New England Secondary School Consortium

2015 School Redesign in Action Conference

Complete Program (.PDF)

Pre-Conference Sessions

Response to Instruction and Intervention: What It Is and How We Do It

Engaging Schools, Cambridge, MA

Secondary schools are becoming more intentional about building a culture of instructional supports and academic interventions that serve all students who need them. The aim of this session is to develop a shared understandings about the Response to Instruction and Intervention (RtII) framework as it applies to high schools. The presenters will explore three tiers of supports and interventions—beginning with the role and tasks of “teacher as first responder”—and then examine the key features of effective, equitable, and systemic Tier 2 and Tier 3 school-wide interventions beyond the classroom.

Along the way, participants will have opportunities to (1) assess the current status of their RtII initiatives; (2) consider the connections between quality interventions, the use of data, the establishment of an RtII team, and the development of a coherent case-management system; (3) think about intervention practices that they want to stop, start, deepen, or change; and (4) discuss “how-to’s” for developing, implementing, and sustaining effective intervention practices.

Session
Thursday, March 26 | 9:00 am
Presenters

Carol Miller Lieber (senior consultant, Engaging Schools)

Contact

Carol Miller Lieber, clieber@engagingschools.org

More than Messaging: How Community Engagement Can Build Ownership and Support for School Innovation

Great Schools Partnership | Nellie Mae Education Foundation

As any experienced educator knows, even the best-laid plans can backfire. When it comes to innovation in our public schools, recent examples—both locally and nationally—demonstrate how fragile the public trust can be when issues directly affect their children. Yet when facing potential public backlash, civic institutions often become insular, adopting a defensive posture rather than reaching out to their communities. Some argue that public messaging should be scrubbed and edited, and then carefully rolled out only when necessary. But when community members don’t trust the process—when they don’t feel heard, understood, or involved—even the best messaging can go unheard or ignored. In a democratic society, the most effective change happens when civic institutions model inclusive practices and provide opportunities for their communities to participate and be heard. This workshop will examine the factors that often contribute to public misunderstanding, confusion, and criticism; the foundational elements of authentic community engagement; and the benefits of doing it right.

Participants will leave the workshop with a set of practical strategies that will help them build relationships of trust in their communities, predict and avoid foreseeable crises, and create meaningful opportunities for deliberative dialogue on the most important issues affecting every educator, student, parent, and citizen in a community.

Session
Thursday, March 26 | 9:00 am
Presenters

Stephen Abbott (director of communications, Great Schools Partnership), Shaun Adamec (director of strategic communications, Nellie Mae Education Foundation)

Contact

Planning for Proficiency-Based Learning in Your District

Great Schools Partnership, Portland, ME

In this session, school coaches from the Great Schools Partnership will share a comprehensive approach to developing a multiyear district plan for implementing proficiency-based learning, including a set of resources, such as a district self-assessment and planning tool, that are designed to guide a district leadership team through a thoughtfully staged process that will result in a concrete plan of action, that will also build upon the district’s existing assets in the areas of policy, practice, and community engagement.

Participants will leave with a stronger understanding of the components of district-wide implementation. While the session will help districts that are just beginning their work, the resources and strategies will also be beneficial to districts already transitioning to a proficiency-based system.

Session
Thursday, March 26 | 9:00 am
Presenters

Great Schools Partnership Staff

The Research Supporting Proficiency-Based Learning

Great Schools Partnership, Portland, ME

Proficiency-based learning may take different forms from school to school—there is no universal model or approach—and educators may use a wide variety of diverse, proficiency-based instructional practices. For this reason, educators are unlikely to find an abundant amount of research on “proficiency-based learning,” per se, because the term represents school models and instructional approaches that share many important commonalities, but that may also vary significantly in design, application, and results (as with any educational approach, some schools and teachers do it more effectively than others). The good news, however, is that there is a huge amount of research on the foundational school structures and instructional techniques that—when systematized in a school—are called proficiency-based learning. In this session, the presenters will provide an overview—followed by small-group activities and conversations—of the strong connection between the research literature on teaching and learning and proficiency-based systems of instruction, assessment, and reporting.

Participants will leave with references to valuable research and sample activities and strategies for engaging colleagues and stakeholders in discussions about this important topic.

Session
Thursday, March 26 | 9:00 am
Presenters

Great Schools Partnership Staff

Plenary Sessions

Putting the “Public” Back in Public Education Reform

As education grabs the national spotlight and more and more people try to take center stage, the core of learning success remains the same—high quality instruction on a daily basis that captures and engages students. This conference is designed to share these ideas educator to educator. The opening session will welcome participants and share annual highlights. Following this, Nicholas Donohue, president and CEO of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, will be presenting new learning regarding public engagement and understanding. How does the general public hear and understand education that personalizes learning for students, focusing on deep and equitable outcomes? And does the public agree that this is necessary? Mr. Donohue will be sharing some of the latest research conducted and collected by the Foundation.

