Indian Reservation Schools Preserve Culture -- THE TEACHERS EDITION -- January 19, 2017

The Teachers Edition

What Teachers Are Talking About This Week

January 19, 2017  |  Sign up to receive The Teachers Edition.

ED Seal

Ensuring Educational Excellence and Equal Access

As we transition to a new Administration, we hope to continue our dedication to the mission of the Department: “To promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.” As Secretary King moves on, several news outlets including NPR, USAToday, Black Enterprise, Marketplace among others asked him about his accomplishments and his thoughts on what the future holds for America’s students.  

Jeff Blogger


Change in leadership can be hard. Read about how 29-year veteran educator and 2014 Kansas Teacher of the Year, Jeff Baxter, has coped with the many changes in principal leadership he has experienced. He provides three specific steps teachers can take to smooth the transition over as much as possible

peace in street logo

Student Films Show Us What Is Peace 

Submissions for the 2017 Peace in the Streets Global Film Festival open January 17. Our students are the leaders of tomorrow. Help and encourage them to express themselves through film. They can submit a one to five minute video that shows how to keep peace in the streets. Examples of the winning and brilliant films of past years and more about submitting a film are found on the website.

Blackfoot language teacher

Indian Reservation Schools Preserve Language, Culture

Blackfoot language and culture teacher Carolyn Zubak describes her role, in part, as teaching respect, working with young children to help them learn about their past and envision their future. Language is key to cultural preservation and understanding, and the public schools on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation (Mont.) enact this principle every day in their Native American Studies program (Moss, Great Falls Tribune).

Be Prepared, Be Persistent, Keep Practicing

Research into what makes a better teacher shows, not surprisingly, that it's practice, practice, practice. Teacher candidates need coursework, to watch master teachers, quality feedback and classroom management skills, but "research in cognitive and developmental psychology suggests that for adults to learn complex skills (as needed in teaching) they must learn in situations similar to what they will encounter." Evidently, practice does lead to proficiency (Holdheide, American Institutes for Research).

When the Secretary Calls, You Pick Up

Teacher receives call from Secy. King

High school English teacher Loan Nguyen (Roosevelt High SchoolDes Moines, Iowa) was one of six educators nationwide to receive a very special call last Thursday afternoon from Secretary John King, who called to thank Loan for her work with students and for inspiring her colleagues. Principal Kevin Biggs helped plan the surprise call the week before with a staffer from the Department. The calls were part of a Call-a-Thon for Educator Appreciation Week (Des Moines Public Schools).

Featured App: Educreations

For teachers wanting to provide a recap of a lesson for a student or a way to review at home, for educators weary of repeating information for absentees, or for those who might like to reuse a lesson from year to year, there's Educreations. This app allows educators to use their tablets or laptops to create mini instructional videos, using images teachers create and allowing voice-over and drawing options on top of the images. The videos are then stored at Educreations and are available via a link. They can be viewed on any device, including those without certain plugins, and can be played back at any speed. 

kids reading books

More Books in the Hands of Children & Families

To promote literacy and boost educational outcomes for children living in public housing, the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Education and several non-profits partners launched a Book-Rich Environment (BRE) InitiativeBRE aims to transform Public Housing Agencies into book-rich environments by putting diverse, high quality books and other literacy tools into the hands of children and families living in HUD-assisted housing. It launches in 35 communities across the country beginning next month.


Don't Be Defiant, Be Clever

Think about the best teachers you’ve known. What do they all have in common? I bet it is not by following every rule and policy without question. In this blog from Terry Heick, he highlights how teachers can stay ahead of the game, best help students, and maintain autonomy in the profession, but he notes, it is not by being a stickler for following the rules. Learn more about his strategies (! 

Teacher's Job On the Line for Restraining Student

One Philadelphia teacher is in danger of losing her ability to teach children in light of a situation where she was asked to assist in restraining a student and the guardian decided to take action against all the adults associated. What is most worrisome is how easily this could be any teacher in a school with the many difficult episodes teachers deal with on a regular basis. The local school board will have the final say soon (Graham,

Arts Education: A Factor for Improvement

Arts Education

 It is no secret that No Child Left Behind created an atmosphere focused on testing and the core subjects, but in the new Every Student Succeeds Act era, districts and schools are seeing a fresh opportunity to focus on a well-rounded education. The inclusion of the arts in a well-rounded education is part of this fresh perspective, and has already proven effective in schools like, Orchard Gardens K-8 school, where test scores and attendance rates have risen. Let’s hope that all districts see the opportunity to create robust, well-rounded opportunities in the coming school year (Boston Globe).

The Problem with a Letter Grade System for Schools

Recently, the Texas legislature provided the public with a preview of the new rating system for schools and districts. It is being met by mixed reviews and critiqued for focusing heavily on the results of the state standardized test. One educator wants to remind people what’s missing from the evaluative system and points out aspects of a school that would be hard to measure in a simple letter grade (Nesloney, Ninja Reflections on Education). 

Resources to Use

What We Heard from Educators This Week

king w kid chitown

5. "A highlight is a student who took a long time to talk to me, was wondering if I would judge him. Finally he talked to me and you could see some of the weight lifted off him." Counselor, Arizona

4. "A highlight is seeing how much students are learning, going from not reading to comprehending what’s happening on the page." Teacher, Texas

3. "A highlight this year was a poetry showcase and watching students give each other affirmation." Teacher, Iowa

2. "The highlight is the kids, seeing their faces every day, working with them and seeing the gains that they’re making.” Principal, Kentucky

1.  “What keeps me going is seeing the kids each day.” Teaching Assistant, Maryland