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:


  • 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


  • 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.


  • 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.

Collab Lab 15: Recap & Notes

How can we provide K12 students with opportunities to explore real world healthcare issues that have meaning for them?

We thought we’d try and find some. Last night we pulled educators from across the area together with healthcare researchers and professionals. We asked Brian King, a Collab Lab regular and former Director of Innovation for the Milwaukee Jewish Day School to facilitate.  Brian’s work with students to develop and launch student run projects with a social purpose help make him the right person to guide the group through what we wanted to accomplish. In short, to generate ideas for projects that:

  • are meaningful to students;
  • allow for the participation of students from multiple schools/districts;
  • allow teachers and students build connections to the broader community.

The thinking here is to get beyond programs that may link a single school or small group of students to a single organization.  Those connections can still happen through any of the project ideas that came out of the process.  We see a better chance to scale up the number of these connections with more open-ended projects that can grow and evolve as schools find their own ways to participate based on the interests of students, drawing in new community partners at the same time.

Participants started the evening with some Post-It Note brainstorming on the top five health related issues faced by school-age children. Three volunteers grouped these by topic.  We talked through each cluster, did a bit of rearranging and pulled out our blue dots for a vote on which topics were most important.

The result was three topics that would become the focus for the next stage of our work:

  • Stress/Mental Health
  • Physical Health
  • Obesity/Nutrition
Photo of Brian facilitating Collab Lab 15
Brian at work facilitating

Brian split the workshop participants into three groups to sketch out what a prototype program around each issue might look like.  The groups talked through our threshold considerations:

  • What aspects of your group’s issue would be most engaging for kids to explore?
  • Which aspects of this issue could kids realistically research or effect change?

And then addressed our guiding questions for their prototype:

  • Who are the students you would involve?
  • What goal(s) do you have for them?
  • What would they do?
  • Where/when would this happen?
  • Who are the partners you’d need to bring your project to life?

Here’s what we came up with…

Stress/Mental Health

Challenge: Screen Free for 24 hours

Recognizing that the use of social media can amplify the stress of school, this project challenges both students and staff to go screen free for 24 hours.  In preparation for the challenge, students/staff would lay down the ground rules for what counts as a screen, and develop plans to address tasks they currently use a screen to complete– how will we report attendance, how will students let their parents know they are ready to be picked up?

Both students and staff would document how they expect to react to a screen free day, the choices they made during the day when they otherwise may have used a screen, and a post challenge assessment of what it felt like.  The project will require the cooperation and support of student’s families. Media coverage could help spur participants to live up to the challenge and encourage other schools to participate.


Physical Health

Design & Build an Adventure Playground

This project would partner high school students with those in elementary grades to design and build playground that will encourage positive risk taking and problem solving.  Perhaps guided by a community planning organization, the high school students would work with a group of younger students to determine what the younger students would find engaging.

To complete the work, the project envisions connecting students to mentors who can help them with selecting a location, design, engineering, construction, marketing, and considerations for students with special needs.  The team also envisioned connecting the group to mentors who could help tie the project to curriculum goals and understand the impact of design decisions on the level and type of physical activity users of the playground were likely to engage in.



Healthy Food Passport

The specifics of the program would vary by age group. but the goal is to have students research a culture or cuisine and then craft a healthy version of the selected dish. Bonus points if the students grow the ingredients.  Inspired by the notion that “Food is how culture talks”, the team envisions a food fair where families are invited to sample the dishes, and stories about the dish may be shared.

Through the project, the team aims for students to gain an understanding the food production process (e.g. where food comes from), help build family connections to the school and increase exposure to different fruits and vegetables.


Interested in helping move one of these projects forward?

If you’d like to get together with others to flesh out one of these projects in greater detail let us know.

