Collab Lab 26 Recap & Notes

Storytelling

Collab Lab 26 focused on storytelling and how we can use those practices to empower student voices and drive engagement.

We started the discussion with the question “What hopes do you have when students are given a chance to tell stories that matter to them?”:

  • Students will be able to share stories with an authentic audience
  • Students will develop a sense of identity and worth
  • Students will have the chance to understand a commonality of experience
  • Students are able to advocate for their ideas
  • Students capture history making connections
  • The process models collaboration, community, and critical thinking
  • Students understand the power of their voice, and empathy for others
  • Students share and support authentic representation, identity, and learning
  • Empathy – students see the ethical and therapeutic potential of seeing others as human
  • Students gain a sense of freedom, choice, ownership, authenticity, bravery, and dignity from the stories they share

Authentic storytelling comes with risks, so we also asked about the fears participants had when students tell stories that are meaningful to them:

  • We are not prepared to hear a story in a supportive way
  • A lack of efficacy or ability to change lives
  • If we don’t teach the art and science of storytelling, students will stop telling them– they need an audience
  • No acceptance of failure (shame, exposure, sharing)
  • Sensation of negative, leads to negative – e.g. if one student tells a story of harmful behavior does that lead others to emulate that behavior?
  • It is difficult to combat the toxicity of Celebrity as Hero.
  • Vulnerability of students (low initial stakes with incremental risk)
  • Exposure of trauma without an ability to care for it

From there we moved on to ask “What questions can help students identify stories worth telling?” Here, the need to as these questions in an iterative, repetitive way was called out as a necessary step in getting students to think deeply about their responses.  The goal for participants here is to help students find a story they can tell from the heart.

  • Who are you?
  • Where are you from?
  • Why?
  • For what and for whom?
  • How can this story touch one person?
  • How do you tell different stories to different people?
  • What’s your reason – your personal mission statement?
  • What is/are your:
    • weirdness
    • mutation
    • zip code
    • fears
    • pains
    • joys
    • passions

Our final question asked participants what they need to help students tell these stories:

  • To create a culture and community that supports students’ voices, and provides safety and comfort as they tell their stories
  • To give students options about how to tell their stories
  • To provide students a space that makes them feel awesome
  • Time, flexibility, community, connections
  • Access to storytelling expertise
  • Time for students to play
  • A culture of storytelling that recognizes the need for authentic listening, and receiving
  • The opportunity to use non-linguistic media
  • Imagination

Give the focus on storytelling, one of our discussion groups captured what this might look like as a story:

At MLK Elementary, a 6th grader who was sometimes seen as a troublemaker got up in a front of a room and told the story of how she realized she was a naturally gifted pool player.  This resulted in lots of positive attention for her! The workshops and prep time she used paid off!


Resources

Milwaukee Film

Youth Education (for young people): https://mkefilm.org/for-educators/youth-education

Educator Services: https://mkefilm.org/for-educators/educator-services

UWM

Milwaukee Visionaries Project (MVP) UWM-sponsored after-school animation program serving middle and high school students from throughout the city of Milwaukee. Our programming for middle and high school students aligns with the MPS school year and we enroll students on a rolling basis throughout the year. MVP does not currently offer a summer session, but UWM’s greater Art Ed networking organization (ArtsECO) runs Pre-College Art and Design classes for high school students during our off-season.

Information for Pre-College programming available at UWM can be found here: https://uwm.edu/arts/pre-college/

ArtsECO Based within UWM’s Peck School of the Arts, our diverse programming offerings develop teachers as change-makers. ArtsECO is backed by a strong and sustainable community of arts organizations, non-profits, and K12 school partnerships. We offer monthly Meet-Up events available to the public as well!

Geoconvos

Using place and identity as framework for storytelling as an https://geoconvos.org/

 

Have something to add that we didn’t catch here?  Let us know.


Thanks!

Thanks again to The Commons for providing the space for this month’s Collab Lab.  Thanks also to our featured participants:

Karen Ambrosh — Teacher, Audubon Technology and Communication High School
Emily Berens — Program Coordinator, UWM’s ArtsECO
Adam Carr
Wendy Harrop — STEM/Library Integrator, Summit Elementary School
Dominic Inouye — Founder and Director, ZIP MKE & Jane’s Walk
Megan McGee — Co-founder and Executive Director, Ex Fabula
Cara Ogburn — Programming & Education Director, Milwaukee Film

Collab Lab 25 Recap

Water: How can we engage students in authentic learning experiences related to water and water technologies?

Beyond the facts that Milwaukee sits next to a whole lot of water and spans several watersheds, it is home to more than 200 water technology companies. This creates an opportunity not just to explore physical connections to water and the environment, but to tap into expertise around how water is used and managed.  At our February Collab Lab, we pulled together individuals from area organizations engaged water technology and issues from a variety of perspectives. We then sat them down with educators to flesh out some ideas and make the connections that can help bring those ideas to life.

