Friday, March 28, 2014

New Teacher Workshop: Living Above and Below the Line, an Evening with Willow Sweeney

Thank you to Beth Mann, the TPI P-12 Liaison, and Support Working Group Facilitator, for summarizing the final New Teacher Workshop of the 2013-14 Academic Year.  

The Teacher Preparation Initiative and its six Partner Districts hosted the final 2013-2014 New Teacher Workshop on Wednesday, February 26. Invitees included first through third year teachers in our Partner Districts and SCSU recent graduates and Teacher Education Faculty. 95 participants were treated to dinner and networking. Joe Dockendorf, Assistant Superintendent at Monticello School District, set the stage for the evening.

Joe summarized data from 10 Partner District Principals on what they look for in retaining new teachers. Information was categorized by how often a principal mentioned a certain trait. You may be wondering which traits were mentioned the most often! Seven principals mentioned that the following traits were important for new teachers to possess: good parent relations, staff rapport, likes children, knows boundaries, ability to connect with kids emotionally and socially, positive advocate for students, and inspires others. In the end, Joe shared that teaching is all about building relationships with students and shared the quote by Ed Dunkelbau, “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.”

The keynote presenter was Willow Sweeney, co-founder of “Top 20 Training.” Willow’s presentation focused on becoming aware of our thinking so we know when it is working and when it is not working. It explored the conditions that come up in our life that invite us to go Below the Line, indicators telling us when we are Below, how to handle Below the Line experiences with more grace and dignity and, how to trampoline back Above the Line. Take-aways include defining what we do when we are Below the Line, what living Above the Line looks like, recognizing that we receive invitations from others to go Below the Line and have the ability to choose our responses.  She also inspired us to strive to Keep our Day, which is a reminder that all each of us has is today and we can make choices on how we want to live each day.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Academic Achievement of Children who Speak English as a Second Language

Jim Robinson, TESL Professor and Facilitator of the Prepare Working Group at St. Cloud State University shared the following link regarding the academic achievement of children who speak English as a second language in England.

The article shared the following data:

·      Non-english speaking pupils outperformed English speaking pupils on the English Baccalaureate.  This measure looks at achievement in English, math science, foreign language and either history or geography.

·      The number of pupils across England with English as a second language has risen to 1.1 million in the past five years.

·     The minister of education agreed that “the presence in schools of children who are bilingual or have English as an additional language tends, in fact, to raise overall school performance, not damage it.”

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Global Pedagogy Symposium Opportunity

If you are interested in Global Pedagogy, the Global Studies Program at SCSU is hosting a Symposium this weekend.  The press release is below.  If you do not want to attend the entire symposium, you can attend the keynote session on Saturday morning for free.

Shawn Smallman, International Studies and Latin American Studies, Portland State University
Challenges and opportunities in Global Education                       
9:00 am—10:15 am Atwood Theatre, SCSU Campus

Global Pedagogy Symposium
Register by Feb. 25 to participate in the Global Pedagogy Symposium, an opportunity for faculty and other professionals to present, learn and discuss what works in global education.
The symposium meets 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Welcome Center and March 1 in Atwood Memorial Center. It will focus on:
            Emerging technologies in global learning
            Engaging international students
            The world as a classroom
Keynote speaker is Shawn Smallman, a professor at Portland State University, Portland, Ore. Smallman co-authored the textbook “An Introduction to International and Global Studies,” which was published in 2011 by the University of North Carolina Press in Chapel Hill. 
Smallman has completed a book manuscript on indigenous women and spirit-beliefs in northern Canada. He works on global health and security, particularly where these topics overlap with indigenous issues in the Americas.
Registration is required and covers meals, coffee breaks and some materials. Registration is $40 for one day, $60 for both. Deadline to present a talk or a poster is Feb. 1. Register online at
The symposium is hosted by the Global Studies Program.
Support for Global Pedagogy Symposium 2014 is provided by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and a St. Cloud State Action Grant.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Assessment Working Group Meeting Summary - 12_20_13

Summary of Most Recent AWG Meeting
December 20, 2013

Members of the Assessment Working Group met on December 20 to initiate the discussion of best practices in teacher assessment. We initiated this process by reading and discussing, chapter by chapter, Darling Hammond’s (2013) text Getting Teacher Evaluation Right. In addition, we discussed progress of our P-12 partners on the required Minnesota system for evaluating educators, reviewed the Common Metrics (Bush Foundation) metrics, talked about partnerships with the Support Working Group, and pulled together an approach for moving forward.

Darling Hammond Book
We discussed the highlights of the Darling-Hammond book on effective practice in teacher evaluation. High points of the discussion are provided below:

·       Best teacher evaluation practices are based on coherent state standards
·       Best practices assume an interface between assessment and professional development, including
     assistance for struggling teachers
·       The system ought to accommodate not just new, but struggling educators
·       Best practice in measurement as applied to teacher assessment and evaluation accommodates both entry  skills and master performance
·       The best teacher assessment systems tap student attitudes (engagement), student learning outcomes (but without overreliance on value added metrics), observation by trained evaluators, and portfolio-based authentic methods

Teacher Development and Evaluation in Minnesota
Members of the AWG noted that all partner districts were well underway in negotiating models and processes for teacher evaluations as required in Minnesota. The most difficult puzzle piece remains how to equitably employ student outcome data in teacher assessment as required.

