KDSL Global interviews Sue Beers

MISIC Logo

 

Our KDSL Global Intern recently had the opportunity to interview Sue Beers, the Executive Director of MISIC. Now serving 160+ school districts in Iowa and other states, MISIC began in 1998 as a collaborative between 15 school districts in central Iowa.

 

What inspired you to work in education and curriculum? 

My mother and grandmother were teachers. I just followed in their footpaths! My interest in curriculum development came for designing my own lessons and curriculum, as we had no state or local curriculum guides. I received a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction and while doing that study, became intrigued with not only writing curriculum, but leading others in this work as well. As a Director of Curriculum for 19 years, I had the opportunity to work with teachers from all content areas and grade levels to design and implement high-quality curriculum.

 

Tell us about the books you have written for ASCD.

As a former language arts teacher, literacy has always been my passion. Early in my career, I discovered that I had a significant number of high school students who were reading below the 5th grade level. I also realized that even my high-performing students were unable to independently process and understand the content-area text that they encountered. Many had simply stopped reading and waited for teachers to tell them what they needed to know.

I started researching and studying how to help students use text to learn in all content areas. This has been my lifelong passion and resulted in my writing 5 Action Tools for ASCD in the area of literacy in the content areas. The books were Reading Strategies for the Content Areas, Reading Strategies for the Content Areas Volume 2, Writing to Learn in the Content Areas, Adolescent Literacy, and Teaching 21st Century Skills, which included a great deal of literacy connections.

In addition to literacy, I am passionate about providing high-quality professional development programs for teachers and administrators. ASCD asked me to develop a set of tools for this, resulting in another action tool on this topic.

 

 

What is the importance of integrating literacy skills in science curriculum?

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) standards include alignment to the literacy skills students need to be able to read, write about and talk about science concepts. If one knows a lot about science, but cannot share that knowledge by communicating with others, the advantage of that knowledge is loss. If they cannot read science content, they will miss a key method for gaining science knowledge. There are specific tools and methods for reading science that need to be explicitly presented to students. Science teachers are not asked to be reading and writing teachers, but rather to use reading and writing to help students learn their science content. Science teachers need to help students unlock the content by giving them the tools they need to comprehend the unique structures, vocabulary and nuances of scientific language. In addition, they need to provide opportunities for students to write about their learning in order to deepen and sharpen their understanding.

 

To learn more about MISIC visit http://misiciowa.org.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Making connections among a myriad of initiatives and supporting learning through humor and example are professional passions for Sue Z. Beers.  In workshops delivered across the country, Sue shares strategies and tools for creating effective learning opportunities that prepare students for college, careers and citizenship.  Improving teaching and learning will necessitate that teachers, administrators and district personnel participants deeply examine their own current practices against best practices.

Sue’s 40-year career as a classroom teacher, program coordinator and district administrator has provided her with hands-on experience in the areas of effective teaching and school improvement.   As the founder and current Director of the MISIC Consortium, Beers works with over 160 school districts in Iowa and other states in guiding the alignment of curriculum, instruction and assessment in order to improve student learning.

As a consultant, speaker and ASCD Consultant, Sue has shared her expertise and experience with school districts and educational organizations nationally and internationally to improve teaching and learning in the areas of

  • Using Professional Learning Communities to Achieve Effective Instructional Change
  • Leading the Implementation of the CCSS: Strategies and Resources
  • CCSS Implementation in Literacy and Math Classrooms
  • Key Shifts of the CCSS in Literacy and Math
  • Reading and Writing Strategies in the Content Areas
  • Literacy Across the Curriculum
  • 21stCentury Teaching and Learning
  • Professional Development Planning
  • School Improvement Planning
  • Effective teaching strategies
  • Curriculum Development
  • Assessing Student Learning
  • Using Data to Inform Instruction

 

Sue co-authored ASCD’s “Leading the Common Core” professional development institute and is also the co-author of Reading Strategies for the Content Areas:  An ASCD Action Tool, Volumes 1 and II  and Using Writing to Learn Across the Content Areas:  An ASCD Action Tool.   She has also authored an ASCD Action Tool on Strategies for Designing, Implementing and Evaluating Professional Development, Adolescent Literacy and Teaching 21st Century Skills.

 

 

Advertisements

Reflections on the EARCOS Teacher Conference 2017

new_earcos2013.jpg

Dr. Craig Gabler, our USA based science consultant, reflects on his recent experience as a facilitator in Asia. Gabler has been serving schools and science educators around the world with KDSL Global since 2014. He served as a writer for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), worked on Washington state science standards writing teams, and spent several summers as Mentor Teacher in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pre-Service Teacher program at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

In April I had the opportunity to present at the EARCOS (East Asia Regional Council of Schools) Teacher Conference in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Teachers and administrators from over 100 schools were in attendance at this 3-day conference.

