Latest News from the Collaborative

By: Abby Krolik

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 2000+ 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  institute for educators. In addition to being emailed to all of our subscribers, each newsletter will also be posted here, on our website. If you would like access to previous newsletters, you can click on the link to our Mailchimp archive. While you’re there, you can also sign up for our mailing list!

September 10, 2019:

Welcome to 2019-20,
DC-PZ Educators!

WISSIT 2019 Re-Cap

From July 29-August 2, 2019, over 300 local educators gathered at Washington International School’s Cleveland Park campus for an in-depth exploration of Project Zero (PZ) ideas. The sixth annual WISSIT, or the Washington International School Summer Institute for Teachers, featured four PZ researchers and over 80 faculty members who hail from local schools, museums and community-based education organizations. 


This year’s WISSIT (#wissit19 on Twitter) put an emphasis on community building and inclusion, an initiative guided by WIS teacher Kerri Redding. In the run-up to WISSIT, Kerri facilitated workshops for faculty members that focused on techniques for welcoming all participants at the start of the week and supporting them throughout the institute. Kerri also spoke at the opening plenary session, introducing herself and  explaining her role. She was a constant presence in learning groups and interactive courses.

WISSIT 2019 also offered some new content, as well as old favorites from years past. In addition to learning groups that met almost daily for ten hours total throughout the week, there were several new interactive courses that proved quite popular. For example, a new workshop led by WIS teachers Jaime Chao Mignano and Mark Perkins, “Taking Apart Racism,” guided participants in “taking apart” an ordinary object as a means toward understanding the complexity in systems of oppression and the way they are sustained. 


Sheya from Project Zero taught a new course titled “Agency by Subversive Design” that offered hands-on activities to encourage the interrogation of design and consider ways a maker-centered pedagogy can support young people to be ethically empowered and develop a critical sensitivity to the design of objects and systems. 


At our ever-popular Day at the Museums, the National Museum of African American History and Culture hosted two new courses: “Dive Beneath the Surface: How Art Can Guide Us in Perspective-Taking,” facilitated by WIS teacher Mara Wilson; and “This is Us and We are Them: Storytelling for Inclusion and Perspective-Taking,” co-led by WIS teacher Kerri Redding and Montgomery County Public Schools teacher Sher Anderson Petty.


Based on evaluations at the end of the week, more than 90 percent of participants rated the overall quality of WISSIT as “excellent” or “very good”–the sixth year in a row of such a high rating.

Headlining morning plenary sessions from Monday-Thursday were Project Zero researchers Ron Ritchhart and Veronica Boix Mansilla–back at WISSIT for the sixth year in a row–and Edward Clapp and Sheya, featured for the second year in a row. 

On Friday morning, the plenary session highlighted various ways in which, over the past six years, WISSIT has made an impact in classrooms, schools and school districts. Speakers included Tiffany Bell of Sunshine Early Learning Center; Marci Jones, formerly of H.D. Cooke Elementary School and now of Brightwood Education Campus in DC Public Schools; Beth Blankenship, Elizabeth Dean and Colleen Eddy of Fairfax County Public Schools; and Elise Heil of Sacred Heart School.

Mark your calendar for WISSIT 2020, which will take place next August 3-7. Registration will open in the second week of January. 


What’s In Store for this Year:

The PD Collaborative is positively teeming with ideas and ambitions for the 2019-20 school year and is eager to share them with you as details are finalized! Here’s a peek into what we have planned for this fall:

Children Are Citizens Conference 2019:


The second annual Children Are Citizens Conference will take place Sunday-Monday, October 6-7, 2019, at the WIS Primary School campus in north Georgetown. If you haven’t already registered, you have until Sept. 27 to do so! Click this link HERE to get your spot!

Since 2014, the PD Collaborative has directed the Children Are Citizens project by working closely with over 100 classrooms across the city to engage our youngest citizens with Washington, DC, in powerful ways. Each iteration of the project has been captured in a book created by the students and their teachers. (You can check these out on the project web page HERE).  


The two-day conference, intended for teachers of children from preschool through early elementary school, will act as an extension of the project and give participants a deep dive into how to enact ideas from CAC in one’s own setting. 

The conference will explore three overarching questions:

  1. What happens when we see young children as citizens in their own right with ideas about how to make their community a better place?

  2. How do we build a curriculum around truly listening to children’s ideas and honoring their voices?

  3. How do we build agency in the early years through explorations of a community?

There will be three main content-oriented elements to the conference: plenary session talks, where big ideas for doing this kind of work will be discussed; “action groups” that will guide participants in collaboratively planning for doing this work in their own setting; and interactive courses, through which participants will engage in the rich experiences that the project has provided for teachers and students alike.



Similar to last year, Mara Krechevsky and Ben Mardell–two Project Zero early childhood researchers and the originators of the CAC project–will be featured as keynote speakers and will co-lead a course at the conference. We will also have early childhood educators from DMV area schools and cultural institutions sharing their expertise and their experiences with the CAC project by facilitating courses and action groups. 

We hope attendees of the conference will come away inspired to try out some of these ideas with their students!

DC-PZ Educator Nights:


We will kick-off our popular DC-PZ workshop series this year with a chance to re-visit the excitement and energy of WISSIT at our “Beyond WISSIT: Putting PZ Ideas Into Action” event! Sacred Heart School (located in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of DC) will host us on October 2nd, from 4:30-7:00pm, for an evening of reconnecting and reflecting. All are welcome to join! If you haven’t attended WISSIT, this is a great chance to learn about it from recent participants and faculty members. We’ll provide refreshments. You can sign up for this event here.


Later in the fall, we will bring our DC-PZ Educator nights to some museums we haven’t yet visited, or at least not in a long time! At the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, we’ll have a chance to explore the collections in the Q?rius and Q?rius Jr. labs. At the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, museum educators will guide us through some of the exhibitions and share the many resources they have available for educators who want to integrate Native narratives into their curricula. Stay tuned for those dates and sign-ups!



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To see all of our upcoming events, click here!