Teacher Leader Institute

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logoTeacher Leader Fellowship Institute

In proud partnership with the Connecticut Education Association & American Federation of Teachers-CT and Duke TeachHouse

Third Annual Teacher Leader Fellowship Program Institute
May 20, 2019
8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
CCSU New Britain Campus – Alumni Hall, Student Center

 

THEME: TEACHER LEADERS AS ENABLERS OF CREATIVITY, COLLABORATION AND INNOVATION IN THEIR CLASSROOMS AND BEYOND

In addition to three internationally recognized keynote speakers, the day will include 22 breakout sessions by and for teacher leader fellows and their administrators who have taken part in the CCSU Teacher Leader Fellowship Program and will offer multiple perspectives on the role of teachers as leaders and the conditions that support them. This event will extend their knowledge and allow them a platform in which to share their experiences with all other districts throughout Connecticut.

Register by April 29 for a reduced registration fee.

For more information and to register, click here

THE PROGRAM

8 - 8:15 a.m. - Registration and refreshments; Alumni Hall

8:15 - 8:45 a.m. - Welcome and opening remarks

• Welcome: CCSU President Dr. Zulma R. Toro

• Purpose and Outcomes of Institute and Teacher Leader Fellowship Program: Dr. Betty J. Sternberg, commissioner emerita and director, Teacher Leader Fellowship Program at CCSU

• The Teacher Perspective: Dr. Tina Manus, English teacher and department head, Bullard Havens Technical High School, Bridgeport

• The Administrator’s Perspective: Ms. Sarhanna K. Smith, principal, Read School, PreK-8, Bridgeport; Ms. Fran Rabinowitz, executive director, CT Association of Public School Superintendents; 

• The State Department of Education Perspective: Dr. Dianna R. Wentzell, Interim Commissioner of Education

• The Importance of Teacher Leaders: Mr. Donald E. Williams Jr., executive director, Connecticut Education Association: Mr. David Hayes, vice president, American Federation of Teachers, Connecticut

• Introduction of Dr. Andy Hargreaves: Dr. Betty J. Sternberg

8:45 - 9:30 a.m. - Dr. Andy Hargreaves presents “Supporting Teacher Leaders and Administrators in Transforming Innovation in Classrooms and Schools through Collaborative Professionalism”

9:30 - 9:45 a.m. – Q & A with Dr. Andy Hargreaves

9:45 - 10 a.m. - Move to breakout rooms

10 - 11:10 a.m. - Breakout sessions (see descriptions below)

11:10 - 11:20 a.m. - Reconvene in Alumni Hall

11:20 am - noon - Dr. Peter Gamwell presents “Supporting Creativity, Collaboration and Innovation in Students and in Teachers – Continuing the story from Ottawa and elsewhere”

Noon - 12:30 p.m. - A conversation between Dr. Andy Hargreaves, Dr. Peter Gamwell, and the audience - Dr. Betty J. Sternberg, moderator

12:30 - 1:15 p.m. - LUNCH and informal sharing

1:15 - 2 p.m. - Dr. Marc Brackett presents “The Influences of Emotional Intelligence Training, on Children’s and Adult’s Effectiveness, Health, Creativity, and both School and Workplace Climate”

2:00 - 2:10 p.m. - Move to breakout rooms

2:10 - 3:20 p.m. - Breakout sessions (see descriptions below)

3:20 - 3:30 p.m. - Reconvene in Alumni Hall

3:30 - 4 p.m. - Wrap up Session – Wonderings from the Day: Sternberg/Gamwell/Brackett/Audience

BREAKOUT SESSIONS

Breakout sessions are offered in the morning from 10 to 11:10 a.m. and the afternoon from 2:10 to 3:20 p.m. The breakout sessions are divided into three categories: Category 1: Organizing To Support a Culture of Collaboration; Category 2: Innovative And Creative Practices, Strategies, and Techniques To Support Collaboration; and Category 3: Social-Emotional Learning on Support of Creativity, Innovation, and Collaboration.

CATEGORY 1 - Organizing to Support a Culture of Collaboration

Session 1.1: EMPOWERING TEACHER LEADERSHIP BY DESIGN: OPENING UP THE CLASSROOM DOORS

Given the structure and schedules of most schools, teachers lose many learning opportunities because they are not typically able to see and learn from each other’s work in the classroom.

