The Ohio STEM Learning Network (OSLN) leverages existing STEM schools and programs to spread effective practices and tools across Ohio and the nation. Over the past three years, more than 9,000 educators have taken advantage of professional learning opportunities through the OSLN training centers on topics such as problem-based learning, literacy design, digital literacy, and more. Last month, nine OSLN training centers opened their doors for tours to highlight the great work of Ohio STEM schools and give educators the opportunity to see innovative practices in action.
On November 8, more than 900 guests from the Pittsburgh community came together to recognize, celebrate, and empower teachers. Sparked by the theme, “Teachers Matter,” Pittsburgh Public Schools hosted a private reception celebrating educators who earned the Distinguished level—for highest possible performance—on their most recent evaluations. A main event was open to the public and all teachers for a broader celebration of teaching excellence across Pittsburgh. Throughout the evening, community members and PPS teachers shared stories about the educators who inspired them and the different ways teachers make a difference, both in the lives of their students and in the city.
On November 10, Battelle for Kids recognized 21 Ohio schools and 18 districts at the annual SOAR Awards for High Progress for making extraordinary growth with students in multiple grade levels and subjects over the last school year. Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Richard Ross and Russ Austin, Senior Vice President at Battelle Memorial Institute, attended the ceremony to offer congratulations and present representatives from each school and district with their respective awards. What do SOAR Award recipients credit for raising the bar with students? Here are 5 key strategies the winning districts and schools consistently report helped lead to their success.
It seems like the term “data” is infused into every type of professional development program these days. Central office directors, principals, and teachers are increasingly asked and expected to use data to inform instruction. The phrase, “It is like drinking water out of a fire hose,” is oftentimes not overstating the challenge posed to instructional leaders. For many, data introduces more questions than answers. What data sources do principals and curriculum directors need to be aware of, understand, and act upon in order to serve as impactful instructional leaders that inform professional practice? What data sources do teachers need to be familiar with in order to differentiate instruction and accelerate student learning? With the right conditions and processes in place, data coaching can build educators’ awareness and understanding of the data available to them and how to harness the power of this information to drive instructional improvement.
Listening to today’s rousing debates in education, it often feels as if we are employing the tyranny of “or” vs. the synergy of “and.” Deciding whether to make hiring systems more centralized (controlled by the central office) or decentralized (controlled at the building level) seems to be one of those situations. Having held jobs in both camps—and having worked extensively with practitioners on designing and implementing these systems—it may be more productive to view this as a natural tension. Battelle for Kids’ experience is that the hiring process can be balanced in a manner that values all stakeholders, leads to more efficiencies, results in better decisions, and most importantly, benefits all students.