OCTOBER 27, 2016 CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS AT UVM
The extraordinarily high rate of child poverty in Vermont represents a critical challenge for teachers in the public schools, but the achievement gap can only be closed by the innovative inspiration of empowered teachers; the empowerment of teacher leaders will be the focus of this 90-minute session. After more than twenty years of patronizing and unsuccessful top-down mandates that have virtually dismissed the autonomy and judgment of those who do the real work of democracy every single day in the classrooms of our nation, it's time at last to elevate the agency of teachers as the quintessential factor in bringing equity of outcome to children who will otherwise be left to lead an economically and socially subordinate existence. The intended outcome of this workshop is to foster wise and critically irreverent interventions on the part of the teachers whose lives will be devoted to the goal of simple justice.
Presenter: Jonathan Kozol
Educators are the most important lynchpin in any effort towards higher
standards of excellence. Using data from the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development's Test for Schools (Based on Program
for International Student Assessment), teachers are armed with data
that catalyzes the change necessary to ensure every student is college
or career ready. Additionally, we discuss different measures that school
systems have taken to address achievement gaps. Expected outcomes of
attending this workshop include:
Vermont's Act 77 and Personalized Learning Plans provide us with the opportunity to actualize equity as it relates to access of a high quality education where all students believe in their capacity as learners in partnership with adults. Communities can share a commitment to that belief as realized in structures/systems that promote equity in access to and quality of learning experiences. Schools are poised to mobilize students to take full advantage of their choices for pathways to meet the goal that ALL students graduate career and/or college ready to pursue their dreams.
However, despite this promise, we know that Act 77 could create a greater equity gap, perhaps the greatest potential discrepancy being by socioeconomic variables. We realize some students take full advantage of flexible pathways while some do not based on doubts about their capacity as learners and community resources. And we know their doubts mirror teachers' & others' perceptions of their capacity/potential and vary by access to opportunities. The implementation of new learning avenues for students reflect two separate trends - some pathway designs reflect rich and varied learning experiences, while others rarely avail themselves of new alternatives.
With this reality, of both challenges and opportunities afforded by personalized learning and flexible pathways, students are poised to be responsible for not only of their own education but also act as guardians of and messengers for equity.
(This is a student-only workshop for all students at the conference.)
Renowned systems thinker, Gregory Bateson, suggested that the major
problems of the modern world are a result of the difference between how
nature works and how most people think, learn and lead. This workshop
will look to the wisdom of nature to examine organizing principles and
patterns that healthy living systems have developed and fine tuned over 3.8
billion years of evolution. Together we will explore what these principles
might teach us about how to create equitable learning environments.
Participants will be invited to actively consider how they might apply
equity-based ecological principles, practices, and mindsets to their own
schools, classrooms and learning environments.
Presenter: Matt Kolan, Director, Leadership for Sustainability M. S. Program, The University of Vermont
The brain research is compelling, the premise, career changing, but what does it feel like to be a student in a UDL classroom? Come find out! In this training, educators will experience how even the
most mundane topics can set the room abuzz when curriculum is planned without the presence of traditional barriers. Throughout the presentation, participants will receive concrete tips to help them
implement UDL in their own learning environments. This training is perfect for teachers and administrators who want to see how the research translates into a challenging and unforgettable experience for
Chronic trauma exposure often casts a debilitating shadow over the developing child, impacting fundamental capabilities such as cognitive, relational, neurodevelopmental and self-regulatory, which are critical to learning. By understanding the consequences of chronic trauma, educators can be important stakeholders in the process of recovery and restoring hope. Attendees will learn:
As Vermont embraces those escaping the horrors of war and oppression as a refugee resettlement destination, our communities and schools feel the impact of neighbors and students with unique
backgrounds, strengths and needs. In this workshop we will define integration, look at current literature on refugee and immigrant integration and discuss how this research applies to our changing
schools. From there we will split up into working groups to discuss a framework for understanding integration within our schools based on that research. The discussions will address: different
dimensions of integration, how our schools currently address the needs of our changing clientele, where we see the greatest needs, and first steps to begin making cultural and system changes to provide
a healthy and beneficial environment for all students and faculty within our systems. We will come back together at the end to share as a large group some of the ideas and concerns. The goal for this
workshop will be to provide tools to begin a positive discussion within our teams of how we continue to provide not only adequate but excellent learning environments as those very environments change in
To ensure that students succeed in our complex world, they need to be in that world, not separated from it in a school building. For our students who have been traditionally marginalized, it is particularly important to receive mentoring from adults outside school and to create professional networks. In this session, you will hear statistics and student stories that make the compelling case for community based learning for all students. Through exposure to successful community-based learning programs and attention to your own context, you will determine your next steps. These will be concrete, specific actions that you can take to ensure that more students have these critical experiences and that they lead to equity. This session is appropriate for all stakeholders, inside or outside of a formal setting. Come join us for an interactive, inspirational session with practical
Presenter: Sarah Bertucci, Deeper Learning Equity Fellow, Eagle Rock Professional Development Center, Colorado
The deeply entrenched traditional grading practices present in many schools do not provide an accurate and meaningful picture of student learning. The point-based grading paradigm
creates a sort of "game" that some students play well and others do not. For many students, grading practices are inequitable and further drive social reproduction. Proficiencybased learning provides an
alternative grading paradigm that is equitable and accurate. More than just a primer on PBL practices, this workshop aims to provide strategies for classroom implementation of proficiencybased learning
and explanations of how it can provide a more equitable schooling experience for all students.
Presenters: Andrew Jones and Gabe Hamilton, Science Teachers, Mt. Abraham Union High School, 2015 Rowland Fellows
There is an increasingly urgent consensus among leaders across Vermont that a more educated workforce (70% of all working-age adults by 2025) is necessary to sustain Vermont's economy and provide more equitable opportunities for our citizens. A key strategy will be the expansion of pathways and opportunities that support first-generation and low-income high school graduates in earning a postsecondary credential of value or degree. Vermont's preK-12 educators, in partnership with higher education partners such as VSAC and CCV, have been at the forefront of supporting such opportunities as CCV's Introduction to College Studies course and the Flexible Pathways Dual Enrollment and Fast Forward programs in CTE centers. This workshop will provide an overview of the "70% by 2025 Advance Vermont" goal and partnership, present disaggregated data on current high school students' aspirations to and readiness for postsecondary education, share successful strategies from around the state, and engage workshop participants in a structured discussion of the key challenges and potential strategies related to the goal. Participants will learn about the collective impact model of addressing social needs and ways they can become part of the Advance Vermont Partnership.
Please note: The entire afternoon of this year's conference is devoted to reflective time for school teams with the support of trained facilitators provided by The Rowland Foundation to discuss the implication of the
conference theme on your school and to plan appropriate action steps. When you register your team, please indicate if you wish to take advantage of having a trained facilitator. The assigned individual
will meet with you or your team sometime in the weeks leading up to the conference. Participants who are not part of school teams will likewise have the opportunity to debrief and discuss the keynote
address and workshops from the morning. See conference materials to determine your team's assigned location for the afternoon session.
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