CCSU Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership Jeremy Visone with Melissa Bornas, a second-grade teacher in the Newington elementary school where Visone had been a principal, will explore principles and strategies that underlie teacher empowerment, as well as a specific professional development design through which teachers can observe and learn from each other.

Session 1.2: USING TEACHER-LED PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND CHOICE TO EMPOWER TEACHER LEADERS

Teachers leading teachers is one of the most powerful tools we have that can impact instruction positively in our districts. The success of this initiative relies on the willingness of teachers to facilitate professional development for their peers.

Rob Sullivan, English teacher at Enfield High School, and Michelle Middleton, chief academic officer for the Enfield Public Schools, will discuss attempts to bring teacher choice to both district-led and building-based professional development sessions. All aspects of Enfield’s full-day teacher choice professional development day will be reviewed, including the planning, execution, and feedback from staff. Also highlighted will be the offshoots of this endeavor taken on by individual buildings or teachers.

Session 1.3: THE IMPLEMENTATION OF A TEACHER LEADER COUNCIL

Members from Stratford’s new Teacher Leadership Council — Jennifer Leniart (Elementary Art), Lauren Cavalli (Grade 4), and Shantell Hanson (high school Math) — will share how and why a Teacher Leadership Council was formed in Stratford, when it meets, its purpose, and how it aligns with the district goals and strategic plan. In addition, they will share the steps it took for approval, how the first year of implementation went, and their plans for the future. Participants will learn how they can bring back this idea to their school and/or district to motivate teachers to collaborate outside their classrooms to impact their community in a positive way.

Session 1.4: SEEDS OF CHANGE: A GRASSROOTS APPROACH TO CREATING A POSITIVE SCHOOL CLIMATE

Do you want your voice to be heard? Are you ready to make positive changes at your school or district? If you are looking to be inspired to create your own change, come join three elementary school teachers from Tolland — Anthea Grotton, Lauren D’Agata, and Lisa Patriarco — who initiated a grassroots movement to help improve their school’s climate. You will hear their story of why they saw the need for change, how they included teachers’ voices, and how they worked collaboratively with administration. Their focus was and is on positive communication and possible solutions. They also will discuss how they learned about and started applying the Theory of Change Framework. Participants will be given time to discuss this approach, ask questions, and brainstorm changes appropriate to their settings. Participants will have an opportunity to use the Theory of Change Framework to discuss their issues.

Session 1.5: I DO … WE DO … YOU DO: PROMOTING EDUCATOR VOICE THROUGH INCLUSIVE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PRACTICES

In this session, participants will learn the processes used by General Education Department Head Tina Manus of Bullard-Havens Technical High School in Bridgeport to facilitate a teacher-led, district-wide professional development experience in November 2018 for English teachers at the CT Technical Education and Career Center System. Tina will share pictures, a PowerPoint presentation, and artifacts of adult learning from the November event and an October teacher-leader planning session, as well as summarizing online communications between 18 novice and veteran English teachers. These teacher-leaders volunteered to lead sessions and ultimately designed the entire event for their colleagues. In addition, best practices that encouraged teacher-leaders, inspired attendees, and fostered research-based connections aligned to Robert Marzano’s “The New Art and Science of Teaching” also will be discussed.

Session 1.6: TEACHER COLLABORATION AND LEARNING: A STUDY OF “LESSON STUDY” 

Lesson Study originates from Japan. It has been adapted and rethought for use in American classrooms. Lesson study is a form of professional development that promotes strong collegial relationships among teachers. Teachers regularly gather together to observe, collect data, analyze, and plan instruction. Teachers work as a team in a prolonged and focused way to enhance instruction and improve student performance. While many practitioners are familiar with Data Driven Decision Making, Lesson Study is less known and used, but it is a highly effective way to enable teacher decision-making directly about instruction.

This presentation offered by Jennifer Norman, Grade 9 English teacher at H.H. Ellis Technical High School in Danielson, and Rachel Riendeau, general department head at Windham Technical High School, will introduce participants to the concept of Lesson Study and ways in which it can be used to increase teacher connectedness and collaboration within their schools.

Session 1.7: SPECIAL ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION WITH ANDY HARGREAVES

Dr. Hargreaves will continue discussing the main ideas about professional collaboration from his keynote. This session is limited to teacher leader fellows from the 2018 -2019 Teacher Leader Fellowship Program.