For those who know me, it goes without saying that some of my presentations dealt directly with the NGSS and how to make those standards come to life in the classroom. I also had the chance to engage attending science teachers in a session targeting formative assessment and in another session on strategies for engaging students in engineering. I was blessed with not only excellent attendance in these sessions, but also with attendees who were highly engaged in the learning opportunity.

The theme for the EARCOS conference was “Connecting Global Minds.” I would like to draw from that theme for a brief reflection on my experiences in both the Middle East and East Asia. In supporting science education, I have had the pleasure to work with teachers of science from all across the United States, from across the Middle East region and now from East Asia. What struck me while in Malaysia was the fact that teachers of science from around the globe are indeed connected. We all share a deep desire for our students to succeed and to value science. What I have found is, regardless of region, that that desire drives us to ask the same hard questions – about engaging students with the NGSS, about encouraging students to have an interest in STEM, and about managing and preparing our classrooms for that success.

As science educators we are a part of a global network, united by our passion for science and for our students. I celebrate that there are gracious and giving teachers of science across the globe. I also celebrate that there are organizations like KDSL Global and EARCOS, to name just two, that bring learning opportunities and resources to the network. As we continue on this path of serving our students, it is important to reach out to those organizations and to our colleagues for continuing support. Don’t go alone.

Please know that KDSL Global and I are here to support your science journey.

 

Craig Gabler, KDSL Global Science Consultant
gablerct@gmail.com
www.kdslglobal.com

To read the KDSL Global white paper on NGSS in MENA American Curriculum schools visit http://kdslglobal.com/NGSS%20in%20MENA%20American%20Curriculum%20Schools.pdf.

To learn more about EARCOS visit https://www.earcos.org/.

 

10 to know in education in the UAE in 2017

Sudha Sunder.png

In celebration of ten years serving the global education community we are highlighting ten to know in education in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) in 2017. The UAE was selected since the founder has been based here the majority of the last ten years. Each person will be shared throughout this year. Our ninth person to know is Dr. Sudha Sunder.

Sudha started her teaching career in 1999 and has taught students from grade 2 through grade 12. She currently serves as an Affiliate Consultant for the Council of International Schools and Associate Consultant for KDSL Global.

A post-graduate diploma holder in computer science, and a Master’s degree holder in Business Administration and Accountancy, she became a part of the IB community in 2006 and taught the IB Course Information Technology in a Global Society (ITGS), and soon became an examiner in the subject. Although Sudha was quickly drawn to the interdisciplinary nature of this subject and the IB philosophy of teaching for deep conceptual understanding versus the regurgitation of factual knowledge, she also experienced and resonated with the challenges teachers faced in putting curriculum design principles (that they appreciated in theory) into practice.

Inspired by her own experiences, Sudha decided to certify with Dr. Lynn Erickson in concept-based curriculum and instruction, at the Lynn Erickson Institute in Whitefish, Montana, USA, in 2011. Ever since, she has become a much sought after facilitator in many IB schools for coaching teachers in concept-based curriculum and instruction. Currently, her work spans over seven countries.

An introduction to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) happened while she was serving as the head of the curriculum committee at the Universal American School in Dubai, UAE. As a curriculum design enthusiast, she was very drawn towards the three-dimensional structure of the NGSS and the NGSS’s potential to foster interdisciplinary teaching at the conceptual level (through the crosscutting concepts) and to put into classroom practice the factual and conceptual elements in science learning. She took on every opportunity that would allow engagement in understanding, unpacking and debating on the potential challenges involved in adopting and implementing the NGSS.

In 2013, she presented a paper at the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Common Core Conference convened in Dubai. This was followed by a number of hands-on interactive workshops at conferences and schools that particularly focused on enabling teachers unpack and understand the crosscutting concept component of the NGSS. During this time, she also published an article titled “Fostering Scientific Inquiry through the NGSS” in the Teach UAE Magazine.

It was around this time that Sudha became a Curriculum Reviewer in the IB, Maryland, USA, for a pilot project called “Building a Quality curriculum”. Through this project Sudha reviewed and offered feedback for PYP curriculum documents (both Units of Inquiry and Programmes of Inquiry) for schools in the United States, Europe and India.

The more Sudha mentored, trained, and worked with teachers in curriculum and instruction, the stronger she was convinced that while teachers understand and appreciate the value and notion of teaching for conceptual understanding, putting this into practice in the classroom is indeed challenging. Sudha strongly believes that understanding curriculum design principles involved in three-dimensional concept-based curriculum and instruction is key to addressing this challenge. At present, Sudha continues to present workshops and papers to empower teachers in American IB schools across countries such as Kuwait, Oman, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, UAE, Qatar and India.

