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  • Join Us in Celebrating STEAM Education During Remake Learning Days in Southeastern, PA!

    Posted by Demetrius Roberts, Director of STEM & Ivana Ivanovic, Communications Specialist on 4/27/2022 12:40:00 PM

    As part of the Chester County Intermediate Unit’s (CCIU) regional efforts to grow STEM learning through the Pennsylvania STEM   for Equity and Diversity (PA SEED), we need your help in launching Remake Learning Days (RMLDs) 2022 in Southeastern PA. RMLDs is a multi-day festival celebration in which community organizations host engaging learning opportunities for community stakeholders, families, students, and educators. The festival’s purpose is to increase community engagement and awareness of the educational shift toward inquiry and project-based experiential learning.

    The festival is built on the premise that engaging real-world learning can happen anywhere and that it takes a village to provide our learners with a variety of meaningful experiences. Despite an extensive list of partners and programs for this year’s RMLDs celebration, there is still work to be done! PA SEED is partnering with the Remake Learning Network to support and grow RMLDs in Southeastern PA for the fourth consecutive year. In addition to partnering with Remake Learning, PA SEED has established additional partnerships with the Philadelphia STEM Ecosystem and the Berks STEM Connection to grow and expand RMLDs.

    Many students in Southeastern PA do not have access to innovative learning opportunities that engage, excite and prepare them for 21st-century workforce skills. Some educators are still isolated in their classrooms and unaware of the STEAM professional learning opportunities available to them and their students throughout the region. Some parents still don’t understand the importance of finding quality STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), STEM and hands-on learning opportunities for their children.

    How to Get Involved

    Along with the Remake Learning Network, we recommend the following action steps to create demand and ensure remarkable learning experiences for all children during this year’s festival:

    1. Educators If you are an educator, innovator and/or civic leader in this region, we hope you join the movement to remake learning. Explore our calendar or opportunities hosted by a variety of organizations in the region. We also recommend that you write, tweet, post and share Remake Learning opportunities with your network.
    2. Parents and Caregivers If you are a parent or caregiver, advocate for future-facing, hands-on, engaging learning opportunities. Talk to your schools, libraries, community centers and anywhere where your student learns. Find events near you during Remake Learning Days, and continue to participate in them throughout the year. Discover online resources or out-of-school learning you can provide for your child at each RMLD event in Southeastern PA. You are an essential part of this movement to remake learning!
    3. STEAM Learning Advocates Finally, if you are outside of the Southeastern PA region, check out the website to see RMLD events near you. This year RMLDs have spread across the entire commonwealth of PA and in several other states across the county. Join us for events and explore, tinker, play and experience the future of anywhere, anytime learning in action.

    We appreciate you taking the time to read this blog and considering joining us to celebrate STEAM education! For information about Remake Learning Days festival in Southeastern PA and beyond, please visit https://remakelearningdays.org.

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  • Choosing to Lead

    Posted by Dr. Noreen O’Neill, Director of IES & Ivana Ivanovic, Communications Specialist on 3/28/2022 9:10:00 AM

    “Are leaders born or made?” It’s an interesting question for those of us who share the responsibility to create exceptional educational experiences in Chester County and beyond. If leaders are born, then some of us are destined to lead, while others of us are excused from the challenges of leadership. Are any of us exempt from leadership because we weren’t born with the right disposition? Or is it incumbent on each of us as educators to lead and to model leadership for others? 

    I am part of a group of over 45 educational professionals who are beginning their journey toward becoming better leaders through the Admired Leadership program. It’s exciting to learn with educators from CCIU, Kennett Consolidated School District, Owen J. Roberts School District, Springfield School District (Montgomery County) and Tredyffrin/Easttown School District who are participating in this blended program. We met in person on March 17, and we will continue to meet virtually once a month until we convene again in person in August. The program is facilitated by Dr. Randall Stutman, CEO and founder of the Admired Leadership Institute and Dr. John Sanville, superintendent of the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District. For over 30 years, Dr. Stutman has studied more than 12,000 leaders to uncover the routines and behaviors of leadership excellence. Dr. Sanville has led the implementation of the Admired Leadership program and has seen the benefits to his district. 

    The best part of learning about these routines and behaviors is that they can be adopted by each of us! Can you imagine being able to replicate the behaviors of leaders who have followers and who achieve results? Dr. Stutman’s work gives us a bank of leadership behaviors that we can incorporate as everyday routines. In fact, he shared that we don’t need to use all these behaviors to become an admired leader. Simply incorporating some of them will expand our ability to inspire others to follow us and to deliver successful outcomes.  

    In preparation for our first session, we were asked to think of three leaders that we admired and why we admired them. One of the leaders that came to my mind was Eleanor Roosevelt, who overcame her own fears and challenges to become a humanitarian leader on the world stage. She would certainly not say that she was born a leader, but that she grew into leadership by facing her fears and conquering them. She said, “In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” 

    Fortunately, each of us can choose to be a leader; we are not exempt from this opportunity because of our genetics or temperament. We can commit to becoming great leaders so that we can have the greatest positive impact on our profession and those around us. As educators, we believe that everyone can learn … including ourselves. One of our responsibilities is to learn to become better leaders.  

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  • Equity By Design

    Posted by Jessica Hull, Training & Consulting Specialist & Ivana Ivanovic, Communications Specialist on 2/16/2022 10:25:00 AM

    What is Universal Design for Learning?

    Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn, according to CAST. The UDL framework promotes flexible and responsive learning environments that are empowering and supportive.

    The UDL guidelines provide suggestions to support all learners while accessing and participating in meaningful, challenging learning opportunities. These guidelines are not just strategies, but a way of thinking, planning and delivering instruction.

    How do we begin using the UDL framework?

    We want to begin using the UDL framework by first defining specific, challenging learning goals. We can then identify potential barriers in the environment and identify resources to reduce and/or eliminate barriers to learning. This process allows each learner to use their strengths to contribute meaningfully in a manner in which they can feel independent, appreciated, and like they belong.

    Here are some key questions to consider while planning lessons with UDL in mind:

    • For engagement: Does the lesson work for the most marginalized and vulnerable learners? Think of a struggling learner - how will you plan for that learner to be engaged and motivated in the lesson?
    • For representation: How will you present information so that every learner - not just the majority - will be able to access, comprehend and own the material? 
    • For expression: Think about the different ways learners may wish to show what they know - can learners choose a modality?

    How does UDL promote equitable educational practices?

    When we design for the variability of cultural perspectives and identities, educators can support academic equity for all. If educators provide the same supports for every learner, without first analyzing the learning environment, they can create systematic barriers. When we remove these structural barriers, all learners can participate independently to achieve learning goals, which demonstrates equity by design.

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  • Getting the Most Out of the CCIU SIS Vendor Showcase

    Posted by Jessica Gioia-Young, Data Compliance Specialist & Ivana Ivanovic, Communications Specialist on 2/3/2022 11:35:00 AM

    Is your current Student Information System (SIS) meeting your LEA’s needs? Is your current SIS ready to grow with your LEA? Have you ever been curious how other SIS handle common tasks – attendance, discipline, gradebook, integrations with other applications? There is a long list of questions that you may ask yourself or your colleagues when discussing SIS options. Look no further, the CCIU SIS Vendor Showcase gives LEAs the opportunity to get a comprehensive overview of 12 different SISs.

    On Tuesday, February 15, 2022, the CCIU will host a free all-day SIS Vendor Showcase that will provide educators with a preview of content-specific components from 12 SISs in 11, 30-minute virtual sessions. We encourage LEAs to allow teams of eight to ten staff members to attend the sessions that align most to their job duties and tasks within their SIS.

    As a participant, you have the choice to follow a specific vendor or follow a specific topic and compare multiple vendors. At the end of the day, there will be a question and answer session with the SIS vendors. For your participation, there is a chance to win a raffle item that will be given out by each one of our vendors valued at $50 or more!

    Why is the SIS Vendor Showcase important for LEAs?

    LEAs know the SIS is the heart of the school district. From engaging with parents/students to completing day-to-day tasks to tracking student performance, your SIS needs to work for ALL your users. The CCIU SIS Vendor Showcase allows all the different SIS users to learn more about their particular areas.

    Whether your LEA is just starting the journey to a new SIS or you want to see how your current SIS compares with another or you're curious to see what SISs are out there – the CCIU SIS Vendor Showcase is the place for you! The CCIU Data Governance Team will be available to talk about all things SIS without the heavy sales pitches.

    How can I get involved in the SIS Vendor Showcase?

    Enroll today to learn more about your current SIS or discover the right SIS for your LEA! Sign up today!  https://www.cciu.org/SISShowcase

     

    5 Tips for finding the right SIS!

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  • How to Join the 2022 CCIU CS Twitter Chat

    Posted by Kammas Kersch, STEM Services Coordinator & Ivana Ivanovic, Communications Specialist on 1/18/2022 10:35:00 AM

    Now more than ever, it is important for educators to feel connected and be part of a community. For years, educators across the world have been building these relationships by establishing professional learning networks (PLNs) using social media. One strategy for having discussions and meeting virtually with like-minded educators is by participating in a Twitter chat. 

     

    What is a Twitter chat?

    Twitter chats are live conversations between Twitter users. The conversations use a common hashtag, which begins with # followed by text. Chats are typically themed for a particular audience such as science, education technology or school leadership. Most chats are either 30 minutes or an hour and include questions posted every few minutes. 

     

    How do you participate in a Twitter chat?

    Chats are scheduled at a particular time, so it is important to identify the schedule and topic. When the chat starts, you will want to search the hashtag on Twitter and filter to see the most recent posts. Once the chat begins, use the Q1 A1 format to read and respond to questions. 

     

    In the example below, the hashtag for the chat is #CS4CC. It is important to include the hashtag in both the question and the answer posts as this is how other users will find and interact with your responses. It is helpful to include A1 in your responses to make it clear which question you are answering.

     

     

     

    Once you have posted your response, refresh your Twitter feed to read the responses of other participants. By commenting on their responses and including the chat hashtag, you can share ideas, ask questions and learn together while growing your network. 

     

    Ready to participate in a Twitter chat?

    You can browse a number of great chats by referencing this February 2021 article published by ISTE. Pennsylvania educators are invited to join the #PAECT chat which takes place the second Thursday of each month at 8:00 p.m. ET. The Chester County Intermediate Unit will be hosting a chat for all educators on Tuesday, January 18 at 5:00 p.m. as part of our CS4CC 2022 Asynchronous Conference using the hashtag #CS4CC. See you there!

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