A monthly eblast highlighting school-based successful practices, tools, and resources that support teaching and learning.
September 2018

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The Center on Innovations in Learning (CIL), under the outstanding leadership of Marilyn Murphy, sponsors Conversations with Innovators at Temple University. “This annual CIL event provides a forum for in-depth discussions between invited guests and innovation experts in a conversational, intimate convening” (from CIL website). This year, CIL has posted briefs (Conversations Events Papers) that highlight a broad spectrum of issues related to Personalized Learning. These briefs are a must read for anyone wanting basic or more in-depth information about this important topic. 
An additional note: if you have not attended this event, open to all, please check your emails early next year for registration information.  This is a great way to connect with other innovators for these intimate and important conversations. For additional information about past Conversations, click here to view resources and photos from previous events.
This word cloud was created from the research brief on Relational Suasion, written by Mark Williams, for this year’s Conversations with Innovators.   So it makes perfect sense that the summary statement in the brief, “The teacher’s ability to positively influence a student because of the teacher’s relationship with the student and the student’s family is the cornerstone of personalization” (p. 9), mirrors the results of the word cloud. Mark authored a powerful brief that strongly argues for all teachers to provide a caring and supportive environment for every student as an essential component leading to academic and personal growth.
The mission of the School Community Network is to "connect families and schools to build strong school communities focused on student success.” Through resources and services, SCN consistently accomplishes its mission. One outstanding resource is the School Community Journal, published twice each year under the direction of editor Lori Thomas.
The Spring/Summer 2018 edition of the Journal includes a wide range of research topics, including a well-designed, large-scale study of the positive effects of home visits. The Effects of Teacher Home Visits on Student Behavior, Student Academic Achievement, and Parent Involvement addresses the shortcomings of many previous studies by including a large sample size of over 3,000 students matched with a similar-size comparison group. The limitations of the study are honestly discussed. This study will provide support and guidance for any school considering home visits.
edshelf, a CIL resource curated by Janet Twyman, Director of Innovation & Technology at the Center on Innovations in Learning, provides collections of apps, organized by topic, for information purposes only.  Padlet is a free app that provides open-ended opportunities for student responses, reactions, and brainstorming activities.  It works like a virtual bulletin board on which students place virtual stickies that can be organized any way they want.  Use as a center and have students rotate through to add their responses, or make this a homework activity where all students can view others responses and add their own.  No endorsement of any app is implied by its inclusion in edshelf.
The Academic Development Institute (ADI) in cooperation with the Center on School Turnaround (CST) has developed an innovative initiative, the Instructional Transformation Academy.  The initiative’s goal is to support principals tackling rapid, radical instructional improvement by accomplishing three academy outcomes:
  • Build knowledge and skills for rapid instructional transformation
  • Implement (in 90 days) the four Early Actions to jump-start the school’s instructional transformation
  • Collaborate with colleagues to deepen thinking and application of early actions for instructional transformation
Led by Dr. Maureen Richel and launched last Spring in Montgomery and Selma, Alabama, the initiative continued throughout the summer and has expanded this Fall to include Mobile and Jefferson Counties, Alabama.
Keep tuned in for updates on this exciting initiative.
The intent of IndistarBURST from its inception two years ago was to “highlight school-based successful practices, tools, and resources that support teaching and learning.”  We hope we have accomplished that goal. Our work could not have been accomplished without the efforts and quality of the individuals that comprise the CIL/ADI team and the work being highlighted in schools and in classrooms across the nation. We are forever indebted to their professionalism, hard-work, and optimism.
One shining light has been the work of Maureen Mirabito, who has authored numerous inspirational columns in the Content You Can Use section of IndistarConnect. So we close this issue of IndistarBURST with Maureen’s distinctive and inspirational way of highlighting the school-based practices of Westlawn Middle School in Huntsville, Alabama.  We hope her Success Stories (there are many) and all the resources within the CIL and ADI websites will continue to inspire you to strive for the best in support of teaching and learning in your school.
Copyright © 2018 Academic Development Institute, All rights reserved.

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