On My Mind

Updated 3/27/2021

After one full year of remote learning, I now realize that I am obsessed with designing impactful professional learning experiences, so I thought it would be interesting to reflect on some highlights of my journey as a PD designer and facilitator. 
  • 1996(-ish?):  I was invited to serve on a campus planning committee to help roll-out data collection and interpretation of our standardized test results. Our group developed a gamified, scavenger hunt-type experience, and teachers rotated through stations to learn about the tests and processes. We had a theme (TAAS-mania, with a Tasmanian devilish character) and it was an energetic, interactive experience.  Our group's leader was a facilitator for Learning Forward (formerly NSDC) and it was my first time to be part of a campus-wide staff development process. I think developing this experiential PD session is what got me hooked on staff development!
  • 1997 - 2006: I served as a mentor to new teachers, I led content-related sessions for our campus and district, and I remember always looking forward to PD days.
  • 2007 - 2011: I served as our campus "Specialist on Site," which meant I helped plan all of our campus staff development. I was able to receive additional training about facilitating PD, and I learned so much about meeting the needs of all of our staff.
    • My co-planner for this work, Cecilia, and I fully believed that we had to model classroom strategies in all of our meetings and PD sessions. Prior to that time, our campus often categorized strategies as "AVID" or "AP" or "ESL" strategies, but we quickly moved to call all of these instructional strategies best practices, rather than a practice tied to a particular group. Cecilia and I had a lot of autonomy while developing our agendas.
    • 2008 - 2010: Our new principal, Walter, taught me the most about developing PD, instructional leadership, and using protocols to facilitate learning. He tore apart my agendas, and now I am grateful for all of his feedback and for what I learned under his leadership! 
  • 2011 - 2015: I served as our campus Instructional Specialist, and my colleague Katie (and then Sharmeadia) and I ruled our campus PD! In our roles, we each taught two classes, and we spent the rest of our day in PLC meetings, working with new teachers, and supporting students. We were fully entrenched in classrooms, so we were aware of students' needs, teachers' areas of concern, and campus goals. All of these ingredients helped us design staff development that fully met the needs of our campus. We also facilitated Instructional Leadership Team meetings, Local School Council, and I helped ensure we remained on track with our Campus Improvement Plan, so these connections also allowed me to be connected to district goals. During this time, I often facilitated PD for district-wide days, plus I presented at my first state conference (TCEA) in 2014.
  • 2015 - present: As a Digital Learning Consultant, designing and facilitating professional learning is now my full-time job, and I continue to love these experiences.
    • 2016: I was invited to serve on a committee to help develop and implement a new professional learning model for our service center. We created a model, shared it with all professional staff at the ESC, and worked to support staff in the understanding and use of the model.
    • 2020 - present: I'm on a team to upgrade our original model, and we're currently starting the roll-out process. 
So wow, I've been designing professional learning experiences for 25 years. 🤯

Updated 6/16/2018

It's almost my third anniversary as a Digital Learning Consultant, and I couldn't be happier! I still miss my former district (when you've been in one location for 25 years, that's bound to happen) but I continue to enjoy learning and growing professionally.

What's on my mind?
  • Our team continues to improve our podcast skills, and that has been a wonderful new adventure. (Check out @DigLearnRadio to hear our latest episode.) 
  • #Botjoy is a hit around the area, and interviewing Gary Hirsch (Joy Bot artist) was a highlight of my spring. 
  • We continue to try ways to transform professional development. I'm now piloting our online book study over The New Pillars of Modern Teaching with a local junior high faculty. (Check out this related blog post.) 
  • I'm still exploring ways technology can amplify our tried-and-true teaching strategies, such as the Thinking Routines and Marzano's strategies. (See this post for examples.) I created PD sessions around these ideas, and so far, these are my favorite summer sessions.
  • I continue to explore design thinking and how that relates to technology integration, working with teachers and instructional coaches.
  • Tony Vincent's #ClassyGraphics and #ClassyVideos online courses rank at the top of my recent learning experiences. The design of his classes matches my learning preferences, and I use so much of what I learned from him in the design of my own online work.