This month we want to take a moment to say thank you for all the work you do all year long! We also hope to give you some ideas to show your teachers how much you appreciate the work that they do every day!
The Student Learning and Partner Success team is giving away five $50 Amazon gift cards and a gift basket filled with Step Up swag! Be sure to share this post with your teachers!
Register for the Choice in Education Celebration Free Virtual Event
Have you heard about the Choice in Education Celebration? We are throwing a virtual party to close out the school year! This FREE event will be held virtually on May 26th from 3:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. We will hear from Keynote Speaker Gerry Brooks, and giveaway fabulous prizes! Save your seat and REGISTER TODAY!
April is National School Library Month! We know that building and growing a school library is extremely challenging. This month’s resources aim to provide you with ideas and resources to grow and develop your school or classroom libraries.
Collecting Books and Building a Library Space at Your School
Several free apps make it possible to access digital books through your local library instantly! All students, parents, or teachers need is a library card! Check out Hoopla Digital orLibby to learn more.
EPIC also offers educators access to thousands of high-quality books for free in the classroom!
The Student Learning and Partner Success team at Step Up for Students is hosting a Choice in Education Celebration for teachers in May with inspiring speakers, giveaways, and more! This FREE event is open to all SUFS school leaders and educators. Click here to register!
Step Up for Students has a blog called reimaginED that examines and reports on how expanded education choice options are transforming K-12 education in Florida and the nation. The most recent article explores the law that was just passed expanding the scholarship program to law enforcement officers. Read the story here and be sure to subscribe!
This month’s post is dedicated to finding and retaining quality teachers. Below are a few resources on effective recruitment strategies that must be paired with a thoughtful approach to retain and reduce the teacher turnover that plagues schools and districts and undermines student success.
Teachers are critical to students building the knowledge and skills they need for their future. Without well-prepared teachers working in every classroom, it is difficult for schools to sustain the transformational and supportive learning environments students need and deserve. Amid declining teacher preparation enrollment, rising preparation costs, inadequate professional development opportunities, and dormant compensation, schools and districts face a broad range of challenges that undermine their ability to recruit and retain a stable, effective, and diverse teacher workforce.
Are you already a reader of the Step Up For Students Education Roundupbut would like to expand your knowledge of education choice issues in Florida and beyond? Did you know that reimaginED, the policy and public affairs communications platform for Step Up, which houses the education roundup, is so much more than the roundup?
Launched a decade ago, reimaginED examines and reports on how expanded education choice options are transforming K-12 education in Florida and the nation. The reimaginED team tracks education choice legislation across the country, while contributors rely on their experience to write about the explosion of education options – traditional district schools, charter schools, private and parochial schools, homeschooling, learning pods and more – and the various means available for tapping into these options.
If you are an educator with the need for a well-rounded picture of what’s happening in Florida and other states, bookmark reimaginED and visit frequently – content is updated every morning at 6 a.m. and at various times throughout the day.
As you celebrate Black History Month at your school, we hope you’ll also take a moment to reflect on your school environment. This month’s resources will help you examine current practices and think differently about discipline and mindfulness.
2022 Black History Month Educator Award Contest
Governor Ron DeSantis’ and First Lady Casey DeSantis’ Black History Month Excellence in Education Award Contest is open to any full-time educator who works in an elementary, middle, or high school in Florida (including public, charter, private, home or virtual). Deadline to apply is Friday, 2/18, so nominate that exemplary educator today! Click here to nominate!
Take a Closer Look at Discipline Patterns
Celebrate Black History Month by taking a close look at your discipline patterns. Have you examined your discipline referrals by race lately? Research by Skiba et al (2011) indicates that students from African American families are 2.19 (elementary) to 3.78 (middle) times as likely to be referred to the office for problem behavior as their White peers. In addition, the results indicate that students from African American and Latino families are more likely than their White peers to receive expulsion or out of school suspension as consequences for the same or similar problem behavior. Click here to learn more about the research.
Check out the End Zero Tolerance Toolkitfor resources on building a supportive school discipline system that does not rely on classroom removals, suspensions or expulsions.
The Mindful Reflection Protocol
Zaretta Hammond, author of Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, recommends a technique called the Mindful Reflection Protocol for teachers to reflect on their reactions to student misbehavior. “The Mindful Reflection Protocol is process that can help a teacher see their implicit bias in action. This protocol was developed teacher educators, Barbara J. Dray and Debora Basler Wisneski. The protocol is simple. It asks teachers to look at an incident through three lenses: description, interpretation, and evaluation. Teachers are asked to just describe what is going on literally with no judgment. Then, they are asked to focus on interpreting the action. What does it mean to you when the child does that? Still with no judgment. Once you’ve interpreted, then try to reflect on how you judge the action or behavior – what value to you give to your interpretation. I’d also ask teachers to notice how they interpret the same behavior from two students from different racial backgrounds. This process allows teachers to create some distance from thinking and actions that are sometimes on autopilot because things are happening so fast in the classroom.” Click Here to Learn More About Mindful Reflection.
Examine Your Classrooms
Are you unconsciously contributing to the achievement gap through your class assignments? According to The Education Trust’s December 2021 report, “Black and Latino students are not assigned to experienced and qualified teachers due to decisions school leaders make about which courses students have access to and which teachers teach those courses. In other words, even in schools that look like they have a relatively experienced and qualified workforce, Black and Latino students may still be disproportionately assigned to courses taught by novice educators.” Take a look at your class assignments: are your non-white students more likely to be in classes taught by a first or second-year teacher? Click here to learn more.
Check out the book,The Writing Revolution, by Judith C. Hochman and Natalie Wexler, a writing instruction that enables all students, including those from low-income families to develop literacy and critical thinking skills.
