Tag Archives: Kent ISD

Real World Design Thinking Opportunity

Written by Eric Kelliher, Career Readiness Consultant at Kent ISD

Love a challenge? If you are a Kent ISD area educator, grade 5-8 Science, Technology, Engineering-focused (CAD/CAM, etc.), Art, Math or general STEM teacher, this unique PD is for you. Come participate in a summer program that’s guaranteed to be unlike any PD you’ve ever experienced.

What to expect…

First, you’ll spend two days learning the Design Thinking process, a business model – supported by Fortune 500 companies like Apple, IBM and Steelcase – designed to walk teams and organizations through product design and systems thinking.  This human-centered approach, to building and creating, lends very well to Education and encourages students to: be problem-solvers, embrace failure as a part of the learning process, engage through collaboration, creativity and relevance.  And you’ll learn by doing. Continue reading Real World Design Thinking Opportunity

Redefining Learning

Written by David Richards, Ph.D.

There is a learning renaissance happening in education.  Today, educators are witnessing a disruptive convergence of access to mobile devices, online content, demands for choice, and increased access to high-speed bandwidth. 

Our new reality includes the fact that teachers are everywhere, content is king, and students are increasingly expecting to learn in an anytime, anywhere model. To be clear, this isn’t about our schools being broken, this paradigm shift is more about redefining our learning which will result in a redesign of our schools.  Meaning – to design learner-centered classrooms, we need to begin our design thinking from the student lens.  This includes tackling tough issues like time, mastery, and student agency. Continue reading Redefining Learning

Safe Routes to School Mini Grant

Starting January 22nd, the Michigan Fitness Foundation will be accepting Mini Grant RFPs for the 2019-2020 school year. Any Michigan school with students represented in grades K-8 is eligible to apply for programming funds that support active transportation to and from school. Grants of $5,000 are available per school, and up to $25,000 per district. Please see our website for submission details. Proposals are due March 1st by 5:00pm. Continue reading Safe Routes to School Mini Grant

The Fierce Urgency of Now: Follow the Light

Written by Dr. Brandy Lovelady Mitchell

The account of Mercy Health’s incredible journey of strengthening and diversifying their workforce has graced multiple platforms over the last several years. It is a story of triumph rooted in visioning, reflection, intentionality and alignment.

Recently, I had an opportunity to hear several of Mercy Health’s employees reflect on their journey, and in addition to the previously mentioned descriptors of their success story, a phrase Jill McFarlane used activated my thinking. McFarlane provided refreshed language and stimulating rationale for a cognitive shift that I hope my beloved profession wrestles with as we enter another intense season of hiring. McFarlane talked about “cultural fit”. Continue reading The Fierce Urgency of Now: Follow the Light

Equitable Education through Personalized Learning

Three people watching at baseball game behind a fence. The first image is labeled equality and all three people have boxes to stand on that are the same height. But the three people are all different heights so only the taller two can see over the fence. In the second image labeled equity, the same three people have boxes to stand on based on their current height. So all three people can see over the fence.
Image courtesy of Interaction Institute for Social Change | Artist: Angus Maguire.

In conversations around equity, we often see the image above used as a metaphor to describe how it is different from equality. As educators, we know that every student is unique and their needs diverse. This image depicts that when we provide the same supports to each learner regardless of their unique needs, only some will be able to see over the fence to access learning. We can abstract that while a one-size-fits-all (equal) system of education helps some students access learning, it leaves some without, causing inequities to grow. However, when we provide supports consistent with their needs (equity) every student is able to access learning. Continue reading Equitable Education through Personalized Learning

Small Wins for Growing Habits and Skills with Diverse Learners

Let’s be real. One of the hardest things for people to do is build a new habit. It takes commitment, focus, drive, and a constant reminder or way to trigger that action. In the learning environment habits play an equally important role as mastering curriculum. For many students habits may come naturally and become part of a routine – something they don’t even think about or focus on…they just do it.

For students with learning disabilities, habits of mind do not come easily – making learning even more complicated due to this missing ingredient. On top of the deficits that come into play for students with learning disabilities, such as, retaining information, processing, skill performance, and executive functioning, building a new habit demands a plan of action and the support of teachers. In the end, when students with learning disabilities take an opportunity to build a habit, they will be more inclined to improve their academic performance, skills, and most importantly, confidence. Continue reading Small Wins for Growing Habits and Skills with Diverse Learners

Top Educational Gift Ideas (Updated for 2018)

It is the gift giving season! What gifts can you give a child to ignite learning? 

I have found with my children that the right toys inspire learning. So together, with other Kent ISD consultants and parents, I have populated a list of educational gifts that we have seen engage our children and students.

I have categorized the ideas, but many of these really could fit into more than one category. I encourage you to read through each list. Please share with other educators and parents! Continue reading Top Educational Gift Ideas (Updated for 2018)

Retain Talented Educators in Your District

We know what great teaching looks like- dedication, continuous improvement, care for their students’ needs, etc.  But, do we know what great teachers look like?

Does your school and district consciously recognize great teachers, as a means of honoring them, for the great work they do? Does the public know who those great teachers are?

More than a certificate and a handshake, a well-designed teacher recognition program can complement other essential work in your school and district. Schools should think bigger than offering recognition at staff meetings. Include the community at large, so they can share in their local schools’ pride, by recognizing educators at athletic or other events. Continue reading Retain Talented Educators in Your District

Innovative Educator Corps Grant Application

Kent ISD Grants Blog

Calling all innovative educators! The Michigan Department of Education just announced a new grant opportunity with a very short turnaround time, due Nov. 16th by midnight! LEAs may nominate one teacher to apply. IEC teachers will receive a $5,000 stipend and an additional $5,000 to replicate or expand an innovative program.

Below is an excerpt from MDE’s memo:  https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mde/IEC_Grant_App_637504_7.pdf

 The IEC is a new recognition program for Michigan teachers who employ an innovative educational program, methodology, or strategy to help prepare their students for future career success. The IEC is a competitive application resulting in a $5,000 stipend, paid annually for up to three total years, along with an additional $5,000 stipend, also renewable for up to three total years, which will cover expenses related to the IEC member replicating, disseminating, or expanding the innovative program.

Each local education agency (LEA) may nominate one teacher to apply to the IEC…

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Build it and they will come!

Has anybody been around cinema long enough to remember a couple of the famous lines from Kevin Costner’s 1989 film, A Field of Dreams: “build it, and he will come” or “go the distance”? Now I have to admit, the film I automatically think of when I hear Kevin Costner’s name is “The Bodyguard.” Blame it on the soundtrack, but I digress – tee hee hee!

Kevin Costner’s character in A Field of Dreams, Ray Kinsella, was practically mocked, ridiculed; and he almost went for broke for building a baseball field on land that had historically been used for farming – something predictable and something that upheld current social patterns. Perceptions, relationships and other variables were immediately strained, as Ray felt compelled to transform the land and eventually the hearts of the people in his community. Why would Ray change what on some level was working? The land was familiar, traditional and it just “fit” into the existing community, expectations and cultural patterns. Continue reading Build it and they will come!