Eatonville School District
Teaching & Learning
February 16, 2021
"Inclusion is not a strategy to help people fit into the systems and structures which exist in our societies. It is about transforming those systems and structures to make it better for everyone. Inclusion is about creating a better world for everyone." -Diane Richler
We must help students understand that grades do not reflect who you are as a learner, but where you are in the journey- T Guskey
Let's be careful about saying "Learning Loss" as a blanket condition we place on all kids. That's deficit thinking and does not honor families. Andrew Eyres
All you can change is yourself, but sometimes that changes everything. Gary W. Goldstein
"When we have the courage to walk into our story and own it, we get to write the ending."
And when we don't own our stories of failure, setbacks and hurt-they own us.
Travis Rush Technology Education Lead
Greetings! I am very excited about my new position. It was definitely odd turning in a letter of resignation from teaching. For 20+ years I have worked directly with students. Now I am taking a different path that will benefit you and your students.
In my new position as Technology Education Lead, I will be assisting with UDL, Blended Learning, their implementation in the classroom and more. I am nested under Teaching and Learning and am housed at the District Office but will be in buildings most of my time. With the growth of our technology tools, and now being a 1:1 district, the need for differentiation, personalization and student engagement with success, has never been higher.
Using my teaching experience, I am the bridge between IT and teaching. Much like you, I can not control change, but I can help us all with how to best implement tools, and strategies in the room in the midst of change.
Currently in the first few weeks of my new role I am engaged in some large projects that you should all be aware of. I am constructing a Blended Learning Teaching Team, whose role will be to help lead PD efforts in each building and work with me to develop practices that work and blend with timeless practices in a digital environment. I am also currently working on a digital citizenship grant and MTSS program for digital citizenship that would support students from K-12. My hope is that we can develop a comprehensive plan for student behavior and expectation online.
We have had many changes in the past few years. My ultimate goal is to help make changes easier, and supported. I want to continue to make Eatonville a great place to learn and grow.
Technology Education Lead
Welcome to the Podcast
Student Wishes, Wants, Concerns about Graduation
Students from different communities across Washington were surveyed about their graduation wishes, wants, and concerns before the January 2021 Board meeting. Special thanks to the Association of Washington Student Leaders (AWSL) for conducting this outreach!
Questions were asked like: When you see what the current Graduation Pathway Options, what are your thoughts? What concerns do you have regarding the current graduation requirements? What is something you wish adults/policy-makers knew regarding graduation requirements?
Check out the responses and a short video snippet with reactions from SBE student members on SBE's latest blog post.
OSPI Environment and Sustainability
Outdoor Learning During COVID-19
Join OSPI and panel members from the Port Townsend School District, Wild Whatcom, and North Cascades Institute. Panelists will share examples of in-person outdoor learning programs implemented during the pandemic. We will also learn tips and tricks for leading successful outdoor and nature based education experiences for K-12 students.
When: Tuesday, February 16th from 3:30 - 4:30 PM (PT)
Where: Zoom & pd Enroller. Registration through pd Enroller is required.
Cost: Free workshop
Clock Hours: Teachers may earn one free clock hour for attending this workshop.
If you have trouble accessing the workshop, or have any questions please send an email to Sabrina.Reynolds@k12.wa.us.
Elizabeth Schmitz, Program Supervisor, Environmental and Sustainability Education
360-999-0841 | Elizabeth.Schmitz@k12.wa.us
Sabrina Reynolds, Administrative Assistant, Learning and Teaching, Science
Education for Environment and Sustainability supports academic success and life-long learning, and develops a responsible citizenry capable of applying knowledge of ecological, economic, and socio-cultural systems to meet current and future needs.
Environmental education is a mandatory area of study in Washington: K-12 Integrated Environment and Sustainability Learning Standards
ALL STUDENTS PREPARED FOR POST-SECONDARY PATHWAYS, CAREERS, AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT.
Led by State Superintendent Chris Reykdal, OSPI oversees K-12 public education in Washington state. Our mission is to provide funding, resources, tools, data and technical assistance that enable educators to ensure students succeed in our public schools, are prepared to access post-secondary training and education, and are equipped to thrive in their careers and lives.
