Professional Learning 2018-2019

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KDSL Global Fellow at British Council Forum

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With a rapidly changing world, reflecting on how education brings learning experiences for the next generation to make a lasting difference becomes crucial. As part of the internal forum the British Council held recently in the Dead Sea, Jordan, our fellow Hiba Ibrahim was invited, in addition to another 6 experts in the fields of entrepreneurship, the arts, education and gender equality, to speak to the British Council MENA staff and lead individual workshops on challenges and opportunities the region is to face for the next decade.  Hiba has been involved in projects to create effective solutions to some of those stressing challenges and avenues for international organizations to pursue effective collaboration for creating change. Bringing her educational career, academic research and personal projects to the discussion, Hiba highlighted two main challenges the region’s education has continued to struggle with for decades. The first lies in the fact that national curriculums are still not equipping learners with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to be become independent engaged learners. Teachers are still heavily relying on textbooks as curriculum and content coverage is still the learning goal to achieve. Alternatively, learning goals should lie in empowering students with competences that enable them to transfer their learning into unique situations to solve challenges they experience in their local communities and beyond. Hiba then shared about her course project she has been building as part of her fellowship with KDSL Global, which aims to promote design thinking and collaboration strategies to become more effective problem-solvers and globally competent citizens.
The other challenge she highlighted was refugee students with no access to a quality basic education. This has caused a lot of tension in host communities and made 86,000 Syrian students in Jordan and 480,000 others in Lebanon vulnerable. Due to the on-going conflicts in Libya and Yemen, around 2,300,000 children are in need of education. For that, social-emotional learning and professional development programs for teachers and school leaders on social inclusion and dealing with PSTD are a must. Showcasing effective solutions, Hiba highlighted her work with Umnyat for Training, an NGO started by her mother that brings “Labeeb’s Friends”, a program that promotes social emotional learning through storytelling to schools in Jordan and other countries in the region such as Kuwait and Palestine. She also stressed on the positive impact of intercultural dialogue that bring students of different backgrounds to a space where they feel safe and open to share perspectives on topics such as culture, religion, daily life, community, immigration, conflict and challenges to learn how to be more understanding and accepting to one another.
The day was concluded with bringing those conversations into a workshop to inspire the organization’s staff to reflect on solutions they can drive with other stakeholders in the region to take part in the region’s growth and development for the upcoming decade.

Closing the STEM Gap

A new study called “Closing the STEM Gap” published in March 2018 by Microsoft surveyed more than 6,000 girls and young women on their interests and perceptions of science, technology, engineering and math. They found that girls lose interest in STEM careers as they get older. What can be done? The study cited recommendations to change this narrative. This included: role models and mentors, exposure to real-world examples of STEM, hands-on experience through participation in STEM-related clubs and activities, and encouragement from parents and educators could.

Our KDSL Global Fellow Tiffany Johnson recently interviewed one of her students to find out her perception about STEM after attending Interactive STEM Development Seminar for Underrepresented Students hosted by the Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation in Chicago. This was an additional program Johnson, who is implementing the recommendations in the study, suggested to her students.

This purpose of the seminar was to introduce and expose students to STEM career options and provide hands on experience with real world topics and projects leading to the development of the students as future leaders in the STEM fields.

 

What are your feelings about STEM?

“I feel like STEM is great for all kinds of people.  It allows you to dive more in depth about the world, technology, etc.”

 

Do you see yourself as a person who would pursue a career in the STEM field? If so, which field and why?

“Yes, I see myself pursuing a career in sciences, specifically psychology or sociology, becaucareese I like to study the functions of the brain, the actions of humans, and why people do the things they do.”

 

What did you do at the STEM event you attended?

“At the event, I had to design a functional hand using cardboard, sticks, tape, and string.  I also made slime.  The instructors that were there were African American men who knew a GREAT deal about STEM.”

 

How would you describe your feeling about STEM? Are you intimidated? Do you feel like you would be supported as you pursue a career in this field?

“I am supported greatly by my family and different teachers who push me to join the STEM field.  My feelings towards the STEM field are that I think it offers different opportunities to different types of people to work in an advanced field.  Also, I feel like being a part of this field, I would be able to represent African-Americans in a positive way.”

 

To learn more about Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation visit https://www.weefchicago.org/

 

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Meet Janessa, a high school scholar interested in STEM and recent participant in the Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation in Chicago.

NCTM 2018

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Imagine 9,000 of the top K-12 mathematics teachers in the world in one place. Chances are, you were thinking of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Conference. Recently, NCTM held their annual international conference in Washington, D.C. in the United States with thousands of teachers from over 30 countries collaborating and learning from each other. This three day event is by far the largest and most prestigious mathematics education conference in the world and the caliber and quality of presentations are unparalleled.

