New England Secondary School Consortium

2018 School Redesign in Action Conference

Pre-Conference Sessions

League of Innovative Schools Meeting: Designing and Refining Systems of Supports and Extensions for All Learners – Members Only

What can schools do to help all students meet shared learning expectations? And how can they ensure opportunities to excel?

In this session, members of the League of Innovative Schools will reflect upon the support and extensions practices that ensure equitable outcomes for all students. Using the collective thinking of the network, members will leave with new ideas, perspectives, and commitments to implement upon returning to their schools.

Participants will select one of two pathways that lead to the refinement and design of student support and extension practices. In the design thinking pathway, participants will tackle a challenge by expansively considering a situation and generating multiple, concrete solutions. Through the tuning pathway, participants will gather actionable feedback in order to improve a particular practice or plan. Participants who are interested in the tuning pathway should come with artifacts to share with a group of approximately ten colleagues.

As a result of this session, participants will be able to refine and implement practices at their schools that better support equitable outcomes for all students. In addition, they will strengthen relationships within the network and build comfort with a process for tackling challenges and refining work that they can bring back to their schools.

Session
Monday, March 12, 8:30 - 11:00 AM

Members Only: Principals’ Professional Learning Groups

This meeting is for current members of the Principals’ PLGs. These groups will meet and engage in interactive, protocol-based work sessions to deepen our learning and support the implementation of equitable, proficiency based learning.

Session
Monday, March 12, 8:30 - 11:00 AM

Ensuring Equity and Quality in a Proficiency-Based System

CompetencyWorks

Merely implementing the practices of proficiency-based learning does not necessarily produce a high-quality, equitable system. Addressing equity and supporting the success of all learners requires much more. How should we define equity to be meaningful in a personalized, proficiency-based system? How can high quality proficiency-based learning systems and schools make outcomes more transparent and ensure educators take responsibility for addressing equity issues? How can we work together to ensure that proficiency-based systems take full advantage of what we know about equity strategies to benefit all students, especially those who have been historically underserved?

In this session, presenters will take an extensive dive into these important questions. Presenters will:

1) Introduce frameworks on equity and quality to guide reflection, design and implementation of proficiency-based systems; 2) Share insights, stories, and challenges gathered from schools across the country; and, 3) Facilitate conversations that dig into the important issues of equity and quality and help guide the development of individual and collective calls to action.

Participants will leave with, 1) Insights about the relationship between equity and quality in a proficiency-based system; 2) Ideas, strategies, and resources for ensuring equity and quality are addressed in their proficiency-based system; and, 3) An opportunity to learn with and from other educators from across the country engaged in similarly important and challenging work.

Session
Monday, March 12, 8:30 - 11:00 AM
Presenters

Chris Sturgis (Co-Founder)

Embedding Social and Emotional Learning in High School Classrooms

Engaging Schools, MA

Students thrive in high school classrooms that embrace developmentally appropriate and culturally responsive teaching, and foster a relational approach to learning. Creating this environment by design requires intention and planning. How can teachers intentionally create content that simultaneously challenges students and integrates academic, social, and emotional learning? What are the features of a classroom where teachers actively partner with students to engage in respectful interactions, while holding high standards and expectations for every learner?

Participants will engage in real-time experiences to create classrooms where students feel affirmed, where their voices are heard and honored, and where their developmental and cultural needs are met. Together we will explore practical approaches to embed social and emotional learning competencies that foster students’ capacity to be self-directed, independent learners.

Participants will explore how teachers can intentionally create content that is challenging and seamlessly integrates social and emotional learning with academic learning. They will learn what it takes to design classroom experiences where teachers actively partner with students to engage in respectful interactions, while teaching rigorous content with high standards and expectations.

Session
Monday, March 12, 8:30 - 11:00 AM
Presenters

Denise Wolk (Director of Publications + Marketing)

Contact

What Happens When You Don’t Give Grades?

Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School, MA

Students at the F.W. Parker Charter Essential School have to meet standards and provide evidence of what they know and can do, but they never get a traditional letter grade at the end of a course. In such a system, how do students know how well they are doing? How do teachers track student performance and gauge readiness? What impact does learning in this system have on students?

In this session, participants will begin by examining non-graded daily assignments, then review unit-based assessments, and ultimately unpack a narrative transcript. They will have opportunities to talk about actionable feedback and to think about ways to implement standards-based assessment in their classroom or school.

Presenters will work to explicitly help participants understand proficiency-based assessment from the classroom-level through the systems-level, so that they leave with a deeper understanding of how the small parts compose the whole when it comes to non-graded work.Participants will be shown examples of narrative feedback on nightly assignments, longer term projects,narrative progress reports, and final transcripts, and will be encouraged to think about how they could implement this practice in their classroom or school.

Session
Monday, March 12, 8:30 - 11:00 AM
Presenters

Laura Warner (teacher leader/wellness teacher)

Contact

Measuring What Matters: Building A Transferable Skills Assessment System

Great Schools Partnership, ME

Students and parents want schools that will give young people opportunities to think creatively, communicate effectively, and interact with the real world—gaining transferable skills which are essential for any path they choose in life. Employers and colleges want high-school graduates who organize their time, work on teams, conduct original research, and confront complex and novel problems by analyzing multiple possibilities and not giving up. These skills can be taught. They can be assessed. And classrooms become more equitable, dynamic, and powerful when these skills are at the heart of all teaching and learning.

In this session, participants will explore the Transferable Skills Assessment System, a suite of tools and resources being designed by Great Schools Partnership and Google’s Ed Tech Team to support schools in putting the transferable skills at the center of students’ learning. Participants will review tools for use in their schools and districts, and they will also have a chance to examine student work demonstrating the transferable skills, calibrating their scoring with others and selecting exemplars for use with their students and in the online tool. All participants will have an opportunity to give critical feedback about the system and its components. Administrators, teachers, students, and all others are all welcome at this session.

Participants will receive training in scoring student work that demonstrates transferable skills, samples of student work that can be used as anchor works for introducing and generating student discussion about the transferable skills, and tools and resources for teaching and assessing the transferable skills in a wide range of subject areas.

Session
Monday, March 12, 8:30 - 11:00 AM
Presenters

Kate Gardoqui (Senior Associate), Jean Haeger (Senior Associate)

Contact

Walking the Talk: The Whats, Whys, Hows, and Woes of the Proficiency-Based Learning Journey

Great Schools Partnership, ME

Proficiency-based teaching and learning systems are designed to help students take charge of their learning by asking these three questions: Where do I want to be? Where am I now? How can I close the gap?

In this interactive workshop for those early in the journey of implementing proficiency-based learning, participants will hear about the fundamental components of an effective proficiency-based teaching and learning system and learn about an array of resources to support them along their journey.  Participants will also begin to develop a plan for possible next steps that will lead to the successful implementation of equitable, proficiency-based learning.

Session
Monday, March 12, 8:30 - 11:00 AM
Presenters

Tony Lamair Burks II (Senior Associate), Don Weafer (Senior Associate)

Contact

Tony Lamair Burks II, tburks@greatschoolspartnership.org

Infusing the Classroom with Joy and Play to Deepen Student Learning

Great Schools Partnership, ME

How can secondary schools foster a sense of wonder and playfulness in their students? Educators don’t have to choose between joy and rigor. Grappling, exploring, and playing with complex ideas and problems is the foundation of a joyful learning experience and leads to improved student outcomes.

