4 ways to support teachers after the holiday break

Teachers (and administrators) appreciate breaks as much as students do. Time away from the classroom allows teachers to clear their minds, celebrate the holidays, relax with family and friends, and maybe catch up on grading or lesson planning in comfy clothing, slippers, and with a ready cup of tea or coffee at hand.

Now that teachers have returned to their classrooms refreshed and ready for the second half of the year, school districts should have a plan to help them maintain that energy — and keep burnout at bay.

Here are four strategies school leaders can employ to support their educators, help reduce their stress and maintain their enthusiasm after the holidays (and all year long).…Read More

Clark County School District Gives Educators in 241 Elementary Schools Access to Lexia’s LETRS Professional Learning

BOSTON – Clark County School District (CCSD) in Nevada, has made Lexia LETRS ® (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling) professional learning programs available to most elementary schools in the district with a plan to continue expanding the program to additional elementary and early childhood teachers and administrators. Offered by Lexia, a Cambium Learning Group company, LETRS professional learning programs provide educators with the deep knowledge required to be literacy and language experts in the science of reading.

Developed by Dr. Louisa Moats and leaders in the field of literacy, the LETRS suite provides practical support with tools that are available 24/7—online and in print. It also offers professional learning sessions led by national LETRS experts. These sessions provide classroom application examples of the learnings and refine and extend participants’ understanding of the content. The LETRS suite consists of three professional learning programs:

· Lexia LETRS for Elementary Educators…Read More

How to help ESL students improve writing skills

Learning a new language is challenging, requiring a student to master four basic skills–listening, reading, speaking, and writing–from scratch. And it becomes even more challenging for ESL learners.

Not only do they learn a language but they also have to deal with other school subjects in it. And while listening and reading aren’t that difficult to conquer (both are passive skills about consuming the language, so they are easier for students to handle), active skills like speaking and writing are another thing:

Why is writing so critical for students to master?…Read More

How to use Minecraft Education in your classroom

It’s easier than you think to begin using Minecraft Education in your classroom. During an FETC 2023 session, technology specialist Kristen Brooks from the Cherokee County School District offered an overview of how she engages her students with Minecraft Education.

“When kids use Minecraft in the classroom, they’re so engrossed in what they’re doing that they forget they’re actually learning,” Brooks said. “Students excel in their learning when they’re encouraged to create projects in a style or format they prefer.”

Here are some of her tips to get started and sustain enthusiasm for Minecraft Education:…Read More

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

How to use alternative assessments in the classroom

Did you know that a 5th grade teacher is expected to guide students to mastery of 200 standards each year? Given a typical school year of 180 days, that’s 1.1 standards a day! Of course, standards don’t exactly work like that. You can certainly teach more than one standard a day, but that doesn’t give you time to explore them, unpack them, and revisit them, which is where learning and mastery actually happen. That’s a lot of content to cover, and not much time to do it in.

But this is only the beginning. Not all standards can be treated equally. Some have limited application and require lower levels of critical thinking; others are foundational to future learning and broadly applicable. So, how do we even begin to tackle this mess? How can teachers determine their power standards and assess student mastery in a way that’s both fun and effective?

One way to begin is by utilizing a scoring system to single out the standards that align to the chief priorities in your classroom. Consider implementing the following categories and grading them on a scale of 1–5: …Read More

Is now a good time for a reset?

At this time of year, I hear a common refrain from school leaders I know: 1) This work is challenging, 2) We have a plan for student success, and yet 3) There is a lot more we need in order to deliver on our promise of a high-quality, equitable education for every student. These leaders launched the year with an inspiring vision for creating vibrant schools where all students are engaged in meaningful learning, feel loved, and want to come to school each day. There may have been times where this vision came close to reality.

As we head into the middle of the year, however, gaps often emerge. Student culture may become strained, faculty and staff may feel tired and frustrated, lessons aren’t as strong as they had hoped, and/or the highest needs students aren’t getting the support they need. Which raises the question: What do I do right now? 

In my role as the Vice President of Innovation and Impact at Relay Graduate School of Education, the best part of my job is the opportunity to find, study, and share what is working in schools across our country. One of the moves that we see our most effective leaders do at this moment of the year is lead a strategic reset on a key area of the school that – if improved – will have a significant positive impact on student learning and experience right now.  …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