Tuesday, March 31, 2009

YouTube Becoming YouCan: Building School and District Culture through Multi-Media

Nathan Grey, Principal, and Jon Myers, Director of Curriculum and Professional Development, presented a very entertaining and motivating session on how they had used remakes of popular YouTube videos and commercials to engage, entertain and inform their teachers and students. This dynamic duo from Noble Public Schools, Oklahoma greats short videos to welcome teachers and students back to school, encourage them in learning opportunities and even go over the basic rituals and routines of the school and district. At Hubbard Elementary, Principal Nathan Grey, even broadcasts the daily news show live on the internet so that parents can be involved. Subscribe to their channel on YouTube and start figuring out how you can use multi-media to engage your audience. Check out this incredibly creative video they used to start the year last August:

PLC Really Means Powerful Lasting Change

My presentation focused on how Chets Creek Elementary has built and sustained a REAL Professional learning Community over the past ten years by moving from the “power of one” to the “synergy of many”. I discussed goal setting and ways to develop a culture that supports multi-leveled learning. I explored the roles and responsibilities of administrators, coaches and teachers in determining needs and next steps for schoolwide improvement. Ideas for data analysis, creating action plans, instructional training and support, monitoring implementation and providing prescriptive coaching and learning were shared. Participants learned how effective professional learning communities can lead to outstanding results for students.

Monday, March 30, 2009

FISH! For Schools - Welcome Back to the Reason You Became an Educator

Jay Larson, a salesman for ChartHouse Learning, the marketing company for the FISH! phenomenon reminded a standing room only audience about how the FISH! "practices" can inspire students and rejuvenite teachers. The practices that build the type of school culture that can mirror the success of the fishmongers at Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Washington are:

Be There - be present in the moment of anyone you come in contact with, pay attention and participate with them!

Play - have fun, create joy, and laugh!

Make Their Day - do the unexpected in an effort to provide someone else with happiness - it is not about you - its about them!

Choose Your Attitude - you control your approach to the day, pick kindness, try respect because the outcome almost always reflects your attitude in the first place!

This was a highy interactive and fun session that exemplified these principles - they actually travel all over teaching big companies and schools about the importance and success the FISH! practices can bring to any organization. The presenter even threw fish out to the audience - I was a lucky recipient for describing what Choose Your Attitude can do for you!

On a personal note: If you haven't read this book or embraced these practices in your life it's time. And if you've read the book but haven't been putting these into practice daily take time to revisit! My faculty will be participating in our annual "fish fry" next week to remind us about the need to include these practices into our daily work with each other and students.

Shaping the Future of Professional Development

Joseph Semadeni, Dr. Mark Taylor and Dr. Kelly Tolman from the Lincoln County School District #2 in Afton, WY presented a unique program they developed to engage teachers in professional development called FUSION. The three main components of the program allowed for additional time for completion of study, a motivation system that included a multi tiered menu of alternatives and pay, and most critically teacher leadership to run the program.

Time - A highly qualified substitute was hired to man classes so that teachers involved in study could make peer observations of master teachers.

Motivational System - Teachers were given choice about the professional development they would participate in based on interest or need. The menu of alternatives included several activities under topic columns including strategies, management, technology, assessment, approaches, programs and content. Based on their level of complexity the amount of pay a teacher could gain increases once the teacher has completed a mastery process.

Teacher Leadership - A teacher who has fulltime teaching responsibility is given a stipend to manage the program. They retain the position for 2-3 years and schedule the peer observations, facilitate study groups and keep track of the fundung used.

One of the unique things about this particular presentation is that they had a "plant" in the audience masquerading as a "tired, grouchy" teacher who interjected repeatedly throughout the presentation with questions and comments. By the end even "she" was sold on FUSION as a way to encourage teachers to engage in professional learning! :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Opening Keynote: Implications of Globalization for Education

Dr. Yong Zhao, Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University, delivered the opening keynote for the AdvancEd Conference. He began his talk by asking the question: What knowledge is of the most worth? The answer to this question is not so easy and evolves as the world around us changes. The main driver of these changes is what else - Technology! Technology redefines the talents we and our students need to possess. It divides people into those who can and those who can't and for the survival of education our curriculum must change in response to its constant evolution. The last major change to the American curriculum was the Industrial Revolution when what we taught shifted from a largely language based system (think Latin, Greek etc) to include Science and Math. For the last 150 years schools have served their local community's interests but as the world experiences "death to distance" schools must begin to address the demands of the global community. Check out some very interesting maps that demonstate the ways globalization have effected wealth, population and the global supply chain at http://www.worldmapper.org/.

He also shared some of the hope that can be found in globalization. Just as Ebay turns one mans trash to another's treasure so does the need for local type talents in foreign lands. For example knowing how to speak English in China is highly valued. To survive in the world these days you need a whole different set of qualities - like those described in Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind. The ability to go global creates all kinds of opportunity - it is up to us to help our students see the possibilities. The future will not be about mass production anymore - it is about finding your individual niche. To do that students must be taught global and digital competencies and learning must be personalized.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Chicago: Here I Come!

Duval County Public Schools recently underwent the district accreditation process by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Counsel on Accreditation and School Improvment (SACS CASI). It was an excellent process for reflection of our successes and in planning the next steps to prepare students for the global workplace. During the visit I was invited by the committee chair, Dr. Nikki Armato, to present the incredible work we do at Chets Creek of creating and sustaining professional learning communties for all stakeholders at their 2009 AdvancEd Annual Conference. The conference is being held in Chicago and I really look forward to hearing from other educators about the extraordinary things being done to create environments of change and improvement for students. I will be blogging the conference on Live From the Creek. Be sure to check in on my adventures (I think they are calling for snow one day) and to find out about the new strategies shared that will "Shape the Future of Learning".

Cross posted from dreamleader.blogspot.com