In this session, presenters will share research highlighting the connection between student engagement and deep learning. Participants will take part in learning activities to experience the power of fun in the classroom, and they will examine lesson plans, units, and practices to better understand how to effectively infuse joy and play to deepen student learning and engagement. Participants will leave with resources that will help them infuse joy and higher order thinking into their experiences with students.

Session
Monday, March 12, 8:30 - 11:00 AM

Explore Your Data!

Great Schools Partnership, ME + Plimpton Research, ME

Many of us want to use data better. But it can be difficult to know where to start.

Data analysis hinges on asking good questions about data. In this hands-on session, participants will explore data about high school graduation rates to practice asking different types of analytical questions. Participants will work with NESSC regional and state data, as well as their own school data, to examine how our understanding of the data shifts as we look across multiple data sources.

Participants will also learn fundamental principles for creating effective data displays, and will have an opportunity to apply these techniques to their own data story. They will leave the session with new insights about how to examine data in context as well as tools to apply in exploring key questions back at school.

This session is designed for teams of 2-5 people.

Participants will:
Compare their school’s graduation data with state and New England figures collected through the NESSC’s Common Data Project;
Explore three types of questions you should ask when analyzing data;
Learn fundamental principles for creating effective data displays; and
Work in guided small groups to create a data story display.

Session
Monday, March 12, 8:30 - 11:00 AM
Presenters

Lauren Leigh Hinthorne (Director of Research and Evaluation, Great Schools Partnership), Lisa Plimpton (Researcher, Plimpton Research)

Contact

A New Way of Building Partnerships with Families

The Right Question Institute, MA

When parents and family members have the opportunity to develop key skills to support their children’s education, monitor progress, and advocate for them when necessary, they can partner more effectively with schools to ensure student success. The Right Question Institute’s evidence-based school-family partnership builds parents’ skills of asking better questions, participating in decisions, and playing three key roles in their child’s education. Using this strategy, parents learn to ask their own questions about their children’s education, and educators learn how to build parents’ skills for more effective participation by using a set of simple methods.

Session participants will experience the school-family partnership strategy, will explore the art and science behind the methods, and will practice integrating them into their work. This session will prepare participants to use this strategy, which has been applied to a variety of setting producing consistent results, at their schools and share it with colleagues.

In this session, participants will: 1) experience the Right Question Institute’s school-family partnership strategy 2) explore examples of implementation of the strategy; 3) acquire resources and materials.

Session
Monday, March 12, 8:30 -11:00 AM
Presenters

Luz Santana (co-director) 

Contact

Luz Santana, luz@rightquestion.org

NESSC States

Connecticut Sessions

Leveraging High School PLCs and Organizational Structures to Support Mastery-Based Learning

Bolton High School, CT

For the past three years, the leadership team at Bolton High School has been working to redefine the school’s graduation requirements. In this session, presenters will share their journey through that redefinition. Presenters will focus on the organizational structures developed to support the process, will emphasize how to effectively use leadership teams to guide institutional changes, and will share how they leveraged collaborative professional learning communities (PLCs) to build professional capacity and support teachers as they implement new graduation requirements and scoring criteria. Presenters will also share information about how they are involving parents and students in the process.

Participants will have an opportunity to engage in a “mock PLC” and will leave the session with PLC activities and suggested agendas focused on mastery-based learning and aimed at improving teacher buy-in and efficacy. They will also leave with a better understanding of how to use school organizational structures to develop a portrait of the graduate and implement new graduation requirements. Attendees are invited to bring  copies of a transferable skills assessment or a classroom activity to discuss during the  “mock PLC” portion of the session.

Session
Teaching + Learning | Organizational Design | School + District Leadership
Presenters

Jennifer Carvalho (High School Teacher/Academic Leadership Team Member)

Contact

Jennifer Carvalho, jcarvalho@boltonct.org

What Can We Learn from Coaches, Conductors, and Artists?

Ellington Middle School, CT

What can we learn from coaches, conductors, and artists? In this interactive session, come learn how personalized instruction in the performance-based curricula of art, music, and physical education can be a model for all classrooms. This session will focus on the key elements of Global Best Practices strand 1.2: Personalization + Relevance. Classroom teachers will share a wide range of examples where student voice and choice is an integral to the unit and lesson design process. Participants will have the opportunity use BackChanneling, an interactive digital platform, in real time.

Participants in this session leave with exemplars of personalized learning lesson design, including structures for student goal setting and student reflection. In addition, participants will also understand one school’s framework of using the Great Schools Partnership’s  Elements of Effective Instruction to foster a school climate which encourages teacher risk-taking and collective inquiry.

Session
Teaching + Learning
Presenters

David Pearson (Principal)

Contact

How a Suburban High School is Engaging its Students, Staff, and Parents in Improving Equity

Fairfield Warde High School, CT

In this session, presenters from Fairfield Warde High School will share how they are using student/parent involvement and professional development at their suburban high school to develop the skill and shared sense of urgency needed to address their disproportionate achievement/opportunity for students of color and income-challenged students.

Through discussion, narratives, and activities, presenters will focus on systemic racism and how it plays out in competitive schools, how leadership can manage resistance that arises when challenging the status quo, and how misinterpretation of wealth vs. income can negatively impact students of color.

Students will share their educational experiences and the impact of adult actions on self-confidence and enrollment in high-level courses and opportunities. They will discuss the impact on their lives of the community’s first student-led urban-suburban equity conference, and teachers will discuss some of their own unique instructional equity initiatives and our task force’s impact on their practice and interactions with students/parents of color.

Participants will leave with an understanding of how one high-performing high school is developing urgency and skills needed to address its achievement/opportunity gaps by providing student/parent led professional development, creating student programming that promotes healthy student identity, and eliminating exclusionary practices that promote disengagement.

Session
Teaching + Learning | School + District Leadership | Student, Family, + Community Engagement
Presenters

Dierdra Preis, Ed.D (Assistant Principal)
Richard Novack

Contact

Deirdra Preis, Ed.D, dpreis@fairfieldschools.org

Report Card Redesign: A Growth Model

Naugatuck Public Schools, CT

In an era of educational transformation that challenges the traditional model, schools are re-imagining what it means for students to graduate college and career ready. But how are they re-imagining the structures that report out the growth and progress of every student? This session will take participants through a process used to rethink report cards—their purpose, their design, and their role as a communication tool.

Naugatuck’s Vision of the Graduate and its competencies are foundational to this new reporting tool and influenced its design. Participants will have opportunities to discuss Naugatuck’s newly redesigned elementary report card, as well as the plan for that model to encompass K–12 in the next 3–4 years.

Participants will have the opportunity to use design thinking as one way to develop and articulate the purpose of a report card and to visualize how they might look in a growth-oriented environment; consider how tools they already use, like PowerSchool, can help in the redesign process; and create a prototype report card that communicates growth and progress toward educational goals.

