Renewal! I always think of the end of the school year as a time of renewal, which sounds strange since we are focused on ending the school. But as we do all of the end of the year paperwork and shutter our classrooms/schools for summer, teachers and administrators are thinking ahead to the next school year and how to make it even better than the previous year, hence, renewal. I think one of the issues that drives this sense of renewal is our absolute focus on helping students to be the very best they can be. As educators we want to make a difference in the lives of those we serve and work with and as a result we often reflect on how to do better next year. So as I am thinking about my own renewal for next school year, I am thinking deeply about the work of Robin Fogarty, Gene Kerns, and Brian Pete in a new book called “Unlocking Student Talent: The New Science of Developing Expertise” (2018). I love the whole premise of this book, that our job as educators is to build expertise and ignite passion in our students.
In January of 2019, Learning Forward Kansas has invited Robin Fogarty to be our keynote speaker at our annual conference and she will share ideas from this book helping us see how these ideas are at the heart of the Kansans Can Vision – helping our students to become successful adults. In the book, she and her colleagues see this process as driven by three actions. The first is to motivate our students and to ignite the “spark of passion”. To do this, we need to help our students find sources of inspiration and listen to strong voices around them. For me, a source of inspiration was always my grandparents. They grew up with very little materially…read more
By Vicki Bechard, LFKS Secretary
Learning Forward Kansas (LFKS) is excited to announce the 2nd video in the series, Inspired to Learn: Kansas Stories, “What is Professional Learning?” is on the website and ready for educator use! This new video focuses on the characteristics and components that comprise effective professional learning, concentrating on “what” goes into the planning, learning, and follow up that increases engagement and effectiveness. It is a continuation of the journey toward effective professional learning that began in the first video “Why Professional Learning Matters: In Our School It Is Everyone’s Job to Learn.”…read more
Five Ways to Sustain School Change Through Pushback, Struggle and Fatigue
Teaching through projects, interrogating the value of grades, attempting to make learning more meaningful and connected to young people’s lives and interests, thoughtful ways of using technology to amplify and share student work. These are just some of the ways teaching and learning are changing. But moving to these kinds of learning environments is a big shift for many teachers, schools, and districts; it’s hard to sustain change once the shiny newness wears off...read more
Connections in Kansas
News Release from KLFA
•April 12, 2018•
The Kansas Learning First Alliance (KLFA) held the final meeting for the 2017-2018 academic year on April 12, 2018 at the KNEA building in Topeka, Kansas. KLFA Chair, Mark Farr, welcomed 15 representatives of 13 educational organizations committed to the KLFA vision of partnering to keep learning first….read more
News from KSDE
KSDE has developed a seven-module video training series outlining key components of Kansas’ vision for education. The purpose of this series is to help district and building leaders facilitate meaningful dialogue with staff and other stakeholders about the vision and what they want it to look like in their own schools and districts.read more
Connections with Learning Forward
Research has shown that effective collaboration results in higher levels of learning and performance by educators and students. Yet we also know that merely setting aside time and room for teams to work together does not guarantee these benefits.
So what are the essential elements of effective collaboration? Many of the answers lie in the culture of the organization responsible for supporting collective learning.
Here are five things I have seen consistently in cultures that support effective collaboration.
- Clarity of purpose. Leaders support collaboration because they believe it is a key component of the vision for the school and/or school system. In many cases, that vision emphasizes a commitment to great teaching and learning for every student. As a result, these leaders are invested in collaborative professionalism to ensure learning for all adults and children. When leaders commit to authentic collaboration, they can promise all parents that the teacher responsible for their child is just one of many who are committed to the success of their children.