CATEGORY 2 - Innovative and Creative Practices, Strategies, and Techniques to Support Collaboration

Session 2.1: USING TECHNOLOGY TO EXPAND TEACHER ACCESS TO TEACHER LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

This session will provide an overview of the use of technology to overcome both the limitations of time and the challenges of engaging a broad audience in developing teacher leadership skills. A specific example of a book discussion group facilitated as a Twitter “Book Chat” will provide context for addressing the constraints of time and place often associated with training sessions or discussion groups.

Corey Nagle, Science & AVID teacher at Bristol Central High School, and Georgina Rivera, Elementary STEM supervisor in Bristol, will overview the formation of book discussion groups, the structure of presenting and facilitating book discussion groups online, as well as teacher participation and responses. Participants in the session will have the opportunity to ask questions and then engage in identifying ways to use technology to develop and expand teacher leadership opportunities within their schools or districts. Teacher Leaders’ innovative and creative uses of technology is one of many avenues for fostering collaboration.

Session 2.2 (Part I-AM): DESIGNING AND IMPLEMENTING PROJECT-BASED LEARNING: CREATING A CULTURE OF COLLABORATION

Greenwich High School’s Innovation Lab is a flexible learning environment in a school-within-a-school program. This progressive and personalized model is designed and implemented by a dedicated team of GHS educators who are leveraging innovative teaching methods, project-based and blended learning strategies, and leading-edge technology applications, all within the larger infrastructure of GHS. Innovation Lab is devoted to fostering creativity, curiosity, and purpose within an interdisciplinary and academically rigorous, college preparatory curriculum. Teachers blend core disciplines to create STEM and Humanities in a project-based approach.

Courtney Hawes, founding teacher for GHS Innovation Lab; Brian Walach, math and STEM GHS teacher; Christina Shaw, house administrator and Social Studies teacher at GHS; and Michael Belanger, Social Studies teacher at GHS will share their experiences in the first few years of establishing a project-based, interdisciplinary program. The session will focus on the research and development process toward the program model, the difference between projects and project-based learning, implementing and assessing project-based learning, and the role of exhibition of learning.

Session 2.2 (Part II-PM): QUESTION AND ANSWER ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION ABOUT GREENWICH HIGH SCHOOL’S INNOVATION LAB WITH GHS TEACHERS

Whether you attended the morning session, the presentation last year, visited GHS, or just have questions about Innovation Lab, join the Roundtable Discussion with the team of teachers who presented Session 2.2 Part I.

Session 2.3: USING IMPROV TO ENHANCE YOUR PRACTICE

Improvisation and the use of theater games can enhance the performance of teachers and students, boost creativity, and lower anxiety. They can also be fun tools for developing skills and improving lessons you’re already delivering. Participants will learn from CEA Educational Issues Specialist Michele O’Neill the basics of improvisational theater and experiment with theater games that are suitable for circle time, can be adapted for various grade levels and subject areas or even staff development workshops. They can also take the place of traditional team-building activities or icebreakers.

Session 2.4: OPTIMIZING STUDENT-DRIVEN CONFERENCES WITH TECHNOLOGY

Meriden Public Schools bring ownership and autonomy to elementary report card conferences with technology-based, student-driven conferences. Students personalize Google slideshows, discuss learning in content areas, analyze specific data and assessment results, identify strengths and areas for growth, and hyperlink work samples/digital content. This promotes ownership of mastery-based learning, creativity, discourse, collaboration, and organization of written/oral communication skills. Participation in self-evaluation presentations of personalized learning processes to teachers, peers, and parents brings students greater control and responsibility for their academic performance. Meriden’s teacher-created, student-driven conference model increases student collaboration and improves home/school communication.

Hear more about these best practices from Christopher Smith, Grade 5 teacher, and Amy Manware, Instructional Technology teacher and Blended Learning coach, and learn how to personalize blended learning and optimize your students’ use of Google Apps for Education. Participants are asked to bring Chromebooks/laptops to this session, as they will have the opportunity to work collaboratively and create their own student-driven conference templates.

Session 2.5: INSIGHTS FROM CANADA: WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM CANADA’S EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM?

Canadian students recently placed among the top three countries in the world on the Program for International Student Assessment according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. What aspects of their system, or actions taken by their educational leaders and key stakeholders, as well as cultural influences, contributed to such success? Tawana Graham-Douglas, curriculum coordinator, and Lynn Logoyke, principal in the Plainville Community Schools, will share their reflections and major takeaways from visiting schools in the Renfrew County District Schools, Ontario, Canada. The timely discussion offered in this session will aid educators as we explore, develop, and implement instructional strategies for student-centered, inquiry-based learning that ignites the passion in each of our students.

