New England Secondary School Consortium

2020 School Redesign in Action Conference

CONFERENCE CANCELLATION

Dear Colleagues,

After careful consideration and out of concern for the health of participants and the students and families they work with, as well as our commitment to doing our part to reduce the overall spread of COVID-19, we have made the very unfortunate decision to cancel the School Redesign in Action Conference originally scheduled for March 23 and 24 in Norwood, MA. [read more]

Pre-Conference Sessions

Better Together: Project-Based Learning & Proficiency-Based Learning

Great Schools Partnership, ME

Project-based learning opens up opportunities for students to connect with topics they care about and with issues in and beyond their communities. Proficiency-based learning allows educators to select an agreed-upon set of important skills and concepts along with a set of agreed-upon scoring criteria; it also allows educators to build opportunities for students to explore and demonstrate their learning in different ways. Project- and proficiency-based learning both lead to more equitable outcomes, but their true power is revealed when we bring them together. Doing so makes space for students to reach for high standards while also doing work that matters to them and to the world.

In this session, participants will explore examples of proficiency-based projects that highlight the power of this combined approach and investigate tools and resources designed to support educators in bringing this approach to their schools. This workshop will also provide an opportunity to engage in brainstorming and design with others, applying learning to individual contexts.

Session
Monday, March 23, 8:00-11:00 a.m.
Presenters

Kate Gardoqui (Senior Associate) & Courtney Jacobs (Senior Associate)

Connect, Share, Improve: An LIS Ed Camp Adventure (LIS Members Only)

Great Schools Partnership, ME

Members of the League of Innovative Schools are invited to join this interactive session, which is designed to surface the issues and questions most pressing to New England schools that are committed to educational equity and student-centered learning. We will embark on a collaborative experience styled after Ed Camp. Using structured prompts and protocols, we will determine your priority issues then organize into smaller groups, each facilitated by participants, to explore those issues. This 3-hour session will tap into the creativity and collective experience of LIS member schools to raise up and tackle the topics that matter to you most.

Session
Monday, March 23, 8:00-11:00 a.m.
Presenters

Reed Dyer (Senior Associate) & Arielle Sprotzer (Senior Associate)

PBL 101: Understanding and Implementing Effective Proficiency-Based Learning Systems

Great Schools Partnership, ME

Working from the belief that all students can learn if goals are clear, assessment and instruction are personalized, and support is focused and relational, proficiency-based teaching and learning systems are designed to help students take charge of their learning. We start by asking three questions: Where do I want to be? Where am I now? How can I close the gap? 

In this interactive workshop for educators new to proficiency-based learning, participants will explore the fundamental components of an effective proficiency-based teaching and learning system and engage with resources designed to support their journey. Participants will also plan possible next steps leading to the successful implementation of equitable, proficiency-based learning.

Session
Monday, March 23, 8:00-11:00 a.m.
Presenters

Moises Nuñez (Senior Associate) & Katie Thompson (Co-Director of Coaching)

The Intersection of Transferable Skills, Student Centered Teaching, and Student Goal Setting

New Tech Network, CA

Building on the importance of metacognition, New Tech Network has created a simple lesson plan structure that helps students engage in content while also tracking their progress in a transferable skill (such as collaboration, oral communication, and agency) in a class period or two. The session will run participants through the lesson structure using: (1) New Tech rubrics, (2) a student-centered teaching technique, (3) student choice, and (4) a means of activating participant metacognition through goal-setting and monitoring.  We will share promising data around the use of these lessons in project-based and non-project-based schools. Teachers will have an opportunity to delve into a particular student-centered technique, create a lesson plan, and share with colleagues.

Session
Monday, March 23, 8:00-11:00 a.m.
Presenters

Kevin Grant (Director of Network Innovation) and Stacia Snow (Director of Network Innovation)

Buzzwords vs. Reality: A Deep Dive Into TechBoston Academy’s Transformation Journey

TechBoston Academy, MA

Are you interested in buzzwords or trendy concepts in education? Are you intrigued by learner-centered education? Project-based learning? Advisory? Deeper learning? STEAM? Student agency? TechBoston Academy is an open-enrollment Boston public school four years into transforming from a traditional school to one that can be described by many of these buzzwords. In this session, you’ll have an opportunity to dive into some of these trendy concepts to see the real, messy truth of implementation. Come learn from our wins as well as our many mistakes! If you’ve heard another presentation by TechBoston Academy school leaders, this session is your time to dive deeply into one of the topics briefly discussed previously. 

Session
Monday, March 23, 8:00-11:00 a.m.
Presenters

Jennifer Nicol (Director of Innovation) 

Plenary Sessions

Keynote: Archeology of the Self: Exploring Self, Race, & Identity

Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Ph.D.

One of the six components of racial literacy development (Sealey-Ruiz, 2020) is the process of engaging in the “Archeology of the Self.” This important process occurs when personal beliefs and understandings about race (and other social constructs) are excavated for deep examination. This is a crucial component of building and developing socially and politically conscious, skillful citizens and citizen educators. In this session, participants will develop ways to deeply reflect on their identity, positionality, and how this impacts their role as an educator. Topics to be discussed include: the role of the educator as a school community member and the role of race in teaching and the workplace.

Photo of Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz
Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Ph.D.
Dr. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz (Ph.D., New York University) is as an Associate Professor of English Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Yolanda is former Research Associate with the NYU Metropolitan Center for Urban Education, and has worked for Business Week, The New York Times, and New York University in Marketing and Promotion positions. Her research interests include racial literacy development in urban teacher education (with a specific focus on the education of Black and Latino males), literacy practices of Black girls, and Black female college reentry students. 