Common Metrics
Kathy Dahlberg described data collected via the Common Metrics (CM) activities of NeXT (the Bush Foundation Grant, TPI at SCSU).  The purpose of the CM system is for the 14 “Bush” teacher preparation IHEs to collect a common set of data in a comparable fashion.  One committee goal is to emphasize the use of extant data in the development of metrics with which to meet benchmarks and to evaluate programming sponsored by the grant.  Presumably the four Common Metrics Instruments will be employed in any plans that we develop.

Process and procedure

Next meeting: Members of the working group will review the charges and benchmarks with an eye toward developing  a set of work tasks, prioritize these tasks, and set between-meeting tasks.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

TPI Recruit Working Group Fall Meeting Summary

The Recruit Working Group has 13 members from both SCSU and all six of our Partner Districts.  The Recruit Working Group had meetings at the SCSU Welcome Center in October, November, and December.   A summary of our work from fall is provided below. 

Recruiting, Retaining, Graduating, and Supporting Teachers of Color with Diverse Cultural Backgrounds & Growing High Needs Teacher Programs

Our current focus is on two proposals: (1) Recruiting, Retaining, Graduating, and Supporting Teachers of Color with Diverse Cultural Backgrounds, and (2) Growing High Needs Teacher Programs.  Both proposals originated in Focused Teams and were brought to the working group for review and further development.  First, both proposals relate to preparing diverse candidates and better alignment between market demands and the number of graduates completing our programs.  Next, both proposals address a need for Alternate Pathways to licensure, financial incentives, and improved mentorship to retain teacher candidates.  Finally, efforts to portray the teaching profession in a more positive light are essential to the success of recruiting candidates in high needs areas (e.g., special education, teaching English as a second language (ESL), science, technology, and mathematics). 

Marketing Plan

The Bush Foundation, in conjunction with Haberman, a Minnesota-based marketing firm, delivered a Recruitment Road Map to each of its 14 institutions of higher education in 2013.  The Recruit Working Group has been developing a Marketing Plan to improve our recruitment practices.  We will align the Marketing Plan with the Recruitment Road Map delivered by Haberman to identify gaps in the plan and move toward implementing new methods and strategies to reach a diverse pool of candidates.
The Marketing Plan consists of three strands: (1) Media, (2) Face to Face Messaging, and (3) Incentives.  Media includes effective use of Websites, social media, and new technology.  Face to Face Messaging includes activating internal resources and partnerships to build capacity and foster a culture of recruitment.  Incentives includes scholarships and other financial resources to increase candidates in high needs areas.  The Recruitment Roadmap delivered by Haberman includes an Implementation Guide; it will certainly guide the efforts of the Recruit Working Group.  The roadmap has been presented to our leadership and generated support.  Next, we will need to extend this buy-in to all faculty and professional staff and develop internal relationships that support recruitment.  We will need to delegate responsibilities, determine priorities, identify resources, and develop a specific implementation timeline for recruitment practices.

Can you recommend incentives to recruit candidates in high needs areas?

What can we do to portray the teaching profession in more positive ways?

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Teacher Workshops: Partnering to Support First Year Teachers

 The Teacher Preparation Initiative and its six Partner Districts continue to collaborate to support teachers in their first three years of instruction. An ongoing effort is the offering of new teacher workshops for all first year teachers in the Partner Districts and recent SCSU Graduates. Currently these new teachers and graduates are invited to four workshops starting in early August.

The August Workshop has a goal of getting new teachers’ first teaching experiences off to a successful start and providing networking opportunities. Participants were welcomed with music and networking. Presentations and follow-up sessions for every level of teaching had a focus on building relationships, classroom management, and professional communication. Teachers were invited to join a Schoology site to network and receive ongoing resources. The day concluded with the creation of implementation plans and a drawing for baskets filled with teaching supplies.

The half day October Workshop offered a targeted focus on classroom management. New Teachers were split into four groups to participate with a classroom management panel of master teachers at their level of teaching. Following the panel, teachers rotated through three stations with the themes of student interaction/engagement, transitions, and dealing with unforeseen circumstances. It was a fast paced afternoon that also included networking, gifts, and treats.

By December, many of our New Teachers are experiencing great stress as they moved into the third stage of teaching-“disillusionment” (California Department of Education, 1990). Taking that into consideration, the new teachers received an interactive stress management presentation by Dr. Steve Hoover. The rest of the day brought break-out sessions in the areas of technology, working with at-risk learners, special education topics, differentiating for learning, and networking in specific areas of instruction. It was wonderful to see the collaborative effort of so many SCSU Faculty and P-12 Veteran Teachers throughout the day. They worked together to facilitate groups and present content and the new teachers were very appreciative of the various perspectives offered.

The final workshop, in the evening on February 26, will feature a very exciting presentation by Willow Sweeney. Willow Sweeney is co-founder of Top 20 Training that provides training and materials to empower leaders, teachers, parents and students to develop their potential. Willow’s career has included high school teaching, coaching and she has been a national speaker and trainer since 2002 (Top 20 Training). It is our hope that Teacher Education Faculty will attend this event alongside new teachers and SCSU Graduates.

How do you think SCSU Faculty and P-12 Educators could be involved in new teacher workshops?