    Screen Free for 24 HoursDesign & Build an Adventure PlaygroundHealthy Food Passport

    During the school dayA weekday eveningA Saturday morningA Saturday afternoonA Sunday morning

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

    Christopher J Simenz, PhD, NSCA CSCS*D- Clinical Professor,
    Department of Physical Therapy- Programs in Exercise Science, Marquette University

    Jennifer Tarcin – Menomonee Falls High School Healthcare Academy Coordinator; Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin Community Memorial Hospital Healthcare Career Academy Faculty Liaison

    Jonathan Wertz — Director of Clinical Risk Management, Medical College of Wisconsin

    Kristina Kaljo, PhD — Assistant Professor and Co-Director for the Third-Year Obstetrics and Gynecology Medical Student Clerkship, Medical College of Wisconsin


    Collab Lab 8 Recap & Notes

    Collab Lab 8
    Collab Lab 8 focused on integrating the arts across disciplines.  We used three questions to guide the discussion:

    • What capabilities do arts educators bring to schools?
    • How might those capabilities be leveraged across disciplines?
    • How can can we get started?

    Thanks to Nancy Blair for a wrap up process that helped us get down to the one big idea coming out of the discussions of each question.  Here’s what our discussion groups came up with:

    What insights/capabilities do arts educators bring? (Raw materials)

    • Metaphor
    • Teaching life skills through the arts
    • Boost in self concept especially with low performing students
    • Accountability through feedback
    • Develops relationships
    • Gives students power to create and execute
    • Gives light and energy to students day
    • Symbiotic relationships teachers teaching kids teaching teachers.
    • Can reinforce/correlate with other subject areas (reading, math, art, social studies, science)
    • Inspiration, different way of seeing, Skills (how to)
    • Opportunity for collaboration through different points of view. (requires a structure)
    • Supports a project based approach to learning
    • Meaningful creation-problem solving
    • Art is about everything and nothing without context
    • Performance amazes the audienc
    • Knowledge of material
    • Manipulation of phenomena
    • Art is about “everything”
    • Art is nothing without context
    • Creativity within PBL
    • Balance between skill building and creativity
    • Leverage “taste” vs natural exploration
    • Creativity and learning or built-in
    • Creativity leads to understanding and “lateral moves”
    • Understand struggle and making “mistakes”
    • Content →skills  → engagement (motivation)!
    • Evaluate the accomplishment/competency
    • Creates engagement and motivation
    • Creates trust for problem based learning
    • Teacher is coach-role model-how do you learn from mistakes
    • Create time and space for students to guide their own learning.
    • Bust out of rigid traditional structure
    • Models personalized learning
    • Can teach the design cycle that can then be applied to individual interest area.
    • Rich feedback and critique
    • Arts are a way for communicating the inevitable-brings out tacit knowledge from students
    • Values what each student brings to the table.
    • Creativity
    • Questions
    • Ability to work in chaos
    • Embrace uncertainty
    • Different way of seeing
    • Healing
    • Willing to accept randomness
    • Provide permission to play
    • Make us human
    • To dream new view-what is work
    • Being vulnerable
    • Connection
    • Empathy/compassion
    BIG IDEA: Art and Art Educators provide structure to build skill and catalyze creativity that connects to everything.

    How can those be leveraged across the curriculum? (New ideas transferable to other parts of the school/curriculum)