Yolanda’s work has appeared in several top-tier academic journals. Yolanda is co-editor of three books including (with Chance W. Lewis and Ivory A. Toldson Teacher Education and Black Communities: Implications for Access, Equity, and Achievement (IAP). At Teachers College, she is founder and faculty sponsor of the Racial Literacy Roundtables Series where for ten years, national scholars, doctoral, and pre-service and in-service Master’s students, and young people facilitate informal conversations around race and other issues involving diversity and teacher education for the Teachers College / Columbia University community. She is also the co-founder of the Teachers College Civic Participation Project which concerns itself with the educational well-being of young people involved with the juvenile justice and foster care systems in New York.

Yolanda and two of her students appeared in Spike Lee’s “2 Fists Up: We Gon’ Be Alright” (2016), a documentary about the Black Lives Matter movement and the campus protests at Mizzou.

Session
Tuesday, March 24, 8:00 AM
Presenters

Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, Ph.D.

NESSC States

Connecticut Sessions

Equity as a District Focus: Supporting School Leaders for the Heavy Lift

Capitol Region Education Council: CREC, CT

This session will highlight the work being done to intentionally promote equitable practices within the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) Magnet Schools. In order to impact the achievement gap, we have aligned our efforts to focus on addressing bias and equipping our administrators with the tools to lead this work at their schools. This session will share district initiatives, professional development experiences, and school-based efforts intended to address the reality that the staff demographics do not reflect the demographics of our student body. We will share how we shifted from focusing on assessment to instruction emphasizing the role of administrators being in classrooms to critically evaluate the experiences of our students. The district’s work on aligning instruction through an equity lens will be shared as well as our adoption of a diversity and inclusion statement.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Elaina Brachman (Assistant Superintendent)

Student Voice Through Storytelling

High School in the Community, CT

Empower your students by giving them the opportunity to connect through authentic storytelling. This workshop will: introduce you to the story, mission, and vision of Narrative 4; explore the purpose, benefits, and risks of empathy in a divided world; allow you to experience the power of the story exchange; and inspire ideas that will create community connection in your schools, your lives, and the world. This workshop will benefit individuals and communities that wish for an authentic experiential learning experience, aim to develop social emotional learning, desire to build classroom cohesion, want to promote positive school climates, and strive to cultivate courageous conversations in students.

This session will inform educators about the mission and vision of Narrative 4 and will provide a variety of possible applications for the model, ideas for building empathy within school communities, and information about training and support for educators who would like to bring Narrative 4 to their own school communities.

Sessions
Monday, March 23, 4:15 p.m.; Tuesday, March 24, 9:15 a.m.
Presenters

Michelle Ortiz (Narrative 4) and Cari Strand (Curriculum Leader, High School in the Community)

Transferable Skills Transforming Instruction and Assessment

Nathan Hale-Ray High School, CT

What does an elementary reading consultant, a middle school physical education teacher, and a high school art teacher all have in common? Transferable skills. Through a purposefully planned process, in collaboration with the Great Schools Partnership, East Haddam School District’s rollout of PreK-12 transferable skills will be presented. From the formation of the transferable skills team and the specific creation of the skills to the presentation to the district and the goals to assure future success, this movement has allowed all stakeholders to use the same language and measures of assessments, and to work collaboratively to assure that, upon graduation, East Haddam students are effective communicators, informed thinkers, problem solvers, self-directed learners, and responsible citizens.

Participants will explore the benefits of PreK-12 transferable skills, learn the process used for a successful roll-out, reflect on teacher testimonials that describe how transferable skills develop in their classroom, and discuss the impact and goals to be achieved regarding instruction and assessment.

Sessions
Monday, March 23, 1:00 p.m.; Monday, March 23, 2:45 p.m.
Presenters

Bridget Dean Erlandson (English Teacher & ELA Instructional Facilitator)

Maine Sessions

Empowering Student Voice Through Personal Learning Plans, Gateway Exhibitions, Applied Learning, and Capstone Presentations

Hall-Dale Middle School & High School

In this session, participants will hear from teachers and students about the importance of student voice and choice in designing their personal learning plans (PLPs), gathering evidence and artifacts for gateway exhibitions, demonstrating the guiding principles (overarching competencies) via applied learning, and, as a senior, developing their culminating capstone project. As much as there is an emphasis on voice and choice, students incorporate goal setting, discover their learning styles, choose what they would like to present as both achievements and struggles, and speak in front of an audience. As a senior, the capstone project is their final presentation. It incorporates research, field work, a professional mentor, and a 25-minute presentation.

Participants will learn how to set up PLPs and integrate student voice, how using gateway exhibitions can be a mechanism for student voice, how applied learning can help students meet the guiding principles, and how a robust capstone project can provide students with greater voice and choice through discovery.

Sessions
Tuesday, March 24, 9:15 a.m.; Tuesday, March 24, 10:45 a.m.
Presenters

Mark Tinkham (Principal)

Educating the Whole Child: Whole Schools and Whole Communities Partnering to Ensure Equity

Maine ASCD, ME

ASCD’s Whole Child Approach is an effort to transition from a focus on narrowly defined academic achievement to one that promotes the long-term development and success of all children. Fostering that development and success requires that each student: enters school healthy and learns about and practices a healthy lifestyle; learns in an environment that is physically and emotionally safe for students and adults; is actively engaged in learning and is connected to the school and broader community; has access to personalized learning and is supported by qualified, caring adults; and is challenged academically and prepared for success in college or further study, and is prepared for both employment, and participation in a global environment. This session is devoted to these tenets. 

