#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 1.30.16

edcamp2015

Photo from EdCampCU
September 2015

http://edcampcu.weebly.com/
 

WHAT IS AN EDCAMPCU?

http://edcampcu.weebly.com/what-is-an-edcamp.html

 

WHO SHOULD COME TO EDCAMPCU?

EdCampCU is a place for teachers, pre-service teachers, administrators, community members, university students and faculty, high school and middle school students, as well as anyone else who is interested in talking and learning about education and ed innovation. EdCampCU is free professional development for you, by you.

 

WHERE IS EDCAMPCU

EdCampCU will be held at the University of Illinois
College of Education

1310 South Sixth St.
Champaign, IL 61821

 

Folks will start gathering at 8, the fun starts at 8:30. Coffee will be provided – courtesy of Mid-Illinois Computing Educators (MICE). There will be bagels and light pastries from Pekara as well.

I’ll see you there.

Posted in Community. Tags: . 1 Comment »

#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.

Board meeting at Central HS tonight, with a special presentation on the Consent Decree

The Champaign School Board is going to start shaking things up a little tonight when they conduct their “Special Session” at Central tonight. Keep your eyes open for more changes to special sessions in the near future. Among the items on the agenda (available on the district’s boarddocs website) are an obligatory public hearing on the budget and formal acceptance of said budget, a presentation from Molly Delaney of the CU Schools Foundation who will be covering the CUSF strategic plan and summarizing CUSF initiatives (good stuff!), and a Consent Decree presentation from Sally Scott, an attorney from Franczek Radlet who represented the district during the Consent Decree; the presentation will set historical context for how we still have equity issues to address especially in regards to where a potential new high school is built. There are many documents on boarddocs that are related to all these presentations.

Also keep your eyes on the board’s nascent blog, u4boardcorner.blogspot.com. In fact, the latest post (“The trouble with transparency“) starts to address issues of transparency, which is kind of a hot button topic because it is a buzzword used very loosely in all sorts of circles – what does it really mean? Just this past weekend, I was talking with parents at an un-conference (kudos to EdCampCU!) about the current board, and there are a wide variety of opinions about how many steps backwards we might be taking or whether they are truly trustworthy. This is purely my opinion, but I think the current board has been making a number of steps that align to the IASB’s “Foundational Principles” vision, and I believe this will pay huge dividends in the long run, especially in generating and building trust, transparency and establishing healthy communication habits, not to mention a strong, public and shared idea of what the board does.

Update: Nicole Lafond writes about the Consent Decree in this morning’s NG:

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2015-09-28/champaign-school-board-review-rules-building-locations.html

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).

Around the district

The Jan 26th special board meeting agenda has been posted, which reminded me to write a post about several items.

 

Stephanie Stuart has been sending out notices of some really excellent news this past week:

“Thirty-five Unit 4 students will be honored in the 2015 Martin Luther King, Jr. Creative Expressions Competition, including 12 winning entries and 23 honorable mention projects. Students will be honored at the Annual Celebration at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, January 24 from 10:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. This year, 182 of the 207 entries to the contest were submitted by Unit 4 students.”

Additionally, “nine Unit 4 high school seniors have received scholarships from the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Living the Dream” Scholarship Fund.” (Unit 4 news article)

Earlier today, Habeeb Habeeb dropped by Centennial to honor Aliyah Maldonado (Unit 4 news); I hear it was inspiration and emotional.

 

One of the items on the Jan 24th agenda is a presentation about Vision 20/20, which you can read more about on the IASB website; Dr. Wiegand serves on the Vision 20/20 Committee. There is also a short article in today’s NG about Tolono supporting Vision 20/20. I had an opportunity to chat with Unit 7 Superintendent Andrew Larson to better understand his purpose, and I was very encouraged to hear that others are getting sick and tired of the “same old same old politics” in Illinois, and want to take a stand against it, and stand for high-quality, truly accessible education for all children.

 

Nicole Lafond, Education writer for the News-Gazette, advertised the “first of many weekly school reports“. Among other things, we learn that Jefferson won a $5000 grant from Lowes to renovate the courtyard and improve the library, and mentions the “First Lego League Central State Tournament”, which sounds really cool to me. If you happen to attend, I would love to hear what you think.

 

Kenwood has been awarded $3500 to document the Kenwood brand of awesomeness; look for videos, tweets, demos and flyers that share not only what the Kenwood Stars are doing, but why they are doing it and what they are accomplishing. Along that line, CTRL-Shift will be at the first of two Schools of Choice Information Sessions showing support for Kenwood. I am sure the other schools will be showing off as well. 🙂 More info:

http://www.champaignschools.org/news-room/article/10381

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 6 p.m. at Stratton Elementary School.

The Info Session will provide families with an overview of the Schools of Choice process, showcase each of the District’s 12 elementary schools, and provide the opportunity to ask questions of Choice staff members.

 

The DLR architects will be meeting with the folks at Centennial next Monday (Jan 26th) to discuss the recent changes to the proposed referendum and how that affects the expansion plans. You can imagine that there will be a lot of heated discussion. 🙂

 

Lastly, I have to give a final shout-out for the #edCampCU happening tomorrow (Saturday, Jan 24rd), 8:00 to 2:00 at the College of Education (1310 South Sixth Street).

 

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