Adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) calls for an increase of rigor for all students and the California English Language Development Standards (CA ELD Standards) provide guidance to ensure English learners have entry points into meaningful and intellectually challenging curricula. San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) serves approximately 57,000 English learners who make up about 25% of the student population. We believe English learners have the capacity to meet the expectations of the CCSS through instructional practices that provide intentional and strategic scaffolding and strategies that equip English learners with the skills to engage and communicate meaningfully and authentically.
A few days after the November election, I had a meeting with Angie Estonina and Lisa Kwong, two talented educators who lead professional learning efforts on ELLs for San Francisco Unified School District.
With our webcams on, the mood was a bit somber — the election talk of deportations, walls, and targeted registries hung in the air as the rhetoric suddenly became more real. In fact, it felt a bit suffocating. In education, we all have days when we feel weighed down by how much needs to be done and by our professional and personal puzzles, but the unknowns of impending political shift pushed on us from the sides, making us feel the squeeze of change.
I even started wondering if an upcoming presentation I was about to do in Canada on ELLs with school districts from Ontario/Montclair, California, and Yakima, Washington, was even relevant. In retrospect, it was incredibly sad to even think this. But this was my state of mind. It was easy to go there when the personal and professional intersects — my nine-year-old son who is of half Mexican descent asked if he was going to be deported. This was not a question I had at nine years old.
Welcome to The New Year!
A time to celebrate, reflect, and set goals. As teachers, we naturally set goals for ourselves in January. Even though it’s a midpoint in the school year, for some reason January feels like a fresh start. But what about our students? Do they use January as a time to reflect, reboot, and set goals for themselves? While hopefully reflection and goal setting are a natural part of your class culture (and if not, check out our Growth Mindset Deep Dive for ideas), January is a great time to ask students to reflect and set some larger learning goals to work toward over the rest of the school year. Here are four ways you can help:
It started with one idea on how to help support our National Board Certified Teachers. Four years later, we have at least seven ways we’re building teacher leadership in our district with the support of Teaching Channel and Teams. Click below to hear all about how we’re redefining professional learning via video and helping make #anewkindofPD.
As a new teacher, I’ve struggled in my classroom this last year. I’ve had lessons that don’t go as planned, students that I can’t seem to reach, and days where no matter how much I prepare, it doesn’t seem to be enough. I had this idea that I needed to be the “perfect” teacher. But let’s face it, there is not enough time to always be perfect, and perfect is boring.
Teams Fest traveled back in time to the 1950s in Palm Springs last week to see just how far we have (or haven’t) come in education. The goal was for all Teams to have:
- A big vision and a draft plan for 2016-2017
- New/improved ways to structure learning on Teams
- A network to support and push your work (at home and with Tch)
- Ideas, beliefs, and skills for leading learning this summer #anewkindofpd
The two days were full of camaraderie, collegial conversations, deep engagement with Teams, and of course, fun!
When we set out last spring to design a “Choose Your Own Adventure” professional learning opportunity, we were confident we had created something meaningful and unique. We were less confident that we would have any takers. We did our due diligence, created a promotional video to inform the potential participants, created a construct for teachers to earn activity related points which would equal professional development hours, and established some dates for face-to-face workshops that would help enlighten our colleagues about Teaching Channel and the power of Tch Teams.
The third installment of our Teaching Channel Teams roundtable events, Making the Mental Space for Teams with Josh McLaughlin from Arlington Public Schools, looks at how modifying your initial idea for implementation yields a potentially more interesting result. You can read about Josh’s successes, challenges, and original plan in his blog post. Then watch the recording of what he’s now doing by including video as the method for teacher evaluation in his school.
The Yakima School District embarked on an adventure in August of the 2015-2016 school year. We began a cohort of teachers who wanted to learn how to use video to improve their instruction of English Language Learners. Like most adventures in education, this looked like a relatively straight road. We soon found out that it was filled with crazy bends, steep climbs, rapid descents, and radical hairpin turns.
Teaching Channel Teams recently held their second round table event last week. Andrea Thune presented Ontario-Montclair’s practices of how to use Teams with their Spotlight Teacher program. Spotlight Classrooms are an internal model of instructional support, where the team is willing to open their doors in order to be a resource for learning. The strategy embodies how Teams partners grow together and helps illuminate puzzles of practice. Watch the webinar below or read more about their program from Andrea’s previous blog.