Links for Leaders - April 2018

Here are this month’s best articles, analyses, and stories in education from across the web! This month you’ll learn about strategies to redeploy funding so you can amplify your best teachers’ instruction, a number of schools that are implementing futuristic project-based learning, and how Google is installing Wi-Fi on school buses. And to cap it off, you’ll also see how New Orleans students are sharing their poetry on pizza boxes! Enjoy!

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How Zulama Can Ignite Computer Science and Design At Your School

Did you know that less than 11% of U.S. high schools offer a computer science course? And that the main reasons schools cite for not offering one is because they can’t find the right curriculum or they don’t have a teacher who is certified to teach it. Today we’re showcasing Zulama, a platform that solves both of these problems! Through its courses, designed in partnership with Carnegie Mellon, students navigate their way through engaging assignments and projects to develop skills in the areas of programming and design.

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A Guide To Design Thinking Resources For STEM with Andrew Goodin

Today we’re chatting with Andrew Goodin, a Personal Learning Coach on the Design Thinking Team at Purdue Polytechnic high school, a brand-new learning model where students learn to problem-solve and think critically through real-world design challenges. And in today’s piece, we do a deep dive on the tools and resources that Andrew and his team use to implement their curriculum! Specifically, Andrew provides us with all the resources a school (or teacher) would need to start their own makerspace, the best STEM resources to support such a program, and numerous ideas to encourage more student tinkering! If you’re wanting to bring a makerspace to your school or dramatically improve STEM education for your students, you don’t want to miss this conversation!

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7 Ways BookNook Can Revolutionize Reading At Your School

BookNook is a brilliant tool that is reinventing one-on-one and small group reading instruction. And in today’s piece, we’re going to show you 7 different ways that it can revolutionize reading at your school. If your teachers are looking for a way to facilitate more reading time for their students, then this is definitely a piece you’ll want to share with them. Also, from now to the end of the school year, BookNook is making Thriving Schools readers a special offer to trial the platform for free. Read on to learn how to take advantage of this opportunity!

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Learning Links for March 2018 - Spring Break Edition!

Here are this month’s best articles, analyses, and stories in education from across the web! This month you’ll learn about new positions schools have created to overcome barriers between social supports and academics, how to encourage divergent thinking in the classroom, and several organizations that are empowering girls to make history. We also provide a link to a recent article that shares student perspectives on the terror of lockdowns.

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You've Just Been Given a Kindness Challenge! Will Your School Accept?

If you’re looking for a new program that’ll spark an improvement in student culture at your school, today’s piece is just for you! We’re sharing the Middle School Kindness Challenge, a new resource provided by Stand for Children that’s full of activities and exercises to promote positivity, empathy, and strong peer relationships. And our timing couldn’t be better – April 15th is the late day to register for the spring 2018 cycle. Enjoy this piece on how to bring kindness and compassion to your school!

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Proven Methods for Surveying Students with Sarah Rosskamm

Today we’re speaking with Sarah Rosskamm, President and Founder of Hendy Avenue Consulting, about the use of student surveys in evaluating teachers. In this piece, Sarah shares with us what to do (and what not to do) when soliciting student feedback. Specifically, you’ll learn how to gain staff support for using student surveys, how to implement them most effectively, and see numerous examples of well written survey questions. If you’re interested in finding a way to include student voice in the evaluation of your staff, our interview with Sarah is a great place to start!

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Teaching with Precision with Rick Kubina

Today we’re excited to be chatting with Dr. Richard Kubina, Professor of Special Education in Penn State’s College of Education. Prof. Kubina is a leading expert in the field of Precision Teaching and we’re using today’s conversation to understand his insights in the area of special education. In this piece, we’ll see how you can apply key findings from Precision Teaching at your school, what 3 major measurement issues in special education are, and how to write “pinpoints” so teachers can get more specific about desired student outcomes. Along the way, Prof. Kubina also shows us why the vast majority of special education research contains errors and how that might affect the decisions we make.

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Learning Links for February 2018 - The Best in Education This Month!

Here are this month’s best articles, analyses, and stories in education from across the web! This month you’ll learn about a visionary school trying to meet the needs of students in foster care, 30 of the most popular trends right now in education, and Harvard’s recommendations for building resilience in kids. We also share a brand-new website from Education First that provides lessons and resources for implementing social and emotional learning.

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Innovation in Indianapolis with Aleesia Johnson

States across the country have struggled with encouraging innovation in their schools. But not in Indiana. A few years back, Indianapolis Public Schools became the first district in the nation to implement an innovation network. This is a collection of schools that have the authority to make all operational decisions within their buildings but that still report to the school district. In this piece, we chat with Aleesia Johnson, the Innovation Officer at IPS, about how the network was created. Specifically, she’ll tell us about the relationships that are needed to support innovation, the different paths by which a school can join the innovation network, and why IPS has decided it’s so important to train its school leaders differently.

