Culture is a Focus for Berrien Springs Public Schools as they Set Their Conditons to Scale Modern Learning

The Berrien Springs Public Schools (MI) Digital Convergence Steering Committee recently worked on drafting their new instructional model to scale modern learning across their organization. While four groups developed their own drafts, a common factor emerged across all instructional model groups- Culture. For Berrien Springs, a safe, secure and nurturing learning environment is the foundation, or in their case, the stem of the shamrock that feeds a modern learning environment. Looking forward to their final product!

 Steve Spenner, Berrien Springs Middle School Principal, explains the major components and big ideas of his group’s instructional model draft.

Steve Spenner, Berrien Springs Middle School Principal, explains the major components and big ideas of his group’s instructional model draft.

 BSPS Superintendent Dave Eichberg, Virtual Academy Director Rachel Stout, Communications Director Gail Fox, and Science/Social Studies Instructional Coach Emma Haygood (not pictured) collaborate on their group’s instructional model draft.

BSPS Superintendent Dave Eichberg, Virtual Academy Director Rachel Stout, Communications Director Gail Fox, and Science/Social Studies Instructional Coach Emma Haygood (not pictured) collaborate on their group’s instructional model draft.

Sparta Area Demonstrates a Flexible Learning Space While Drafting New Instructional Model

Limited wall space didn’t stop the Sparta Area School District Digital Convergence Steering Committee from drafting their new instructional model for modern learning.  Throughout the drafting process, the team focused on their aspiration of developing engaged learners through flexible learning options - an idea that came into practice for the team during their strategy session. With limited wall space to Affinity Map their instructional model prompt reflections, the team turned to using Superintendent Dr. Amy Van Deuren’s office windows. A few packages of Post-It Notes and dry-erase markers transformed the simple windows into a flexible workspace for the team to synthesize their ideas and generate their draft instructional model. The war room was fully operational!

 Windows became dry-erase boards during Sparta’s instructional model strategy session. 

Windows became dry-erase boards during Sparta’s instructional model strategy session. 

 Strategy Officer Jason Bletzinger brainstorms big ideas with the Sparta team during their recent instructional model strategy session. 

Strategy Officer Jason Bletzinger brainstorms big ideas with the Sparta team during their recent instructional model strategy session. 

Upper Arlington Superintendent, Paul Imhoff, named Superintendent of the Year at Ohio School Boards Association Capital Conference

Congratulations! Your leadership and your team’s accomplishments in transforming Upper Arlington Schools into modern, flexible learning environments is nothing short of exemplary for districts in Ohio and districts across the United States as we endeavor to deliver relevant learning experiences for our students.

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Congratulations to our network member, Cajon Valley Union School District, for making the list of the top K-8 schools worth visiting in the US

Cajon Valley Union School District east of San Diego is the best example of systematic K-8 career exploration in the country. The World of Work (#CVWoW) is the organizing principle for engaging student-centered and community-connected learning. (See recent feature.) 

 https://www.gettingsmart.com/2018/11/70-elementary-middle-schools-worth-visiting/

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Traditional VS Modern Curriculum

Leaders from Hamilton Community Schools in Hamilton, Michigan spent some time examining the differences between traditional and modern curriculum prior to considering how instruction will take place in learning environments of the future. Designing units where students have choice, control over pacing, incorporate authentic performance tasks and also incorporate elements of student design is challenging. Planning for this type of instruction must be intentional and at the heart is a K-12 Common Unit Plan aligned to the best practices and core values identified in the district’s instructional model. 

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Yorkville Leverages Current Modern Learning Practices in Their Vision for the Modern Learning Environment

Yorkville Community Unit School District 115 is a suburban school district located in the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. This mid-sized, progressive school district is doing some innovative things for kids and is beginning to leverage the Digital Convergence methodology to scale modern learning practices across their entire system.

The Yorkville Digital Convergence Steering Committee recently kicked off their journey by drafting their vision for modern learning. Throughout the visioning process, the Yorkville team kept the belief statements and goals of the current strategic plan and their Portrait of a Learner at the forefront of the discussion about student outcomes in the Conceptual Age. The team’s draft Theory of Action statements deliberately connect with the knowledge, skills, and abilities identified in the district’s Portait of a Learner so the district community is able to connect the work of Digital Convergence with the strategic plan. The district defines “learners” as all members of the district community including students and staff. This expectation was evident during the strategy session as a middle school blended learning teacher cohort was collaborating in an innovative work space parallel to the Digital Convergence Steering Committee’s conference room. We are excited to Yorkville’s Digital Convergence journey and contributions to the National Network!

 As part of the District 115 Strategic Plan, the Portrait of a Learner is focused on the desired knowledge, skills, and abilities of the District 115 school community. (https://www.y115.org/Page/2255)

As part of the District 115 Strategic Plan, the Portrait of a Learner is focused on the desired knowledge, skills, and abilities of the District 115 school community. (https://www.y115.org/Page/2255)

Districts Define Their Key Elements of Modern Learning through a New Instructional Model

The Gaston and Orange County Digital Convergence Steering Committees recently continued their work in setting the conditions for modern learning by defining their new instructional model. Their new instructional model also includes a common language for defining rigor and 21st century skills to inform the development of a graduate profile. The instructional model is the catalyst necessary to scale the shift in teaching and learning practices to the modern learning environment at the classroom level. This strategy session helps teams envision how their new instructional model can begin to operationalize those key elements of modern learning at the classroom level across all grades, courses, subjects and content areas.

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Members of Gaston’s Digital Convergence Steering Committee collaborate through the Affinity Mapping protocol to synthesize the team’s ideas into big ideas and major components of the overarching instructional model. 

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Members of the Orange County Instructional Models Driver Team use the Affinity Mapping protocol to develop their major components and bid ideas of their new instructional model for modern learning. 

Preparing to Launch Professional Learning in Mt. Vernon

In Fortville, Indiana, the Mt. Vernon Community Schools Corporation team has launched blended PL with a cohort of "Tech Team Rock Stars" and is getting ready to introduce Modern Teacher PL modules to the district's teachers as a whole. Over two half-day sessions, they made some critical moves to ensure their teachers would be ready to #MVCharge ahead.

First, to best support teachers' growth, the district's two instructional coaches along with the school leaders engaged in some blended learning activities around coaching in the Modern Teacher platform. They also started to wrestle with the question of what fluency looks like by starting to create fluency guides for each assigned module.

 Learning about how to coach in a blended environment... in a blended environment!

Learning about how to coach in a blended environment... in a blended environment!

Second, the team worked on creating tight common messaging that would be delivered by the Principals across their buildings on an upcoming early release day. This included making clear connections to their instructional model and professional learning goals, an orientation on the PL platform itself, setting expectations, and knowing where to go for help.

 The Mt. Vernon team getting ready to #MVCharge into Stage 3 

The Mt. Vernon team getting ready to #MVCharge into Stage 3 

We hope to see these guys at NCDC in February!