Successful Students

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C.A.R.E.:Strategies for Closing the Achievement Gaps

The C.A.R.E. Guide provides a multi-themed approach to closing the achievement gaps, focusing on Culture, Abilities, Resilience, and Effort (C.A.R.E.). Closing student achievement gaps is one of the most pressing challenges facing public education. Educators, with the support of the community, must:

  • Reach all students—students from multiple ethnic, racial, language, and economic backgrounds; students of both genders; students of comparable ability who are not currently achieving at equal academic levels
  • Ensure that all students have access to high-level classes and high-quality teachers and attain more high school and college diplomas

The C.A.R.E. Guide helps educators reflect on the causes of disparity in student achievement and explore ways to improve academic success by using innovative, research-based instructional strategies. By focusing on the themes of cultural, economic and language differences; unrecognized and undeveloped abilities; the power of resilience; and the importance of effort and motivation, the C.A.R.E. Guide advances the idea that if educators view these qualities of students as strengths, rather than deficits, they can be successful in closing achievement gaps.


Keys to Excellence for Your Schools (KEYS) is the embodiment of NEA’s commitment to ensure that every child has access to a Great Public School. KEYS is a comprehensive, research-based, data-driven approach to continuous school improvement; and the product of a 15-year collaborative effort involving educators, school district administrators, parents, and business and community leaders. At the heart of the NEA’s KEYS program is a survey that gathers the perception from all school stakeholders on how their school stacks up against every indicator in each “Key” area. School results are presented in bar graphs that illustrate the level of consensus among survey takers, how the school compares with all schools that took the survey, as well as with schools that are at the 90th percentile of the scale. Survey results belong to the school and are held strictly confidential. The decisions on what, to whom, when, and how to share the results rest on the hands of the district and school leadership teams made up of district, school, and association leaders acting in accordance with previously agreed upon guidelines memorialized in a memorandum of understanding.

English Language Learners: Culture, Equity and Language

This is a resource with research-based and classroom focused instructional and advocacy strategies to help educators. This ELL training module is intended for closing the achievement gaps for all ELL students of various cultures and languages. It is being made available to support and assist educators in understanding how to apply the best research-based ELL, culture and equity practices in the classroom and to further one’s own professional development.

NEA Resources on Human and Civil Rights Issues in Education

NEA provides resources on human and civil rights issues in education, including news, publications, trainings, information about NEA committees and campaigns.

Social Justice

The absence of social justice results in social oppression. Racism, sexism, ageism, classism, ableism, and heterosexism are some forms of social oppression in society. Societies and individuals form hierarchies of oppression in which certain types of oppression are addressed and others are not. Oppression of certain groups or individuals can result in social or legal exclusion, discrimination, inequitable distribution of resources, and emotional and physical consequences.


This online toolkit provides an introduction to the multiple facets of diversity. It offers basic information, a short list of strategies and tools, and suggestions for how to find out more. Neither the short list of topics in this toolkit nor the content within each topic is meant to be exhaustive. Diversity can be defined as the sum of the ways that people are both alike and different. The dimensions of diversity include race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, language, culture, religion, mental and physical ability, class, and immigration status. The field of education includes diverse professional job categories ranging from classroom teachers to education support professionals to higher education faculty to retired professionals. While diversity itself is not a value-laden term, the way that people react to diversity is driven by values, attitudes, beliefs, and so on. Full acceptance of diversity is a major principle of social justice.

Bullying and Sexual Harrassment

The NEA provides free bullying and sexual harassment prevention and intervention training for teachers and education support professionals, at the request of NEA Local and State Associations. The training is built on a research-based curriculum. The training raises awareness of sexual harassment, bullying, cyberbullying and sexting behaviors. It spells out concrete steps educators can take to prevent bullying and lays the groundwork for implementing school-wide engagement in bullying prevention. Trainings from 1-hour to 2-days are available. In the months ahead, members can look forward to a report on the perspectives of over 5000 members: teachers and ESPs, surveyed in April 2010 on bullying and prevention; and to an online informational kit on sexting.


Free for NEA members and affiliates, this program provides resources and skills to NEA members on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) issues. The training program, consisting of four workshops, can be delivered separately or together and are designed for all NEA members. The workshops are designed to increase awareness regarding GLBT issues, assist school staff in making safe and supportive environments for GLBT students and to address harassment and bullying based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Cultural Competence

Cultural competence is the key to thriving in culturally diverse classrooms and schools—and it can be learned, practiced, and institutionalized to better serve diverse students, their families, and their communities. Cultural competence is the ability to successfully teach students who come from a culture or cultures other than our own. It entails developing certain personal and interpersonal awareness and sensitivities, understanding certain bodies of cultural knowledge, and mastering a set of skills that, taken together, underlie effective cross-cultural teaching and culturally responsive teaching.

IDEA Special Education

The NEA IDEA Special Education Resource Cadre includes 30 NEA members who represent the diversity of NEA’s membership. The Cadre’s mission is to build capacity within NEA by sharing NEA’s message regarding special education concerns. They are committed to being prepared with research-based knowledge in order to provide accurate and timely information that will enhance our members’ ability to advocate for public education. Here are some of the topical workshops that cadre members can deliver

The Puzzle of Autism

• Birth to Five: Serving Young Children with Disabilities

• Collaborative Approach to Developing and Implementing Educationally Relevant IEPs

• Paraeducators and Teachers: Working Together for Students with Special Needs

• Truth in “Labeling”: Disproportionality

National Board For Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS)

Teaching in High Needs Initiative (THNI) allows for an entire staff including building leadership and ESP to take part in one, overarching professional development experience. This experience focuses school reform on the needs of the students first, and helps teachers through collaborative, reflective practices to design and implement appropriate instructional sequences. Schools who participate in this use the Take One! Products and services from the NBPTS. Two New Guides to support teachers in National Board candidacy

Virtual Mentors: The PSC and NEA’s Teacher Quality department is establishing a group of on-line mentors to assist member-teachers in achieving excellence in their practice.

Teacher Assessment and Evaluation: The National Education’s Association Framework for Transforming Education Systems to Support Effective Teaching and Improve Student Learning

This report provides an overview of effective and promising practices in the area of teacher assessment and evaluation.

Advancing High-Quality Professional Learning Through Collective Bargaining and State Policy: An Initial Review and Recommendations to Support Student Learning

This report was written in collaboration with the NEA and Learning Forward (formerly NSDC). The authors provide vignettes and exemplars from several states about how the Union has promoted high quality professional development.

Focus on What Works: What Educators Need to Know

To help mobilize NEA members and affiliates, “Focus on What Works,” an action guide for educators, identifies today’s hot topics and promising public school programs targeted to six historically under-served student groups:

  1. American Indians and Alaska Natives
  2. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders
  3. Blacks
  4. Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgenders
  5. Hispanics
  6. Women and Girls
Project Graduation

A large part of this project for the coming year will be onsite technical assistance to high schools through the Priority Schools Campaign. To learn more see the Dropout Prevention and Advocacy Report

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