Keeping up with hot topics

By Learning Forward
August 2017
Vol. 38 No. 4


From Frenzied to Focused: How School Staffing Models Can Support Principals as Instructional Leaders

New America, June 2017

How can school systems make principals’ roles more manageable while also ensuring that teachers are receiving the support they need to continue improving classroom instruction for their students?

This new paper from New America’s PreK-12 Education Policy program explores approaches to solving this dilemma by examining three public school districts that employ promising, yet varied, “new school leadership” models with a goal of bolstering principals’ ability to focus on instructional leadership, including supporting teachers’ classroom practice.

The report offers key considerations for states and districts interested in rethinking their school staffing models to better support the needs of staff and students, including recommendations for how to fund and encourage effective work in this area.


Collaborative for Student Success & Bellwether Education Partners

The Collaborative for Student Success, in partnership with Bellwether Education Partners, released an analysis, identifying best practices in the 17 state accountability plans that were submitted in April and May 2017 to the U.S. Department of Education.

The findings can be found on the website,, which provides in-depth information on how these plans advance educational opportunities for all students, and where some fall short. highlights best practices in eight of nine categories, as well as an analysis of each state’s plan, detailing the strengths and weaknesses of what each state submitted for formal approval under the Every Student Succeeds Act.

The site serves as a resource for states and stakeholders as they continue to improve their already-submitted plans as well as for states submitting plans during the September window.


The Effect of Teacher Coaching on Instruction and Achievement: A Meta-Analysis of the Causal Evidence

Brown University, June 2017

The authors review the empirical literature on teacher coaching and conduct meta-analyses to estimate the mean effect of coaching on teachers’ instructional practice and students’ academic achievement.

Combining results across 44 studies that employ causal research designs, they find pooled effect sizes of .58 standard deviations (SD) on instruction and .15 SD on achievement. Much of this evidence comes from literacy coaching programs for prekindergarten and elementary school teachers.

Further analyses illustrate the challenges of taking coaching programs to scale.

They conclude by discussing ways to address scale-up implementation challenges and providing guidance for future causal studies.


Starting Strong 2017: Key OECD Indicators on Early Childhood Education and Care

OECD Publishing, 2017

Having timely, reliable, and comparable international information is essential to help countries improve their early childhood education and care services and systems.

This report addresses the needs and interests of national and local policymakers and researchers interested in better understanding what is happening in early childhood education and care as well as national statisticians who collect and report education data to international organizations. The publication is a comprehensive and catalogued data source.

Among the challenges noted in the report is improving the working conditions and professional education of early childhood education and care staff and ensuring equitable access for all children to attend quality early childhood education and care, with a focus on children under the age of 3.

Download the PDF version

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