Session 2.6: PUTTING LEARNING INTO ACTION BY ENABLING STUDENTS’ SERVICE LEARNING/RESEARCH, A COMPONENT REQUIRED TO OBTAIN THE CONNECTICUT CERTIFICATE OF GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT

Kim Moore, Global Awareness coordinator for the Wallingford Public Schools, Nicole Struth, Education and Special Projects director of the World Affairs Council of Connecticut; and Stephen Armstrong, a Social Studies consultant for the State Department of Education Social Studies will detail the elements and requirements of the Connecticut Certificate of Global Engagement (CTCGE), newly endorsed by the CSDE. In its second year of implementation, the CTCGE offers students an opportunity to be recognized for seeking out coursework with a global focus and putting their learning into action through a service learning/research component. Learn what districts have done to provide access for their students to attain the CTCGE and talk through ways to implement it in your district.

Session 2.7: SPECIAL ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION WITH PETER GAMWELL

Dr. Gamwell will continue discussing the main ideas about enabling creativity from his keynote. This session is limited to teacher leader fellows from the 2018 - 2019 Teacher Leader Fellowship Program.

CATEGORY 3: Social Emotional Learning in Support of Creativity, Innovation, and Collaboration

Session 3.1 (Part I): SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING THROUGH RULER: THE READ SCHOOL K-8 (BRIDGEPORT) STORY

In 2014, Bridgeport Public Schools committed to a district-wide initiative centered on emotional intelligence. The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence became a partner to help implement RULER across all Bridgeport schools. The RULER implementation team at Read School has worked diligently over the years to help train staff and students to become emotionally intelligent. Over the past two years, Read School’s RULER initiative expanded to include the concepts of restorative practices. Our team transitioned to a social and emotional learning team. Participants in this breakout session will hear firsthand accounts of our journey through social and emotional learning.

Members of the Read School Social and Emotional Learning Team — Principal Sarhanna Smith; Bernadette Brown-Palmer, Grade 2; Jennifer Warfield, Grade 1; and Jeanna Reiff, Grade 7 Language Arts — will present tips for getting started, team-level training, working with staff, creating stakeholder buy-in through parent/community engagement, rolling out SEL with students at various grade levels, and “ah-ha” moments.

Session 3.1 (Part II): SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING THROUGH RULER: THE JOEL BARLOW HIGH SCHOOL (REGIONAL SCHOOL DISTRICT 9-EASTON/REDDING) STORY

In the summer of 2017, the Easton Learning Foundation sent four Joel Barlow High School educators to Yale University’s Center for Emotional Intelligence for a two-day seminar introducing them to the RULER approach to integrating social and emotional learning (SEL) into the high school. Another team of four educators were sent by The NoVo Foundation.

Since that initial orientation to RULER, the group of eight has experimented with SEL lessons in advisory, in the parent community, and with the faculty. This year, teachers of Grade 9 wellness classes have explicitly taught students how to work with the YCEI anchor tools. Staff and faculty including Gina Marie Pin, Assistant Superintendent and Head of School at Joel Barlow High School, Region #9, in Redding; Chris Poulos, Spanish Teacher and Instructional Leader for the Humanities; and Jack Powers, Special Education, English, and Math will share how they continue to integrate SEL into the curriculum.

Session 3.2: SELF-LEADERSHIP IN EDUCATION: AN INTERNAL FAMILY SYSTEMS APPROACH TO SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING FOR EDUCATORS

In this session, participants will be introduced to the concept of “Self Leadership” from the Internal Family Systems (IFS) Model as a powerful tool in promoting social emotional learning (SEL) competency in the educational context. The Self-Leadership in Education model is a non-therapy adaptation of an evidence-based psychotherapeutic approach. By applying principles of IFS in promoting greater SEL competency in the adults in the school context, teachers and administrators can be more effective in promoting positive interactions and mitigating polarizing exchanges that typically escalate problems with students and impact their own sense of well-being. In a “Self-led” school environment, teachers feel more effective in handling difficult situations and students feel valued and supported.

CCSU Professor Ralph Cohen will discuss the Self-Leadership in Education model and the teacher-focused training program that is being piloted in several school districts. In addition, plans to refine this method based on outcome data to measure effectiveness in improving school climate will be discussed.

