#EdCampCU at The Pyg – September 16-17

EdCampCU Sept 17 FINAL

 

EdCampCU is excited to announce a screening of the award-winning film, Most Likely to Succeed, to take place in conjunction with the Pygmalion Music Festival.  The screening will occur at the Art Theater at 5:30 PM on Friday, 9/16 to be followed by discussion.  Our goal is to use this screening as a way to bring people from all parts of our community together to engage in honest and productive discussions about the current and future direction of education and how it can best meet the needs of all students.”

Join us and weigh in with your opinions; Friday’s discussion will spill over to the main EdCampCU event on Saturday. And don’t forget to enjoy the rest of the Pygmalion festival.

 

http://edcampcu.weebly.com

Register for the Friday screening of MLTS

Register for the Saturday EdCampCU un-conference

#EdCampCU, PBF, and the Achievement Framework

I have been wanting to post about several things, so instead of shoving them into the background again and again, I thought to wrap them up in a 3-for-1 deal.

edcampcu-9-26-15EdCampCU 9.26.15

On the last Saturday in September (back when it still felt like summer), a number of Unit 4 staff, area teachers, parents and community members gathered at Kenwood for the second EdCampCU. For those not familiar with an “edCamp”, it is labeled as an “unconference”, where participants bring the topics that are near and dear to their hearts, in the form of a question. It is specifically meant to be a group dialog, not a lecture/monologue at all; and the interaction is where cool things happen. It is an excellent way of exploring topics in a non-threatening manner. A certain board member attended as well, and wondered about the possibility of the entire school board being involved in a future EdCamp; the next EdCampCU will be in early February, so keep your eyes and ears open.

I love the conversations and the exchanges we shared. For next time, I personally would find it extremely helpful if we tried a few things:

  • Have a note-taker at each session that updates a public document (google doc, etherpad, etc) so everyone can read about other sessions during or afterwards
  • Have homework. What do we do when we leave the building? Or like Lekevie Johnson (recently in the News-Gazette) asks, “what can I do to help?”
  • Have a longer or more intense large-group discussion about the main topics covered in smaller sessions; common themes, action items, reflection, etc.

Positive Behavior Facilitation (PBF)

pbf_bookA couple weeks ago I had the privilege to sit down with Mr. Orlando Thomas and Ms. Katie Ahsell to discuss discipline in Unit 4. As we were discussing numbers, Mr. Thomas started to share with me about PBF. PBF is not new to the district at all – we have been holding PBIS and PBF sessions for quite some time. However, with ACTIONS coming online within the past couple years, the district has started to train staff who specialize in PBF and are resources not only at the location housed with the Family Information Center, but also who go out to all the schools to observe, consult and proactively intervene.

I am a big fan of PBF and have written about it before. During my visit to ACTIONS, I was very much impressed by the focus on restorative justice and the way staff gave both respect and guidance to students of all ages.

But I also understand it isn’t a silver bullet – it is not the Holy Grail that will solve all our problems. At the September 28th Board Meeting (held at Centennial), Mr. Terry Townsend spoke about the Letter of Complaint he filed with the Office of Civil Rights. I also had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Townsend in early October to gain a very different perspective. I was encouraged that Mr. Townsend wants to work on these issues together; moreover, I think we all agree that the only way we can address issues of race, class, equity and discipline is by doing so together.

 

Achievement Frameworkachievement_framework

Back in April I took advantage of an opportunity to chat with Angela Smith about Unit 4’s Achievement Framework. There is a lot going on to help our students succeed, and I was quite impressed.

If you click on the image to the right, it will take you to a Word document prepared by Ms. Smith that explains the 10,000 ft view of the Achievement Framework. In her own words, “[t]his picture shows the relationship between our non-negotiable goals that will help all students achieve.  It refers to what we teach, how we teach, how we monitor, and how we grade.”

I asked a number of follow-up questions and Ms. Smith provided some excellent responses. For instance, I asked about differentiation, and I learned that in the middle school level, there are a number of built-in opportunities to accommodate different learning paces; FLEX time (a 40 minute block with variable content), ENCORE remediation supports and summer school slots that are prioritized for those who need it the most.

