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 2016 Issue ~ Articles


Current Issue:
April 2016

Focus ~ Early Learning


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

ISSN 1069-5672

Three Signs that Your Pre-K Might Need a Make Over
There is no question about the need and long-term effectiveness of investing in universal prekindergarten education. The question now is one of quality. As an advocate for high-quality education for all children, IDRA is deeply concerned about this issue. This article by Felix Montes, Ph.D., offers some guidance in this regard, through three scenarios based on comments he heard in some of my classroom observations and teacher interviews.

Bilingual Early Childhood Education – Capitalizing on the Language and Culture of the Home and Introducing English
School districts across the country are exploring ways to pull together resources to provide quality early childhood education to as many students as possible. And given the growing numbers of students who are learning English, the need for effective bilingual education is growing as well. In this article, Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., Consuelo Casas, and Berta A. Medrano, Abby Gonzalez showcase one school district that is making connections between young children learning to count on their fingers and young adults counting their course credits in college. 

Technology in Early Childhood
As the 21st century advances, technology is becoming ingrained in the social fabric of our society. This article, reprinted from IDRA’s Semillitas de Aprendizaje Teacher Guide (Manual de Maestro), discusses how many agree that this introduction to technology, and particularly to computers, should take place in the school and at an early age.

The Power of Possibility: How IDRA and Our Partners are Transforming Public Education – IDRA Annual Report Released
IDRA’s 2015 Annual Report, The Power of Possibility: How IDRA and Our Partners are Transforming Public Education highlights the ways in which 2015 was a pivotal year for children both in terms of progress and deepening disparities. It shows how IDRA and our partners are valuing children of all backgrounds by keeping a sharp focus on educational quality and equity. We are producing research and analyses that matter and putting in place effective programs, strategies, policies and solutions to secure public education that works for all children.

Essential Approaches for Excellence & Sustainable School System Transformation – New Publication Showcases Strategies that Deepen School Improvement
In a field where so many attempts at school reform are isolated, fragmented and short-lived, Essential Approaches for Excellence & Sustainable School System Transformation is a new resource for education leaders to build capacity for systemic change for equity and excellence for all students. The publication was developed by the Equity-Centered Capacity Building Network (ECCBN), a network of 11 expert organizations from across the country. The network was formed to unite their work to increase the impact of capacity-building approaches that promote deep and sustainable school and systems change.

Meet Felix Montes, IDRA Education Associate
This year, the IDRA Newsletter is highlighting our staff’s varied and diverse talents and backgrounds. Felix Montes, Ph.D., is an IDRA education associate. His story starts more than 3,000 miles away. He was born in Venezuela and grew up in one of its most southern cities, Ciudad Bolivar, close to the Amazon jungle, by the Orinoco River, one of the largest in South America.


April 2016 Issue ~ Newsletter Plus

Classnotes podcasts on early learning

3 ELL Scaffolding Strategies – Episode 160

A School District Vision for Biliteracy – Episode 151

Civil Rights Update for English Learners – Episode 150

Geometry in Early Childhood – Episode 139

The Role of Bilingual Ed and ESL in Our Schools – Episode 138

Readers Theatre in Early Childhood Ed – Episode 134

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College Bound and Determined –IDRA Report
IDRA’s report, College Bound and Determined, shows how the Pharr-San Juan Alamo school district in south Texas transformed itself from low achievement and low expectations to planning for all students to graduate from high school and college. In PSJA, transformation went beyond changing sobering graduation rates or even getting graduates into college. This school district is changing how we think about college readiness. 

IDRA’s Quality Schools Action Framework™

Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework
At a time when public education makes a world of difference to our students, communities and economic success, many are looking for strategies that will work for them and that will last. Courage to Connect: A Quality Schools Action Framework shows how communities and schools can work together to strengthen their capacity to be successful with all of their students.