Session participants will engage in professional discourse with their peers and presenters on the topic of whole child education, gain familiarity with tools and strategies for supporting the whole child, and leave with useful and applicable resources related to whole child education, earning a micro-credential through their participation in the session.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Dr. Leigh Alley (Executive Director)

The Power of Partnership and Parent Advocacy to Foster Equitable Outcomes: Lesson from Maine

MaineSpark and Portland Empowered, ME

Portland Empowered is a nonprofit organization that works closely with Portland Public Schools to ensure student and parent voices are reflected in policy and practice, with the goal of creating more equitable access and outcomes for students. Over the past year, Portland Empowered has partnered with the MaineSpark coalition—a diverse alliance of education organizations, government agencies, and business leaders—to expand its successful Parent Ambassador Training Program, which focuses on building capacity among families from traditionally marginalized backgrounds to improve local schools. In this session, one parent ambassador will share how this program helped them advocate and develop resources to improve the educational experiences of Portland’s children. Additionally, leaders from Portland Empowered and MaineSpark will describe their work to highlight inequities across the state through sharing disaggregated data and personal stories, with the goal of ensuring all Maine students graduate high school prepared for college and careers.

Participants will see the power of family and community partnerships to drive positive shifts in the student experience, experience how sharing disaggregated data on student access and outcomes can be used to generate a sense of urgency for change, and learn strategies they can use in their own communities.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Kate Leveille (Project Manager, Future Success Alliance, MaineSpark)

Improving Outcomes of Disadvantaged Students: Using High-Functioning Teams to Build Relationships, Monitor Progress, and Develop Interventions

Poland Regional High School, ME

After years of having a robust advisory program and teacher teams at the 9th and 10th grade levels, teachers and administrators at Poland Regional High School questioned our practices when we failed to see the student achievement results we expected. Our 9th grade failure rate was slowly climbing and our alternative program had a growing waitlist. The invitation to participate in the BARR program (Building Assets, Reduce Risks) allowed us to reimagine our teacher teams and meetings, bringing much needed improved outcomes for our students, primarily in a drastic reduction in our 9th grade failure rate. During this session, we will share the essential elements of this program that schools can adopt and implement, even if you are not part of BARR.

Participants will be introduced to the BARR model. Essential learning will focus on identifying the integral components of high-functioning teacher teams and creating protocols that promote the development and implementation of quality interventions that improve student outcomes. Additionally, participants will learn how to use data to monitor the impact of interventions on student success.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Caroline Peinado (RTI coordinator/Instructional Coach)

Proficiency: Lose the Label, Deepen Practice

University of Southern Maine, ME

This workshop will help participants see clear pathways to leave behind the onerous labels associated with proficiency while promoting effective planning, instructional, and assessment practices associated with it. We will consider research-based, concrete methods traditional and non-traditional teachers should use to make learning and demonstration of learning transparent and accessible for all students. This workshop brings intentional attention to practice in a time when labels and language can be divisive.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Sara Needleman (Teacher Educator)

Massachusetts Sessions

Reimagining Family Engagement Through an Equity Lens

1647, MA

Our training team of parents will share stories and perspectives on how school structures, mindsets, and biases can impede strong home-school partnerships. Participants will be asked to reflect on how identity, beliefs, and long-established systems inform their personal and school-wide family engagement mindsets and practices. This session aims to build an understanding of these dynamics in order to work toward authentic partnerships with students’ families. Participants will consider how their identities and personal histories inform their interactions with families, engage in dialogue to build understanding of how schools’ policies and practices impact families’ experiences with education, and practice having challenging conversations about race and equity in education.

Sessions
Monday, March 23, 1:00 p.m.; Tuesday, March 24, 10:45 a.m.
Presenters

Ann Walsh (Co-Founder)

Engaging the Most Vulnerable Students in Early College: Lessons Learned from Gateway to College in Massachusetts

Achieving the Dream Gateway to College New England, MA

For over a decade, Gateway to College (GTC) programs have served Massachusetts’ most vulnerable students in immersive, full-time, dual enrollment partnerships. This session will offer a deep look at program outcomes and best practices from the three original GTC sites in Massachusetts. These sites have served over 1,000 disconnected high school students since 2007. Gateway students typically enter the program at seventeen with an average high school GPA of 1.5 and less than half of the credits needed for a high school diploma. At the end of the program, 75% graduate with an average of 20 college credits. This session will provide an overview of the model and the strategies that Gateway program leaders use to ensure student engagement and success. Gateway partners will share the lessons learned over a decade of work and the strategies they have developed, which include holistic student support, identity-based motivation, and college and career readiness coaching.

Participants in this session will deepen their understanding of what is possible for struggling, disengaged high school students and learn more about the ways that rigorous instruction, holistic student support, intrusive advising, and collaboration between districts and community college partners can lead students to succeed in high school, college, and their careers.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Stephanie Davolos (Director of Gateway to College, New England)

How a Community-Based Mentor Program Breaks Down Barriers to Equity and Supports Student Achievement

Attleboro Community Academy, MA

In this workshop, participants will learn how a community mentor program breaks down barriers to equity for under-performing students and students returning to school after dropping out. Participants will also learn how leveraging community resources provides essential social-emotional support for students. Students and mentors will tell stories of the mentor-mentee experience and its impact on their lives: Everything from the experience of feeling lost and disconnected from their education and community to a place of empowerment, as well as how mentoring has enriched the lives of mentors.

