Summer Learning: Boston EdTalks on empowering teachers and parents

By finding new ways for teachers, administrators and parents to work together, these presenters are empowering teachers to improve their craft

By Ted McEnroe, Director of External Communications

This summer, we have been sharing a series of the Boston EdTalks presentations given last year by a remarkable group of teachers, administrators and staff from schools across Greater Boston. We began with a series of presentations from teachers using writing as a means of tapping into students' creativity, grow their talents and build a safe, strong community. We followed that with a series from teachers who were taking new approaches to curriculum design.

In our third installment, we turn to partnerships. In each of these talks, Boston-area teachers and administrators show how they are working together to support, inspire, give feedback and provide opportunities to get the broader community involved in school. 

Thanks again to all our presenters - and we wish all of you a wonderful, inspiring 2018-19 academic year.

Quality instructional coaching is a critical tool for supporting teacher growth and, as a result, student learning. There are two common challenges to this: Consistent instructional coaching is not readily available for the majority of teachers and, when it is, teachers are not typically empowered to drive the focus of their coaching work. Jennifer Glynn, a Grade 4 Lead Teacher at Match Community Day Charter School in Boston and James Likis, a Data Inquiry Facilitator with the Boston Public Schools, have a possible alternative. DIY Coaching addresses these challenges by thinking differently about instructional coaching: It brings together communities of teachers and activates them as coaches of themselves and their peers through the use of classroom video.

How might public schools capitalize on educators' experiences, expertise and passions by changing the way in which problems are identified and addressed? Last year in Cambridge a new model emerged that flipped the paradigm from obligation to inspiration so that educators could reclaim their swagger and take ownership of their own learning. Teachers Sharon Lozada and Angeline UyHam say the Design Lab, d. Lab Cambridge, reframes the way we look at issues as a community. In their talk, they say design thinking encourages us to see problems as opportunities and to collectively find solutions together, which makes it a powerful vehicle for local, sustainable innovation.

How do you define family engagement? Hugo Carvajal, PatriciaAnn McCaffrey and Mekka Smith of KIPP Massachusetts believe it is the responsibility of the school to value and engage families. But too often, schools fail to reciprocate the trust that families place in them, particularly in educationally underserved communities. In this talk, they highlight the opportunity for schools to ask what families and surrounding communities have to contribute, and seize the role as a hub for social capital resurrection, innovation, and network strength.