Session
Teaching + Learning
Presenters

Caroline Messenger (Director of Curriculum and Instruction)

Contact

Student-Designed Learning: A Moral Imperative for Our Students, a Revolution for Our Nation

Windsor Locks Public Schools, CT

In this session, presenters from Windsor Locks, Connecticut, will share where their district started, where they are now, and where they plan to be in their progression to a fully mastery-based system. Presenters will support participants as they assess where they are in the process of becoming a mastery-based learning community with the ultimate goal of students leading their learning through the design process.

Using small-group consultation protocols and personalized consultation with the facilitators, participants will identify goals, potential obstacles, and next steps in transitioning from a traditional learning system to a mastery/competency based learning system that empowers students to design their learning outcomes and align them with standards.

Participants will create an action plan that is personalized to their need as a school or district in transitioning to a mastery-based, student-centered, and student-empowering learning community.

Session
Teaching + Learning | Organizational Design | School + District Leadership | Student, Family, + Community Engagement
Presenters

Susan Bell (Superintendent), Sharon Cournoyer (Co-Presenter)

Contact

Susan Bell, sbell@wlps.org

Maine Sessions

Co-Teaching Across Pedagogy: Lessons from a Special Ed-Gen Ed Partnership

Baxter Academy, ME

Over the last year, teachers at Baxter Academy in Portland, Maine, have built a successful teaching collaboration that has facilitated positive outcomes in terms of student productivity, behavioral dynamics, self-image, and engagement, as well as academic improvement in research methods and civics content.

Because Baxter teachers have been able to collaborate effectively, they have worked through common challenges related to co-teaching, such as time, scheduling, space/classroom layout, and differentiation. Presenters will share why they believe that, regardless of the resources (human and otherwise) that exist in a school, there are ways for all special education and general education practitioners to better leverage their colleagues’ assets through the deliberate building of effective, mutually respectful co-teaching relationships.

Through facilitated discussion, using the presenters’ story as a case study, participants will reflect on what they value in teaching partnerships, consider what they will strive for in the future with respect to teaching partnerships, identify what elements of those partnerships may prove challenging, and determine which steps to take right away to achieve their goals in meeting the needs of all learners.

Session
Teaching + Learning
Presenters

Kelly Orr (Humanities Teacher), Molly Sullivan (Teacher)

Contact

STEM and ELL: Collaboration to Support All Learners in the Sciences

Casco Bay High School, ME

In this session, presenters from Casco Bay High School, an English-language education school with a curricular model based around learning expeditions, will share their collaborative practices and strategies used to design differentiated science curricula—with a focus on students who are learning English as an additional language.

Presenters will share their work on the expedition “The Air Up There,” in which chemistry students learned about climate change and impact of gases in the atmosphere, as a case study for collaboration between ELL specialists and STEM teachers. Presenters will share their best practices for differentiation and “amplifying” academic language to ensure that culturally and linguistically diverse learners can meaningfully access content instruction.

Participants will have the opportunity to identify the language demands associated with their curricula, learn concrete differentiation strategies, and consider their own collaborative practice. This session is recommended for any content teacher interested in better serving culturally and linguistically diverse students.

Session
Teaching + Learning
Presenters

Mallory Harr (ELL Teacher)

Contact

Equitable School Communities: Supporting Educators of Color

Great Schools Partnership, ME

51% of students in the United States are students of color; just 19% of teachers are teachers of color. Many school districts have set goals to become more diverse, but are not able to retain educators of color once they are hired. Why are school districts setting goals for increasing numbers of educators of color? How many educators of color are currently in your school and how are they supported? What constitutes an equitable school environment for students and teachers? Through hearing testimonials, sharing personal experiences, investigating research, and examining personal strengths and biases, participants will learn specific school practices that support recruitment and retention of educators of color. Participants will leave with tools to assess school practices around building inclusive, equitable school communities and specific action steps for supporting educators of color.

Session
School + District Leadership | Organizational Design
Presenters

Nicole Bradeen (Senior Associate), Ken Templeton (Senior Associate)

Contact

Grading and Reporting: What Have We Learned?

Great Schools Partnership, ME

In the world of proficiency-based learning, many secondary schools begin their work by changing report cards and transcripts. Such a move might seem logical, or even necessary. After all, if a school has fundamentally altered its grading practices to assess a collection of standards and declared that students must be proficient in those standards in order to graduate, reporting should surely reflect those changes. But then the first report card goes home, and the pushback begins from parents and students. Students who used to know how to get a grade aren’t sure anymore. Parents wonder if their kids will get into colleges with a new transcript. Teachers have to defend a system they’ve only just begun to implement. Principals find themselves in a cycle of damage control instead of focusing on teaching and learning in their buildings. Carefully-built support for the concept of proficiency-based learning begins to erode.

In this session, participants will unpack the important differences between grading and reporting and seek to uncover the aspects of their systems that are most impactful in leveraging powerful learning for all students. For educators who are just beginning to think about how their grading and reporting systems could better reflect changing practices, the session will provide a starting point and resources for building a shared understanding of grading. For participants who have already begun to plan or implement changes in grading and reporting systems, the session will provide a chance to share experiences with other educators and access samples of grading and reporting resources.

Session
Teaching + Learning
Presenters

Don Weafer (Senior Associate), Reed Dyer (Senior Associate)

How Do I Spend My Days as a School Change Leader?

Great Schools Partnership, ME

Have you ever wondered at the end of a day what you really accomplished as a school change leader? Do you spend your time reactively or proactively? Does some of the work you do feel both required and a waste of time? Do you feel like you have control of your time?  

The research on effective school leaders indicates the need for leaders to pause, clarify their goals and priorities, and align their practices. While this seems reasonable on paper, realizing this practice often means recognizing one’s habits and creating new habits with intention.

This session will allow leaders to take a breath, reflect on how one spends time, consider high-leverage strategies, and commit to developing one habit that can help support work-life balance and affect positive school change.

Session
School + District Leadership
Presenters

Ted Hall (Senior Associate), Angela Hardy (Director of Coaching)

Increasing Equity for ELL Students in School Reform Efforts

Great Schools Partnership, ME

To increase equity, schools must consider the particular needs of ELL students and families at the onset of any reform effort. This session will bring together educators interested in networking and problem-solving together.

Participants will consider critical elements of successful school transformation through the lens of ELLs. They will access resources and the expertise of colleagues to identify strategies for ensuring equitable outcomes.  

Participants will leave with strategies for supporting ELL students at the classroom, school, and district level. They will also build connections with other educators, building a foundation for future collaboration in support of ELLs.

Session
Teaching + Learning
Presenters

Erin Dukeshire (Senior Associate), Michelle Millstein (Senior Associate)

Contact

Leveraging Change in Large Districts

Great Schools Partnership, ME

Why is large district change uniquely hard? How can we ensure everyone, from the superintendent to the classroom teacher, is rowing the same direction? How can large districts ensure that initiatives such as personalized, proficiency-based learning truly result in a sense of shared purpose for staff and equitable outcomes for students? This session will highlight successful strategies in large districts that are implementing innovative practices. Participants will join with large district counterparts to identify the challenges inherent in their systems, to explore relevant resources, and exchange some of their own solutions.

Presenters will 1) immerse participants in scenario-based dialogue to identify and analyze the unique challenges presented by large district change, 2) share several resources participants can use to plan for district coherence and shared purpose across roles, and 3) facilitate opportunities for exchanging successful practices with colleagues across the country.

