SEL is an educator essential

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is an approach to learning that focuses on the social and emotional skills necessary for students to succeed in school and life. SEL is not new, but it has recently gained momentum as more educators recognize the importance of teaching social and emotional skills.

With this new approach, schools focus on developing students’ social and emotional skills to help them succeed academically and socially. Emotional intelligence is the capacity to identify and manage one’s emotions and those of others, use emotional information in thinking, and understand the emotional significance of events.

What are the Benefits of SEL?…Read More

Mississippi Principal Named Curriculum Associates’ 2023 Inspire Award Winner

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass.—Dr. Kiana Pendleton, principal of Laurel Magnet School of the Arts in the Laurel School District in Laurel, MS, was recently named the winner of Curriculum Associates’ 2023 Inspire Award. This recognition, which is part of the company’s annual Extraordinary Educators™ program celebrating exemplar teachers around the country, is given to one administrator nationwide for their ability to create strong bonds with school-based teams to take the use of Curriculum Associates’ i-Ready program to new levels to support students’ academic success.

“Dr. Pendleton is a standout leader who understands the support and resources teachers and students alike need in order to succeed,” said Emily McCann, vice president of educator community at Curriculum Associates. “Dr. Pendleton’s dedication to her school community and her hard work day-in and day-out is admirable.”

Pendleton began her career in education as an America Reads tutor in Jackson, MS. Prior to coming to the Laurel School District in April 2018, she served as a teacher, interventionist, and district reading specialist. For her outstanding leadership and dedicated service as principal of Laurel Magnet School of the Arts, Pendleton was named Laurel School District’s Administrator of the Year in 2019. She was also later selected by the Mississippi Department of Education as a finalist for the title of Mississippi Administrator of the Year.…Read More

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

National Alliance of Black School Educators Names Patricia Smith of St Charles Parish Public Schools the 2022 NABSE $10,000 Scholarship Award Recipient

NORTH BILLERICA, Mass.—The National Alliance of Black School Educators (NABSE) recently named Patricia Smith, director of federal programs for St. Charles Parish Public Schools in Louisiana, as the recipient of the 2022 NABSE $10,000 Scholarship Award sponsored by Curriculum Associates. The award’s Dr. Charles Mitchell, Jr. Leadership Scholarship will support Smith as she pursues a doctorate degree in educational leadership from Southeastern Louisiana University.

“We are thrilled that our signature partner Curriculum Associates is again sponsoring this wonderful opportunity for a deserving educator,” said Dr. Nardos King, president of NABSE. “Education is our core mission, and Patricia Smith will use this opportunity to add to the pool of needed leaders in our field.”  

Smith has demonstrated strong leadership skills throughout her 27-year career in education, which has included roles as an assistant director of summer and graduate placement programs, teacher, principal, coach, curriculum specialist, and, now, director of federal programs. Collectively, these positions have provided her with unique perspectives which contribute to the sustainable academic success and social-emotional growth of the students and staff she leads.…Read More

STEM learning makes this educator shine

Each year, we share our 10 most-read stories. Not surprisingly, many of this year’s Top 10 focused on innovative ways to engage students, digital resources, and online and hybrid learning strategies related to post-pandemic teaching. This year’s 7th most-read story focuses on a Hero Awards winner dedicated to STEM education.

One of three eSN K-12 Hero Awards winners and nominated by Bluum, Kim Leblanc was selected for the innovative STEM learning initiatives she champions in her district and for her students.

Conventional wisdom would say that economically disadvantaged schools across the country would need to think twice before making a major investment in technology. However, not all districts in that predicament have a technology director like Kim Leblanc.…Read More

5 components of a great hybrid learning program

Each year, we share our 10 most-read stories. Not surprisingly, many of this year’s Top 10 focused on innovative ways to engage students, digital resources, and online and hybrid learning strategies related to post-pandemic teaching. This year’s 10th most-read story focuses on creating a great hybrid learning program.

Over the past year and a half, “hybrid learning” has become quite the buzzword when it comes to education. With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting learners across the world, we’ve witnessed the growing need for hybrid learning, an education option that combines the benefits of a traditional in-person classroom and online learning. But the need for this option won’t just be a fleeting trend. The future of hybrid learning is bright, and the benefits are unmatched. I’ve seen it for myself.

