EdCampRI 2018: Register for Free Today

The 6th annual EdCampRI is swiftly approaching! Join a dynamic group of educators at Alger Hall on Rhode Island College’s campus on Saturday, May 5 from 8:00AM-1:30PM for a great day of learning and sharing. All are welcome to be a part of the conversation, whether you’re an EdCamp veteran or newbie.

Register today for a free ticket! 

EdCampRI is brought to you by a planning committee made up of representatives from Rhode Island College, school districts across our state, Highlander Institute, and the Tortolani family.

This year’s EdCampRI event is bittersweet, to say the least. Last year, Alan Tortolani, the founder of ABCYa and co-founder of EdCampRI passed away unexpectedly. He was passionate about the power of teachers in the Ocean State and truly loved EdCampRI and its ability to bring educators together. In honor of Alan, we are announcing the Alan Tortolani Scholarship for Teachers to recognize an incredible Rhode Island educator, with plans to make this an annual tradition.

The winner of this award will receive a scholarship to attend the ISTE Conference in Chicago in June 2018. The scholarship includes conference registration, hotel, and flight.

Please apply for this tremendous opportunity and share this link with other educators who might be interested. We will announce the winner at EdCampRI 2018 on Saturday, May 5. We think continuing to support and champion teacher leaders is one of the best ways to honor Alan.

Curious about the EdCamp format? Check out the Edcamp Foundation website here.

Agenda at a Glance

  • Registration & Breakfast 8AM to 8:45AM
  • Welcome & Format of the Day 8:30AM to 9:00AM
  • Session 1 9:00AM to 9:45AM
  • Improv Challenge 9:45AM to 10:00AM
  • Session 2 10:00AM to 10:45AM
  • Kahoot District Challenge 10:45AM to 11:30AM
  • Lunch 11:30AM to 12:30PM
  • Session 3 12:30PM to 1:15PM
  • Farewell and Giveaways 1:15PM to 1:30PM

Breakfast and lunch will be provided by Rhode Island College. Please bring a smartphone, laptop, or other electronic device if possible.

For more details about the event, visit edcampri.org and review the Rhode Island Campus map.

Just Released: “Be Education” Podcast

Are you looking to try something new in your classroom?  Have you heard about Blended and Personalized Learning but don’t know where to start?  Take a listen to The Be Education Podcast: 15-minute quick-bite episodes you can listen to during a prep or short commute with ideas to try in your classroom tomorrow.

Hosted by Nick DiNardo and Highlander Institute‘s Christina Corser, the Be Education Podcast is your one-stop-shop for all things related to K-12 classroom teaching. Practical tips to learn how to implement blended learning techniques, driving classroom culture, differentiation, how to approach rigor and mastery, and much more. Whether you are a new teacher or a veteran educator, the Be Education Podcast will have actionable tips to help you drive student learning.

This first episode gives you an overview of what to expect from this podcast in terms of content, the frequency of episodes, and why we do what we do.

Check out the podcast HERE!

Q&A with Nicole Lanni

  1. Describe the work you’ll be doing with Highlander Institute:
  • I will be joining the Highlander team as an Educational Strategies Specialist where I will have the privilege to work with administrators, teachers, and students in supporting their individual vision of personalized & blended learning.

 

  1. What’s your background?
  • I have been a member of the Cumberland School Department since 2012. From 2012-2015 the focus of my career was in 10th grade English where I adapted lessons to promote personalized learning for my students. In 2015, I excitedly accepted a new position as an Instructional Technology Coach, coaching and encouraging teachers to utilize purposeful technology in their teaching to enhance student learning in the classroom. I continued my teaching & learning around personalized instruction with an emphasis on purposeful technology integration as was welcomed back into the classroom at the beginning of this year.

 

  1. What are you most looking forward to with this new position?
  • Working with the unique, intelligent, and talented educators who make up the ESS team and continuing my learning with their partnership.

 

  1. What’s your self professed super-power?
  • The super power of bridging the gap between technology, leadership, and curriculum.  

