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CTE on the Frontier: Rural CTE Strategy Guide

Advance CTE released a guide offering a series of questions for state leaders to use as they reflect on current efforts to expand access to high-quality Career Technical Education (CTE) and career-focused pathways and experiences in rural communities and to identify future opportunities and actions. While many of the questions may be difficult to answer at this time, those unanswerable questions can provide a lot of direction for a state’s next steps; including data to gather and partners to engage.

Advance CTE has also released a companion facilitation guide to help state leaders make the most of this resource and to support states’ efforts to address the five cross-cutting elements of a rural CTE strategy.

Designing for Equity: Leveraging Competency-Based Education to Ensure All Students Succeed

iNACOL released a publication offering equity strategies for personalized, competency-based education to ensure a more equitable K–12 education system. Districts and schools can use the equity principles within this report to develop an equity agenda within their personalized, competency-based systems. Competency-based education systems, designed to ensure all students achieve success, hold promise as a uniquely powerful model for fostering equity, but only if equity is an intentional design feature embedded in the culture, structure, and pedagogy.

Strategies to Improve Instructional Practice in Early Childhood Settings

The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) released a memo answering a state information request reviewing national research on best practices that have been shown to improve results on the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), with a specific focus on research that impacts instruction and is applicable to teachers in school and community-based settings.

The authors reviewed the research on curriculum implementation and effective professional development interventions and identified selected examples of promising approaches to professional development and coaching. The memo concludes with next steps and considerations for policymakers.

50-State Comparison: School Leader Certification and Preparation Programs

The Education Commission of the States released this resource after researching school leader certification and preparation policies in all 50 states. As states look at ways to support schools and districts, many turn to policies surrounding preparation and licensure in an effort to better equip leaders entering the field to be successful. States have developed policies, grounded in school leadership standards, to strengthen and increase the number of quality school leaders through traditional and alternative routes to preparation and certification.

Guiding Principal: State Efforts to Bolster Instructional Leadership

New America released a report describing the prevalence of instructional leadership standards in principal evaluation systems and examines if and how states are supporting principals in developing the necessary skills to be good instructional leaders through those systems. Starting with a brief description of the evolution of principal evaluation systems, the authors summarize their analysis of state principal evaluation and support systems, spotlighting three promising state efforts, and offer key challenges and recommendations for states to advance principal instructional leadership in service of better teaching and learning.

Supporting Social-Emotional Learning With Evidence-Based Programs

The Annie E. Casey Foundation released a brief providing education administrators and partners (providers, intermediaries, funders) with strategies and examples from school districts that have successfully funded, implemented, and sustained evidence-based SEL programs. School administrators from seven districts were interviewed and shared background information on their efforts to fund and implement evidence-based programs that address social and emotional learning. The brief highlights cost considerations, funding streams, partnerships, and allocation of resources that are unique to education systems and necessary for effective implementation of evidence-based SEL programs. Individual profiles of each school district are included in the appendices.

The State of Preschool 2017

NIEER released its annual state of preschool report based on 2016–17 academic year data, finding states heeding the demand for pre-K and expanding access to publicly funded programs in a variety of settings. But instead of supporting quality early learning with adequate resources, most state programs invest too little to help children catch up with their more advantaged peers by kindergarten.

Study of Title I Schoolwide and Targeted Assistance Programs: Final Report

The U.S. Department of Education released a study examining how Title I Schoolwide and Targeted Assistance Programs compare in the services and resources they provide with Title I funds and their decision-making processes for allocating these resources.

The original purpose of the Title I program of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) was to provide supplementary services to assist low-achieving students in high-poverty schools, and schools were required to target Title I funds specifically to serve such students. In 1978, the schoolwide program (SWP) option was introduced to provide high-poverty schools with flexibility to use Title I funds for whole-school approaches to improving achievement for low-achieving students. Unlike schools using the traditional targeted assistance program (TAP) approach, SWP schools are allowed to consolidate Title I funds with those from other federal, state, and local sources and are not required to ensure that the funds are spent only for specific students identified as low achieving. Over time, the poverty rate threshold for eligibility to operate SWPs has been lowered and the prevalence of SWP schools has grown, gradually rising from 10 percent of all Title I schools in 1994–95 to 77 percent in 2014–15.

Implicit in the intent for SWPs is that the flexibility will allow them to implement systemic schoolwide interventions to improve academic outcomes for all students in schools with high concentrations of poverty, particularly low-achieving students. At the same time, the continuation of the TAP approach also reflects a specific policy intent: to focus the smaller amount of total Title I funding in lower-poverty schools on supporting students with the greatest needs rather than diluting the funds across a larger number of students.

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