The workshop will also provide participants with a road map to develop a mentorship program in their own school. Topics will include how to identify mentors, the mentor application process, mentor training, and ongoing mentor support. National and school data will underscore the profound immediate and long-term effect a mentor has on student success.

Sessions
Monday, March 23, 4:15 p.m.; Tuesday, March 24, 9:15 a.m.
Presenters

Donna Maria Cameron (Principal)

Continuous Improvement in Education: Orientation to a Practitioner-Friendly Toolkit for Schools and Districts

Education Development Center, MA

In this interactive workshop, we will orient district- and school-based practitioners to the new IES-funded Toolkit. The toolkit is designed to help district- and school-based practitioners engage in a continuous improvement effort. It provides an overview of continuous improvement and focuses on the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle. It includes tools and resources that practitioners can use to implement a continuous improvement effort in their own schools, districts, or agencies. During the workshop, we will focus on setting up for continuous improvement, assessing readiness to engage in continuous improvement, and orient participants to some of the tools and resources available to help them be successful.

Session
Tuesday, March 24, 10:45 a.m.
Presenters

Karen Shakman (Educational Researcher and Technical Assistance Provider) and Diana Wogan (Project Director)

Expanding Student Voice: Lessons Learned From Launching a Superintendent’s Student Cabinet

Lawrence Public Schools, MA

Participants will hear from staff and students about their experience planning, launching, and participating in the first district-wide Superintendent’s Student Cabinet. Together, we’ll share information about our goals, plans, pitfalls, and the course-corrections we made to ensure deep and meaningful participation for all students, including English learners and students in alternative programs. Student members represent all grades 9-12, and seven high schools/programs. Participants will learn first hand from students about their interest in the cabinet (Why did I run for a Cabinet seat?), as well as their concerns (I’m not sure I can do this!), the challenges with participation, and finally, the work students are doing together to not only tackle global issues, but also help our district get better at sharing power.

Participants will be energized by students sharing their stories and make correlations between their own efforts and those undertaken in Lawrence, with the ability to consider and adapt lessons learned from our experiences. Participants will also leave with new strategies they can employ in most types of collaborative forums.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Nelson Butten (Director of Community, Family & Student Engagement) and Denise Snyder (Assistant Superintendent)

Youth Voices Matter: Advancing Equity Through Student-Led Training and Leadership

Lowell Public Schools & Project LEARN

In this student-led conversation, hear from students what it was like to develop and deliver an equity training for school district leadership staff. Learn from staff how to best recruit students equitably, how to design equity and facilitation training for students, and how to prepare them to deliver to a room full of adults. Find out ways this team braided funding from various sources to bring in teacher voice and trained consultants to ensure that students had the skills they needed to deliver an equity training. Learn how, even in the midst of a superintendent transition, a new office of equity and community engagement helped to empower students and drive action items resulting from the training.

Participants will learn key successes and challenges our students faced in developing and delivering student-led equity training for senior district central office staff; explore opportunities to scale across all schools; hear students talk about their take-aways; and discover what student-centered policy changes the equity training helped influence and shape.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Shamir Rivera (Associate Director of Development & Programs)

Students at the Center: Replacing Silos With Webs of Support

Map Academy Charter School, MA

Map Academy, a new charter high school in Plymouth, Massachusetts, provides a reimagined student-centered teaching and learning model intentionally designed to serve marginalized students, including youth who have previously dropped out of other high schools. Built on a trauma-informed foundation, Map Academy provides comprehensive wraparound support by integrating in-house clinicians, community-based partners, and family support networks to empower students to meet their individual goals. This workshop will explore key elements of Map Academy’s trauma-informed approach, including personalized, blended, and asynchronous instruction; competency-based advancement;  flexible pathways; and individualized student success plans that create unique learning opportunities centered around the individual student, their interests, and ambitions.

Participants will learn about our model as well as explore ways to replicate a student-centered teaching and learning model with comprehensive social and emotional support. Participants will also begin to develop a personalized action plan for their own schools or districts.

Sessions
Monday, March 23, 4:15 p.m.; Tuesday, March 24, 9:15 a.m.
Presenters

Rachel Babcock (Co-Founder & Co-Director) and Joshua Charpentier (Co-Founder & Co-Director)

Increasing Engagement in Mathematics Through Voice and Choice

Melrose Public Schools, MA

At the heart of personalized learning is an increase in student voice and choice in their own learning as they strive toward proficiency as outlined in content area standards. What are the classroom instructional practices that support student choice and voice and thus also student engagement? In this session, high school math teachers will share the strategies they are implementing that have supported increased student engagement. Examples of instructional strategies shared will include digital portfolios, playlists, learning progressions, learning menus, project-based learning and performance tasks (such as homemade three-act math tasks), retest and revision policies, and sharing clear expectations with students. Participants will explore resources, examples, and tools that support the instructional strategies while considering next steps for implementation in their own setting.  Although the presenters are math teachers, anyone can benefit from attending this session on personalized learning. 

