2017 Empowered to Lead: All Sessions

ACADEMIC STRAND
Looking Beyond Our Lives: Refugee Trail Research and the Classroom | Joel Hinrichs and Peter Bouley, Branford High School | WAMPANOAG
Two teachers from Branford High School traveled and documented their three and half week expedition along the Western Balkan Route, as they  studied the refugee situation in Norway, Germany, Serbia, and Greece with the goal of exposing students to complex issues surrounding migration. This workshop will examine the ways by which the travel experience has been applied in the classroom and to extracurricular activities in order encourage others to look beyond their own lives, as well as help those in need. Through the use of video, websites, and PowerPoint, participants will learn how to use the material being presented in schools and districts. Participants will also have the opportunity to brainstorm possible grants they can write to improve their own teaching of controversial issues.
Reclaiming the Narrative of Education Reform: Moving From Answer-Getting to Problem Solving | Michael Flynn, 2008 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year | BROTHERTOWN
Various instructional strategies, particularly in math classes, look very different than they did when we were in school. While this has many in the education community excited, it has created stress and anxiety with some parents, teachers, and other education stakeholders. We will explore why these reform efforts make sense and what is getting in the way of successful implementation. Participants will leave with a clearer sense of how we can support teachers and school systems in creating rich and meaningful learning experiences for every student.
Holocaust Education as a Stepping Stone to Standing Up to Injustice | Dr. Eden C. Stein; Worthington Hooker School, New Haven | ONEIDA
During this session, participants will learn how a teacher can embed a core text into a unit addressing the essential questions: What factors determine whether someone will stand up to injustice, and How can I stand up to injustice?  I will present information from my Fund for Teachers fellowship studying at the Yad Vashem International Seminar for Educators, and discuss how this influenced my teaching of a Holocaust unit, culminating in a social action letter writing task on issues chosen by students.   Tasks such as reading the holocaust memoir, “Red Table, Green Table and Blue Table,” reflection journal writing, and debates, and examining mentor letters for change along with other resources will be shared as samples of how to encourage the development of empathy in the classroom.  The needs of teaching culturally diverse students will also be addressed.  Participants will brainstorm ways they can integrate the teaching of empathy into their own classroom practice, utilizing the issues they are passionate about to emphasize authentic teaching.
Innovative Artists, Scientists, Materials, and Tools | Dr. Cheryl Iozzo, Greenwich Public Schools; Krystal Kornegay Rose, Mystic Seaport Museum of America and the Sea | PENOBSCOT
Discover the power of inquiry to engage students in respectful and meaningful ways, attain a new perspective into your students’ own culture, and guide your students to take on multiple points of view.  Through a PowerPoint presentation, a hands-on inquiry based activity working with art images/objects from the museum, and video clips from a virtual fieldtrip/videoconference, participants will: Consider the Compelling (Essential) Question: How does art/artifacts help us understand the lives of people of different times, places, and cultures? Participants will learn to facilitate literacy through content and consider how knowing and using visual art vocabularies (visual literacy) help us understand and interpret works of art/artifacts. Participants will also experience the use of technology to enhance research and communication skills, while making our CT resources more accessible through virtual field trips.
Connecting the Past, Present, and Future Through Oratory and Art | Laurie Sweet and Barbara Connery, Region 6 Public Schools | SHINNECOCK/NIPMUC
In conjunction with the Ford’s National Oratory Program, participants will engage in a Workshop Model discussion about oratory, annotation techniques, and visual imagery. The process will encourage critical thinking, understanding connections of the past to the present, and expand on perspectives from various historical events. Discussion will include how different images and words can represent universal ideas. Through shared observations and collaboration, participants will reflect on different perspectives that will hopefully present an opportunity to understand the human condition including its struggles and joy. After annotating a chosen text, participants will create a visual of their own with words and/or phrases to generate a powerful message in the form of a collage. This process will connect to the Academic Strand to provide ideas, resources, and best practices designed to emphasize empathy, emotional intelligence, and growth mindset in the classroom and beyond classroom walls.
Keys to Success: Think Positive, Increase Grit, and the Growth Mindset | Michelle Brown, New Fairfield Public Schools | NEHANTIC/PEQUOT/PAUGUSSETT
Teaching students to develop growth mindsets, think positively, and increase grit is essential for academic and social-emotional growth. Students must also know how to engage their character strengths and self-regulatory skill sets if they are going to succeed. In this highly interactive, Keys to Success seminar, participants will learn current theories about increasing grit and positive thinking, along with many practical strategies that promote these skills by developing students’ mindsets. This seminar merges the art and science of teaching in ways that are meaningful, accessible and appealing for both you and your students. Participants will learn to weave growth mindset thinking and strategies into daily school environment and classroom instruction; incorporate the principles of educational cognitive and neuroscience into instruction in meaningful and engaging ways; see how effort, discipline and deliberate practice contribute more to school success than IQ or innate ability; show students how to  use their character strengths and regularly apply them to their learning; implement strategies that foster grit and build self regulation skills; and teach foundations for creating a positive and joyful classroom.
Bring the Music Back! (Music in the Academic Classroom) | Dylan Connor, Stratford Public Schools | PASSAMAQUODDY
The purpose of this session will be to explore concrete ways in which teachers can incorporate music in the academic classroom in order to foster better retention of concepts, provide creative and expressive opportunities for students, and bring some playfulness and fun back into secondary school classroom. Using music in the classroom on a regular basis can create bridges to students that did not previously exist. This session will provide ideas, resources, and best practices designed to emphasize empathy, emotional intelligence, and growth mindset in classroom settings. Participants will learn how to create and/or use music to make your content more memorable, incorporate music and technology into PBAs as a way to encourage cooperation and creativity, and listen to and analyze classic songs and works of music to revitalize your curriculum. It is recommended that participants bring an ipad or iphone with garageband app or similar app.

