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49 Antietam St, Devens, MA 01434    (978) 772-3293    (978) 772-3295

Educator Workshops

The fee for Educator Workshops is $150 per person, which covers all materials, along with breakfast and lunch. All workshops are full day sessions, beginning at 8:30 am and finishing by 3:30 pm. Workshops are held at the Sizer Teachers Center at the Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School. Click here for directions.

To register for a workshop or to request a custom workshop for you group, call 978-772-3293 ext. 168 or email cmeaney@theparkerschool.org.

Educator Workshops for 2017-2018

The Promise of Advisories: Defining the Six Key Dimensions for your School

The Promise of Advisories will take participants through a series of exercises that explore the Six Key Dimensions of advisory programs: purpose, organization, content/curriculum, professional development, assessment and leadership.  Participants will leave the workshop with:

  • An understanding of the Six Key Dimensions of advisory programs and how they interrelate
  • An initial research-based outline of their advisory program along the Six Key Dimensions
  • A sustainable plan for bringing this work back to their schools including concrete activities to do with their own faculties.

The Skills of Advising

One of the most critical dimensions of any advisory program is professional development and support for advisors.  In this workshop, participants will explore four key questions: 

  • What is the role of an advisor?
  • What skills are important to being a successful advisor and how do we build those skills?
  • How do we structure advisory to meet our advisees’ needs?
  • What initial and on-going support do advisors need?

In addition, we will spend time helping participants articulate advisory professional development plans that can be implemented upon returning to one’s school.   At the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • have clarity around the role of an advisor
  • understand the skills important to being a successful advisor and how to build those skills among their colleagues
  • leave with ideas on how to structure advisory sessions to meet advisees’ needs
  • create the start of an advisory tool kit
  • have a sustainable plan for supporting advisors in their own schools.

Really Engaged Students through Really Authentic Assessment: Changing the Things Students Do and The Way We Assess Them

How can we increase student engagement in work that is meaningful and authentic?  The goal of this workshop is to explore the concept of authentic work and assessment and for participants to bring models and ideas back to their own practice. The session will begin by reflecting on the qualities of authentic learning and assessment, including by analyzing models of authentic learning from the Parker School across the domains of Math, Science and Technology; Arts and Humanities; Spanish; and Wellness. Participants will then reflect on their own classroom and the concepts and topics that they teach and within which they would like to increase the level of student engagement. The workshop will utilize protocols and small group tunings to help participants apply aspects of authentic performance tasks and assessments to their own work. Participants will have a chance to identify and brainstorm solutions to potential roadblocks to authentic assessment and will leave with new ideas to implement in their curriculum and classroom.

Integrating Math and Science in the Middle School

December 5, 2017

Parker’s unique MST program combines math and science instruction in a two-hour, team-taught course, where units of study are driven by unifying themes and essential questions.  In this session, participants will learn how integrated curriculum is designed, how teachers ensure sufficient content coverage and balance while teaching toward deeper understandings, and how partners work together to instruct in this integrated fashion.  Classroom visits and observations, review of sample units, and conversation with current students will support participants in gaining an understanding of Parker’s integrated program in order to begin thinking about their own initiatives.

Integrating the Humanities in the Middle and High School

December 5, 2017

Parker’s unique Arts and Humanities program combines ELA, social studies, and arts instruction in a two-hour, team-taught course, where units of study are driven by unifying themes and essential questions.  In this session, participants will learn how integrated curriculum is designed, how teachers ensure sufficient content coverage and balance while teaching toward deeper understandings, and how partners work together to instruct in this integrated fashion.  Classroom visits and observations, review of sample units, and conversation with current students will support participants in gaining an understanding of Parker’s integrated program in order to begin thinking about their own initiatives.