 

Amber DuChateau was kind enough to step in as a guest facilitator.  She guided our discussion groups through a process that began with participants sharing what drives their work and what excites them now about what they’re working on.  From our perspective, the really interesting work in schools is driven by teachers passions.  This method of introduction provides a chance for them to connect with others who share their enthusiasm.

 

Our search for opportunities began with a brainstorming process within each discussion group.  We asked each table to generate ideas for potential projects using one or more of these strategies:

  • Mix and match — What would it look like to combine exciting work from 2 or 3 members of your table?
  • Shift context — What does it look like to take exciting work and put it in a different location, class (art music, language arts, history, business), age group?
  • Empower students — what does it look like when students drive the questions, act as mentors to younger students, lead the project
  • Distribute the work — what changes if you had 10 classes chipping in, what does it look like if you have 100?
  • Extend the scope — what changes if you can rely on the skills of students/teachers in other classes?

That process gave us a list of ideas that included:

  • What constitutes “healthy water”
  • How does water flow through the curriculum
    • gardens
    • aquaponics (our focus for Collab Lab 22)
    • connecting questions (inquiry) to answers (outcomes)
  • How is water made?
  • Connect Sweet Water’s Adopt a Storm Drain project to schools
  • First Lego League + Computational Thinking + Water problems
  • Water Poetry (with presentation of work)
  • Test presentations of water related work before visitors to Discovery World
  • Tell the story of a drop of water
  • Tell the story of a drop of water through water bracelets (each token on a bracelet tells part of the story)
  • Enlist students in UWM’s School of Freshwater Science as mentors to MPS Science teachers working with Project GUTS
  • Tell the story of the Habitat Hotels constructed for the Harbor District by Bradley Tech students
  • Extend STEMhero‘s curriculum to connect students to look at water usage of businesses near schools

With those ideas in hand, each group moved on to select one idea and create a vision for what that might look like.  Here’s where they landed:

Project Idea 1: Adopt a Storm Drain +

Goal

Students adopt one or more storm drains near their school.  Students understand the function of storm drains, how pollution can enter the system, and be swept into area streams and Lake Michigan.  Inspired by this understanding, they work to keep their storm drain(s) free from garbage that may be swept into the drain and out into area waterways.

Key Issues

  • Scalability– how can this effort spread
  • What education levels to target?

Potential Partners

  • Sweet Water
  • Green Schools Consortium

Project Idea 2: If I Were a Drop of Water

Goal

Engage student physically, mentally, and emotionally to understand the flow of a drop of water from where it lands in Milwaukee and its journey to Lake Michigan.  Use a multidisciplinary approach to help students build these stories, which are then presented to an audience from the wider community.

Where/Who/When

Across the watersheds which cover Milwaukee in grades 6-12.  Pilot the effort in 7th or 8th grade. Prep for the effort in the fall, get students outside in the spring to follow the path of water from their chosen source to the lake.

What’s Needed to Move Forward

  • Identify locations to use as starting point for water journey
    • Tap local expertise to do so (building connections between schools and partners)
  • Do a test run of the water journey with teachers
  • Map the work envisioned back to curriculum standards

How to get Started

  • Reach out to science curriculum specialists to help identify schools who might be willing to pilot
  • Run the idea past local experts to identify source locations that would allow students to follow interesting journeys

Project Idea 3: What Constitutes Healthy Water?

Goals

  • Incorporate actual water issues for Milwaukee– lead, lake levels, etc.
  • Include water quality into multidisciplinary curriculum

How to get Started

  • Identify a client (big or small) for the work
    • Miller
    • Summerfest
    • MMSD
    • Colectivo
  • Craft a project to engage students in work to explore/address the client’s concerns around water.

Thanks again to The Commons for providing the space, to Amber for facilitating, and our featured participants for the experience and insight they brought to the discussion:

Brenda Coley – Co-Executive Director, Milwaukee Water Commons
Jake Fincher – Stormwater Program Manager, Sweet Water
Tony Giron – Community Engagement Manager, Harbor District Milwaukee
Justin Hegarty, P.E., LEED A.P., Executive Director, Reflo
Kelly Ibarra – Teacher Success Lead, STEMhero
Cate Rahmlow – Director of Sector Strategy Development, WEDC
Rochelle Sandrin – Science Curriculum Specialist, Milwaukee Public Schools
Liz Sutton, Outreach Manager, UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences

Collab Lab 24 Recap

Maps as a Point of Engagement

The idea for session came out of conversations we had last summer with Donna Genzmer and Kate Madison faculty members at UWM.  Kate and Donna run UWM’s  Power of Data Teacher Workshops. The Power of Data (POD) Project offers a 35 hour professional development program in mid-June that helps secondary teachers enhance existing lessons with Geospatial Inquiry.  Through NSF funding the program is both free for teachers and offers a stipend to participants.  We thought it would be useful to offer teachers interested in exploring how to leverage maps/Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools a chance to explore some ideas, and connect with resources early in the year so they might better be able to leverage the PODs training.