    • Shared resources, space,
    • be scrappy
    • artist resource network
    • collaboration can pic up slack-partnership, creating innovative environment, inspiration, different levels of funding, New relationship, partnership,
    • change and inspire
    • adopting new technology
    • promote unplanned , unstructured learning opportunities
    • Arts educators are often isolated in schools-others don’t understand what you do
    • The more relationships can be built across departments the more advocacy can occur for project-based learning
    • Once relationships are established gaps can be bridged
    • Build a small group of teachers that can build consensus then it can spread.
    • Pick a sample project that can be shared with other teachers to peek their interest
    • Showcase the work so teachers can appreciate the students work
    • Take the opportunity to showcase the process as well as the product. (informance)
    • Some arts educators see arts integration as a threat or “arts light”: Have to be careful with approach.
    • Administration can offer time for art educators to collaborate with classroom teachers.
    • PD for leadership to make initiatives sustainable
    • Takes one or two energetic people in the building that want to take it on
    • Has to grow organically
    • The FabLab is a space where other disciplines could be reaching out
    • Break down silos
    • Usually doesn’t come from leadership
    • Just do it and see what happens-grab it through the children
    • Make products visible-provide exposure to peek someone’s interests
    • Make cool stuff and give it away
    • “Explore Like a Pirate”, a game application for the classroom
    • Show link between art/design to 21st century skills
    • Build the technical skills to apply to different content
    • Build the bridge between what the students are learning and the type of world the students will live in.
    • Build literacy skills across all subject areas: process and conception different.
    • Effective use of maker spaces-making things that are quality, sustainable, repairable
    • How can the arts to build a better future- a world that is want to live in
    • Create positive feedback between business and the arts-make a business case of the value and practical application of the arts.
    • Most problems are not rocket science –they are solvable
    • Opportunities for kids-Exposure to everything-allow them to engage with real world problem.
    • More opportunities to reach beyond the walls of the school –connection to the real world beyond the school world
    BIG IDEA: Collaborate within and without to break down silos and open up connections and possibilities.

    Where do we start? (Action)

    • Provide evidence to parents-_Youtube
    • Talk, share, network
    • Showcase event →work backwards to weekly (?) level
    • Make your own tutorial
    • Bring in an expert to critique
    • Use global audience network
    • Mobility – Teach in a different setting
    • Flash mob demos
    • Leverage MPS Year of the Arts
    • Field trips
    • Find ways to teach being comfortable with being uncomfortable
    • Cultivating patronage for the arts in schools
    • Funding is essential
    • Redefine patronage to extend support beyond current forms
    • Develop relationships with contributors at all levels-its up to us to determine where.
    • Use Informances to develop interest and curiosity
    BIG IDEA: Inform, motivate and entice through shared products and processes to organically build support and resources.

    Collab Lab 7 Recap and Notes

    Using Systems Thinking tools to explore driving engagement

    Iceberg diagram
    Adapted by Systems Thinking in Schools, Waters Foundation www.watersfoundation.org from Innovation Associates, Inc.

    As a prelude to the Systems Thinking Institute coming up in March, Sheri Marlin from the Waters Foundation and Ellen Grasely and Betsy Markwardt from Humboldt Park K8 School helped facilitate and captured notes from our breakout groups in iceberg diagrams. The key idea behind systems thinking and this tool in particular, is that:

    1. outcomes are driven by behavior
    2. behavior is driven by the structure of the system within which individuals operate
    3. that structure, in turn, is driven by our mental model of how things should work.

    To drive a systemic change in outcomes then, one needs to change the mental model we operate from.

    In our discussions, we walked through each of these layers from the perspective of both how the current system works and what we’d like to see it move to.  We wrapped up each discussion with the question “How will you move forward?”

    Group 1

    Current Situation

    Desired Results

    How will you move forward?

    Long term

    • Start your own school
    • Redo licensure
    • Only hire pros (interesting people), pay them $$$, train them to teach

    Medium Term

    • Invest in professional learning: Articulate, spend time $, 3 years of focus
    • Develop testing
    • Common planning time

    Group 2

    Current Situation

    Desired Results

    How will you move forward?

    • Reflect on how you react to an engaged classroom vs an unengaged classroom
    • Pay attention to school culture – everyone
    • Ask kids what would make this fun for you, excite you
    • Build personal relationships
    • Help to change your mental model, parents’ mental model, kids’ mental model of “school”
    • Teachers learn to reflect and take the time to restore (remove yourself)
    • Autonomy, purpose, mastery

    Group 3

    Current Situation

    Desired Results

    How will you move forward?

