Stoney M. Beavers, Ph.D.
Alabama Best Practices Center
Surviving the Now
I have always appreciated the value of networking with other educators across the state. I’ve learned this past year that our networks are even more important during challenging times.
The synchronous sessions that we had with our Key Leaders Network and Powerful Conversations Network members always felt like “a little bit of normal” during an otherwise turbulent year. Several members even expressed how much it energized them to actually see and interact with their colleagues from other schools. They internalized the big idea that they were not alone in their struggles to deal with an ever-shifting schedule and fluctuating student presence.
Cathy Gassenheimer and I and all our consultants and staff appreciated these participants’ deep conversations about coherence and social and emotional learning while genuinely supporting each other. Together, we managed to create an environment that encourages others to keep striving to positively impact student achievement despite all of the barriers that everyone had to find a way to overcome.
We understand that many of our districts felt they just could not focus on their own professional learning during this past year due to the demands being placed on their time. We found, however, that educators in the districts that were able to join us often felt empowered by their colleagues across the state to continue new learning and growing. Many participants have said they felt encouraged to come back from the past year even better than before.
Bouncing Forward: Our 2021-22 Network Focuses
In our listening sessions with district partners, we learned that people need concrete strategies for “bouncing forward” as we move into the next school year. For this reason, we have chosen to focus our Powerful Conversations Network (PCN) learning on Robert Marzano’s The New Art and Science of Teaching .
Our sister program A+ College Ready uses this text as part of their training program, and it provides educators with a meta analysis of research on the most effective strategies for moving students forward.
We will work in teams with educators to identify essential standards, examine “better” practices (including some that were further validated during the pandemic), and plan for highly-effective instructional methods that will accelerate learning and help students thrive.
For the Key Leaders Network (KLN), we have chosen to use Leading a High-Reliability School by Marzano and colleagues for our anchor text. We made this decision based on feedback from our current KLN members as well as conversations with Sandy Ledwell of AMSTI.
Members are very excited to delve deeper into these practices that best support educators in the work that they do to increase student achievement and overall well being. We will build on our past work of coherence as we look toward this new learning. Our KLN teams will continue to explore these concepts within networks to find ways to better support students, faculty, staff and each other.
We have submitted applications for ACLD approval for both PCN and KLN again this year for those educators needing a PLU for certificate renewal.
ALSO: KLN and PCN are on the SDE-approved list for use of ESSER funds.
Register Now for PCN and KLN 2021-22!
To learn more about KLN and PLN plans for 2021-22 download this one-page flyer. And feel free to reach out to us at any time. We are looking forward to adding face-to-face meetings back to our blended format (as well as still offering an all-virtual format) and we hope to see you all in The Room (or the Zoom) Where It Happens!
Click Here to Register and Learn More
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