KDSL Global interviews Allison Rodman of the Learning Loop

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Allison Rodman of The Learning Loop. Allison challenges schools and districts to examine all aspects of their learning organization and focus on the connections among culture, collaboration, and communication as levers for growth.

 

What is the importance of personalizing the learning process for educators?

We look to teachers to know their students, build strong relationships with them, and personalize learning to meet their interests, readiness, and learning preferences, yet these considerations are often neglected when designing and facilitating professional learning for educators (at all levels). This is not unique to education and is a universal challenge within adult education. However, it is perhaps most concerning in the education space where we do not model the learning principles we expect teachers and leaders to implement themselves.

Additionally, we fail to recognize that adults learn in different ways than students. There is 50 years of andragogical research providing insight in this space, but we continue to ignore critical factors such as job-embedded practice, social construction, and relevance when designing professional learning experiences. We spend millions of dollars as schools, districts, and businesses to build human capital, but the engagements, for the most part, are designed and facilitated poorly.

 

 

How do your personalized professional learning services focus on improving culture?

I partner with schools, district, nonprofit organizations, and businesses to move beyond planning professional learning sessions as “events,” but instead, sustained “experiences” for intentional and targeted collaboration and growth. We look to create true learning organizations rather than simply one-time, sit-and-get workshops. Together, we examine a multitude of data points, including student achievement and growth data, observation and evaluation data, and staff needs assessments (as well as other metrics specific to each partner). We explore a continuum of learner agency and look for opportunities to elevate learner voice, co-creation, social construction, and self-discovery. In this way, learning experiences become not only purposeful and personalized, but also begin to shift the paradigm of learning within the organization as a whole in organic and authentic ways.

 

 

Tell us about your book “Personalized Professional Learning: A Job-Embedded Pathway for Elevating Teacher Voice.”

The book provides district and school administrators with a roadmap for transforming existing professional development programs into more effective and innovative learning experiences that elevate onsite expertise while still aligning with school and district priorities. It is a step-by-step guide for diagnosing, planning, executing, evaluating, and refining teachers’ professional learning. Supported by research and informed by the experiences of educators across the United States, the book distills best practices for adult learning into clear advice and ready-to-use tools.

 

For more information please visit http://www.thelearningloop.com.

 

Allison Rodman Picture

Allison Rodman is an educational consultant who provides professional learning services to districts, schools, and educational nonprofit organizations.

Allison is deeply committed to connecting educators together and sharing resources to personalize the learning process for all (both students and the educators who support them – at every level of the system).

The goal of her work is to support the whole child and whole educator to view learning as an ongoing experience and not an endpoint. This process includes learner voice, co-creation, social construction, and self-discovery.

 

 

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Powered by Teach to Lead Summit

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On Friday, October 4, and Saturday, October 5, MENA region teachers and teams will convene in Dubai at Dunecrest American School as part of an initiative of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Connected Community in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) called the Powered by Teach to Lead Summit.   During a summit, teams of educators convene to think deeply about a problem of practice – an idea for how to improve learning in their school or country context – and to work as a team to plan solutions. Organized by KDSL Global, a UAE-based education company, the Powered by Teach to Lead Summit seeks to allow participating teams to:

  • Share ideas and best practices and learn from examples of existing teacher leadership efforts;
  • Identify common challenges and create concrete, actionable teacher leadership plans to address them locally;
  • Network and build relationships with other educators and leaders in their region; and
  • Identify promising ideas for follow-up support through future engagement events.

Dubai based Summit Mentor Dima Yousef said, “Teach to Lead provides teacher-led teams with time, skills and support to put their ideas into action. The summit is an opportunity to step outside the box of a problem or situation and explore solutions with the feedback of other educators and leaders. As a mentor, I can’t wait to explore my own learning and development as I help pave the way for others to recognize the potential of their ideas to improve student learning and achievement.”

To apply to attend and for more information visit http://www.gccascd.com/teachtolead.

 

ABOUT KDSL Global

KDSL Global is a UAE-based leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally.

