Episode 16: B.O.S.S. United- Helping kids and families be successful with Barry Frazier and Richard Hamilton

March 26, 2014
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B.O.S.S. United (Believers of Sincere Standards United, Inc)

Specializing in helping kids and families be successful!
Barry Frazier, CEO, MDIV MA LPC
Richard Hamilton, Chief Clinical officer, MA LPC
The vision for BOSS united grew out of a mentor program at Barry's undergraduate university. According to Barry, "I grew up in a very urban area that was not conducive to being successful. I wanted to give back to kids who were like me." 
During my show preparation, I ran across the term cognitive behavioral therapy on their website. This is a term that I am not quite familiar with so I asked what it meant...in my layman's version...It has to do with how they get people to change. Basically, it has to do with addressing the way a person thinks and behaves. This was a fascinating discussion to me.
I asked them to identify and talk about some of the major issues that they have to address with families. Richard explained, "Most frequently it is family conflict. The members of the family don't know how to express themselves." On top of this, they explained "children are often dealing with anger, anxiety, depression, and a lack of focus." 
They work with kids who range in ages from five to twenty, if the twenty year old is still in school.
Barry and Richard talk about how it is important to see the world through the lenses of the kids. In other words, to see and approach their behaviors from an understanding of where the kids are coming from.
They have created another aspect of B.O.S.S which is named F.O. C.U.S. (Fathers Offering Counseling Understanding and Support).
This program is designed to introduce boys to proper male role models. The group studies leadership, dress for success, anger management, speaking, addressing young ladies, as well as other topics.
When asked about advice for teachers and school administrators, Barry and Richard offered, "It  is important to be patient." They encouraged educators to revisit human growth and development writings. They suggested dusting off the books and becoming familiar with what happens at different ages. The point being that the adult will be more patient when he recognizes behavior that is typical for the age.
I learned much from this discussion. I know that you will, too!
By the way, we were in a Chick-fil-A that was fairly empty when we started the interview, but rapidly was filled with moms and kids. We were right next to the playground which added a nice nuance for a discussion about helping children and their families. At one point, there was a little boy, knocking on the glass trying to get us to look and his mom mouthing apologies as she lead him back to the slide. What a nice, happy environment! 
You can learn more about BOSS United at www.bossunited.com
Enjoy!
Length 29:39
 
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Episode 15: Ms. Kamorra Crafton, 3rd grade teacher talking with me about learning centers and mini-whiteboards

March 20, 2014

This is Episode 15! 

Awesome!
Today, I am talking with Ms. Kamorra Crafton, a 3rd grade teacher at Saxon Heights Elementary School in Dublin City Schools, Dublin, Georgia.
This is her 7th year in teaching and her 3rd year teaching 3rd graders.
I had the pleasure seeing her teach using learning centers and mini-whiteboards to create engagement and to provide feedback about student understanding! Her students were involved and excited to be working in the centers and using the boards. It is not an exaggeration to say that they were totally engaged in the activities! Ms. Crafton commented, "I use the centers to provide more individualized instruction." She continued, They allow me to see what the kids are struggling with..."
The mini-whiteboards help her get immediate feedback. She shared, "Anytime they can get out those markers and whiteboards they are excited!"
She reflected, "The information gathered helps her with determining what direction she needs to go, what she needs to re-teach and what she may need to make harder..."
I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation and I am glad that I was able to see her work with the children. 
Check out the use of learning centers and mini-whiteboards to assist with aiding instruction and getting feedback about student understanding.
I have a board on Pinterest called Assessment Strategies where I have pins pertaining to using the mini-whiteboards and one called Stations(Learning Centers). 
Enjoy!
Length 17:12
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Episode 14: Statewide Longitudinal Data System and Robert Swiggum, Chief Information Officer, GADOE

March 16, 2014

The State of Georgia has a Statewide Longitudinal Data System. What's that? You don't know what that means? 


One aspect of it puts student information at the finger tips of the classroom teacher. This information was previously only available, that is if the information in the school was up-to-date, in the files in a school information vault often located in the school's counseling office. This meant that it really was not accessible to most teachers. After all, the files could not be removed from the vault and it meant staying in there looking up every student's information at one time...which could have meant an overnight stay in the vault. 
Mr. Robert Swiggum is the Chief Information Officer for the Georgia Department of Education. He became enamored with technology, became a programmer, and "has held just about every job there is with technology." He has watched "technology transform the business world and knows that it can have the same impact on education."
This interview took place just prior to the holiday break in December 2013. 
Hope that you enjoy the conversation!
You can find more information about the Statewide Longitudinal Data System and what Georgia is doing at the following link:
Length: 20:03

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Episode 13: Formative Instructional Practices with Kelli Harris Wright GADOE

March 6, 2014

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Kelli is a recently retired public educator. She was a special education and general education teacher. She also served in many different capacities within public school systems. Her most recent role, prior to retiring and going to work for the Georgia Department of Education, was as the Director of K-12 Teaching and Learning for a large Atlanta school district. She now oversees the FIP or Formative Instructional Practices program which falls under the Division for Assessment and Accountability at the DOE.

FIP is based upon the work of Rick Stiggins, Jan and Steve Chappuis, and Judith Arter.  According to Kelli, “It focuses on the formal and informal methods that teachers and students collect information about student learning. It is about the use of the information that is collected.”

Formative Assessment helps teachers to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their students. The collected information then enables the teachers to modify their instructional practices to address the needs of the kids.

One aspect of this program is that the teachers learn how to create learning targets based upon the standards for the unit content. These help the teacher understand what it is that needs to be taught.

Formative assessment is purposeful. The teacher creates activities that provide information about the understandings of the students. As a result, these activities typically are not graded and should not be graded. It shows what the students know or don’t know therefore, a grade cannot be administered.

The actual training for teachers happens through professional learning networks, overview sessions, and on-line modules. There are five on-line modules for teachers.

1.        Overview of the Research about Formative Assessment

2.        Learning Targets

3.        Ways to Collect Evidence of Student Learning

4.        Analyzing the Evidence of Student Learning/ Effective Feedback

5.       Student Ownership of Learning/Peer Feedback

There are two additional modules: One for leadership personnel and another for coaches and teacher leaders.

Kelli recommends three books to help with understanding formative assessment:

Seven Strategies of Assessment for Learning

Jan Chappuis, Pearson Assessment Training Institute

©2010 • Pearson • Paper, 272 pp

Published 03/01/2009


Assessment Balance and Quality: An Action Guide for School Leaders, 3/E

Steve Chappuis, Carol Commodore, Rick J. Stiggins, Pearson Assessment Training Institute

 Pearson • Paper, 240 pp Published 03/02/2010

 

Formative Assessment and Standards-Based Grading

       Robert J. Marzano, Publisher: Marzano Research Laboratory

      November 11, 2009

 

You can find more information about Georgia’s use of FIP at www.gadoe.org/fip or simply google Georgia FIP.

You can contact Kelli at

 Phone: (404) 463-5047

Fax: (404) 656-5976

Email: Kharris-wright@doe.k12.ga.us

Length 34:09

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