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Volume 7 - June 2019

 
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This quarterly newsletter connects New York leaders who are leading innovation at schools, districts or the state level - from blended and personalized learning to working to improve equity and excellence for New York students to designing new models to support all learners. Its purpose is to share the amazing work being done by districts we partner with and to inspire and guide others to lead innovative work.

Want to be featured? Want to speak with a district doing amazing work? Contact Angela Kennedy-Toon at angela@edelements.com.

ON OUR MINDS

 

The School District of Tomorrow 

The mission of Education Elements is to work with districts to build and support dynamic school systems that meet the needs of every learner, today and tomorrow. At the start of our journey as an organization, the “tomorrow” we supported districts in building often involved the purposeful integration of technology through a blended learning station rotation model. Today, after having partnered with almost 150 school districts in 34 states and DC, we at Education Elements have an even more expanded definition of what “tomorrow” looks like and how best to support districts in preparing for it. We still strongly believe in the power of blended and personalized learning to transform the lives of students, but we also recognize that some districts are moving towards a more competency- or mastery-based model, while others need support with strategic planning, leadership development, and learning responsive organizational practices. We are proud to support school districts in solving their greatest challenges of all types as tomorrow becomes today and a new tomorrow dawns on the horizon.

 

SPOTLIGHTS

 

NY Districts in the Spotlight at the PL Summit 2019 in Atlanta, GA

This year’s Personalized Learning Summit was attended by February 2019 NL Summit Logo 250-1educators from 8 countries and 38 states across the US. Attendees were inspired by keynotes by Golriz Lucina of SoulPancake and Principal Baruti Kafele and they had the choice of 105 sessions over 2.5 days, as well as tours of 11 of the most innovative companies in Atlanta. In case you missed this year’s summit, you can check out a highlight video here. We’re proud of the following New York districts which were spotlighted this year.

Screen Shot 2019-06-04 at 11.29.00 AMWaterloo Central School District sixth grade science teacher Chelsea Jay facilitated a PL Simulation on Middle School Science during the Summit. Since implementing PL, the biggest change for her students has been using a playlist to work at their own pace. As a teacher, she has seen that students are less stressed and more productive. PL has positively transformed the way her classroom works and feels; although she has the largest class sizes she has ever had, it is the first year that all 130 of her students are passing.

“Although [Jay] has the largest class sizes she has ever had, it is the first year that all 130 of her students are passing.”

 

MiddletownIt takes a special kind of school district that achieves significant academic gains (25% growth on reading and math scores) year after year and says, “We can still do better.” It takes a gritty leadership team that looks at challenges created by poverty and resource gaps, yet increases its high school graduation rate by nearly 30%, and says, “Our students still deserve more.” And it takes a reflective superintendent and cabinet team that has led the charge in personalized learning implementation to say, “Our teams can still be more responsive.” Middletown Enlarged City School District said all of those things, and one year ago, when they had already seen their greatest shifts at the classroom level, they challenged themselves with making comparable, if not greater, shifts at the district level to truly model the responsive habits they were asking teachers to make. Over the course of the past year, Middletown’s district leadership team has engaged in a leadership seminar grounded in strategies from the book The NEW School Rules and best practices in responsive leadership habits. Middletown was honored at this year’s PL Summit for their work on becoming a more responsive organization, and you can see their journey this past year here.

 

New School Rules Institute Hosted in Syracuse, NY

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Ed Elements and NYSCOSS hosted the New School Rules (NSR) Leadership Institute over two beautiful spring days in Syracuse on April 25th and 26th. Education leaders from Gananda, Clyde-Savannah, Erie 2 BOCES, and Syracuse came to experience a two-day active-learning event in which the key components of developing and leading a responsive organization were named, modeled, and practiced.  

The Institute kicked off with a check-in, a practice from EE’s tactical meeting protocol that connects the group by allowing them to learn more about each other, and assists the facilitator in gauging the NY Newsletter June 2019intentions and moods of the people in the meeting. School leaders were then introduced to the key components of a responsive organization and led through an exercise that illustrated the ways in which common organizational behaviors and norms can keep a group from being effective.

Throughout the two days, leaders were asked to set a commitment and state a hypothesis based on the focus of the sessions they attended. Participants considered how to activate learning and change behaviors by focusing on being 1% better every day; they read about the importance of discussing and learning from failure, and considered how to create a team environment where it is safe to fail. On day two, the cohort learned about practical strategies to create the change they are seeking in their schools and districts. At the end of each day, participants got individual coaching with the EE Institute team, during which they shared a specific issue they wanted to address immediately, and talked through small steps they could take to nudge their teams toward consistent improvement.

Education Elements is pleased to host a series of national leadership institutes over the next few months. In particular, those interested in experiencing a New School Rules Institute for themselves are invited to the next New York-based Institute on September 11-12, 2019, hosted by the Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES. To register and for more information, click here.

 

FEATURED STORY: ROMULUS CSD

 

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Romulus Central School District has much to celebrate this year! Along with managing major construction in their buildings that disrupted classroom instruction, RCSD's PL Team and teachers successfully completed three rounds of teacher-led learning walks. This process yielded many positive things: a stronger, more connected instructional staff, a burgeoning culture of responsiveness and open feedback amongst peers, and a concrete protocol for teachers to follow when entering rooms to complete the observation.  

Results of learning walks showed what we here at Education Elements have long known about this district -- teachers across all grade levels have powerful relationships with students and use strong classroom routines, procedures, and setup to support students in building more voice and choice in their learning experiences. We are beyond proud of the work they have put into personalized learning over the past three years, and cannot wait to see the next great thing they accomplish in their district.

 

UPCOMING OPPORTUNITIES TO GET INVOLVED

 

  You’re invited to several upcoming Leadership Institutes, including the New School Rules Institute hosted by the PNW BOCES in Yorktown Heights, NY 

Education Elements is pleased to partner with the Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES to offer an encore New York-based session of the New School Rules Leadership Institute. Based on the best selling book, The NEW School Rules: 6 Vital Practices For Thriving and Responsive Schools, the Institute provides an opportunity to learn directly from author Anthony Kim and his team of experts in change management, organizational design, and leadership. The Institute also offers the unique space to grow your leadership practice, while learning and collaborating with school and district leaders from around the country who are thinking about the future design of schools and districts.

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