February is National Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month

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The month commemorates the passage of the Smith-Hughes Act in February 1917. The Act was the first federal law to recognize the importance of vocational education to America’s economic future.  While the Smith-Hughes Act focused primarily on education for agricultural careers—the nation’s primary industry at the time—today’s CTE is organized in 16 Career Clusters that include critical and growing sectors of the current economy, including information technology, healthcare, energy, and manufacturing.

Throughout February each year, national, state, and local CTE organizations celebrate the achievements of CTE students, advocate for CTE, and strive to raise awareness of CTE’s important role in a strong economy. The month emphasizes the benefits of CTE in academically preparing students for fulfilling careers that will support America’s continued economic growth. Educators can find CTE activities, links to articles about CTE, and advocacy materials on the Advance CTE website. [Read more…]

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Frequently Asked Questions About Learning List

As the school year shifts into high gear, we are getting a lot of questions about our service. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions.

What is Learning List?
Learning List is a subscription-based instructional materials review service designed to help improve student learning by empowering educators to chooseand use instructional materials most effectively.

We created Learning List in 2013 to help districts become better informed consumers of instructional materials. Initially, districts used our reviews to facilitate their selection of materials. Over time, subscribers began telling us that our reviews also helped them identify the best parts of their existing materials to use to teach each standard. As one instructional coach explained, “We use your alignment reports as a GPS through our materials to ensure that we’re using the pages that teach each standard fully.”

What types of materials do you review?
We have reviewed over 2500 of the most widely used instructional materials, including:

  • Materials in the four core subjects, 12 Advanced Placement courses, Tech Apps and 85 CTE courses;
  • Comprehensive and supplemental materials, including RtI, testprep, criterion-referenced test banks, and professional development resources;
  • Publisher produced and free open educational resources (OERs);
  • State-adopted and non-adopted materials (i.e., materials that were not submitted for state adoption); and
  • English and Spanish versions of materials.

Subscribing districts get access to all published reviews and may request reviews of additional materials as part of the subscription. That’s why Learning List is a service, not just a website. [Read more…]

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“Bundling” Citations to Achieve Alignment

Do your teachers ever tell you that the material you have just purchased is not aligned to the standards? If so, breathe deeply and read on…

At Learning List, we have learned the scope of the citations listed in the publisher’s correlation can be determinative of whether a material is aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) or Advanced Placement (AP) standards.

What do we mean? Some publishers’ correlations consist of citations that cover one or two pages. Those citations are “narrow” in scope. Other publishers’ citations are broad in scope, consisting of a range of pages, a wholeBook module, a chapter, or a 15-minute video.  Both types of citations have their merits; broader citations are most likely to incorporate all of the knowledge and skills dense standards require; narrow citations can be useful instructionally, because they pinpoint more precisely where certain content or a skill is addressed in the text. [Read More …]

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Well, Hello EDGAR

Not only does Learning List provide value to a district’s curriculum and technology teams, it also can save the business/purchasing office hours of work complying with state and federal purchasing laws.
EDGAR compliance is top of mind in districts across the country. EDGAR is the federal law that requires districts to competitively purchase products and services valued at more than $3500 in a fiscal year. For purchases valued at $3,501 – $50,000 in a fiscal year, districts must obtain price quotes from “an adequate number of qualified sources.”  Learning List makes that easy! [Read More …]

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A Thank You to My Teachers

Thank YouDuring Teacher Appreciation week, I often hear of the amazing teachers that turn lives around. I read stories that inspire and motivate.  But, there are many more untold stories of the impact that a good teacher has over the span of their career in education.  And as I reflect on my experience as a student, I would like to thank all of the teachers from Rockwall ISD. [Read more…]

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The Ripple Effect of Supporting New Teachers

One tRipple Effecteacher I would like to thank is Ms. Anita Johnson, who taught English at Dallas ISD’s J.L. Long Middle School in the 1980s. Ms. Johnson was my supervising teacher when I completed a semester of student teaching in 1986.  Ms. Johnson taught me how to structure a lesson, plan for contingencies, and use an overhead projector. More than that, she taught me the gentle balance that is classroom management—the importance of being kind, fair, and firm. [Read more…]

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A Lasting Impact

I started high school in a class of over 800 students, a shocking transition from attending a small junior/senior high school on a military base. I did well in school, but stayed under the radar. I had a few teachers who took the time to push and challenge me, but none as much as my art teacher, Mrs. Stephens. She taught me to appreciate perspectives, styles, and to be an individual. More importantly, my opinions, strengths, tastes, and limitations were valued. [Read More …]

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Things ALWAYS Happen for a Reason

I attended Westwood Elementary School in Friendswood, Texas during the late 1970’s. The school had a traffic signal light in the cafeteria.  When the light was green, students could talk; yellow meant students  could whisper;Traffic Light but when it was on red, no one dared to speak.  Unfortunately for me, I was known as a motor mouth and would always talk to my friends no matter what color the light.  I finally had my day of reckoning when I was in fourth grade.  I will NEVER forget this infamous day!  The light was red  and as usual, I was jabbering away to my friends.  Little did I know there was a teacher, wearing a cream and green crocheted wide-striped sweater, watching me the entire time.  After she had seen enough, she approached me, grabbed my arm and said, “Follow me young lady!”. All the way, she scolded me for not following the rules in the cafeteria.  She then told me my punishment was that I had to sit on the stage in front of the student body for the remainder of the week.  I was mortified! [Read More…]

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Two Educators Who Changed My Life

I am forever indebted to my third grade teacher, Mrs. Adams, and principal, Dr. Woodward at Spring Creek Elementary School in Richardson, Texas. The compassion and empathy these women exhibited changed the course of my life.

My family moved to the United States when I was eight years old.  Though I spoke English, it felt like a different language than “American” (and particular “Texan”).  I had an accent which my new classmates had difficulty understanding.  I used different words to describe things which my classmates ridiculed.  And, I spelled words differently which lead me repeatedly to fail spelling tests. [Read more…]

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Computer Thinking: Part One

A recent article in the New York Times describes the increased enrollment in computer science courses at the university level, and highlights how primary education has addressed the importance of abstract thinking and computer programming skills for students in grades K-12. The article explains how the College Board reshaped its Advanced Placement (AP) computer science course to more closely reflect …

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