Kicking off a Performance-based Assessment Learning Network with Loudoun County School District

Kicking off a Performance-based Assessment Learning Network with Loudoun County School District

This past week we kicked off the Performance-based Assessment Learning Network in Loudoun County School District! Through this network, we'll be working over the next seven months with educators to deepen their practice in using performance-based assessment (PBA) as the tool to measure deeper learning. Here’s how we’ve designed our journey for this learning network.

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Radical Collaboration

Our team just finished up our summer retreat at a cabin in Vermont. As a virtual company, getting together face-to-face is treasured and critical. It gives us the time and space to cook together, go for runs and hikes, build on the relationships that we nurture throughout the year while we’re not in an office next to each other, and of course, tackle some of the big ponderings, future plans, and projects that are on our plates. We started this retreat with an hour focused on radical collaboration because, like all of the schools, districts, and partners we work with, collaboration is foundational to our ability to do the work of transformation and help others who are on that path. Here are the exercises we used to practice flexing our radical collaboration muscles.

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Creating A Culture of Empathy

Creating A Culture of Empathy

Innovation is having its moment in education, and for good reason. There’s what feels like an abundance of new ideas, approaches, and thoughts cropping up around the country. There’s a movement; a widespread urgency that the tide needs to shift because traditional education, the system of it, has not made progress like we’ve seen elsewhere.

As a new mother I’ve become, maybe more than ever, increasingly aware of the few options for deep, creative, extreme learning for my daughter in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where we live. A smallish city, smack in the middle of two big ones, sitting along the Susquehanna River, seems to be growing in so many ways, but our city schools are not. We need innovation here, for sure. But I think we need something else too. Here and everywhere. Now more than ever. We need to nurture a culture of empathy.

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Personalized Learning...Should we Expect Anything Less?

Recently, I was reflecting on the degree to which we create a digital footprint in our daily lives. It really begins when I pick up my cell phone in the morning and see several notifications on my screen to cue up my day. Soon after that I go to my iPad to check my digital newspapers, email, Twitter, InspirED, and I have to admit, interest-specific Pinterest boards. Throughout the day when I use my E-ZPass, a credit card, or do a Google search, I am continually experiencing places and events that further solidify my digital footprint in the world.

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Adult Learning: Creating Buy-in

Designing and facilitating high-quality professional learning experiences is such important and challenging work. I must admit that in my first year of formally leading professional development, I cried a few times in school bathrooms during session breaks — not so dissimilar to swallowing back tears in the teacher’s lounge during my first few months of teaching in the Bronx. I remembered (and often forgot) lots of mediocre professional development experiences as a teacher. How could I avoid repeating this pattern and actually make a difference with the little precious time I had with busy educators?

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