 

  1. Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
  • My vision for blended and personalized learning is to encourage students to take an active role in their educational experience. 21st century teaching and learning is a culminating way of learning that fosters collaboration between teachers and students, students and students, and students and the world. It encourages self-directed learners in an enriching and interactive learning experience that personalizes instruction for all students.
  • Bachelors Degree from Rhode Island College: Secondary Education / Middle Level Endorsement

Q&A with Meg Smallidge

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

Highlander Institute and The Education Cooperative (TEC) are joining forces to bring Fuse to 14 districts in Massachusetts and I will be the Program Manager for this project! The project leverages internal talent and grows capacity for sustained, scalable blended and personalized learning across partnering districts.

  1. What’s your background?

My background is variety of direct service, outreach, and management experience. My foundation is in teaching (Special Education and middle and high school ELA), however I spent several years at WGBH Educational Foundation creating digital and print resources for educators and then worked to leverage technology to enhance communication and curriculum for Newton Public Schools. Most recently, I directed a grant-funded program through the LearnLaunch Institute and provided support for Boston Public School teachers in the planning, design and implementation of blended and personalized learning strategies.

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

I’ve been an admirer of Highlander Institute and the Fuse program for awhile, so I am very excited to be part of the team. I’m also looking forward to building new, supportive relationships with teachers, schools and district educator, as well as TEC.

  1. What’s your self professed super-power?

I am excellent at making chocolate disappear. Cookies too, oddly. 😉

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

A chickpea is neither a chick nor a pea… Discuss.

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.

Q&A with Danielle Blasczak

 

 

1. Describe the work you’ll be doing with Highlander Institute:
I am the Research and Evaluation Manager in the Impact Office.  I hope to create an accessible data narrative for the Institute by coordinating analytic and reporting processes.
2. What’s your background?
Previous to this position I was the Assistant Director of Data and Research at the Center for Leadership and Educational Equity and worked as the TSLP Data Coach in the Providence Public School District. Previous to my career in educational data systems I worked in fundraising at Brown University and Rhode Island Public Radio.
3. What are you most looking forward to with this new position?
I am looking forward to helping Highlander improve upon the measurement systems and data collection systems that are in place, as well as organize and validate the information that has already been gathered.
4. What’s your self professed super-power?
Streamlining and Brevity!
5. Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
Stop by and say hello!

 

Q&A with Karina Rodruiguez

1. Describe the work you’ll be doing with Highlander Institute:
As part of the impact team, we aim to support, monitor, and learn from the different programs led by Highlander in order to strengthen our team’s influence and impact on our schools and teachers.
2. What’s your background?
Born and raised in New York City, I graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in Anthropology and received my masters from Brown University in Urban Education Policy. I have had great opportunities working and teaching students from the south side of Chicago and my hometown in Brooklyn. I previously interned at PPSD and the Ethnic Studies program assisting with the development of the program and its curriculum during their pilot year. I also worked with the New York office of the Annenberg Institute for School Reform as their Data and Research Analyst and worked alongside community organizations across the United States on projects around equity and culturally responsive education.
3. What are you most looking forward to with this new position?
With this position I hope to learn and grow with the educators in Rhode Island and support the different programs and efforts led by Highlander to support the teaching work force while promoting blended and personalized learning.
4. What’s your self professed super-power?
I have the innate ability to watch Netflix for hours on end. (Please don’t post that.)

Q&A with Malika Ali

1. Describe the work you’ll be doing with Highlander Institute:
As an Educational Strategies Specialist, I will be collaborating on project implementation and coaching support for Fuse Architect schools.
2. What’s your background?
Most recently, I was an innovation specialist for academic programs for the Providence Public School District. Prior to that, I was a founding science teacher at one of Rhode Island’s first blended learning high schools where I learned a great deal about the opportunities and challenges associated with school-wide and network-wide implementation. And in another life I was involved in public health/biology research. I’ve lived in Rhode Island for 13 years but was born and raised in Oklahoma where my parents immigrated to from Eritrea.
3. What are you most looking forward to with this new position?
I believe the most important lever of change is at the classroom level so I’m really looking forward to getting back into schools and working with teachers and school teams to put their plans into action.
 
4. What’s your self professed super-power?
I can easily make chocolate disappear
5. Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
My people invented coffee. You’re welcome.