Milwaukee has a wealth of GIS talent at area universities, industries, and non-profits.  Our featured participants brought a broad range of expertise and practical knowledge in the use of GIS/spatial data analysis across a variety of domains.  We structured the session to allow participants to share their interests in exposing students to spatial data, explore ideas for potential projects, and solicit advice for how to make that happen.

That covered some pretty broad territory:

  • Neighborhood asset mapping
  • Macro economic data to map micro space
  • Conservation/spatial learning re Zoo animals
  • Connections to Math (social justice)
  • Viable composting sites
  • Linking environmental issues through maps
  • Past/present/future of place
  • Location of “good” landlords/housing
  • Location of bird houses
  • Parent pickup
  • Crime geography/address social justice
  • Locations for mobile maker space visits
  • Place of residence w/respect to school
  • Invasive/native plant distribution
  • Land and resource usemap
  • Suburban/urban agriculture
  • Watershed education
  • Green infrastructure
  • Food deserts
  • Location for community gardens
  • Data visualization
  • Develop GIS Apps w/IT/GIS skills
  • Freshwater connections
  • Connect people to water resources
  • Rainwater flow
  • Safety
  • Waste stream
  • Climate
  • Location of Companies

 

Upcoming workshops:

Milwaukee Community Map

Tuesday February 19th
4:30 to 5:30 PM
[email protected] – 908 S. 5th Street, Milwaukee
details 

PODS Workshops

UWM POD Workshop #1
June 3 — 7, 2019, UWM Library

UWM POD Workshop #2
June 17 — 21, 2019, UWM Library

details


Thanks again to The Commons for providing the space and to Marvin and our featured participants for the experience and insight they brought to the discussion:

Emily Champagne – GIS Supervisor, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD)
Donna Genzmer, GISP – Director, Cartography & GIS Center, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Auriana Gilliland-Lloyd – Conservation Assistant, Bonobo & Congo Biodiversity Initiative, Zoological Society of Milwaukee
Lawrence Hoffman – GIS Program Manager, Groundwork Milwaukee
Beth Haskovec – Program Officer, LISC Milwaukee
Kate Madison – Policy Analyst, UWM’s Center for Economic Development
Dr. Aleksandra Snowden Ph.D. – Assistant Professor Social & Cultural Sciences, Marquette University
Michael Timm – Reflo/Milwaukee Community Map

Collab Lab 23 Recap

The idea for last night’s Collab Lab came from Chris Willey after a conversation we had last summer.  Chris runs UWM’s Immersive Media Lab, and had recognized that there are a bunch of organizations in Milwaukee doing interesting work in innovation and entrepreneurship at the edges of K-12.  He suggested we use one of this season’s Collab Lab as a way to help educators understand what the organizations are up to, and uncover areas for collaboration.  We started with a list of organizations– UWM’s Immersive Media Lab, MIAD’s Open Lab, Kohl’s Innovation Center, The Commons, 88.9 Labs, Islands of Brilliance, Brinn Labs, and brought a group together to talk through what this might look like.

Collab Lab regulars know that our aim is not to talk at attendees, but to foster conversation among them, so a series of presentations was out from the start.  Since real collaboration requires alignment of more than just short term interests. Real collaboration comes out not just shared goals, but shared values.

This notion gave us both the first step in our process– having participants describe what it is that drives the work they do– and the idea to have Marvin Pope come in as a guest facilitator.  Marvin’s passion is helping others understand and share their purpose, so it was a natural fit. We were delighted that agreed to do so and was willing to work with us to refine the process he’d lead participants through.

Here’s where we landed…

To start, Marvin asked each participant to capture in a sentence or two, their purpose, and the work they do that is guided by that purpose. Participants then shared what they had written, first with whomever they were seated next to, and then within their discussion group.  Here’s some of what participants shared:

  • I’m on a mission to connect math teachers and transform classrooms
  • To facilitate others to become life-long learners
  • To expose students to opportunities and experiences
  • Helping students and teachers rethink learning through new means of instruction and student centered practices

We followed that by asking participants to note what they need to keep moving forward with their work. This too was done first individually, and then shared within the discussion group.  One of the goals here was to illustrate that it is not just educators who need help getting to where they want to be.  Representatives from each of the organizations were part of each discussion group, and they talked through their purpose, work and needs as well. Here we heard things like:

  • A support system that believes in the work I do
  • Teachers willing to collaborate
  • Ideas and perspectives that augment my own

Collab Lab 23In past sessions when we’ve led discussions about how to move past barriers, these focused on the common barriers to common goals of the participants.  Last night we focused on the specific needs of each participant. Participants had been documenting their thoughts on paper form we created for the session.  At this point we everyone pass their forms to the right, to gather ideas from each of the other participants within their discussion group. Once those made it all the way around the table, we let the groups talk through what they had written. The most interesting feedback I got was after the session ended when one attendee, commenting on this process noted “I was expecting a lot of You shoulds.  What came back was a lot of I can help withs.

