Thursday, April 30, 2015

EdSurge Article Outlines the First Steps for Switching to a Personalized Learning Environment

EdSurge Article Outlines the First Steps for Switching to a Personalized Learning Environment

An article published on describes the strategies used by Weber School District to transform their traditional learning environment into one that delivers personalized learning.

Read an article detailing the strategies used by Weber School District in Ogden, Utah, to implement a blended personalized learning environment has been published on, an online ed. tech resource and community.

The strategies described in the article are meant to guide education leaders who are considering making the switch from a traditional classroom to a personalized learning environment. To this end, the article provides advice on how best to take the first steps in that transformation.

The first step for Weber has been to establish a single-school pilot called Weber Innovation High School, which will open its doors in August of this year. For help in supporting personalized learning at Innovation High, Weber has turned to School Improvement Network, a company with extensive experience in working with K-12 schools.  The high school will use the company’s Edivate Learn platform, a next-generation learning system that includes digital content from providers such as Accelerate Learning, Pearson, and Khan Academy. The platform also features tools that allow users to create individualized learning paths for each student. In addition to the Edivate Learn platform, School Improvement Network will provide training for both teachers and administrators to enable the transformation.

To read the EdSurge article detailing the steps that Weber School District is taking in its transformation to personalized learning, click here.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Jeb Bush and the Common Core - How the Common Core is Here to Stay

The Common Core is Tough! Three Reasons Things Will Get Better Quickly (and a Resource to Help Expedite the Process)
By Cameron PipkinJeb bush common core
For most of us, full-blown Common Core implementation is a forgone conclusion. True, there are a few states—Indiana, South Carolina, Oklahoma—that have repealed the Core, and another handful that never adopted it at all, but as of right now 40 states remain Common Core compliant. And despite the desperate hopes of haters, I don’t see that number dipping significantly anytime soon.
This means that by fall of 2015, the vast majority of educators in the US will have at least one year of Common Core implementation under their belts, along with assessment scores to show for it. It also means that for school and district leaders in their first year of implementation, things are about to get even harder.
Put simply, all the people in your life—teachers, colleagues, parents of students, school board member, etc.—who oppose the Common Core will have a lot more ammunition. And when I say ammunition, I mean the low Common Core assessment scores you’re nearly guaranteed to see in year one.
Of course, low scores won’t distress you. You expected your students to struggle on the Common Core assessments in year one. Your schools are at ground zero of a drastically new way of teaching coupled with a dramatically new way of testing. Things are bound to be tough for a little while.
The haters, however, won’t hear any of that. They’ll see a large dip in student achievement one year to the next and they’ll cry foul. They’ll march to school board meetings, write their senators, hold rallies, and maybe even call for your job. Honestly, there’s not a whole lot you can do about this. Haters are gonna hate.
But there is good news.
First, you should know that you’re not alone. Every state that has implemented the Common Core thus far has seen significant drops in student assessment scores in year one. You probably already know this.
Second, as we’ve discussed frequently in this blog, there are good reasons to believe that if you work hard, work smart, and stay the course, things will get better very soon. States that have been implementing the Core for years are actually seeing really encouraging results. There’s no reason to believe that this won’t happen in your schools as well.
Third, there are fantastic resources out there to help you (like the ones you’ll find on every page of this blog, for example). And if you’re dealing with bad Common Core PR in your school, district, or community, there’s help for that too.
For example, Jeb Bush (yes that Jeb Bush) and his Foundation for Excellence in Education will soon be offering online courses focusing on how to promote the idea that the standards are necessary for national security, why data collection is essential, and how to win over parents, teachers, and citizens in the education reform conversation. The courses will be designed specifically for policy makers, but I’m willing to bet the curriculum will be of use to education leaders as well.
Whether you agree with his politics or not, I’m sure you’ll find much of the advice helpful in turning around perceptions and creating buy-in for the Common Core among your stakeholders.
Jeb Bush Offering Online Courses Promoting Common Core read the article about the upcoming courses.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Nine Key Criteria that make a Common Core-Aligned Performance Task Effective

The Nine Key Criteria that make a Common Core-Aligned Performance Task Effective.
In our last blog post, we wrote about author and education expert Jay McTighe’s advice for designing rich performance tasks that can prepare students more effectively for the rigor of Common Core assessments.
In this post, we’ll share his list of nine criteria for judging whether a Common Core-aligned performance task you’ve created is of high quality.
McTighe suggests rating your tasks on a scale of 1-3 for each of the following characteristics, with 1 meaning “not yet,” 2 meaning “somewhat,” and 3 meaning “extensively”:
  1. Addresses and assesses targeted standards or outcomes.
  1. Calls for understanding and transfer of knowledge.
Requires extended thinking—not just a simple answer (levels 3 or 4 in Webb’s Depth of Knowledge framework).
  1. Is set in an “authentic” context.
  1. Includes criteria or rubrics targeting distinct traits of understanding and successful performance—that is, these criteria don’t simply focus on the surface features of a product or performance.
  1. The task directions for students are clear.
These three additional criteria are optional, he says:
  1. Allows students to demonstrate their understanding or proficiency with some appropriate choice or variety.
  1. Effectively integrates two or more subject areas.
  1. Incorporates appropriate use of technology.
McTighe’s book, Core Learning: Assessing What Matters Most, was published using School Improvement Network’sLumiBook platform, a robust eBook platform that includes weblinks, video clips, and opportunities for discussion with the author and with other readers.
In McTighe’s LumiBook, you can find dozens of templates and examples of rich performance tasks that are Common Core-aligned. There is also a free webinar in which he explains some of the core concepts from his LumiBook.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Five Key Strategies for Developing High-Growth Schools - Free Webinar

Watch the Recorded Webinar Presented by Bobby Moore and School Improvement Network

To help schools achieve high student academic growth, it helps to examine not only what teachers do in the classroom, but also what schools and districts do system wide.