Participants will leave with 1) insights into creating coherence and achieving equity in large district contexts, 2) successful strategies, resources and plans for district implementation, and 3) opportunities to learn with and from colleagues across the country who work in similar settings.

Session
Organizational Design | School + District Leadership
Presenters

Craig Kesselheim (Senior Associate), Katie Thompson (Senior Associate)

Contact

Transforming How Parents, Students, Educators and Community Members Respond to Inequity

Great Schools Partnership, ME

The question is not whether inequities exist in our schools and communities; inequity exists everywhere. The question, rather, is whether students, parents/caregivers, educators, and community members have the tools to both uncover inequities and respond in a way that will transform educational outcomes for all students.

In this session, participants will engage in a case study and explore methods for identifying and addressing equity issues. In addition, they will examine how to advocate for practices that increase access and opportunity for all stakeholders. Participants will walk away with practical strategies, tools, and resources they can use to uncover and transform inequities in their schools and communities.

Session
School + District Leadership
Presenters

Chris Horner (Senior Associate), Steve Sell (Senior Associate)

Contact

Where is the Room in a Proficiency Based System for Special Education Students?

Great Schools Partnership, ME

Who is a proficiency based system of learning for? If our proficiency based system doesn’t create equity for marginalized and traditionally underserved students then what is its purpose?

In this workshop presenters will provide a framework that connects Special Education structures and the elements of a proficiency based learning system that promote more equitable outcomes. Participants will examine beliefs and structures that apply to all students and explore the leverage points for students with IEPs. Participants will have the opportunity to select a focus area for their learning, examine resources, engage in small group discussions, and apply their learning to their practice in order to capitalize on the power of proficiency based systems to promote equity without requiring sameness.

Session
Teaching + Learning
Presenters

Moises Nunez (Senior Associate), Becky Wilusz (Senior Associate)

Contact

How Do I Do That?: Developing Student Agency in the Proficiency-Based Classroom

Lake Region High School, ME

This session will focus particularly on the student corner of the instructional core triangle. To successfully implement proficiency-based learning, student agency must be cultivated among individual students and teachers, as well as embedded throughout the school’s practices and systems. Participants in this session will  learn about the central strategies that Lake Region High School has developed to increase student agency as we transition to a proficiency-based system: self-evaluation, goal-setting, and reflection; feedback and conferencing; unit- and lesson-planning; and standard operating procedures.

Through a mix of whole-group, small-group, and personalized experiences, session participants will build knowledge and explore resources to grow student agency in each of these areas. Participants will identify, discuss, and review elements of instructional practice that build student responsibility and agency, and will walk away with resources to apply their learning in their own classrooms.

Session
Teaching + Learning
Presenters

Erik Good (Principal)

Contact

Working Smarter, Not Harder: Harnessing the Power of Formative Assessment

R.W. Traip Academy, ME

A cornerstone of proficiency-based learning is embracing the philosophy “learning is the constant, time is the variable,” and shifting our approach to classroom instruction and assessment by placing the student at the center of their own learning experience. By strategically thinking about learning activities, formative assessment, and strategic intervention/enrichment, educators from Traip Academy in Kittery, Maine, have figured out a way to practice what we preach and eliminate the possibility for high teacher burnout.

In this session, presenters will share their approach to teaching and learning in a proficiency-based learning model that has resulted in a significant shift in student motivation, mindset, engagement, and ownership of their learning. Session participants will have an opportunity to apply some of Traip Academy’s tricks to their own practice through collaborative discussion and work time.

Participants will emerge with an understanding of the difference between learning activities and formative assessments, how to craft formative assessments to inform teaching and learning, how to use formative assessments to strategically plan for enrichment and intervention, and how to use data to determine student readiness for summative assessment.

Session
Teaching + Learning
Presenters

Jessica Pearson (Teacher), Kristina Sanborn (Teacher)

Contact

Jessica Pearson, jpearson@kitteryschools.com

Reducing Freshman Failure Rate: Skowhegan Area High School’s BARR Success

Skowhegan Area High School, ME

At Skowhegan Area High School (SAHS), student relationships are made paramount by utilizing the eight interconnected strategies of Building Assets Reducing Risk (BARR). Educators are able to create a structure of support that not only aids freshmen in their transition to life at SAHS, but helps them to create trusting relationships with their peers, teachers, counselors, administrators, and parents. These connections lead to academic and personal success; SAHS’s BARR model has proven to reduce the freshmen failure rate by approximately half.

In this session, presenters will focus on how they utilize BARR’s eight interconnected strategies to create structures of support for students. Specifically, presenters will discuss their school’s BARR structures to support freshmen, BARR team member roles and meeting formats, methods for utilizing a strength-based approach, and strategies for parent outreach.

By the end of this session, participants will have an understanding of the Building Assets Reducing Risks (BARR) basics and the highly successful programmatic implementation model utilized at SAHS with all freshmen.

Session
Organizational Design
Presenters

Jason Bellerose (Assistant Principal), Louella Grindle (Teacher), Dan Riley (Guidance Counselor and BARR Co-Coordinator)

Contact

Jason Bellerose, jbellerose@msad54.org

Deep, Wide, and Under Construction: A K–16 Proficiency Partnership

University of Maine at Preque Isle, ME

The University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI) in northern Maine has been on a proficiency-based journey since 2013. UMPI’s teacher education program is expressly building a K–16 partnership in order to grow the capacity of the region’s teachers, create a cohort of proficiency-based education (PBE) learners in the region, enhance the field placement experiences of its preservice students, and design courses that will prepare graduates for success in their K–12 careers.

During this session, participants will select one of several consultancy topics: feedback on our pre-service course on proficiency-based education assessment practices; tuning our Proficiency Partners seminar series for K–12 teachers and preservice students; and designing our annual K–16 Teaching & Learning institute that combines university faculty and public school teachers as colleagues and fellow learners. The session will end with a round of whole-group reflection and feedback.

Participants will hear about key considerations and mutual benefits involved in building a K–16 learning partnership centered on PBE; discuss the skills and dispositions schools require of the new teachers they hire;  explore ways to build teacher capacity for practicum and student teacher placement classrooms; and provide feedback to a program under development.

Session
Organizational Design
Presenters

Nicole Cyr (Teacher, Madawaska Middle/ High School), Sarah Draper (College of Education Student, University of Maine at Presque Isle), Alana Margeson (Director of the Center for Teaching & Learning, University of Maine at Presque Isle),  Linda McDermott (Teacher, Madawaska Middle/ High School), Wendy Ross (Assistant Professor of Education, University of Maine at Presque Isle)

Contact

Alana Margeson, alana.margeson@maine.edu

Work the Problem: Escape the Middle Ages

Westbrook High School, ME

Educators at Westbrook High School aimed to design an activity that would empower the school’s freshmen to become critical thinkers and help them prepare for the rigors of sophomore year. To this end, at the end of the school year, teachers created and carried out an activity for all freshmen called Work the Problem.

Teachers divided students into teams and gave them a series of tasks that aligned with each core class and its standards. The premise was that each team was trapped in the middle ages and were trying to repair their time machine to return to the present. In each content area, students solved skills-based challenges and were awarded pieces of the puzzle that would make their time machine operational. This event was a culmination of the skills learned throughout the year and the ultimate demonstration of peer collaboration. By putting their thought processes to direct action, they proved that they are on their way to becoming independent, lifelong learners.