We wrapped up the process by having attendees jot down what their path forward now looks like. At the end, the form they completed, told the story of the purpose behind their work, the hurdles they face, the help they can get within the community, and where that help will take them. We invited participants to share their story with the group as a whole, by posting their form on the wall, or telling their story on a digital voice recorder to be shared more broadly.

Sorry, no big, overall summary of the discussion to report, just the good news that the process seemed to spark a lot of ideas around how attendees may work together to get where they want to be.

 


Thanks again to The Commons for providing the space and to Marvin and our featured participants for the experience and insight they brought to the discussion:

Marvin Pope – BU

Tarik Moody – 88.9 Labs
Bill Pariso, Becki Johnson, Pete Prodoehl – Brinn Labs
Nick Grbavac – The Commons
Mike Klug, Tanmay Mhatre, Josh Delzer – Kohl’s Innovation Center
Mark Fairbanks & Amy Mason – Islands of Brilliance
Chris Willey – UWM’s Immersive Media Lab
Ben Dembroski – MIAD’s Open Lab

Collab Lab 22: Recap & Notes

Collab Lab 22 was focused on how can schools leverage a greenhouse/aquaponics facility to provide a rich set of authentic learning experiences for students.  We structured the session as small group discussions focused on goals, the opportunities presented when these facilities are available to students, and what needs to be in place for educators to move forward.

Here’s what we came up with:

Goals

  • Develop authentic learning experiences
    • learn how to think systematically
  • Create a micro-economy
  • Tie into multiple areas within STEAM
  • Create tangible applications to drive student engagement
  • Pull in a new audience (of students)
  • Create a focus/spur for community development
  • Show students and colleagues what is possible
  • Create memorable, hands-on experiences for students
  • Aid local pantry
  • Develop a common language
  • Develop systems awareness
    • Circle of life– acquire food; manage waste; your role
  • Develop productive, self sustaining responsible adults– personal and work ethics
  • Collaborate for learning and greater benefit to community
  • Sustainable educational program
  • Included in educational curriculum standards
  • Equitable access to learning
  • Build literacy for the value of science

Key Takeaway:  The goal(s) for the facility should drive design

 

Opportunities

  • Cash crops
  • Allow students can see what one plant can provide
  • Build transferable skills
    • scientific illustration
    • ecosystems
    • problem solving
    • environmental law/policy
    • public speaking
    • making decisions
  • Tap into kids’ passions
  • Experiential learning — e.g. things break
  • Therapeutic effects/mindfulness
  • Chance for students to see small successes
  • Chance for students to collaborate with peers they would not otherwise interact with
  • Learn culinary skills/safe food handling
  • Build a connection to food/compassion for food systems
  • See something new
  • Experiment with sensors and controls
    • Live monitoring of system: pH, water usage, temperature
    • Build numeracy skills
  • Ag marketing apprenticeship
  • Healthy eating
  • Cooking with kids
  • Community engagement
  • Add meaning to field trips
    • Water/ponds in Milwaukee
  • Tie in to solar energy
  • Public policy implications
  • Develop aquaponics curriculum to build understanding of
    • systems thing
    • food production
    • scientific literacy
  • Inventory of best practices to share and collaborate
  • Accessible exposure to systems– e.g. turn the facility into a demonstration of a closed loop system
  • Composting to teach waste management
  • Start in elementary level to create mindset and culture

 

What is needed to move forward

  • Cultural norms
  • Buy-in from risk management, facilities & maintenance at the district level.
  • A teacher champion (and a backup)
  • A student champion
  • To be around people who know how to do this
  • Broad understanding of the value to students
  • A network of schools working with greenhouses/aquaponics
  • Revenue to cover costs/justify program (reduced need for field trips)
  • Build the case for academic ROI
  • Knowing how to measure behavioral outcomes
  • Regulatory knowledge– how to navigate contracts
  • Celebrate success
  • Space
  • To just start — learn from imperfections
  • Fundraising to expand/upgrade
  • Pioneers sharing their learning
  • Partners with knowledge, experience, funding
  • Colleagues who are motivated to take initiative
  • Tell the story– market the exciting things that are happening to the wider community
  • Create relationships to introduce accountability

 


Thanks again to The Commons for providing the space and to our featured participants for the experience and insight they brought to the discussion:

Charles Uihlein – Teens Grow Greens
Joe Jenna – Waukesha West High School
Sam Rikkers – Tiny Earth
Matt Ray – Fernwood Montessori (MPS)

Collab Lab 21: Recap & Notes

Building Computer Science Talent

Over the summer we met with Ryan Bennett from SafeNet Consulting and Ryan Osterberg from Brookfield Central to talk about the CS internship program they put together for high school students.  That program leads teams of high school students to develop custom applications for other local non-profits. Over the past 2 years, they’ve developed an effective way to engage students in meaningful, high quality work. They have started a new non-profit, Code The Way, to carry on the effort and reach a broader pool of talent.

In the same way that having a real-world project helps sharpen the thinking of students, having a real-world program as a case study helped us talk through a number of the issues around developing CS talent in K-12.

