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Friday, 24 April 2015

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See IDRA’s latest annual report, The Power of Possibility: How IDRA and its partners are changing public education.



IDRA’s book, Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework™. See how communities and schools can work together to strengthen their capacity to be successful with all of their students. Visit the book’s web page to get a table of contents, excerpt, related podcasts and other resources related to this book.


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“A School District Vision for Biliteracy” IDRA Classnotes Podcast Episode 151
(April 21, 2015) While many bilingual education programs across the country are designed to build students’ fluency in English, some dual language programs provide opportunities for students to grow academically in two languages. But one school district has taken this to a whole new level by encouraging students across the district become bilingual, bicultural and biliterate. In this podcast episode, dual language coordinator Rosalva Silva describes how the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo school district is supporting students to meet biliteracy graduation requirements. This is the second part of our conversation with Ms. Silva and her sister Rosario Lucero, a retired educator from the Raymondville school district, following IDRA’s inaugural IDRA José A. Cárdenas School Finance Fellows Program symposium. They discuss the support and resources needed for a high quality education for English language learners and what it means to students to have their first language so valued and respected.


IDRA Analyses Show Texas Equity Gaps would Widen under Proposed School Funding Measure
David Hinojosa, J.D., IDRA national policy director, presented expert testimony last week based on IDRA’s analysis of Committee Substitute House Bill 1759, put forth by state Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock, who chairs the House Public Education committee, in an attempt to improve the way Texas funds it public schools. “We appreciate Chairman Aycock for taking the leadership role in presenting a school finance plan this session that seeks to put more resources into public education,” summarized Mr. Hinojosa. “Unfortunately, the plan fails to continue that trek toward greater equity and instead puts significantly greater resources, on average, in the wealthiest districts.”



Valuing Teachers – IDRA’s Approach to Professional Development
At IDRA, we develop integrated, research-based professional development experiences to assure that educators have access to innovative strategies in order to solve problems, create solutions, and use best practices to educate all students to high standards. Our valuing professional development model focuses on personalized learning experiences that develop teachers’ knowledge and instructional practice in order to positively impact student learning and the long-term academic success of all students. In this article, Paula Johnson, M.A., illustrates our valuing approach to providing quality educational training experiences for teachers.


Opportunity Matters: The Path to “Equity Literacy” – An interview with scholar and social justice advocate, Dr. Paul C. Gorski
Low-income students make up a “new majority” of children attending U.S. public schools. Yet, while student demographics have changed, deficit views about low-income children and families, in large part, have not. And these perspectives define education policy and practice. Recently, through the IDRA Opportunity Matters Roundtable Series, we examined these issues with guest speaker, Dr. Paul C. Gorski, author of Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap. Laurie Posner, MPA, highlights a follow-up interview with Dr. Gorski in this article.



Science and Math Are Students’ Favorite Subjects at Judson ISD as a Result of STEM Initiatives
The Judson school district launched a STEM Initiative collaborative partnership to pursue innovative strategies that enhance learning opportunities and student achievement in mathematics, technology and science in grades 5 and 8. The initiative was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense Education Agency. Felix Montes, Ph.D., and Deborah Rice, project director of the Judson ISD DoDEA grant, share highlights from IDRA’s evaluation of the program for the 2013-14 school year, finding that 55.9 percent chose science as their favorite subject and 44.1 percent named mathematics as the most popular subject in a survey of 533 students attending six schools participating in the program.


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