 

ABOUT GCC ASCD Connected Community

Our goal as the GCC ASCD Connected Community is to unite educators throughout the region, inspiring all of us to learn globally and teach locally.

 

PRESS CONTACT

Ashley Green, KDSL Global, gccascd@gmail.com,  +971 525427009

 

KDSL Global interviews Travis Bouldin of We Are All Incorporated

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Travis Bouldin, Founder and President of We Are All Incorporated.  With a focus on discovering, learning, and changing, Boulden provides global experiences to youth.

 

Tell us about We Are All Incorporated

We Are All Incorporated has a simple mission of providing new or nontraditional experiences to teens from communities with limited resources. We Are All Incorporated does not prohibit access based on lines of differences, especially race and socioeconomic status. As such, activities can range from a local fishing and hiking expedition to a day trip for skiing and snowboarding. Other times include catching a flight abroad for cultural immersion and enrichment. Young community members develop new understandings of themselves, the world around them, and ideas for enhancing diverse relationships through respect, appreciation, and mutual concern. Teens carry these understandings with them into adulthood as they enter higher education institutions or start new careers as participants in our national and global community.

 

 What inspired you to found We Are All Incorporated?

I didn’t have the opportunity to engage in international travel during my childhood. I didn’t leave the country for the first time until I was 26. Over the last decade, I’ve visited 32 countries. I find value in every part of the experience, including the skills needed to navigate basic directions when in a new country, touring historical sites, immersing in new cultures, and finding ways to share stories about cultural commonalities, common interests, and common concerns.

I grew up with a river and wooded area just beyond my backyard. I spent most of my days fishing, boating, exploring, and biking, which started a love for outdoors activities. As an adult, I include these activities regularly in my life. I find value in them and I wish to share that with others who rarely have an opportunity to get out of the city.

I originally partnered with other organizations that specialized in global travel for low-income and/or teens that had limited opportunities based on where they lived. However, I found that while these organizations had an honorable mission, the opportunities were not equally accessed by everyone. So, I started We Are All Inc. to reach the people that needed more motivation than a flyer or announcement.

 

 What upcoming expeditions and experiences do you offer?

I attempt to include teens in selecting and planning the activities that we choose. We will meet in August to calendar monthly trips and our international experience for the 2019-2020 calendar year. Activities will begin in September 2019!

 

For more information please visit https://freshglobes.weebly.com

 

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Travis Bouldin is the founder and president of We Are All Incorporated. For 15 years, Travis has worked in education as a teacher, teacher leader, instructional coach, principal, and district leader. Travis values education as a “great equalizer” and believes that every child has the right to excellent teachers and great learning spaces. He has a fundamental belief that every child can be successful if provided with the right opportunities from the right people.

Having small-town roots, Travis enjoys fishing, boating, hiking, biking, and anything that allows him to be in nature, which he has passed on to his son. His love of travel and different cultures has taken him to 32 countries. Travis is a fan of American Realism and self-publishes short stories inspired by the genre. He is currently working on a plan to open a small farm to share a love of animals and agriculture with people in urban communities.

Travis holds a certificate in Global Education, M.A.T. in Teaching Secondary Social Studies, M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership, and is currently a candidate for an M.A. in American History.

 

KDSL Global Team article featured in Teach Middle East Magazine

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The KDSL Global Team wrote an article focused on personalized professional learning that was featured in the Back to School issue of Teach Middle East Magazine. To view the entire issue visit https://view.joomag.com/teach-middle-east-magazine-sep-dec-2019-issue-1-volume-7/0440805001567443261?short.

“Professional learning will become more personalized with educators creating opportunities that they need through networking, collaboration, and relying more on colleagues rather than external experts.” – Deb Delisle, President and CEO of Alliance for Excellent Education

 

What is the future of professional learning? In a blog post published last year, we posed this question to three leaders. What emerged was the need to be personal, flexible, and open to new ways of delivery.  What are some ways we can personalize professional learning for educators and leaders in the MENA region?  In this article we will share some models and resources to consider and explore as you launch into the new academic year.