SO YOU THINK YOU UNDERSTAND UDL? By Ellen Ullman
I thought I had a pretty good handle on universal design for learning (UDL), but after chatting with Katie Novak, Ed.D., I realize I didn’t understand the framework at all. Novak, author of UDL Now! A Teacher’s Guide to Applying Universal Design for Learning in Today’s Classrooms, Second Edition and assistant superintendent of schools at the Groton-Dunstable (MA) Regional School District, helped me truly understand what UDL is and, perhaps more important, what it isn’t.
Q: What exactly is UDL, and why does it matter?
A: Our classrooms today are incredibly diverse. As we embrace equity and inclusion, we have to meet the needs of all students. To do this, we have to change the way we “do” school. When I was young, we were tracked, starting in first grade, into “high” or “low” reading groups, gifted, etc. Now we know that’s not good for anyone. Classes have a wide mix of strengths and weaknesses, and a one-size-fits-all curriculum does not meet most children’s needs.
In 1990, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) renewed our national focus on the least-restrictive environment. As more and more students were educated with their peers, we started to realize that having all students read the same book and take the same test doesn’t work. We began providing accommodations through differentiated instruction and teachers figured out what to change or modify to accommodate “disabled” learners. Although this allowed students to access knowledge, they weren’t empowered to become learners and make choices for themselves. Instead, the curriculum was compartmentalized and decisions were consistently made about students without their voice.
The UDL framework starts with the belief that every student is different and that’s the norm. We call these differences “variability” and we embrace it. When students come to us differently, and they face barriers to learning, it’s our curriculum that’s disabled, not our students. All students have assets and strengths and goals and interests. UDL lets us offer them options and choices to create personalized pathways to meet very rigorous goals. Our job is to teach them as they come.
Q: Can you give me an example?
A: Sure. In English language arts, students need to analyze how complex characters develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot. Ten to fifteen years ago, the whole class would read The Old Man and the Sea, analyze how Santiago develops over the course of the text, and write an essay. But that doesn’t tell the teacher if the students understand characterization; it only proves they can answer questions about that novel.
With UDL, you look at a traditional lesson and start by identifying the barriers. For this example, the barriers of handing out the same novel to every student could be that the reading level is too rigorous, or not challenging enough, the students lack necessary background knowledge, or visual processing is challenging. To eliminate those barriers, I would provide options like listening to the novel, providing visuals or supporting background knowledge through a video, reading with a partner, or choosing a different book. To teach about characterization, I’d provide students with the option to work individually or in small groups and offer resources and videos so they can personalize their learning and connect it to a text that’s relevant, authentic, and meaningful to them.
After that, I’d ask students to express what they learned about character development by either writing an essay, creating an infographic, doing a presentation, creating a vlog, working alone or with partners, and so on. In UDL, I start with the goal and consider which options and choices students need to achieve that goal. There are numerous pathways to reach the same destination.
Q: That sounds like differentiated instruction.
A: UDL empowers students to recognize their own interests and needs and personalize learning to their standard. Differentiated instruction is about what the teacher will do, based on her perceptions of students’ needs. With UDL, teachers proactively design the curriculum to eliminate barriers. Differentiated instruction emphasizes the teacher’s role to address students’ needs; the teacher constructs activities based on different groupings of students. UDL empowers teachers to design lessons for the broadest possible range of students.
Q: Wow; the two are really quite different. Tell me more about UDL.
A: With UDL, we let students make choices and then participate in a self-assessment. They learn how their choices allowed them to work toward their goals so they can make adjustments and learn about what works and what doesn’t.
Q: Why do you think UDL is the right framework for every district?
A: We have to get kids future ready. The old way—compliance—works really well for robots. If we want kids to compete, they have to be creative, reflective problems-solvers who can set goals and collaborate and solve problems as they work toward goals. If I can teach a child to know herself as a learner, to understand which strategies will help her achieve her goals, and the importance of trial-and-error and self-reflection, then that child will be successful. If we continue to teach in the traditional “know your facts” type of way, what will kids gain? We have apps for that.
Q: Are there any downsides to a teacher using UDL?
