The IDRA Newsletter is published 10 times a year. Each edition focuses on issues in education, striving to provide many different perspectives on the topics covered and to define its significance in the state and national dialogue. The IDRA Newsletter can only be mailed to U.S.addresses, but pdf and web copies are available online.

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April 2012 ~ Articles


April 2012

Focus ~ Curriculum Quality

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Newsletter Executive Editor
María "Cuca" Robledo Montecel, Ph.D.

ISSN 1069-5672

Professional Development in the 21st Century (Part II) – School-Based Teacher Professional Learning Communities
Today’s teachers face unprecedented challenges that require collective thinking and problem solving informed by increased teacher learning and reflection opportunities. Well thought-out and research supported teaching provides experiences enriched by reflection and interaction with colleagues. This article by Juanita García, Ph.D., describes three interrelated functions that are critical for contributing to a teacher’s knowledge base, and it will share insights into how one successful school built a learning community that provides professionalism and the ability to act upon what is learned.

Stellar Science Strategy – #1 Building on English Learners Proficiency for Effective Science Instruction
Through an action research based approach, IDRA has identified seven umbrella research supported strategies to help English learners achieve in the science classroom. In this article, Kristin Grayson, M.Ed., describes the first strategy, its research foundation and the techniques that teachers can use to implement this strategy in their classrooms.

Two-Way Dual Language Immersion Programs
For English learners to have an equitable education, programs must be in place that value languages other than English as means for learning the academic concepts required of successful students. In this newsletter article, Kristin Grayson, M.Ed., outlines how a two-way dual language immersion program can help make this a reality for English learners.

Other short stories…

Semillitas Project Features Culturally and Linguistically Relevant Early Childhood Education

St. Mary’s School of Law Honors IDRA Founder, Dr. Jose A. Cárdenas



Palmview High School Leadership Day (
Coca-Cola Valued Youth Program)


April 2012 ~ Newsletter Plus

Special Online-Only Supplement:
Teaching Spanish in Texas Schools – The Spanish Language Arts and Reading (SLAR),
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and Other Resources for Teachers of Spanish

Classnotes podcasts on professional learning communities:

Teacher Communities of Practice – January 31, 2011

Learning and Mentoring with Teachers and Students – Episode 71

Professional Learning Communities in Schools – Episode 25

Reflective Teaching – Episode 61

Classnotes podcasts on teaching science:

Science in Early Childhood Bilingual Classrooms – September 14, 2007

Science is a Key to Life – October 15, 2007

Teaching Opportunities through Discovery on Science – May 19, 2008

Beyond the Worksheet in the Science Classroom – November 21, 2008

Pitfalls and Promises of Interactive Science Notebooks – October 15, 2010

Science Success for English Learners – August 26, 2011

Data and Vocabulary in Math and Science – March 9, 2012

Science for English Learners #1 – March 30, 2012

Creating a STEM Focused School Part 1 – April 13, 2012

IDRA Science Smart!™ Professional Development Program
Customized to strengthen your existing science curriculum and pedagogy, Science Smart! helps teachers engage diverse learners through an authentic inquiry-based curriculum that is aligned with state standards. Science Smart! deepens students’ conceptual understanding of science, keeping the “why” in scientific discovery.

Science Instructional Strategies for English Learners ~ A Guide for Elementary and Secondary Grades
A practical resource with seven research-based strategies for instruction of English learners in science with teaching learning premises, research support, essential teacher competencies, and steps for strategy implementation – along with a matrix of techniques for implementation. Customized professional development also is available. (No ISBN; 20 Pages; English; 2012) $20.00

Minority Women in Science ~ Forging the Way
This student workbook and teacher guide includes: profiles of seven minority women scientists who have surmounted barriers to forge the way for themselves and future scientists, science lessons for the classroom, and life skills lessons. Student Workbook (ISBN: 1-878550-67-5; 2000; 32 pages; paperback) $15.00 • Teacher’s Guide (ISBN: 1-878550-68-3; 2000; 94 pages; paperback) $25.00 

Classnotes podcast about using Semillitas de aprendizaje™ in the classroom:

Bilingual Stories for Young Learners – November 16, 2010