By John Fensterwald
About 15,000 California teachers and principals gave up one of their summer vacation days to talk among themselves Friday about a subject that, depending on how the school day is going, can excite, inspire, frustrate or irritate: the Common Core.
Better Together brought together educators at 33 locations statewide to simultaneously share strategies, classroom victories and mistakes about the new academic standards in math and English language arts. The free event was organized by California State University, the Santa Cruz-based New Teacher Center and an association of the state’s independent private colleges and was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
via Teachers summit draws thousands to sites across California | EdSource.
By John Fensterwald
A report out this week urges California school districts to take a more assertive role in producing new teachers. A new half-billion-dollar appropriation to districts to improve teacher effectiveness presents the opening to do this, although more state encouragement and incentives would help, the study said.
“Districts must take increasing responsibility for recruiting and developing their own future teachers, rather than leave it up to teacher preparation programs to provide the teachers they need,” concluded “Rethinking Teacher Preparation,” by the Washington-based education consulting and research nonprofit Bellwether Education Partners.
Bellwether isn’t the first to criticize the state’s “fragmented” approach to teacher preparation. With few exceptions, future teachers get their subject knowledge as college undergraduates and their initial teacher credential in a one-year graduate school program crammed with theory and, in many cases, a minimum of classroom practice. Districts run training and induction programs like Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment, or BTSA, for inexperienced teachers after they’re on the job.
via Districts urged to step up for next generation of teachers | EdSource.
By Fermin Leal
A California State University reading and writing course originally designed to help 12th-grade English teachers prepare more seniors for college-level coursework is expanding into lower grades – a shift that reflects the Common Core’s increased emphasis on college readiness.
Nearly 5,000 teachers across the state in grades 7 through 12 will sign up this summer and fall for CSU’s Expository Reading and Writing Course. The program offers training to help teachers develop students’ proficiency in expository, analytical and argumentative reading and writing. These skills, which educators say are often lacking among incoming freshman, are also now key components of the state’s new curriculum standards.
via Teacher training course aims to boost students’ college readiness | EdSource.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced a one-of-a-kind, free professional learning event for teachers at 33 locations across the state on July 31 and encouraged teachers to attend.
“Teachers are already driving innovation in the classroom and providing a bright future for California students,” Torlakson said. “This event gives teachers a chance to grow professionally by allowing them to share their ideas, ingenuity, passion, and best practices. It can help teachers make an even bigger difference in the lives of California students.”
The event, called Better Together: California Teachers Summit, allows teachers to learn from nationally recognized leaders and provides a forum where teachers can share innovative strategies in implementing California Standards in English language arts/literacy and math, which are commonly referred to as the Common Core. Over 10,000 teachers are already attending and hundreds are registering every day.
via One-Day Professional Learning Event – Year 2015 (CA Dept of Education).
By Katherine Ellison
Thousands of California teachers, who’ve spent recent years simultaneously learning and teaching the new Common Core State Standards, will share ideas about what has worked best in their classrooms at a multi-site conference on July 31.
An expected 20,000 pre-K-12 teachers will lead and attend workshops on best practices they’ve discovered for teaching the new standards at the one-day event, “Better Together: California Teacher Summit.” It will be hosted at 33 college and university campuses throughout the state.
Kitty Dixon, senior vice president for special projects at the New Teacher Center, a Santa Cruz-based nonprofit dedicated to improving teacher effectiveness, said the conference aims to inspire and help teachers struggling to find effective curriculum materials and best practices to help them implement the new standards. These concerns, she said, have been at the top of teachers’ lists when asked what would most help them.
via Teachers to teach teachers at statewide Common Core summit | EdSource.
By Louis Freedberg
Gov. Jerry Brown and the state Legislature have agreed to allocate a half billion dollars for a range of programs to enhance “teacher effectiveness” in California, the largest amount to be dedicated for that purpose in years.
The funds, which will be set aside as a block grant, will flow to each of California’s nearly 1,000 districts based on the number of credentialed teachers and school administrators they have on their payrolls. Districts can spend the funds at any time over the next three years.