    • Rubric Scoring
    • Stories
    • Find allies — kids in particular
    • Build from grass roots
    • Relationships are key
    • Ask for solutions as part of homework
    • Root solutions in research
    • Training for parents — table talk questions so parents– promotes to meaningful discussions of what their kids are actually working on

    Makerspace/FabLab Workgroup: Discussion Notes

    The first meeting of our makerspace/FabLab workgroup was held Tuesday evening at Ward 4.
    We did a quick review of concerns, captured a vision of where we would like to head in a lean canvas, and talked through some ideas for how we might help move things along.


    • Physical space
    • Culture
    • Marketing the school
    • Process/problem solving
    • Impact is longer term
    • How do we sell [the idea of a maker space] to the community
    • Lack of tech-ed teachers
    • Distributed ownership of space– e.g. how do we get teachers to think of it as “theirs”
    • Who is coordinator/does this need to be an FTE?
    • Leadership support
    • Time commitment to coordinate use of space
    • Defining a clear purpose for the space
    • How to make the transition [from the current model of teaching]
    • How to capture evidence of learning
    • Resources — materials and equipment
    • Project Ideas
    • Lack of professional development opportunities [for teachers to become comfortable with space/projects.
    • Ability to respond to needs of business community
    • Community Access


    School of the 21st Century


    • I don’t understand why school needs to change
    • I am afraid our current approach does not prepare kids for life in the future
    • My child is bored at school
    • I’m not seeing the return on my tax investment
    • I don’t know how to create a schedule to accommodate this change

    • Clear vision
    • Curriculum
    • Makerspace/FabLab
    • Staff aligned with goals of school
    Value Proposition
    Our solution enhances student engagement which results in [graduates] that are highly functional.


    We develop our students to solve problems no one has considered yet.

    Unique Advantage

    • Connection to M7
    • Willingness to collaborate
    • Strong art & tech programs
    • Leadership
    • Unique DNA (culture)

    • Students
    • Community
    • Business
    • Parents
    • Tax payer
    • School Leaders

    • # people surveyed
    • Engagement measure
    • Program engagement

    • Social media
    • Website
    • Parent night/events
    • Business/Community meeting
    • Showcase
    • Traditional Media
    Cost Structure

    • Equipment
    • Remodeling
    • Teacher re-training
    • Staffing
    • Materials
    • Collaboration

    • Quality graduates
    • Engaged students
    • Improving community
    • Teacher fulfillment


    Workgroup ideas to move towards vision

    Makerspace/FabLab tours

    • After school
    • Show what I’m working on
    • Chance to ask for help/ideas
    • Visits to makerspaces in both schools and outside organizations


    On-line Tools for Sharing

    • Ask for help
    • Share project ideas (Moodle)
    • Slack


    Dream Lab Workshop

    • Weekend or during summer
    • Design your dream makerspace/FabLab


    Build Curriculum Workshop

    • Summer bootcamp
    • Work as team to design makerspace/FabLab curriculum/projects
    • 2-4 days with coaching

    Collab Lab 6: Notes from our breakout groups

    Thanks all for a great discussion last night at Collab Lab 6 (actually, a bunch of great discussions). To recap, we framed the conversation around three questions:

    • What can your makerspace/FabLab offer teachers?
    • What problems does this solve for them?
    • What keeps them from taking advantage of it/how might those issues be addressed?

    Here’s what we noted:

    What can your makerspace/FabLab offer teachers?

    Group 1

    • “Blood in the mouth” how do you get teachers really excited about the possibilities?
    • Take content & make it physical
    • Get students to go beyond their textbook
    • Learning to play → playing to learn
    • Relevance, rigor, application
    • Practicing Failure
    • Space designed to fit needs
    • Can become epicenter – pivotal point
    • Authentic, relevant problems to solve
    • Bring content back to experiment

    Group 2

    • Additional capacities to help kids express ideas
    • Expands the pallet of tools & opportunities for teachers
    • Limited understanding of what it is
      • Ideas → ideas II → ideas III
    • Safe place
    • Capture & share stories of success
    • Show different ways of learning
    • Develop and share culture of makerspace
    • Set up to enable students pursuing passion → no mandatory activities