Participants will see how Work the Problem and similar activities can encourage students to demonstrate skills  acquired over the year in core academics, work collaboratively in small groups, solve authentic problems that activate prior knowledge, and overcame obstacles through problem-solving.

Session
Teaching + Learning
Presenters

Kelli Deveaux (Principal)

Contact

The Best from Everyone: Cross-Curricular Projects that Engage Students, Colleagues, and Community

Yarmouth High School, ME

Cross-curricular projects are exciting for both students and teachers: they engage students on unexpected levels by mixing what they already know with new learning, and they allow teachers to engage in direct learning from colleagues with different skill sets. Schools and communities often feel reconnected through the process of collaborating.

In this session, presenters will be share a successful framework for creating collaborative, cross-curricular projects based on a cross-curricular project experience that involved community resources, an artist, an art teacher, and an English teacher. Presenters will show how creativity, trust, and risk-taking were the core of their cross-curricular project, and will facilitate brainstorming and discussion among participants to help them initiate their own cross-curricular project. Through art and writing examples, activities, and discussion, participants will emerge with ideas and energy for building cross-curricular connections and projects that extend beyond school walls.

Session
Teaching + Learning | Student, Family, + Community Engagement
Presenters

Holly Houston

Contact

Massachusetts Sessions

“But I Have 120 Students on My Roster!”: Building Partnerships with Families in Secondary Schools

1647 Families, MA

A myth of secondary school family engagement that we hear too often is that families want to drop their kids off in ninth grade and pick them up at graduation. Is this true? (Hint: Nope.) Families want to be engaged! But even if they know that we should build partnerships with families, secondary school teachers and staff can feel overwhelmed by the thought of engaging with every family regularly, especially when they may teach over one hundred different students a year.

In this session, presenters from 1647 Families and the schools they partner with will lead an honest conversation about how the work of strengthening family engagement and partnerships is currently being done in 1647 partner schools. Presenters will explore these questions: How can staff members build equal partnerships with families in the middle- and high-school space? How can we “undo” the power dynamic between school and home that exists? And how do we create welcoming schools for all families—and support staff in doing so?

Participants will receive a brief overview of positive family engagement strategies, including proactive positive communication, re-vamped academic events (e.g., conferences), and home visits. They will also hear about the strategies that have not worked, and the lessons learned from them. Participants will walk away with tactics to try in their classrooms, teams, and/or school.

Session
Student, Family, + Community Engagement
Presenters

Elizabeth Canada (Director of Coaching)

Presentation

Elizabeth Canada, 

elizabeth.canada@1647families.org

When Grit Isn’t Enough

Center for Artistry and Scholarship, MA

Each year, as the founding headmaster of the Boston Arts Academy (BAA), an urban high school that boasts a 94 percent college acceptance rate, Linda Nathan made a promise to the incoming freshmen: “All of you will graduate from high school and go on to college or a career.” But of those who went to college, a third dropped out. After 14 years, Nathan stepped down and reflected on ideas she and others have perpetuated about education: that college is for all, that hard work and determination are enough to get you through, that America is a land of equality. Linda interviewed more than 80 BAA alumni and gathered her findings in When Grit Isn’t Enough, published in October 2017.

In this session, Linda will explain her research and findings from When Grit Isn’t Enough, which investigates five assumptions that dominate our thinking about education, revealing how these beliefs mask systemic inequity, while also sharing other educational models that embrace arts and creativity as alternative models to traditional models of teaching. Participants will gain greater understanding of these assumptions as they have been internalized and manifest in their schools and organizations.

Session
School + District Leadership
Presenters

Linda Nathan (Executive Director)

Contact

Reading: The Ultimate Personalization and Differentiation Tool in the World Language Classroom

Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School, MA

Incorporating literacy into language class in authentic and engaging ways can be challenging. However, research shows it is a valuable tool to acquire language. In this workshop, we’ll explore the question, how can I use my students’ literacy skills to my advantage, and how can I help them further develop these skills in their second language? Presenters will discuss appropriate and engaging materials for students at different stages in their learning, the role of intensive reading (detailed with specific learning aims and tasks) vs. extensive reading (independent and for enjoyment).

Participants will experience a student literacy activity, dig deeper into research about language acquisition and reading through a text-based discussion, and hear student voices about their language-learning experiences. They will gain a tangible understanding of students’ access to a text and what they may acquire from it, see evidence of these practices in the research, and consider how to incorporate independent reading in a language classroom. English language teachers and those seeking to strengthen their skills in this area will benefit from this session.

Session
Teaching + Learning
Presenters

Mandy Levine (Spanish Teacher)

Contact

Increasing Curiosity: Teaching Students to Ask Better Questions

The Right Question Institute, MA

This active learning session will explore the Question Formulation Technique (QFT), an easy-to-use strategy that teaches all students how to ask and use their own questions. The QFT is the outcome of twenty years of work in developing and, most importantly, simplifying a straightforward, rigorous process that helps all students learn how to produce their own questions, improve their questions, and strategize on how to use them. First featured in Make Just One Change (Harvard Education Press, 2011) the QFT can help to increase student curiosity, ownership, and promote deeper learning. You will experience the QFT, see K-12 examples, and leave ready to use the strategy in your classroom.

Participants will: 1) Be introduced to the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) and experience the process in small groups; 2) explore the art and science behind the QFT; and 3) understand and reflect on the value of leveraging student-generated questions for increased student engagement, deeper learning, and stronger critical thinking skills.

Session
Teaching + Learning | Student, Family, + Community Engagement
Presenters

Luz Santana (co-director)

Contact

Luz Santana, luz@rightquestion.org

New Hampshire Sessions

NH Extended Learning Opportunities: Models for Success

Newfound Regional High School, NH

Interested in learning more about extended learning opportunities and how to successfully implement them in your community? Join this session to learn about three proven extended learning opportunity (ELO) models from New Hampshire. Presenters will share the critical components and best practices of implementing successful ELO programs, including: incorporating local voice in ELO design and identifying competencies and assessments aligned to ELOs.

Participants will consider how to engage students, parents, and community partners in extended learning experiences, and will develop action steps for their schools’ ELO implementation, identify and problem-solve around possible barriers to implementation, and explore “tools of the trade” for ELO implementation.

Session
Teaching + Learning | Student, Family, + Community Engagement
Presenters

Amy Yeakel (Extended Learning Coordinator)

Contact

Amy Yeakel, ayeakel@sau4.org

Breaking With Tradition: The Shift to Competency-Based Learning in PLCs

Sanborn Regional High School, NH

In order to successfully implement competency-based learning, school leaders must foster a collaborative culture of professional learning. This interactive session will provide participants with tools to build professional learning communities (PLCs) as part of a  culture that embraces competency-based learning both within a school and across a district. Presenter Brian Stack will share his experiences as a school leader who made this shift a decade ago in his New Hampshire high school.

Through networking activities and idea-sharing, participants will assess their own readiness and develop an action plan for next steps in their journey toward competency-based learning. Attendees also will learn how New Hampshire has advanced CBL through a state accountability model based on performance assessments.