Every August the school year for teachers starts out the same way with an intensive “welcome week” of professional learning that consists of a speaker, PowerPoint, and a full staff listening idly for several hours. With the increase demand on schools to push student performance to meet international expectations, this may rarely leave time for follow-up throughout the school year. So how do schools keep up with teaching, curriculum pacing, and meet the development needs of a diverse staff? Ever consider Flipped PL? Similar to Flipped Class, this method will allow schools to differentiate, customize and innovate professional development with easy follow-up.

Flipped PL can be designed very simply using pre-developed tools from Teaching Channel, TeacherTube, Khan Academy or other resources. These websites offer videos on several topics that cover teaching strategies, subject specific content, and other material, with most offering video transcripts, discussion topics, and/or comprehension questions. Using a school-wide platform such as Edmodo or Google Classroom, videos can be posted with comprehension questions or an online quiz to check understanding. Discussion can take place online or in department meetings with skill specific observation to follow. If transcripts are available, they can be translated to ensure all staff are able to participate in PL.

For the more advanced and adventurous in developing PL, videos can be designed using iMovie (for Mac users), Movie Maker (PC users), Adobe Premier Elements, or Lectora. Videos can be made from pre-recorded teacher lessons showing best practices or imbedded from Teaching Channel and other resources. Comprehension questions or a quiz should also be included to check understanding with discussion taking place online or during meetings.

The platform used to implement Flipped PL should be one that has a management option which can be monitored by school leaders. Edmodo and Google Classroom work well as they both allow groups to be created to differentiate PL topics and departments, in addition to allow members to interact with each other through chat and let group admin create quizzes and monitor activity.

Using Flipped PL will create 21st Century professional learning that is easy to create, track, and improve teaching and learning in schools.

 

While personalized learning has increased for students, the same should be for educators when it comes to professional learning.  One pathway is micro-credentials. This digital certification allows for voice and choice based on interest of the learner who work towards demonstrating competence in a specific skill. Micro-credentials offer a way for schools to both recognize the existing skills of teachers and administrators. In this digital form of certification, educators and leaders learn by doing. They can be earned as a digital badge or bundled into courses that may be eligible for your licensure renewal.  A micro-credential is a badge that represents the skills that the teacher or administrator has been proven to possess.

So how do micro-credentials work? Educators review requirements and select the micro-credential they would like to earn. This is usually based on needs and interests. Next, educators engage in their learning and put it into practice. While learning the educator may ask questions, access available resources, and receive feedback and coaching. Evidence of their competence will be gathered and submitted to a trained assessor. The assessor will evaluate the evidence shared from the educator. Samples of evidence could be a classroom observation, student work, lesson plan, audio or video from the classroom, or reflections from student or teachers.  Once the micro-credential is earned a digital badge will be awarded. Find out about three organizations focused on providing micro-credentials to educators.

Digital Promise has built an ecosystem of micro-credentials in partnership with issuers, earners, and recognizers to personalize learning for educators.

https://digitalpromise.org/initiative/educator-micro-credentials/

 

Bloomboard is the leading platform for enabling educator advancement via micro-credentials, a form of micro-certification.

https://bloomboard.com/what-are-microcredentials/

 

MISIC has developed micro-credentials in collaboration with member schools to facilitate the learning and implementation of effective instructional practices, building the understanding and teaching of standards, and designing instruction that includes 21st Century skills.

http://misiciowa.org
Whether you’re looking to grow as an institution or individual, online resources are guaranteed to meet your needs. With a plethora of materials to choose from, below are examples who provide high quality learning experiences to support in meeting your goals.