We began the evening with an overview of the Code the Way program, how it is structured, and the key aspects of the approach that make it a valuable experience for students.  Our initial set of small group discussions focused on the aspects of the approach participants found most compelling.  Those key aspects fell into the following categories

Collaboration

  • Building a pathway from high school to college

Pedagogy

  • Context matters (real-world projects)
  • Encourages failing forward
  • Changes the role of teachers/shifts traditional learning models
  • Facilitated Learning

Curriculum

  • Teachers don’t feel confident in teaching computer science and those trained gain confidence and leave
  • Preparing students for future careers involves all students learning fundamentals of programming
  • How do we develop basic technological literacy skills across the student experience

Equity

  • The program/curriculum currently caters to top students.  How do we reach all students?

Partnerships

  • Having real world applications for community organizations is critical
  • What other opportunities do we have available in the Milwaukee area for partnerships with corporations

We then moved on to talk through barriers for each of these areas and what we might do to move forward…

Collaboration

Key Issues:

  • Time available for professional development, collaboration
  • Lack of incentives
  • Institutional barriers
  • Lack of platform to support collaboration

Strategy:

  • Educational policy on CS curriculum
  • Data on tech job growth (to make the case for resources)
  • Connect with business priorities so they are invested in schools

Pedagogy

Key issues:

  • Time
  • Intimidating
  • Buy-in
  • Resources/training
  • Incentives to continue up-skilling
  • Mismatch between what’s being tested and what industry needs
  • CS is not integrated with curriculum priorities

Strategies

  • Invite community leaders to an hour of code
  • Help teachers know it is ok to fail
  • Give teachers a chance to experience the learning module or lesson before going in front of students
  • Recognize opportunities to integrate curriculum– saves on time and adds context
  • College STEM/CS ambassadors
  • Offer more coverage time for teachers so they can learn, explore, collaborate, etc.

Curriculum

Key issues:

  • Prioritization of problem solving vs content (aka CS knowledge)
  • If we want students to solve real problems, what content do they need to do so?

Strategy:

  • Build partnerships/mentors from the “real world” who can inform/provide content, software, etc. which becomes the means to how students solve problems– thus balancing problem solving & content.  So… tap into TEALS  & leverage new partners
  • Quick wins… Talk to TEALS, reach out to local business.

Equity

Key issues:

  • School access– courses are offered within K-12
  • Qualified instructors
  • Paid or unpaid internships vs guaranteed income for students (who can’t afford to go without a summer job)
  • Representation of diverse K-12 demographics
  • Issues related to geography & transportation

Strategy:

  • Centralized platform of program offerings
  • District level talks of scope and sequence for CS for K-12
  • Survey to identify CS offerings
  • Paid internships & provide a pipeline for college & job (stipends/apprenticeships)
  • Opening your doors to see what challenges you have on site. Provide opportunities for others to help/diverse help
  • Privide transportation or bus passes; offer courses within students’ neighborhoods

Partnerships

Key issues:

  • IT vs CS
  • Reciprocal accountability
  • Equity in service
  • Institutional silos
  • Lack of social responsibility
  • Wanting only “cream of the crop”

Strategies:

  • Focus on student’s stories
  • Engage smaller businesses
  • Talk up success, MPS through suburban districts
  • Invite partners to see what is going on
  • Understand the customer
  • Strong message
  • Adjust model to fit more kids
  • Teach that failure is an option

Thanks again to The Commons for providing the space and to our featured participants for the experience and insight they brought to the discussion:

Ryan Bennett — Senior Consultant, SafeNet Consulting
Dennis Brylow — Associate Professor, Computer Science, Marquette University
Karen Green — Computer Science Coach, Milwaukee Public Schools
Ryan Osterberg — Computer Science Teacher, Brookfield Central High School
Mark Zacher — Milwaukee Regional Manager, TEALS

Resouces:

You can find an overview of Code the Way here: http://learndeep.org/wp-content/uploads/Case_statement.pdf

The Milwaukee Tech Hub Education Workgroup is a team of community volunteers committed to addressing barriers that will prevent our emerging workforce from accessing opportunities that will allow them to secure and sustain employment in an era of unprecedented technological change.  The group’s first deliverables were 1) a presentation to make “A Case for Change in K12”, and 2) web content that might help those charged with building a Computer Science program in schools.  Please review these resources before the Collab Lab as they might help spur ideas during your small group discussions.  If you have suggestions on how to improve these resources or have questions about the workgroup’s collective efforts, please email MTH.Education@gmail.com

2018-19 Collab Labs

Collab Labs are back for a 3rd season

We’ve set the schedule for this year’s Collab Labs.  In Collaboration with SafeNet Consulting, we’re kicking off the season on October 11th with a look at developing computer science talent. Through the continued support of The Commons, we’ll be back in Ward 4– now with street car service (well, tracks).

