Festus, Kirkwood, Lindbergh, Parkway have Gold Star Schools


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MO Gold Star LogoThe Gold Star Schools program was established by the the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in 1991 and aligns with the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes schools whose students achieve at very high levels or schools that make significant progress in closing the achievement gap. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program sets a standard of excellence for all schools striving for the highest level of achievement.

EducationPlus member districts being recognized by DESE for becoming Gold Star Schools this year:

• Concord Elementary, Lindbergh Schools
• Festus Elementary, Festus School District
• Henry Elementary, Parkway Schools
• Long Elementary, Lindbergh Schools
• Mason Ridge Elementary, Parkway Schools
• North Glendale Elementary, Kirkwood School District

In order for a school to be recommended to the Commissioner of Education as a Missouri Gold Star School, that school must meet the nomination criteria outlined by the U.S. Department of Education for the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program. The school must complete the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program application and the U.S. Department of Education must accept the school’s National Blue Ribbon Schools Program application.



Professional Learning Opportunities: Addressing Literacy and Engineering in Classrooms


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Dr. Bridgette Davis is the Director of the Gulf Coast Academy for Science Literacy. She has designed professional development training for middle and high school teachers using STEM modules with embedded literacy instruction. She also serves as an assistant professor at Louisiana State University in the School of Education. She completed her Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in Science Education and Content Area Literacy in 2010. She presents two all-day sessions next month:

Putting the “E” in STEM | Strategies for Training Engineers in Your Modern Classroom
Common Core State Standards, College and Career Readiness Standards, and the Next Generation Science Standards place great emphasis on a multi-disciplinary approach that increases interconnectedness among all disciplines and engineering. This April 21 workshop offers middle and high school teachers from all disciplines an introduction to essential principles of engineering, places to find resources, easily accessible tools, and basic ways to begin including engineering principals into their current curriculum.

Utilizing Careers to Address Literacy Across the Curriculum
Integrating Literacy across the curriculum can be a challenge. This workshop on April 22 offers teachers ways to meet the challenge by using College and Career Readiness Standards to support a focus on careers in instructional design. Teachers will explore ways to integrate relevant information text sources while making connections between the content in the subject area and careers through the use of appropriate literacy tasks. This workshop is designed for middle and high school teachers from all disciplines yet it is appropriate for curriculum coordinators and administrators. Art, music, and physical education teachers will benefit as well by attending.

Registration information can be found at www.edplus.org. Space is limited, EdPlus suggests interested educators enroll early to secure a place. Both sessions will take place at the  Rockwood Administrative Annex in Eureka.

2014 National Schools of Character Finalists from Missouri include Two Districts


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The Character Education Partnership (CEP) named 50 schools and districts from 16 states as national finalists in the 2014 National Schools of Character (NSOC) program. Missouri has the highest number of finalists, including two districts. All Missouri finalists are members of CHARACTERplus, a resource of EducationPlus:

Belton • Mill Creek Upper Elementary
• Antonia Middle School, Sherwood Elementary
Ladue Ladue Middle School
Lindbergh* Robert H. Sperreng Middle School
Bernard Middle School
Blades Elementary School
Margaret Buerkle Middle School
Oakville Elementary School
Oakville Middle School
Parkway • McKelvey Elementary
Pattonville • Willow Brook Elementary
Rockwood • Blevins Elementary
Special School District Hiram Neuwoehner High School

  • Congratulations to Lindbergh and Mehville, whose respective districts were also named NSOC finalists.

NSOC is not a competition,  rather an opportunity to receive feedback as well as recognition for growth and excellence in the area of character development through CEP’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education framework. NSOC recognizes schools and districts that have demonstrated, through a rigorous evaluation process, that character development has had a positive impact on academics, student behavior, and school climate.

Learn Strategies to Improve Graduation Rates

Join area educators March 13 to discuss effective and intentional strategies to keep students in school in the workshop If You Create It, They Will Stay!.  Educators from three high schools that have made significant improvement in their dropout and graduation rates will share what they’ve done, along with the data that backs up their success.  The St. Louis area is lagging behind other parts of Missouri in both dropout and graduation rates, and this full-day of best practices and strategies can help any school.

The models to be discussed include aspects of mentoring, data collection, service learning, along with family and community involvement.

Members of the EducationPlus Learning Team will also talk about strategies that can work for your school. The cost to attend is $20 for a full day, including lunch. For more and to register click here.

Implement and Advance STEM Teaching and Learning


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2013_sharefarelogo_thumbShare Fair is a free, two-part event hosted by the University of Missouri – St. Louis College of Education to transform education and propel schools towards the best 21st Century classrooms. Included in Share Fair are Classroom Intensives, which is professional development for educators and  STEMosphere, which is a public exhibition of fun, interactive, STEM-inspired activities.

Share Fair takes place Saturday, March 29 with the following schedule:

8:00 -  3:15     Classroom Intensives Sessions for Educators
9:30 -  4:00     STEMosphere for the Public

To learn more about presentations, exhibitors at STEMosphere, and to register, visit the Share Fair website.

