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Should HR Directors Care About Student Achievement?

An HR Director for a large school district recently told me, “I am not concerned with student achievement. My job is to make sure that we stay in compliance with employment laws. I leave those issues to the curriculum people.” 

While I had never had it put to me quite that frankly, I was not shocked, based on my discussions with others as a former teacher, principal, district administrator, and now leader of a company that focuses on helping schools and districts with teacher hiring. The debate is alive and well. Should HR directors care about student achievement?

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Equitability ≠ Increase Learner Outcomes

Is playing the equitable card in technology and professional development initiatives really the right approach for positively impacting practitioner and learner outcomes? School culture plays a critical role in the success of technology initiatives, yet is rarely considered as a factor for planning and executing central-based technology implementations. Using a blind process, such as a school lottery system or equitably deploying technology across a grade level, does not necessarily secure positive outputs.

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The State of Common Core: 10 District Survey

The BLEgroup conducted a survey of 10 districts and larger organizations to get data from the frontlines on the feasibility of an effective implementation of Common Core in 2015. The 10 districts surveyed are leading-edge districts that are members of the BLEgroup. They represent a wide range of sizes and types, varying from small rural, large urban, state departments, and service centers. Read on for the survey results. Read More »

Aligning Teacher Evaluation and the Common Core State Standards

The Common Core State Standards and teacher evaluation initiatives have great potential to prepare students for success in college and career and to improve teaching.

But the challenge is that in most states and districts these initiatives are not aligned. What would it look like if they were aligned, and how would teachers and students benefit? Read More »

Data Data Everywhere, But Not a Budge in Student Achievement

Everything we read says that harnessing data is the key to education improvement: we should be able to break down data, understand and look for trends, and drive more effective student instruction. How can we get there?

Leslie Kerner, Senior VP and General Manager, Professional Services for Amplify Insight, offers the following advice for publishers:

  1. Every program needs to produce data, and that data should be real-time formative data.
  2. Ensure educators have adequate support in learning about how to connect the data to instruction and the time to plan, reflect, and share.
  3. Decisions about professional development, coaching, training, use of team meeting time, and the ways teachers will use the data have to be made collaboratively with the publisher and administration.

Read on to see how this plays out in schools and districts.

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Reflection on Common Core Standards Midway to Launch

Common Core in 2013
Major reform efforts never work as planned; to be successful, midcourse corrections are needed so the original goals can be achieved. States and school systems have been working on Common Core for two years and plan to test results in 2015. It is a good time to reflect on progress and suggest midcourse corrections. Across the country, from classroom teachers to the USDOE, there is tremendous excitement about the Common Core Standards. There is also noise from a significant minority who are concerned about a national education reform effort.

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The Education Marketer 2014: Balancing Brand, Leads, and Change

In my role as associate publisher at Education Week, my team and I engage with hundreds of education company marketing leaders every year. To understand the challenges education company marketing leaders are facing, we surveyed EdCo marketing staff across the country. Key findings in our resulting presentation, The Education Marketer 2014: Balancing Brand, Leads, and Change, include:

  • Lead gen is marketers’ #1 “up-at-night” issue
  • Marketers may be neglecting brand stewardship to fuel lead generation imperatives
  • More than half of companies overrate their brand strength
  • Top “trending” tactics for 2014 include content creation and thought leadership
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Is Required Online Assessment the Y2K of K-12 Education?

The United States is betting the farm that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) will provide the rigor and accountability needed to re-establish the U.S. as a world leader in education. The two assessment consortia—PARCC and Smarter Balanced—are building next-generation assessments based on the Common Core State Standards, which by 2015 are expected to be delivered online in every school in the country. Whether or not that is feasible depends on the interdependent functioning of a number of components, including:

  • Bandwidth
  • Infrastructure
  • Devices
  • Wi-Fi Density

Read on to learn more about the current state of readiness for online assessments and what districts need to do now to make online assessment work.

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The Fearless Classroom

In the fall of 2011, after 14 years of teaching, I made the bold decision to transform my second-grade classroom into a “fearless classroom.”

To enable a fearless learning environment:

  • The teacher needs to adopt a more humble role, relinquishing many traditional controls.
  • When planning lessons, teachers must focus mostly on the outcomes and tools students will use as learning evidence and provide them with reliable resources from which they can glean understanding.
  • Teachers must learn how to explore their curriculum’s big ideas and concepts.
  • Failure should always be an option, both for you and your students.
  • Be a risk-taker.
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BYOD – A Cost-Effective Approach to 1:1 Computing

The BLEgroup Thought Leadership Consortium on 1:1 Computing covers the key points of BYOD implementation:

  • What needs to be in place to successfully implement BYOD?
  • What are the rationale and conditions for BYOD as an instructional environment, not just as hardware?
  • What do vendors need to do to make this work?
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