#ASCD12-The Press Room

2012 OYEA winners

The ASCD conference was in Philadelphia this year making it very convenient for my HHSD colleagues and me to attend the three day event. My friend, Joyce Valenza, and I traveled to and from the conference every day and this is how I came to have the most unexpected and delightful conference experience.

As a blogger (and friend of Joyce), I was invited to participate in the press room activities. The perks of this experience were:

(1) Saturday I shared lunch and spoke with Matt McClure, superintendent of Cross County Schools in Cherry Valley, Ark., and Liliana Aguas, a teacher at Leconte Elementary School in Berkeley, Calif., winners of the association’s prestigious 2012 Outstanding Young Educator Award (OYEA). Both are amazing.

“As superintendent of Cross County Schools, Matt McClure has tackled the challenges of a rural school district and instituted an effective school turnaround program focused on the whole child. During his time as superintendent, McClure led a school revitalization process that effectively improved student achievement by turning around all the schools in his district from School Improvement Status to successful schools that focus on teaching standards that are relevant to students and have a real-world connection. In addition to improving district academics, McClure has instituted daily physical fitness classes, homework help, student tutoring, and enrichment activities that keep learning fun and students engaged.

During his time as superintendent, McClure also opened Arkansas’s first New Tech school and oversaw the opening of a medical facility on a school campus built to serve both students and community members. The Arkansas Department of Education has recognized McClure’s district as a Coordinated School Health district, and each weekend schools send home backpacks full of healthy foods to families in need. The district also offers an after-school program with cooking classes so the students can prepare and serve healthy snacks.” ASCD

“Liliana Aguas, is a 2nd grade dual-language immersion teacher at Leconte Elementary School in Berkeley, Calif. Aguas is committed to educating the whole child by promoting a genuine sense of community where students learn cooperatively, are intellectually challenged, and have their learning needs met through differentiated instruction. Aguas’s students participate in activities that promote self-discovery, such as creative writing, reader’s theater, and multicultural literature exploration. Aguas also creates a classroom environment that promotes student discovery of surrounding culture, bilingualism, and social justice.

Aguas’ classroom is a living environment designed for project-based learning, featuring a native plant garden and a tadpole and caterpillar habitat. Recently, Aguas held an international fair for her students and parents with poster presentations and a potluck, featuring dishes and music from the different countries the students researched. Aguas establishes strong partnerships with her students’ families and hosts “cafecitos,” or coffee time, with her Spanish-speaking parents.” ASCD

(2) Sunday I participated in a round-table with several ASCD authors including Heidi Hayes Jacobs. Joyce has permitted me to post her recording of the discussion we shared with Ms. Hayes Jacobs.

Interview with Heidi Hayes Jacobs from Joyce Valenza on Vimeo.

To hear and see more ASCD authors click here: ASCD Talks with an Author

(3) What I found most interesting and fun about serving in the press room were the other bloggers. Many of these people I follow-they are part of my PLN and I met them in person. I felt like a Justin Beiber groupie must feel! I heard myself say several times, “Oh my gosh-I read your blog/twitter feed all the time. I can’t believe I’m actually meeting you!”

Here are the educators that I enjoyed talking to in the press room:

Lyn Hilt 

Twitter: @L_Hilt Blog: the principal’s posts Lyn’s post on the ASCD conference: Relationships, passion and the pursuit of learning

Mary Beth Hertz

Twitter: @mbteach Blog: PhillyTeacher Mary Beth’s posts on the ASCD conference: A Conversation with ASCD’s Young Educators of the Year, Differentiated Instruction and the Brain, Sunday Sessions, Saturday Sessions,

Tony Baldasaro

Twitter: @baldy7 Blog: TransLeadership Tony’s posts on the ASCD conference: Connectedness, Sharing and Elegance, Cellphones in the K-12 Classroom, They’re Coming from the Cloud, The Checklist Manifesto

Tom Whitby

Twitter: @tomwhitby Founder of #edchat  Blog: My Island View Tom’s posts on the ASCD conference: Opening Day, Winding Down

Eric Sheninger

Twitter: @NMHS_Principal, Blog: EricSheninger Eric’s posts on the ASCD conference: Shifts and Issues Associated with the Common Core, Global Competencies and the Common Core

Jason Flom

Twitter: @JasonFlom Blog: Ecology of Education  Jason’s post on the ASCD conference: Making Mobile Meaningful

Thanks to all for welcoming me in the press room.

