VHS Learning Earns MSA-CESS Reaccreditation 

Boston – VHS Learning has once again received accreditation from the Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS), a worldwide leader in accreditation and school improvement. A peer review team from Middle States member schools recommended VHS Learning for reaccreditation, and Middle States voted on the recommendation at its biannual meeting in Philadelphia. VHS Learning has been accredited by MSA-CESS since 2008.

For over 130 years, MSA-CESS has been helping school leaders establish and reach their goals, develop strategic plans, promote staff development, and advance student achievement. The institution accredits preK-12 public, private, parochial, and charter schools as well as non-degree granting career and technical post-secondary institutions and learning services providers. Receiving accreditation is a multifaceted evaluation process that schools and school systems voluntarily use to demonstrate they are meeting a defined set of research-based performance standards.

“This reaccreditation reflects VHS Learning’s commitment to supporting its school community.  Accreditation by MSA-CESS is a validation of the dedication and expertise that our faculty and staff have in teaching and learning best practices,” said Carol DeFuria, President & CEO of VHS Learning. “Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools accreditation is the gold standard for measuring and advancing school improvement, and our reaccreditation shows that VHS Learning is committed to excellence and continuous improvement.” …Read More

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

CASEL Announces 2023 Social and Emotional Learning Leaders of the Year (SELLY) Awards

CHICAGO – CASEL announced the recipients of the 2023 SELLY Awards, honoring outstanding achievements of seven “Social and Emotional Learning Leaders of the Year” in the categories of research, practice, and public policy. The annual awards recognize individuals whose body of work and commitment to social and emotional learning (SEL) have advanced the field and paved the way for others.

“The social and emotional learning movement is built by people who have spent their time, energy, and passion working together to create optimal outcomes for students. These awards pay tribute to pioneering SEL leaders and honor today’s education innovators dedicated to enhancing the lives of youth across the nation,” said CASEL President and CEO, Dr. Aaliyah A. Samuel. 

This year, CASEL recognizes seven individuals: …Read More

Fall River Announces Partnership With Ignite Reading’s Virtual, One-To-One Tutoring Program That’s Doubled Reading Growth For Students Nationwide

FALL RIVER – Fall River Public Schools announced an innovative new partnership with Ignite Reading to deliver virtual, one-to-one literacy tutoring for 300 first grade students in six schools this fall. Nationally, Ignite Reading’s students have recorded an average of over two weeks of reading progress per week, with no achievement gap for students of color, students with IEPs, multilingual learners, or students receiving free or reduced-price lunches. 

Ignite Reading officials joined Fall River leaders and students at Mary L. Fonseca Elementary today to showcase the nationally recognized program. The demonstration was followed by a Q&A session. Ignite Reading is now serving students in 60 schools across the commonwealth. 

“We’re thrilled to announce a new innovative collaboration with Ignite Reading. Given how participating students have bolstered their foundational reading skills in Massachusetts and nationally with Ignite Reading, we are optimistic that this program will supercharge literacy progress in Fall River,” said Stephanie Kennedy, Director of English Language Arts K-12 of Fall River Public Schools.…Read More

Leveraging the K-12 generative AI readiness checklist: A guide for district leadership

Editor’s note: This story on how to manage academic integrity as generative AI moves into classrooms originally appeared on CoSN’s blog and is reposted here with permission.

The rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) technology present both incredible opportunities and significant challenges for educational settings. Whether or not a school district is considering leveraging AI, the influence of this technology on educational ecosystems is undeniable. As AI increasingly becomes a part of our daily lives, district leaders have a responsibility to understand its impact in educational settings and make informed decisions accordingly. This is true whether the aim is active adoption or simply preparation for a future where AI tools become more prevalent in educational settings.

To ensure school districts are adequately prepared for the integration of generative AI into their instructional and operational systems, the Council of Great City Schools, CoSN – Consortium for School Networking, and Amazon Web Services have partnered to create the K-12 Gen AI Readiness Checklist Questionnaire. There are several ways in which district leadership can best use this checklist for assessing and enhancing their readiness for integrating generative AI technologies into both instructional and operational systems.…Read More

4 focus areas to embrace innovation and avoid school system failure

Key points:

Following years of challenges brought on by COVID-19 and the inequities in education highlighted by the pandemic, decades- and centuries-old educational systems are finally being challenged as the way for school innovation is paved. The school systems and dynamic leaders that embrace change will succeed and create an educational environment that is more equitable and prepares students for their futures.

A report from The Partnership for Leaders in Education at the University of Virginia (UVA-PLE), “Exploring New Frontiers for K-12 Systems Transformation,” determined that these challenges have sparked a transformation of education systems in the United States.…Read More

Now is the time to plan for next year’s technology upgrades

Key points:

While school districts are well underway into their new year – and their new budget – many are already planning for the year ahead, and technology remains one of the top priorities schools focus on to keep their students, faculty, staff, and administration effectively moving forward.

There are significant advantages of planning technology upgrades over the winter, not the least of which is moving your school forward by giving your leadership team — including the technology and finance directors, as well as operations staff and even your school board —time to research, plan, and coordinate any upgrade initiatives that will need to happen over the summer. Here are just a few advantages to planning ahead of time for next year’s technology upgrades.…Read More

Can team teaching break the constraints of conventional schooling?

Key points:

  • The practical constraints on teachers’ time present a significant obstacle to the wider adoption of team teaching
  • To make team teaching viable, we need innovations that can dissolve these practical constraints and facilitate efficient and sustainable collaboration within existing cost structures
  • See related article: Teacher burnout persists, but solutions are emerging
  • For more news on teacher burnout, visit eSN’s SEL & Well-Being page

Teacher burnout is a real and growing challenge for US K–12 schools. Last year, school district leaders reported a 4 percent increase in teacher turnover according to a nationally representative survey from RAND. In some states like Louisiana and North Carolina, Chalkbeat found that total departures surged to more than 13 percent. This unsettling trend, coupled with the increasing pressures on those who remain, is a problem we can’t afford to ignore​.

For a number of years, I’ve been encouraged by one potential solution to this challenge: team teaching—in particular, the Opportunity Culture work by Public Impact found in hundreds of schools, or ASU’s Next Education Workforce initiative. I struggled as a first-year teacher, and I would have relished the opportunity to work side-by-side with more experienced teachers so I could observe their methods and have a second adult present to navigate difficult classroom situations.…Read More

School leaders need to create opportunities for teachers as well as for students

This story was originally published by Chalkbeat. Sign up for their newsletters at ckbe.at/newsletters.

More than a decade ago, while running a high-performing school that I loved, a small moment forever shifted how I lead. As a Black woman who was a teenage mother and had dropped out of high school, I was proud of my career and taking great care to figure out what was next. 

While at lunch with a mentor, a leader of a large charter network, she asked, “Have you ever considered being a CEO?” I remember feeling grateful that she thought so highly of my work.  …Read More