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Blog post Samantha Durrance, SREB Policy Analyst

New Research Points to Continued Promise of Pre-K

Graduated from high school: Attended ECE Program 74%, No ECE 63% Repeated a grade: Attended ECE Program 23%, No ECE 31% Placed in special education: Attended ECE Program 20%, No ECE 28%

Researchers continue to examine the long-term impacts of pre-K participation, and more sophisticated methods and better data may help solidify the consensus that has already emerged: investing in early childhood education plays an important role in preparing young children for success in the early grades and pays off in the long run.

Blog post David Raney, SREB Chief Editor

Math Classroom Strategies Steal the Show

Joy Hofmeister, Oklahoma State Superintendent of Schools, visited Moore High School in December to look at its technology program. And she did, but she also got a pleasant surprise when principal Mike Coyle showed her to an Algebra 2 classroom.

Mathematics department chair Nancy Nix reported that the superintendent was “blown away by the level of student engagement and mathematical discourse.”

Blog post Gene Bottoms, SREB Senior Vice President

STEM Is Not Too Hard for Students — When It’s Done Right

Male STEM students examines a molecure model.

It is no secret that in the modern economy, STEM fields are in constant need of qualified workers. There simply are not enough people with STEM skills to fill vacancies, even though those who hold STEM degrees make 26 percent more than their contemporaries who hold non-STEM degrees. Countless studies have chronicled various reasons why too few students participate in STEM education; however, a new survey from Pew Research Center finds that the number one reason students are not studying STEM might be that they view these fields as too difficult.

Blog post Gene Bottoms, SREB senior vice president

Inspiring Students to Explore STEM with SREB’s Advanced Career Courses
How AC’s nine pathways connect classrooms, college and the careers of the future

As you know, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills are in high demand in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven economy. Leading employers prize job candidates with strong communication and teamwork skills who anticipate workplace problems and can apply literacy, math and technical know-how to solve them. (Learn more in this Business Roundtable report).

Blog post Andy Baxter, SREB Vice President, Educator Effectiveness

Why Evaluator Training?
Our evaluation systems depend on the quality of feedback teachers receive

Andy Baxter

Over the last five years, SREB’s Educator Effectiveness team has interviewed hundreds of teachers and classroom observers, pored over evaluation data, convened state education agency staff, and read everything we could find about how to improve the systems of feedback that teachers receive. Over and over again, we ended up at the same place:

Classroom observers need training in how to understand what is happening in classrooms and how to communicate feedback in ways that teachers can hear and act upon.

Blog post Kim Anderson, Director, Benchmarking College- and Career-Readiness Standards

How Does My State’s New Accountability System Support School Improvement?

To answer this question for stakeholders across the region, SREB’s benchmarking team reviewed Every Student Succeeds Act plans submitted by SREB states in 2017. ESSA, signed into law in 2015, replaced the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 as the latest reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act. ESSA maintains some of the basic requirements for state accountability systems from NCLB, while also giving states new flexibility in shaping many aspects of their systems. According to the law, states submitted plans to the U.S.

Blog post Dyslexia Policies in SREB States Samantha Durrance, SREB Policy Analyst

Don’t Be Afraid to Say “Dyslexia”
Acknowledging and identifying dyslexia is step one in helping struggling readers

Dyslexia policies in SREB states, January 2018

Researchers estimate that dyslexia affects at least one in 10 people. As defined by the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia is a neurobiological learning disability, unrelated to intelligence, characterized by differences in the way the brain processes language. These differences result in difficulties developing skills that are important for reading and writing. While it cannot be outgrown, individuals with dyslexia can learn strategies to help them overcome the unique challenges it presents.

Blog post Gene Bottoms

Valuing Both Cs in State Accountability Systems
SREB helps states set and meet bold goals for student achievement and credential attainment

Career map

SREB has long held that high-quality career and technical education transforms how students learn by connecting the classroom with the real world of work. Our nine Advanced Career curricula exemplify the power of CTE. Each four-course AC career pathway is built around hands-on, project-based assignments that challenge students to apply academic knowledge, technical know-how and teamwork skills to solve the same problems faced by industry professionals.