Session
Thursday, March 26 | 1:00 pm
Presenters

Nicholas Donohue (president and CEO, Nellie Mae Education Foundation), David J. Ruff (executive director, Great Schools Partnership)

Presentation
Contact

What Does “Authentic Student Voice” Really Mean?

Young Voices | Providence Student Union, Providence, RI

Educators often talk about “student voice,” but what does the concept really mean to students? And in what ways can educators promote and support genuine opportunities for students to take on leadership roles in their school, advocate for issues that truly matter to them, and have their voices not only be heard but acted upon? This presentation will be kicked off by a documentary-style video on youth voice and leadership produced by students from the Hartford Journalism and Media Academy Magnet School in association with the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network. Several student-leaders and representatives from the Providence Student Union and Young Voices in Rhode Island will then deliver presentations on student organizing, advocacy, and leadership development. A facilitated panel discussion with the students will follow, and questions will be taken from the audience.

Session
Friday, March 27 | 8:00 am
Presenters

Karen Feldman (executive director, Young Voices), Kendal Hall (student leader, Juanita Sanchez Educational Complex), Marcel Mensah (student leader, Providence Student Union), Zack Mezera (executive director, Providence Student Union), Xilian Sansoucy (student leader, Classical High School), Roselin Trinidad (student leader, Providence Student Union) Moderator: Stephen Abbott (director of communications, Great Schools Partnership)

Presentation
Contact
Materials

NESSC States

Connecticut Sessions

Baby Steps: Make Proficiency-Based Learning and Assessment Happen in Your Classroom NOW

Academy of Information Technology & Engineering, Stamford, CT

To many educators, transitioning to proficiency-based learning and assessment is a natural and inevitable step toward authentic student-centered education. It’s a step that can increase student engagement, simplify differentiation, and—best of all—ensure that students graduate with content mastery and intellectual self-sufficiency. The problem is that school-wide transitioning to a new proficiency-based model presents challenges that can take years to overcome. The good news is that you don’t have to wait. In this presentation, four teachers from the Academy of Information Technology & Engineering, a public magnet high school, will show participants how they can bring the benefits of proficiency-based learning and assessment to their students, in their own classroom, today. 

In this session, participants will learn strategies and methods for implementing a proficiency-based model by adapting content sequence, classroom instruction, homework strategies, assessments, and grade books—all the while complying with Connecticut’s new teacher-evaluation system.

Session
Thursday, March 26 | 2:15 pm
Presenters

Paul LaQuesse (math teacher), Jeanne Lauer (business and technology teacher), Michelle Pusser (social studies teacher), Vin Urbanowski (math teacher)

Contact

Vin Urbanowski, vurbanowski@aitestamford.org

Engaging and Motivating High School Students through Student-Centered Learning

Meriden Public Schools, Meriden, CT

In this session, Meriden Public Schools will showcase the implementation of student-centered approaches at Maloney and Platt high schools that have been supported by the Nellie Mae Education Foundation through a New Approaches in Urban Districts grant. Presenters will highlight the schools’ blended-learning environments as well as student-created, personalized-learning experiences that allow students to develop skills that promote college and career readiness. Administrators, principals, teachers, and students will share their first-hand experiences learning and working in this innovative environment, and participants will hear directly from students who have advocated for and embraced these changes.

Participants will learn how teaching and learning have changed the classroom, how it is being extended outside the classroom walls and into the homes and greater community, and how this shift led to an improved school climate and culture in which student voice and community participation are encouraged. By putting students in the center, all districts can engage, motivate, and inspire lifelong learners.

Session
Friday, March 27 | 9:15 am + 10:45 am
Presenters

Robert Angeli (associate superintendent for instruction), Mark Benigni (superintendent of schools), Mark Britton (teacher, Francis T. Maloney High School), Justin Duran (student, Francis T. Maloney High School), James Flynn (teacher, Orville H. Platt High School), Barbara Haeffner (director of curriculum and instructional technology), Jasmine McLeish (student, Orville H. Platt High School), Dante Solano (student, Francis T. Maloney High School), Jennifer Straub (principal, Francis T. Maloney High School), Jacqualyn Townsend (student, Orville H. Platt High School)

Presentation
Contact

Mark D. Benigni, mark.benigni@meridenk12.org

Scoring Big: Designing and Implementing Successful Standards-Based Assessments

Naugatuck High School, Naugatuck, CT

You’ve got great teachers, great standards, and a nicely aligned curriculum—but how do you know they’re all working together to provide a rigorous academic program aimed at student success? Assessments, both formative and summative, can validate work and measure student achievement. In this session, a variety of assessment strategies will be shared, and data will be examined and critiqued for its usefulness in not only tracking student learning growth over time, but also in determining whether specific teacher-created assessments are valid and reliable as reporting instruments for student learning growth and achievement. In this session, the presenters will review assessments that encourage inquiry and critical thinking as well as the rubrics developed to capture student progress and achievement. Participants will hear from students and teachers and engage in activities that will help them create better assessment instruments and performance tasks that align with standards and help students build their skills in an environment of continuous improvement and growth.

