I met with the principal of Soot High School to discuss several teachers she was concerned about. Student engagement in these classrooms was very low. I observed the teachers and conducted several rounds of coaching with them. I provided them with feedback on student engagement and new strategies they could use to build relationships with students. The teachers wanted to meet after school in a group to learn more strategies, which we did. Student engagement in these classrooms increased.
Marks School contacted me because they were struggling with student behavior. I designed a 3 hour workshop for them that led them through the process of reflecting on their own assumptions and biases, then increasing their understanding of others, and concluding with the introduction of specific strategies they can implement. The workshop had teachers individually reflecting, working in small groups and watching video clips and discussing them.
Here are some comments from teachers about what they appreciated about the workshop:
A network of schools wanted their teachers to be more innovative in the classroom, helping students to be more creative. I collaborated with a colleague to present a 3 day series of workshops that gave teachers the tools to use design thinking in their instruction.
Feedback from the training:
An International Baccalaureate school with the Primary Years Programme was interested in helping teachers refine their understanding of inquiry instruction. I developed a series of learning experiences that I facilitated during grade level meetings over the course of 6 weeks. Through ongoing conversations, teachers learned the differences between unit-based instruction and inquiry instruction, building up their strategy toolkit, and applying their new learning by designing inquiry units of study.
A school was interested in becoming an International Baccalaureate school, but wanted to know what inquiry instruction was prior to making that commitment. I worked with the principal to design six 2 hour workshops to help them to make their decision to become a candidate for IB. During each workshop, the staff went through a mini-inquiry cycle, similar to what they will be doing with their students on a regular basis. After the series, the staff enthusiastically decided to apply to IB.
Max School realized that all of their teachers were teaching the subject of Reading differently, and how that could account for the dramatic variation in student performance in reading. I created a 40 hour guided reading course that included the basics of balanced literacy, forms of assessment, the elements of reading workshop, text selection, and assessment analysis. Teachers were given 5 release days over the course of two months to take the course.
Feedback on the workshop from teachers include:
A network of schools was concerned with the low student achievement they were seeing in the primary grades. I designed a day long workshop for principals and administrators to help them better understand how to support the youngest learners. Participants read research and developed tools to use to help teachers plan developmentally appropriate learning opportunities for their students. They left with resources that they could use the following day.
Some comments about the workshop include:
The principal at the Delta School was new to the community. He realized that the school did not have a year-long assessment plan. I worked with him and his administrative team to create a draft of an assessment plan that he shared with teachers. The teachers made their modifications and suggestions and we created a second and final version. The school went on to use this tool to shape how they evaluated student performance, collected data and used data.
Teachers at the Morning School had limited experience giving individualized reading assessments. They didn’t want to administer them because they thought it took too long and took away teaching time. I worked with teachers during after school sessions, teaching them how to administer individualized assessments, showing them how they could use this goldmine of information to plan their reading instruction more effectively. Student reading performance increased over the several years that the school used this approach.
Families at Glisen School told their principal that they were interested in figuring out how to work more collaboratively with the teaching staff. I came in to meet with a few parents to find out what their hopes were and drafted an agenda I shared with them. I then shared this agenda with staff to find out what additional information would be useful to share with families, and made changes based on their feedback. I then developed a workshop for families that outlined how they would ideally communicate with teachers and the principal, how they could help with homework, how they could help out with what was happening in the classroom and how to get involved with special projects. Parents and teachers were extremely appreciative to have this new information.
Belle School found themselves to be quite frustrated. Teachers felt uncomfortable saying anything that the administration would disagree with for fear of consequences. Great teachers were unhappy and wanted to leave. The principal called me in as a neutral third party. I created a day-long workshop that had teachers and the principal engaging in role playing scenarios, practicing specific language that people were comfortable with. It was a challenging and enjoyable workshop. When I see the principal and teachers now, years after the workshop, they share their favorite prompts that they took from the workshop to use in their everyday language. This workshop shifted the culture of communication at Belle School.
Silva School wanted to promote healthy communication between students and teachers, students and students, and students and adults. I facilitated two 2-hour workshops for them on a method of communication that helps them to make observations (as opposed to judgments), identify their feelings and needs, and then make requests of others. Participants were eager to take these tools and apply them in their everyday lives. After the training, teachers reflected that they are learning how to be kinder and less judgmental of themselves and others.
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