Ratified by the Legislature on Friday, the funds represent a massive increase over the $10 million that Brown had included in his proposed 2015-16 budget in January to address the quality of teacher preparation programs. The fact that lawmakers were able to agree less than six months later to send 50 times that amount directly to school districts underscored the high priority the state is placing on teacher preparation and effectiveness.
via State to spend a half billion dollars to promote ‘teacher effectiveness’ | EdSource.
By Andrew Marcinek
Over the past few years, professional learning structures have shifted dramatically. This has been a shift not so much in content or strategies, but rather in overall design of professional learning.
At its core, professional learning is the key component to improving educator practice and providing new perspectives on an ever-changing profession. While most content has remained consistent throughout time, instructional design, educational policy, and classroom tools and structures have been in constant motion. But with all of the demands of the classroom and the limited time in a school calendar, how do we pack all of the resources, strategies, and exemplars into only a handful of professional learning days? The simple answer is that we dont.
via Professional Learning Opportunities and the Teachers They Create | Edutopia.
By Susan Winlow
A partnership between the Fairfield-Suisun School District and the nonprofit Code.org to increase K-5 computer science instruction and offer professional development, support and curriculum will take effect in September, the school district recently announced.
Code.org is “dedicated to expanding computer science education by making it available in more schools and increasing participation by women and minorities,” a press release by Melissa Farrar, the assistant director of professional development and educational technology, stated.
The vision of both organizations is that every child in every school will have access to computer science education and that computer science should be part of the core curriculum alone with STEM courses – science, technology, engineering and math.
via District partnership to increase elementary computer science instruction.
By Katrina Schwartz
Everyone has a pet theory on how to improve public education: better professional development for teachers, more money, better curriculum, testing for accountability, teacher incentives, technology, streamlined bureaucracy. Policymakers have been trying these solutions for years with mixed results. But those who study the brain have their own ideas for improving how kids learn: focus on teaching kids how to learn.
“The more you teach students how to learn, the less time you have to spend teaching curriculum because they can [understand] it on their own,” said William Klemm, senior professor of neuroscience at Texas A&M University at the Learning and the Brain conference’s “Making Lasting Memories.” “I think the real problem is that students have not learned how to be competent learners,” he said. “They haven’t learned this because we haven’t taught them.”
via How Memory, Focus and Good Teaching Can Work Together to Help Kids Learn | MindShift.
By Ben Johnson:
“Please look at the labels on the walls and with your elbow partner; pick the top three priorities for educators and schools.” Posted around the walls were the words: Curriculum, Assessment, Instruction, Professional Development, Student Learning, Equity, Differentiation, and Classroom Management. I gave the principals a few minutes to chat and come up with a prioritized list and then we began discussing their conclusions.
Some thought it was an obvious trick question and chose student learning as the number one priority. Others chose curriculum because, “If you have nothing to teach, students can’t learn — beat that!” Still others countered, “But if you have the best curriculum but low quality instruction, students won’t learn either — so there!” “If only affluent students learn, then there is no equity for poor students — try that on for size!” This lively discussion continued for each of the elements.
via Why Quality Professional Development for Teachers Matters | Edutopia.
By Tom Loveless
Do we know how to improve teaching? I don’t mean tinkering around the edges—making a particular history lesson better or getting an individual teacher to alter his or her instructional strategies—but a lasting, substantive change, one that reshapes the profession. Do we know how to transform bad teachers into adequate teachers? Can we take teachers who are merely adequate and make them good—even outstanding?
Those questions are especially relevant right now. The burden of answering them affirmatively falls on professional development (PD). All levels of government spend a huge amount of money on teachers’ professional development; it’s a mainstay of federal education policy. Expenditures on Title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (The Eisenhower Program), mostly devoted to PD, are budgeted at about $2.3 billion in 2014. More than $450 million of i3 grant money spent from 2010-2012 went to PD. Advocates of school reforms that affect teaching and learning inevitably rely on PD to implement their preferred changes. The prominent contemporary example is the Common Core. Advocates of the Common Core are counting on PD to equip teachers with the instructional capacity to actualize the standards.
via What Do We Know About Professional Development? : Education Next.
