AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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Workshop Descriptions

July 24, 9:00 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. Workshops

Challenges and Solutions to Successful Implementation of Student Learning Objectives
For the purpose of teacher evaluation, student learning objectives (SLOs) are being used across the country to measure the impact of a teacher’s classroom instruction on student growth in both tested and non-tested subjects. This workshop will review the overall approach to SLOs focusing on key elements of successful SLOs, including learning content, assessment development, instructional strategies and student growth targets. Challenges in the implementation of SLOs will be discussed along with potential solutions. We will demonstrate how SLOs can be a collaborative process between the teacher and principal, in which the teacher is an active participant in how his or her classroom instruction will be measured for evaluation purposes.
Presenters: Joseph P. Frey, senior project director, Community Training and Assistance Center; Susan Edwin Kirkendol, senior associate/national school reform, Community Training and Assistance Center

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Common Core ELA & Literacy Standards and English Language Learners
This workshop will provide a brief introduction to the Common Core State Standards for ELA & Literacy. Participants will learn about the supports ELLs need to successfully meet the CCSS, and will examine the new roles for teachers and educators of ELLs in the era of the CCSS. Presenters will walk participants through a lesson plan featuring the Gettysburg Address as they analyze what is different when teaching ELLs and what is the same as when teaching mainstream students. Participants will take away with them several strategies and resources that include ELLs in the CCSS.
Presenters: Susan Lafond, assistant in research and educational services, NYSUT Education & Learning Trust; Diane August, managing researcher, American Institutes for Research

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Creating Appropriate Common Core Standards for Preschool Classrooms
How should states create pre-K Common Core? Common Core is having a big impact on all learners from our youngest to our oldest. The Mississippi Department of Education led the effort to build pre-K Common Core-aligned early learning standards in Mississippi, facilitated by Lynn Darling. In this session, she will share her insights on what content areas are unsuitable for standards in pre-K, how to combat the tendency to impose kindergarten standards on pre-K, and which states have gotten it right. Standards for English language arts, math, social and emotional development, physical development, social studies, science, and approaches to learning and creative expression will be discussed.
Presenter: Lynn D. Darling, director, Early Childhood Institute, Mississippi State University

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Creating Common Core Lessons in Subjects Other than English and Math
Members of the New York State United Teachers’ Subject Area Committee, who developed the anchor lessons on the NYSUT Common Core website, will discuss the process they used to develop, implement and refine their social studies and foreign language lessons to reflect the Common Core State Standards. Participants will see the lessons in action through video clips of the teachers reflecting on their instruction and on student learning.
Presenters: Andy Palumbo, kindergarten teacher, Jamesville Dewitt Faculty Association; Jennifer Allard, social studies teacher and curriculum coordinator, New Lebanon Teachers Association; Katie Kurjakovic, ESL K-6 teacher, United Federation of Teachers; Linda Zusman, foreign language teacher, Shenendehowa Teachers Association

Fierce Conversations: Maintaining Teamwork in Times of Fear and Demands
Creating labor-management partnership for all players in these innovative yet trying times requires truthful conversations among teachers and administrators. Through applying the principles of Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott, educators can learn about using clear and direct communications to strengthen their interactions, and avoid the ineffective behaviors and potentially damaging results of poor communication at the school site and district level.
Presenters: Cheryl Bodger, director of schools, ABC Unified School District (California); Rachel Santos, recording secretary, ABC Federation of Teachers

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How to De-Escalate Student Behavior: Institute for Understanding Student Behavior
With intense social and behavioral factors affecting the readiness of children to learn, educators and parents are looking for skills to better respond to challenging behaviors. Research has shown that students do not learn better ways of behaving when simply presented with aversive consequences for their problem behaviors. Instead, an increased emphasis on proactive approaches—in which expected and more socially acceptable behaviors are taught directly, then practiced often and repeatedly—can shift reactive interventions to preventive efforts. Attendees will be introduced to an overview of positive approaches and systems that will help them become the catalyst through which young people can change old habits, destructive responses and maladaptive behavior patterns. The goals of the workshop are to introduce educators to positive approaches to prevent crises, de-escalate potential crises, manage acute physical misbehavior, and reduce potential and actual injury to young people and staff.
Presenters: Dana Ashley, director, Institute for Understanding Behavior: A Consortium of the United Federation of Teachers, New York City Department of Education and Cornell University

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International Comparisons: Truths, Myths and Practical Lessons
Over the past few years, public education in the United States has been compared with systems around the world—China, Finland and Singapore, just to name a few. How do we really stack up? Is the educational world becoming as “flat” as they say? And who are the players and what are their motivations? With a new round of international tests scheduled for release in early December, what should educators know, and what are proven strategies to help shape our message? This workshop will break through all the hype and expose the myths, uncover the truth, and provide participants with practical knowledge they can use to improve teaching and learning.
Presenters: Rob Weil, director of field programs, AFT Educational Issues Department; Pat Keefer, director, AFT International Affairs Department

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Teacher Development and Evaluation and the Common Core State Standards Online Resources
This session will provide explanation and demonstration of two online tools for support in implementing and sustaining teacher evaluation systems and the Common Core State Standards. The Center on Great Teachers and Leaders from the American Institutes for Research hosts a site that supports state education leaders in their efforts to grow, respect and retain great teachers and leaders for all students. My Learning Plan is a provider of Web-based educator evaluation and professional learning data management solutions. Join this session to learn how these tools can help your teacher development and evaluation systems be successful.
Presenters: Elizabeth Combs, president, My Learning Plan; Angela Minnici, director, Center on Great Teachers and Leaders, principal researcher/educator quality, American Institutes for Research

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Teacher/Union-Led School Improvement
Participants will learn how teachers, school leaders, local union leaders and communities collaborate to ensure school improvement through leveraging resources and partnerships to address both academics and the social-emotional factors that impact achievement.
Presenters: Shelia Brantley, national faculty, Comer School Development Program at Yale; Karen Alford, vice president of elementary schools, United Federation of Teachers

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Universal Design for Learning: Meeting the Needs of All Learners
Based on neuroscience and learning science research, the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework is a way to meet the needs of all learners. Participants will experience the three UDL principles in action and learn about free instructional resources to enhance their teaching practices.
Presenter: Patti Ralabate, director of implementation, CAST

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Using Observations and Student Surveys to Inform Teacher Feedback and Professional Learning
How can we influence these important pieces of a teacher evaluation and development system to ensure the greatest positive impact on teaching and learning? Hear from leaders involved in the New York State United Teachers Innovation Initiative, who are designing and piloting a student survey aligned with the NYSUT Teacher Practice Rubric,and examining alternative evaluation processes for effective and highly effective teachers. This session will also highlight a guide for implementing a teacher evaluation and development system.
Presenters: John Kuryla, president, North Syracuse Education Association; Robin Hecht, i3 coordinator, Marlboro School District; Larry Waite, manager in educational services, NYSUT; Ellen Sullivan, assistant in educational services, NYSUT

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