Ms. Smith also told me about “power standards”, essentially over-arching curricular themes that build in intensity over the course of several semesters (as opposed to being wrapped up in a single class). Taken in the context of the Achievement Framework, teachers can better track progress towards mastery and assess growth along the way. Student growth is important because not everyone comes in with the same skill set or the same educational background, so it is not helpful to compare students to each other, but rather the Framework allows students to be compared against themselves.

Ms. Smith also made a point to explain how teachers can make their practice “authentic” (her word) by “explaining, modeling, demonstrating, group-work, independent work” and allowing students to respond in their own way.

One of my concerns is that this is just a framework. A really good one, to be sure, but still only a skeleton. I wonder, how does it work when applied? What do teachers think of it? What do student think?

The other concern I have is how exactly children are assessed. If done organically and within the flow of teaching and learning, that’s cool. If the intent is to depend upon standardized tests, that does not sit well with me. Especially when a test result takes 6 months to come back! That is just insane.

Upcoming opportunities

From Katrina Kennett:

1. EdCampCU will be on Saturday, September 26 – location TBA but most likely in Champaign. 8-2 again, and we’re going to ask the Cracked truck to be there. Like before, our sessions will be titled with questions that bring us together. See our previous schedule for some inspiration.
2. The Educational Theory Summer Institute is hosting an on-campus free to the public conference on Wednesday, August 19. I’ve attached the papers and the schedule below. The organizers asked me to put together a ‘roundtable’ that intentionally invites practitioners and presenters to consider why this topic matters for classrooms today. So, after the coffee break, we will all choose different tables and play with reading/writing technologies (things like GingkoApp and Twine) and talk about what they could mean for practitioners and theorists. It’s less of a ‘roundtable’ and more of a ‘structured EdCafe’ and, I hope, centers the questions we all bring to the technologies we use.
I hear the EdCampCU will probably be at Kenwood. I plan to attend on September 26th and am excited about it. Also, another EdCampCU is being planned, for early February I believe.
Dedication of BTW library this Friday (August 7th)

A dedication ceremony will be held on August 7 at 4 p.m. to name the school library at Booker T. Washington STEM Academy after Ms. Dorothy Vickers-Shelley, a long-time educator and advocate. The public is welcome to attend the ceremony at the school’s library.

UPDATE: Totally forgot to mention the CU4 TechCon this Saturday:

Bottenfield 
Elementary School
1801 South Prospect Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820

August 8, 2015 8:30 am- 3:00pm 

Plan to attend the CU4Tech Conference on August 8th 2015, where we will showcase  current movements in Educational Technology.   From interactive technologies to 1:1 computing, there are sessions for all interest groups.  Participants will be engaged with a variety of 21st Century tools and activities to use in the classroom.  You won’t want to miss this!

Back-To-School Flapjack Fundraiser at Applebees (north Prospect) on August 15:

Get a short stack for a TALL CAUSE! Join CU Schools Foundation as we celebrate the new school year with a pancake breakfast. Servers include district superintendents Judy Wiegand and Don Owen, as well as three principals, five school board members, and two city council representatives! Tickets are only $5 and include pancakes, bacon and a beverage.

For tickets, contact Molly Delaney (217.398.2873 or delaney1@cuschoolsfoundation.org).

You are going to be @EdCampCU

edcampcu-94Yes, you are going to EdCampCU! Why? Because you care about public education and you want to play a role in making sure it gets done right. Don’t have kids in school? You still pay taxes, and more importantly, how we educate the kids is going to determine what our future society will look like.

 

“So cliché” you say. You still don’t care? Fine, I am going to pull out my Ace O’ Spades – because you have never been to an EdCamp before and this is going to blow your socks off!

January 24, 2015
Saturday 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
College of Education, University of Illinois
1310 South 6th Street
Champaign, Illinois 61820
Map

 

More info:

 

Bonus: get Todd Lash to explain  @nathan_stevens @taylorswift13 @neiltyson

#edcamp and #EdCampCU: Jan 24, maybe 8:00 am to 2:00 pm (@EdCampCU)

edcampcu-1-24-15

What: Built on principles of connected and participatory learning, Edcamp strives to bring teachers together to talk about the things that matter most to them… (watch the video)

Who: anyone. As long as you know the secret knock….

Where: University of Illinois, College of Education
1310 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820

When: Saturday, January 24th, approximately 8am to 2pm

 

Weebly page: http://edcampcu.weebly.com/