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News from October 2016

Annual report details Write for Texas project’s expanding reach and impact
October 28, 2016

Findings reported in the 2015–2016 Write for Texas Annual Report illustrate the rapid growth and positive impact of the program across the state. 

The report synthesizes data from a wide range of sources, including Write for Texas coach and site staff reflections, field-based activity reports, and teacher and administrator survey responses from schools that Write for Texas supports. Data indicate impressive project outcomes, with 83% of respondents reporting improvement in student reading and writing skills and 82% seeing increased student engagement.  

In addition to profiling the unique structure and components of Write for Texas, the report presents information on the schools (more than 200 schools in more than 100 districts) and educators supported by the project. Highlights include frequency measures of classroom teaching routines and anecdotal evidence showing the positive influence Write for Texas coaches and materials have on staff development to improve academic reading and writing instruction in the secondary grades.  

Now entering its third year, the program continues to grow its coaching cadre and designate more Write for Texas districts and schools seeking to develop teachers and students using instructional best practices. 

For more information, download the 2015–2016 Write for Texas Annual Report or visit the Write for Texas website

Write for Texas 

“Making Middle School Matter” Symposium set for January 2018 in Austin
October 26, 2016

The Texas Association of Secondary School Principals (TASSP) will host the second annual “Making Middle School Matter” Symposium from January 21 to 23, 2018, in Austin for middle grade administrators and educators. The symposium will once again feature speakers and content from the Middle School Matters Institute and other middle grade organizations.  

Much like past Middle School Matters Institute conferences, this symposium will focus on research-based practices and strategies to implement in the classroom. Attendees should expect a series of keynotes, workshops, and time set aside for networking and planning.

“We are very pleased to continue our partnership with TASSP,” said Christy Murray, director of the Middle School Matters Institute. “Our goal is to provide the highest-quality professional development so middle grade educators can learn what works, instructionally and otherwise, in 21st century middle schools.”

Featured topics will include dropout prevention and the use of early warning indicator data; improving reading and writing throughout the content areas; positive student behavior supports; research-based mathematics practices; and measuring, monitoring, and managing important data.

Registration information for the symposium is forthcoming. For more information and to receive e-mail alerts about the symposium, visit the Middle School Matters Institute website.

Tags: Middle School Matters Institute 

Mini-lessons, research briefs to support struggling students are now available online
October 24, 2016

The Targeting the 2 Percent project has developed two series of resources to develop educators’ instructional effectiveness with students with learning disabilities and difficulties.

The project created a set of mini-lessons structured around the five essential components of reading instruction that can be used with students in kindergarten to grade 5 whose data show a need in a specific component.

Also, professors and researchers in the field wrote 11 research briefs to support evidence-based instructional practices. Topics include the five essential components of reading, grouping practices, peer supports, instructional considerations for dyslexia, English language learners, and literacy instruction for students with autism.

For more information and to download the mini-lessons and research briefs, which were developed with the support of the Texas Education Agency, visit the Targeting the 2 Percent project page.

Tags: Reading Institute  Targeting the 2 Percent