 

Representing the GCC were Dr. Cory A. Bennett, of Bennett Educational Consulting and KDSL Global, and two teachers from the American United School of Kuwait, Mrs. Minette Finney and Mr. Kenny Johnson. This team presented what they have been learning about implementing authentic problem solving using non-routine tasks to a group of over 200 teachers. The standing room only session shared some of their recommendations for structuring and implementing problem solving as well as how this work develops students’ persistence, grit, and beliefs about being successful in mathematics.

 

In the nearly two years leading up to this event, Dr. Bennett worked closely with the teachers and found considerable results with students. After the first rounds of problem solving students were already coming to class wanting to do more, talking in more complex and in-depth ways about mathematical relationships, and overall, behaving more like student mathematicians. “Never did I imagine that my students who struggled in class could have such complex thoughts about mathematics. They really understood what they were doing” shared Mr. Johnson who teaches sixth and seventh grade mathematics. Mrs. Finney, a fourth grade teacher, also added that her students “learned to view themselves as capable and competent mathematicians. I always work with them on this but through this problem solving they grew in ways I had not seen before.”

 

“Every school, and every teacher, is capable of this kind of excellence,” said Dr. Bennett afterwards. “When schools and teachers are willing to invest in this kind of on-going, collaborative, and job-embedded work, kids elevate to meet the challenge,” Dr. Bennett added. Contact KDSL Global to learn more about this work and how your teachers can access these materials.

Meet our KDSL Global Fellow – Samantha Rodriguez

KDSL Global is pleased to announce our new fellow.  The fellowship focuses on writing, leadership and launching a new education idea.

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Samantha Rodriguez was born and raised in Long Island, New York and graduated from Providence College where she studied Public and Community Service and Political Science. ​Being the first in her family to graduate from college, the value of education was constantly emphasized. Samantha has spent the better part of her life working with youth in different contexts. Since graduating from Providence, Samantha has taught Math in Tsakane, South Africa, was a 9th Grade English Teacher in the South Bronx, has been a College Access Counselor, and is now a Service Learning Program Coordinator for buildOn in Chicago, Illinois. She simultaneously attends graduate school at the University of Illinois at Chicago working towards an MEd in Youth Development. Samantha has always believed that all students are worthy of a strong educational foundation as well as a strong support system that helps them become successful. With her MEd in Youth Development, it is Samantha’s goal to help create spaces that intentionally provide youth with opportunities to develop their interests, skills, and abilities.

 

ABOUT KDSL Global

KDSL Global is a USA and UAE-based leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally. To find out more information visit http://www.kdslglobal.com.

An interview with Kelisa Wing

Kelisa Wing is the Assistant Principal of West Point Elementary School in West Point, NY. She is the Department of Defense Education Activity Teacher of the Year (2017). Wing is an ASCD Emerging Leader, a former U.S. Army staff sergeant, and a speaker and advocate for eliminating the School-to-Prison pipeline. Here are her answers on some questions about her initiatives:

 

What are some of the best examples of how to implement restorative justice?

In my opinion, the best way to implement restorative justice is to start with a team of individuals in your school. The team should include teachers, administrators, counselor, school psychologist, parents, and student representation. We have to start with the ‘why’ – why is this important? Why do we need to focus on restoration for our students? Because we can focus on the whole child in this manner. With so much attention on school violence and prevention, this approach would address the genesis of what our students need in order for them to be successful in our schools.

 

How does restorative justice handle issues that cause student behavior but are not serious enough to involve, say, social services?

In my old school, we assigned each student an adult advocate who checked in with them daily to ask questions like: Did you eat this morning? Is everything okay at home? Is there anyway I can help you today? Having an adult advocate helps to identify those behaviors but focuses on them in a positive manner as opposed to punitive. This program would teach students things like: resolving conflict, preparing for change, and getting organized, which are all things that cause stress in students’ lives and may cause disruptive behavior. Restorative justice focuses on the teaching aspect: What are we trying to teach students through discipline? These are questions that every school should ask prior to implementing any kind of discipline program.

 

Does restorative justice also include providing safe spaces at other times of the day [or suggesting them to school officials]? After school, many students don’t have very safe spaces to go to or hang out in, and that could help them, potentially [and has in some initiatives I’ve seen before].

I truly believe that the idea of safe spaces should be a part of the school community and also a part of restorative justice. Tutoring programs or homework help clubs should be a part of the daily instruction at least once a week for students. One of the things that I do with my students as an administrator is creating a behavior contract with them. As a part of the contract, I ask them who they feel safe with, who is an adult you can talk with when you feel upset or need to talk. Once they let me know who that is, we add that to their contract. We collaborate together to create it and a copy is given to them, myself, parents, and all people who work with the student. I find this to be a very good practice to ensure that the student can identify where they feel safe and who they can go to when they have difficulties during the school day. Whenever other issues arrive, I pull out the contract and we review it and adjust it if necessary, but this places their needs in their hands as well as mine. They become a part of the solution in this process as well.

