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

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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/.

KDSL Global Founder joins the Center for Educational Improvement as an Advisory Board Member

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KDSL Global Founder Kevin Simpson has joined the Center for Educational Improvement (CEI) Advisory Board. This group features national and international experts in the fields of education, neuroscience, and technology. Collectively, they provide CEI with critical strategic advice in fulfilling our mission to support and uplift schools through 21st century learning and leadership.

The Center for Educational Improvement (CEI) identifies, shares, and applies 21st century innovations in learning to guide school leaders as they improve their schools.

CEI’s approach is based on input from school principal advisors as well as their environmental scans and conversations with psychologists, neuroscientists, educators, engineers, scientists, other researchers, and policymakers. Bolstered by their relationship with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and its Foundation,  they are grateful for their continuing support.

CEI advises principals, teachers, leadership teams, and districts on how to implement evidence-based best practices to “fast track” academic progress and close gaps between the latest research on student achievement and what is practiced in schools. CEI also collaborates with principal mentors to design, implement, evaluate, refine, and disseminate research with the principal in mind. As they build bridges to educational excellence, CEI teams with other researchers, private companies, and government agencies.

 

To learn more about The Center for Educational Improvement please visit http://www.edimprovement.org/

Five Highlights from the Global Education & Skills Forum 2018

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This week marked the sixth annual global education and skills forum; an initiative by the Varkey Foundation where education practitioners, policy makers and distinguished members of international organizations get together to discuss pressing issues in global education. This year’s theme was how to prepare learners today for 2030 and beyond. This year, entrepreneurship was highlighted via the Next Billion EdTech Prize where initiatives in education from around the globe were featured for the work and change they try to make in global education. On behalf of the KDSL Global team, I attended this year’s forum and got to engage in interesting conversations with some of the speakers and delegates from around the world. If you didn’t make it to the forum this year, no worries! Here are some common insights we observed emerging among speakers and sessions:

1.   The Incorporation of Augmented and Virtual Reality in Pedagogy Design Should Be Prioritized:

Not limited to STEM, AR and VR should be part of today’s learning. Immersive learning, in order to be effective, should aim for exposing students to digital storytelling as a step forward to teaching empathy and global citizenship. Such technologies, then, need to be looked as a learning experience rather than a tool in order to reach the desired outcomes of 2030. Teachers and school leaders should plan for professional development experiences that support envisioning teaching in light with EdTech. Here is an interesting article you might want to read on the topic, and if you are wondering how the future in emerging economies would look like, you might want to join Mr. Fiebeg; the Co-Founder of Coders Trust in a virtual journey here.

2.   The Role of Socio-emotional Intelligence in Promoting Innovation and Well-being:

Almost all sessions pressed on that education should aim for preparing independent empathetic learners who are empowered with skills and attitudes that are core to solving local and global issues. With the skills gap that employers have reported in several studies, fresh graduates seem to lack the soft skills that enable them to be innovative and more understanding of the global market’s needs. For that, many speakers stressed the importance for paying more attention to emotional intelligence in school communities. I personally enjoyed this session on teaching young people empathy and why it is needed now.

To read the complete post from our KDSL Global Teacher Fellow Hiba Ibrahim visit
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/five-highlights-from-global-education-skills-forum-2018-hiba-ibrahim/

The Future of Professional Learning

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Deb Delisle                              Stephanie Hirsh                          Audie Rubin

When it comes to the all-important topic of professional learning, what has the future got in store? We recently asked a few key players in the field for their views.

How do we define ‘professional learning’? The definition has many strands, but at its core most educators will agree with this definition given by professional learning organization Learning Forward:

“Professional learning is an integral part of a school’s strategy for providing educators with the knowledge and skills necessary to enable students to succeed in a well-rounded education and to meet the challenging State academic standards.”

Deborah Delisle’40 year career in education spans numerous roles including elementary school principal and Executive Director of ASCD, an organization dedicated to excellence in both learning and teaching. In 2012, she was chosen by President Obama to be the US Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education, where she coordinated policy for programs designed to improve achievement in school-age children.

Deb’s view on the future of professional learning:

“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.  Practitioners will share their practices widely through a variety of forums.  Teachers’ voices will become increasingly important as our recognition of practitioners’ expertise increases.”

 

Stephanie Hirsh has worked as a secondary school teacher, Texas school district administrator, writer and policy advisor, and is now the Executive Director of Learning Forward, an organization that believes that effective professional development is essential to improving student learning.

