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February 1, 2013
Vol. 70
No. 5

Themes for Educational Leadership 2013–14

September 2013

Resilience and Learning

Why do some students appear to bounce back from life challenges and succeed despite such risk factors as poverty, family dysfunction, or difficult lives? Is resilience a personality trait that some individuals are born with, or can it be nurtured through support? This issue will look at the research on resilience and its importance to academic success. What classroom and schoolwide supports are most effective in building resilient students who can deal with major life challenges—as well as the more common stresses and setbacks of everyday life? We are looking for articles on the instructional practices that build students' academic persistence, motivation, and confidence; the roles of school counselors, psychologists, social workers, and mentors; the importance of meaningful educator–student relationships; and the different ways resilience manifests itself at various ages.
Deadline: April 1, 2013

October 2013

Leveraging Teacher Leadership

Teachers are increasingly being held responsible for student outcomes, but they're often shut out of the debate about how to improve teaching and learning. This issue will examine the many ways that schools are empowering excellent teachers to become change agents. What skills and competencies do teacher leaders need? What formal and informal roles do they play? What does research say about the benefits and challenges of distributed school leadership? Articles will discuss collaborative leadership efforts, such as professional learning communities and data analysis teams; the role of teacher leaders in mentoring and coaching their peers; and what principals can do to create a school culture in which collegiality around school improvement flourishes.
Deadline: May 1, 2013

November 2013

Tackling Informational Text

The Common Core State Standards emphasize student interaction with increasingly complex informational text and the need for deep comprehension across all content areas. What are the characteristics of informational text, and what skills does it demand of the reader? Articles will discuss how teachers can best support students as they move through increasing levels of text complexity and how they can build students' domain knowledge and academic vocabulary in science, math, social studies, and language arts. We welcome articles that discuss how administrators can support teachers in this work; how teachers can best address the needs of all their students, including English language learners; and the role technology can play in strengthening students' comprehension.
Deadline: June 3, 2013

December 2013/January 2014

Getting Students to Mastery

How does classroom practice change when the overarching goal for students becomes mastery of the Common Core State Standards? This issue will rethink the goal of mastery in light of such developments as adaptive testing, standards-based grading, formative assessment, and response to intervention (RTI). How might schools teach for proficiency and mastery in an age of accountability, and what role can technology play? How are teachers handling homework, and how are they fitting in reteaching and opportunities for test retakes? Articles will discuss strategies for working with students who have mastered the basic objectives as well as helping struggling students who risk falling behind.
Deadline: July 1, 2013

February 2014

Building School Morale

How do we build schoolwide cultures in which administrators, teachers, students, and parents are energized and positive about learning? This issue will explore how both principals and teachers can achieve balance, reduce stress, and become confident advocates for public education in the face of outside criticisms. What practices build educator morale; protect educators from negative pressures and initiative fatigue; empower them to be problem solvers; and promote trust, mutual respect, collegiality, and celebration? How can the demands of accountability and high expectations be realized in a positive culture? How can school leaders create a culture of community by forging alliances and involving families?
Deadline: September 3, 2013

March 2014

Using Assessments Thoughtfully

With the new assessments connected to the Common Core State Standards to be implemented in the 2014–15 school year, high-stakes tests will continue to be a force shaping schooling. This issue will look at current questions and challenges associated with both high- and low-stakes tests. How different will the new assessments created for the Common Core be? What must schools do now to prepare for the new tests, including providing professional development and getting the infrastructure needed for computerized testing? How can schools fairly assess English language learners and students with learning differences? What about "exit exams" for high school students? How do such gatekeeper tests effect at-risk youth and the dropout rate? We welcome new perspectives on how to align standardized and classroom-based tests and how to teach for meaning in an age of testing.
Deadline: October 1, 2013

April 2014

Writing: A Core Skill

The Common Core State Standards call for schools to emphasize not only creative and narrative writing, but also argumentative and informative writing. How can writing instruction across the content areas best respond to these new standards? How important is it to explicitly teach language mechanics, such as spelling, vocabulary, and sentence construction? How can schools give writing instruction more time in the day and more focus in all subjects? This issue will examine the writing skills that students need to develop to become college and career ready, as well as promising approaches for teaching writing.
Deadline: November 4, 2013

May 2014

The New Face of Professional Development

Professional learning is no longer only something that schools do for educators; it's also something educators do for themselves. Educators are not only building professional communities online and in their schools and districts, but they are also personalizing their own learning. Data teams, lesson study groups, and virtual communities provide opportunities to learn with and from peers. Teacher-led "unconferences" and edcamps provide new models for professional conferences. And blogs, wikis, and Twitter chats are enabling educators to learn and share anytime and anywhere. How can school leaders customize and evaluate professional development opportunities? What types of learning communities are most effective, and what are some of the barriers to creating such communities?
Deadline: December 3, 2013

This article was published anonymously, or the author name was removed in the process of digital storage.

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