Session
School + District Leadership
Presenters

Brian Stack (Principal)
Amanda Bradley (Math Teacher, PLC Team Leader)
Ashley Harbel (English Teacher, PLC Team Leader)

Contact

Brian Stack, bstack@sau17.net

Community Council: Student-Centric Leadership

Souhegan High School, NH

Souhegan’s Community Council was founded in 1992 during Souhegan High School’s first year of service. A representative body of forty-seven members, the Community Council’s task is to create and modify school procedure. Community Council is purposefully diverse and student-led: twenty members are students elected by their grade, ten members are faculty, five members are from the school’s surrounding community, and ten representatives are elected in the fall as “at-large” members. The representatives discuss and vote on various proposals concerning student life, school initiatives, disciplinary procedure, grading procedure, and any other matter of importance to the school community.

In this session, presenters will help participants appreciate the importance of a student-centric council, understand the structure of Council and the capacity necessary to design a council, and engage in a design lab with student and adult Council members to create a plan of action.

Session
School + District Leadership | Student, Family, + Community Engagement
Presenters

Melody Chen (Community Council Moderator)

Contact

Putting Students in Charge: An ELO Model Designed to Fit within Your Classroom Curriculum

Winnacunnet High School, NH

Personalized learning demands that we rethink the roles of teachers and learners and enable students to drive their own learning. This session will explore an Extended Learning ​Opportunity (ELO) model that puts students in the driver’s seat in developing, implementing, and evaluating a biology unit at Winnacunnet High School. In the “EvolvingSTEM” unit, students take on the roles of teachers, lab technicians, and microbiologists while replicating graduate-level research to find a treatment for cystic fibrosis.

Session participants will hear directly from students who have successfully personalized their educational experience at WHS. Presenters will share information about Winnacunnet’s partnerships in higher education and in the STEM professions, which have made classroom learning even more authentic, and will describe the role of data in shaping decision-making in this ELO model.  

This session also will provide an overview of the specific curricular components of this ELO and will guide participants in developing an action plan to incorporate the model into their classrooms. Participants will also learn how to incorporate EvolvingSTEM into a biology curriculum or enrichment activity based on the Next Generation Science Standards.

Session
Teaching + Learning
Presenters

Donna Couture (Extended Learning Coordinator)

Contact

Rhode Island Sessions

Teach For Equity: Using Communities of Practice to Ensure Success for All Students

Business Innovation Factory, RI

In 2014, the number of Latino, African-American, Asian, and Native American students in U.S. public schools surpassed the number of white students. While this trend is expected to continue in upcoming years, many teachers feel underprepared to serve students of color. We can not advance equity in education without explicit attention to our changing demographics and student needs.

One approach that can support necessary advances in racial equity is the community of practice (CoP) model. CoPs position teachers to learn from and with one another to tackle pressing issues, have meaningful conversations, and design new solutions. In this session, participants will hear from the Teachers For Equity fellows, teachers who have organized a CoP around nuanced issues of racial equity within their classrooms and school communities.

Fellowship designers and teachers will present about their experiences in the CoP. Specifically, they will share strategies for embedding equity into your daily practice, how to lead educators within a CoP model, and how to uncover the systemic causes of inequity to foster meaningful change.

Session
Teaching + Learning | School + District Leadership
Presenters

Jessica Brown (Student Experience Lab Manager)

Contact

Jessica Brown, jbrown@bif.is

Unpacking the Power of Family Partnerships

Center for Youth and Community Leadership in Education, RI

The Center for Youth and Community Leadership in Education (CYCLE) is dedicated to the development of collective decision-making and accountability for education policies and practices that include students, families, and educators alike. This session will challenge participants to reflect upon the ways in which power operates in their educational institutions, and whether families and students are too often marginalized from important school decisions, policies, and practices.

After conducting a facilitated power analysis focused on developing an understanding of different forms of power (relational vs. unilateral), participants will be able to more deeply understand power dynamics in their schools and then strategize for how to take concrete steps toward building power with families and students, instead of over them. The session will conclude with time dedicated to the identification of some concrete next steps that participants can take to address power imbalances that may be inhibiting successful family partnerships.

Participants will develop a deeper understanding of how power operates in schools (with a special focus on family partnerships and parent leadership), how to conduct quick and useful power analyses to inform strategy and practice, and identify concrete actions to build power-full partnerships with families.

Session
Student, Family, + Community Engagement
Presenters

Tracie Potochnick (Senior Research Manager)
Kristy Luk (Program Manager)
Keith Catone (Executive Director)

Contact

Keith Catone, kcatone@rwu.edu

How to Change the World: A Student-Led, Traveling Course on Civic Engagement

Central Falls High School, RI

In “How to Change the World,” an extended learning opportunity course at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island, students develop and act upon a working theory about the change they want to affect in the world. All year, students select, design, and facilitate field trips and events to learn about the work that local activists, politicians, lawyers, and professionals are doing to change the world—and to get involved in their work. Students also plan and fundraise for a week-long trip to Washington DC in April.

In this session, How to Change the World students and their teacher, Seth Kolker, will: (1) demonstrate the capacity of youth to design academic and experiential programs, (2) create space for reflection on structural barriers to equity and the power of student voice, and (3) share a replicable model of an ELO that includes domestic homestays for low-income youth.

Participants will leave with ideas for replicating the How to Change the World model in their own schools.

Session
Teaching + Learning | Student, Family, + Community Engagement
Presenters

Seth Kolker (Teacher)

Contact

Seth Kolker, kolkers@cfschools.net

Bridging the Gap in Education: A Personalized Approach to Public/Private Partnerships

Moses Brown School, RI

SquashBusters, Del Sesto Middle School (Providence Public School District), and Moses Brown School are ideal partners. Each has a laser focus on personalization, and all have committed to working together to expand opportunities for urban youth in Providence.

SquashBusters (SqB), a 22-year-old sports/academic-based afterschool program, uses the sport of squash, education, and relationships to change lives of urban youth: 92% of SqB participants are students of color, and 98% matriculate to college. Del Sesto Middle has received national media attention for personalized learning.

  • Participants will grapple with ideas about equity, education, and personalization
  • Participants will discuss criteria for development of effective Community-Based Organizations (CBO)
  • Participants will leave with an awareness/understanding of how SquashBusters has embraced its role as a CBO, and become the catalyst for a newly formed partnership between PPSD and MB.
Session
Student, Family, + Community Engagement
Presenters

Gara Field (Director of Global Education and Social Innovation)

Contact

Gara Field, gfield@mosesbrown.org

Engaging Students in Their Own Learning: Rhode Island Youth Perspectives

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT + Young Voices, RI

Adopting student-centered learning practices can help students develop meaningful relationships with adults inside and outside of school, increase engagement and achievement for students from a variety of backgrounds, and ensure that students graduate from high school with important social and emotional skills, including problem solving, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and strong work habits that are essential for success in college and careers.

Rhode Island’s policies and statewide strategic plan for education were developed to support student-centered learning, but Rhode Island KIDS COUNT wanted to see how these policies were translating to students’ experiences in schools. In this session, presenters will share findings from focus groups on student-centered learning conducted with students from seven public high schools in Rhode Island. This study was conducted through a partnership between Rhode Island KIDS COUNT and Young Voices. Students were involved in every aspect of this project and will co-present study findings and recommendations.