Stephanie’s view on the future of professional learning:

“The future of professional learning is intact as long as the world continues to change and our expectations and desires for our students changes with it.  Educators will always be in need of acquiring new knowledge and skills essential to reaching all students. As we say at Learning Forward, at school, everyone’s job is to learn.”

 

A former teacher and school principal, Audie Rubin is now the Director of Strategic Partnerships at BloomBoard where he works across a diverse set of content and business partners in K-12 education. Prior to that, Audie worked for Pearson Learning Solutions and has significant experience in the realm of online learning opportunities and blended learning curriculum.

 

Audie’s view on the future of professional learning:

“There has been a huge investment in professional development but there isn’t necessarily always a great return on investment. This is now starting to change as many focus on more applied learning, and more demonstrating. Earning microcredentials – a form of professional development where teachers work towards competency in one area – may be the way forward.”

 

For more information on ASCD: http://www.ascd.org

For more information on Forward Learning: https://learningforward.org

For more information on BloomBoard: https://bloomboard.com/

 

What risk are you willing to take?

MidSchoolMath National Conference 2016

MidSchoolMath was founded as a direct result of extensive research into the US math crisis and the complexity of the problem. It is the first company to answer the quintessential question posed by every middle school math student: “When am I going to ever use this?” At the National Conference held during 2-3 March 2018 in Sante Fe, New Mexico, Megan LeBleu gave a talk to educators about the importance of taking risk for math students. Below you will find this talk.

I taught math for 14 years at a middle school in Albuquerque, NM. My colleagues and I spent our planning time modifying our curriculum quite a bit, trying to make lessons accessible to and interesting for our students. In general, though, I was still teaching how I was taught. I do, we do, you do. I was fearful that my students would fail if I didn’t “teach” them first. I didn’t really value what they brought to the table, regarding their own intuition and creative problem solving.

But then 4 years ago, I attended a MidSchoolMath PD. I learned about story being used for learning, about these ideas of productive failure and productive struggle, and it made a lot of sense to me. I was also exposed to the idea of global math education… there ARE actually teachers, math students, and people outside of the U.S… all around the world…

It was then, 4 years ago, that I took a risk that ultimately led my students (and myself) down a path of discovery and learning. I accepted a challenge to create a math story project… a story in which math is embedded as a useful tool. Had I ever thought of using story in math class? No. Had I ever even seen story used in a math class? No. Not like this. The concept was completely foreign to me. Yet I saw value in it for my students… mathematical value and cultural value.

So, I dove into the unknown and created Expedition Everest, where my students would be mountaineers on Everest, encountering significant math problems on their way to the summit. Now let me tell you… My students live in a high-poverty area, riddled with gang violence and drug use. They rarely think outside their neighborhood, much less outside the country. While creating Expedition Everest, and even after, people questioned the relevancy of the topic to my students. How is Mount Everest relevant to students in Albuquerque? And maybe it isn’t…. initially….

But, by taking a risk, stretching myself, thinking outside the textbook… I was able to create mathematically enriching tasks…. Tasks that allowed my students to question, to use their intuition, to offer creative solutions….Tasks that were so intriguing, my students were willing to try, fail, struggle, and persist until they reached a solution. All the while, they were honing their math skills, discussing strategies and ideas, AND at the same time, they were learning about the tallest mountain in the world, about the Sherpa of Nepal, and about an animal called a yak. Their world was now bigger than it was before. And I, I had never had so much fun teaching.

We don’t all have to take our students to Mount Everest as mountaineers. Nor do we have to take them to Myanmar as secret agents. But we can do SOMETHING. Maybe it’s just restructuring the curriculum we currently have. And we might fail. But so did Edwin Link, and his pilots…at first. If WE don’t have the courage to take risks, and to push ourselves to explore the unknown, how can we expect our students to do the same?

As you go forward throughout the school year, consider this: what risk are you willing to take, to give your students, and yourself, the chance to fail, struggle, persist, and grow… as learners, and as global contributors?

Megan LeBleu is a National Board Certified teacher who taught math at a high-poverty middle school in Albuquerque, New Mexico for 14 years. During those years she became a master at collaborating with fellow teachers, making math curriculum engaging and accessible to students. She is highly skilled at integrating technology in the classroom and is well versed in the Common Core math standards. 

To learn more about MidSchoolMath visit  http://www.midschoolmath.com/.
Check out this article about Megan and her math classroom  https://www.abqjournal.com/348546/math-made-fun-with-trip-calculations.html.