As an educator for 10 years, I’ve worked in in-person, online, and hybrid classrooms. I’ve experienced the dos and don’ts of creating learning environments where my students can not only learn but be their best selves. When my colleagues ask me for my secret for success, here are the tips that I share: …Read More

How to keep your students weird

Some years ago, when I was still working as a teacher, I had a student come to me in a state of distress. Like many young people her age, she was having trouble fitting in. Everything from her hair to her clothes to her overall demeanor made her stand out, and as a result, some of her fellow students had taken to calling her a “weirdo.” I am not proud of everything that I’ve done in education, but I am proud of what I told her next. I told this student the truth.

I told her that she WAS weird – and that all of the best people are. I told her she was one of my favorite students because of what made her unique. I told her I would do everything I could to make the school safer for weirdos like her, and that in the outside world, all the great advancements came from people who didn’t fit in.

Every educator knows that weirdness is what makes our students grow. After all, curiosity, creativity, and critical thought don’t bloom in a stagnant mind. So instead of wringing our hands over the social ecosystem, let’s encourage our students to think weirder.…Read More

6 reasons to improve teacher and principal evaluation policies

New data and analysis released by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) finds ample opportunities for improvement in states’ teacher and principal evaluation policies. With educator quality as the most powerful in-school factor that contributes to students’ academic success, an essential component to supporting student recovery in the wake of pandemic-related learning loss must be ensuring all students have access to effective teachers and administrators.

Evidence-based teacher and principal evaluation policies, when well-implemented, have great potential to help individual educators strengthen their practice, promote overall improvements in the quality of the workforce, and—most importantly—support increased student achievement.

“Strong, well-implemented teacher and principal evaluation systems can make a big difference for both teachers and students,” said Dr. Heather Peske, NCTQ President. “It’s disappointing to see that states have continued to back away from evidence-based evaluation policies and practices over the past several years, especially when we need to ensure every child has access to great teachers more than ever.”

The new NCTQ report, State of the States 2022: Teacher and Principal Evaluation Policies, presents data and analysis on policies from all 50 states and D.C. covering essential, evidence-based components of teacher and principal evaluation systems. Despite increased state adoption of evidence-based evaluation policies over a decade ago, the most recent data documents a continued decline in the number of states with teacher and principal evaluation requirements in place that research shows have the potential to drive significant improvements in student learning. 

Key findings in the NCTQ data include:

  • Fewer states require that objective measures of student growth be included in a teacher or principal’s evaluation. Helping students to grow academically is core to the role of all educators. Between 2009 and 2015, most states adopted policies that required educator evaluations include some objective measure of student growth, such as student state, district, or school assessment data or data from student learning objectives. However, while 43 states had this requirement for both teacher and principal evaluations in 2015, that number has since dropped to 30 states for teachers and 27 states for principals. While the pandemic may have interrupted assessments, recent declines in student results should reinvigorate states’ focus on student growth.
  • Fewer states now explicitly allow or require that student feedback be incorporated into a teacher’s evaluation. Teacher evaluations that include multiple sources of data, including from student assessments, teacher observations, and student surveys, create a fuller, more accurate picture of a teacher’s performance. Despite evidence that feedback from students is an important component to include in assessing teacher quality and to gauge students’ experiences, only five states now require that student surveys be included in a teacher’s evaluation. Support for including survey data in principal evaluations has also declined, with now only eight states requiring surveys or feedback from students, teachers, parents, and/or peers be included in a principal’s evaluation.

Related:
Prediction: The future of teacher evaluations is video
Post-COVID plans should focus on program values and evaluation…Read More

5 science lessons that foster students’ social-emotional growth

It’s been said, “If a child can do advanced math, speak three languages, or receive top grades, but can’t manage their emotions, practice conflict resolution, or handle stress, none of that other stuff is really going to matter.

As an educator, I’ve witnessed the truth of this statement firsthand. Whether they’re pursuing a future career or simply playing on a school sports team, it’s imperative that students know how to work together with the people around them. But lessons on social-emotional learning aren’t typically found in a classroom syllabus. So, how do we as educators actively foster these qualities in our students?   

SEL skills can be implemented into any content area; it just takes a little intentionality and planning. By including aspects of SEL in hands-on, inquiry-based activities, we can help students develop these skills organically. Here are just a few science lessons where we intentionally taught social-emotional skills:          …Read More

3 ways schools play a vital role in community safety

Schools do so much for a community. They provide a safe place for children to learn and grow each day, filled with educators who truly care. However, as a parent or educator, it’s important to understand that many schools aren’t being used to their full potential.

When utilized properly, local schools can uplift safety in your community, providing a place outside of traditional school hours for children and families to feel secure and supported.

The task of neighborhood safety shouldn’t fall solely on teachers and administrators. However, these individuals who have regular contact with local youth can spearhead the initiatives that promote safety in the community.…Read More