By the end of this session, attendees will better understand the kinds of learning experiences students want and need to be college and career ready, and how to incorporate youth perspectives into school, district, and state-level decisions that directly impact students and their schools.

Session
Student, Family, + Community Engagement
Presenters

Stephanie Geller (Senior Policy Analyst)

Contact

Stephanie Geller, sgeller@rikidscount.org

Design Sprint: School-Wide Personalized Learning Implementation

RI Office of Innovation, RI

While personalized learning promises exciting results for students, it takes a lot of intentional design and nuts-and-bolts work to put in place. Fortunately, there are models and lessons that educators can learn from as they make plans to transition to personalized learning in their schools. Using Rhode Island’s Lighthouse Schools Challenge as a model, this session will bring participants through a “design sprint” to create an implementation plan for school-wide personalized learning. During the sprint, students enrolled in RI’s Lighthouse Schools will support and enhance participants’ efforts by sharing insights and reflecting on the effectiveness of the plans being implemented in their own schools.

Through this session, participants will (1) strengthen their understanding of the core elements of a successful plan for school-wide personalized learning, (2) develop prototypes of these core elements, and (3) be able to identify challenges and successes of three different personalized learning implementation models: project-based learning, blended learning, and pathways created with student voice.

Session
School + District Leadership
Presenters

Daniela Fairchild (Director of Education)

Contact

Teaching in Two Worlds: Building + Maintaining Standards-Based Curriculum in a Traditional Grading Environment

Smithfield Senior High School, RI

Smithfield High School has thoroughly redesigned our 9–12 social studies program in order to dramatically improve its impact on students. From transferrable power standards to professional growth to formative and summative assessments to daily instruction, we transformed our social studies department completely.

However, despite all these changes, we continue to need to balance both proficiency-based grading and traditional grading, and this duality has a significant impact on educator practice as well as student learning, feedback, and supports.

This session will explore how the Smithfield High School social studies department built and refined its systems, and, specifically, the practical approach we designed to balance the reporting of both standards-based and numerical achievement. In this session, participants will learn about challenges—and some strategies to consider—as they transition toward interactive curriculum guides that are standards-based and 21st century skills-focused.

Session
Teaching + Learning
Presenters

Vinie Zibelli (Social Studies Chairperson)

Contact

Vinnie Zibelli, vzibelli@smithfield-ps.org

Partnering with Parents to Cultivate a Vibrant School Community

The Learning Community, RI

In this session, Sarah Friedman, co-director of The Learning Community, a public charter school in Central Falls, Rhode Island, will share stories, strategies, and lessons learned around developing and strengthening partnerships with parents to build a supportive, empowered school community. Specifically, Sarah will touch on one or more of the following strategies (and perhaps others TBD):

  • Hosting welcoming meetings for families of new students to learn about what their student makes them proud, what their student/they want to learn, and what they have to contribute to the school community. 
  • Supporting immigrant families to locate the resources and connections necessary to make a comfortable transition to the community and school. 
  • Holding/attending numerous family events, including parent cafes, publishing parties, and off-site celebrations.

Participants will leave with an understanding of the principles and best practices of authentic, effective partnership with parents, examples of proven parent engagement, support, and empowerment strategies and ideas for initiating and/or improving parent engagement strategies in their own communities.

Session
Student, Family, + Community Engagement
Presenters

Sarah Friedman (PEA)
Mindy Farrow (Co-Presenter)

Contact

Learning Through Internships at The Met High School

The Met High School, RI

Through partnerships with the community, students can learn important career and technical skills and knowledge, academic mindsets and skills, as well as the 21st-century problem-solving, collaboration, and interpersonal skills they need to be career- and college-ready. The Met High School in Providence, Rhode Island, supports such school-community partnerships through their Learning Through Internship program.

In this session, veteran Met High School principal Arthur Baraf and a group of Met High School students will present information about how their school’s Learning Through Internship program works. Presenters will share problems, solutions, systems, structures, and strategies that can help schools build or improve a rigorous and personalized internship programs.

Participants will learn (1) systems, structures, and strategies for finding, setting up, and managing internships for all students; (2) systems, structures, and strategies to support mentors and develop high-quality learning through internships; and (3) how to maximize, document, and assess the student demonstrations of learning and mastery that happen at internships.

Session
Teaching + Learning | Organizational Design | Student, Family, + Community Engagement
Presenters

Arthur Baraf (Principal)

Contact

Arthur Baraf, abaraf@metmail.org

“The Future of Learning is Yours”: Personalization through Student-Designed Projects

Westerly High School, RI

In this session, participants will hear about one school’s innovative initiative to provide alternative paths to student success with a student-designed personalized learning opportunity, which allowed students to design their own individualized learning pathways. Presenters will share how they believe this high-quality learning opportunity deepens its commitment to equity for all learners.

Presenters will outline their framework for planning and implementing a dynamic student-centered, student-motivated, student-driven project-based course. They will share their implementation strategies and explain how the course found its rhythm. Students will present their “passion projects” and comment on how their autonomy contributed to rich learning, original craftsmanship, and meaningful assessments. They will explain how their work habits connected to their academic performance.

Participants will learn to plan and grow a vibrant and personalized project-based learning course completely driven by student choices.

Session
Teaching + Learning
Presenters

Tony Lementowicz (Instructional Coordinator)

Contact

Vermont Sessions

Community Engagement During a Time of Change: Lessons and Tools for Inclusive District Decision-Making

Essex Westford School District, VT

Join a superintendent, a school board member, a student, and a community engagement expert to hear the story of one school district’s efforts to engage with students, community members, and school leaders during a time of extraordinary change. Presenters will share how they developed a coalition, set goals, created alignment with internal and external stakeholders, and implemented a series of engagement activities, including outreach at multiple gatherings and events across several towns, and in-depth community dialogues. They will highlight ways they are working to incorporate what they are learning from the community into district decision-making.

Participants will leave with strategies for engaging with and empowering diverse stakeholders; ideas for building alignment among district staff, students, and a diverse group of community members; and samples and templates that they can adapt for their own schools.

Session
School + District Leadership | Student, Family, + Community Engagement
Presenters

Susan McCormack (Senior Associate, Everyday Democracy)

Contact

Sue McCormack, suea.mccormack@gmail.com

Personalized Learning by Design: Design Thinking Our Way to Innovative Programming

Leland and Gray Union Middle and High School, VT

As Vermont moves towards an emphasis on personalized and proficiency-based learning, schools have tackled this shift in a variety of ways. This session highlights how Leland and Gray Union Middle and High School rooted its development of new programs in a design thinking process that emphasized a human-centered, community-based approach. As a process for problem-solving, design thinking aligns well with personalized learning because it begins with empathy: observing, discovering, and listening to the needs of students and the community where the school is embedded.

Presenters will share how they conducted empathy research inside and outside of their school, surfaced insights and needs from that research, and engaged the faculty in brainstorming and prototyping ideas based on those needs. Participants will leave with an understanding of how design thinking can facilitate participatory school reform efforts, as well as some concrete tools and strategies for conducting similar work in their own schools.

