The format for delivery may have changed, but this year’s summer training for Fuse MA Cohort 2 still had the essential elements: community, collaboration, and content!
On August 5 and 6, 2020, Program Manager Meg Smallidge and Services Manager Maeve Murray, along with their Highlander Institute colleagues, planned an informative and empowering two days of virtual Professional Development for all of the participants.
On Wednesday, the Fuse MA Cohort 2 Fellows were welcomed by Executive Director of The Education Cooperative (TEC) , Liz McGonagle, and Highlander Institute’s Executive Director, Dana Borelli-Murray. Heidi Vazquez provided an “Introduction to Strategy Cycles” workshop that helped fellows clarify the work that they will be doing over the remainder of the fellowship.
The next workshop, “Making Online Tasks More Meaningful”, was led by Mike Miele (Educational Strategies Specialist at Highlander). Fellows were given resources and suggestions for how to differentiate between virtual assignments and virtual instruction, structure, feedback, offer authentic assessments, build community virtually, and more. The afternoon provided time for the fellows to begin working on their plans for the remainder of Cohort 2, which concludes in December 2020.
After an energizing first day of workshops and work time, Fuse MA Cohort 2 Fellows returned for the second day of Summer Institute on Thursday, August 6. Joining them were a number of Pilot Teachers and District administrators. This larger group had many opportunities to learn and collaborate around the work that will be done as they return to school, in whatever form that may be!
Welcoming the group, and helping to build this new community, was Malika Ali, Director of Pedagogy at the Highlander Institute. Participants used a Google Form to check-in with themselves, head and heart. Then, using Jamboard, the fellows and pilot teachers revealed some of their thinking and discussed what they might need in order to get the most from the day ahead. In breakout rooms, smaller groups discussed on their thinking and considered how it could transfer to their classes, both online and in person.
Following lunch, participants were introduced to the “unconference” format of the afternoon. This opportunity to learn from each other started with a brainstorming topics that participants wanted to learn more about or had some idea/expertise to share. Program Manager Meg Smallidge and Services Manager Maeve Murray quickly sorted and categorized these ideas into four groups and the network shared questions and ideas around building community, engaging students using Google Meet, setting expectations and providing feedback.
Collegial relationships were fostered, information was shared, and educators continued their own professional growth. It truly was a successful two days of virtual professional development!