Participants will learn specific strategies to increase student engagement through choice and voice as implemented in math classrooms. Participants will also get specific examples of student engagement through the use of digital playlists, portfolios, learning progressions, performance tasks, and assessments.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Laurie Greenwood (Director of Math, 6-12)

Shifting Mindsets: How New Bedford Public Schools Engages, Educates, and Empowers Families and the Community

New Bedford Public Schools, MA

New Bedford Public Schools (NBPS) takes an individualized approach to shifting culture and mindset throughout our district. In this session, you will hear the story of NBPS and the path we have taken to engage, educate, and empower our school community one family at a time. NBPS has emphasized creating multiple access points for family and community participation, and increased the focus on improving two-way communication and cultivating student leaders. NBPS has also begun to look at the historical construct of racism and its impact on public education and how we engage families and other systems that service families. By looking at our own inequities, we have begun to collaborate with community partners to begin an important conversation:how to address the inequities in our community and provide better outcomes for all families.

Participants will learn about the approaches taken by NBPS—including a shift in focus from cultural competency to racial inequity, as well as using data to inform our work—and explore how to replicate them in their own districts or schools.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Erin Duarte (Lead Wraparound Coordinator) and Jariel Vergne (Wraparound Manager)

Failing Forward Together: Lessons Learned in the Transformation From Traditional to Learner-Centered Practices in a Large Open-Enrollment Public School

TechBoston Academy, MA

Across the country, new learner-centered schools are opening each year. However, can a large, traditional, open-enrollment school ever provide the same personalized and high-agency experience for all students? In this session, you will hear the story of TechBoston Academy, a Boston public school, which is trying to do just that. Presenters will speak candidly about their journey, which is filled with misconceptions, bumps, shifts, and successes; participants will get a true behind-the-scenes view of school transformation. If you heard last year’s presentation by TechBoston Academy school leaders, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to hear about the successes and lessons learned over the past twelve months!

Session
TBD

New Hampshire Sessions

Youth Apprenticeship as a High-Quality, Post-Secondary Path: Equitable, Accessible, and Career-Focused

Community College System of New Hampshire, NH

No longer limited to traditional trade occupations, youth registered apprenticeship programs can offer accessible and valuable career and education experiences for non-traditional students who may otherwise face barriers to success. Through the supportive earn and learn model that matches relevant job training with education, youth registered apprenticeship programs can provide economic mobility to students and help engage businesses and community colleges in creating pathways to success. ApprenticeshipNH, a grant-funded program housed at the Community College System of New Hampshire, is one of many efforts throughout the region working to develop these opportunities and provide a pipeline of high-quality workers to the rapidly changing New Hampshire workforce. This session will provide attendees with an overview of how youth apprenticeship programs work and what is being done in New Hampshire to increase equity and access to apprenticeship programs, in partnership with high schools, employers, and community-based organizations.

Participants will leave this session with a better understanding of how youth registered apprenticeship programs work, the benefits to both schools and students, as well as successful program examples.  Participants will leave with takeaway knowledge to bring similar initiatives back to their schools and communities.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Anne Banks (Workforce Development Administrator) and Beth Doiron (Director of College Access Programs)

Special Education in the Competency-Based Classroom

Sanborn Regional High School, NH

Learn how competency-based education (CBE) can work for all learners, including those with accommodations and modifications. Sarah Brown, a special education case manager, Ashley Harbel, an English teacher, and Scott Maxwell, also a special education case manager, will lead a discussion about the impact of CBE on students with disabilities, as well as how CBE impacts the writing of Individualized Education Programs and 504 plans. We will explore how the flexibility and individualization of CBE benefits students both within and outside the classroom, in the heterogeneous classroom, modified classroom, and in specialized programs.

Participants will discover how CBE fits within the realm of special education and 504 plans, see the ways CBE positively impacts students with modifications and accommodations, compare their own school’s system for identified students to that of the CBE model, and learn how CBE supports differentiation for all students.

Sessions
Tuesday, March 24, 10:45 a.m.; Tuesday, March 24, 1:15 p.m.
Presenters

Sarah Brown (Special Education Case Manager), Ashley Harbel (English Teacher), and Scott Maxwell (Special Education Case Manager)

Rhode Island Sessions

Student-Centered Assessment Network: High School Teachers Collaborating to Improve Outcomes for all Students

American Institutes for Research, DC and Central Falls High School, East Providence High School, and Westerly High School, RI

The Student-Centered Assessment Network (SCAN) is a networked improvement community (NIC) of teachers from Central Falls, East Providence, and Westerly (RI) high schools and is supported by a hub of researchers and coaches. SCAN teachers identify problems of practice and design and test change ideas in Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles of improvement. Together, we are studying the use of student-centered formative assessment to increase student agency, engagement, and academic outcomes. We are also working to improve planning and measurement processes, and to increase the value of collaboration across schools in the network.  

In this session, we will share highlights of our three-year journey together including the most current versions of our planning documents, ideas about measuring the impact of change ideas, ways we collaborate across schools, and some of the promising formative assessment practices that we have developed and refined. We will invite you to consider how what we share might support your own improvement efforts.

Sessions
Tuesday, March 24, 10:45 a.m.; Tuesday, March 24, 1:15 p.m.
Presenters

Mary Bridget Burns (Researcher, American Institutes for Research), Erica DeVoe, (Teacher, Westerly High School), Will Tad Johnston (Coaching Team, American Institutes for Research), Joel Swan (Teacher, East Providence High School), and Susan Vollucci (Teacher, Central Falls High School)

Using Mirrors & Windows to Be Culturally Responsive Educators

Brown University, RI

America’s schools are more racially diverse than ever, but are teachers and schools prepared to meet their needs? It is critical for educators to know and practice a curriculum that prepares them to work with the increasing diversity in today’s classrooms. Participants will engage in several collaborative activities and leave with strategies and background on the importance of culturally responsive teaching (CRT). CRT recognizes the importance of including students’ cultural references in all aspects of learning. Preparing teachers who are responsive to racially diverse student populations that schools have historically left behind is imperative. This session will help participants develop and strengthen their skills to better foster learning experiences relevant to and effective for today’s learners.