A: It requires an incredible amount of professional development (PD) for teachers. A lot of districts have invested in curriculum that dictates what page to be on each week. This style of teaching results in huge achievement gaps that have been largely unmoving. We have to do things differently, but that means un-learning almost everything we learned about how to teach.
With UDL, you need to give up a lot of control, which is very scary. Educators have to have faith that the kids can personalize and and they can facilitate that by continually walking around, providing feedback, and connecting students to resources. It’s much more organic. In UDL, teachers plan for variability. When this is done purposefully, students are all doing different things at the same time. It’s scary and beautiful.
We implemented UDL in our district’s elementary schools and are seeing that students grow up learning how to learn. In Massachusetts, only 52 of our 1,800 schools were recognized by the Department of Education in 2018 for high achievement, high growth, and/or significantly exceeding their accountability targets. Both of our district elementary schools were highlighted for this distinction, and UDL was an integral part of their success. We’ve been implementing UDL for four years and are starting to see the framework transform teaching and learning. We have two half-days of PD and curriculum work every month in elementary to ensure that we can support our educators. You have to do that to transform a district.
Q: Last question: What three things should administrators do if they’re interested in going down the UDL path?
A: First, educate yourself about UDL and how it’s different from differentiated instruction. Some good resources are the nonprofit organization CAST and UDL thought leaders such as Loui Lord Nelson, Liz Berquist, Joni Degner, and Jon Mundorf. Second, understand that significant growth doesn’t happen by making small changes. Create a long-term district strategy that measures the implementation of UDL over time. Plan for the long haul. Last but not least, build in a consistent cycle of self-reflection. Use data to evaluate and modify your practice just as we encourage students to do in universally designed classrooms. Survey students, families, and teachers to determine the level of engagement kids have, and refine the plan again. Keep repeating until all the barriers that interfere with learning are eliminated. I promise you, the investment is worth it.
Inclusionary Practices Project
Inclusionary Practices Project
WEA Inclusionary Practices Asynchronous Canvas Courses
The Washington Education Association (WEA) has created a number of asynchronous learning modules on a wide range of topics, but all with the central focus of increasing a school’s capacity to provide inclusion for ALL students.
Clock hours are available. You do not need to be a WEA member to access the courses. These courses are free and can be completed at your own pace. See link below.
WEA Inclusionary Practices Zoom Webinars
Starting this month and running through March, the Washington Education Association (WEA) will be hosting professional development webinars. Topics include IEP transition, special education law, SEL and many more!
Clock hours are available. You do not need to be a WEA member to view these webinars. These are free offerings. See link below.
*please note: while some dates have passed there are several upcoming
WA K-12 COVID-19 Learning Loss
In October 2020, Challenge Seattle and the Washington Roundtable initiated a study on learning loss in Washington state with a three-fold purpose:
1. Document the existing research on COVID-induced learning loss and its impacts on students
2. Identify evidence-based strategies to halt the accumulation of learning loss, and then accelerate recovery
3. Broadly socialize and gather input on those strategies from key K-12 stakeholders throughout Washington state.
Click on the picture for more information.
10 Things About Childhood Trauma Every Teacher Needs to know
Brought to you by Starr Commonwealth
Break through trauma and the barriers to learning with 10 Steps to Create a Trauma-Informed Resilient School. Learn more and look inside the book.
With grief, sadness is obvious. With trauma, the symptoms can go largely unrecognized because they mimic other problems: frustration; acting out; or difficulty concentrating, following directions, or working in a group. Students are often misdiagnosed with anxiety, behavior disorders, or attention disorders rather than understood to have trauma that drives those symptoms and reactions.
For children who have experienced trauma, learning can be a big struggle. But once trauma is identified as the root of the behavior, we can adapt our approach to help kids cope when they’re at school. Starr Commonwealth Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Caelan Soma offers these tips for understanding kids who have been through trauma and the strategies that can help them.
1. Kids who have experienced trauma aren’t trying to push your buttons.
If a child is having trouble with transitions or turning in a folder at the beginning of the day, remember that children may be distracted because of a situation at home that causes them to worry. Instead of reprimanding students when they are late or forget their homework, affirm and accommodate them by establishing a visual cue or verbal reminder to help that child. “Switch your mindset and remember the kid who has experienced trauma is not trying to push your buttons,” says Soma.
