Dear New Teachers, 10 Tips for Surviving and Thriving in Your First Year Teaching


Here are some suggestions to help you have a fantastic first year in the classroom.

1. Build Community

Your relationships with others will keep you strong, and they might be the key to fueling your energy to persist through challenges. Build strong relationships with your colleagues and administrators and with your students and their parents.

2. Find Hopeful, Positive Mentors

There are veteran teachers who are sad and cynical, and there are others who are wise and hopeful. If you find yourself among the cynical, leave. Stay far from that negativity. You need mentors who can share their wisdom and expertise and who can remind you at the end of October that things will get easier. Continue reading

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3 Ways New England States Have Advanced Competency-Based Education


New Hampshire made sure its policies would support competency-based education before moving that direction. Alexius Horatius CC BY-SA 3.0

An in-depth report dives into how New England states are trying to help students graduate high school with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.

Competency-based education has a strong hold in New England.

Five of the six northeastern states have spent a number of years working to ensure that all students advance and graduate high school with the knowledge and skills they need — not just a few. Also called performance-based or proficiency-based education, competency-based education has five main elements in a working definition that 100 people agreed on at a 2011 Competency-Based Learning Summit:

  • Students advance after demonstrating mastery
  • Explicit and transparent learning objectives empower students and improve instruction
  • Students receive timely and differentiated support
  • Aligned assessments are rooted in the cycle of learning
  • Students develop and apply a broad set of skills and dispositions

A recent report from CompetencyWorks — an online resource that shares information about competency-based education — chronicled some of the steps that have paid off in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island. And it noted that while competency-based learning started in Alaska and Boston around 1995, Massachusetts hasn’t embraced it statewide, though some individual school districts are moving forward. Continue reading

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SpeakUp Survey Opens Next Week

Happy October! Next Wednesday, October 12 marks the start of Speak Up 2016! If you haven’t registered your school(s) and/or district for the survey yet, we’ve included information on how to get started. We’ve also included information about our upcoming Speak Up Intro & Tips webinar, speaking engagements, and more.

We look forward to working with you in this fall!

Quick links:

Speak Up 2016: Speak Up 2016: Sign up to take part in our annual survey from October 12 – December 16, 2016. We’ve added a new feature for main contacts!
Speak Up Introduction & Tips Webinar: Get ready for this year’s survey through our second webinar on October 6.
Trends in K-12 communications according to communications officers: We teamed up with Blackboard to report our Speak Up 2015 communications officers data.
2016 California STEM Symposium: Plan to attend Julie’s session next week to learn about the impact of the homework gap on STEM education. Continue reading

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Reaching the Tipping Point: Insights on Advancing Competency Education in New England

cw_reachingthetippingpoint_reportcover-231x300Competency education is expanding across the country as a means to ensure all students are mastering the skills and knowledge to be successful in college, career and civic life. This paper explores the core concepts of competency education, provides insights in policy and practice across six New England states, and analyzes the impact of competency education on quality, equity, scaling and sustainability. This report draws lessons learned and insights from educators and policymakers in New England and is intended for district leadership and policymakers seeking to introduce competency-based education within their states.

Today, CompetencyWorks released a new report: Reaching the Tipping Point: Insights on Advancing Competency Education in New England. This paper explores K-12 competency-based education policy and practice across six New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Continue reading

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ISTE Report: Redefining learning in a technology-driven world. A case to adopt the ISTE Standards for Students

The ISTE Standards for Students have been refreshed and the 2016 Standards are now available.   ISTE will next be refreshing the Teacher standards.

This past June,  ISTE published the report:  “Redefining learning in a technology-driven world. A report to support adoption of the ISTE Standards for Students.”  The report includes:

  • Workforce readiness: The case for the 2016 ISTE Standards for Students
  • The refresh methodology
  • Research basis for the 2016 standards
  • Connections to national initiatives like the NETP, Common Core, CS for All, etc.
  • Crosswalk between 2007 and 2016 standards


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Speak Up 2016: Introduction &Tips Webinar

logo_clearbackgroundWebinar Thursday, October 6, 2016

1:00 pm ET / 10:00 am PT

Julie Evans (and some special guests) held an introductory Speak Up webinar on September 27th at 3pm ET / noon PT. The session was for anyone new to Speak Up, anyone still considering getting involved and anyone who just needs a refresher ahead of this fall’s surveys.

October 6 Webinar information.

Register for the Webinar.

  • Overview of Speak Up 2016
  • What’s new for 2016
  • Why schools and districts participate
  • How to get started
  • How to promote and boost participation
  • How schools will access data
  • And, more!

Julie was live and welcomed questions during the webinar! Tweet your questions using the #speakupintro hashtag or email them to Amber at

Speak Up 2016: Introduction & Tips

Video Recording on You Tube





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Education Technology in the News – 26 September 2016


  • The White House released an online interactive resource package called a Safe Place to Learn. The package provides materials to support school efforts to prevent and eliminate peer-to-peer sexual harassment and sexual violence. They are also putting guidance out for districts to consider when developing a sexual misconduct policy.

Department of Education News:  

Continue reading

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