 

Edraak: Edraak, is a massive open online course (MOOC) platform, that is an initiative of the Queen Rania Foundation (QRF). QRF is determined to ensure that the Arab world is at the forefront of educational innovation. As such, QRF has capitalized on regional Arab talent to leverage technology developed by the Harvard-MIT consortium, edX, to create the first non-profit Arabic MOOC platform. https://www.edraak.org/en/

 

ASCD Webinars: ASCD a global non-profit that supports the advancement of educational leaders has a plethora of free online archived webinars for members and non-members to access. The registration for the webinar can be completed within 5 minutes and then access to the archived webinar along with handouts is made accessible. Once the webinar is over, a professional certificate is offered. The webinars range from topics on curriculum, wellness to teacher retention. ASCD prides themselves on having free professional learning, online and all the time, so these webinars are ideal for personal development, professional learning communities, and even staff meetings. http://www.ascd.org/professional-development/webinar

 

The Teacher’s Guild: The Teacher’s Guild is an initiative of IDEO, a global design and innovation company and offers online innovative collaborations that allow educators to practice design thinking methods. The overall objective is to activate and ignite expertise in pedagogy by finding ways to generate new ideas through a 14-week online challenge. The Teacher’s Guild is truly innovative and gives educators an opportunity to embark upon new challenges, while empathizing, building, testing, refining and sharing ideas. At the end of the 14-week challenge, all of the information is stored and can be accessed online. Some of the latest projects highlight storytelling through podcasts, hyperdocs as a tool to communicate with parents, and parent-share conferences. www.teachersguild.org

Author Allison Rodman of Personalized Professional Learning: A Job-Embedded Pathway for Elevating Teacher Voice, says that “as educational leaders, we need to be both mapmakers and travels in professional learning. Set the course but also walk side-by-side as a partner.” As you launch into the new year, we hope you keep this in mind as reflect on and collectively craft the professional learning plan for your community. If you are on Twitter, then follow and share your journey at #personalizedPL and join in the conversation at #PPL1Cchat.

 

 

Rashenah Walker, Manager of Learning at KDSL Global

Ashley S. Green, Senior Associate at KDSL Global

Kevin Simpson, Managing Director at KDSL Global

 

 

Welcome back MENA educators!

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27 August 2019

 

Dear MENA educators,

We are excited to welcome each of you back to your respective school. In addition to supporting schools based on request, here is a sample of what you can expect from us during 2020-2020:

Powered by Teach to Lead Summit
An initiative of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Connected Community in the GCC, the Powered by Teach to Lead Summit seeks to allow participating teachers, principals, department heads, and supporting organizations to help spotlight and advance the groundbreaking, teacher-led work that is happening in schools across the region. During a summit, teams of educators convene to think deeply about a problem of practice – an idea for how to improve learning in their school or country context – and to work as a team to plan solutions. Visit www.gccascd.com/teachtolead

Empatico
KDSL Global is a Connector for Empatico. They believe that when students have the opportunity to meaningfully interact with one another, it can promote a lifetime of curiosity and kindness. They offer a free tool to connect classrooms around the world through live video technology and standards-aligned, research-based activities. Visit https://empatico.org/?utm_source=simpson

Micro-credentials Paper
Micro-credentials provide educators with competency-based recognition for the skills they learn throughout their careers.In this paper, we will explore what are micro-credentials, how are micro-credentials being implemented in the USA and what is the potential for the MENA region, and what resources exist to best support educators interested in micro-credentials?

 

McREL Curiosity Works Institute – Kuwait  14-15 November 2019
McREL’s Curiosity Works resources provide the tools and methods to support curiosity among teachers, leaders, and learners at every level of learning. At this institute you will learn about what makes a Curiosity Works approach to school improvement and innovation different from other approaches, and why it’s worth considering for your school(s). For more information visit https://kdslglobal.wordpress.com/2019/08/08/curiosity-works-for-school-improvement-and-innovation-two-day-institute-in-kuwait/

 

MENALearns Portal:
MENALearns will be an online learning platform for American curriculum educators. MLP will offer tools and resources connected to curriculum, instruction, assessment, professional learning, and more. This will be free during September-October 2019. Visit http://menalearns.xblended.com

To a great year!