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How to Improve Instructional Questioning with Earshot

Today we’re excited to introduce Earshot, a company that’s bringing technology into the classroom to help teachers improve their instructional practices. In this piece, you’ll learn exactly how the app improves a teacher’s questioning strategies and the research behind why it’s so important. And right now, the Earshot team is looking for schools and organizations that would love to incorporate its toolset into their instructional development plans. Read on to learn how!

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Supporting School Leaders and Students with Tim Schwarz

Today we’re chatting with Tim Schwarz, expert educator and instructional leadership coach. We begin this wide-ranging discussion by examining the tools Tim used with the Achievement Network to help school leaders improve their instructional leadership. From there, we launch into a discussion on how to support students to do the deep processing necessary to learn at the highest level. Specifically, Tim gives us ideas on how to structure class so that teachers aren’t just “giving away” answers and how to support students who are years behind grade level with their reading and writing skills.

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Learning Links for January 2018 - The Best in Education This Month!

Here are this month’s best articles, analyses, and stories in education from across the web! This month you’ll learn about the Maker Monday Challenge (and how to increase creativity in the classroom), the importance of extending think time for students, and a number of new digital tools to try in 2018. We’re also sharing a Harvard Business Review piece to help school leaders remain disciplined in their pursuit of less!

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Purdue Polytechnic and the Future of School

Indianapolis has been garnering significant attention over the last few years for its leadership and innovation in education. And that’s why today we’re excited to be chatting with Andrew Goodin, a Personal Learning Coach on the Design Thinking Team at Purdue Polytechnic high school, a brand-new learning model where students learn to problem-solve and think critically through real-world design challenges. In this piece, we take an in-depth look at Purdue Polytechnic high school, how it hopes to reinvent the high school experience, and how the school goes about creating its student design challenges. If you believe that creativity and critical thinking are foundational to the future of learning, then you’ll definitely want to read how Purdue Polytechnic is shaping the school experiences of tomorrow!

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Imagine - Schools Without Anchors

So you’ve probably heard of the anchoring effect. But as educators, few of us have stopped to consider how it influences the decisions we make every day at school. We’ll try to change that with this piece! We’ll take a brief look at the research behind anchoring, examine examples of it in education, and arrive at a few tools we can use to overcome it. As we’ll see, in order to imagine a better education for our kids, we first need to break through the anchors that hold us back!

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Bringing Courage and Love to the Classroom with Verta Maloney

Today we’re excited to present Round 2 with Verta Maloney! In our first piece with Verta, she explained her process for guiding school teams through their personal stories on race. In Part 2, we shift our focus to how teachers can have these courageous conversations at the classroom level. Specifically, we discuss what teachers can do to personally prepare themselves, how to include diverse viewpoints in classroom discourse, and Verta’s excellent resource recommendations for reading and reflection. We also close with Verta’s personal mantras for bringing love to the work that we all do!

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How to Personalize Learning - 6 Findings from Silicon Schools

Silicon Schools provides the funding to launch or redesign schools that are laboratories of innovation and proof points for personalized learning. It’s portfolio of charter, district, and independent schools serves a diverse mix of students in the San Francisco Bay Area. Back in August, it released a report titled All That We’ve Learned which discusses its findings on personalized learning from the last five years. In this piece, we take a look at 6 important conclusions from the report and provide several suggestions for how educators can modify them for any school setting. Be sure not to miss item #4 which includes excellent resources on helping students set and reflect on goals.

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Learning Links for December 2017 - Holiday Break Edition

As you find yourself relaxing next to the fireplace this holiday season, hot cocoa in hand, we thought you’d like to know we’ve been thinking of you! Here are this month’s best articles, analyses, and stories in education from across the web! This month you’ll learn about 12 educators who are delivering big changes to their communities, how principals are building the skills to motivate their school teams, and strategies for effective discussion in the classroom. And in keeping with the holiday spirit, you’ll also get the story of how kindness can be taught to students everywhere. Enjoy our special holiday edition of Learning Links!

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Creating Teacher Evaluation Systems with Sarah Rosskamm

Today we’re speaking with Sarah Rosskamm, President and Founder of Hendy Avenue Consulting, about designing strong teacher evaluation frameworks. Sarah was responsible for the development of the Achievement First Teacher Career Pathway and has now helped countless other schools and districts create and implement their own. In this piece, Sarah explains why coaching and development need to be at the heart of an evaluation system, how schools can intelligently implement such systems, and provides several examples of strong rubrics and frameworks. If you’re looking to improve how your teachers are evaluated, this is a must-read!

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Harmony Project LA - The Power of the Community Music Movement

At Thriving Schools, we love learning how the best educational programs for kids work! And that’s why we’re excited today to be speaking with Paloma Ramos, Program Director at the Harmony Project, about how the Los Angeles based organization brings music (and joy) to its students. We’ll provide an overview of the program, see how it finds (and funds) its musicians, and learn how it works with families to achieve strong student retention. Even if you’re not involved in music instruction, you’ll still walk away feeling inspired by the power of the community-based music movement (and hopefully a few ideas on how you can strengthen community in your own neighborhood).

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