EVENT POSTPONED! Come hear Natalie Wexler share her expertise on a knowledge-rich curriculum LIVE at the Great Minds Knowledge Summit! This event has been postponed. Stay tuned to learn more about Great Minds and Wilson Language. Register NOWfor the Great Minds Knowledge Summit– For more information on the Summit and pricing, click here.
We know many educators are counting down the days until winter break begins. This year has been a challenging one, so before the break begins, consider giving your teachers a little shout out to let them know their efforts are appreciated! We hope you and your staff will take some time over the break to reflect and recharge. This month’s resources are designed to help you do just that!
Join us to discover the importance of using a knowledge-building curriculum at this summit hosted by industry leading researchers and subject matter experts. You’ll hear from keynote speaker Natalie Wexler, choose from over 15 different 60-minute sessions, network with educators from other schools in your area, and have a chance to win some exciting prizes!
November is a time when many juniors and seniors across the country begin to prep for life after high school. This month we wanted to provide you with resources to support your high school students as they begin to tackle big questions about their future. We’ve included resources for both the college track and career track!
Have you heard about EVERFI?
This company offers free high quality and interactive online courses for K-12 schools. Their course entitled “Keys to Your Future- College and Career Readiness” is an excellent resource for any high school student! Click here to learn more.
Khan Academy Life Skills Courses
Khan Academy offers free college and career courses, financial planning courses, and even interview courses. Click here to learn more.
For College-Bound Students
Juggling all the tasks associated with applying for college is difficult! This resource provides a checklist for both juniors and seniors to help them through this journey! Click here to explore the checklist.
Help your younger students become college and career ready!
Join us for the Step Up For Students and Great Minds Knowledge Summit! This one-and-a-half-day in-person event will be hosted by industry-leading researchers and subject matter experts. The summit will help you discover the importance of using a knowledge-building curriculum. You’ll hear from keynote speakers, choose from over 15 different 60-minute sessions, network with educators from other schools in your area, and have a chance to win some exciting prizes!Click here to sign up and learn more!
October is National Principals Month and we’d like to take a moment to say thank you for all the amazing work you do for your school communities! This month’s resources are designed to encourage and inspire you as you inspire and motivate your students and staff.
Need some inspiration and a bit of a laugh? Check out this article form ASCD on, “The best principal you’ve ever known.”
No matter what area of school improvement you are trying to impact, the Student Learning and Partner Success team has tools and ideas to help you get started! Check out our padlet full of free resources for topics like school improvement, compliance, safety, technology, and so much more!
SAVE THE DATE!
The Step Up For Students and Great Minds Knowledge Summit is a one-and-a-half-day in-person event. Hosted by industry-leading researchers and subject matter experts, the summit will help you discover the importance of using a knowledge-building curriculum. You’ll hear from keynote speakers, choose from over 15 different 60-minute sessions, network with educators from other schools in your area, and have a chance to win some exciting prizes!
Please sign up to receive updates on registration, keynote speakers, session topics, giveaways, and more. You won’t want to miss the early bird pricing and first round of giveaways! SIGN UP HERE
Students are back in their seats and inevitably they will take assessments. The type of assessment is completely up to you as their teacher. So, what will it be: formative or summative? Such goes the age-old question. When people think assessment, they tend to think scantrons and number 2 pencils, but this is not always the case as this topic has evolved in recent years as well as teachers’ reasons for assessing.
Formative assessments provide both students and teachers with the information they need to improve the learning process right now. This is an ongoing assessment that may or may not be graded. This assessment is seen more as an opportunity to examine the results and use those to inform instruction in the classroom right away. You might give a quiz and realize that more than half of your class has not captured the concept, so instead of trudging forward, you reteach and reassess. Being able to push the pause button on moving forward with a new concept and making sure they truly grasped the first concept is exactly what formative assessments are about.
Examples of formative assessments include:
• Lesson exit tickets
• Classroom polls
• A written summary of a lesson
Summative assessments aim to evaluate student learning and achievement and is generally administered at the end of a unit or course. Summative assessments occur only a few times over the academic year and always yield a specific point value. Because they are broader in scope and measure learning over a longer period, they tend to have higher stakes. Remember that this assessment provides a snapshot of how students are performing at a particular point in time.
Examples of summative assessments include:
• End of term or midterm exams
• End of unit or chapter tests
• Cumulative work such as a creative portfolio or final project
• State exams
Both formative and summative assessments collect useful, important information. However, in the end, it is what you do with the assessments that make it either or. Getting state exam results and putting them in a data binder makes them just results. It is the actions you take with the information that determine their true use.
Need some tips on how to prevent School Leader burnout? See our highlights below or click here to read the full article.
Have a regular routine of self-care.
Regular time outdoors, a spiritual practice, or a gratitude journal are all research-proven ways to help leaders prevent a downwards slides towards burnout.
Learn to regularly unplug from your devices.
Taking one night off a week is a small price to pay for continued energy and it’s also great modeling and permission for your team so they don’t get burned out as well!
Become more discerning about the work you take on (when possible) and learn to clearly communicate what you can and cannot realistically handle.
Notice if your energy is being diverted to worries or other negative thought patterns and then take action to adopt a more productive mindset.
Become aware of the signs of burnout, especially in terms of its onset and progression.
If a leader learns the signs of burnout and checks in with themselves every month or so, they can catch it much earlier.
With the first day of school right around the corner, we know your teachers are back in action and so too is the time-honored tradition of the faculty meeting. This month, we hope to give you some resources to help you get the most out of your faculty meetings and start the year off on the right foot.