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Important message to our readers and subscribersOpen in a New Window

This week, we will be transitioning the McREL Blog to a new platform. If you have bookmarked our site you might encounter page errors, which you can fix by refreshing the web page and updating your bookmarks. If you subscribe to our RSS feed, or you’ve commented on any recent posts, you might receive an automatic email update alerting you to updates to our blog. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this might cause, and invite you to re-subscribe to our RSS feed after the transition. We’re confident that this transition will provide a more robust social experience for our readers, and we thank you for your patience as we make this move.


Do teacher evaluations really help teachers improve?Open in a New Window

In recent years, annual performance reviews for teachers have become ubiquitous. Between 2009 and 2012 alone, the number of states requiring them jumped from 14 to 43. But do teacher evaluations make a difference in how teachers teach? Do they really help teachers improve?


GreenSTEM Model: Steps for an instructional approachOpen in a New Window

The 5th-grade class gathered by the creek that ran between their school and neighborhood, reminiscing about years past when it was safe to play in and around this water. The creek was now stagnant, cloudy, thick with algae, and foul-smelling. Thus began their yearlong GreenSTEM project that used STEM concepts and processes to investigate the problem with the creek, and inspired students to design and carry out a solution.


Looking on the bright side for school improvementOpen in a New Window

Recently, I’ve had some enlightening discussions with colleagues about the concept of an inside out approach to school improvement. Many of the meaningful exchanges in these conversations have centered on opportunities to learn from bright spots within our schools and districts. Often in school improvement planning, we limit ourselves to discussing challenges, ignoring the bright spots. By doing this, we’re missing a great opportunity to expand and replicate the greatest aspects of our schools, our existing strengths.


Looking at student work: Are you snorkeling or scuba diving?Open in a New Window

Teachers looking together at student work seems like a surefire way to improve teaching and learning, as teachers look at real artifacts and reflect on expectations, practices, and results. However, as with most things in education, success depends not on what teachers do but how they do it, write Bryan Goodwin and Heather Hein in this month’s Research Says column in Educational Leadership.


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