AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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Workshop Descriptions

July 23, 12:45 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Big and Bold Ideas on the Future of the Labor Movement: A Listening Session
Around the country, the AFL-CIO is holding listening sessions to hear the ideas of union members and community activists in advance of the federation’s convention. The listening session is an open, inclusive process in which we will explore big, bold, creative ideas for growing the labor movement, new approaches to politics and the global economy as well as new community partnerships. The ideas generated in this facilitated discussion will help inform the decision-making at the AFL-CIO convention, which will be held in September in Los Angeles.
Presenters: Facilitators from the AFT and AFL-CIO, and everyone who attends

Combating the ABCs of Dropout with Early Warning Systems
Dropping out of high school is a process of gradual disengagement that often begins in middle school. Research says that some students exhibit strong predictive warning signs of dropping out, such as infrequent attendance, behavior infractions and course failure. This session will provide insights into sustainability and system misalignment issues that face many middle and high schools, and will highlight the successes and challenges in building and implementing these systems.
Presenters: Robert Balfanz, research scientist and director, Everyone Graduates Center, Center for Social Organization of Schools, Johns Hopkins University; Nytasha Garland, assistant principal, Cardozo High School at Meyer, Washington, D.C.; Wagma Mommandi, teacher, Cardozo High School at Meyer

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Formative Techniques: What Good Assessment Looks Like
High-stakes summative tests have become the most important measure of student learning in many schools across the country. Yet, we know that the most important data to determine what our students know and are able to do come from high-quality ongoing classroom assessments. What types of assessments are there, and how can we best use them in our instruction? Participants will examine the uses of classroom assessments and leave with a variety of formative assessment techniques to use.
Presenters: Kay Wait, elementary teacher, peer literacy coach and district instructional planner, Toledo Federation of Teachers; Mona Al-Hayani, National Board Certified Teacher in social studies, Toledo Federation of Teachers

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How Much Does Testing Cost in Your District?
Advocates for more testing implicitly assume that additional testing improves student achievement and that the benefits of additional testing outweigh the added costs, typically viewed only as the money paid to testing companies. This workshop will provide participants with a framework to study the budget costs and cost of instructional time lost to testing in their districts. Participants will learn to identify district assessments and calculate test administration costs, as well as the associated test-taking time, test prep time and direct budget costs for purchasing tests. Sharing knowledge and perspectives among participants and across districts is an important part of this workshop.
Presenters: F. Howard Nelson, senior associate director, AFT Educational Issues Department; Ed Muir, deputy director, AFT Research and Strategic Initiatives Department

The Impact of Professional Development
The role of professional development in any local can be phenomenal. The myriad benefits can be many, ranging from professional growth, supporting collaborative ventures to securing candidates to fill professional vacancies—as two locals in Texas have discovered. The Houston local has been able to create a common vision replacing an acrimonious environment with a collaborative one and signing up 300 new members. The Corpus Christi local has used professional development to organize approximately 80 student teachers at the college level. This session will explore two innovative models that use professional development to support professional and organizational growth.
Presenters: Ana Pomar, director of educational issues, Texas AFT; Sybil Mason, graduation coach, Houston Independent School District; Ray McMurrey, president, Corpus Christi AFT; Zeph Capo, vice president, Houston Federation of Teachers; Melanie Evans-Smith, operations manager, HISD professional support and development; Linda White, director of professional development, Corpus Christi AFT

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Integrating Common Core State Standards and Teacher Development and Evaluation
Are you wondering how to support teachers in meeting the expectations of the Common Core and teacher evaluation standards? Find out how the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals has aligned its professional development offerings to support members in implementing the CCSS and the state’s new teacher evaluation systems. Specific examples from the RIFTHP’s redesigned “Effective Questioning” and “Text Complexity” will be modeled, and the full list of aligned PD offerings will be shared with participants.
Presenters: Colleen Callahan, director of professional issues, RIFTHP; Katrina Pillay, i3 coordinator, Cranston Public Schools; Patricia D’Alfonso, i3 coordinator, West Warwick Public Schools