Blog post Ansley Abraham, Director, SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program

Why supporting doctoral students of color is more important than ever

Group photo: attendees of the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring

Twenty-five years ago, the South was graduating so few Ph.D. students of color that, in some fields, the annual number of graduates could fit into the same car.

Fortunately that has changed, but not enough to graduate all the scholars of color we need.

Blog post Samantha Durrance, SREB Policy Analyst

Diverse needs create a challenge for kindergarten teachers
How can states help their kindergarten teachers meet students where they are and boost learning for all?

Kindergarten is an important transition to the early grades. In fact, more and more teachers say kindergarten is the new first grade. Recent research by Bassok, Latham and Rorem backs this up. In 2016, these researchers examined differences in kindergarten expectations and teaching practices between 1998 and 2010.

Blog post Dave Madden, Guest Blogger

Seven Literacy-Based Assignments for Social Studies Classrooms

Bodies of Water graphic

Dave Madden

Last year, while teaching at Lakeside Middle School in Anderson County, South Carolina, my colleague Keri Compton and I came up with seven strategies specifically for social studies teachers. These mini-tasks, based on our Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) training, use hands-on activities to build confidence and help students reflect on their learning while they’re improving their reading and writing skills. Here they are:

People, Objects, Settings, Engagement and Relationships

Blog post Anna Hasenkamp, Guest Blogger

Raise the Rigor
Strategies to Promote Reading Comprehension


Anna Hasenkamp

As a middle grades social studies teacher in Florence School District 1 — an area of South Carolina along I-95 known as the “Corridor of Shame” for its poverty and low-performing students — I have a theory. I believe all students benefit from rigorous, literacy-based classroom instruction, and students from poverty benefit the most. The ability to read and understand complex texts is the best way to distinguish students who are college and career ready from those who are not.

Blog post Lauri Johnson, SREB Director of School Leader Development

Math and Literacy Teaching Strategies Have Deep, Lasting Effect

Want to see where good teaching happens? Watch what students are doing in the classroom. Sounds obvious, maybe, but as SREB senior vice president Gene Bottoms says, “We observe teachers and what they’re doing all the time — but we miss a big piece of the puzzle if we don’t see what the kids are doing as a result.”

So SREB asked My Student Survey to see how our training in powerful literacy and math teaching tools is paying off in the classroom.

Blog post Samantha Durrance, SREB Policy Analyst

Are teachers prepared to teach reading?
Research shows a gap between what we know about reading and how teachers are prepared to teach it

Reading is the foundation for learning.

The research is clear: Students who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade are much more likely to face poor academic outcomes. For this reason alone, we know it is incredibly important that children learn to read well early in elementary school and continue to build on those reading skills throughout the rest of school.

Blog post Gene BottomsSenior Vice President, SREB

West Virginia: Leading-Edge Career-Tech Showcased in The New York Times
State's partnerships with SREB go far beyond adoption of Advanced Career Energy and Power pathway.

Photo of a female CTE student operating a drill press.

A recent article in The New York Times describes how West Virginia’s career and technical education programs are preparing students for degrees and careers in the state’s high-tech, high-demand industries. “Far from being strictly a job training program for teenagers, classes like Advanced Career Energy and Power require math and physics instruction as rigorous as in the College Board’s Advanced Placement track.”

Here are six ways the state partners with SREB in CTE and readiness.

Blog post Kim Anderson, Director, and Mary Elizabeth Mira, Assistant Director, SREB's Benchmarking College- and Career-Readiness Standards Project

Heavy Lift
Aligning Classroom Materials to State Standards

Report cover: Alignment of Instructional Materials: Trends in State Efforts,

SREB report can serve as a guide as work continues

Big changes don’t happen overnight. And when states adopted higher education standards, it was only the first step in a long-term effort to improve schools so all students graduate high school with what they need to be ready for college and careers.

Next came the complex work of implementing the standards. Schools needed textbooks, curricula and lesson plans designed with the new standards in mind. Teachers needed training to shift their classroom strategies to help students meet the readiness standards.

Blog post Wanda BarkerDirector, Educational Technology Cooperative

Arkansas Schools Exceed Federal Broadband Connectivity Goals

Congratulations to the Arkansas Department of Education for its broadband connectivity accomplishments! Arkansas is now one of only six states in the nation that have met the federal target for high-speed broadband in every public school.