252 - Kristi Dominguez & Ellen Dorr: Leading Central Systems Through COVID-19 with Optimism, Hope & Love
This week, Getting Smart is bringing you another bonus episode as a part of their Getting Through series. Getting Smart launched this series to support educators, leaders, and families during this uncertain time and extended school closures. They have curated and created resources and inspiration around new learning environments, and are addressing equity and access from a new lens. Today, the team is bringing you a recent conversation with Kelly Nickels, the Learning Design Manager at Getting Smart. She is joined by Kristi Dominguez and Ellen Dorr — two key district leaders from Washington State. Kristi is the Executive Director of Teaching and Learning at Bellingham Public Schools and Ellen is the Chief Technology Officer at Renton School District. Listen in to learn more about leading central systems through COVID-19 with optimism, hope, and love. Kristi and Ellen share how central office leadership can really coalesce its talents, insight, and wisdom to do what’s best for kids in the midst of unprecedented challenges and how to lead in a time of crisis. Key Takeaways: [:11] About today’s episode. [:55] Kelly introduces herself and welcomes on guests, Kristi and Ellen! [1:53] In the midst of a pandemic, what really matters right now? [4:55] In Kristi’s and Ellen’s central leadership roles, have they talked about the impact around test scores, college readiness, and grade level proficiency amid the coronavirus pandemic? [7:08] How have Kristi and Ellen seen their team members care for each other during this crisis? [10:44] What are some ways that Kristi and Ellen are seeing different kinds of connectivity in the community happening? And what are some of the gaps and needs they are currently working on addressing? Additionally, what are some partnerships and collaborations that they would like to see continue, even after the crisis is over? [16:47] How are their teams continuing to nurture students’ connection to learning amid a crisis where schools are shut down? And how are they working with and communicating with the teachers and parents? [22:34] Jessica shares an important resource with listeners: GettingSmart.com/GettingThrough. [23:15] Kelly, Kristi, and Ellen continue their conversation about nurturing students’ connection to learning amid the coronavirus pandemic. [25:42] What are the new possibilities that come from settling into a new normal? And how do we learn from each other? What new openings have been popping up now that never occurred in the previous structures? [29:17] Have Kristi and Ellen given any thought to what returning to school will look like? How might things be different? [35:28] Learning and school are not synonymous. Kristi and Ellen highlight some of the key ways this pandemic has illustrated this. [38:02] How, as district leaders, do they plan on ensuring that the momentum they’ve built with the pandemic continues even after it has ended? [42:43] Kristi and Ellen give their closing thoughts and advice to other district leaders, educators, and parents. [45:42] Kelly thanks Kristi and Ellen for joining the podcast! [46:30] Jessica closes out the Getting Smart podcast and shares additional resources. Mentioned in This Episode: GettingSmart.com/GettingThrough Bellingham Public Schools Renton School District Get Involved: Check out the blog at GettingSmart.com. Find the Getting Smart Podcast on iTunes, leave a review and subscribe. Is There Somebody You’ve Been Wanting to Learn From or a Topic You’d Like Covered? To get in contact: Email Editor@GettingSmart.com and include ‘Podcast’ in the subject line. The Getting Smart team will be sure to add them to their list!
6 Apr 2020
250 - Tom Rooney and Scott Rowe: Buildings are Closed, Learning Goes On!
In today’s special bonus episode, the Getting Smart team is sharing two school districts’ success stories that are currently shifting to remote learning after the outbreak of the coronavirus. In these schools, the buildings may have closed but the learning has never stopped! Both of these Superintendents have built great teams and great systems and they are confident that education in their districts (and beyond) will emerge better than ever as a result of this crisis. First up to speak on the podcast is Tom Rooney from Lindsay Unified, which is located in California’s Central Valley. For the last decade, teachers (called ‘learning facilitators’ in Lindsay) have ensured learners’ success with the performance-based system that promotes agency, transparency, and learner goal setting. Next up on the podcast, Tom speaks with Scott Rowe, the Superintendent of the Huntley Community School District located in a Northwest Chicago suburb. The Getting Smart team first visited Huntley in 2016, about five years into their transformation, and were very impressed with the high school blended learning program that allowed learners to earn autonomy and make decisions about their own learning. Two years ago, Huntley launched a competency-based micro-school. Both of these developments prepared Huntley to efficiently move learning online in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Both of these education leaders were proactive in crisis and quickly rallied their teams to do the best that they could to support every learner right now. They spotted challenges and built solutions to promote equity. Tune in to learn more about all that they’re doing amid the crisis and how they’re furthering personalized learning. Key Takeaways: [:11] About today’s bonus episode. [1:22] Tom welcomes Tom Rooney to the podcast. [1:27] Tom gives an overview of the core elements of Lindsay Unified. [3:02] Tom Vander Ark shares an experience of his at Lindsay Unified. [3:34] Tom Rooney highlights a few more key components of Lindsay Unified’s personalized learning. [5:19] Tom shares how Lindsay Unified is continuing to teach students since their schools closed their doors. [10:45] Tom shares the core elements of what is different between elementary and secondary. [14:14] Tom shares how they’re working towards assisting students with special needs and learning differences. [16:19] What they’re doing at Lindsay Unified to keep seniors on track. [17:39] How Tom thinks this experience is going to change Lindsay and learning more broadly. [22:04] Tom Vander Ark thanks Tom Rooney for his leadership and for joining the podcast. [22:25] Jessica highlights some other episodes to check out about Lindsay Unified! [22:41] About this episode’s next featured guest, Scott Rowe. [23:15] Tom welcomes Scott Rowe on to the podcast! [23:37] Scott describes what personalized learning looks like at Huntley. [25:18] Scott further describes their earned autonomy model. [26:02] How Huntley converted their gymnasium into a cool learning hub. [27:58] Scott speaks about the competency pilot they recently launched at Huntley. [30:57] Is pacing a big challenge at Huntley? [32:30] How have things changed for Huntley when the Governor closed all of the schools? [34:30] How things are currently going in the elementary vs. the secondary level. [40:24] What Huntley is doing for students with special needs and learning differences. [43:47] Scott shares how Huntley is helping juniors and seniors stay on track for post-secondary planning. [45:09] How Scott thinks this experience may change Huntley as well as learning more broadly. [47:31] Tom thanks Scott Rowe for his leadership and for joining the podcast as well! [47:51] Jessica wraps up this week’s episode. Mentioned in This Episode: GettingSmart.com/GettingThrough Lindsay Unified School District Getting Smart Ep. 176: “Schools Out: Lessons Learned from Lindsay Unified School District” Getting Smart Ep. 205: “Rebecca Midles on Mobilizing Change to Meet Learners Where They Are” Huntley Community School District iNACOL (now called the Aurora Institute) Competency-Based Education: A New Architecture for K-12 Schooling, by Rose L. Colby PowerSchool Learning Seesaw Get Involved: Check out the blog at GettingSmart.com. Find the Getting Smart Podcast on iTunes, leave a review and subscribe. Is There Somebody You’ve Been Wanting to Learn From or a Topic You’d Like Covered? To get in contact: Email Editor@GettingSmart.com and include ‘Podcast’ in the subject line. The Getting Smart team will be sure to add them to their list!
27 Mar 2020