Thanks to my friend Joyce Valenza (Twitter: @joycevalenza, Blog: NeverEndingSearch) for my invitation to the press room. Joyce’s post on the ASCD conference: Part 1: A conversation with Heidi Hayes Jacobs. Part 2: Interviews with two inspiring young educators.

When I was not in the press room, I attended several great presentations. I’ve been studying eportfolios this year and found a great learning centered portfolio in Williston, VT. I also learned a lot about social networking and it’s impact on learning. More on what I learned on these topics to come…

Cultivating Awe: Tending to the mind fires of 21st century educators

I “met” Dave Rothacker last year as a result of our mutual concern about student success after high school-in other words, we’re both interested in career development. Dave recently wrote  about my work on his blog Cultivating Awe. Dave, I am humbled. And thank you for calling attention to this important work.

Zsuefox21stcenturywordcloud

Suburban Schools Study Council Meeting

The Suburban Schools Study Council membership includes current and retired school superintendents from Bucks and Montgomery (Pennsylvania) counties. My school district superintendent asked me to speak about community based learning at a recent council meeting. I was humbled and proud to have this invitation. My presentation and slide notes:

Slide 1:

  • Self introduction.
  • Having a mentor in my life and serving as a mentor to others has always been important to me. My first mentor in education was a man many of you may know. His name is Bill Leary. Dr. Leary was my first superintendent. He believed in me and encouraged me always. Knowing his high expectations set the bar for my work. If you know anything about Dr. Leary (and most in the room did know him) you know that Bill bleeds blue and white. He is a proud Penn Stater. Like Bill Leary, Joe Paterno was also a great mentor.
  • At the recent Memorial for Joe Jimmy Cefalo spoke about the impact of Joe Paterno’s mentorship on his life. In Jimmy’s last term of his college career, he was finished playing football and his major requirements were complete. He planned to have some fun in that last semester in the “Happy Valley.” Paterno called Jimmy to his office. Waving Jimmy’s less-than-challenging schedule in his hand Joe told Jimmy that he was better than that schedule. You see, Joe’s challenge was always-“Today you are going to get better or you are going to get worse, but you are never going to stay the same.”  Jimmy had no additional value to provide the PSU football team. But he did have value to Joe Paterno. Joe cared and Jimmy knew it. Jimmy walked out of that office with a different schedule. Now that is mentorship.
  • As educators, we are challenged with the same issue: keeping our students plugged in to learning until graduation day and making them believe they matter–that someone cares what they do and what they become. I believe that Hatboro-Horsham’s Community-Based Learning opportunities challenge our students to make a clear choice: to get better. “Today you are going to get better or you are going to get worse, but you are never going to stay the same.”

Slide 2:

Slide 3:

  • Our first offering: Internship. We encouraged our seniors to use our community as their classroom. Why? For the student: To try on a profession before going to college to prepare for that profession.
  • We have found that some of our students confirm their future plans through the internship experience while others find their chosen internship career possibility is not for them. We consider it a win-win either way.

Slide 4:

  • A friend of mine was recently asked to give a TED talk. When I asked her what they told her concerning how to prepare she shared this directive: Be interested, be generous, be interesting, connect. That’s when I realized that our Community-Based Learning program made the same demand of our students.
  • We began our Internship opportunity for students 7 years ago. We started with 14 students and since that time hundreds of students have participated in the program.

Slide 5:

  • The Internship experience did a great job attracting our college-prep students. The students who elected this course were gaining many important transferable skills and developing career maturity* at a faster rate than our very capable Honors/AP students and our Academic students. The question then became: How do we attract all students to Community-Based learning experiences?
  • In an effort to involve more students in Community-Based learning we expanded our offerings. Our honors and AP students can intern over the summer in a program we call Bridges. Academic students elect a new work-study program, Working Initiatives.  Our Life Skills students are also involved in work-based training opportunities. Additional supporting experiences such as Lunch & Learn and our Futures Fair are well received by our student body.

Slide 6:

  • I would be remiss if I did not tell you how important our community partners are to our program. Hatboro and Horsham are vital communities.

Slide 7:

  • Our champions include the Greater Horsham Chamber of Commerce, the Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation, Impact Thrift Stores, Horsham Township to name a few. Local post-secondary programs and the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board also offer resources and support.

