PLP Pathways Webinar 1 -- First Take

PLP Pathways kicked off our fifth season of professional development by teachers, for teachers, with our first webinar on September 26. We focused on the implementation of Act 77 and personalized learning with a renewed emphasis on equity.

Our conversations began where it always does -- with a discussion of relationships, identity, and how important it is to get to know our learners so that we can create a supportive, equitable learning environment that meets the needs of our students. Check out this video on relationships if you want to take a deeper dive into what we mean.

Structures that support building these positive relationships were also identified including a strong advisory program, developing curriculum with students, and the use of PLPs to demonstrate student growth and learning.

We also reviewed the personal learning framework which can be used to help educators move students through the identity--goal setting--evidence process.

As well as discussing the nuts and bolts of starting the school year, our panel reviewed Gorski’s Equity Literacy Framework and how that can be used by educators to grow their understanding of equity literacy and how it applies to our learning environments.

Thank you to Jeanie Phillips from the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education who has created a document that aligns Gorski’s Equity Literacy Framework with Middle Grades Competencies. The guiding questions on this document are extremely helpful.

Classroom Happenings

After our initial discussions, panelists discussed curriculum development and the learning activities being utilized to build relationships, explore identity, and develop a strong start to the school year.

At Williston Central School, Kevin Hunt is focusing on incorporating the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into his program. Moreover, Kevin reminded us that he builds strong ties to student families with the Hopes and Dreams conferences that take place at the beginning of the school year. By building student and family goals into the learning process, Kevin works to address the needs of students through personalized learning opportunities.

At the Shelburne Community School, Meg O’Donnell is exploring community and student identity. By building on a sense of place and the story of the town, Meg hopes to develop discussions and an exploration of identity. A fascinating element of Meg’s work is the study of historic photographs and maps with an inquiry approach that focuses on who is missing from those documents.

If you want to see evidence of two educators who have created an unbelievable unit plan around issues of identity, bias, equity and social justice, check out Andrea Gratton and Kyle Chadburn’s work here. Let the work speak for itself. Make sure you visit all the pages as there is some great stuff throughout.

Don’t forget, our next webinar will be on Thursday, October 17th. We’ll be looking at setting goals with students and the evidence that students can use to demonstrate growth and learning.

Professional Development

Want to get credit for watching our discussion? Visit this site, answer a few questions, and receive an hour of professional development credit from PLP Pathways.!

If you don’t think it’s worth it, watch this video.

Resources/Events/Related Happenings

(Thank you to Vermont Learning For the Future for these resources.)

  • October 8: VPA Equity Summit IV - This event is one in a series of "pop-up" summits hosted by the Vermont Principals' Association, where a mixed audience of school leaders, students, educational partners, and others can dive deep into an exploration of bias, inequity, marginalization and more. The Equity Summits are part of the VPA's larger plan to build equity literacy to create and sustain bias-free and equitable classrooms, schools, and institutional cultures. 9:00 am to 2:30 pm. Jay Peak, Jay, VT. Contact: Linda Wheatley at lwheatley@vpaonline or (802) 535-8383 Register Here.
  • October 16: VHEC Presents: From Equity Awareness to Equity Action: Instituting Educational Justice in Vermont Schools and Communities - A series of free, on-demand webinars and low-cost, in-person workshops designed to prepare educators, educational leaders, and equity specialists to cultivate equitable and just learning environments. Graduate credit available. Workshop #1: Turning the Mirror on Ourselves: Equitably Connecting with and Serving Refugee Students and Families.
  • November 1: Youth Environmental Summit - YES is an annual conference for middle and high school students to learn about environmental issues and get involved in local communities. The mission of YES is to inspire, encourage, and prepare youth for a life of environmental responsibility, service and leadership by increasing awareness and knowledge of environmental issues and fostering leadership skills.
  • November 1: Vermont Afterschool Annual Conference - The Vermont Afterschool Conference is an annual event that brings together hundreds of expanded learning programs, partners, advocates, and educators from around the state for a full day of learning, networking, and celebration. Stowe, VT
  • November 6 - 8: School Reform Initiative Fall Meeting - “Renew a fierce commitment to educational equity and excellence, and together, we’ll rekindle our passion for teaching and learning. Through our collective wisdom, we’ll find the courage and comfort needed to bring our best selves back to our schools and our students. Together with colleagues, we’ll access, engage, and be challenged through sustained conversation about what matters most – improving teaching and learning experiences, through a lens of equity, to make schools better places for every learner.” Boston, MA.
  • November 7 & 8: Vermont School Boards and Superintendents Association Annual Conference - From Vision to Practice: Governing and Leading for Student Success. The conference this year will focus on strategies and tools from national experts and Vermont colleagues designed to help communities design a vision for student success, and most importantly, a plan to achieve that vision. (This relates directly to previous VTLFF-supported work with developing a Vermont Profile of a Graduate, with focus on equity, sustainability and joy). Lake Morey, VT. (early registration deadline October 7)
  • November 14: Today’s Students Summit - Advance Vermont welcomes stakeholders from across the state and sectors to support the transformation of postsecondary education and training in Vermont to better serve today’s students. Leaders from Pk-12 education, postsecondary education and training, business, government, nonprofits, and philanthropy are invited to attend. 8:30-4:00. Sugarbush Resort, Warren, VT.
  • November 19: VHEC Presents: From Equity Awareness to Equity Action: Instituting Educational Justice in Vermont Schools and Communities - Workshop #2: Girls, Women, and the Persistence of Gender Oppression in Schools
  • December 5-6: Youth Climate Leaders Academy - YCLA is designed to support youth in planning and implementing projects that make a difference on climate change. Youth-adult teams from around Vermont gather to learn, plan and begin implementation of year-long climate action plans tied to their individual learning goals.
  • For more opportunities, here is a link to a Vermont Professional Learning Collaborative Calendar, hosted by the VPA