Participants can expect to learn how to create rigorous assessments with rubrics designed to measure standards and provide reliable data on student learning growth. 

Sessions
Thursday, March 26 | 3:45 pm; Friday, March 27 | 9:15 am
Presenters

Caroline Gordon Messenger (director of curriculum), Emily Leone (world language teacher), Courtney Perrotti (English teacher)

Presentation
Contact

Caroline Messenger, messengc@naugy.net

Transforming a Structured Classroom to a Personalized Learning Environment

New Fairfield Middle School, New Fairfield , CT

New Fairfield Middle School implemented a 1:1 technology initiative three years ago that has allowed for the transformation of 24/7 learning and increased student voice and choice.  In this session, the presenters will discuss how personalized instruction has been embedded in the core subjects, and in music, art, and language courses, using the blended-learning model, learning menus, genius hour, and other strategies. A panel of teachers will also discuss how these strategies have transformed their classes into personalized-learning environments within a structured day as they share stories of successes and failures. Student-work examples will be discussed and classroom videos will be shared so participants can observe the student learning experience from their perspective.

Participants will leave this session with strategies that can be implemented the next day in their own classrooms. These strategies will prepare teachers for classroom transformation and allow for students to have voice and choice in every class, every day.

Session
Friday, March 27 | 10:45 am + 1:15 pm
Presenters

Christine Baldelli (principal), Mary Fuller (Spanish teacher), Nelson Guizzo (teacher), Kristen Lee (math teacher), Cherly Milo (assistant principal), Joel Pardalis (English teacher)

Presentation
Contact

Maine Sessions

Making Learning Stick: Leveraging Community Resources to Develop Project-Based, Interdisciplinary Pathways

Deer Isle-Stonington High School, Deer Isle, ME

After raising its graduation rate from 57% in 2009 to more than 90% each of the past three school years, Deer Isle-Stonington High School found itself confronted with a new challenge. To maintain the rigor and integrity of its diploma and ensure that all graduates were college and career ready, the school decided to confront a perceived lack of student engagement head-on. By using existing community resources and deep collaboration with a wide range of community partners, Deer Isle-Stonington High School is building three project-based, interdisciplinary, thematic pathways in marine studies, the arts, and health care that will engage students in authentic study in the community, while also helping them meet rigorous core content-area requirements. Each pathway combines student interest and resources that already exist in the community to make challenging academic content accessible to all students as they become lifelong learners.

Participants will learn about several strategies they can use to identify and collaborate with community partners in the design and delivery of interdisciplinary, project-based learning experiences.

Sessions
Thursday, March 26 | 3:45 pm; Friday, March 27 | 10:45 am
Presenters

Marion Austin (English teacher), Leslie Billings (math and special-education teacher), Liam Griffith (student), Carla Guenther (community partner), Jennifer Larrabee (parent and community partner), Elliott Nevells (student), Todd West (principal)

Presentation
Contact

Todd West, toddwest@dishs.org

Data, Information, Action! Using Results to Drive Improvement

Foxcroft Academy, Dover Foxcroft, ME

In working to implement a collaborative professional learning community model for professional development and school improvement, Foxcroft Academy leverages PowerSchool and PowerTeacher Gradebook to gather data on students, assessments, standards, and courses. Linking outcomes with demographics such as grade level, gender, and free and reduced-price lunch eligibility has provided powerful opportunities to reflect on its programs and personalize learning for students. In this session, the presenters will share classroom-based and school-wide processes for turning data into information and acting upon it to improve outcomes for students.

While the presentation will be grounded in specific software solutions, participants will leave with several processes for using data systems and applications to enhance proficiency-based learning in the classroom and improve patterns of performance throughout the school.

