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Learning Forward 2015 Annual Conference


About the Conference
When it comes to learning about educator professional learning, this is THE conference. Join thousands of other practitioners, presenters, and thought leaders that attend each year as they share:

    • How to solve professional development challenges at all levels;
    • New research;
    • Introductory- and advanced-level learning; and
    • The latest topics and data on professional learning best practices and technology.

    Full day sessions Attended: 

    A08-Self-Directed Evaluation Conversations (SC)
    E06-Leadership Moves, Essential Elements: Preparing Schools to Use Data Effectively (SC)
    K48-Walking the Talk: Reflective Coaching (SC)

    A08-Self-Directed Evaluation Conversations (SC)

    -Simon Cording

    Monday, December 7, 2015
    09:30 AM – 11:30 AM and continuing 02:15 PM – 04:15 PM

    School districts are developing new professional performance review protocols for use in the teacher evaluation process. Understand how communication between the evaluator and teacher determines whether the evaluation supports growth and learning. Acquire the skill set needed to conduct an evaluation process that supports professional learning and promotes self-directness in those being evaluated. Gain increased confidence in using evaluation as an opportunity to support growth.


    Michael Dolcemascolo, Thinking Collaborative, Skaneateles, NY,
    Jane Ellison, Thinking Collaborative, Denver, CO,

    Area Of Focus:



        Classified/Support Staff
        District Office Personnel (Directors/Consultants for Instruction, Technology, Curriculum, Human Resources, and Assessment)
        District-Level Staff Developers
        Policy Makers and Community Stakeholders
        Principals, Assistant Principals
        School-Based Staff Developers/Instructional Coaches


        Coaching and school coaches
        Continuous improvement
        Data-driven decision making
        Observation and Feedback Strategies
        Teacher evaluation and support

    Mission: to produce self-directed educators and learning teams

    Session Question: How can we bring self-directed coaching and apply it to the top down mandated teacher evaluation?

    Handout pg3 – Outcomes:

    • understanding of how maps and tools of Cognitive Coaching apply to the evaluation process
    • understanding of how evaluation can support self-directness
    • increased confidence in using evaluation as an opportunity to support growth

    Kenneth Pearson's research findings on evaluation was quoted 85% of the work says the best evaluation  will be built on trust and conversations and the person being evaluated has ownership).  So how can we support each other?

    Handout pg4 – Four Support Functions

    Growth Producing “Calibrating” Conversations (pg 17)

    First: Cognitive Coaching (Includes a needs assessment) -Art Costa and Bob Garmston

    Use these strategies as needed...
    Collaboration (Co-teaching and Co-planning)
    Consulting (List of options so they can allow for self-directed)
    Evaluation (Using an agreed upon set of standards to do performance evaluations to promote growth, self-assessing and self-directness)

    No one solution applies at all times
    Bruce Wellman (Adaptive Schools) – offers a flowchart to guide the types of support a given situation needs.

    Discernment of Trust (Bryk and Schneider – 2002)

       Trust is essential in the evaluative process and the following has been found in all top performing schools:

    • Respect – basic civility and willingness to listen – Parents, students and teachers need to have opportunities to talk and believe they can positively affect educational outcomes
    • Competence – the sense that all parties has the ability to carry out its appropriate roles and produce desired outcomes
    • Personal regard for others – everyone is treated with mutual support and caring, as people rather than roles
    • Integrity – believing that others will work in to ensure agreements and commitments are followed through

    Self-directed Evaluation Conversations (Summary of MIPs – Most Important Points)
    • eye contact, breathing, welcoming, genuine, interested
    • questions around identity and where where would you like to be and when (you can give a time frame)
    • use of 3rd point (the document/data)
    • observable manifestations of the cognitive shift as caused by probing questions and asking to vision
    • You can't tell people what to do
    • Use of paraphrasing to show understanding and to validate
    • As a last resort, if there is no one together

    Calibrating Conversations “Road Map”

    The Self-assessment Tool can be used the evaluate the skills and confidence levels of the coach:

    E06-Leadership Moves, Essential Elements: Preparing Schools to Use Data Effectively (SC)

    -Simon Cording


    Tuesday, December 8, 2015
    09:30 AM – 11:30 AM and continuing 02:15 PM – 04:15 PM

    School leaders in rural, urban, public, and charter schools find common ground in taking the steps needed to help teachers use data effectively and continuously. Hear the voices of principals and building leaders who are successfully laying the groundwork needed to transform instructional practice. Create a planning process for implementing data use in your district and schools as you learn from diverse school leaders who are getting results.


    Diana Nunnaley, TERC, Cambridge, MA,
    Mary Anne Mather, Mather Associates, Middleboro, MA,

    Area Of Focus:



        District Office Personnel (Directors/Consultants for Instruction, Technology, Curriculum, Human Resources, and Assessment)
        Principals, Assistant Principals
        School-Based Staff Developers/Instructional Coaches
        Superintendents, Assistant Superintendents


        Continuous improvement
        Data-driven decision making
        Leadership Development and Skills


    K48-Walking the Talk: Reflective Coaching (SC)

    ~ Simon Cording

    Conference Session Resources


    Wednesday, December 9, 2015
    08:00 AM – 10:00 AM

    Explore your mindset and learn to manage your strengths and shadow sides when coaching others. Engage in deep, personal reflection and develop deeper understanding about how reflection leads to insight and how insight leads toward new action for your own coaching contexts. Plan your own reflective professional development session in your home district.


    Dana Carmichael, Center for Authentic Intellectual Work, St. Paul, MN,
    Kevin Hosbond, Fairfield Community Schools, Fairfield, IA,
    Rita Martens, Iowa Department of Education, Des Moines, IA,

    Area Of Focus:



        District-Level Staff Developers
        School-Based Staff Developers/Instructional Coaches
        Teacher Leaders/Mentors/Team Leaders


        Addressing change and resistance
        Coaching and school coaches

    Coaching a Transformation

    The person will...
    Takes time
    Needs to be shielded
    The wings need to dry on its on timetable
    The job of the individual will be different
    Needs just a enough care can stop the transformation


    Growth Mindset will . . .

    effort to mastery
    criticism is learning
    inspiration from others
    Higher levels
    Free will

    Questions to ask yourself:
    What mindset is the person you are coaching?
    What mindset are you?


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