Session
School + District Leadership
Presenters

Erin Cohn (Senior Partner, Leadership+Design), Jessica Riemenschneider (Teacher), Bob Thibault (Principal)

Contact

Purposeful Design: Key Decision Points in Proficiency-Based Learning Implementation

Montpelier Public Schools, VT

Like many schools engaged in the shift to a proficiency-based learning system, Montpelier High School faced significant implementation challenges. This session will apply a pragmatic lens to the key decision points in their design process. Presenters will share the obstacles, trade-offs, and successes they experienced as change leaders in their school district.

Participants will have the opportunity to apply a critical lens to their own school systems in order to develop a purposeful, values-aligned approach in their shift to proficiency based learning, and will compare their school structures to their community’s educational priorities and values. By critically examining the purpose of each decision point in the school redesign process, participants will be able to make strategic choices in their implementation of proficiency-based learning and improve communication about redesign with their school communities.   

Participants will leave with a deeper understanding of key decision points in designing assessment, grading, and reporting for proficiency-based learning. Participants will gain new insights on how school redesign choices impact learner agency, equity, and public will.  

Session
Organizational Design Student, Family, + Community Engagement
Presenters

Michael Martin (Director of Curriculum + Technology)

Contact

Michael Martin, mikem@mpsvt.org

From the Vermont Statehouse to Australia: Thinking Outside the Classroom with ELOs and Proficiencies

South Burlington High School, VT

In the Big Picture Program at South Burlington High School, students are encouraged to rethink what educational opportunities can help them meet proficiency-based graduation requirements. With the help of a Vermont Flexible Pathways grant, program leaders have collaborated with other area schools to help redefine the spectrum of extended learning opportunities (ELOs), and have developed ELO contracts and other tools to allow our students to take on exciting challenges, such as independent studies, travel abroad, and wilderness trips, on their path towards graduation.

In this session, students will share their ELO experiences, while teachers will share the process of developing ELOs into manageable opportunities that can be assessed through the Vermont Transferable Skills Graduation Proficiencies. Presenters will address the process of designing ELOs, selecting aligned proficiencies, assessing with rubrics, documenting with digital portfolios, and communicating with partners. They will also share ELO contract templates and a web-based platform that our program has successfully incorporated.

Participants will gain an understanding of how to design, document, and assess ELOs that meet proficiency-based learning standards and will leave with strategies for collaborating and communicating with community partners.

Session
Teaching + Learning Student, Family, + Community Engagement
Presenters

Kevin Downey (Program Coordinator)

Contact

Kevin Downey, kdowney@sbschools.net

P2BL: Initial experience with Project and Proficiency-Based Learning in a Vermont Middle School

U-32 High School, VT

In this session, middle school teachers from the U-32 school district in Montpelier, Vermont, will share their experience this year with implementing the New Tech Teams approach to project-based learning (PBL). This new approach to PBL implementation is part of New Tech Network’s multiyear initiative to infuse PBL into engaged, authentic, and meaningful projects for middle school students.

The New Tech Teams approach brings together a grade-level team to collaborate on planning, implementing, and evaluating a coordinated implementation of project-based Learning. At U-32, the middle school has three interdisciplinary teams that meet regularly to coordinate instruction.

Teachers from these teams will share their successes, challenges, and future hopes for robust project-based learning at U-32, and participants will examine project entry documents, assessments, and other materials that address both transferable skills and content standards. Participants will also leave with both hard and digital copies of project documents used in the 2017–18 school year.

Session
Teaching + Learning
Presenters

Dan Liebert (Great Schools Partnership, Senior Associate)

Why Community Conversations Should Matter and How They Can Drive High School Redesign

Winooski School District, VT

The Winooski school board, in collaboration with school leaders and students, gathered community input that catapulted meaningful change toward student-centered learning in the Winooski School District. Using neighborhood learning conversations and culminating large community conversations, the district laid a foundation to utilize community in moving their school district forward. Through neighborhood learning conversations, the Winooski community helped the school district determine their transferable skills, or graduation expectations, and helped shape an ends statement that drives the district’s governance.

In this session, presenters will share the Public Participation Spectrum to support participants in better understanding the goals and promises they make based on how they engage community. Participants will examine the correlation between family/community involvement and graduation rates and college readiness, and they will leave this workshop with the information and tools to develop neighborhood learning conversations in their own school community.

Session
Student, Family, + Community Engagement
Presenters

Tori Cleiland (School Board Member)

Contact

Tori Cleiland, toricleiland@gmail.com

Beyond NESSC

Seeing Is Believing: Transforming A Community Through Next Generation Learning

Colorado Springs School District, CO

The Difference @ Trailblazer Elementary was a school that had five principals in six years, a continually restless community, and declining enrollment. Join their principal, a teacher leader, and a district facilitator as they share their strategies for implementing change and community engagement while shifting to a personalized model of teaching and learning.

Participants will:

Gain an understanding of proven change structures that enable personalization
Be exposed to community engagement strategies essential to school improvement
Participate in collaborative conversations specific to their context

Session
Teaching + Learning, Organizational Design, School + District Leadership, Student, Family, + Community Engagement
Presenters

Scott Fuller (Next Generation Learning Coordinator)

Contact

Scott Fuller, scott.fuller@d11.org

The Power of Culturally Responsive Mastery Practices

Mastery Collaborative, NYC Department of Education, NY

Join the Mastery Collaborative for an active session to explore how culturally responsive education (CRE) and mastery-based teaching and learning together can empower students to own their learning, foster positive mindsets for learning (growth, value, and belonging mindsets), encourage learners to focus more on their learning than on grades, and scaffold each learner—even in a large class—to get to the next level of mastery of key skills and knowledge they need for success.

Presenters will use speed-round conversations, short videos, and collaborative discussions to delve into identifying shortcomings and possibilities, and participants will see how mastery and CRE can give learning more focus, context, traction, responsiveness, and relevance. Participants will explore the field of CRE and its three main elements, learn about mastery-based teaching and learning and its key shifts, and apply CRE and mastery shifts to create innovations that benefit and empower learners. They will leave with new awareness and new strategies/tools for enriching and focusing teaching and learning by using mastery and CRE.

Session
Teaching + Learning
Presenters

Joy Nolan (Co-Director)

Contact

NCAA Eligibility Center Overview and Updates

NCAA (IN)

During this session, an NCAA staff member will provide an overview of the NCAA Eligibility Center processes and requirements for students seeking to play an NCAA Division I or II sport.  Special attention will be given to the ways in which the NCAA works with schools implementing  proficiency-based learning. Time will be set aside for Q&A to ensure attendees leave with practical tools and awareness for supporting prospective student-athletes.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Nick Sproull (Director)

Making Mastery Meaningful: Opportunities for Authentic Feedback in Proficiency-Based and Project-Based Learning

New Tech Network, CA

In this session, participants will explore multiple opportunities for authentic feedback within the phases of high-quality project-based unit design. Presenters will discuss how mastery-based assessments enhance the quality of a project and personalize the work for each student. Participants will engage in several human-centered design activities to inspire feedback innovations and plan ways to try them out with their students.

Session participants will gain an understanding of the phases of high quality project-based unit design and find various opportunities within each phase to embed mastery-based assessments; create authentic opportunities for feedback utilizing project-based learning unit design; and make a plan for small scale implementation of authentic and mastery-based feedback with their students.

Session
Teaching + Learning
Presenters

Stacia Snow (Director, District + School Development)

Contact
Return to top