Sessions
Thursday, March 26 | 3:45 pm; Friday, March 27 | 1:15 pm
Presenters

Jonathan Pratt (assistant head of school for academics), Robert Weber (teacher), Bridget Wright (teacher and leadership team member)

Presentation
Contact

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy

Regional School Unit 2, Hallowell, ME

Regional School Unit 2 is a K–12 school system in its fourth year of transitioning to proficiency-based learning. This interactive presentation will focus in on a day in the life of a teacher in a proficiency-based, student-centered public school. The presenters will pose a set of questions to participants in the room, facilitate short discussions at tables, and then show short videos of middle and high school teachers from RSU 2 answering the same questions. We will also have teachers Skyping in to answer questions as they come up. Time will be provided for questions to the whole group at the end of the session.

Participants will leave with links to videos from RSU 2 that they can share with their staff during the exciting—but often stressful—transition to a proficiency-based system.

Sessions
Thursday, March 26 | 3:45 pm; Friday, March 27 | 9:15 am
Presenters

Richard Amero (principal, Monmouth Academy), Steve Lavoie (principal, Richmond High School), Matthew Shea (coordinator of student achievement, RSU 2), Mark Tinkham (principal, Hall-Dale High School)

Presentation
Contact

Matthew Shea, mshea@kidsrsu.org

Forcing the Issue: How a New Grading and Reporting Tool Is Transforming Instructional Practice

South Portland High School, South Portland, ME

For ten years, South Portland School District undertook a transition to proficiency-based grading practices, moving from its elementary schools into the middle schools and high school. Teachers and administrators read and discussed the relevant literature, listened to various speakers, and researched transitions in other schools. While the district embraced certain tenets of proficiency-based grading, actual implementation stalled. School and district administrators wanted to focus on changes in instructional practice, but teachers rightly stated that there was no efficient and thoughtful way to track and report data in a proficiency-based environment. But when the district implemented a new tool to do just that—one that supports mastery tracking by standards—the need to shift instructional practice became apparent to all. The conversation evolved, as it should, from theory and logistics to what really matters: instruction.

In this session, participants will learn about the steps our district took to implement a proficiency-based system for teaching and learning, with special focus on the changes to instruction, the importance of formative assessment, the separation of student behavior from academic achievement, and the use of proficiency-focused data.

Sessions
Thursday, March 26 | 2:15 pm; Friday, March 27 | 9:15 am
Presenters

Rebecca Brown (director of curriculum, instruction and assessment), Ryan Caron (principal), Suzanne Godin (superintendent)

Presentation
Contact

Rebecca Brown, brownre@spsd.org

New Hampshire Sessions

Prove It! Using Student Portfolios as Evidence of Proficiency

Great Bay Charter School, Exeter, NH

This interactive and informal session will help participants understand the power of the student portfolio as a means of demonstrating proficiency. We will explore how to coach students in the accumulation and presentation of evidence; how literacy across the curriculum is a best practice in curriculum, instruction, and assessment in today’s educational environment; and how student self-reflection and self-assessment should become the foundation for improved achievement at all levels. Presenters will also share a variety of requirements and recommendations for a portfolio program. Understanding parental concerns and involving parents in the portfolio process will also be addressed, and time will be provided for those in attendance to share ideas, concerns, and experiences. 

Participants will leave with an understanding of how to support students as they become partners in the portfolio process, and tools that will help them use portfolios, incorporate literacy across the curriculum, and expect self-reflections in their schools or classrooms.

Session
Thursday, March 26 | 2:15 pm + 3:45 pm
Presenters

Cheryl York McDonough (executive director), Peter Stackhouse (executive director)

Presentation
Contact

Cheryl McDonough, cmcdonough@gbecs.org
Peter Stackhouse, pstackhouse@gbecs.org

The Stages of Student Empowerment: Building Voices of Authenticity and Integrity

Making Community Connections Charter School, Manchester, NH

Developing a school culture that values the student perspective, and embraces it as a critical component of effective learning, takes skill, patience, and commitment. Moving beyond student voice to embrace students as partners in co-creating a community of learning calls for knowledge of the developmental stages of empowerment and the leadership skills for nurturing youth and adults through those stages. Staff and students from Making Community Connections Charter School will share the successes and challenges they experienced on their journey to student empowerment.

Participants will learn about the structures and processes that MC2 used to engage community members in shaping the decisions that impact their lives.

Session
Friday, March 27 | 10:45 am + 1:15 pm
Presenters

Angela Hinkle (advisor/teacher), Eddie Marceau (school leader), Nate Townsend (advisor/teacher), MC2 Students

Presentation
Contact

Kim Carter, kcarter@mc2school.org

A Collaborative Approach to Dropout Prevention: It’s All About the KID!