Participants will leave with a basic understanding of CRT, its significance and impact on teaching and learning, and with practices and pedagogical resources to begin using right away.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Soljane Martinez (Education Coordinator, Annenberg Institute at Brown University)

Igniting the “Fuse” of Personalization: Cross-Collaboration and Thought-Partnering Around Priority Practices

Highlander Institute, RI

The most compelling, actionable ideas for personalized learning practices come from those implementing it every day. The Fuse Fellowship maximizes teacher voice and fosters a network of collaboration and strategy sharing by empowering educators to become change agents both in their own context as well as within partner districts. Hear from Fuse participants how cross-collaboration and thought-partnering on practices within the domains of classroom culture, student ownership and agency, differentiation, and rigor and mastery, have led teachers and districts to shift toward a more equitable, rigorous, and personalized experience for students. Explore Highlander’s Priority Practices Tool, discuss how you might leverage this tool to support instructional shifts in your own context, and discover strategies and resources Fuse fellows have used to implement these practices.

Sessions
Monday, March 23, 1:00 p.m.; Monday, March 23, 2:45 p.m.
Presenters

Megan Smallidge (Fuse MA Program Director)

Equitable Access to College and Career Readiness Opportunities in Rhode Island

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, RI

This session will share highlights of a new report that examines policies and practices that support student-centered learning with a focus on equitable access to college and career readiness opportunities. These opportunities include college credit-earning programs such as dual and concurrent enrollment, industry credential-earning programs such as career and technical education programs and career pathway programs, and the Advanced Course Network. This session will also share how Rhode Island can ensure these opportunities are available to all students, particularly low-income students, students of color, and students from high-need communities.

In this session, participants will learn how to use data to identify and explain inequities in access to college and career readiness opportunities in Rhode Island and brainstorm ways to address inequities through changes in policies and practices.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Paige Clausius-Parks (Senior Policy Analyst) and Stephanie Geller (Deputy Director)

Vermont Sessions

The Heart of Personalized Learning: Student Choice Through Independent Projects

Big Picture, South Burlington High School, VT

For over 10 years, students at Big Picture South Burlington High School have been taking on independent projects. These projects, which vary from a short-term digital music project to a multi-year endeavor of building a tiny house, have brought actionable relevance and motivation to student learning. In this session, teachers and students will share their experience implementing these projects through flexible pathways and proficiency-based learning. 

Teachers will explain topics such as project cycles, pre-assessment forms, and assessing standards; students will share their experiences with interdisciplinary student-driven learning. The comprehensive process of designing projects, utilizing proficiency rubrics, documenting with digital portfolios, and communicating with partners will be addressed. We’ll also demonstrate web-based and paper-based tools that students and teachers use to manage projects. 

Participants will learn how to implement and assess independent projects through proficiency-based learning standards. They will leave with functional tools and strategies to challenge their conventional learning to be more personalized and equitable. This presentation will provide adaptable materials including project proposals, rubrics, and portfolios.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Kevin Downey (Program Coordinator)

Equity Starts With Connection: Data That Matters

Champlain Valley Union High School, VT

Last year, Champlain Valley Union High School launched homegrown software in an effort to map connections and engage every student. The data inspired a school-wide process that promoted the deepening of relationships and improved personal learning plans. In this session, participants will both explore data that matters and develop their own data sets. Participants will also be encouraged to explore their own systems, think up and hone the questions and processes that could empower change in their own schools, and learn how connections have decreased violence, addiction, and self harm in international communities.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Adam Bunting (Principal)

Renovating Educational Systems Through Teacher and Student Leadership

Danville School, VT

In 2013, Act 77 mandated that all schools in Vermont provide flexible pathways to graduation. Our school’s initial implementation of Act 77 was a series of disjointed programs that didn’t fit any particular philosophy or curriculum integration. We found ourselves facing a student body that didn’t understand the purpose of independent learning, a schedule that didn’t support that learning, and teachers who were unable to effectively support personalized learning.  

In this session, learn how we used branding and grassroot leadership to assemble a group of student leaders who designed a cohesive program that was in line with the needs and interests of the student body.  Since this group was facilitated by teacher-leaders, the process was grassroots instead of top-down, implemented by those who would experience the changes first-hand. Participants will hear our story, learn our strategies, and get the tools they need to fine tune their own programming. Participants will also hear student perspectives on personalized learning.

Sessions
Tuesday, March 24, 9:15 a.m.; Tuesday, March 24, 10:45 a.m.
Presenters

Rachel Keach (Teacher/Pathways Coordinator) and Students

Eating Is Elementary to Education: Equity in the Cafeteria = Success for the School

Hunger Free Vermont, VT

In Vermont, we are working toward statewide universal school meals. Our first big steps were to complete a current story analysis, develop messaging tools to begin changing how people think about school meals, and to build broad support in communities and schools for all children having two meals per day provided at school at no cost to them directly. We also committed to shared principles as a coalition. We will share how we did this and share some tools you can use to do this type of work in your own school or community.

Participants will learn how a current story analysis can help identify how to change the public narrative to create positive change. Additionally, participants will learn how message frames, talking points, and pivots can build the positive change they want in their schools and communities.