In this webinar, Dr. Bobby Moore, Senior Director of Battelle for Kids, will examine the five key strategies that Ohio school districts participating in the SOAR School Improvement Collaborative are using to become highly effective systems that produce significant student gains.

The five key strategies are:

  • Limiting goals and/or initiatives to focus on student learning
  • Establishing important structures and routines
  • Developing a balanced assessment system
  • Using multiple measures to inform improvement and accountability
  • Empowering teachers and developing leaders system-wide
Learn from school leaders in districts across the country about their experiences in adopting these strategies for student success.

Suggested audience: Central office staff, principals, and teachers

The PowerPoint and a Certificate of completion for PD credit is available.

To watch the webinar click here

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Real Value of Teachers and How to Support Them

Last week, our CEO and President, Chet Linton, was a guest on KSL Studio 5 explaining new research about the economic value of an effective teacher and five ways parents can better support their students’ teachers.

Here are some highlights of the research and insights he shared:

The Economic Impact of a Teacher – An effective teacher who teaches for 30 years with an average class size of 25 students whose students all go on to earn college degrees or technical certificates has a $930 million positive impact.

The Social Impact of a Teacher – These same teachers also contribute to a:
  • 19% drop in welfare dependence
  • 22% drop in divorce
  • 19% drop in smoking
  • 12% drop in obesity
  • 28% drop in incarceration
How to Support Effective Teachers – Here are five ways parents can better support teachers to help their students get the most out of their education and training:
  1. Prep your student – Help your students arrive at school on time, well rested and fed, and prepared for a full day of learning. Help them understand the value of an education and the impact it will have on their life.
  2. Volunteer – Be a classroom aide or offer other help that your students’ teachers might need.
  3. Be the bridge – Help students understand what the teacher wants them to learn in a specific assignment and why they need to do it. Put it into context and help make their homework relevant to them.
  4. Show school spirit – Get involved in the PTA, go to parent-teacher conferences, and go to school functions and events.
  5. Support quality training – Vote for and support ballot measures and candidates that support quality training for teachers and education funding.
Watch the complete interview on how you can support teachers.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

National Bullying Prevention and Awareness Month: 10 Strategies to Stop Bullying

School Improvement Network Releases Infographic Showing Prevalence and Impact of Bullying, 10 Strategies to Prevent It

Check out our new infographic on bullying prevention in honor of Bullying Prevention and Awareness Month showing the prevalence and effects of bullying in schools, and 10 strategies to stop bullying in any school or classroom. The infographic, accompanying resources, and additional tools are available to all educators on the company’s main site.

“Bullying, in all its manifestations, is a very real and serious problem for thousands of students nationwide, preventing them from learning effectively and thriving at school,” said Chet D. Linton, CEO and president of School Improvement Network. “These resources, compiled from our decades of researching and documenting best educational practices, can help educators everywhere combat bullying, so every student can learn, grow, and master the skills they need to graduate ready for college, a career and life.”

The infographic provides educators an overview of bullying forms, effects, prevalence, and prevention strategies. Highlights include:

  • One in every four students is bullied
  • One in every 10 students drops out of school due to bullying
  • Children who are bullied are more likely to have migraines, depression, anxiety, and consider or attempt suicide

Despite these grim statistics, research shows there are 10 strategies educators can use to stop bullying, including:

  • Change the school environment
  • Organize an anti-bullying committee
  • Train staff in prevention
  • Devote class time to prevention
  • Increase adult supervision in “hot spots”

In addition to a full explanation of the strategies, the infographic points educators to a free trial of Edivation, where they can access more anti-bullying resources.

Click here to see the infographic on the effects of bullying and 10 strategies to prevent it.

Monday, October 27, 2014

New Classroom Management Strategy Increases Student Engagement

School Improvement Network Video Segment Shows How to Use Nonverbal Praise Routines to Increase Student Engagement

new video segment showing a classroom management strategy to increase student engagement using nonverbal praise routines. The video segment is available to all educators as part of the weekly publication, “Strategy of the Week.”

“As part of our cause of helping 100 percent of educators become effective so that 100 percent of students can become college and career ready, we’ve dedicated the last two decades to creating the resources educators need to become as effective as possible in everything from classroom management to standard-specific instruction,” said Chet D. Linton, CEO and president of School Improvement Network. “When fully implemented and integrated, these resources can boost teacher effectiveness, increase student engagement, and even raise student achievement.”

In the new classroom management video segment, educators will learn how to use nonverbal praise routines to increase student engagement and involvement, and contribute to a greater sense of classroom community.

Click here to see the new classroom management video segment and how to increase student engagement with nonverbal praise routines.

Click here to see other teaching strategies in “Strategy of the Week.”

Click here to gain access to more classroom management video segments with a free trial of Edivation.