North Country Charter Academy, Littleton, NH

North Country Charter Academy is a mission-driven public charter school collaborating with ten school districts to solve an intractable dropout problem. The school offers a personalized, competency-based curriculum that utilizes a blended, distance-learning model in which students work independently and at their own pace in a brick-and-mortar building with the support of a certified teaching staff. Students are provided multiple pathways and opportunities by which to complete high school, and they earn credit when they demonstrate mastery of subject matter. Over the past ten years, the model has contributed significantly to a 74% reduction in the number of dropouts in Grafton and Coos Counties in Northern New Hampshire and has graduated a total of 362 students – 78 of which had been prior high school dropouts.

Participants will leave this session with a clear understanding of how the North Country model operates and how they can adapt this model for use in any type of educational setting.

Sessions
Thursday, March 26 | 3:45 pm; Friday, March 27 | 9:15 am
Presenters

Scott Kleinschrodt (center director), Lisa Lavoie (principal), Greg Williams (Teacher), Lynne Grigelevich (Registrar)

Presentation
Contact

Getting to 1:1: A Story of Planning and Progress

Winnacunnet High School, Hampton, NH

This session will explore Winnacunnet High School as a case study for the transition to 1:1 Chromebooks for students. The presenters will discuss planning, logistics, budget, professional development, community involvement, library involvement, and assistive technology. The presenters will also examine case studies of other schools undergoing similar transitions, including Windham in New Hampshire, Burlington in Massachusetts, and MSAD 60 in Maine.

Participants will leave the session with a stronger understanding of the key barriers and assets in a successful 1:1 deployment, strategies for professional development in technology, and the merits and drawbacks of specific device deployments.

Session
Thursday, March 26 | 2:15 pm
Presenters

David Hobbs, Ed.D. (technology integrator, Winnacunnet High School + lecturer, UNH Department of Education)

Presentation
Contact

Rhode Island Sessions

Our School-Wide Journey Toward a Growth Mindset

Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School, Coventry, RI

Fostering a growth mindset among all stakeholders is an integral component of our vision at Feinstein Middle School. We are confident, that with the right training and supports, a growth mindset can help students, teachers, and parents cultivate the belief that all students can grow their intelligence, enhance their abilities, and develop an inner resilience and motivation to strive for excellence. In an effort to embrace our vision and encourage students to take on challenges, learn from their mistakes, and view effort as the road to success, we have embarked on a school-wide, growth-mindset journey. Through a faculty book study and parent study group, weekly administrative newsletters, and a renewed advisory focus, the mindset of the school community is starting to shift.

Participants will learn how we began to transform our thinking and leave with strategies for fostering a growth mindset among all stakeholders in their school community.

Sessions
Thursday, March 26 | 2:15 pm; Friday, March 27 | 1:15 pm
Presenters

Sandra Clunan (RtI/professional development coordinator), Lori LeBrun (school counselor), Arthur Lisi (principal), Abby Paon (science teacher)

Presentation

Walk the Walk: A Blended-Learning Approach to Student-Centered Learning

Highlander Institute, Warren, RI

Flexibility, critical thinking, collaboration: these are the skills most essential for success in today’s—and tomorrow’s—ever-changing world. As educators, it’s our job to ensure that students are ready to shine and have the ability to grow the personal agency they will need to shape their future and the world. Yet many educational systems continue to educate students using the learning tools and concepts of the 19th century. Highlander High School is a recent expansion of the popular student-centered Highlander Charter School. At Highlander High, all students create Graduation Roadmaps that plot a personal learning journey centered on pace, place, and path, and they are required to create, execute, and complete an expanded learning opportunity (ELO) each year. During this workshop, the presenters will explore student-centered learning through the lens of ELOs.

Following a blended-learning model, participants will be situated like students in participatory learning experience. They will leave knowing more about blended learning and ELOs, and—most importantly—what it feels like to be a student in this ever-changing educational space.

Session
Friday, March 27 | 9:15 am + 10:45 am
Presenters

Dana Borrelli-Murray (executive director, Highlander Institute), Brian Folan (ELO coordinator, Highlander Charter School), Rose Mary Grant (head of school, Highlander Charter School), Simona Simpson (director of multiple pathways, Highlander Charter School)

Presentation
Contact

Dana Borrelli-Murray, dborrelli@highlanderinstitute.org

Student-Directed Senior Projects: Lessons from Year One

North Smithfield High School, North Smithfield, RI

With the support of district leadership, a group of teachers and administrators undertook the design of a senior project to replace an existing portfolio assessment—a two-year process that entailed in-depth conversations with various stakeholders about the project’s purpose and scope. During the design phase, the team did their best to anticipate challenges and issues, and during implementation they tried to continuously reflect on what was successful and unsuccessful. Looking back on the first year, it’s clear that the senior project successfully delivered a rigorous personalized-learning experience for students that afforded them the opportunity to experience a self-directed, interest-driven project. Based on  multiple sources of data collected throughout the year, the team is also convinced that the project will need to be fine-tuned over time.