Here’s the schedule:

Apr 11

Collab Lab 27: See Math Everywhere

Thursday April 11 @ 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
May 09

Collab Lab 28: Share your Success

Thursday May 9 @ 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Collab Lab 20: Recap & Notes

At the end of March, we met with a group of group of students from Reagan High School who were working in or looking for internships in STEM fields. We heard three key concerns:

  • Students want a chance to exercise the skills they’ve been developing
    Students want the internship to be a chance to learn
  • Outside a few narrow fields, STEM internship opportunities for high school students are difficult to find
  • If students don’t get a chance to grow and learn, an internship is “just a job”, and those take a lot less effort to find.

In our May session we explored several issues around creating effective STEM internships for high school students. We began the evening with a review of what we heard from the Reagan students, and identified a few additional issues:

  • Internships are a new norm for K-12 schools (which have been focused on college prep)
  • Lack of buy-in around career readiness from industry, schools, and students
  • A reliance on university students for internships may be misinformed, particularly when it comes to computer programming
  • High level of on-going coordination required
  • It’s difficult for companies to identify schools with strong programs (from which to recruit)

Round 1

With this as background, we asked participants to inventory the problems to be addressed, and with the help of a couple of volunteers, sorted those responses into the following groups:

Potential Careers

  • Schools not doing enough to introduce the world of possibilities to students
  • Where do we find the resources to support students who want internships
  • High school students as seniors still only know basic STEM careers (doctor, nurse, engineer)

Logistics

  • Students need summer pay
  • Students do not have transportation
  • Companies not willing to work with MPS schools
  • Companies not looking to the “experts” in the schools to assist w/career experiences
  • Let’s not forget about the MPS HS kids not in Reagan, King, Riverside
  • Internship logistics– not appealing or logistically difficult for minors/teens
  • If internships don’t work, what are other options?
  • Companies moving out of the city
  • Resources & funding both in education & industry
  • Legal barriers– minors, health care specifically
  • Transportation needs
  • Business & school partnership
  • Business support
  • How do we educate employers on the importance of internships
  • How to develop a mutually beneficial work relationship between employer and student
  • AP Java or AP anything can’t be the gatekeeper to these opportunities
  • Not having a dedicated person (100%) at each school focusing on career readiness
  • One day field trips/job shadows get kids excited but are disconnected or not continued
  • Students lose STEM engagement
  • Helping our community understand the world of work has changed

Exposure

  • Exposure to different career fields
  • Exposure to local companies/orgs
  • How can we expose students to career based learning experiences so they know what they want to do/don’t waste time & $ post-secondary?
  • Career based learning experiences in building
  • Off-site experiences
  • Job shadows
  • High schoolers need a way to explore future options
  • Students liking “engineering” but not wanting to further pursue as a career
  • Kids go to college not knowing what they to study/do for a living
  • Convincing students/parents to look at the bigger picture– experience vs test scores
  • Expose kids to advanced topics earlier
  • Internships/work experiences that offer meaningful ways to engage students in school
  • How to increase significant student exposure to careers
  • We want to grow MKE as tech hub but students have little to no tech exposure
  • Real world work experience for teens

Equity/Support

  • Equity– females & underrepresented minorities in IT
  • Kids need significant role models
  • Generate a community culture of learning and support
  • Family involvement (for support & buy-in)
  • Increase talent pipeline
  • Frequent, immediate, continuous check-in and support
  • How do we monitor long-term investment and impact on interns
  • Viewing high schoolers as capable of doing meaningful work
  • To build a common system that supports students and industries
  • Funding to allow access for every kid who wants to experience

Teaching Skills

  • Develop human skills — robot-proof education
  • Teachers not always equipped to assist w/career readiness
  • Pre-employment skills building
  • Shape curriculum to better match the real world
  • Social-emotional skill building
  • Students need employability skills
  • Application of skills vs content knowledge
  • Kids don’t have the soft skills employers seek
  • Ensuring school coursework is relevant– tied to industry competencies
  • Communicating K-12 → post-secondary →industry and adjusting as skills adaptively grow
  • Stop treating tech like a science and more like an art
  • Health care based research projects
  • Project based internship programs– what does this look like in health care?
  • Career readiness after leaving the academic environment

Round 2

We chose three areas to focus on for the remainder of the session, and split into groups to explore each topic.  Here’s what we came up with:

Teaching Skills

Problem:

  • Conflicting priorities of K-12 educators, industry, and curriculum

Driving factors/barriers:

  • Lack of regional coordination
  • Lack of frequent and effective collaboration
  • Culture of STEM education
  • Educators are at capacity

Models:

  • TEALS (Microsoft program to tap industry professionals to launch computer science programs in schools.
  • SafeNet’s high school internship program (company treats program as a donation, students work on tech projects for non-profits)

Parties Involved:

  • Students
  • Educators
  • Industry
  • Parents

 

Exposure

Problem:

  • Students lack exposure to career based learning experiences

Driving factors/barriers:

  • Lack of staff buy-in
    • Curriculum incorporation
    • Knowledge of industry
  • Lack of clear District/Industry connections

Models:

  • Staff PD
    • Industry
    • Curriculum support
  • Look at successful districts/schools

Parties Involved:

  • Top down involvement (administration to teachers)
  • Industry
  • Post secondary educators/administration

Equity/Support

Problem:

  • Lack of equitable & accessible resources allocated to students in need of most support

Barriers: 

  • [Lack of] Social & emotional support
  • [Lack of] School based career support
  • [Lack of] Student to student support
  • [Lack of] Transportation
  • No social capital
  • [Lack of] Role models (who look like them)
  • Achievement gap

Solution:

  • Positive feedback loop of near-peer mentors
  • Partner with corporations and communities
  • Change perception of what is professional

Thanks again to The Commons for providing the space, Brian King for facilitating, and to our featured participants for the experience and insight they brought to the discussion:

Tamera Coleman– Internship Coordinator, Milwaukee Public Schools
Matthew Hunt– College & Career Readiness Specialist, New Berlin High School
Ariana Radowicz– University Relations, Rockwell Automation
Molly Schuld– Science Teacher, Ronald Reagan High School
Laura Schmidt, Strategic Advisor to the Superintendent – School District of New Berlin

Collab Lab 19: Recap & Notes

Collab Lab 19Our April Collab Lab focused on the opportunities we can create for students by engaging partners in the neighborhoods which surround a school.  The goal was to explore how we might: engage students in real-world projects with organizations, businesses, and community members in the neighborhoods which surround a school; leverage then enthusiasm and energy of students working on problems they care about; foster relationships that allow for sustainable engagement over the long term.

We led attendees through a process that started by listing the kinds of things we hoped students would gain though community engagement.  We then pulled a couple of volunteers to sort through and categorize the ideas attendees had captured on Post-it notes.  That gave us the following broad areas:

Towards a Better World

  • A broader sense of what is possible
  • Exposure to something bigger than themselves
  • Passion for social justice
  • An appreciation for society’s complexity
  • Augmented horizon of how to imagine the future

Self Worth

  • A sense of pride of ownership
  • Confidence in themselves
  • A sense of belonging
  • Enable kids to feel like members of the community
  • Deeper self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Empower kids to speak their voice

Skills

  • Access to people/institutions/jobs that need their skills
  • Exposure to job opportunities and skills
  • Practical skills
  • Transferable skills

Assets/Broadened Perspectives

  • Acceptance of people different from themselves
  • Broad understanding of neighborhood assets
  • Help break down racial divisions
  • Awareness of the ASSETS of their communities, not just the deficits
  • Awareness of what’s outside of their school/neighborhood
  • Broader perspectives of the world around them

Relationships

  • Role models
  • Connections to their city & community
  • Mentors
  • Help kids help others of all backgrounds
  • Seeing corporations and professionals who care
  • Recreation activity connections
  • Connections to mentors/role models
  • Comfort with community leaders, stakeholders
  • Students gain trust that agencies really have their bests interests at heart
  • A sense of community
  • Students can feel connected to their school/community
  • Finding a mentor outside the building
  • A sense of commitment to the community
  • Broader cultural awareness
  • Connect to local community-based resources for them & their family (financial education, home ownership, arts, food assistance, play)
  • Students gain confidence that adults across agencies want to work together, collaborate more than compete
  • Relationships with people who work in the community

Authentic Learning

  • Students can feel worthy of doing quality work
  • Quality tutoring
  • Time for activities they are passionate about
  • Authentic transfer of educational outcomes/real-world application of learning
  • Exposure to high interest books
  • Employment
  • Work Experience
  • Confidence to access civic processes
  • A new challenge that requires determination
  • Real world application of learning
  • Projects with a purpose beyond a grade
  • Access opportunity (jobs, resources, etc.)
  • Connections to local businesses & corporations (career modeling, job shadow, potential mentors, part-time jobs)
  • Creative problem solving skills

We identified three areas to dig into a bit deeper– Relationships, Authentic Learning, and Self Worth. Attendees split into groups to explore what a program that could provide these gains might look like.  Here’s what they came up with:

Relationships

North/South Travelling Classroom

The project envisions that school student councils at multiple schools would lead a march that takes students across both sides of I-94 ending in a barbecue/potluck in the Menomonee valley.

Goals:

  • Break down silos
  • Build relationships
  • inter-generational teaching

Timing:

  • Fall semester– study/understand the neighborhoods
  • January to June– (student led) planning for event

Potential partners:

  • Artists Working in Education
  • Adam Carr
  • Reggie Jackson
  • Story Corps
  • ExFabula

Authentic Learning

Student Led High Interest Fair

  • Open-ended, cross-curricular. student-driven assignment
  • All students
  • Goals:
    • Students will identify their own role/responsibility
    • Students network/indetify community participants
    • Students create their own content
    • Students share content w/audience
  • Takes place at school or community center in the evening
  • Partners:
    • Industry experts
    • Community members (invited by students)