Sessions
Tuesday, March 24, 10:45 a.m.; Tuesday, March 24, 1:15 p.m.
Presenters

Amy Shollenberger (Strategy Consultant)

Taking the First Steps: Ideas for Addressing Implicit Bias in School

Mill River School District, VT and Vermont Principals' Association, VT

When confronted with the challenge of institutional racism, educators can sometimes feel overwhelmed. In this workshop, three Vermont educators will lead a discussion of possible entry points into this work and share experiences from their collaboration to improve equity in a rural Vermont district. Participants will leave this workshop with concrete initial strategies to adapt to their school setting in order to address implicit bias in school curricula, communications, and other structures.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Andrew Jones (Director of Curriculum, Mill River School District), Mike McRaith (Assistant Executive Director, Vermont Principals’ Association), and Jodie Stewart-Ruck (Principal, Shrewsbury Mountain School)

Beyond NESSC

Supporting Personalized Learning Through Professional Development and Collaborative Leadership Structures

Disney II Magnet School, Chicago Public Schools, IL

The journey to achieve personalized learning begins with shifting the mindsets of all stakeholders. This begins with the development of mission, vision, and values that support student-centered learning. This pedagogical shift requires designing a coherent leadership and professional development structure in order to achieve and maintain a strategic change.

This session will support participants in identifying multiple methods for the continual improvement of pedagogical practices. Examples include:

  • The benefits of and methods for personalizing learning for teachers
  • Developing distributive and collaborative leadership structures
  • Planning for instructional rounds and using the data to inform professional development
  • Identifying opportunities and methods for instructional coaching

Participants will create short and long-term goals for shifting instructional and/or leadership practices based on each participant’s specific context.

Session
Monday, March 23, 4:15 p.m.
Presenters

Kathleen Speth (Principal)

Antiracist Professional Learning: The Mastery Collaborative Approach in NYC

Mastery Collaborative, NY

The Mastery Collaborative (MC) is a community of practitioners from more than 50 schools in New York City that implements mastery-based and culturally responsive-sustaining practices. Together, the community has embarked on a mission to better serve their diverse students through student-centered and anti-racist practices. This work has necessitated a great deal of professional learning about racism at the institutional, interpersonal, and internalized level. MC practitioners have honed their skills identifying inequity and checking their own implicit biases in order to improve their school and classroom practices.

In this session, come try your hand at interrogating a practice of teaching and learning through a critical race lens, and work collaboratively to identify under what conditions a “best practice” is culturally responsive. You’ll hear about the multifaceted approach to professional learning around race the Mastery Collaborative has adopted, as well as a bit about the rewards and challenges of that work. 

Session
TBD
Presenters

Meg Stentz (Associate Director)

Moving Beyond GPA: How CBE Schools Are Using the Mastery Transcript to Drive Equity and Engagement

Mastery Transcript Consortium, MI

Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC) is a growing collective of hundreds of high schools working together to design and implement a model for crediting and transcript generation, which includes Mastery Credits and attached evidence of learning (instead of grades) for both content areas and skills critical to all students’ success in college, career, and life. This interactive session will explain MTC’s theory of change and engage attendees in exploration and inquiry around the current design, use, and future plans for the Mastery Transcript. Participants will be able to interact with a sample of the transcript and learn about schools already using or testing it. Participants will also be able to explore how their current competency model or architecture could be presented in the Mastery Transcript.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Susan Bell (Senior Director of Member Engagement)

Competency-Based Education in Michigan Districts

Michigan Department of Education, MI

Michigan Department of Education (MDE) staff will describe the state vision for student-centered learning and the state priorities and action plan to support competency-based education (CBE) in Michigan districts, including building systemic supports and capacity for CBE implementation and resources currently under development that will support local school districts in CBE implementation.

Then leadership staff from Kenowa Hills Public Schools and Armada Area Schools will discuss the successes, challenges, and obstacles faced in the implementation of CBE in each district. Each district team will share the leadership strategies used at both the district- and building-level to engage staff, students, parents, and the community in CBE implementation, as well as the implementation process—including curriculum, instructional strategies, and assessment development.

Participants will view and access publicly-available resources that were created by Michigan teachers to help with the implementation of CBE.Participants will also explore the leadership styles and approaches used in two Michigan districts throughout the creation and implementation of a competency-based system.

Session
Monday, March 23, 1:00 p.m.
Presenters

Phoebe Gohs (Educational Consultant) and Ross  Willick (Principal, Zinser Elementary School)

National Geographic’s Geo-Inquiry Process: Project-Based Learning for Community Change

National Geographic Education, DC

Learn how National Geographic’s Geo-Inquiry process can further your students’ understanding of the world and empower them to become advocates for change in their own communities. The Geo-Inquiry Process involves an integrated, five-phase, project-based learning approach that connects real-world challenges to the classroom. In this interactive session, educators will learn strategies to help students develop the critical thinking skills to ask geographic questions, collect and visualize information, and take informed action. The Geo-Inquiry Process is designed to inspire educators to teach students about the world in innovative, experiential, and authentic ways. National Geographic offers guides, student workbooks, professional learning opportunities, and online courses for educators free of charge.

Attendees will learn about the Geo-Inquiry Process and how it can transform student learning and engagement. Examples of how to implement this in their own classrooms or school will be shared. Participants will receive information on how to sign up for our free online Geo-Inquiry course.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Anastasia Cronin (Regional Director, Educator Network)

Leveraging Student Data to Catalyze Change

Pascack Valley High School, NJ

In this session, participants will learn how one district leveraged course and achievement data, surveys, and writing prompts to shine light on inequitable student experiences and outcomes. Attention will be paid both to strategies that were effective and ineffective, and participants will be invited to discuss how different types of data can be strategically utilized to move their schools and districts forward.

