The 14 most innovative SEL districts, part 2

[Editor’s Note: This article was first published on the Move This World blog on November 1, 2018.]

Make sure you read “The 14 most innovative SEL districts, part 1.”

In this article, we will be highlighting districts that have shown tremendous commitment to the well being of their students and staff. These 14 districts are being recognized for their efforts in social emotional learning (SEL) and their dedication to creating safe learning environments where individuals feel empowered to express themselves, and where effective teaching and learning can occur.…Read More

The 14 Most Innovative SEL Districts, Part 1

[Editor’s Note: This article was first published on the Move This World blog on November 1, 2018. Come back tomorrow for part 2.]

In this article, we will be highlighting districts that have shown tremendous commitment to the well being of their students and staff. These 14 districts are being recognized for their efforts in social emotional learning (SEL) and their dedication to creating safe learning environments where individuals feel empowered to express themselves, and where effective teaching and learning can occur.

What is SEL? As defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), social emotional learning is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.…Read More

Here’s how 4 schools are supporting wireless internet needs

As wireless internet needs become more important for students and instructors, many schools are bolstering their connectivity to ensure smooth learning experiences.

Schools and campuses must support 1:1 online learning initiatives, artificial intelligence/virtual reality (AI/VR) use, BYOD, shared resources, and on-campus surveillance–these efforts require reliable and cost-effective wireless connections that support collaborative digital-learning environments.

And at a time when internet access is of the utmost importance for effective teaching and learning, IT leaders must ensure consistent access and reliable connectivity.…Read More

The benefits of adding video to teacher evaluations

A Harvard researcher shares her national perspective on improving professional development

One of the biggest challenges in K-12 education is finding an effective and productive way to evaluate teacher performance. In a world where technology is rapidly reshaping the classroom, it’s natural to look to its potential, especially considering that many schools now have the technology to do classroom observation via video. However, these same schools aren’t yet convinced whether the investment will change status quo evaluations. To find out, in 2012, the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard, where I work, piloted the Best Foot Forward Project (BFF), a study that grew out of the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) project.

BFF began with pilot programs in large districts in Georgia and North Carolina as well as Relay Graduate School of Education. In an effort to gather data from large and small districts in both urban and rural areas, we then expanded the study to include Los Angeles Unified School District, the state of Delaware, and a number of districts in Colorado.

We randomly selected half the teachers to be in a treatment group that would take videos of themselves in the classroom. These videos were then passed along to their principals for evaluation purposes. We also had remote peers provide our treatment group teachers with formative feedback on their subject matter. The control group did “business as usual” when it came to their evaluations.…Read More

Should student test scores be used to evaluate teachers?

Teachers who lead students to achievement gains in one year or in one class tend to do so in other years and other classes, the report said.

The so-called value-added model is an “imperfect, but still informative” measure of teacher effectiveness, especially when it is combined with other measures, according to the preliminary results of a large-scale study funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The study’s early findings have ratcheted up the debate over whether student test scores should be used in evaluating teachers—and if so, how.

The report, entitled “Learning About Teaching: Initial Findings from the Measures of Effective Teaching Project,” reportedly gives the strongest evidence to date of the validity of the value-added model as a tool to measure teacher effectiveness.

The $45-million Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) Project  began in the fall of 2009 with the goal of building “fair and reliable systems for teacher observation and feedback.”…Read More

Are qualified teachers always effective teachers?

An effective teacher can alter a student's achievement by as much as 50 percentage points.
An effective teacher can alter a student's achievement by as much as 50 percentage points.

Under No Child Left Behind, schools are required to make sure every teacher is “highly qualified,” which—according to the law—means teachers must be certified in the subject areas they teach. But amid a growing consensus that “highly qualified” doesn’t necessarily mean “highly effective,” a movement is under way to reshape how the nation views successful teaching.

The effort is particularly relevant as learning in today’s schools undergoes a 21st-century transformation, some observers say—and they say true reform won’t occur until education leaders redefine what “highly qualified” teaching means.

In the typical instructional model of the past, the teacher was a “sage on the stage,” well versed in facts within a specific subject area and able to teach from a textbook. But now, 21st-century education demands a different kind of teacher, many stakeholders say—more of a mentor than a sage, and someone who can facilitate both individualized and collaborative learning.…Read More

Poor teachers may hamper good students: U.S. study

Researchers said an unusual genetic study supports the argument that good teachers make a difference and shows that poor teachers may do damage, even to gifted students, Reuters reports. The study, published in the journal Science, showed that effective teachers help kids with the best genes read better, while poor teachers brought down all the children in a classroom to the same mediocre level. The findings by behavioral geneticist Jeanette Taylor at Florida State University and colleagues could influence the debate in Congress, the White House and school districts across the United States about measuring the quality in schools. “In circumstances where the teachers are all excellent, the variability in student reading achievement may appear to be largely due to genetics. However, poor teaching impedes the ability of children to reach their potential,” Taylor and colleagues concluded…

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