2. Kids who have been through trauma worry about what’s going to happen next.
A daily routine in the classroom can be calming, so try to provide structure and predictability whenever possible. Since words may not sink in for children who go through trauma, they need other sensory cues, says Soma. Besides explaining how the day will unfold, have signs or a storyboard that shows which activity—math, reading, lunch, recess, etc.—the class will do and when.
3. Even if the situation doesn’t seem that bad to you, it’s how the child feels that matters.
Try not to judge the childhood trauma. As caring teachers, we may unintentionally project that a situation isn’t really that bad, but how the child feels about the stress is what matters most. “We have to remember it’s the perception of the child. […] The situation is something they have no control over, feeling that their life or safety is at risk,” says Soma. It may not be a singular event but rather the culmination of chronic stress—for example, a child who lives in poverty may worry about the family being able to pay rent on time, keep their jobs, or have enough food. Those ongoing stressors can cause trauma. “Anything that keeps our nervous system activated for longer than four to six weeks is defined as post-traumatic stress,” says Soma.
4. Trauma isn’t always associated with violence.
Trauma is often associated with violence, but kids can also suffer trauma from a variety of situations—like divorce, a move, or being overscheduled or bullied. “All kids, especially in this day and age, experience extreme stress from time to time,” says Soma. “It is more common than we think.”
5. You don’t need to know the cause of trauma to be able to help.
Instead of focusing on the specifics of a traumatic situation, concentrate on the support you can give children who are suffering. “Stick with what you are seeing now—the hurt, the anger, the worry,” Soma says, rather than getting every detail of the child’s story. Privacy is a big issue in working with students suffering from trauma, and schools often have a confidentiality protocol that teachers must follow. You don’t have to dig deep into the trauma to be able to effectively respond with empathy and flexibility.
6. Kids who experience trauma need to feel they’re good at something and can influence the world.
Find opportunities that allow kids to set and achieve goals, and they’ll feel a sense of mastery and control, suggests Soma. Assign them jobs in the classroom that they can do well or let them be a peer helper to someone else. “It is very empowering,” says Soma. “Set them up to succeed and keep that bar in the zone where you know they are able to accomplish it and move forward.” Rather than saying a student is good at math, find experiences to let them feel it. Because trauma is such a sensory experience, kids need more than encouragement—they need to feel their worth through concrete tasks.
7. There’s a direct connection between stress and learning.
When kids are stressed, it’s tough for them to learn. Create a safe, accepting environment in your classroom by letting children know you understand their situation and support them. “Kids who have experienced trauma have difficulty learning unless they feel safe and supported,” says Soma. “The more the teacher can do to make the child less anxious and have the child focus on the task at hand, the better the performance you are going to see out of that child. There is a direct connection between lowering stress and academic outcomes.”
8. Self-regulation can be a major challenge for students suffering from trauma.
Some kids with trauma grow up with emotionally unavailable parents. The result is the inability to self-soothe, so they may develop distracting behaviors and have trouble staying focused for long periods. To help them cope, you can schedule regular brain breaks. Tell the class at the beginning of the day when there will be breaks—for free time, to play a game, or to stretch. “If you build it in before the behavior gets out of whack, you set the child up for success,” says Soma. A child may be able to make it through a 20-minute block of work if they know there will be a break to recharge before the next task.
9. It’s OK to ask kids point-blank what you can do to help them make it through the day.
For all students with trauma, you can ask them directly what you can do to help. They may ask to listen to music with headphones or put their head on their desk for a few minutes. Soma says, “We have to step back and ask them, ‘How can I help? Is there something I can do to make you feel even a little bit better?'”
10. You can support kids with trauma even when they’re outside your classroom.
Loop in the larger school. Share trauma-informed strategies with all staff—from bus drivers to parent volunteers to crossing guards. Remind everyone: “The child is not his or her behavior,” says Soma. “Typically there is something underneath that driving that to happen, so be sensitive. Ask yourself, ‘I wonder what’s going on with that kid?’ rather than saying, ‘What’s wrong with the kid?’ That’s a huge shift in the way we view