Sessions offered

Education Is None of Your Business/TEDx Talk (1 hr)
Consider these words from retired superintendent, Dr. Jeffrey Turner, “The real challenge for education today is we are running a 19th-century system, using 20th-century accountability, and expecting 21st-century skills.” Politicians have unsuccessfully tried to force education to fit into a business model, but kids aren’t widgets; and to that end, I say, “Education is none of your business.” To overcome, we must have innovative district and campus administrators and teacher leaders seeking to push past the tipping point. The session begins by highlighting why schools have operated an institutionalized factory model for well over a hundred years with politicians and big business interests mandating education to fit into an obsolete factory model. After an examination of how education policy got to this point, participants are challenged to consider what is needed to tip the scales from the heavy-handed “business model” of education to a model designed to meet the needs of the 21st century through the creation of content, not the consumption of it.

Teaching Students of Poverty (3-6 hr)
Based on the works of Eric Jensen such as Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids’ Brains and What Schools Can Do about It, Tools for Engagement: Managing Emotional States for Learner Success, and the Paul Tough books, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character and Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why, this session is an engaging, eye-opening exploration of how chronic exposure to poverty results in detrimental changes to the brain, but resurfaces with hope when exploring the malleability of the brain and children’s ability to adapt and experience emotional, social, and academic success. Drawing from the research, experience, and real school success stories as told by Jensen and Tough, this session includes topics such as: what poverty is and how it affects students in school; what drives change both at the macro level (within schools and districts) and at the micro level (inside a student’s brain); effective strategies from those who have succeeded and ways to replicate those best practices at your own school; and how to engage the resources necessary to make change happen. With the presentation built on modeling the strategies, participants are engaged throughout and strategies are not just discussed, but utilized.

Life After Death by PowerPoint (2-3 hr)
Tired of “death by PowerPoint?” sitting through endless slides, bullet points, and text being read aloud? There is life after death by PowerPoint! In this highly requested session, learn how best to connect with an audience or students based upon how the brain processes information. You will develop brain-friendly presentations that help organize and integrate information.

The Y in CNA (3 hr) 
“It doesn’t matter what you do, it matters why you do it. Words may inspire, but only action creates change,” says Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why. The Y in CNA goes beyond the bureaucracy of the comprehensive needs assessment (CNA) process. While state and federal law both outline the requirement for schools to conduct a CNA as part of the planning and decision-making process, the purpose of a CNA is to examine multiple sources of data to identify the priority needs and direction for the school, which is critical to the development of the district and campus improvement plans and decisions regarding the justification for use of NCLB and other funds. When conducted thoroughly, the CNA tool provides schools with identified strengths and weaknesses and specifies priorities for addressing student achievement and meeting challenging academic and performance standards. Conducting a CNA is a process, not an event. It guides school leaders (including teacher leaders), in finding the focus of the school year. In this session, Shade shares the transformation of a district that moved beyond focusing campus improvement plan goals solely on test scores (i.e. “ABC High School will move from 72% in math to 100% in math by May as measured by the TAKS” to “By the end of the school year, ABC High School will identify students not involved in any extracurricular organizations, teams, groups, or co-curricular programs and reduce that initial population by 50%” or “XYZ School will increase the number of students who will enroll in advanced coursework classes for the school year to 50%” or “123 Elementary School will improve classroom instruction so a minimum of 80% of students’ needs are met in Tier 1 while reducing the number of students identified for Tier 2 from 16% to 12% and from 15% to 8% in Tier 3.”

Note: This session is goes hand-in-hand with the following session, CIPs and DIPs, and can be offered in the same day.

CIPs and DIPs (Campus Improvement Planning and District Improvement Planning) (3 hr)
This session is specifically designed for principals, central office administrators and others who want great ideas about how to meet state and federal improvement planning requirements; and, more importantly, how to write effective campus and district improvement plans. This session features idea-generating conversations and includes round-table discussions will cover topics such as (1) what data to disaggregate for the Comprehensive Needs Assessment or CNA, (2) successful ideas for including others in the development of the CNA,
(3) strategies for ensuring the completion of all components and requirements, and (4) ways to connect budgets to strategies/activities. While state-mandated planning requirements will be included, the intent is to craft a well-designed, functional and meaningful improvement plans.