Self Worth

  • Authentic learning experiential mentors
  • Re-orientation to community engaged learning
  • Two way experiences
    • Participation “youth experts”
    • Opportunities to (authentically) lead with adults
    • Students see results (even when it is long term)
    • Community based, e.g. park, garden, sport, youth council, school bank, server meals, seniors
    • Problem solving– “How would you…?”
  • Beyond Service Projects
    • Long-term engagement/commitment by adults
    • Demonstrate how their participation impacts projects
  • Reinforcement
    • Positive phone calls
    • 1st day high fives
    • Children’s saving accounts

Assumptions

  • Occurs through school (as a conduit) because school may be one of the more stable institutions in students’ lives (school can be the catalyst)
  • Any age– schools & organizations that are willing
  • Need vehicle to match project ideas with partners

Thanks again to DevCodeCamp for providing the space, and to our featured participants for the experience and insight they brought to the discussion:

Dr. Dan Bergen – Executive Director, Marquette Office of Community Engagement

Fr. Bill Johnson, SJ – Vice President of Strategic Growth, Cristo Rey Jesuit Milwaukee

Thomas Kiely – Director of Institute for Catholic Leadership, Marquette University

Katie Sparks – Director of Development, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee

 

 

Scaling Meaningful Discourse – Recap

Our workshop at this year’s System Thinking Institute focused on how to increase the adoption of meaningful discourse within math lessons. As we noted in our last post, recognizing that a practice is effective is not enough. If we want to see widespread and sustainable adoption, the practice must be part of a larger solution that solves a real problem for teachers.

To understand how we might do that, we teamed up with Danielle Robinson, the Math Interventionist from Brown Street Academy.  Danielle lead the group through an exploration of their hopes and fears around introducing meaningful discourse into the classroom.  In the afternoon, we used that to guide a discussion of the factors that drive the decisions teachers make as they plan their lessons.

After the first day’s session ended, we sifted through everything we heard to construct a profile, written from a teacher’s perspective, that summarizes how they think about meaningful discourse, and what that means for their planning.  Day 2 began with a discussion of this profile. You can view the complete profile here.

Moving Towards a Solution

With our profile in hand, Danielle led us through a look at factors that drive or hinder quality math discourse in the classroom.  That set the stage for us to identify four key problems teachers face as they seek to introduce discourse or Number Talks in their classrooms:

  • Number talks are new to me and I’m not comfortable trying them out on my students
  • I don’t know how I will assess how my students are doing when I use a number talk as part of a lesson
  • I worry about being to reach all students in my class
  • I don’t have the resources (tools, time, support) to do number talks well/get good at doing so quickly

Using a version of the Lean Startup Canvas we’ve adapted for looking at programs within schools, we had the group sketch out what a solution might look like.  You can see the canvas we put together here.

The approach we arrived at equips classroom teachers with tools, resources, and support to drive quality discourse in a way that allows it to take root, and commit to seeing that it does.  Here’s what that looks like:

Tools

  • Set of common terms/behaviours to be used by teachers working on meaningful discourse
  • List of sentence starters teachers can use to guide students
  • Quick Checklist for Number Talk lessons, that identifies strategies students might use in the exercise as well common misunderstandings. The checklist should provide an easy way for the teacher to make note of the strategies and/or misunderstandings of individual students. It should also indicate how the lesson relates to standards (MTAP?)
  • Best practice anchor charts for Number Talks
  • Use Reflection Journals to have students reflect on their own learning/approaches
  • List of ideas for math challenges teachers can use to check understanding

Resources

  • In-building math specialist who is available for in-classroom modeling of meaningful discourse and ongoing support/mentoring as teachers develop their skills in leading math discourse.
  • In-building cohort of teachers working to integrate meaningful discourse into their lessons, and support each other in doing so.
  • Cross school network of teachers working to expand the use meaningful discourse in their schools.
  • Peer-based professional development that respects the voice of teachers.
  • Schedule changes that would allow teachers to observe/provide feedback to each other.

Support

  • Overt support from building leadership for teachers who elect to integrate meaningful discourse into their math lessons.
  • Permission from district administration for teachers to deviate from the pacing guide based on their students’ needs.

Next Steps

We treat everything on the canvas as a hypothesis to be tested.  The key assumption to validate first is that the problems we identified are issues for teachers beyond those in our session. There is no point investing time and money in a solution if we aren’t focused on the right problem.

We had a number of Danielle’s colleagues from Brown Street in our session, but as a first step, we’ll look to review the list of problems we came up with to confirm that these are important to a wider group of teachers at her school.  Assuming these teachers see the same set of issues, the group identified a series of actions we could take both before the end of this school year as well as over the summer to lay the groundwork for a strong start in the fall.

  • Converting a CAB to a number talk
  • (continue to) Provide intervention to students that need extra instruction
  • Practice Number Talk procedures
  • Establish a common language for Number Talks (“turn and talk” vs “shoulder partners”)
  • Create prototypes for tools– sentence stems, anchor charts, checklist

We’ll review were we landed at the next meeting of our Middle School Math workgroup. We don’t want to lose momentum coming out of the workshop, so we’ll continue to work with Milwaukee Succeeds and Danielle and her colleagues from Brown Street Academy to move this forward.