All posts by Amanda Walma (Kent ISD)

As the Professional Development Coordinator for Kent ISD, I help to provide professional learning opportunities, that are aligned to the school improvement framework, to all educators. We created The Bulletin to keeping educators informed about the hottest topics in education and upcoming professional learning opportunities. We offer Learning On Demand, so that you can access learning from your computer at anytime/anywhere and Learning To Go so that you can bring many of our most popular workshops directly to your school. Let me know if there is anything I can do for you or your district.

Strive for Less Than 5!

written by Ron Koehler

School districts across Kent ISD are teaming together to deliver a common message to all students, to their families and the community at large:  Strive for Less Than 5 days absent.

You should soon be seeing yard signs, posters and this Strive for Less Than 5 video to spread the message that students who miss five or fewer days of school a year perform better than those who miss school on a regular basis.

The data for students who are chronically absent is clear:  Students who miss more than 10 percent of school time, just two days a month, are far less likely to be proficient than their peers who regularly attend school. Continue reading Strive for Less Than 5!

Dr. David Kilpatrick Presents on Overcoming Reading Difficulties

“Individuals with reading problems commonly display difficulties in both phonic decoding and instant word retrieval. Phonic decoding and orthographic mapping are so central to the development of proficient reading that research on both of these word-level reading process should drive our assessments, instructional practices, and intervention efforts.” (1)

On September 19th, Dr. Kilpatrick will be presenting (based on his book) to literacy coaches, reading specialists, curriculum directors, and special education directors at the Prince Center at Calvin College.

The presentation will focus on how children learn to read words and why some children struggle. Understanding the nature of word-level reading development and word-level reading problems will guide both assessment and intervention. Continue reading Dr. David Kilpatrick Presents on Overcoming Reading Difficulties

Peer to Peer Participants Enjoy Whitecaps Win

Students from Grandville, Caledonia, Kenowa Hills and Kentwood who participate in their districts’ Peer to Peer programs went to a Whitecaps baseball game to enjoy friendship and some summer camaraderie. The Cap’s were victorious and a wonderful time was had by all. The annual outing is supported by a special grant from START, Statewide Autism Resource and Training and Kent CAN (Collaborative Autism Network). Continue reading Peer to Peer Participants Enjoy Whitecaps Win

2018/2019 PD Plan is LIVE

It is that time of year again. The students (and teachers) are starting to get excited for summer break. The days are getting longer and the weather warmer. And, we are starting to plan for next school year.

Click here to view the current Professional Learning Plan for 2018/2019 school year! 

Before we start to plan for the future, it is sometimes nice to reflect on where we have been.  Recently, I gathered some data from the past five years of professional learning offered at Kent ISD to see how our organization has evolved to meet the ever changing needs of our local education agencies. Continue reading 2018/2019 PD Plan is LIVE

Making Students Accountable for Their Learning

Do you ever run out of ideas to keep students engaged?  Have you ever wondered how to keep the students’ brains stimulated?  Do you want to create a safer classroom for your students?  Have you ever had trouble keeping students’ attention?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, “Structures for Active Engagement” is the professional learning you need.

Twenty four years ago, I took a very similar class.  My principal sent me to North Carolina to see what Kagan Cooperative Learning was all about.  The week that I spent there changed my entire teaching career, as well as, all of my students’ educational experiences in my classroom. Continue reading Making Students Accountable for Their Learning

AssisTechKnow – Addressing the Needs of Every Learner

As Michigan strives to become a Top 10 educational state in 10 Years, four focus areas have been identified as key targets.  One of these focus areas, “Learner-Centered Supports”, includes personalized learning, aligned curriculum and differentiated learning.  In order to attain this, all of our students will need to have equitable access to learner-centered education environments that are academically challenging and personalized.

Assistive and educational technology supports are an important component to consider as we work toward more equitable access.  As an educator, how can you learn about the tools and strategies that can help students achieve? Continue reading AssisTechKnow – Addressing the Needs of Every Learner

Blended Coaching:   A Full Cup of Coaching with a Pinch of Technology

Written by: Andrew J. Smith, Math Consultant at Kent ISD

“Great teachers are much like jazz musicians, both deliberately setting the stage and then improvising. Great teachers have plans yet to respond to student learning and needs in real time…great teachers need to know the tools of their craft.” – Hattie, Fisher & Frey, Visible Learning for Mathematics, p. 17-18

Acknowledging the power and effect that individual teachers possess, but also recognizing our capacity as a regional service agency to support individual teachers was on the minds of Kent ISD’s Math Team, as they began strategically planning for the 2017-2018 school year.  They believe in both the power of professional learning and providing districts with the resources and opportunities to implement professional learning.  As a regional support, the Kent ISD Math team wanted to be able to stay connected and provide support to classrooms and individual teachers.   Continue reading Blended Coaching:   A Full Cup of Coaching with a Pinch of Technology

Co-Author of “Fostering Resilient Learners” Keynotes at School Mental Health Conference

Veteran school administrator and professional development agent Pete Hall has dedicated his career to supporting the improvement of our education systems. Besides partnering with Alisa Simeral on three ASCD books including “Fostering Resilient Learners”, he authored The First-Year Principal (Scarecrow Education, 2004) and Lead On! Motivational Lessons for School Leaders (Eye on Education, 2011).

Hall currently works as an educational consultant as a member of the ASCD faculty and trains educators worldwide. And this June, we are honored to have Pete Hall as one of our keynotes at the School Mental Health 2018 Conference. Continue reading Co-Author of “Fostering Resilient Learners” Keynotes at School Mental Health Conference

The Importance of Informational Text

What were you reading before you turned your eye onto this article?  Chances are it could be categorized into informational text reading. 

With the shift to Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards also came a heightened focus on informational text reading, writing, and analysis. And, why shouldn’t it be.

Learning is a journey Continue reading The Importance of Informational Text

Paul Gorski: Cultivating Equitable Classrooms

Paul C. Gorski is the founder of EdChange and the Equity Literacy Institute. He has spent the last 20 years working with educators, schools, and school districts around the world committed to strengthening knowledge, skills, and leadership related to educational equity. Since earning his doctorate in Education at the University of Virginia he has worked as a district-level equity consultant, a teacher educator, and an author and designer of diversity-related resources for teachers.

Paul has written more than 60 articles and chapters, as well as, written, co-written, or co-edited 10 books on educational equity including Case Studies on Diversity and Social Justice Education (with Seema Pothini) and Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap. Paul’s Web site for educators, the Multicultural Pavilionhas won more than a dozen awards and hosts nearly one million visitors each year.

Paul will be visiting Kent ISD on Thursday, May 3rd to talk about Cultivating Equitable Classrooms and Schools for Each Student. 

Continue reading Paul Gorski: Cultivating Equitable Classrooms