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

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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

KDSL Global Releases Paper on Social Studies in MENA American Curriculum Schools

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DUBAI, UAE, 12 April 2018 – KDSL Global today released a paper which examines the implementation of the College, Career, and Civic Life Framework for Social Studies State Standards, known as the C3 Framework in the USA and in the MENA region. The C3 Framework prepares young people for College, Careers, and Civic life. Formed by the core disciplines of civics, economics, geography, and history, it is composed of deep and enduring understandings, concepts, and skills from these disciplines with emphasis of skills and practices as preparation for democratic decision-making. American curriculum schools have been engaged with these standards for a few years. KDSL Global is a USA and UAE-based leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally.

Kevin Simpson, KDSL Global Managing Director stated, “Schools, leaders, and educators are working to implement the C3 Standards. KDSL Global felt it was time to spotlight implementation in both the states and the MENA region to create more awareness around these standards.” He co-wrote the paper with Kim O’Neil, who served as the 2015-2016 President of the National Council for the Social Studies. She sits on the Commissioner’s Content Advisory Panel for the New York State Social Studies Education Department. O’Neil is a National Board Certified Teacher having spent her teaching career at the elementary and middle school levels.

The paper features a list of C3 resources and results from a survey that would provide data regarding the implementation process in the USA. Questions educators and leaders responded to ranged from impression of the standards, timeline, professional development, and more. The findings are here: http://kdslglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/C3-Survey-Results.pdf

The paper can be downloaded at: http://kdslglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/C3-in-MENA-American-Curriculum-Schools-.pdf

KDSL GLOBAL PRESS CONTACT

+971 55 344 9286

Kevin Simpson, kevin@kdslglobal.com

www.kdslglobal.com

 

Meet Devin Evans, English Language Arts teacher at Butler College Prep Charter High School


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Devin Evans is a 10th grade English Language Arts teacher at Butler College Prep Charter High School on Chicago’s far South Side. He serves as co-10th grade team lead and master teacher for Butler’s humanities department. He graduated from Michigan State University with a BA in Social Science Education and History and is pursuing a Masters in English Language Arts from Relay Graduate School of Education.

Prior to teaching, Devin worked as a Program Associate for their Workforce Development Center at the historic Chicago Urban League. Devin is a mentor to numerous young men and women across Chicago and is a committed teacher and social justice advocate. Here are his answers to questions about teaching and learning:

How does Butler College Prep help students to become aware of issues like social justice? Is it woven into their learning materials and approach?

There are numerous ways students are aware of social justice issues. One way is through curriculum. Teachers are highly encouraged to add into curriculum projects and content that is rooted an a social justice issue. Whether it’s discovering how much led is in water for Chemistry and figuring out ways to advocate for clean water for Chicago residents or when teachers and staff put on a Town Hall meeting where the entire school comes together to put on an informational and call to action on a pertinent social justice issue. Social Justice is Butler College Prep.

How does Butler College Prep emphasize the arts as well as social justice?

Butler has a way of celebrating the academic side of students and their art. We celebrate academic success with special dinners, celebrations, and opportunities. We celebrate the artistic talent with the same level of appreciation. In many ways students automatically intertwine each interchangeably.

Is it difficult to balance the arts with the amount of learning students must achieve in other subjects to get ready for college?

It can be difficult; however, Butler has found a way to balance both. Students have electives that are arts focused with regular courses and we also have enrichment classes after school that focus on more arts as well. We push academic and artistic and social justice into one campaign to be perfected.

 

To learn more about Butler College Prep visit http://butlercollegeprep.noblenetwork.org/.