Top Ten Posts of 2019

As we begin a new year it is a great time to reflect on what we shared last year and catch up on what you may have missed.

We shared topics on literacy, diversity, mental health, personalized learning, leadership, and so much more!

Here are the ten most visited blog posts of 2019:

  1. Dr. Kilpatrick Back By Popular Demand! by Mary Nell Baldwin
  2.  Join Us On The Trauma Informed Schools Journey! by Amber Fox
  3. What’s New With SCECHs? by Amanda Walma
  4. Leaders And Coaches Join To Improve Literacy by Kent ISD LLCN Team
  5. Moving Beyond Song And Dance Toward True Student Engagement! by Kelli Campbell Brockway
  6. Can Improving Mental Health, Improve Achievement? by Kent ISD’s ISF Leadership Team
  7. Create True Engagement In Your Classroom by Diane Titche
  8. Diversity, Belonging, Equity, And Inclusion: 2019-20 Grounding Principles by Dr. Brandy Lovelady Mitchell
  9. Redefining Learning by David Richards, Ph. D.
  10. Section 504: The Big Picture by Kirsten Myers

We are looking forward to more inspiring posts in 2020! Be on the look out for upcoming posts that will highlight the importance of science and social studies in literacy learning, engaging students in entrepreneurial strategies, and more on understanding the impact of race on student learning.

If you have a topic idea or would like to write a blog post to share with your peers, contact

Keep spreading the word on social media by sharing our hashtag #WeLeadLearning and #KentISDpd

Thank you for reading and leading learning with us. Have a wonderful 2020!


Structural & Systemic Justice

Entry # 2 in the Guiding Principles Series on Diversity, Belonging, Equity & Inclusion (DBEI) written by Dr. Brandy Lovelady Mitchell

Gratitude rushed over me when a local school district contacted me about partnering to bring Beyond Diversity to our region. Beyond Diversity is a two day seminar that is scheduled to take place on March 18 and 19, 2020. (Click here to enroll or read more about Beyond Diversity.)

Beyond Diversity is designed to be a foundational seminar in a series of workshops. It is a gateway into Glen Singleton’s work on Courageous Conversations.  While this learning opportunity can fit into a number of dimensions in the DBEI graphic below, I am highlighting the intersection it has in addressing structural and systemic justice Continue reading MOVE BEYOND DIVERSITY AND ALL STUDENTS THRIVE

Breaking Barriers: Collaboration Between General Educators and Special Educators

A couple of weeks ago, I attended Creating Clarity for Success, a workshop presented by Kent ISD consultants. Kirsten Myers, Special Education director for Kent ISD, set the tone for the day when she said, “This is a collaboration between general educators and special educators that is meant to break barriers. We are all in this together and we hope that this collaboration can open doors for conversation that will make us all ‘just educators’.”

Research shows that students who fall behind in reading are much more likely to struggle academically in later grades. With this in mind the goal of Creating Clarity for Success was to gain clarity around literacy data and collaborate with other educators to develop support systems for success. Continue reading Breaking Barriers: Collaboration Between General Educators and Special Educators

Walk a Mile in These Shoes

Looking out the window, I sign as the snow covered streets turn to ice. Normally, I wouldn’t think twice about it, but today my knee is bad and I walk with a limp. I sink deeper into my chair as I realize the air in my home reflects that of the outside. I can even see my breathe. I must have missed paying the heat bill.

On the brighter side, I am getting my welfare check today. I just need to make it to the office to fill out some paperwork that needs updating, then I will have a small amount of money to pay my heat bill. Hopefully, I will have some left over to buy some pasta and a can of sauce at the store since my cupboards look pretty bare. Continue reading Walk a Mile in These Shoes

Join us on the Trauma Informed Schools Journey!

Trauma and Trauma Informed Schools are becoming more widely understood and addressed in schools across the country, as research and awareness about the prevalence and impact continue to grow. Kent ISD is offering five Trauma Informed Schools Professional Development opportunities during the 2019-2020 school year to support educators, staff, and administrators on the journey of becoming trauma informed.

According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) one-out-of-every-four children attending school has been exposed to a traumatic event or toxic stress that can hamper their learning and affect school and class culture. Research from NCTSN shows these students typically have reduced reading skills, lower GPA’s, higher rates of absenteeism, suspension and expulsion, and are much more likely to drop out. Continue reading Join us on the Trauma Informed Schools Journey!

Section 504: The Big Picture

Have you mastered the art of evaluating and developing a meaningful 504 Plan? Have you considered the need for 504 plans for students diagnosed with mental health disorders or considered your obligation outside of the school day? 

Due to Section 504 Plans being a legally binding document it is critical that school districts and their general education teachers provide the accommodations, supports, and services identified to provide accessibility within the school environment to meet the needs of students and prevent any discrimination. Districts can find themselves in a great deal of conflict with families when they have written accommodations into a plan that they don’t implement with fidelity or are unwilling or unable to provide Continue reading Section 504: The Big Picture

The Truth About E-Cigarettes

Teenage use of e-cigarettes or vaping is skyrocketing.  The National Youth Tobacco Survey shows alarming trends from 2011 to the present.  In 2011 only 1.5% of our teens used an E-Cigarette product.1  Today over 27% report use, which means that over 3.6 million youth are using these products!

Kent County data from our state survey, the Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth (MiPHY) identifies 15% of our teens used an electronic vapor product in 2018-2019.2

Continue reading The Truth About E-Cigarettes

Dr. Kilpatrick Back by Popular Demand!

On January 22, 2020, David Kilpatrick, Ph.D. will REPEAT his September 2018’s SOLD OUT workshop, “Essentials of Assessing, Preventing, and Overcoming Reading Difficulties.” Those who have previously attended this workshop can continue their learning in his new workshop”Equipped for Reading Success.”

Dr. Kilpatrick is an associate professor of psychology for the State University of New York, College at Cortland. He is a New York State certified school psychologist with 28 years of experience in schools. He has been teaching courses in learning disabilities and educational psychology since 1994. He is the author of both “Essentials of Assessing, Preventing, and Overcoming Reading Difficulties” and “Equipped For Reading Success.” Continue reading Dr. Kilpatrick Back by Popular Demand!

How Will You Celebrate Digital Citizenship Week?

It’s officially fall. The leaves are beginning to change, the temperature is approaching sweater weather and you can begin to smell the digital citizenship in the air. That’s right! Every fall, educators around the globe shine a spotlight on digital citizenship in their classrooms during Digital Citizenship Week

As we continue to live more of our lives online, we know that preparing students to thrive in the modern world is increasingly important. Helping our students become good digital citizens is an effort that reaches into nearly every aspect of learning and never stops, nor should it. Digital Citizenship Week is October 14-18 and gives us an opportunity to intentionally address digital citizenship in our schools. Continue reading How Will You Celebrate Digital Citizenship Week?

Shifting Routines for Student Proficiency Gains

As we approach the end of the first six weeks of the school year – educators are starting to see community form, relationships build, and role modeling taking place in the classroom.  Many students begin to self-regulate, utilize sentence stems, and probe one another’s thinking. 

Routines, a sequence of action followed regularly, are forming in and out of the classroom. These include daily routines, nightly routines, weekly routines, and sometimes no routine.  A routine might include brushing your teeth, packing your lunch, taking the dog for a walk, going for a run, or watching your favorite television show.  Continue reading Shifting Routines for Student Proficiency Gains

News from Kent ISD's Professional Development Hub