March 4, 2020
NCTR is fortunate to have several staff, consultants, and partners on our team who live in the Nashville, TN, area. We are monitoring the impact of the devastating tornadoes there this week and sending our support for the quick recovery and rebuilding efforts for their families and communities.
What's New at NCTR?

Teacher Residency Convening Focused on Student Thinking, Social Emotional Needs, and Culture and Language

NCTR convened more than 50 Network members representing 24 teacher residencies last week for an incredibly rich and powerful convening and site visit in Memphis, TN! Programs visited Memphis Teacher Residency and Alder Graduate School of Education and attended a convening held at the National Civil Rights Museum centered around multi-tiered Culturally and Linguistically Sustaining Pedagogy.  NCTR is so grateful to our hosts and partners at MTR and Alder for collaborating on this impactful learning experience. Programs walked away with important learnings and next steps to improve their residencies to better meet the needs of the students and communities they serve. 

The residencies tackled several problems of practice, including:
  • At Memphis Teacher Residency, participants considered the quality and quantity of student thinking happening in resident and graduate classrooms, and how residency staff can observe and provide feedback to residents on their planning and instruction to support student thinking.
  • At Alder Graduate School of Education, participants considered the social emotional needs of K-12 students who have faced or are facing trauma, as well as the impact of students’ social emotional needs and trauma on residents in training.
  • At the National Civil Rights Museum, all participants began an investigation into culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogy and how to begin or extend the way culturally and linguistically sustaining approaches and practices are centered in our teacher residency programs.

Featured News 

Great Expectations: The Impact of Rigorous Grading Practices on Student Achievement

A new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, authored by American University professor Seth Gershenson, examines the effects of demanding high expectations of students through grading policies.  Previous studies show that secondary students whose teachers set high expectations are more likely to complete high school and even college.  But how can we trust that “good grades” reflect real learning and comprehension, in an era of GPA inflation that doesn’t track with the nation’s stagnant SAT scores?

In Great Expectations, Gershenson analyzes data from North Carolina public school Algebra I students (8th- and 9th-graders in this state-required math class between 2006 and 2016) to assess discrepancies between end of course scores and the mid-course grades assigned to those same students.

Findings included that students of all races were more likely to succeed in future math classes, and in all types of schools, if their Algebra I teachers set and adhered to rigorous grading policies.  Students whose teachers demonstrated high expectations through mid-course grading performed better on end of course exams, illustrating better learning.  The study also found that new teachers in their first four years demonstrated lower-than-average expectations, but standards are elevated with more years teaching.

In the News
Hidden Segregation within Schools is Tracked in New Study

A massive study of North Carolina schools (specifically English and math classes in grades 4, 7, and 10 during the 1997-98, 2005-06, and 2012-13 school years) showed that Black and Hispanic students are increasingly separated from their white counterparts within schools.  When unchecked, this “hidden segregation” can impact academics as well as the social fabric of a school and community, which benefit from diversity and inclusion.

Gamifying PD is better for teacher engagement, participation
Education Dive 

An Illinois instructional coach shared that interactive activities featuring elements of choice, chance, and competition are found to yield higher engagement in professional development sessions with adults, and these modifications to PD don’t have to be costly.

2020: Texans Trust Teachers
Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation

A public perception poll finds that 77% of Texans have confidence in and appreciate their teachers and 93% of Texans believe teacher quality is extremely or very important to school quality. Interview respondents included more than 1,100 Texans, including nearly 400 public school parents of K-12 students.

Assess and Improve Digital Learning
The Tech Edvocate

Observation, reflection and the conscious avoidance of “tech bloat” in the classroom can help teachers assess whether their digital learning tools are effective or may need tweaking.

Denver black educators call for hiring more teachers of color, protecting union contract rights

A Black educators caucus of the Denver teachers union spoke up last month about the need for Black teachers to feel welcomed and have access to union rights in Denver Public Schools.  The caucus asked to form a team focused on hiring more teachers of color, to boost mental health services for students, and to make good on a previously passed but not yet implemented school board resolution for improving the education of Black students.

Please note that the articles and events in the NCTR E-Blast do not reflect the opinions of our organization, but rather represent information that we believe will be relevant to you and your programs.

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