    Group 3

    • Tools for:
      • artists to make art;
      • business classes to make a product
      • community service projects to make something useful
    • Hands on professional development for PBL
    • Support for elementary school
      • South Milwaukee: elementary school students working on symmetry design snowflakes.  Students are then paired with high schooler who helps them 3D print their designs.
    • Ad hoc opportunities to put something together
    • Attractive for students
    • It acts as a “send kids here to do that” space/ a place that allows groups of students to take on work that isn’t done easily inside a classroom
    • Provides crafting opportunities for teachers (who are then better able to generate ideas for how they could leverage the space for student projects)
    • Real world relevance
    • Provides a platform to do different (from traditional lessons) things
    • Provides a chance for students and teachers to bump into something new/exposure
    • Helps produce a change in mindset/change of pace
    • Provides a way to engage kids in a different way
    • Provides opportunities for kids to interact with students that would interact with elsewhere in the school
    • Provides application/support to teachers
    • Is able to draw funding and resources to the school
    • Provides flexible space
    • Becomes the place to address 21st century skills development
    • Makerspace lead handles prep for projects (so teachers do not)
    • The equipment is maintained and ready to go
    • It a fun space
    • It produces engaged kids

    What problems does that solve for them?

    Group 1

    • Amature meets expert
      • Promotes mentorship
    • Redefines learning process
      • Who are the learning for?
      • Learning how to learn

    Group 2

    • A way to develop empathy
    • Instill a mentality/culture
      • Ideation
      • inquiry
    • Invest in professional development
      • Teachers are professionals
      • Lifelong learning
    • Incrementalism

    Group 3

    • A way to meet requirements for PBL/development of 21st century skills
    • A new point of entry/cheap way to start with PBL
    • Allows teachers to break out of silos
    • Can attract outside funding which reduces pressure from budget constraints
    • Costs of space can be shared across multiple departments
    • Remove overhead from teachers (makerspace lead puts together projects and materials)
    • Teachers aren’t sure what they could do, makerspace lead can help frame projects
    • Shows teachers a path into PBL
    • The teacher does not need to know everything– they can rely on tech staff/students to help with equipment
    • It’s a way into learning (as opposed to educating)
    • Test scores improve among kids engaged in problem solving
    • Produces engaged students
    • Provides a change of pace
    • Provides an opportunity to model creative thinking/problem solving
    • Provides both teachers and students a safe place to fail
    • Teaches teachers 21st skills
    • Having a tech lead that can set up projects reduces stress/risk for teachers that want to take on PBL

    What keeps them from taking advantage of it?

    Group 1

    • Must provide learning outcomes/goals/assessment
    • Needs continued reward
    • Broken 3D printers
    • Who started it???
    • Incorrect definition of “maker”
      • Creative Space
      • Genius Bar
    • Not knowing what can be done
    • Fear
    • Needs a facilitator
    • Permission from administration
    • Parents
    What would help address these issues?
    • After school volunteer club for teachers
    • Customer discovery
    • Sleeper agents → referrals
    • Having an Idea person that helps connect teachers (Librarian)

    Group 2

    • Competing priorities
    • Lack of culture to stimulate risk taking
      • What is “risk” taking
    • Lack of technical skills
    • Early vs late adopters
    • Lack of development of “grit”
    • System promotes end-point learning
    • Focus on experiences, not on “things”
    • If you can see it you will want to use it
    • Absence of design drivers (shared)
      • Visitation later in the design experience.


    Group 3

    • Teachers need hands on professional development
    • Feels risky
    • Lack of control
    • Funding
    • ROI on time
    • Teachers aren’t sure what they can give up to fit something new into schedule
    • Change is seen as a threat
    • Change is seen as “We’ve seen new ideas before, this too will go just like the rest of them”
    • Focus on equipment
    • Mentors don’t know how to work with kids — kids have kid issues
    • Focus on learning to use the equipment (technical skills) rather than an opportunity to learn in a different way
    • Self selection to participate is missing from school makerspaces, which makes it more difficult for the space to become self regulating
    • I already have my lesson plans set and they work for me.  Why would I want to give that up to try something new.