Slide 8:

  • Each Community-Based learning opportunity I’ve mentioned and most you have seen during this presentation offer students two mentors-a community member committed to mentoring a young person and a teacher who has dedicated their professional life to mentoring students with the goals of developing a life-long love of learning and future success.
  • The outcome? Students who elect Community-Based learning experiences do better in all academic classes during the CBL experience. They seek post secondary options, stay in post secondary programs and graduate from post secondary programs at a higher rate than their peers as well as graduate from these programs in a more timely manner.
  • Seth Godin once said that “Caring is a competitive advantage…” Community-Based learning opportunities are the result of caring. At Hatboro-Horsham we care because “Today you are going to get better or you are going to get worse, but you are never going to stay the same.”  Is there really a choice? Caring is our competitive advantage.

Thank you Dr. Leary.

Thank you Mr. Paterno-Hail to the Lion

*Career maturity is demonstrated by teenagers of high school age when they:

  1. Understand the importance of narrowing career interests as a basis for postsecondary planning;
  2. Have, by the 10th grade, identified one or more career interests after an objective evaluation of their likes and dislikes, their aptitudes, and labor market projections;
  3. Have, by the end of the twelfth grade, engaged in activities to verify these choices; and
  4. Used these choices to make post-high school decisions.

Ken Gray-Getting Real: Helping Teens Find their Future

Sharing: The Moral Imperative (CEW Integration Inservice #1)

In my very first blog post (What Does It Take to Create a Movement?) I shared a video about sharing because sharing and collaboration help us all get better at what we do for our students. In these days of limited school funding my school district is taking steps to save money. One of those steps is to no longer require our students take our Pathways class as a graduation requirement.

Pathways is a stand alone career discovery/exploration class. To compensate for this loss (in a state that requires career development education via the Pennsylvania Career Education and Work Academic Standards) we are working to find ways to embed these learning and self discovery opportunities in core academic classes that all students are required to take. They say that necessity is the mother of invention. This change is forcing us to deliver CEW in an integrated fashion-this change will create new learning opportunities for our students. It is a good thing.

This is the first of a series of posts that I will publish as we work toward this integration. I expect that this transition will take several years and that, if it is any good at all, will be an organically grown product that works for our students as a result of who we are and our community of stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, community and post-secondary programs) desires. I expect to see many layers to this integrated 9-12 curriculum as it develops.

We start by thinking about what freshman and sophomores need. Here you will see all of my materials and resources as we begin this important discussion with our core teachers and school counselors. (Scroll to the bottom of this page to see participant feedback.)

CEW Integration Inservice #1

TED Talk Transcript-Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the Learning

TED Talk video-Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the Learning:

Agenda for the day:

PPT presentation used to facilitate the day:

Graphic Organizer:

Skills ID Ice Breaker Activity (conversation starters from Smith College Career Development Office)

Skills ID build Self Efficacy Resources:

The Girl Scouts and 21st Century Skills

The 6 21st Century Skills You Really Need (source: The Bamboo Project)

Essential Outcomes (given to freshmen at the University of Wisconsin)

10 Skills You’ll Need to Succeed at Almost Anything

What Skills Do Employers Want?

Five out of 14 teachers participating wrote to me after the inservice. Here is what they said:

Are You Passion Driven?

I wrote this in December but was afraid to post it until I read Seth Godin’s post: Rightsizing your passion  In his post Seth states: “If you’re short on passion, it might be because your goals are too small or the fear is too big.” -Bingo.

From December:

Recently, a colleague stopped by my office. He sat down and said. “Sue, where are you? You are not doing what you do best and we need you back now!”  What he was really saying was, “Where has your passion gone?” I knew my colleague was correct in his observation. But the fact that he saw it and called me on it was my wake-up call!

Re-connecting with my passion? I’ve never lost my committment to career development, integrated and project based learning…….. What happened? I have been guilty of looking at “trees” and lost sight of the forest-uncharacteristic of me. I decided there and then that I had to fix this situation.

How do I re-gain focus?

I remembered two books I read last summer that made an impact. Focus by Smoker and The Passion Driven Classroom by Maiers & Sandvold. How can the teachers and students I work with connect with their passion if I am not modeling mine?

Then I thought about Lindsay Nixon and her blog The Happy Herbivore. Lindsay is my inspiration for becoming more healthy. Her writing is filled with passion.

“The road to success is long and complex — but follow your passion. It will lead the way.” -Lindsay Nixon

I will be sharing at least three of Lindsay’s blog posts with my students: (1) That Wake-up Call, (2) The World is my Oyster, (3) My Path to Success. They are that powerful! I encourage you to read them too.

