Tagged “Professional Learning Communities”

Podcast Whole Child Symposium

Town Hall Discussion: Bringing the Questions Together

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The decisions we make today—for our systems, our schools, and our classrooms—will affect what all of our tomorrows will look like tomorrow. This month ASCD launches its inaugural Whole Child Symposium—a conversation about the future of education comprising three events over eight weeks that includes not only some of the leading educators and thinkers, but also you and your voice.

On March 16 at ASCD's 69th Annual Conference & Exhibit Show in Los Angeles, Calif., ASCD's Sean Slade and a panel of education experts discussed our driving questions:

  • Choosing Your Tomorrow Today: What does this phrase mean to you? What do you think is most important? What word has the greatest impact, the greatest potential, and the greatest need?
  • The Future of Schooling: Where are we? Each idea sounds plausible and is probably in the midst of coming true somewhere in the world. Has it or is it coming true? Is the writing on the wall? What can or should we do?

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Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Bring Yourself to Work Every Day to Build Trust, Morale, and Culture

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Educators working in a positive school culture experience collegiality, trust, and tangible support as leaders and peers, creating an environment where there are high expectations, involvement in decision making, and open communication. Students entering a positive school culture feel safe, engaged, and connected and see school as a place where they can learn and contribute to the world around them. A positive school culture—morale—is the cornerstone of a good school and the foundation for school improvement.

School cultures should support, reinforce, and reflect the well-being of everyone in it, ensuring that students and adults feel valued, respected, and cared for and are motivated to learn, lead, and teach. In this episode, we take a look at how we build school morale so that administrators, teachers, students, and parents are energized and positive about learning. You'll hear from

  • Dave Burgess, award-winning U.S. history teacher at West Hills High School in San Diego, California; semi-professional magician; highly sought-after professional development speaker; and author of Teach Like a PIRATE: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator;
  • David Culberhouse, former teacher and principal of a California Distinguished School, currently senior director of elementary education for the Rialto Unified School District in southern California and co-moderator of the West Coast #satchat, weekly Twitter discussions about education and leadership held Saturday mornings;
  • Joe Mazza, former teacher, principal, and technology integration coach, currently project manager for Connected Teaching, Learning, and Leadership in the North Penn School District in Lansdale, Pennsylvania; innovation coach at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education; and producer of #ptchat, another weekly Twitter chat—this one for transparent and collaborative dialogue between parents, family engagement practitioners, and teachers—held Wednesday nights; and
  • Angela Hamilton, assistant principal, and Eric Russo, special education co-teacher who specializes in reading and language arts, at Drew Freeman Middle School of Prince George’s County Public Schools in Maryland. Drew Freeman is a member of ASCD's Whole Child Network of Schools and is in its second year of a three-year, comprehensive school improvement process using the tenets of the Whole Child Initiative—healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged—as a sustainable whole child approach to educating their students.

Connect with us @WholeChildASCD and our guests Dave Burgess @burgessdave, David Culberhouse @DCulberhouse, Joe Mazza @Joe_Mazza, Angela Hamilton @Ahamilton1994, and Eric Russo @erusso78 on Twitter.

What is the link between school morale and learning?

Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Make and Take the Time to Reflect, Refresh, and Recharge

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Summer for educators is often a time to look back on the past year—and look forward to the coming one. What worked, what didn't, and what will you change? Educating the whole child and planning for comprehensive, sustainable school improvement requires us to be "whole educators" who take the time to recharge, reflect, and reinvigorate. Where should we put our effort? What aspects of a whole child approach to education are most critical to us right now?

In this episode, we discuss educators' need to reflect on the past school year, refresh their passion for teaching, recharge their batteries, and look ahead to next year. Host Kevin Scott, a former history teacher and current director of constituent services at ASCD, is joined by

  • Peter Badalament, a former social studies teacher, English teacher, dean of students, and past president of Massachusetts ASCD. Badalament is currently the principal of Concord-Carlisle High School in Massachusetts and a member of ASCD's Emerging Leaders program.
  • Jason Flom, a former elementary teacher and current director of learning platforms at whole child partner Q.E.D. Foundation. At Q.E.D., Flom works with education leaders, educators, and students to build, inspire, cultivate, and sustain transformational learning practices that empower all learners. He is also a member of the ASCD Emerging Leaders program and a Board member of Florida ASCD.

Extend your reflection with the tools mentioned in the episode: the Edutopia article "Transformation Begins with Reflection: How Was Your Year," "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" (PDF) by Peggy McIntosh, and the Transformational Change Model. Both guests also recommend their favorite personal reading material, including

Refresh your personal learning with the summer 2013 digital issue of Educational Leadership magazine, available June 28. This issue gives you instant access to nearly 100 pages of practical tips and advice on how to refresh your personal learning, recharge your professional development, and get ready for the first days of school. If you do not currently receive Educational Leadership magazine, subscribe now to stay informed about new ideas and best practices for educators.

As educators, what strategies do you use to reflect, refresh, and recharge?

Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Walking in a Principal’s Shoes

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Principals are the key players in developing the climate, culture, and processes in their schools. They are critical to implementing meaningful and lasting school change and in the ongoing school-improvement process. Principals who have a clear vision; inspire and engage others in embracing change for improvement; drive, facilitate, and monitor the teaching and learning process; and foster a cohesive culture of learning are the collaborative leaders our schools need to fully commit to ensuring each student—and school staff member—is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.