CHARACTERplus National Conference Returns in June


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CHARACTERplus, a resource of EducationPlus, will hold the 20th annual CHARACTERplus National Conference June 17-18. In addition to the presence of perennial favorite Hal Urban, sessions from educators across the country focus on:

  • Common Core
  • Curriculum Integration
  • Research/Data Driven Decision Making
  • Safety/Security
  • School Climate/Culture
  • Social & Emotional Skills
  • Unity/Team Building Activities-Building Relationships
  • plus more

Coffee cup.epsIn addition, four keynote speakers will refuel and energize conference attendees. Tara Brown is a specialist in connecting with youth and building relationships with students and staff. Her career has impacted mainstream, at risk teens and nontraditional leaders by empowering them with leadership and life skills and guiding them toward the life they envisioned. Rich Grawer is a St. Louis sports legend, having served as the head basketball coach at St. Louis University and coached at the University of Missouri. He is a proven leader and has guided young people through his career with successful stints as a high school coach and athletic director. Stephen Peters founded the Gentlemen’s Club, which provides opportunities for students to enhance self-esteem and self-image. The process is being used as a successful intervention tool in many inner city, urban and now rural school districts. John O’Leary is an author and international speaker. He will share his inspirational story of how he overcame life’s challenges through the support of others and his strong personal character.

Learn more about the conference and hear what others are saying about it by visiting www.edplus.org.

Midwest Education Technology Conference offers Leadership Lunch Keynote and Library & Media Literacy Lunch Keynote

In one month, the 31st annual Midwest Education Technology Conference kicks off. Preconference workshops make up Monday’s schedule, with general conference sessions- including Keynote Presenters, Featured Speakers, and Midwest Spotlight Educators- taking place Tuesday and Wednesday. Also on Tuesday and Wednesday, the conference has two special luncheons planned, focusing on leadership and library/media, respectively. Additional registration is required for both luncheons.


Speakers Shannon and Michael Smith, and Tiffany Whitehead

Leadership Lunch Keynote – Common Sense Leadership on the Cheap
with Michael Smith, Superintendent and Shannon Smith, Technology Coordinator of Tuscola CUSD in Illinois on Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 12:00-2:00 pm.

Schools and districts are broke, yet they are expected to do more with less every single day. Find out how Tuscola CUSD in Tuscola, Illinois has been able to utilize all its technology and leadership resources to enrich classroom instruction and improve administrative practices in this practical, down-to-earth presentation led by Superintendent Michael Smith and Technology Coordinator Shannon Smith. Yes, they are married.

Library & Media Literacy Lunch Keynote – Examining the Sacred Cows of School Librarianship with Tiffany Whitehead, Library Media Specialist, Central Middle School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Wednesday, February 12, 2014, 12:00-2:00 pm.

Library programs can sometimes stay in the same rut, follow the same routines, keep the same policies because, well, that’s just the way it’s done in libraries! It’s time to rethink some of our sacred cows to make our libraries more relevant, vibrant, and student friendly. From ditching Dewey to gaming in the library, librarians all over the country are making big and small changes in their practice in order to improve their services.

Registration is open for the conference and these two events. Visit METCconference.org to register. METC is a program of EducationPlus.

Missouri Ranks 22nd with National Board Certified Teachers


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The mission of the National Board Professional Teaching Standards, known as National Board, is to advance student learning and achievement by establishing the definitive standards and systems for certifying accomplished educators, providing programs and advocating policies that support excellence in teaching and leading and engaging National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) and leaders in that process.

Missouri ranks 22nd in the nation in its total of
856 National Board Certified Teachers.

In 2013, 70 teachers in Missouri achieved National Board Certification, the profession’s highest recognition of accomplished teaching; 52 educators (74%) are from the St. Louis region. Congratulations to the following districts:

Rockwood (18)
Maplewood-Richmond Heights (9)
Lindbergh (7)
Parkway (7)
Francis Howell (4)
Kirkwood (3)
Hancock Place (2)
Hazelwood (1)
University City (1)

The top five school districts statewide (by total number certified) include Rockwood with 112, Francis Howell with 99, Park Hill with 73,  Independence with 51, and Lindbergh with 37.

Highly Effective Classrooms: Principles First, Strategies Second



National speaker Rick Wormeli is in his second day of presenting a candid and provocative seminar in which he’s identifying operating tenets and non-negotiable principles in our teaching philosophy, then discussing what they mean for classroom practice. The goal of the seminar, which is being attended by K-12 educators across the region, is to minimize hypocrisies and raise the integrity between teaching beliefs and classroom decisions.

Topics of conversation include:

Rick Wormeli

• What conventional practices are thrown out the window for a teacher who believes all students can learn but maybe at a different pace, that parroting information does not demonstrate mastery, or fair isn’t always equal?
• What about those that think teachers are no longer the arbiter of knowledge for students, or “carrot and stick” motivation programs don’t work, or schools should drop averaging?

Here are just a few Tweets coming from the event:

Involve students in the formulation of problems, don’t just assign problems for students to solve. #principles @EducPlus @ddmeyer

— Keri Skeeters (@KeriSkeeters) December 18, 2013

The relationships among the adults in your school have a significant impact on student learning & student achievement. @RickWormeli #edchat

— Dr. Justin Tarte (@justintarte) December 18, 2013

Wormeli–Recovering in full from failure teaches more than being labeled for failure ever could teach. #hsdpd13 #principles

— Angie Muse (@angiemariemuse) December 17, 2013


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