    What would help address these issues?
    • Visibility of student work
    • Visible credit given to donors of equipment (so it is not viewed as cutting into the school budget)
    • Shift resources from equipment acquisition to developing the mindset of teachers
    • Staffing — endowed mentor/tech position
    • Mentors — Lead off with small doses so they have time to figure how to work with kids
    • Figure out how to allow users of the space to come and go on an ad hoc basis (after school?)
    • Shift the mindset of funders from equipment to professional development

    Collab Lab 5 Recap


    collablab5A warm thank you to the 20+ folks who braved the cold to join us last Thursday for a rather passionate discussion around engaging with community partners. As always, it is great to see the level of enthusiasm and thought attendees bring to the room and that so many of you were able to make new connections.


    Notes from the session:

    Why do you want to partner?

    Real world validation of content and essential skills
    Students get authentic experience
    To teach what students can’t get from Google
    Showcase what K12 does
    Create a spark
    Develop career related skills
    Foster a symbiotic relationship with community
    Change perception within the community
    Establish an ongoing relationship
    Stop brain drain from Milwaukee
    Develop awareness of career options
    Learning gets replaced
    Offer a diverse set of experiences
    Facilitate learning adaptability
    Reconnect teachers with industry


    Synergy-community-establish makerspace community of practice
    Avoid training recruiting costs
    Offer real world problems to students
    Offer real world validation of kids’ work
    Stimulate re-thinking education

    What stands in your way?

    Timeline perspective of business
    Next quarter job needs
    Focus is too narrow – What is success measurement
    Focus on “doing” not “thinking”
    Legislation – political views
    School board control
    Parent perception of learning
    Knowledge of how to build relationships as a teacher
    Constraints on teacher time/skills

    How will you move forward?

    Sharing – Community
    Open your mindset
    How do you redefine “Ready”
    Begin in your own social circle
    Building relationships
    Ask “the customer”
    Learning how to “let go”
    Create showcase events for community
    Have a plan for involvement
    Allow them to help you with the plan

    Collab Lab 5: Engaging with Community Partners

    How do you engage community partners to create authentic experiences for your students?

    Join us on December 15th for a conversation to share ideas and experiences on the effective engagement partners in the wider community. This workshop is an opportunity for you to learn what others are doing, and share what you’ve been working on, have seen working well elsewhere, or would like to try. More importantly, we’ll connect you with others on a similar path and those may be of help along the way.

    Among others, you’ll get a chance to talk with:

    Jay Flores – Rockwell Automation, Global STEM Ambassador
    Focused on further diversifying and strengthening the technical talent pipeline through STEM education and outreach; engaging Rockwell Automation employees through volunteerism in STEM advocacy; and developing continuity in the STEM talent pipeline from high school to post-secondary education to early career.

    Tom Hermann & Stacey Duchrow – Union Grove High School
    Tom Herman is the principal of Union Grove Union High School and Stacey Duchrow is the Career and Academies Coordinator. Both have created deep relationships with business partners after being charged by the school board to create academies and pathways for students in IT, Healthcare, and Engineering/Manufacturing. Through this process and listening to the needs of the business community, the school culture was changed to shift the focus on increasing student college and career readiness while helping to fill in the skills gap in their community. They have created unique experiences utilizing their 100 business partners such as the Bronco Business and Career Expo, teacher externships, and business partners breakfasts.