Participants will leave this presentation with a comprehensive overview of the lessons that one school learned when designing and implementing a senior project.

Session
Thursday, March 26 | 2:15 pm + 3:45 pm
Presenters

Robert Mezzanotte (principal), Karen Ryan (English teacher/senior project coordinator), Students

Presentation
Contact

Robert Mezzanote, rmezzanotte@nsps.us

What It Really Takes: Creating Authentic School-Community Partnerships that Empower Students

Woonsocket High School, Woonsocket, RI

Effective partnerships take a surprising amount of time to develop and ongoing practice to maintain. Programs predicated on effective partnerships will result in an explosion of positive, and often unintended, side effects—a primary indicator that the partnerships are authentic. Many good initiatives don’t get off the ground or reach the heights they merit due to cultural disconnects, power dynamics, and a host of other possible factors. Using a multimodal panel format, a diverse band of underdogs will share how they created a best-practice showcase for a whole state that is now influencing much larger institutions, and how this showcase resulted in wins for all players—especially the students.

In this session, participants will learn about recipes and techno pop, rivers and crash dummies, legislative luck, troublesome teens, and the mysterious untapped powers and resources in their own back yard that can create a win-win-win situation for their schools, students, and communities!

Sessions
Thursday, March 26 | 2:15 pm; Friday, March 27 | 10:45 am
Presenters

Karen Barbosa (ELO Woonsocket director, Riverzedge Arts), Bradley Fesmire (artistic director, Riverzedge Arts), Rebekah Greenwald (executive director, Riverzedge Arts)

Presentation
Contact

Vermont Sessions

A Sample System for Proficiency-Based Learning in the Classroom

Burlington High School, Burlington, VT

This session will introduce participants to the key elements of proficiency-based learning through an in-depth investigation of the instructional process in a high school chemistry course. The presenters will describe a flexible instructional cycle that includes frequent formative assessment and a balance of whole-class instruction and personalized time for practice, re-teaching, tutoring, and extension work. They will also share systems and strategies that teachers can use to manage highly differentiated classrooms, empower students to monitor their own learning, and create a growth-mindset culture. Additional examples from the humanities, mathematics, world languages, ELL classes, and other scientific disciplines will also be discussed to illustrate how Burlington High School teachers are applying proficiency-based structures across the curriculum.

Participants will leave with concrete strategies and an array of materials they can adapt in their own classrooms, and ample time will be provided for participants to ask questions and participate in discussion.

Session
Friday, March 27 | 10:45 am + 1:15 pm
Presenters

Amy Dickson (teacher learning coordinator), Molly Heath (science teacher)

Presentation
Contact

Amy Dickson, amy@partnershipvt.org

No Citizen Left Behind: How Student Voice Transformed a Civics Course

Harwood Union Middle and High School, Moretown, VT

Who can help America’s youth develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required to become active and informed citizens? The answer is clear: our schools! In this session, participants will learn about the transformation of a tenth-grade civics course when the teacher stopped listening to tradition and began listening to students. Participants will learn how a shift toward proficiency-based education ushered in a series of powerful changes that were developed, with the help of students, to improve teaching and learning, including deliberative democratic dialogue that builds collective wisdom; assessment policies that encourage greater risk-taking, effort, and growth; lessons on political and media literacy; experiential learning opportunities and the use of the natural world as a classroom; authentic tasks and real-world projects; and greater parental and community involvement through the use of social media.

Participants will be guided through an interactive dialogue designed to help them rethink their own practice and share their thoughts with the larger group.

Session
Thursday, March 26 | 2:15 pm + 3:45 pm
Presenters

Omar Batah (student), Haley Hammond (student), Matt Henchen (civics educator), Emma Jean (student), Cole Lavoie (student), Amy Rex (administrator), Mallory Wright (student)

Presentation
Contact

Matt Henchen, mhenchen@wwsu.org

Tech-Transformed Teaching and Learning: The Lancer One Initiative

Lamoille Union Middle and High School, Hyde Park, VT

In a 2012 survey of students, administrators and technology integrators found that almost 50% of Lamoille Union Middle and High School students did not have access to a digital device outside of school. And in school teachers were waiting weeks to use technology in classes and opportunities for personalization and differentiation were limited. Visitors walking through the halls today, however, will see students and teachers accessing and using technology to communicate, create, and engage in 21st century learning. The Lancer One project provided an iPad to each student in grades 7–12 and helped transform the school by focusing on four specific goals: universal access, spontaneous learning, equity, and personalized learning.

