News and Highlights
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New Online Tool Assesses Professional Learning Communities
High-performance professional learning communities can transform schools and classrooms to bolster student achievement. A new tool, the Professional Learning Communities Assessment-Revised, enables administrators to rate their school as a professional learning community so they can identify areas that need support. The online questionnaire and reporting tool measures staff perceptions and practices based on key dimensions and then analyzes the results. The tool was developed by Dianne F. Olivier, Kristine Kiefer Hipp, and Jane Bumpers Huffman.
Progress for the Race to the Top Reform Support Network
SEDL is advancing education innovation and reform through the Race to the Top Reform Support Network. Led by ICF International, the network of leading education organizations is assisting states in implementing Race to the Top grants under a 4-year contract. In 2011, SEDL and the other partners (ICF, AIR, Education Northwest, and McREL) assisted with Communities of Practice addressing stakeholder engagement, school turnaround, and teacher and leader effectiveness.
Stronger Support for Diverse Learners in Franklin Parish
Teachers in Franklin Parish School System are better targeting students’ needs because of SEDL. In 2011, we completed an 8-month contract for the Winnsboro, Louisiana, school system to support math and language arts teachers in using data, tiered interventions, and evidence-based strategies to meet the needs of diverse learners through Response to Intervention. The work targeted 5 schools, 52 teachers, and 1,400 students in grades 3–8.
English Language ArtsComing Soon!
Common Core State Standards Video Series for Math
A new SEDL video series is helping to demystify the Common Core State Standards for mathematics. More than 45 states and territories have adopted these standards to prepare students for success in college and the workplace. In 2011, our Southeast Comprehensive Center worked with the states in its region to complete 12 videos in the series. Each video clarifies the meaning of one math standard. The Center is considering a video series on the English-language arts Common Core State Standards as well.
Concerns-Based Adoption Model Webinar Series
Implementing a new program poses serious challenges for education leaders. Are staff using the program correctly, if at all? Is the program working? How do I address staff concerns? In 2011, our Center for Professional Learning gave a webinar series on using the Concerns-Based Adoption Model to help leaders address such questions so that programs have the best chance of succeeding. The 5-part series provided in-depth instruction on using the model and its tools with participants’ own programs.
SEDL’s Commitment to Community
Our staff receive great joy from supporting the families and students in our community. During our 2011 Adopt-a-Family drive, employees donated $1,645 and boxes of personalized gifts to two local families facing hard times. In addition, our annual holiday auction and bazaar raised $696 for the dance program at Barbara Jordan Elementary. This Title I school serves a low-income neighborhood near our headquarters in Austin, Texas. Dancers from the school also entertained during our holiday luncheon.
Evaluation of Comprehensive Centers
SEDL participates actively in trade alliances to promote high-quality education research, development, and dissemination. In November 2011, SEDL and the Center for Knowledge Use, an affiliate of Knowledge Alliance, co-hosted a webinar highlighting the Institute of Education Science’s positive evaluation of the comprehensive centers. The event brought together alliance members with policymakers and other stakeholders to discuss the value of the centers’ technical assistance in building state capacity for providing a quality education for all.