#1: Innovating Classroom Practice

GOAL: A superintendent was looking to kick start personalizing learning in his district.

STRATEGY: After brainstorming, we opted for working with a handful of teachers who were open to:

  • Creating, imagining and innovating
  • Taking responsible risks
  • Persisting in their design work with students

Once teachers were invited and on board, we created a vision for what they wanted to accomplish: to design learning experiences where students could be more self-directed and the opportunity to engage in more authentic work.

RESULT: I now support teachers via 1:1 virtual consultations to shape ideas for upcoming units and collaborate on evaluating impact on classroom practice (student achievement, engagement, and self-discovery).

I also leverage my professional learning network to connect them to other experts that can share their learning and provide authentic audiences for feedback.

If you want to take a sneak peek at some of the work we are doing, click here to see a sample.


#2: Making Sense of New Standards

When new or revised Standards come down the pike from the state-level, local districts are expected to make appropriate shifts in their curriculum. This often can be an arduous and time-consuming process with minimal impact at the classroom level.

GOAL: A local district wanted to reimagine K-12 science curriculum based on the state-adoption of Next Generation Science Standards. The existing science curriculum was inconsistent based on the topics covered, instructional approach, and access to resources.

STRATEGY: My typical approach is to work with a K-12 vertical team of teachers and instructional leaders where we all begin in Kindergarten to articulate key knowledge, skills and broader concepts that lays the initial foundation. We then move through the grade levels to see how the expectations become richer and more sophisticated over time.

RESULT: As we moved through the first three grade levels, the high school teachers were stunned at how sophisticated the concepts were for five-seven year olds and saw real through lines into their own courses. Primary school teachers were unaware of how the topics they were covering had a real life in more advanced grade levels. Over the course of four days, we drafted K-12 Long-term Goals, Understandings, and Essential Questions from our intense examination of the standards.

See snapshots of the work:

Excerpt from District 131 in Illinois based on Next Generation Science Standards
Science Overarching Transfer Goals, Understandings, and Essential Questions

Big Picture of Mathematics
Excerpt from Branford Public Schools, CT


#3: Developing Long Term Goals of Schooling

GOAL: A building and district leadership team in a school district wanted to articulate the vision of the graduate — long term goals students begin developing starting in Kindergarten.

STRATEGY: We first developed criteria to guide the work.

  • The descriptors are clear and accessible for an audience of students, parents, educators, and community (developmentally appropriate)
  • The goals are measurable (assessments are diverse and go well-beyond standardized testing)
  • Artifacts to demonstrate goals can come from both inside and outside of the classroom
  • Self assessment that leads to further work (e.g. goal setting, revision)
  • Ownership within the community — seek regular feedback from faculty, parents, students, Board of Education along the way
  • The set has to be manageable — can we have 4 – 6 that will allow us to focus and still give us what we need?

Over the course of a day, we designed an approach to receive initial aspirations (hopes and dreams for their children) for faculty and parents. We also created focus groups with students to elicit their ideas. We then examined feedback for a second full day and drafted the vision to go back out to staff.

RESULT: This is a work in progress but you can take a sneak peak.

Articulating the long term goals is a launch pad to reexamine what assessment and instructional practices look like K-12 and how to both identify powerful practices that are in line with the long term goals as well as develop new ideas (or rework ideas that have promise) to make the demonstration of learning more purposeful and powerful.

Drafted by Berlin Public Schools, CT

Effective communicators present information and ideas in a clear, precise, and thoughtful manner based on audience and purpose.

Mindful and responsive collaborators use flexible thinking and empathy to listen with the purpose of learning and understanding others’ perspectives while offering ideas to achieve a shared goal.

Curious and effective problem solvers investigate a question or aspiration by considering unknowns, root causes, and/or existing needs to develop a plan of action (design a solution/approach, implement and evaluate outcomes, and rework based on discovery/results).

Kind, compassionate contributors seek to be a positive influence – they listen, understand, and act with empathy, knowing that what they do affects others

Innovative, imaginative creators use flexible thinking and curiosity to develop and design a product or idea of value.

Metacognitive thinkers are aware and reflect on their thoughts, experiences, behaviors, and strengths in order to make effective decisions, solve meaningful problems, and influence positive change in their lives and the lives of others.