 

The KDSL Global Team

KDSL Global and the GCC ASCD Connected Community Convene the Powered by Teach to Lead Summit

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On Friday, October 4, and Saturday, October 5, MENA region teachers and teams will convene in Dubai as part ofan initiative of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Connected Community in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) called the Powered by Teach to Lead Summit.   During a summit, teams of educators convene to think deeply about a problem of practice – an idea for how to improve learning in their school or country context – and to work as a team to plan solutions. Organized by KDSL Global, a UAE-based education company, the Powered by Teach to Lead Summit seeks to allow participating teams to:

  • Share ideas and best practices and learn from examples of existing teacher leadership efforts;
  • Identify common challenges and create concrete, actionable teacher leadership plans to address them locally;
  • Network and build relationships with other educators and leaders in their region; and
  • Identify promising ideas for follow-up support through future engagement events.

Dubai based Teacher Leader Evo Hannan said, “When you live a life beyond your limits, you have experiences beyond your imagination.”   Hannan will be the featured speaker on the first day of the summit andis currently the Spark Tank Coordinator at Dwight School Dubai. He continues to develop new ideas and leads a collective of innovative educators called ‘Innovation X’. He is also the founder of ‘Teacher Society’, a global education community that promotes teacher well-being and professional development, and the creator of the #INN4SDGs initiative.

 

Educators, school leaders, and teams from the MENA region are encouraged to apply early to attend.  More information can be found at http://www.gccascd.com/teachtolead.

 

 

ABOUT KDSL Global

KDSL Global is a UAE-based leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally.

 

ABOUT GCC ASCD Connected Community

Our goal as the GCC Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Connected Community is to unite educators throughout the region, inspiring all of us to learn globally and teach locally.

 

 

PRESS CONTACT

Ashley Green, KDSL Global, gccascd@gmail.com,  +971 525427009

 

KDSL Global interviews Valda Valbrun

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Valda Valbrun, CEO of The Valbrun Consulting Group. This group was started by a teacher and is committed to leadership and equity is shaped by their own experiences as students, teachers, and leaders. Their goal is to build the capacity of leaders to address inequities and create organizational cultures that honor diversity.

What services does The Valbrun Consulting Group offer? 

We offer strategic planning and technical support to K-12 school districts. We help districts develop their strategic plans as well as help them to manage and execute the strategies. As a former school principal and district leader myself, I recognize that schools and districts sometimes benefit from a fresh set of eyes to help them audit existing initiatives and review data to determine the return of investments. We also help build the capacity of teachers and leaders to lead efforts for school improvement and we are especially committed to ensuring that they do so in a way that honors diversity and commits to creating equitable environments in schools.

 

 

Tell us about your leadership development training.

We provide professional development and coaching that equips leaders with skills, tools and the ability to advance improvement efforts. We work with aspiring and new leaders to support them as they advance towards the principal role, and work to support experienced school leaders, principal supervisors and district personnel as they demonstrate commitment to personal and professional growth, including in their development of cultural proficiency and the management of diverse teams.

 

We work to determine client’s specific needs and use a co-design model to develop the appropriate supports. We believe that developing leaders is part of a journey and that leadership can often feel like a lonely job, so we strive to support leaders by being a thought partner, and helping them to advance the mission and vision of the organization.

 

 

What are some strategies to improve workplace culture and teamwork?

I think workplace culture is essential to having high performing teams! If nothing else, I see that as the most important part of any leader’s job – to create and model the type of culture where employees feel valued and respected and as if they are a part of something, that without them, couldn’t be. That requires a real commitment to people and a willingness to lead with both your head and your heart. It requires strong emotional intellect and the ability to make genuine connections with others. As they say, people don’t leave jobs, they leave bosses- so it’s important to set the tone from the top, that demonstrates a solid culture of respect and team-building.

 

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Ms. Valda Valbrun is an established Educational Leader known for passion toward inclusive, research-based, data-driven pedagogy, a system change facilitator with a proven track record of supporting schools and districts to change educational practices and establish systems, and a dynamic Professional Developer, Teacher, Administrator, Entrepreneur, Advocate and Student Champion. She has worked with national school districts on Leadership Development and Executive Coaching and provides coaching and training to aspiring, newly appointed and experienced principals and has worked as a school turn-around partner.