Performance-Based Assessment: Designing and Assessing Performance Tasks that Go Beyond Tests

January 9, 2018

If we want to know what students can DO with what they are learning, we need to give them worthy tasks that go beyond what we can test.  In this session, participants will see examples of performance tasks from a variety of disciplines, accompanied by real student work, and will explore the depth and complexity asked of students in their work.  They will learn how Parker teachers design, fine-tune, and instruct toward these performance tasks, and they will practice norming assessment standards to ensure reliability.

Mastery-based Promotion and Essential Rites of Passage

January 18, 2018

What happens when a school creates the conditions for students to own, demonstrate, and apply their learning in formal exhibitions?  And, how do these experiences change the way students see themselves as agents of their own learning?

In service to a set of Common Principles, together with threshold Criteria for Excellence, Parker holds all students to clear standards, values growth over time, and includes families as essential partners in these moments of transition.  Participants will be introduced to the big structures that undergird these public markers of student growth, as well as the smaller structures that make up the how of how it is all done.  Participants will observe actual student gateways and view work products, engage in interest-based groups (including Arts and Humanities, Math/Science/Technology, and Spanish), and also be invited to imagine iterations of this work in their own settings.

What Happens When You Don’t Give Grades?

February 6, 2018

Parker students have to meet standards and provide evidence of what they know and can do, but they never get a traditional letter grade at the end of a course.  In such a system, how do students know how well they are doing?  How do teachers track student performance and gauge readiness?  What do you do when kids don’t do their nightly homework, and there is no zero? And what impact does learning in this system have on students and their learning?

Reading: The Ultimate Differentiation/Personalization Tool in the Foreign Language Classroom

Incorporating reading and writing into language class in authentic and engaging ways can be challenging. However, it’s been proven that reading can be one of the best ways to build proficiency in a new language. In this workshop, we’ll explore the question, How can I use my students’ literacy skills to my advantage in the foreign language classroom, and how can I help them further develop these skills in their second language? Some of the areas we will discuss are what materials are the most appropriate for students at different stages in their learning, as well as the role of intensive vs. extensive reading in the classroom. Participants will engage in this learning by observing literacy activities in Spanish classrooms, talking with students who do this work regularly at Parker, experiencing a student literacy activity, and digging deeper into research about reading through a text-based discussion.

Differentiation in the Math Classroom:   How Task Cards/Stations allow Multiple Layers of Learning

In this workshop, we will explore how to change the routine of all students doing the same worksheets and provide more natural and productive choices when practicing math skills.  Participants will learn techniques to differentiate in the math classroom, by experiencing instructional methods from the perspective of a student and discussing these strategies with fellow participants. Participants will be led through the structure of a typical unit of study, have an opportunity to try out the activities from the perspective of students in their class.  Participants will observe classes where this type of work is taking place, and reflect on and plan for similar instructional moves in their own settings.

Differentiation in the Math Classroom:   Using Open Ended Projects focusing on Mathematical Problem Solving

In this workshop, participants will complete an open-ended assessment/project that focuses on the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice, and experience the possibilities for differentiation as they work authentically with the same problem.  Using this opened-ended problem, participants will see how we can shift our thinking to examine what kids can do from a problem-solving standpoint. Participants will also examine student work on this same problem and discuss the variety of ways that students can show success.  Participants will observe classes where this type of work is taking place, and reflect on and explore the possibilities for open-ended approaches in their own settings.

From Closed to Open: Rethinking the Problems We pose to Students in Math

For many students, Math has been taught and thought of as a subject of "correct answers."  But math is really a subject of patterns and creativity.  In this workshop, we will explore the power of open-ended problems (those with multiple entry and exit points and more than one solution) in mathematics and how these problems empower student exploration, creativity and involvement in the work.  In this workshop, we will look at the traditional problems posed in math class (closed ended) and rewrite them to allow for more freedom, flexibility, and creativity in the work our students create, and to allow for multiple entry and exit points.  Participants will observe classes where this type of work is taking place, and reflect on and plan for similar instructional adjustments in their own settings.

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