Teachers, support staff and administrators from Washington, Oregon and Alaska met in Portland, Oregon, on October 20-21, 2017, for the Northwest TURN conference. “Addressing Poverty & Proficiency Through Union-Management Community Partnerships” was the theme for the two-day conference.
Max Drummy from New Pedagogies for Deep Learning led an in-depth conversation on the work of NPDL with 1000 schools in 100 countries to develop deep learning cultures and support sustainable change for the entire school system. To be effective and sustainable, deep learning for students has to be invitational, not a command. Participants were able to view video clips of active, engaged and high performing classrooms where students create new learning by focusing on real life problems. The confidence, poise and knowledge of kindergarteners presenting their learning to groups of parents was remarkable! Drummy explained the NPDL process works side-by-side with teachers to change the role of the teacher to be coaches who design lessons to let students find their talents and passions.
NW TURN continues to focus on the role that social-emotional learning plays in student learning. We learned from the experiences of the Anchorage School District from Anchorage, Alaska, in helping students develop self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and social management. The Anchorage team had us up and moving around the room to better understand SEL and how to engage students in this work. Jo Anderson, Co-Executive Director of CEC, captured the feeling of many of the participants when he reminded us that “... emotions and cognition are inextricably linked. All learning is both social and emotional.”
Another strand that continues to run through NW TURN is capitalizing on the energy and expertise of teachers new to the profession. A team of NEA’s Early Career Fellows from Salem Keizer, Oregon, shared their experiences as they develop their skills as emerging leaders within the association. They talked not only about their growth as instructional leaders within the Association, but also local leaders and school administrators shared how the contribution of the new teachers is strengthening the association and improving the schools.