 

Kelisa

STEMCON 2018

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Our KDSL Global Fellow Tiffany Johnson recently attended the STEMCON conference in Chicago, Illinois. STEMCON is a platform for STEM educators and administrators from all around the nation to share their best practices. Below is a reflection on her experience as a first time participant.

Year after year, STEMCON is where all STEM educators want to be. Just to put things into perspective, STEMCON is like the Coachella for all things STEM. From the moment I walked in, I knew I was in the presence of greatness. Upon arrival, I noticed Dr. Carolyn Hayes, the former president of National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), sitting amongst several of her colleagues. I was instantly star-struck! After setting my obnoxiously large teacher bag down, I wasted no time to introduce myself to Dr. Hayes. Dr. Hayes has an energetic personality that is highly contagious and seeing a woman achieve the “Lifetime STEM Leadership” award was very inspirational. After breakfast & coffee, the stage was graced with the first female civilian Afghan-American pilot and the youngest female pilot to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft, Shaesta Waiz. Ms. Waiz has an amazing story, and a unique purpose that motivates her in the work that she does.

After breakfast, there were numerous breakout sessions that I attended throughout the day, such as Innovative Ways to Sustain STEM Interest and Career Paths for Girls, Bringing the Outside In: Making an Ecosystem in a Bottle, and last but not least, How Hip-Hop Music and Culture can Bridge the STEM Gap for Underrepresented Populations. There was not enough time for me to attend all the sessions, but I did make connections with the presenters of the sessions I did not attend.

Being a person of color in STEM, I am constantly questioning myself about how do I influence students that look like me, to be like me. At STEMCON I was exposed to many different versions of what STEM looks like for different people. One of the sessions I attended talked about connecting STEM to the culture of Hip-Hop and broke down the science behind the movement. After getting the opportunity to bounce ideas off of the presenters, Darlyne de Haan and Damiso Josey, we agreed to continue the conversation even after the event and beyond!

I departed STEMCON feeling inspired, educated, connected, and supported which are all the reasons why I would recommend this conference to anyone in STEM.

P.S. – Among the many lessons I learned at STEMCON, one of the top lessons I learned was don’t be afraid to ask people for a picture! This is the only picture I have of myself at STEMCON. Thanks to the photographer.

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Tiffany Johnson learning more about STEM.

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Dr. Carolyn Hayes receiving the Lifetime STEM Leadership Award.

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Shaesta Waiz, the first female civilian Afghan-American pilot and the youngest female pilot to fly solo around the world in a single-engine aircraft

 

To learn more about Tiffany visit https://kdslglobal.wordpress.com/2018/03/05/kdsl-global-fellows-2/ and STEMCON visit www.stemcon.net.

 

 

 

KDSL Global and the GCC ASCD Connected Community Convenes the MENA Teacher Summit

MTS 2018

Professional Development Targets MENA’s American Curriculum
Teachers and Administrators

DUBAI, UAE, April 24, 2018 – On Friday, October 5, and Saturday, October 6, MENA region American curriculum teachers and school leadership teams will convene in Dubai as part of an initiative of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) Connected Community in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Organized by KDSL Global, a UAE-based education company, the Teacher Summit seeks to improve teaching and learning and connect education professionals throughout the MENA region to the resources provided by ASCD.

This regional event is a platform for teachers to engage and learn with renowned educators and scholars. Topics at the summit will address best practices in leadership, data, curriculum, college readiness, English Language Arts, Math, and Science Standards implementation. The audience for this conference will include classroom teachers, heads of department, program coordinators, school administrators, and organizations active in the educational sector.

Victoria L. Bernhardt, Ph.D., has directed the Education for the Future Initiative since its inception in 1991. Victoria is known worldwide as a leading authority on data analysis for continuous school and district improvement. She is the author of 22 highly praised books on data analysis, school improvement, Response to Intervention, and more. Each of her books shows schools and school districts how to do the work themselves. Her workshops focus on building capacity to analyze and use data effectively. Victoria is known for her down-to-earth, roll up the sleeves, real work that leads to student achievement increases at all school levels. Victoria is a Research Professor (Emeritus) in the College of Communication and Education, at California State University, Chico.

Dr. Bernhardt’s latest ASCD book is Measuring What We Do in Schools: How to Know If What We Are Doing Is Making a Difference. In the book she details the crucial role program evaluation serves in school success and how to implement meaningful evaluations that make a difference. She provides a road map of how to conduct comprehensive, systemwide evaluations of programs and processes; the tools needed to obtain usable, pertinent information; and how to use these data to expand teachers’ and administrators’ data-informed decision-making focus.

Educators and school leaders from the MENA region American curriculum schools are encouraged to attend. Early bird registration for the summit is now available. The agenda and the first announced featured speakers are found at www.menateachersummit.com.

 

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

Kevin Simpson, KDSL Global, menateachersummit@gmail.com, +971 55 344 9286