THE TEACHERS EDITION - November 19, 2015

The Teachers Edition

November 19, 2015  |  Sign up to receive The Teachers Edition. 

The Teachers Edition will be on break next week, November 26. Happy Thanksgiving. 


In This Issue

teach to lead

Participants share feedback on a teacher-driven idea at the Boston Teach to Lead summit earlier this year. 

Teach to Lead

Your School Needs Your Idea – And We Want to Help

For too long, teachers have been told what to do as it relates to their classrooms and their students. The Department of Education, the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and ASCD want to help you take the reins. Hundreds of ideas have accelerated into action at five Teach to Lead summits held around the country over the course of the last year. The next summit will be in Baltimore during February and you can be there. Submit your idea before Dec. 13 and check out the amazing ideas that have been brought to life by others.

schools around the world

Reuters Publishes Photos of Classrooms Around the World

Much looks different in these photos of classrooms around the globe from Reuters photographers, including these from Uruguay, Ivory Coast, Brazil, and Pakistan. But much also looks the same. Kids face forward toward the teacher, books are in front of them, mouths are closed. No matter whether schools are well-resourced or not, some habits sure do persist (Strauss, Washington Post).

taf paf news image

Applications Open for 2016-2017 Teaching & Principal Ambassador Fellowships 

Each year the Department of Education hires a cadre of practicing teachers and principals to share their expertise as ED works to develop and implement policy. Now is your chance to get involved, learn about federal education policy, and even impact it. Applications opened this week and close on December 14th. Learn more at: and 

P Chat

Principal Corner

How-To Modules for Turnarounds. Identifying, Selecting, and Retaining School Turnaround Leaders have long been a challenge. Four education organizations have released new materials to assist state and local education agencies in meeting the challenge of developing school turnaround leaders

The Teaching Profession

Teacher Evaluation

Researchers Question Use of Value-Added in Evaluations

The American Education Research Association issued a statement last week cautioning districts about using value-added measures to make high-stakes decisions about educators. They note that "there are potentially serious negative consequences in the context of evaluation that can result from the use of VAM based on incomplete or flawed data, as well as from the misinterpretation or misuse of the VAM results."

Happening Today 

#RethinkDiscipline through Teacher Leadership

ED Assistant Secretary Michael Yudin and AFT Associate Director Lisa Thomas will co-host a live online Q&A session for teachers nationwide today at 5:30 pm ET. Teachers are encouraged to tweet (with first name, city, and #RethinkDiscipline), or post by YouTube comment, questions regarding classroom management practices, alternatives to suspension and office referrals and the role of teachers in reforming school discipline. 

using computer

Video Worth Watching

Given a Computer and a Question, Will Kids Learn?

Sugata Mitra, working for a software company in Delhi, cut a hole between his building and the slum next door, putting out an Internet-connected computer for kids in the community to use. Overnight, they began using it for their own browsing and research. Now, his idea has taken off and is changing what education looks like in some places. PBS NewsHour's Paul Solman followed Mitra to a Harlem elementary school where kids decided on a question and tried to figure out the answer. See how they did. 

Dr. Victoria K. Reese

Celebrating African American Educators

Editor's note: The following is part of a series reporting on excellent African American educators. Educators were selected by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans.

Dr. Reese image

Dr. Victoria K. Reese is an Elementary School Teacher (K-5) in Montgomery Public Schools (Montgomery, Ala.). She is also the President of the Montgomery County Education Association. In addition, Dr. Reese is the Community Facilitator of the National Education Association Professional Practice.

Why and how did you decide upon a career in education?

Reflecting on my past as a child, I knew the impact educators had on the lives of their students. Serving as an educator allows me the opportunity of changing the future of students, and opening their eyes to their exceptional potential.  

What is the one thing you most celebrate about your students?

The one thing I celebrate most about my students is their unique gifts. I see each student as a precious jewel with his or her unique cut. 

In what ways do you encourage parents, family members, and other caring adults to support the learning and development of African American students?

I believe it is crucial to build an effective partnership with parents or guardians of my students. These one-on-one relationships open the doors of trust between the classroom and home. When families know that you are an educator with a heart, they are willing to be actively engaged in the learning environment.  

Trailblazing Teens

Time Magazine Names 30 Most Influential Teens of 2015

Mos Bows

Time Magazine's list of the 30 most influential teens includes 13-year-old Memphis bow-tie entrepreneur Moziah Bridges, pop culture icons, athletes, and the young man who made headlines when he brought a clock to school. Shout out to the teachers who kindled the creative flames of these young people. 

Recommended Reading

books image

Are Special Ed Teachers Going Extinct? 

Special education teachers are so hard to come by in some areas that an Oklahoma administrator wondered to NPR: "What happens when it gets so bad that you literally cannot find anyone to be in charge of a classroom?" Forty-nine states are reporting sp-ed teacher shortages, and some question has arisen about the extent to which districts will be able to meet the law. 

Education Policy

Study Shows Personalized Learning Pays Off

A new study from the RAND Corporation shows that students in schools using personalized learning strategies made greater academic progress, over the course of two years, than a comparison group of similar students. According to the study, schools with the greatest achievement gains reported strong implementation of student grouping strategies driven by data and responsive to student needs; provision of data to students and including them in discussions of the data; and learning spaces that support personalized learning strategies.

Tell Us About An English Language Learner You Helped

In each issue, Educational Leadership's "Tell Me About" column publishes a collection of brief contributions from readers describing their experiences related to that issue's theme. The upcoming February issue will be themed “Helping ELLs Excel,” and they want teachers to tell about an English language learner who made substantial progress -- and how that growth was possible. Click the link to share your 200- to 300-word story before the Nov. 23 deadline

Teachers Notes

sticky notepad

• American Education Week (November 16-20) celebrates teachers and school staff. The week’s tagline, “Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility,” is a call for all Americans to do their part in making public schools great for every child.  

• International Education Week (November 16-20) celebrates the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This year’s theme is “International Education: Advancing Access for All.” In his video message, Secretary Duncan encourages everyone to promote the global mission of ensuring that every child receives a world-class education.

 • IDEA. In November our nation marks the 40th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, signed by President Gerald Ford. This law represents a landmark civil rights measure. Read more about how one deaf principal Debra Trapani (Kendall Demonstration Elementary School, Washington, D.C.) has been a role model for her students with disabilities and made dreams possible, helped in part through the legislation of IDEA.    

Tools for Students

Students' Corner

Kicking Summer Slide to the Curb. From California to North Carolina and Massachusetts to Florida, students attending summer learning programs organized by BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) showed significant gains in reading and math skills, new test results show

History Rewrite. What if a moment in history hadn’t happened? What if dinosaurs were still alive? Disney Pixar offers free activities to help kids think about history-changing moments and the power of kindness, in honor of The Good Dinosaur release on November 25. Resources include an educator and parent guide and a Dinosaur trivia game

Top 5 Quotes

arne with a teacher

Wisdom from educators heard by ED

5. "All us rural teachers ask is for policymakers to come out and spend some time with us to see the world through our lens." (Teacher, Colorado)

4. "If we’re not putting good teachers in each class, we’re sabotaging our nation’s future." (Teacher, South Carolina)

3. "You want to hear the truth about a school's culture? Talk to the students." (Teacher, Pennsylvania)

2. "Our jobs are not about money. They're about love for humans." (Teacher, Illinois)

1. "It just became hypocritical when I was doing things to other people's children that would never have been good enough for mine." (Principal, California)