunities to help them continue to grow their craft.”

With nearly 340 years of combined teaching experience, this year’s class of Extraordinary Educators includes classroom teachers, special education teachers, and instructional specialists. All of the educators were ultimately selected by an advisory board featuring leaders from Curriculum Associates, previously inducted Extraordinary Educators, and a college student pursuing a degree in urban education.…Read More

Parents are turning to schools for student mental health

School counselors and social workers, teachers, and administrators have always been integral to a parent’s support network. This is particularly true for children who struggle in class and have trouble accessing their curriculum.  Collaborative communication between a school and parents is critical for ensuring positive student outcomes.

Although clearly an issue before the pandemic, the pandemic has increased our collective awareness of children’s mental health issues and schools’ role in addressing those challenges. At the height of the pandemic, we were aware of the toll that the effects of the pandemic were taking on the nation’s school children, but we were functioning in a survival mode. As we emerge from this survival mode, it is clear that our school-age children are in crisis.

According to an October 30, 2022, Wall Street Journal article, “A mental-health crisis among children and teens that had been brewing for years worsened as routines were disrupted in the pandemic and many kids faced isolation and loss.”…Read More

The phonics fix?

Much like the return of Cabbage Patch Kids, He-Man, and the Lite Brite I saw at the store on Black Friday, we’re living in an era where what’s old is new. 

During the pandemic, renowned reading expert Lucy Calkins called for a ‘rebalancing’ of Balanced Literacy, alluding to an increased focus on linking letters with their sounds–or what those of us who went to elementary school in the 80-90s know as phonics class. 

While some teachers are not necessarily abandoning components of Balanced Literacy (like reading aloud, guided and independent reading, and word study) in favor of pulling out the old phonics workbook with the tear out pages, they are reconsidering the role phonics plays in modern elementary education and turning more often to a Science of Reading-based approach.…Read More

3 ways to bring teacher PD into the 21st century

When I started teaching in the early 90s, I was an eager and very green third grade teacher ready to change the world, one class at a time. My colleagues and I worked hard to build a learning community that met the needs of our students, no matter their circumstances or the resources at our disposal (or lack thereof).  

Since then, I have served in various roles in public education and the private sector and have witnessed innovations in curriculum, instructional design, classroom design, and more. But amid all this change, one area has remained relatively static in public education. When it comes to training and developing teachers, we have been letting opportunity to leverage technology pass us by. Instead of a place to break new ground and match the demands of the modern classroom, professional development programs remain a pain point for teachers.

More than half of teachers have expressed wanting to leave the profession, with many citing a lack of quality development and support as a contributing factor. Teacher PD feels obligatory, generic, time-consuming, and for many, out of reach.…Read More

Students are still behind in math–what needs to change?

As students return to class this fall, K–12 teachers and administrators face many challenges—and math instruction is high on the list.

Although state assessment data from the 2021–2022 school year suggest that students have begun to close pandemic-related learning gaps, the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results reveal that students’ math scores dropped seven points—the first-ever score drop for math in the assessment’s fifty-year history.

Educators now face the daunting task of making up for lost instructional time from the COVID-19 pandemic, while at the same time, addressing drops in math achievement and teaching grade-level content. Where do educators start?…Read More

When I grow up: Nurturing girls to become leaders

Growing up, I was the class vice-president; the de facto leader of every group project ever assigned; elementary and high school valedictorian; and the captain of my sports teams. I met all the stereotypes of a typical, Type A student. Yet, it never crossed my mind that when I grew up, I could be a CEO.

I’m not alone. 

According to Harvard Business Review 5.3 percent of large U.S. companies have CEOs named John compared with 4.1 percent that have CEOs who are women. Firms with CEOs named David, at 4.5 percent, also outnumber women-led businesses. More than half of college graduates are women, yet, less than 8 percent of the fortune 500 CEOs are women. The stats speak for themselves. …Read More

Teacher shortages remain a top problem–here’s how to fix them

With no end in sight to this teacher crisis, some districts across the country are filling instructional gaps utilizing non-traditional teaching and learning models.

School districts nationwide are facing unprecedented teacher shortages, with thousands of classrooms unstaffed as the school year begins. Filling these vacancies with certified teachers is a critical need.

In this eSchool News webinar, you’ll hear how districts are working on innovative solutions education leaders can put into place for a single class, school, or the entire district to launch this school year with a fully qualified and certified instructional team.…Read More

Why we should be teaching students economic literacy

When 17-year-old Jerry Marnell thought about heading off to college, economics seemed like an enticing major to study. Between self-starting his own production company and serving as president of a local club, he knew basic business tenets were vital to success and he was interested in learning more about the subject.

But like for so many young people across the country, Jerry’s high school in California’s Monterey Bay area did not offer economic classes. He had no way of knowing for certain if economics was something he’d like to pursue, or how economic principles touch every facet of our lives—from the decisions made by individuals and companies to the performance of regional, national, and global economies.

As students return to class this back-to-school season, many parents may think their own teenagers will be taking an economics course, given the topic’s importance. For the last several years, however, only half of the U.S.—a stark 50 percent of states—require that high schools even offer an economics class as part of the curriculum, according to the Council for Economic Education. Meanwhile, 27 states mandate that personal finance courses be offered – a number that has nearly doubled since 2011. Unfortunately, economic literacy has taken a back seat when it comes to young Americans because many policy makers confuse the discipline of economics with financial literacy.  …Read More

Why universal screening is a more equitable identifier of gifted and talented students

School districts have historically relied on a referral-based process to identify students for gifted and talented programming. This means that teachers or parents nominate their students to take selected achievement and/or cognitive aptitude tests, frequently used as a screener for gifted and talented placement.

Unfortunately, relying on referrals alone results in overly homogenous gifted and talented programs that are predominantly white, middle class, and male. Research shows that referral-based identification excludes too many students from enrichment and advanced academic opportunities.

But districts are slowly starting to change their identification processes. Instead of using referrals to determine which students take the specified tests, districts have begun universally screening every child to make the identification process more equitable, especially when districts use cognitive aptitude tests for all students, not just a select subset.…Read More

Poptential™ Expands Bell Ringer Content in Free Social Studies Curriculum

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Poptential™, an award-winning family of free social studies course packages, has expanded and enhanced its Bell Ringer content with the goal of providing a bell ringer for every day of the school year. Click to tweet.

Bell Ringers are brief conversation starters for use at the beginning of class to get students thinking. Some are tied to a specific date or holiday, and others are interesting topics that connect to a subject covered in class.

“Teachers like Bell Ringers because they add structure to the beginning of class as students are filing in, and warm up students so they are ready to learn,” said Julie Smitherman, a former social studies teacher and director of content at Certell, Inc., the nonprofit behind Poptential. “Students like Bell Ringers because they use media-rich content that sparks their curiosity and leads to thought-provoking discussions.”…Read More