    Sylvia N. Wilson – MKEGrind
    Sylvia N. Wilson, PhD is the CEO and Co-founder of MKEGrind, a youth-focused career development company. She is an adjunct lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, in the School of Education; regularly teaching courses in leadership, organizational change, non-profit management, adult education theory & practice, and youth-service work. Being rooted in both the community and academia, Sylvia believes that it is her duty to build and to be a bridge between the two; assisting in the creation of critically sound and contextually effective programming practices. Her research includes inquiry of life transformative processes; from which she developed a model for urban African American males who desire to transform out of a life of street violence.


    5:30 – 6:00 Grab something eat and drink, say hello

    6:00 – 8:30 Let’s learn from each other

    Food and beverage will be provided. There is no charge for participation but space is limited.

    The Workshop will be held at Ward 4, 333 North Plankinton Avenue, Milwaukee, WI. Space provided courtesy of The Commons.

    Collab Lab 4: Making room for innovation

    How do you create room (space, time, autonomy) to innovate within your school?

    Join us on November 10th for a conversation to share ideas and experiences with others looking for ways to innovate within their school. This workshop is an opportunity for you to learn what others are doing, and share what you’ve been working on, have seen working well elsewhere, or would like to try. More importantly, we’ll connect you with others on a similar path and those may be of help along the way.

    Among others, you’ll get a chance to talk with:

    JJ Heesch – Pewaukee High School
    JJ is the Director of Pewaukee’s Insight program — a cross disciplinary program that gives students hands-on, real world experiences immersed in a professional setting. The program started as an experiment within JJ’s Business Management class and now offers three separate strands which students may focus: Global Business, Innovation, and Pathways to Teaching. They are also planning to launch two additional strands next school year: Healthcare and Journalism.

    Mike Kornacki – User Experience Director at Johnson Controls

    Mike is a user experience leader who has successfully built User Experience (UX)/design teams from the ground up in three separate companies. He defined the UX discipline for Johnson Controls, building a culture that nurtures creativity and a user-centered approach in engineering-centric company–no small feat. In 2010, Mike co-founded mkeUX to get the user experience conversation going in Milwaukee. They now have 450+ members and have hosted presentations from local and national UX professionals.

    Jump to minute 19:00 to hear Mike’s advice on how to make room for innovation:


    5:30 – 6:00 Grab something eat and drink, say hello
    6:00 – 8:30 Let’s learn from each other

    Food and beverage will be provided. There is no charge for participation but space is limited.

    The Workshop will be held at Ward 4, 333 North Plankinton Avenue, Milwaukee, WI. Space provided courtesy of The Commons

    Collab Lab 3: MakerSpaces/FabLabs

    How and why could a Maker Space or FabLab benefit your student?

    Join us for a conversation to share ideas and experiences with others on the same journey. This workshop is an opportunity for you to learn what others are doing, and share what you’ve been working on, have seen working well elsewhere, or would like to try. More importantly, we’ll connect you with others on a similar path and those may be of help along the way.

    Among others, you’ll get a chance to talk with:

    Adam Pautsch – GE Healthcare
    Adam was the founder of, and currently manages, the GE Healthcare Makerspace, a lab for conceptual development and prototyping which tests new technologies and ideas to add value and innovation to products. He received a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from UW-Madison, with a minor in Medical Physics.

    Tuan TranDesign Fugitives
    Tuan has a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Wisconsin -Milwaukee. He brings a high level of design experience and project management expertise to DF. In addition to design activities, Tuan is the in-house expert on Digital Fabrication, Parametric Modeling and manages New Product Development.

    Erik Wolbach – South Milwaukee High School
    South Milwaukee High School is researching a new Fabrication Lab as an extension of their existing shop facilities. They have new partners in architecture, aquaponics, and urban agriculture. Students have created a scale model of their existing space and are researching a building expansion to house a new green energy fab lab is ongoing.


    5:30 – 6:00 Grab something eat and drink, say hello
    6:00 – 8:00 Let’s learn from each other

    Food and beverage will be provided. There is no charge for participation but space is limited.

    The Workshop will be held at Ward 4, 333 North Plankinton Avenue, Milwaukee, WI. Space provided courtesy of The Commons.


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