Latest News from the Collaborative

By: Jim Reese

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!

January 9, 2019:

What’s New for 2019?


At the PD Collaborative, we are looking forward to a 2019 chock-full of activity! On our agenda: At least one DC-PZ event each month through April (if you have an idea for May, let us know!); two one-day conferences; one new grant-funded project; and, of course, WISSIT 2019!

As usual, we’ll use our DC-PZ events as an opportunity not only to learn and practice a range of PZ strategies, but also to forge useful connections with colleagues across the region, and in particular with DC-area museums. We strongly believe that museums are invaluable resources for every educator. By bringing together classroom teachers with educators from museums like the Freer|Sackler and the National Building Museum, we hope to spark new ideas and partnerships that will deepen student learning and engagement. For the full list of our workshops, be sure to read our “Upcoming Events” section below, and, of course, you can always check the Events section of our website.


This spring, the PD Collaborative will be hosting two brand-new learning opportunities at the Washington International School’s Tregaron Campus. On Saturday, April 27, the Asia Society and the Collaborative will present a one-day workshop for Chinese language educators, titled “Go Real! Creating Authentic Learning Experiences for Pre-K to Grade 12 Chinese Language Learners.” This workshop draws on professional development the Asia Society has offered in the past two years in an effort to explore ways of making learning highly relevant and engaging in Chinese language classrooms. The workshop will feature Dr. Wei-ling Wu, a nationally recognized Chinese language educator who has authored a range of Chinese textbooks for K-12 classrooms and designed teacher trainings for Asia Society. Registration for the event can be found here.


On Saturday, May 18, the PD Collaborative will present the first-ever “Making Across the Curriculum” conference! Highlighting the wealth of professional learning and practical application of the Agency by Design-affiliated project, Making Across the Curriculum, the conference will feature two Project Zero researchers, Edward Clapp and Sarah Sheya. Local DC educators who have taken part in this project will share maker-centered practices across various contexts, grade levels, and subject areas. Additionally, we will have an optional pre-conference afternoon on Friday, May 17, which will explore making in and out of designated “maker spaces.” Registration for both events can be found here.


We are very pleased to announce that, through a generous grant from the Longview Foundation and a partnership with the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA), we will be launching a new project called Museums Go Global: Creating Exemplary Lessons for the Smithsonian’s Learning Lab. This project will be a continuation of our project from a few years ago, Engaging the Arts with Museums in Mind, in that it will maintain the focus on building global competence in students, but it will broaden the scope of the original project by including non-art focused museum collections and by publishing the finished lesson plans on the Smithsonian’s Learning Lab platform. This project will begin next month and will run through December 2019. It will include teachers from DC, Maryland, and Virginia schools and classrooms of all types.



Finally, from July 29-August 2, we will have our flagship annual event, WISSIT! Registration opens today for this week-long institute that has some teachers (or, at least one teacher) calling it “Teacher Christmas!” Even if you’re unsure of your budget for this summer, it’s better to sign up for this sooner rather than later, because we will fill up! And this year we will be offering a limited number of scholarships for teachers from Title I schools and for pre-service teachers. If you have a question about affording WISSIT, please reach out to Jim Reese at As usual, there will be the team discount for schools that send three or more staff members to WISSIT. For more details  and to register, visit here

Checking-in on DC-PZ Affiliate Groups


Since 2017, DC-PZ has inspired the formation of several specialized affiliate groups that seek to continue the energy and ideas coming out of WISSIT and our other programs. Each group has a defined audience in order to bring a narrower focus on Project Zero strategies that fit their members’ specific needs and interests. With a new year upon us, we decided now was a great time to check-in on these groups to see what they have planned for 2019.

DC-PZ for Early Childhood, a.k.a. DC-PZ-EC: 

What is your group? The DC-PZ-EC group started as an affiliate group two years ago with the purpose of creating a community of learners interested in collaboratively exploring PZ ideas, particularly as they relate to an early childhood context. 
What do you do? We meet approximately once a month during the school year. Through our regular meetings, we have discovered the importance of empowered advocacy. Hopefully, our conversations support us not only in transforming our classroom teaching practices, but also in developing the clarity and confidence to articulate to parents, administrators, and other stakeholders about the need to keep thinking skills at the center of the curriculum and build the academic learning from there. 
When is your next meeting? Our next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 16, from 5:30 – 8:00pm at Capitol Hill Day School. For this January meeting, we are inviting participants interested in developing an inquiry question into a project to share at the DC-PZ Exhibition of Learning in May to stay after the meeting from 7:30-8:00 for an interactive brainstorming and ideation session.
How to Learn More: Contact Kerstin Schmidt at You can also check us out on Facebook!

DC-PZ in Northern Virgnia, a.k.a. NOVA*PZ:

What is your group? NOVA*PZ is a learning group made up of educators from Northern Virginia who are interested in learning more about PZ ideas and practices. The group meets several times throughout the year to explore ways to create a culture of thinking and to learn from one another.
What do you do? Given the growing number of educators in Northern Virginia who have taken part in WISSIT or DC-PZ events, NOVA*PZ formed in October 2017, after an initial meeting at WISSIT the previous summer. We meet in a variety of locations around Northern Virginia to explore ideas coming out of Project Zero that would be of interest to our members. We also have an annual exhibition of learning.
When is your next meeting? NOVA*PZ’s next gathering will take place on Wednesday, February 6 at Flint Hill Independent School. It will be a collaboration with DC-PZ-EC; we will explore PZ ideas in the early childhood setting.
How to Learn More: Contact Elizabeth Dean at if you’d like to be put on the NOVA*PZ mailing list or if you have any questions.

DC-PZ for People of Color, a.k.a. DC-PZ-POC: 

What is your group? DC-PZ-POC is a new affinity group that formed at WISSIT 2018
in order to provide a platform for open dialogue on issues of equity and inclusion.
What do you do?
 Our initial conversation unearthed a desire within WISSIT and PZ for more conversation around culturally responsive teaching and issues of equity and justice
in the context of PZ research. 
When is your next meeting? After our initial meetings at WISSIT 2018, we had a brainstorming session at the DC-PZ kick-off, “Beyond WISSIT,” in October. We will publicize future meetings through the Collaborative newsletter and Events page.
How to Learn More: If you want to learn more or be placed on our mailing list, contact Sher Anderson Petty (, Kerri Redding (, or Tara Villanueva (


PZ In Another Language:

What is your group? PZ in Another Language is a gathering place for language acquisition educators from preschool to high school who would like to meet colleagues
and exchange ideas and practices from their classrooms that are based on or inspired by PZ research. The main goal of the group is to expand the culture of thinking in world language classrooms of all levels, including immersion and dual language.
What do you do? Everyone is welcome to volunteer and lead sessions showcasing how
a PZ idea helps in the language curriculum. Since its launch last year in January, the group has met three times and offered free PD about documentation, differentiation, and Thinking Routines (TRs) in Spanish; use of TRs to teach vocabulary or writing; and ways administrators can support teachers trying to use PZ ideas in their classrooms. 
When is your next meeting? Save the date for our upcoming meeting on Wednesday, February 13, at DC International School! This school year, the group is planning to meet at least two more times with sessions about how to foster a Reggio-Emilia approach in immersion EC classrooms, as well as how to use PZ ideas in math in a dual language elementary classroom, and how to use the Smithsonian Learning Lab in the secondary language classroom. 
How to Learn More: If you’re interested in learning more, please contact Sarah Hair


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The Collaborative is now on social media in a BIG way!

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We’ll post news, events, and photos on both platforms. Share us with all your educator friends!


To see all of our upcoming events, click here