For school leaders, routine decisions aren’t so routine

Key points:

In the tapestry of leadership, decisions are often viewed through a lens of routine or regularity. It’s easy to fall into the belief that some choices are mundane, merely navigating the day-to-day operations of an organization. However, beneath this seemingly commonplace surface lies a profound truth: no leadership decision is truly routine. Each choice, whether seemingly minor or monumental, has the potential to send ripples through the fabric of an organization or impact an individual in ways that may extend beyond the leaders’ view.

Understanding the potential consequences of seemingly routine decisions is not just an important leadership skill; it’s a necessity. Every leadership decision, regardless of its apparent simplicity, possesses the potential to have a far greater impact than it appears viewed on the surface. A few examples illustrate this premise:  …Read More

Excite, expand, equitize: Using data to support reading

Key points:

Five years ago, we were already well into discussions about investing in a digital reading application. Our overall objective was to expand access to literacy and use real-world data in curating and individualizing collections to better serve the needs of the district’s highly diverse student population. A priority was to give students seamless connection to the digital collections of the Lexington Public Library that serves our local area. As was the case for most districts in the country, the pandemic precipitated an even greater push to provide digital content.

The platform we selected—OverDrive Education’s Sora reading app—aligns with our public library system for easy access to its wealth of digital materials. The solution also allowed us to ease into the use of digital content at our own pace and within funding availability.…Read More

HSPA named a 5-Star Innovative School 2023 in The Educator report for Mastery Learning

MELBOURNE, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA/ —  Edalex, the company powering organisations’ single source of truth for skills and learning data, enthusiastically congratulates the Hunter School of Performing Arts (HSPA) for being named one of the ‘ 5-Star Innovative Schools 2023’ by The Educator for their work around mastery learning, credentialing and Learner Dashboard innovations, which were co-designed with Edalex and Learning Vault using the  Credentialate and openRSD platforms.

According to Darren Ponman, Principal of HSPA: “We were excited to receive this recognition – particularly as we were nominated by another school! Our parents and students have been thrilled with the dynamic, 24/7 visibility that the Credentialate Learner Dashboard has given them. They can see at any moment the student’s achievements – both pending and achieved, what they need to do to ‘level up’ and where they sit in relation to the wider student cohort. Gamification was a key objective from the beginning of the project and has really worked to motivate the students to strive for mastery.”

“We are so pleased that HSPA has been recognised for the implementation of its comprehensive Mastery Learning model, and honoured that we were able to provide the tech enablement of Darren’s vision. HSPA has been on a multi-year journey to implement an innovative pedagogy, and this is deserved recognition for the school leaders, teachers, parents and students of their efforts. Collaboration between education providers, education technology companies and others is the key to enabling success in the skills economy.”…Read More

Most states don’t actually know if teachers are qualified to teach reading

Key points:

  • States are using inadequate elementary reading licensure tests
  • States should transition to stronger tests and test providers should clearly identify weaknesses in tests
  • See related article: Teacher Q&A: Strengthening PD with AI
  • For more news on teacher prep, visit eSN’s Educational Leadership page

Most states (29 states and the District of Columbia) use a weak elementary teacher reading licensure test, meaning that they do not effectively measure teachers’ knowledge of scientifically based reading instruction prior to entering the classroom, according to a new analysis from the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).

In fact, one state, Iowa, requires no reading licensure test at all. This shortcoming means that, every year, nearly 100,000 elementary teachers across the country enter classrooms with false assurances that they are ready to teach reading.…Read More

Real Talk about AI

As the hoopla surrounding emerging AI technologies and their impact on education endures, we need to get past whether or not to use ChatGPT—Pandora’s box is officially open—and focus instead on how best to use it. Despite OpenAI recently releasing a guide for ChatGPT in the classroom that demonstrates how teachers can use the large language model software to enhance learning, Zarek Dozda, director of UChicago’s Data Science 4 Everyone, does not think it goes as far as it should to address educators’ concerns about the growth of this emerging tech in classrooms.

