4, 3, 2, 1…some of our favorite posts from 2013

on Dec 24, 2013 in Blog by

As we reflected on 2013  while making plans for 2014, we talked about the ideas we shared via the online communities of practice we created or manage for our partners and clients. Each of our policy staff members has chosen a blog post or discussion entry that they wrote  to highlight here. We hope these will pique interest or provide insight on a variety of topics from 2013.

Circe Stumbo, President

In 2013, we engaged several efforts to support state leaders as they worked through problems of practice.

In each, we used a protocol, Consulting on a Problem of Practice:  A Collaborative Inquiry Protocol, that we adapted for several of our projects over the years.  Last April, I blogged Five Tips for Preparing a Problem of Practice on Evaluation Systems for CCSSO to help leaders get the most out of their experience with us.

Deb Hansen, Senior Policy Analyst

The blog I choose to showcase for 2013 is UP!, which was written for the SCEE Collaboration Site (4/23/13). Writing a blog can lead you to some cutting edge work that you and your readers wouldn’t know about otherwise. When drafting UP! I learned about an innovative initiative in Providence Road Island. Through a dynamic collaborative relationship between the Providence Public School District (PPSD) and the Providence Teachers’ Union (PTU) a team of committed educators are pursuing an important inquiry – how to support the role of teachers as the professional in the collective work of improving student learning and ensure fair treatment and adequate compensation of teachers. This is a highly relevant topic to the SCEE membership, as they work on setting up systems to evaluate and compensate teachers.  One of the best things about working on this blog is that I was able to reconnect with a respected colleague, Peter McWalters. Peter serves on the UP! National Advisory Board and is a longtime friend of West Wind.

Mandi Bozarth, Policy Associate

I am excited to say that during 2013 (and continuing in 2014) West Wind has again been working with the Iowa Department of Education to continue exploring competency-based education.  And preparing for our work I came across a video of some amazing teaching going on in rural Oklahoma where I was raised.  I originally posted this to the Discussion Forums on the www.IACompEd.com site and I thought it would be worth sharing here again.  Enjoy: 

This episode of the Ignite Show takes you inside the classroom of the 2013 Oklahoma State Teacher of the Year 2013 Elaine Hutchinson as she uses the approaches of CBE to teach students to apply mathematical equations to real-life situations.  It also shows Ms. Hutchinson sitting down with her building’s principal and a new teacher to talk through teaching skills.  It’s a great view into how the tenets of CBE support real world learning.  Plus Ms. Hutchinson teaches in Fairview, OK, just down the road from where I grew up in rural Oklahoma!

Alecia Brooks, Project Assistant

Please take a few moments to read one of my favorite blogs from 2013. This blog, written for the State Consortium on Educator Effectiveness, details how the Teacher Cadet Program shows students how they can enter and contribute to the educator workforce. I especially enjoy this blog because it highlights how state educators in Arkansas will use this program to stabilize the number and quality of teachers in the Arkansas Delta—an impoverished, rural area that experiences the most recruitment barriers within the state.

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