The Solano County Office of Education will provide to administrators and teachers a series of workshops by Dr. Edwin Lou Javius with a focus on strategies for addressing Equity in the Common Core. Teachers and Administrators have the opportunity of ensuring that all students have equitable access to all aspects of instruction. As outlined in the California Standards for the Teaching Profession (CSTP 1.4), all students must be provided with a, “variety of instructional strategies, resources, and technologies to meet students’ diverse learning needs,” to accomplish the goals of meeting all of the state standards.
via The Solano County Office of Education… – Solano County Office of Education | Facebook.
By Michele McNeil
Perhaps the cuts weren’t quite as bad as U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan predicted, but sequestration is still hitting classrooms as districts begin the 2013-14 school year.
According to a new survey from the American Association of School Administrators, districts are dealing with automatic, across-the-board trigger cuts of federal education funding by slicing professional development (59 percent of districts), eliminating personnel (53 percent), increasing class size (48 percent), and deferring technology purchases (46 percent).
via Sequestration Effects: 59 Percent of Districts Cut Professional Development – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
Solano County educators spent time learning about the new Common Core Standards (CCS) at SCOE’s P-12 Common Core Innovision Summit on August 8 and 9. Keynote speaker Dr. Edwin Lou Javius, Ed.D., assisted participants in creating an Equity Common Core Support Plan. Educators were given tools to design culturally-conscious lessons aligned with the CCS. Other sessions explored the integration of CCS in technology, arts, STEM, kindergarten, and mathematics – among other topics.
via P-12 Common Core Innovision Summit | Facebook.
Get ready for the new Common Core Standards! Register today for the Preschool-12 Common Core Innovision Summit. The two-day summit, on August 8 and 9, will provide you with strategies and understanding to impact student achievement.
More information: http://www.solanocoe.net/apps/events/2013/8/8/1445310/?id=0
via Get ready for the new Common Core Standards! Register today for the Preschool-12….
Learn about the new Common Core Standards this summer. Register today for the Preschool-12 Common Core Innovision Summit. The two-day summit, on August 8 and 9, will provide you with strategies and understanding to impact student achievement.
More information: http://www.solanocoe.net/apps/events/2013/8/8/1445310/?id=0
via Learn about the new Common Core Standards this summer. Register today for the Pr….
By Ellen Moir / commentary
Every student deserves an effective teacher, one who is always seeking the very best ways to reach each student. While there has always been an onus on teachers to commit to improving, state and district leaders must also improve professional learning opportunities for teachers. Fortunately, as a state, we are beginning to take strides in this direction. In September, a task force convened by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson’s office released “Greatness by Design.” This report proposes sweeping changes to the way teachers are recruited, trained, brought into the profession, mentored and evaluated.
via Evolving from professional development to professional learning – by Ellen Moir / commentary.
More than 30 Solano County history teachers met at SCOE on May 7 for a History Lesson Showcase as part of the Teaching America History grant. The teachers also received certificates of completion from Lisette Estrella-Henderson, SCOE’s Associate Superintendent of Student Programs and Educational Services. America on the World Stage in Solano County is the second federally-funded Teaching American History grant won through competitive application by SCOE in partnership with the History Project at UC Davis.
via More than 30 Solano County history teachers met at SCOE on May 7 for a History L….
On April 16, educators from Solano County, Napa County, and Contra Costa County convened at SCOE for a workshop on the new Smarter Balanced Assessments. The new assessments, aligned with the CA Common Core State Standards, are being piloted this school year. Full implementation of the assessments is to take place during the 2015-15 school year. Presenters included Deborah Sigman, Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction, District, School & Innovation Branch; Nancy Brownell, Senior Fellow, Office of the State Board of Education; Jessica Valdez; State NAEP Coordinator, Assessment and Accountability Division; Jose Ortega, State Readiness Coordinator , Educational Data Management Division; and Rodney Okamoto, CDE Education Administrator II, Technology Services Division. Workshop participants reviewed and discussed the components of the Smarter Balanced Assessments and considered next steps for their school and district.
via On April 16, educators from Solano County, Napa County, and Contra Costa County….