We all would agree that a school-wide system of values sets the foundation for a community of shared expectations for behavior of students and adults. Protocols are great conduits to reinforce school values and collaborative work, and protocols that are specifically designed to support students’ socio-emotional development and communication competences can contribute to accelerate learning school-wide. We would also agree that to create a stimulating classroom environment, school leaders and teachers need to get to know their students well and listen to their voices. These are the teachers who adopt culturally responsive practices that take into account the uniqueness of every student, support and empower them to meet personal and academic success.
In our continued effort to work together and support your schools, the PDRC has engaged with educational leaders and experts to offer interactive and practical professional opportunities in these important and relevant issues during this fall. We have grouped these professional learning opportunities following four overarching themes detailed below:
Cultivating Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education for All Students
Why is it so important for our teachers to create inclusive learning environments with culturally responsive classrooms? How do you create a culturally responsive affirming school environment? During this semester-long professional learning program, teachers (we encourage school cohorts) will work with ATAPE, a group of educators dedicated to “deliver empowering, culturally relevant and results-oriented learning programs” (from its website). Together, they will engage in active discussion and exploration of culturally responsive practices and prepare them for direct application to their classrooms.
ATAPE Group, LLC supports educators to believe in the unlimited potential of all children. Equity focused experiences are important for all children so that they a) see themselves and their lives reflected in the curriculum; b) engage in learning that will ensure that they are confident in their identity; c) participate in rigorous and relevant learning experiences that lead to academic success, and d) experience motivation to learn and create change in their community and our society. (Source ATAPE website)
Listening to Student Voice for a Stronger School Community
Listening to the voice of your students will help define the tone, expectations, and expression of the school and create a stronger community. The purpose of this series is to equip educators with intersectional skills that support students in classroom learning and overall school community.
We launch the theme on Tuesday, August 31st, with a session by Dr. Jamiylah Jones, a school leader and improvement specialist with experience in public, private, parochial, urban, international, and bilingual schools who is currently Head of School at The Wellspring Schools. Dr. Jones will share high-impact strategies that educators can use to welcome students back to school and strengthen student voice in ways that foster a healthy and successful school environment. The series will continue with Sara Steinweiss, Founder of Conflict Resolution Systems who has worked directly with many of the religious and independent schools of NYC. We are planning to wrap up the semester in December with a teacher panel facilitated by both presenters.
Differentiation: Addressing the Unique Needs of Every Student
Students are entering the classroom with specific needs unique to their developmental experience. This series are led by Maria Stamps, from the Cooke Institute whose expertise has already impacted the classroom of the many teachers who attended her Early Childhood PDRC sessions last year, and Dr. Donald Garner who brings to this series his leadership experience and knowledge of middle and high school students including his work with the Eagle Academy in NYC.
On Monday, August 30, Ms. Stamps will invite participants to re-imagine their classroom environment and guide them on how to set it up for success so that they can promote students’ sense of belonging, support their social and emotional support and thus feel invested in their learning when they return to school this fall.
In September and October, Dr. Garner will facilitate sessions with a focus on grades 5 to 12. He will address the pressing need to find solutions to make up for loss time as well as the impact of the Covid pandemic on student motivation. To that purpose, participants in these sessions will a) explore and practice how to engage students in writing their own end of year objectives to strengthen the self-confidence and agency they need to stay on a path towards school success; b) learn how to foster a culture of readiness that enhances student motivation about their overall higher education success; c) review theory and best practice of the stages of student development for motivation and college readiness.
Rapid Learning Gains with Proven Instructional & Assessment Practices
The webinars in this strand offer proven and innovative instructional and assessment practices that help create school-wide systems that help accelerate student learning, and strengthen the collaboration among teachers. The sessions will guide teachers in the implementation of literacy protocols including gaming-based writing, storytelling drama strategies and the Socratic seminar. We have also invited Chris Link from the New York Academy of Sciences to launch a session on Portfolio Assessment that we plan it will continue during the second semester.
We are launching the series with Chris Vicari, an Educational Technologist with Fordham University whose engaging webinars keep teachers returning for additional gaming-based strategies. His session on Thursday, August 26, “Excite your student to write again” offers teachers a venue for welcoming back their students by motivating them to share feelings and expectations using a writing protocol that borrows elements from games like D&D.
The series continues with Gia Bonavita, a member of SAG-AFTRA actors union, with 20 years of experience writing, producing and directing Musicals and Dramatic Productions and a partner with LEAP who will present together with Dr. Roser Salavert*, Director of the Fordham PDRC. The purpose of these webinars are to a) deepen participants’ knowledge about the power of instructional protocols; b) role play and practice these protocols so they feel inspired and ready to use them with their students; and c) leave the session ready to share them with colleagues so that the school can adopt them for school-wide implementation.
Making families part of the student academic life can be transformative if the support that educators offer students at school needs to continue at home to see real and continued progress. In December, Dr. Shana Eutsay* from the Fordham PDRC team will work with educators on how to engage families, by providing them with a set of strategies that working in collaboration with the teacher can enhance the self- confidence, perseverance and enthusiasm that students need towards achieving the goals and expectations they have set for themselves.
* See their professional bio in the Meet the Team column: https://www.nycpdrc.org/meettheteam.html
We invite you to join these upcoming learning opportunities.
Please click here to register for the August sessions:
For the September sessions, please register at: https://www.nycpdrc.org/currentevents.html