 

COMMUNITY STRAND
Building Partnerships with Families and Community | Katherine Bassett and Peggy Stewart, National Network of State Teachers of the Year | SHINNECOCK/NIPMUC
This session is designed to help teachers develop their leadership skills to improve school-families-community relationships. Teachers, Teacher Leaders, School Leaders, Mentors, and Coaches who want to improve engagement and outreach opportunities to meet the educational needs of all learners should attend. You will leave this session with:

  • a deep understanding of Domain VI of the Teacher Leader Model Standards and the skills teachers need to lead school efforts to improve engagement opportunities
  • innovative tools designed to inspire and guide connections with families and community
  • strategies to expand and improve existing outreach and engagement efforts.

Participants will have opportunities to dig into the materials and numerous opportunities to share with others in the room. We will engage in activities that provide opportunities for us to process the learning, practice using the tools, and leave the session prepared to make tangible and concrete changes in practice.

Rwanda: From Hatred to Healing and Beyond | Chris Sparks, East Hartford High School | ONEIDA
While teachers are seldom given the opportunity to explore the world about which they teach, Fund for Teachers gives educators an invaluable opportunity to travel around the world and to bring the world back to their classrooms. This workshop focuses on the travel and learning experiences of a teacher who spent time in Rwanda researching genocide, studying the government’s forced reconciliation policies, and experiencing the culture and people of a country that many call Africa’s greatest success story. Attendees will experience a teacher’s fellowship in Rwanda, as well as the impact this experience has had on instruction, student engagement, community outreach, and humanitarian activism. This workshop also will guide participants through the process of applying for a Fund For Teachers grant.
Maintaining Humanity in Our Classrooms and School Communities | FIRE Academy of Cromwell Public Schools: Dr. Paula Talty, Shannon Baldino, Katie Guerrette, Blaise Messinger, Deborah Sanders, Steven St. Onge | BROTHERTOWN
Has humanity taken a back seat in the high stakes world of education today?  What role can teacher leaders play in promoting humanity in the classroom and their school community, while maintaining the depth and rigor necessary for first rate instruction?  FIRE Academy, a teacher leadership academy within Cromwell Public Schools, will lead a roundtable discussion about what can be done on a classroom, school, and district level to improve the level of humanity in education.  Come prepared to share and expect to leave with new ideas to nurture and celebrate the human-to-human connections in the classroom and throughout the school community.
Free to Be the Whole Child: The Significance of Encouraging the Innate Story Within the Student and Teacher | Renata Bowers, Frieda B. Author | PASSAMAQUODDY
What would your school look like if all students and staff dreamed big and believed in their stories? Anchored in her philosophy of Purpose Before Performance™, Frieda B. author Renata Bowers has shared her Frieda B. books with tens of thousands of children to help them understand that each of us is free to be the one-of-a-kind and very important story we carry inside. When we see a child not just intellectually, but also socially, emotionally, physically and spiritually, we validate the whole child. This has potential for great impact within a classroom, and a school as a whole. Research (and common sense) substantiates that a child who understands and believes he has a unique and important worth will more readily engage academically [Purpose Before Performance], as well as have greater capacity to support the stories of others. Moreover, the teacher who brings her “whole child” into the classroom – her strengths, interests, failures and try-agains – naturally models for students what it looks like to champion the story within. This session will explore the significance of encouraging story in the classroom, for both the student and teacher; practical methods for doing so; and the impact it can have individually and corporately within a school.
Rainforest ArtLink: Enhancing 21st Century Global Competency Skills through Cross-Cultural Exchanges | Dr. Cheryl Iozzo, Greenwich Public Schools; Miguel Barreto, Creative Connections Rainforest ArtLink Program Director | NEHANTIC/PEQUOT/PAUGUSSETT
Through a digital presentation, hands-on inquiry based activity working with art images from a class in Guatemala, and a live videoconference with teachers and students in Guatemala, participants will: discover the power of arts to convey ideas; expand their students’ awareness, understanding, and appreciation of lives of international peers who live in the rainforest; gain a new perspective on “sustainability” by interacting with students and educators working in rural rainforest communities; and define what global education means for students in Connecticut and why this is relevant.
How to Build a Positive and Productive School Culture: Lessons from a Leadership Team | Jennifer Allen, Julia Darcy, and David Huber; Bristol Public Schools
Members of South Side School’s (Bristol, CT) Leadership team will share their experiences about building a school culture around learning for all.  The team will discuss their successes and struggles around building highly collaborative teams designed to respond to the learning of all children.  Part of the presentation will review a brief article on culture and climate to develop a common understanding while providing time for all participants to share successful practices being utilized in schools across the state.  The team also will discuss changes in their own practices and the two-way relationship building necessary to support this complex yet important work. Participants will learn new ideas to cultivate positive relationships that lead to an improved school culture.
Supporting Academic Success, School Community, and Leadership | Lisa Halloran, Lisanne Kaplan, and Alan Reichle; Mohegan Elementary School | WAMPANOAG
In this session, participants will learn how three teachers with various teaching backgrounds became Fund For Teachers fellows in 2016 and how they applied their experiences in the areas of community, leadership, and academics. Participants in this session will learn how the study of art can be used as a means to improve ELL students’ language development, how the study of refugee populations can cultivate leadership skills and advocacy efforts in support ELL students and their parents, and how First Nation tribes promote their heritage through school. Learn how each of these FFT fellows used each other to support and grow their ideas into realities and how you can make a difference in your school and community.

 