Title I 101 (3-6 hr)
When named principal, I was handed a wad of keys and wished luck. When handed thousands of Title I funds in addition to local funds, I wondered, “What do I do now?” With only the experience of a personal checkbook, I muddled my way through the myriads to bureaucratic red tape. Having had the experience of sink or swim, this session is for school leaders to have a leg up from the get go when it comes to managing a campus that receives Title I funds, but goes beyond the bureaucracy to find the ultimate intent and purpose of the funds and how to make them work to support the real mission of schooling.

The Moral Imperative for Creating a New Vision in Texas (3 hr)
Denton ISD was invited to be a consortium member district to work alongside the initial Texas High Performance Schools Consortium in researching, exploring, developing, and implementing a new vision for public education in Texas. The district is in its initial phases of implementation of the principles and premises outlined in “The New Vision for Public Education in Texas.” This session emphasizes why schools must change. District leaders are  trained and prepared to lead the visionary work in their schools and community including leading a communitywide book study using the Jamie Vollmer book, Schools Cannot Do It Alone: Building Public Support for America’s Public Schools.

Change Has Changed! (2-3 hr)
We are in a critical time of history. The age of farms and factories and even information worked for a while, but everything has changed. What worked yesterday does not necessarily work today. Organizations fail when they over-invest in “what is” at the expense of “what could be.” Executives often say, “This is how our industry work.” Gary Hamel, author of What Matters Now: How to Win in a World of Relentless Change, Ferocious Competition, and Unstoppable Innovation has a stock reply: ‘Yeah, until it doesn’t.” Truth is, every organization is successful until it’s not. In a world of unprecedented change, there’s only one way to protect yourself from creative destruction—do the destructing yourself.” We have to say goodbye to the knowledge economy and say hello to the creative economy. A new breed of worker and leader are now required…people who are creative, good at connecting with others, and able to see solutions like no one else. We are at a “tipping point” in education. With competition from private schools, charters schools, home schools, and virtual schools; with education funding in a crisis of epic proportions; with new, yet inefficient, assessment systems; and with the shift toward globalization, it is time. As our ancestors proved in shifting from the agricultural system to the industrial system, we can do it, but we must be willing to adapt. That’s why we need to change the way we change.

Unifying Your Community Around Education (1-2 hr)
As the power of community involvement is demonstrated in grassroots projects, we should be asking ourselves a question. How can we translate this excitement and teamwork into education? Learn how Denton, Texas unified the city, school district, non-profits, faith-based organizations, and parents to enact a vision: Pre-K education for Denton’s children and a mentorship program for 10,000 of Denton’s most at-risk students.

Parent Engagement Goes Mobile (Ready Rosie) (1 hr)
In 2011, Denton ISD partnered with the local United Way organization and Ready Rosie to form an Early Childhood Coalition. The goal was to reach all parents and community members with tools that would get all 0-6 year olds ready for success in school. We reached all 10,000 families with mobile video content that went straight to their mobile devices. This session will share the data and success of that coalition plus resources that can work in any community.

Understanding Understanding by Design (UbD) (3 hr)
Deliberate and focused instructional design requires an important shift in our thinking; first, about the specific learnings sought, and the evidence of such learnings, before thinking about what we, as the teacher, will do or provide in teaching and learning activities. Understanding by Design (UbD) or “backward design” is the practice of looking at expected outcomes before designing curriculum units, performance assessments, and classroom instruction as opposed to the traditional methodology of teach, test, and move one. This session is designed to understand UbD.

CHAMPS and STOIC (1-3hr)
As the fourth principal in five years, I began my career as a campus principal with one epic fail. Believing the school was headed in the right direction academically, I targeted the campus’ social needs by implementing a high-dollar social skills curriculum with little implementation support. And it bombed. After a year, it was scrapped in favor of an in-depth process of pulling together the entire staff with buy-in from all (including teachers, paraprofessionals, janitors, cafeteria workers, parents, etc.) using the Foundations and CHAMPS model as the framework. CHAMPS was undoubtedly the single most critical contributing factor to the campus consistently achieving an exemplary rating and being recognized for being a consistently high performing campus by the Just for the Kids organization for three years of consistently high academic achievement.

Customized Staff Development Sessions (tailored to district need)

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