Why I love PA CEW academic standards: They help us connect students to their passions!

Yesterday my school district superintendent payed a suprise visit. He explained that in February he is hosting a large suburban multi-county superintendent’s meeting and he wants me to speak about my work in community-based learning and career development (my passion). Wow!

What a difference a day makes.

Great Conference @ PSU!

The Integrated Learning Conference is now history. There were 76 great outbreak sessions & presenters! Keynote speaker Bill Symonds (Pathways to Prosperity) had a great message. PtP Video .

I learned about some very cool things happening in classrooms around the Commonwealth. In fact, I have some new ideas for my students! I’m going to highlight a few great things I learned while at the conference.

Topics included on this post: (1) PA Career Zone, (2) School Counts (teaching & learning employability skills), (3) Habits of Success: Skills for a Lifetime and (4) What’s It Worth? Georgetown University report (interactive) on the economic value of college majors.

1. Pennsylvania Career Zone (new and very improved!) Includes:

(1) Self-Assessments Self-Assessments can help students know themselves better. And students knowing themselves better can help students choose a satisfying job or occupational field to explore.

(2) Career Clusters Starting a search by looking at broad sectors can help students find related occupations within an area that they might enjoy.

(3) Budgeting  After High School students need to work to pay for housing, transportation, and clothes… They can find out how much money will be needed to pay for all their needs and research careers that will help meet those needs.

 

2. Bridging Education and the Workforce Through Community Certificates: School Counts!

A collaborative “community certificate” links students to employers and to valuable preparation for their future. “Employability” certification provides recognition to students who demonstrate responsibility and hard work in school. The document credentials identify potential candidates for jobs or internships based on predetermined criteria. Employers benefit from this initial screening process orchestrated by the school and earned by the student. People resources, not funding, are required, providing a cost-effective way to connect schools and business. I’m going to introduce this idea to my community partners as well as my students-this is a GREAT IDEA! Thanks to CDLN friends Betty Holmboe (Program Coordinator/Consultant) and Liz Biddle (K-12 Project Manager, Pennsylvania College of Technology) for this one.

 

3. Skills for a Lifetime: Teaching Students the Habits of Success

I attended a couple sessions by the High Schools that Work folks (Teaching Students the Habits of Success & Teaching Students Organization, Time Management and Study Skills: A Habit of Success). I have their book titled “Skills for a Lifetime: Teaching Students the Habits of Success”. Great sessions and great book provided to attendees by PDE. They promote 6 habits. They also have 3 “jobs” for school districts.

The jobs:

  1. Helping students learn to make good decisions, set and achieve goals and become independent learners
  2. Encouraging students to work harder
  3. Giving employers what they expect from the graduates they hire

The six habits:

  1. Build and maintain productive relationships with peers and adults
  2. Organize, manage time and develop study skills
  3. Develop strong reading and writing skills
  4. Develop strong mathematics skills
  5. Set goals and make plans to reach them
  6. Access the resources needed to achieve goals

These habits are consistent with the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Covey). The first section of the book builds the case for teaching the habits. The second section provides approaches for teaching the habits (including What Freshman Need!). And the final section of the book provides model lessons and activities for teaching the habits. I’ll be happy to share more if you’d like.

My SD is already talking about expanding and deepening our students understanding of 7 Habits. This will be a great resource. Can’t wait to read this book more carefully.

 

4. What’s It Worth? The Economic Value of College Majors by Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (interactive links below)

We’ve always been able to say how much a Bachelor’s degree is worth in general. Now, we show what each Bachelor’s degree major is worth. 

The report finds that different undergraduate majors result in very different earnings. At the low end, median earnings for Counseling Psychology majors are $29,000, while Petroleum Engineering majors see median earnings of $120,000.

What’s It Worth? has been cited by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Time Magazine, Associated Press, NBC, U.S. News and World Report, Huffington Post, Washington Times, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Read the Press Release (PDF)

Download the Selected Findings (PDF)

Read the Full Report (PDF)*

Check out the presentation from the release webinar (PDF) 

Interactive summary tables

Thanks to my CDLN friend Kate Lomax (Educational Services Director, Community Education Council of Elk and Cameron Counties) for this resource!

Presentations I gave at the ILC can be seen here. Topics: e-portfolios & Futures Fair (hybrid career & post-secondary fair connecting students to high priority professions in our region)