In this insightful conversation, Zarek breaks down several particulars he feels need to be addressed, including:

  • More research – OpenAI’s guidance focuses on anecdotal evidence of ChatGPT in classrooms but has little to say about best practices when using ChatGPT as an educational tool.
  • Focus on mechanics – Instead of highlighting education tactics that utilize ChatGPT, OpenAI should provide a more thorough explanation of large language models and how they work.
  • Training for teachers – The specific teachers mentioned in OpenAI’s guidance should be applauded for embracing emerging tech, but there needs to be greater resources for teachers just trying to keep up with AI.

Data Science for Everyone is a coalition advancing data science education so that every K-12 student has the data literacy skills needed to succeed in our modern world. Equitable access to data science education is an opportunity to open doors to higher education, high-paying careers, and an engaged community. Created by the University of Chicago Center for RISC and organized in partnership with The Learning Agency and the Concord Consortium, the group supports a growing community that knows that the data revolution has transformed modern life and we need to prepare our students. …Read More

New Lab Book Helps Educators Turn STEM Classrooms Into Forensic Labs

BEAVERTON, Oregon — Vernier Science Education recently released Forensic Chemistry Experiments to teach students fundamental chemistry concepts through engaging forensic investigations. The new lab book, which features 15 experiments specifically designed for introductory and advanced chemistry high school and college-level classes, immerses students in the excitement of solving crimes through hands-on experimentation using Vernier data-collection technology.

“When students are engaged in the learning process, they are more likely to think critically, master key concepts, and acquire new skills,” said John Wheeler, CEO of Vernier Science Education. “Turning students into forensic investigators to help them learn the science involved in solving crimes is an incredibly powerful way to foster engagement. With experiments corresponding directly to key chemistry topics, such as gas laws, atomic theory, and chemical equations, our new lab book is a must-have for any educator looking to immerse students in real-world science applications.”

Forensic Chemistry Experiments is ideal for educators seeking to boost student participation and enthusiasm in chemistry, including those teaching dedicated forensic science courses, high school chemistry, and college chemistry. Sample investigations include Unusually Cool Beverage, Cold Case for Carbon Dioxide, Secret Message, Mystery Powder, and Arson Analysis.…Read More

Data really is the secret sauce in the K-12 classroom

Key points:

Along with all of the educational technology that’s made its way into the K-12 classroom over the last 10 years, we also now have a constant stream of useful, actionable data that we can use to improve student outcomes. This is especially true with literacy, where it’s all too easy to lose track of student progress and performance as students make their way through elementary and middle school.

Knowing this, we opted to pilot the Lexia Core5 Reading adaptive blended learning literacy program a few years ago. Our initial goal was to improve the reading support we offered students based on their literacy data, specifically in the area of foundational skills. We were collecting data from a variety of assessments, but the interventions we were using just weren’t showing that students were making consistent progress as readers.…Read More

5 edtech resources that support literacy in elementary school

Key points:

Fall is the best time of year in Montana. The air is crisp, the colors are beautiful, and, as school has been in session for two months, students and teachers alike have settled into a nice routine. It is the time of year where we analyze the data from the first two months of school, tweak instruction to meet student needs, and accelerate our efforts to help our students achieve as much growth as possible. Just as in classrooms nationwide, Montana’s teachers place an intense focus on supporting literacy in elementary school instruction. 

As a veteran teacher of 17 years who has taught in both elementary and middle school classrooms, I have found that there are a number of powerful edtech tools available to support student literacy. My students love to be on the computers and get so excited when I say we are going to be doing a lesson online. However, I refuse to allow students to simply log screen time in my classroom. The tools and resources my students use must generate discussion and are often used in a team or partner setting, as I strongly believe that student interaction supports our instructional goals.…Read More

With better data, these 12 things would improve, supes say

Key points:

Data access is critical when educators need to make informed decisions about curriculum, assessments, academic and social-emotional interventions, and more. So how are superintendents using data–and can they access it quickly and effectively in order to use it?

A national poll from the Data Quality Campaign and AASA, The School Superintendents Association surveyed district superintendents to find out they use data to support their students and schools.…Read More