Q&A with Zack Charette

  1. Describe the work you’ll be doing with Highlander Institute:

At Highlander, I will be researching two areas of development within the agency. The first will be the strategies and tools we use to support teachers in blended and personalized learning implementation through classroom walkthroughs and observations. My research into the online platform we use and the techniques employed to deliver the best feedback for teachers will be centered around the goal of optimizing the performance of the agency in substantively supporting teachers’ practice. I will also conduct research around the Rhode Island process to access alternative teacher certification pathways. While my research questions around this topic are evolving the more I explore, they consider fundamentally how Highlander Institute can best position itself as a facilitator of quality, non-traditional preparation options to diversify and bolster the RI teacher force.

 

  1. What’s your background?

Prior to joining Highlander, I completed a traditional teacher preparation program in Rhode Island and taught Grade 6 Geography and History Enrichment in a Massachusetts urban public school. During this time, the quality and diversity of the teacher preparation portfolio became a research interest of mine. I also worked in a semi-administrative capacity in the summer programming office at BMC Durfee High School, where I helped oversee a collection of grant-funded OST programs targeting different subgroups of the Fall River student population, including early learners, secondary students, students in credit recovery, and students transitioning to employment in the community.

 

  1. What are you most looking forward to with this new position?

In my new role at Highlander, I most look forward to tracking the translation of research to practice regarding my contributions to the agency’s knowledge growth. I am most excited about watching how brainstorming, research, and thought partnerships within the agency and our partners can lead to substantive support for teachers, and tangible, positive outcomes for all of the students they reach.

 

  1. What’s your self professed superpower?

I would say listening is my “superpower,” both because it has allowed me to access the ways my colleagues process and reproduce information, and has made me a better teammate and thought partner. I also have absolute pitch, which is a rare listening skill that allows you differentiate and identify music notes categorically, like colors.

 

  1. Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

Let us all remember to take History into account in our daily decision-making. In doing this, we come to realize that History is much more about now than it is about then.

Also, I’m your go-to-guy for tips for guitar-players and obscure facts.

Q&A with Charlie Thompson

 Describe the work you’ll be doing with Highlander Institute:

I will support Kara’s work with the Walkthrough tool and Cathy’s production of the Blended and Personalized Learning Conference. For my work with Kara, I will be helping to find and aggregate resources that support teachers’ professional development in the areas specified by the Walkthrough tool and in working with Cathy, I will contribute to the BPLC website, assist in project management, and collect data on emerging technologies.

 

What’s your background?
For the past three years, I taught 7th grade English Language Arts and Just Words at a school in the Bay Area for students with language-based learning disabilities, specifically Dyslexia. Our technology coordinator sought out the best emerging technologies for our students, and she ignited my passion for the possibilities presented by Ed Tech. Before working with that school, I taught English and History at public high school that worked within the education-option framework, and had a partnership with the Gilder-Lehrman Institute. While there, I merged traditional educational frameworks with emerging tech to support holistic learning for students from all over Queens.

 

What are you most looking forward to with this new position?
I am excited to immerse myself in Highlander’s thoughtful, innovative culture, to contribute to the research on and resources available for tech in education, and to learn all that I can from each opportunity.

 

What’s your self professed super-power?
Using every word available to say what I mean to say, except for the most succinct one.

 

Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

If you have any questions for me, don’t be afraid to ask!


Q&A with Jennifer Polexi

1. Describe the work you’ll be doing with Highlander Institute:
I will be working with Karina on the Fuse Architect Project centered around transforming the way 7 high schools use the blending learning model in their classrooms. Furthermore, I will keep The Highlander Institute abreast of policy issues that run through our local state house and the federal level.
2. What’s your background?
Graduating with a degree in English from the University of Florida, I used the background of my culturally themed literature classes to inform my work on social equity. Once I moved to Rhode Island, I commenced service in education where I worked as a College Adviser in a large urban high school in Pawtucket, named after former principal Charles E. Shea. The final days of my service years overlapped with the first days of my education in Urban Education Policy at Brown University.
3. What are you most looking forward to with this new position?
In this position, I look forward to being back in the schools, spending time quietly observing each layer of the school system. I hope to discover new truths that will further inform the direction I take in my work behind advocacy.
4. What’s your self professed super-power?
My self professed super-power is small talk and asking questions.
5. Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
In my perfect world, offices would be open and outdoors.