As a part-time doctoral research student at the University of Bath in the UK (since 2008), Sudha also decided to explore teacher perceptions in school-based curriculum development initiatives as her doctoral dissertation, which she eventually defended in 2015, with none other than Professor Jeff Thompson and Professor David Phillips from Oxford. Sudha believes that she cleared her viva with no further recommendations or modifications is testimonial to the many teacher voices she has gathered over her work spanning over 7 years in IB/international schools. Sudha’s doctoral dissertation Abstract is now published on SAGE. Sudha writes and publishes articles on the role of ongoing professional development for international educators. A recent one can be accessed here: http://www.cois.org/page.cfm?p=3078

 

Sudha believes that her own journey of learning and transitioning as a teacher in the IB programme and her passion for fostering scientific inquiry amongst students through real-world connection and sustained inquiry has been instrumental in digging deeper into the NGSS. This, along with her strong understanding of curriculum design principles involved in unpacking and implementing three-dimensional curricular frameworks provided her with the knowledge, understanding, skills and experience to explore the breadth and the depth of the NGSS, particularly so in helping IB educators see how the two complement each other in a powerful “synergistic” (Erickson, 2012) fashion. Commissioned by the IB, Sudha has co-authored the IB-NGSS Dual Implementation Report now available for IB schools in the US, available here: http://blogs.ibo.org/blog/2016/12/09/aligning-the-next-generation-science-standards- ngss-with-ib-curricula/

Sudha’s wider research interest includes the role of ongoing professional development for 21st century teachers. Sudha presented her research findings in 2015 at the American Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies (AAACS) at the George Washington University, D.C. She has now been invited to serve as a member of the AAACs Task force.

More about Sudha’s work in curriculum and Instruction can be accessed here:

https://www.tlinternational.org/

 

KDSL Global Releases White Paper on Next Generation Science Standards in MENA American Curriculum Schools

NGSS White Paper (dragged)-page-001.jpg

DUBAI, UAE, February 14, 2017 – KDSL Global today released its first white paper which examines the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in American curriculum schools in the MENA region and in the USA. KDSL Global is a USA and UAE-based leading learning organization focused on empowering educators and education businesses globally. This white paper is entitled “Next Generation Science Standards in MENA American Curriculum Schools.”

Kevin Simpson, KDSL Global Managing Director states, “Throughout the MENA region, schools and educators are working very hard to implement the Next Generation Science Standards. KDSL Global felt it was opportune to discuss the status of the implementation process in the US and in the region, as well as spotlight tools and resources for policymakers, school administrators, and teachers to create awareness around NGSS and help successfully deploy the science standards.” The white paper features the results of an NGSS survey administered to MENA educators in 2016 that tabulated their impressions of the standards. In addition, there are resources educators and administrators can use to support implementation.

Dr. Gabler, NGSS writer and KDSL Global Science Consultant added, “The NGSS are for all students and provide a framework for moving student learning from just ‘learning about’ to students ‘figuring out’.” Dr. Sunder, KDSL Global Associate Partner, agrees,”Implementing the NGSS in the classroom: it’s about the exciting creative struggle of exploring and engaging in scientific discovery together.” Sunder has recently collaborated with numerous groups on a document entitled “Aligning the NGSS with the IB curricula.” More can be found here http://www.ibo.org/news/news-about-the-ib/aligning-the-next-generation-science-standards-ngss-with-ib-curricula/.

The white paper can be downloaded at: https://tinyurl.com/jtfvvj7
The team has an NGSS Institute coming up in March at Clarion School in Dubai. Visit http://kdslglobal.com/NGSS%20Institute.pdffor more information.

 

KDSL GLOBAL PRESS CONTACT
+971 50 745 5827
Kevin Simpson, kevin@kdslglobal.com
www.kdslglobal.com

Aligning the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) with IB curricula

Are you an IB teacher in the US and grappling with how to align the requirements of both the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) with your IB programme? We asked Dr Sudha Sunder from KDSL Global, to tell us about NGSS and the new resource for IB teachers that she produced in collaboration with several science educators and Achieve (the organization that drafted the NGSS) to help educators with implementation.

By Sudha Sunder

Essentially, the goals of the IB programmes and the NGSS are complementary. However, the NGSS, guided by the conceptual framework of the National Research council (NRC), have set new priorities for science education in IB World Schools in the United States, that are engaged in the dual implementation of the IB Diploma Programme (DP) and the NGSS. Educators in these schools are being called upon to ensure that their students are prepared to demonstrate proficiency in the NGSS performance indicators, while achieving the goals of the DP.

 

To view the complete post please visit http://blogs.ibo.org/blog/2016/12/09/aligning-the-next-generation-science-standards-ngss-with-ib-curricula/.