Latest News from the Collaborative

By: Jim Reese
02/22/2018

Read from our latest newsletter about everything PDC has  been up to!

About twice a month, the Professional Development Collaborative sends out a newsletter to its 1000+ subscribers to let them know about the projects we are working on; the relevant meetings or conferences at which we are presenting or that we are attending; and, of course, descriptions and reminders for all of the wonderful DC-PZ events that are coming up soon. This includes information about WISSIT–our annual summer teacher institute. In addition to being emailed to all of our subscribers, each newsletter will also be posted here, on our website. If you would like to access previous newsletters, you can click on the following link to our Mailchimp archive. While you’re there, you can also sign up for our mailing list!

February 22, 2018

PZ In Another Language Project

Those of you who attended the PZ In Another Language kick-off meeting last month already got a small taste of WIS Primary School teacher Sarah Hair’s latest project. She is dedicating her sabbatical this year to investigating how the Collaborative can better support educators–with a focus on the primary school level–who are teaching in immersion or dual-language programs in the DC area.

The seed for Sarah’s inspiration was planted back in 2013 when she attended the Project Zero Classroom summer institute at Harvard. She incorporated what she’d learned into her classroom and was excited to see the difference it made. Wanting to see what her colleagues were doing, but unable to find the time or opportunities, she decided that she needed to make time for reflection and gathering of documentation on how non-English language teachers were using PZ ideas in their classrooms.

 

Sarah’s ideas for the project developed as she realized there was a need for affordable professional development opportunities for language-acquisition teachers in the area during the school year (there are summer options, such as WISSIT, but many teachers use that time to travel and reconnect with their home cultures and families). She also noticed that there was very little in the way of research on the use of PZ ideas in supporting language acquisition.

She is working closely with the Collaborative and with a Washington International School parent/volunteer to write a concept paper that will be adapted for grant proposals. Funding would help support the three prongs of her project: partnering with a yet-to-be-determined university to conduct research on the effectiveness of PZ tools in language acquisition; providing–through the Collaborative–a series of affordable workshops and seminars for language-acquisition teachers during the academic year; and establishing a network of local teachers who are either using or would like to be using PZ tools in their immersion or dual-language classrooms.

Sarah hopes that her efforts this year will result in launching research and support programs that will continue to fill in, for many years to come, those gaps that she has identified. “I now believe,” she says, “that there is no better way to motivate students to learn in a different language than using the eight forces for creating a culture of thinking and a community of learners.”

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DC-PZ Schools Win Standing Ovations Awards!

 For the last eight years, the DC Education Fund has hosted the Standing Ovation for DC Public Schools awards ceremony. The event celebrates the achievements of DCPS’s top teachers, leaders and school communities with cash prizes totaling $230,000.

This year, three schools that participate in DC-PZ projects and workshops, Van Ness Elementary, School-Within-School@Goding, and H. D. Cooke Elementary each received major awards. Van Ness Elementary won the Excellence in School Innovation Award; School-Within-School Principal John Burst won a Rubenstein Award for Highly Effective Leadership; and Kaila Ramsey, a math teacher at H.D. Cooke Elementary, won a Rubenstein Award for Highly Effective Teaching.

The Collaborative offers them and the other winners a hearty congratulations on their well-deserved honors!

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