There is also no doubt that the role—or roles—of a principal has changed dramatically in recent years and will likely change even more in upcoming decades. In this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, host Sean Slade and our guests discuss the qualities principals in today's (and tomorrow's) schools need to fulfill their roles as visionary, instructional, influential, and learning leaders. You'll hear from

What is a principal (in 2013)?

Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Great Expectations: Transforming Practice Through Common Core Implementation

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We as educators have a unique opportunity to reset the playing field and make the Common Core State Standards work for us. We can implement the standards, align them to a whole child approach to education, and ensure that they both support and enhance each other to prepare students for college, career, and citizenship success. The Common Core standards and a whole child approach are not opposites, and they do not have to be and should not be in opposition. In fact, they're interdependent. So much so, that they require each other to be successful.

Now is the time for us to take control and become empowered in the process. The outcomes will depend on what we decide to do for the Common Core standards within a whole child approach and how we decide to do it. In this episode, host Molly McCloskey and our guests discuss how our schools are working to better and more comprehensively support student learning so that they meet these enhanced expectations. You'll hear from

  • Arnold Fege, president of Public Advocacy for Kids and, recently, director of public engagement and advocacy for the Public Education Network where he covered education reform, parental involvement, and community engagement issues on the Hill and agencies, specializing in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Fege has more than 40 years of public education and child advocacy experience as a public school teacher, principal, assistant superintendent, and desegregation director. He was the National PTA's director of governmental relations for 17 years and is recognized for his leading work and articles in linking school and community. As a staff person for Senator Robert F. Kennedy, he helped draft provisions in the original ESEA legislation and has been involved in every reauthorization of ESEA since that time.
  • Craig Mertler, professor and dean of the Ross College of Education at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., and guest author this month on the Whole Child Blog. Mertler has been an educator for more than 25 years, beginning his career as a high school science teacher, then pursuing degrees in education assessment, research, and statistics. His interests lie in teacher-led action research, teacher leadership, classroom assessment, data-driven instructional decision making, and school improvement.
  • David Griffith, director of public policy at ASCD who leads the development and implementation of ASCD's Legislative Agenda as well as ASCD's efforts to influence education decision making at the local, state, and federal levels. He has 20 years of political experience as a congressional aide and on several political campaigns. Prior to joining ASCD, Griffith was the director of governmental and public affairs for the National Association of State Boards of Education, where he oversaw the organization's advocacy and political activities as well as media relations.

How are you and your professional colleagues critically examining your practice as we enter the era of Common Core implementation?

Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Fair and Effective Teacher Evaluation

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Teacher quality is the most important in-school factor that influences student learning and achievement. Research shows that students with high-performing teachers can progress three times as fast as students with low-performing teachers and each student deserves access to highly effective teachers in every subject. In turn, all teachers deserve a fair and accurate assessment of their skills, how they perform in the classroom, and how they can improve. Teacher effectiveness is dependent on accurate and fair evaluations based on multiple measures, including—but not solely based around—their students' performance in the subjects they teach.

Teachers should be evaluated based on their performance in their own subject area using a range of criteria, including observations, peer reviews, parental or student input, and analysis of agreed-on student learning evidence. In this episode, we discuss effective teacher evaluation that produces results that truly benefit students, schools, and educators. You'll hear from

If the ultimate goal of teacher evaluation is to improve student performance, what should evaluators look for?

Podcast Whole Child Podcast

Building a Better School Community: Using PLCs to Support Student Success

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Ensuring that all children are healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged is fundamental for students to become college-, career-, and citizenship-ready. Our policies and practices need to be realigned to support the whole child, and that means a change in how the adults work together. Professional learning communities (PLCs) have emerged as perhaps the best, most agreed-on means of continual improvement in instruction and student performance.

Whether it be in a single school or online, in study groups, action research teams, communities of practice, or conversation circles, educators working together with a shared focus on learning and accountability help all students learn at high levels.

In this episode of the Whole Child Podcast, we take a look at collaborative and collegial learning environments where staff members feel safe to express themselves, discuss, and take an active part in the school improvement process and the student success process. You'll hear from

  • C. Robert Maxfield, associate professor and teacher leadership coordinator in the Department of Educational Leadership at Oakland University in Michigan and cohost of the podcast series “Podcasts for Leaderful Schools,” a program that focuses on the importance of creating effective professional learning communities centered on student success. Maxfield's research interests include teacher leadership and reforming school organizational structures.
  • Steven Weber, who has been a classroom teacher, assistant principal, and state department of education consultant in Arkansas and North Carolina and is currently the director of Secondary Instruction for Orange County Schools in Hillsborough, N.C. He is a member of the Triangle High Five, a regional collaborative that offers professional development on the topic of PLCs. Weber also consults with school systems in aligning their curriculum and in unpacking curriculum standards.
  • Sunndip Panesar, a grades 6–12 online/distributed learning teacher in Vancouver, Canada. As a consultant for Generation: Outreach, Panesar helps teachers and education leaders overcome the challenges of PLCs and understand how they can be used to effectively affect student achievement, and she provides workshops on new teacher survival skills, classroom management, 21st century learning, effective assessment practices, integrating best teaching in the classroom and online, and more.

Who is in your professional learning community and how do you collaborate to improve student learning?

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