Knoster’s Model of Change

In a learning institution such as a school, we face many changes as we learn more about teaching and learning, as we gain insight about the genius each of our students brings to our community, and as we collaborate to find adaptive solutions to our puzzles of practice. In this post, I want to describe a model we have used in my school district to reflect on change and strive to support teachers as we engage in change processes. This model, developed by Hendrik Knoster, is called the Knoster Model.

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Envisioning Language

This summer I had the privilege of attending part of a Responsive Classroom® training. This opportunity helped strengthen my understanding of how to nurture conditions that include the four domains of a responsive classroom: engaging academics, positive community, effective management, and developmentally responsive teaching. A key strategy to support all four domains is Envisioning Language. In this post I want to summarize some of what I learned about such language.

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Coaching Partnership Tools: Part II

In my previous post, I described several of my “go to” tools for planning and reflecting on coaching conversations. In this post, I want to share two of the language tools I use in partnership meetings. When I focus on language, I can ask more precise questions and model how intention to language is important when we work with students and colleagues. The more precise we are with language, the more impact our language can have!

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Coaching Partnership Tools: Part I

As I engage in mid-year reflection on my goals as an instructional coach, I would like to share some of the tools I use to plan and engage in coaching meetings. I call these coaching meetings “partnership meetings” because both my colleague and I are learning together. It is my job, as a coach, to reflect on, and plan for the conversations. Intentional planning focuses on ensuring that conversations focus on my colleague’s goals and priorities, while centering students, especially our formerly marginalized students. In this post, and an upcoming part two, I want to summarize some useful coaching tools. Continue reading “Coaching Partnership Tools: Part I”

Student Agency, Feedback, and Voice

Last year, I wrote about Pedagogy of Voice, as described in Street Data: A Next-Generation Model for Equity, Pedagogy, and School Transformation. This weekend I am rereading the Pedagogy of Voice chapter: Redefine “Success” and striving to go deeper into the content. In this post, I want to share some of the passages that are standing out the most, and why.

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Making Space for Student Feedback and Voice


“My job as a teacher is not to teach the curriculum or even to just teach the students; it is to seek to understand my kids as completely as possible so that I can purposefully bend curriculum to meet them.” – C. Minor

“Creating a collaborative culture is the single most important factor in school improvement for those seeking to enhance the effectiveness of teaching and learning.” – R. DuFour and B. DuFour

The quotes above are on my mind as I celebrate the publication of my second piece, Making Space for Students in PLCs. The processes I describe in the article are built off what we learned from our students and what we learned together as collaborative teams of inquiry.

As always, I look forward to feedback as you read the article!

Speak Up to Call In

One of my school’s goals this year is to engage in Strategic Listening and to lean into Courageous Conversations. We know that the language we use has an impact on students, colleagues, and families. The language we use also reflects our beliefs, and by being intentional on our language choices, we can increase our own self-awareness and shift beliefs. As educators, we must strive to examine our language and beliefs. We must also support each other in this work to help us see our blind spots and to grow as social justice educators; and that happens through conversation. In this post, I want to highlight some ideas from Teaching Tolerance’s Speak Up Guide, in order to synthesize the guide and to share this important resource with others.

“Every moment that bias goes unanswered
is a moment that allows its roots to grow deeper and stronger.
Bias left unanswered is bias tacitly approved.
If you don’t speak up, you are saying, in your silence,
that you condone it.”    – Speak Up Guide

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The Four Pivots, Part Four

This post is the fourth of four based on Shawn Ginwright PhD’s The Four Pivots: Reimagining Justice, Reimagining Ourselves. The Four Pivots include: 
  1. From Lens to Mirror (see The Four Pivots, Part One)
  2. From Transactional to Transformative (see The Four Pivots, Part Two)
  3. From Problem to Possibility (see The Four Pivots, Part Three)
  4. From Hustle to Flow

The themes of From Hustle to Flow include: Flow, Rest, and Wild. They are the focus in today’s post.

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The Four Pivots, Part Two

A sense of Belonging is needed for learning to occur, and for one’s humanity to be honored. To be human is to desire Belonging. Belonging is also necessary for transformational change to occur. In order to develop the types of changes needed in our schools, we need transformation, not transactions. When we feel Belonging, we can collaborate in a way that creates richer outcomes which lead to Transformation and Justice. In my last post, I wrote about the first pivot in Shawn Ginwright’s The Four Pivots: Reimagining Justice, Reimagining Ourselves.

The Four Pivots include:

  1. From Lens to Mirror
  2. From Transactional to Transformative
  3. From Problem to Possibility
  4. From Hustle to Flow

In this post, I will introduce and summarize my understanding of the second pivot which includes the themes of:

  • Belonging
  • Care
  • Vulnerability

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The Four Pivots, Part One

The purpose of my writing this blog over time is to synthesize my own learning and to share my learning with others. As I write today, I’m returning to my purpose because I know how important it is to remind myself of my why, especially since today is the day I’ve added a “Subscription” feature to my webpage! I’m extremely excited about the privilege and opportunity to share my writing in a more systematic way with my readers.

In this post, I want to begin a synthesis of The Four Pivots: Reimagining Justice, Reimagining Ourselves, by Shawn Ginwright, PhD. This will be the first in a four part series, each part comprising one of Ginwright’s pivots. As I read the book, I was inspired by the connection between self work and social justice work. The focus on Belonging also stood out to me because it is one of my Core Values and because we know that in order for learning and healing to occur, we need Belonging. Reading the book, I had many take-aways for myself, my leadership moves, and my teaching. I highly recommend reading the text and know many educational leaders and learners will be embracing it over the years to come!

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