Betsy DeVos Confirmed as Secretary -- THE TEACHERS EDITION -- February 9, 2017

The Teachers Edition

What Teachers Are Talking About This Week

February 9, 2017  |  Sign up to receive The Teachers Edition.

Betsy DeVos Confirmed as Secretary of Education

DeVos with staff member

The Senate Tuesday confirmed Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. DeVos tweeted her thanks immediately: "I appreciate the Senate's diligence & am honored to serve as @usedgov Secretary. Let's improve options & outcomes for all US students." On Wednesday, Secretary DeVos met with ED employees, committing to work together on behalf of students. "I ask every educator, every parent, everyone involved in educating our nation’s students and all of us here – let us set aside any preconceived notions, and let’s recognize that while we may have disagreements we can and must come together, find common ground and put the needs of students first."

Save the Date for the #LoveTeaching Campaign

Love Teaching

Launched by teachers for teachers, #LoveTeaching is a campaign to celebrate the positives in the teaching profession. For the past two years, teachers have used several mediums to connect and share all there is to love about teaching during the week of Valentine’s Day.  

Last year, over 5 million people engaged with #LoveTeaching on social media, and this year the campaign hopes to bring even more attention to positive stories from the teaching profession through blog posts, Twitter chats, and more. Save the date: February 14 is right around the corner!

Why "Library" and "Hotspot" Go Together - and It's Not for the Wifi
New Canaan High School (Conn.) librarians have an offer for you: use your libraries as a way to personalize student learning. From creating makerspaces to facilitating communication and closing opportunity gaps, your local or school library can and should serve your students in rich ways (Stansbury, eSchoolNews). 


kids and parents reading

Knowing the Joys of Reading 

Kids & Family Reading Report is Scholastic’s biannual study of children’s and parents’ attitudes and behaviors around books and reading, and this year marks 10 years since its publication. The key findings of the research focus on what kids and families want in children's books; reading books for fun; reading aloud, summer reading; and favorite children's books. 

Effects of Childhood Incarceration in Adulthood


A new study has found evidence that children and adolescents committed to juvenile centers are more likely to suffer from depression and have an overall increased risk of poor health as adults. This information is increasingly important as schools continue efforts to decrease the disproportionate use of discipline of students of color. The author notes that investments made now may be able to prevent the future incarceration of some children and ultimately save costs (Seaman, Reuters). 

Learning from Mistakes Takes a Growth Mindset
Want your students to be better learners? Help them adopt a growth mindset, and then encourage them to learn from mistakes, says a new study published in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. Teachers can guide their students to re-direct their own learning, say the researchers. By owning their mistakes, they can turn lemons into lemonade (Rettner, LiveScience).

Leveraging the Fifth Day for Learning in Rural Communities

Colorado rural child

In the 2016-17 school year, 88 of Colorado's 178 school districts operated on a four-day school week (4DSW). The vast majority of these 88 districts are considered "rural" or "small rural." That is the context for a collaboration between Donnell-Kay Foundation and the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation aimed at expanding innovative fifth day learning opportunities across rural Colorado and IdahoThey are currently accepting proposals from 4DSW Colorado communities who want to think differently about leveraging their fifth day for student learning.  For more information participate in the webinar (2/14) or email The Phase I application is due by February 21. (Lewis, Donnell-Kay Foundation). 



Is 100% Student Engagement, 100% of the Time Realistic?

100% student engagement all the time sounds like a lofty goal, but at Tri-County Early College High School in Murphy, N.C. that’s exactly what they have achieved. It wasn’t always like this and it didn’t happen overnight, but with a teacher-powered environment and coaching to push through comfort zones, teachers have led the change in the school. Math and Physics teacher, Ben Owens, shares some of the ways that they’ve been able to create this impressive culture (Education Week).  


Preschool is Not Just for Young Children Anymore 

The Leading Men Fellowship is providing opportunities for recent male, minority high school graduates to come back to preschool classrooms as literacy coaches. Many of these individuals never dreamt of teaching or supporting students, but the first cohort of literacy coaches are finding fun ways to encourage their young students. The program also provides the young adults with a scholarship and resources for attending college (Matos, Washington Post).   


Free Schooling Under a Bridge

Grocery store owner, Rajesh Sharma, noticed one day that many children in a downtrodden area of New Delhi, India, spent much of their day wandering the streets instead of in school. After learning that the children’s families could not afford to send their children to school, Sharma started providing lessons for free in the open air space under the railway bridge. Sharma heads to his grocery store to work after the school day is over (Meyjes,   

Teacher Creates Unique Handshakes for 5th Grade Class

Teacher, Barry White Jr., recognizes the importance of building trust with students. While there are many strategies for making this happen, White created unique handshakes with each of the 5th graders in his school. In this video, check out why building relationships is so important to Mr. White and his students (NBC Charlotte). 

Resources to Use

What We Heard from Educators This Week

Students using computers

5. "We ensure every cross-curricular project students work on has a formal mentor outside of the school. Game changer." Teacher, North Carolina

4. "Making connections with new English language Learners is the most important first step." Teacher, Virginia

3. "Don't undervalue the importance of classroom environment - it's the single biggest factor to students' growth." Teacher, Alaska

2. "Relationships will still be there long after the facts have been forgotten!" Administrator, Mississippi

1. "One of the things my school is doing is creating "pods" of computers and encouraging teachers to use center method instruction." Teacher, Florida