Last Fall Kim Scuito, Reading Specialist at NSES, facilitated a professional learning community about Culturally Responsive Teaching. The PLC/Book Study was based on Zaretta Hammond’s book: Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain. The group discussed what CRT is and isn't, the brain science to support this theory and ways that we can develop culturally responsive classrooms. Topics such as the Ready 4 Rigor Frame, a protocol for checking unconscious bias and discussions surrounding our own personal cultural frames from each level (Surface/Shallow/Deep) were shared. This PLC was insightful and powerful for all involved.
I am excited to share with you that with the help of the professional development advisory committee we have been able to bring this PLC to the entire district. All district teachers will receive a copy of Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain written by Zaretta Hammond. The books have been ordered, delivered and are in teacher mailboxes in each school.
The goal of this initiative is to introduce the concept of equity-minded teaching and learning: promoting a culture of validating students' identities and culture, engaging students in their academic work, and recognizing student capacity. The facilitated discussions will focus on the meaningful implementation of multiple teaching approaches. Faculty will be able to analyze their classroom data, disaggregated by race/ethnicity, and then make changes to their curriculum and teaching practices using a culturally responsive teaching and learning (CRTL) framework.
This whole district professional development initiative will allow teachers to earn 4 PLUs for reading the book this summer, as well as, attain additional PLUs during our follow up facilitated discussions that will take place during district PD days.
Registration is open and limited for the Achieving Excellence Together (For RI Teachers, By RI Teachers) Conference. Tickets are $30 and this includes breakfast and lunch. This is a great opportunity to collaborate with other RI educators and earn PD/PLU credits.
Below is an opportunity that has been forwarded to me from the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington . If you are interested, the application is open until February 3rd. See details below.
My department at Mount Vernon hosts 6 week-long summer PD institutes for K-12 teachers about George Washington and the world he lived in. Each week is a different theme (see attached flyer or www.mountvernon.org/summerresidentials for more details). We accept all teachers – not just history teachers – who can demonstrate that they use George Washington/the world he lived in in their curriculum. We’ve had history teachers, ELA teachers, reading specialists, art teachers, media specialists, science teachers, culinary arts teachers, etc. attend the program.
Our application deadline was January 13, but we have specific funding for Rhode Island teachers and are looking for a few more applicants. We’re leaving the application open until February 3 at midnight. We are not posting the application link publicly on the website but interested teachers can find the application here: https://mountvernon-teachers.embark.com/apply/summer2020.
Questions can be sent to GWTI@mountvernon.org or to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Education frameworks are models for instruction that help instructors align standards with lesson activities, create positive attitudes and environments, and integrate assessment into learning. Frameworks serve as conceptual maps for implementation.
The foundation of North Smithfield Public Schools framework focus on Standards, Practices and Relationships.
Educator Certification Renewal Information
RIDE announced in the December 21, 2018 Field Memo that new renewal requirements will go into effect beginning January 2020. These educators will be the first who will be required to earn Professional Learning Units (PLUs) for recertification. To this end, the following information outlines the responsibilities and supports for navigating this new renewal process:
Noted in RIDE’s PLU guidance document, in order for educators to earn PLUs, LEAs will approve professional learning activities which meet one or more of the following categories, Subject matter/content knowledge and skills; Pedagogical knowledge or pedagogical content knowledge and skills; Curriculum implementation knowledge and skills; Enhance educator effectiveness.
To encourage cohesive systems of professional learning that support educators, the regulations also require that LEAs create professional learning plans (PL Plans). These plans will identify those local professional learning opportunities offered to educators, in addition to the LEA’s PLU approval process.
While each LEA will support professional learning opportunities at their level, every educator is required to keep track of their own PLUs, both the activities offered within and outside of the LEA. RIDE has provided a sample PLU tracker, both in Word and Excel versions, for educators to use, if one has not already been provided by the LEA (e.g. the Frontline Professional Growth platform). This tracker, at a minimum, will provide a record of educators’ approved PLU activities for recertification, including information such as the professional learning provider, dates, description, and number of PLUs earned.
If, over the course of an educator’s renewal period, an individual separates from their LEA or switches to another LEA, RIDE has also provided a process for verifying PLUs earned during time worked in the former LEA. This process includes the PLU Verification Form, which will be initiated by the educator.
We encourage all educators in RI to review the YouTube video which RIDE has created to explain the process for all educators who are up for renewal in 2020. An email to all educators up for renewal in 2020 will be sent from the eCert system to notify them whether or not PLUs will be required based on the status of the individual’s work history. In addition, there is an updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document which addresses common questions we have received regarding these new certification regulations.
For questions regarding certification, please email email@example.com. For specific questions regarding professional learning, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Thursday, October 24, 2019, our new teachers to the district conducted learning walkthroughs from 9:00am-2:00pm. Together we visited nine classrooms, collecting anecdotal notes related to standards, practices and relationships- the three pillars of our instructional platform. As a culmination of the learning walkthrough, the team met to debrief and discuss patterns of model teaching techniques across classrooms. The day was an extraordinary display of professionalism and model teaching. Throughout the nine classrooms, we observed a passion for teaching, environments that advance student learning, rigorous instruction, high expectations, and strong student-teacher relationships.
This day is another reminder of how lucky I am to work with such dedicated professionals.
North Smithfield Schools has partnered with NE Basecamp to implement a year-long Social Emotional Skills Series professional development. This professional learning series includes deepening educators understanding of social emotional learning, a review of the RI Standards for SEL, exploration of the SEL indicators and the sharing of practical instructional strategies to build SEL skills within current content. Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Social and Emotional Learning, just like math and reading, is based on certain skills and, also like math and reading, SEL skills can and must be taught.
Clare Arnold, Assistant Superintendent