Session 3.3: CREATING A CULTURE OF TRUSTWORTHY MENTORS THROUGH RESTORATIVE PRACTICES

In this session, participants will learn how and why Slade Middle School in New Britain implemented a unifying vision to bring together staff behind one philosophy. The school’s philosophy entails becoming “trustworthy mentors” to students, families, colleagues, and community by using restorative practices as the tool to improve teacher-student relationships, student-student relationships, attendance, and academic performance.

Assistant Principal Janice Pina; Chris Godfrey, STEAM teacher; and Suzanne O’Connor, music teacher, will discuss their successes and struggles around implementing a new philosophical approach to relationships. Participants will examine classroom and school-wide practices that contributed to Slade’s success that can motivate colleagues to reframe the way they think about discipline. Participants will leave with a philosophical understanding and ideas about how to change the school culture from punitive to restorative.

Session 3.4: SCHOOL CULTURE AND CLIMATE: BEST PRACTICES IN SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING STRATEGIES

Since the tragedy of 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School and other Newtown public schools and schools around the nation have taken a closer look at Social Emotional Learning (SEL) best practices that schools can implement to address student trauma, stress, and engagement. The goal is always to create a school culture in which students and staff feel connected, engaged, and safe. 

Kathy Gombos, principal, Kelly MacLaren, lead teacher, and Connie Sullivan, grade 3 and 4 teacher, at Sandy Hook Elementary will talk about social-emotional learning strategies used in and out of the classroom that helped educators navigate the complicated landscape of the school community in the past six years. Best practices in building relationships, communication, and mindfulness will be presented and discussed.

Session 3.5: ENCOURAGING TRUST: BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN YOUR DISTRICT

Are you looking for ways to build teacher leaders through the encouragement of professional trust? Professional trust boils down to internalizing the idea that the foundation of a school is comprised of a team of interconnected people who have to move together to be most effective in teaching students. The foundation crumbles if it is comprised of individual teachers on isolated islands in closed-off classrooms. Strong relationships with colleagues help each to develop best practices, create even stronger relationships, and establish a unified vision that leads to increased student success. Be a catalyst for change!

Rachel Miller, head teacher, and Wendy Bender, Grade 2 teacher, will talk about the Plainville School District’s experiences surrounding the importance of building ongoing trust in yourself, trust in your colleagues, and trust in the process. You will have the opportunity to discuss needs and plan and develop strategies for change in your own district.

Session 3.6: BUILDING A CULTURE OF JOY AND EMPATHY IN SCHOOL

Social media, divisive politics, and the frenetic pace of modern life are impacting how we interact as a society and contributing to an epidemic of loneliness and social anxiety. Our children are experiencing these emotions as well, which can impact cognitive development, academic performance, and social-emotional wellbeing. This workshop is appropriate for teachers of all grade levels and subjects and is relevant for school and district administrators. Kate Field, CEA, will present practical, simple strategies to promote a school culture of kindness, empathy, and joyfulness. Highly interactive, participants will engage in conversations and role-playing activities that explore how to explicitly and implicitly integrate empathy into the curriculum and invite joy back into our classrooms.

Session 3.7 (Part I): INSIGHTS FROM FINLAND: TEACHER LEADERS’ POINTS OF VIEW

Finland is touted as having the happiest, healthiest children in the world. In addition, its students score in the top five nations in the world on the Programme for International Student Assessment, an international assessment that measures 15-year-old students' reading, mathematics, and science literacy every three years.

Jennifer Orgovan, a Language Arts & Social Studies middle school teacher in Guilford, and Jennifer Barreto-Tremblay, an Elementary Special Education teacher in New Britain, will share insights from their experiences touring Finnish schools just this past April 2019. Hear their observations and takeaways about schooling at all levels, as well as a perspective on teacher training at the University, and a broad overview from the Finnish National Agency for Education. Highlights from their journey, comparisons to education in Connecticut, and reflections on ways to incorporate appropriately Finnish philosophies and approaches into our schools will be addressed.

Session 3.7 (Part II): INSIGHTS FROM FINLAND: A PRINCIPAL’S AND A SUPERINTENDENT’S POINT OF VIEW

Kathy Gombos, principal in Newtown, and Pat Cosentino, superintendent in New Fairfield, will share their insights from their experiences touring Finnish schools just this past April 2019.

Session 3.8: SPECIAL ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION WITH MARC BRACKETT

Dr. Brackett will continue discussing the main ideas about social-emotional learning and its connection to creativity from his keynote. This session is limited to teacher leader fellows from the 2018 - 2019 Teacher Leader Fellowship Program.

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