LEADERSHIP STRAND
Teachers Leading Professional Learning | Katherine Bassett and Peggy Stewart, National Network of State Teachers of the Year | PASSAMAQUODDY
This session is designed to help teachers develop their skills to improve the quality of professional learning for teachers.  Team leaders, instructional coaches, mentors, and teachers who want to learn more about effective professional learning should attend.  You will leave this session prepared  to take action and create tangible changes through three areas of focus: 1. The Foundation for Professional Learning: School Culture, 2. Designing Professional Learning, and 3. Measuring the Impact.  This is a highly interactive session.  Participants will have opportunities to dig into the materials and numerous opportunities to share with others in the room.  Participants will understand the qualities of effective professional learning and have an opportunity to “grow” their leadership skills.  With the use of visual prompts and handouts, teacher will engage in processing activities such as making observations, drawing conclusions, and reflecting on practice, throughout the session.  They will focus on growing their teacher leadership skills by using NNSTOY’s “Change Protocol” to prepare them to apply the learning to an action plan.
Self-Assessing Your Educator Mojo: Where Are You Now and What’s Next? | Megan Allen, 2010 Florida Teacher of the Year | NEHANTIC/PEQUOT/PAUGUSSETT
What makes you light up as a teacher leader? What are your strengths, weaknesses, and the topics that make your heart skip a beat? This workshop will use the leadership compass self-assessment and passion mapping to help you reflect on yourself as a teacher leader, prompting you to think about your next steps as an educator and how you can grow into your best teacher self. You will leave with resources, tools, and ideas to use with yourself, teacher teams, and students in your classroom.
Re-imagining Teacher Leadership: Engaging Teacher Leaders Across the Career Continuum to Address District Academic and Community Needs | Dr. Craig Cooke | Bonnie Fineman | Christopher Todd | Andrew Folsom | Tracey DiMona | Tressa Tedeschi; Windsor Public Schools | ONEIDA
The Windsor Leadership Corps (WLC) is a program that utilizes an innovative, sustainable approach to creating opportunities for teacher leadership district-wide.  As a one-year, job-embedded professional learning experience, WLC participants span the career continuum and work to design, implement and evaluate classroom, building and district level projects which address academic and community needs. WLC participants craft plans of action to implement yearlong projects which result in positive changes in academic achievement, school climate, and family engagement across the district. This session will explore the idea of teacher-led action research projects as a sustainable way to build leadership capacity and create positive change across a district.
Growth Mindset Across the Career Continuum | Mary Kay Rendock; Bloomfield Public Schools, 2006 Connecticut Teacher of the Year | PENOBSCOT
Carol Dweck’s amazing work on Growth Mindset provided ground breaking ways to transform your teaching and your classroom, but what about you? What about us? This interactive workshop will look at the many ways we can apply her teachings to our lives as adults, leaders, and human beings. We will explore the Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset and how they can be affecting (positively or negatively) your daily life. Participants will also learn how the Growth Mindset can influence interactions with students and colleagues, as well as how this approach can positively impact us as teacher leaders in our schools, districts, and broader educational community.