Participants will leave with a model of technology-based transformation, including examples of what this change looks like and how it was implemented.

Session
Friday, March 27 | 9:15 am + 10:45 am
Presenters

Amber Carbine-March (science teacher), Marc Gilbertson (technology integration), Brian Schaffer (principal)

Presentation
Contact

Brian Schaffer, bschaffer@luhs18.org

Student Voice, Choice, and Action: Global Studies and STEM

Rutland High School, VT

At Rutland High School, students have the option to participate in the Global Studies Concentration, the STEM Concentration, or both. These concentrations allow students to pursue their passion for the world and the challenges we face today. In this session, the presenters will discuss how the concentrations were developed, the various options for choice and voice that are offered to students, and how the concentrations impact student learning—both in and out of the classroom. The presenters will also discuss how students are encouraged to take meaningful action on global issues that affect us all. The school’s Global Issues Network Conference, which attracts more than 1,000 students, will also be highlighted as an example of student leadership and civic action.

Participants will leave with a clear understanding of how these programs promote student voice and choice in the school, and how they encourage students to take action on the pressing issues that affect their community and the world.

Session
Friday, March 27, 9:15am
Presenters

Shannon Adams (student), Matt Burd (student), Marsha Cassel (teacher), Jennifer Kravitz (teacher), Claire Olsen (student), Erica Wallstrom (teacher)

Presentation
Contact

Jennifer Kravitz, jkravitz@rutlandhs.k12.vt.us

Beyond NESSC

PD of the Teachers, by the Teachers, for the Teachers

Jobs for the Future, Boston, MA

Is student-centered learning only for students? Or do the same principles apply to adult professional development? Students at the Center, a Jobs for the Future initiative, in partnership with the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, brought practicing teachers together with a university professor to explore student-centered learning concepts. Teachers then transformed research on motivation, engagement, self-regulation, and student voice into teacher-created, learner-centered professional development modules, resulting in four “off the shelf” professional development modules exploring how practitioners can implement researched-based practices.

In this session, one of the participating educators will discuss the module-development process, as well as model a lesson from the student engagement module. Participants will leave this session with a sample module with links to the full series, along with advice on implementing teacher-created, learner-centered professional development.

Sessions
Thursday, March 26 | 2:15 pm; Friday, March 27 | 1:15 pm
Presenters

Tobi Baker-Wright (senior program director, Jobs for the Future), Chris Willems (science teacher, Metropolitan Business Academy)

Contact

Sarah Hatton, shatton@jff.org

It’s Not Enough to Give Them What They Need: Self-Advocacy and Student Ownership in Learning

Parker Charter Essential School, Devens, MA

Teaching in a multi-age, heterogeneously grouped, and integrated math and science classroom requires teachers to address the needs of a wide range of learners. It serves as a good model for educators who are being presented with an ever-increasing population of diverse learners and being asked to meet individual needs. Attempting to assess, address, and meet the needs of each learner is just not enough—schools must also teach students the skills of self advocacy, reflective learning, and self-assessment so that they can take ownership of their learning. As good as it sounds, this is challenging work. In this session, the presenters will share their process for developing a new model for learning—one created through a prepared learning environment where students use supports and intentional tools that personalize learning and assessments, meet diverse learner needs, and promote growth in habits of learning.

Participants will have an opportunity to identify and discuss the factors that are stopping their students from taking greater responsibility over their learning, and the group will brainstorm tools that can be immediately implemented in the classroom.

Session
Friday, March 27 | 10:45 am + 1:15 pm
Presenters

Julie Carr (special education teacher), Nathan Soule (math science and technology teacher), Tiffany Testa (math science and technology teacher)

Contact

Tiffany Testa, ttesta@parker.org

Teacher-Driven, Student-Centered Learning

Revere High School, Revere, MA

Are you interested in connecting all of the initiatives at your school to create a more student-centered focus? Flipped learning strategies help to build the comprehensive approach to student achievement that all schools aspire to by demanding more student accountability and increasing opportunities for mentor-mentee relationships between students and teachers. In this session, presenters will dive into the theory behind flipped classrooms, explore lesson plans, and provide valuable resources to support this model of teaching school-wide.

Participants will learn how an urban school in Massachusetts used the Common Core, 1:1 iPads, and flipped learning to effectively deliver rigorous and advanced coursework that improves access and opportunities for a diverse population of learners, while simultaneously using professional development to change the school culture.