She started her career over 25 years ago as a teacher in the Broward County (FL) schools before becoming a Professional Developer and secondary school administrator in Montgomery County (MD). She has a strong background in school administration, having served as a middle school principal. She is committed to professional development and closing achievement gaps and never waivers in her commitment to instructional and leadership improvement, both on the macro-level of a school system and on the micro-level of an individual classroom teacher and leader. She has taken these experiences and founded The Valbrun Consulting Group where she serves as the CEO.

Ms. Valbrun works directly with school and district leaders to advance improvement initiatives and understands that leaders must be lifelong learners and that better solutions come from groups with diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Her experience includes work in rural, suburban, and large, urban districts and she currently provides leadership training, coaching and consulting across the country in addition to providing training specifically to build Culturally Proficient Leaders.

Ms. Valbrun received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Journalism from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a Master of Science degree in Education from Nova Southeastern University. She also completed post-graduate certification in School Administration and Leadership at Johns Hopkins University. She is a trained executive coach and Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI)© Qualified Administrator. In addition to her school and district level leadership roles, Ms. Valbrun has also served as the Director of Professional Learning at ASCD and as the Executive Director of Organizational Development for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, where she currently resides.

KDSL Global interviews Kelsey Todd

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Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Kelsey Todd, Partnership Associate at Empatico. This free tool was founded to cultivate an empathetic future generation with a greater understanding of others regardless of their location. They were incubated by The Kind Foundation, a separate charitable entity established by KIND Healthy Snacks. Empatico empowers teachers and students to explore the world through experiences that spark curiosity, kindness, and empathy.

Tell us about the opportunity Empatico offers for children. 

 At Empatico, we believe that when students have the opportunity to meaningfully interact with one another, it can promote a lifetime of curiosity and kindness. That is why we offer a free tool to connect classrooms around the world through live video technology and standards-aligned, research-based activities. Empatico is available for English- and Spanish-speaking classrooms with students ages 6-11 years old. Since launching less than two years ago, Empatico has already brought together nearly 29,000 students globally and we are just getting started! Our vision is to give millions of students the opportunity to connect and explore their similarities and differences while fostering empathy.

 

What are the Empatico activities and how are they used?

Empatico activities help students practice social skills, such as respectful communication, perspective taking, cooperation, and critical thinking, as they experience positive connections with peers around the world. All of our activities are standards- and research-based and fit easily into existing curriculums. Our activity plans can be followed step-by-step or tailored to a classroom’s needs. Empatico offers ten total activities:

  1. Get To Know You – good for first exchanges
  2. Ways We Play
  3. Community Cartographers
  4. Helping Hands
  5. Weather out the Window
  6. Everyday Energy
  7. Our Local Landmarks
  8. Festivals Around the World
  9. Folktales to Learn From
  10. School Tour

 

How do Empatico activities strengthen social and emotional learning?

Empatico activities incorporate insights from child development research to create meaningful experiences and positive perceptions among children around the world. All our activities incorporate four Empatico skills that strengthen social and emotional learning (SEL). These skills are respectful communication, critical thinking, perspective taking, and cooperation. We offer teacher resources to help develop and encourage these skills, including a guide for navigating student differences during an exchange. Additionally, we provide guided questions for student conversations that encourage students to share personal stories during interactions as a way to increase trust and empathy between classes. Plus, students are taught our “me too” hand signal to emphasize their similarities and build stronger relationships. You can learn more by reading our research brief here.

 

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Kelsey Todd is the Partnerships Associate at Empatico. Before joining Empatico, Kelsey was at KIND Healthy Snacks, working on the KIND Movement – KIND’s mission to make the world a little kinder. In this role, Kelsey worked on programming for The KIND Foundation, including the KIND Schools Challenge, a grant program that funded student-led initiatives for making schools kinder and more inclusive. Kelsey is a graduate of Boston College with a degree in English and Environmental Science.