Student Leadership: A Program to Improve School Culture and Community | Ophir Bullock, Christine Huestis, Jennifer Wilson, Anahi Lee Cauley, and Jayden Edison; Windsor Public Schools | BROTHERTOWN
The goal of Sage Park Leaders, a new program in Windsor,  is to help middle school students learn what leadership looks like, and how to utilize their leadership abilities to have a positive impact on their school, their community, and on their own life. Through leadership activities, planned sessions, and community service projects, these young leaders create relationships that help them become more connected to the school community, which ultimately helps create an emotionally safe school climate for all students. In our workshop session, we will introduce this program, recently recognized by CAS as an exemplary middle school leadership program, as a model for other schools to follow. A panel of adults and middle school students will explain the program and the impact it has had on the students as individuals and the school as a community. This session will highlight strategies and components that we’ve used in our school through the School Leaders program – as well as other programs – so that participants can build meaningful partnerships in their own school communities, helping to build an emotionally safe school climate for all students.
In Their Shoes: Supporting New Teachers and their Professional Growth | Liz Misiewicz; Ridgefield Public Schools; Alan Strauss, Gilbert School; Erin Wilson-Ruff, Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School; Megan McCauley, New Canaan Public Schools; Cori DeLorge, Windsor Public Schools; Marianne Byrne, Putnam Public Schools; Gina Barillaro, Union Public Schools | WAMPANOAG
New teachers bring a fresh voice and the latest practices to schools. However, they are also juggling the demands of learning a new school system, a new curriculum, completing TEAM and more – the list is endless. In addition, new teachers have unique challenges as they are navigating through transformative times in education alongside veteran teachers that feel like novices to the profession themselves. Attend this session to gain insight into what it means to be and feel like a new teacher in 2017. You’ll hear from a panel made up exclusively of new teachers, TEAM mentors and administrators that paints an accurate and detailed description of the new teacher experience. Learn what it’s like to be in their shoes, so you can support them where they need it most as they grow in their profession.
Design Thinking: Cultivating Leaders in a Collaborative Environment | George Stewart and Shaylyn Livingston; EF Education First | SHINNECOCK/NIPMUC
Ideation through collaboration is becoming increasingly important to achieve within the classroom. The Center for Public Education’s (CPE) Defining a 21st Century Education regards collaboration as a differentiator for students achieving future success. At EF Education First, we have witnessed the benefits of Design Thinking through engaging student centered collaboration which cultivates empathy and the motivation needed to develop ideas into action. In this workshop educators will use Design Thinking – a human-centered approach to solving complex problems – to explore new ways to engage students and to build their leadership capacity. Participants will be asked to think differently by innovating on existing practices while prototyping logical and applicable solutions. This session will provide educators with not only an overview of Design Thinking, but also the opportunity to embed student- centered practices in the classroom for the benefit of both students and teachers.

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