Sessions
Thursday, March 26 | 3:45 pm; Friday, March 27 | 9:15 am
Presenters

Antonio Cinelli (teacher), Leeanne Collura (teacher), Charles Willis (teacher)

Presentation
Contact

Charles Willis, cwillis@revere.mec.edu

NESSC

How Do You Know? Ensuring Scoring Criteria Are Clear and Aligned

Great Schools Partnership, Portland, ME

So your school has a set of common learning standards for students: Now what’s next? While standards are the foundation of high-quality instruction in a proficiency-based system, teachers also need a common definition of “proficiency” that can be consistently applied from assessment to assessment, lesson to lesson, and course to course. The process of developing scoring criteria can also help educators build a shared understanding of effective formative and summative assessment, and a stronger understanding of what quality student work looks like.

In this session, participants will engage in a series of activities that will help them learn about the role of scoring criteria in a personalized, proficiency-based learning system. Participants will also leave with a set of tools and guidelines for developing scoring criteria in their school.

Session
Friday, March 27 | 10:45 am
Presenters

Angela Hardy (senior associate, Great Schools Partnership), Katie Thompson (senior associate, Great Schools Partnership)

Contact

Maximizing Professional Learning: Taking PLGs to the Next Level

Great Schools Partnership, Portland, ME

An extensive and growing body of research has shown that professional learning groups provide highly effective professional development for educators—when they are well designed, well facilitated, and supported by their schools. In this session, presenters and participants will explore the most effective ways to focus PLGs on building capacity in teachers as they implement personalized, proficiency-based teaching and learning in schools / districts.

The session is open to all, though targeted toward schools with PLGs already in place. We will identify some of the ways schools and PLG members can inadvertently erode their PLGs’ efficacy, and then turn our attention to the must-have practices and norms that ensure PLGs’ impacts on teaching and learning.

Session
Thursday, March 26, 2:15pm
Presenters

Craig Kesselheim (senior associate, Great Schools Partnership), Becky Wilusz (senior associate, Great Schools Partnership)

Contact

Standards-Based Grading: Separating Academic Achievement and Habits of Work

Great Schools Partnership, Portland, ME

Over the past decade, the foremost researchers and experts on grading—including Ken O’Connor, Thomas Guskey, Robert Marzano, Douglas Reeves, Rick Stiggins, Rick Wormeli, and others—have come to agreement on one of the most important practices for improving instructional effectiveness and student learning: monitoring and reporting academic achievement separately from work habits, character traits, and behaviors such as attendance, class participation, and turning work in on time.

In this session, participants will learn about habits-of-work reporting and how the practice can help teachers more accurately diagnose learning needs and improve academic interventions and support. Participants will also learn how to communicate the rationale for separating work habits from content knowledge and skills in grading, and how to engage students, faculty, families, and community members in the process.

Session
Friday, March 27 | 9:15 am
Presentation

Talking About Proficiency: What You Need to Know

Great Schools Partnership, Portland, ME

In Visible Learning for Teachers—which is based on a study of more than 900 meta-analyses representing well over 50,000 research articles and 240 million students—John Hattie describes what students want more than anything else in feedback they receive from teachers: they want to know how to improve their work so they can do better next time. Although many teachers incorporate formative assessment into their practice, these assessments don’t always give students the detailed feedback they want and need, and teachers don’t always use formative information to modify instruction. In this session, participants will explore the three elements that can increase the effectiveness of formative assessments: (1) using learning targets well, (2) giving valuable feedback, and (3) creating opportunities for re-teaching, interventions, and support in both classroom and school-wide practice.
In this session, participants will learn about a variety of structures and practices they can use to help students improve their work, strengthen their skills, and accelerate their learning.

Session
Friday, March 27 | 1:15 pm
Presenters

Kate Gardoqui (senior associate, Great Schools Partnership), Ken Templeton (senior associate, Great Schools Partnership)

Presentation

Talking About Proficiency: What You Need to Know

Great Schools Partnership, Portland, ME

The transition to proficiency-based learning is one of the most important educational strategies being pursued by numerous schools across New England and the country. Yet while nearly everyone agrees that higher academic achievement and stronger student preparation are absolutely essential in today’s world, explaining the rationale behind learning standards and proficiency-based diplomas, or describing new approaches to instruction, assessment, grading, and reporting, can quickly pose a tricky communications dilemma for educators.

In this session, the presenters will discuss a variety of research-based strategies that will help school leaders and educators increase understanding of proficiency-based learning in their communities, including the construction of a compelling narrative, the power of metaphors and specific examples, and the use of language that speaks to the values of parents, families, and community members. Participants will leave with a stronger understanding of how to talk about proficiency-based learning in ways that are comprehensible and compelling to a wide variety of audiences.

Session
Thursday, March 26 | 3:45 pm
Presenters

Stephen Abbott (director of communications, Great Schools Partnership), Blythe Armitage (communications associate, Great Schools Partnership)

Contact
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