Participants will learn strategies that were both effective and ineffective in encouraging various stakeholder groups to acknowledge issues of inequity. Participants will make action plans, specific to their schools or districts, on how data can be utilized to catalyze change.

Sessions
Monday, March 23, 2:45 p.m.; Monday, March 23, 4:15 p.m.
Presenters

Mark Russo (Mathematics Supervisor, Lead on Equity Initiative)

NESSC

Charting a Course Together: Designing for Equitable Community Engagement in Strategic Planning and Visioning

Great Schools Partnership, ME

Is your district embarking on a new strategic planning cycle? Creating a Portrait of a Graduate? Opening a new school? Revising your mission and vision? All of these processes are opportunities for communities to come together to build shared understanding and take collective action. In this session, we will provide  resources and strategies to keep equity at the heart of these long-term visioning activities. We’ll explore ways to build capacity, amplify marginalized voices, and develop broad ownership to set up your district and community for success.

Sessions
Monday, March 23, 4:15 p.m.; Tuesday, March 24, 10:45 a.m.
Presenters

Sarah Linet (Policy Specialist), Glennys Sanchez (Senior Associate), Katie Thompson (Co-Director of Coaching)

Grading and Reporting for Educational Equity

Great Schools Partnership, ME

In order to be effective and equitable, a grading and reporting system must communicate clear information to students, educators, and parents about the skills a student has mastered or the areas where they need support or more practice. However, discussions about changing the grading system can be highly contentious, emotionally charged, and weighed down with baggage that educators and parents all carry from their own school experiences. In this session, we will review the eight central tenets that should guide schools’ efforts to examine their grading and reporting systems. We will also explore sample policies and grading guidelines from schools that have used these tenets to successfully re-design the systems they use to score student work and report student grades.

Sessions
Tuesday, March 24, 9:15 a.m.; Tuesday, March 24, 1:15 p.m.
Presenters

Kate Gardoqui (Senior Associate) and Michelle Milstein (Senior Associate)

Improving School Culture and Teacher Practice Using Student Perception Surveys

Great Schools Partnership, ME

Using research-based questions to survey students about their teachers can be a jumping-off point for improving both school culture and teacher practice. Based on research provided by the Measures of Effective Teaching Project, student perception surveys give students the opportunity to share their voice about teachers’ practices in the classroom. When used effectively, this feedback contributes to the ongoing improvement of teachers. Participants will use a data protocol to examine sample survey data and then examine a number of strategies to implement student perception surveys in both the classroom and the school.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Ted Hall (Senior Associate) and Don Weafer (Senior Associate)

Let’s Talk: Race and Racism in Our Classrooms, Schools, and Communities

Great Schools Partnership, ME

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” 
― James Baldwin

In order to ensure just outcomes for students, raise marginalized voices, and challenge the imbalance of power and privilege, we must make space to openly and authentically talk about the role of race and the impact of racism in our classrooms, schools, and communities. In this session, we will provide participants with a safe and supportive environment to delve into conversations about race, racism, bias, and oppression. We will model and provide strategies on how participants can constructively talk about these topics with various stakeholders in their own schools and communities.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Christina Horner (Senior Associate), Carrie McWilliams (Senior Associate), and Steve Sell (Senior Associate)

No Data, No Equity: Using Data to Inform Instructional Practice

Great Schools Partnership, ME

Interested in learning about how intentionally using data in the classroom can promote equity for all students? Join us for a hands-on session focused on understanding the different types of data available to help educators identify student needs and trends in student learning and strategies for reflecting on and using data to adjust instructional practice.

Participants will learn about and workshop a process for identifying and unpacking classroom data, understanding and analyzing patterns in the data, and developing a plan for improvement based on data analysis. Participants are invited to bring their own classroom data (such as formative or summative assessment data) to review or use a sample dataset provided to workshop during this session.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Hayley Didriksen (Director of Research) and Arielle Sprotzer (Senior Associate)

Professional Learning Groups: From Implementation to Impact

Great Schools Partnership, ME

How do we ensure that our professional learning actually makes a difference for teachers and students? In this session, we’ll outline essential questions that can guide successful professional learning group (PLG) implementation and share helpful tools you can take back to your school. Participants will explore how to frame and measure the impact of PLGs, how to assess the current level of effectiveness of their PLG, and how to create a plan of action to make their professional learning more impactful than ever.

Sessions
Tuesday, March 24, 9:15 a.m.; Tuesday, March 24, 1:15 p.m.
Presenters

Reed Dyer (Senior Associate) and Jean Haeger (Senior Associate)

Why Are We Still Tracking Kids in Middle School and High School?

Great Schools Partnership, ME

In America, schools have tracked children, and argued over tracking, for well over 50 years. Is there a defensible rationale for segregating our learners? How equitable, reliable, and valid are our criteria? What are the conditions that lead to successful outcomes for all learners in heterogeneously grouped classes and schools?

This session will explore the unequal impacts of our long history of tracking in America’s schools, while also providing an empathetic space for the challenges faced by schools, families, and teachers. Participants will discuss the merits of approaches to de-tracking and share solutions that may provide more equitable opportunities for all learners. Engagement in this session will be structured around a fictional but highly plausible case study.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Craig Kesselheim (Senior Associate) and Dan Liebert (Senior Associate)

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