Author: carlye

Ken Rocha, Director of Secondary Education at Pleasanton Unified School District in California, needed to select a new ELA curriculum that reflected 21st-century learning and district-wide priorities. In addition to making the right decision, he also needed to make sure the process was transparent and resulted in a group decision that reflected student, teacher, parent and community voices. 

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“Data-driven” is one the most overused phrases in education–and while many administrators know they want to promote a data-informed culture, it’s hard to know how to put this into practice beyond scheduled data meetings. This is especially true for school district staff trying to use data to personalize their professional development in ways that are both meaningful and sustainable.

Below, we’ve compiled a number of tips and tricks for incorporating professional development data into planning, decision-making, and implementation.

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BY: Jamie Fisher, KickUp Intern

Earlier this month, KickUp welcomed two new members to our team: Sasha Kapur and Mar y Sol Esparza, and we couldn’t be happier! Sasha and Mar y Sol will join our Client Success team, where their work will allow us to build out more capacity for serving new and current clients. 

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Our reports have undergone some major changes! Our Client Success Team now has the ability to create highly customized reports from your KickUp data. These new tools allow your client success manager to tailor reports to your specific needs: arranging the data visualizations in different configurations, restricting what data shows up where, and adding content and context for what the data means. That means we can help you tell your story to your audience in a way that’s clear and compelling.

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Drafting a professional learning plan is a critical step for districts who want to set their teachers up for success. We’ve gathered resources for making sure your plan is coherent and actionable, including tips from two Missouri district leaders. 

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Amy Kines, founder of Ready Aim Teach, wasn’t satisfied with simply knowing that attendees liked her professional learning workshops; she wanted to know what came after. Were teachers implementing their new practices? With KickUp’s help, she set out to determine what impact her interventions had weeks after the workshop.

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The expression “practice makes perfect” depends on the value of that practice. Tom Arnett, Research Fellow at the Christensen Institute, argues that good practice must be feedback-informed. In an exclusive interview, Tom dives into “purposeful practice” and gives an example of a program that’s doing it right.

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The following is a guest contribution from James Noonan, Ed.D.

BY: JAMES NOONAN

Ask teachers about professional development (PD) and you are likely to be met with a shrug or a grimace, but as Ann Webster-Wright has argued, there is a revealing gap between teachers’ rhetoric about professional development and their own experiences of authentic and meaningful learning. If pressed, most teachers have important stories to tell about powerful professional learning. My research has focused on what we can learn from these apparently outlying experiences.

Listening to teacher accounts of powerful learning, one thing is immediately clear: the tremendous variation along many dimensions, including format, duration, and content. Powerful learning takes as many shapes as there are teachers willing to share their stories.

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