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Next Generation Science Standards: Linking Literacy and Math
What are the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and how are they aligned with the expectations of the Common Core State Standards? Join members of the AFT’s NGSS review team for a peek inside the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the practices, crosscutting concepts and disciplinary core ideas of the NGSS. Find out how these science standards provide a link to math and literacy embedded in the performance expectations for students.
Presenters: Cheryl Vogler, NGSS Review Team, Quincy (Ill.) Federation of Teachers; Tammy Stegeman, NGSS Review Team, Quincy Federation of Teachers; Angela Goulart, NGSS Review Team, Central Falls (R.I.) Teachers Union; Maura Graham-Vecellio, NGSS Review Team, Meriden (Conn.) Federation of Teachers; Kimberly Flair, NGSS Review Team, Jefferson (La.) Federation of Teachers; Christopher Sanders, NGSS Review Team, Detroit Federation of Teachers; Joseph Zuniga, NGSS Review Team

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Research by Rutgers Demonstrates That Collaborative Partnerships Improve Student Achievement
Learn the research findings within and across schools that examine the patterns of collaboration in a union-management district that links union-management partnerships, teacher collaboration and student performance. The quality of formal partnerships at the school level has a significant positive impact on student performance as well as overall performance improvement, after controlling for poverty and school type.
Presenters: Saul Rubinstein, co-director, Rutgers University, School of Management and Labor Relations; Ray Gaer, president, ABC Federation of Teachers (California); Mary Sieu, superintendent, ABC Unified School District

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Share My Lesson: A Tool for Teachers to Collaborate Across the World
Share My Lesson is a free platform that offers high-quality teaching resources and provides an online community where educators can collaborate, encourage and inspire one another. This presentation will provide an international perspective on using Share My Lesson as a professional development tool.
Presenters: Elisha Ndanga, member of the national executive committee, Zimbabwe Teachers Association; Veronica Hofmeester, vice president for education, South African Democratic Teachers Union; Charmaine Gooden Monteith, director of professional development, Jamaica Teachers Association; Marie Sainz-Funaro, president, Overseas Federation of Teachers

Supportive Whole School Reform Policies
Participants will learn about federal, state and local policies that are driving collaboration and partnerships at the school site level. Examples will include policies at the federal level and in Connecticut and Cincinnati. Participants will leave with talking points they can utilize when speaking to their local, state and federal policymakers.
Presenters: Julie Sellers, president, Cincinnati Federation of Teachers; Annie Bogenschutz, director of training and development, Cincinnati Community Learning Centers Institute; Stephen McKeever, first vice president, Connecticut Federation of Teachers; Mary Kingston, public policy manager, Coalition for Community Schools

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Teaching About Global Human Rights Challenges: Mandela, Malala and GAP Inc.
Young people have an innate sense of fairness and justice in the world. For students, Malala Yousafzai, a teenage girl who was shot by the Taliban for challenging the denial of education to girls in Pakistan; the sweatshops of Bangladesh that manufacture clothes sold to young consumers in retail stores in the U.S.; and the legacy of Nelson Mandela’s life dedicated to freedom, peace and justice for all people—provide real-time events in the classroom on which to base social studies human rights instruction. For teachers, this material offers an opportunity to develop lesson plans that use primary and secondary sources that comply with ELA Common Core standards. This session involves participants in the development of new materials that are being prepared for inclusion on the Share My Lesson Common Core English Language Arts portal. The content includes project activities that satisfy ELA essay requirements, as well as the frame for the social studies standards that are in development. The session will feature user-friendly, Internet-based lessons that are designed for quick access and to accommodate the limited time available for social studies instruction.
Presenters: Brem Hyde, student teacher, Lesley University; Tammie Vinson, Chicago Teachers Union; Abby Mills, associate, AFT International Affairs Department