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Driving Curricular Shifts from the Inside-out

Session 4
Mary Kate Raytek, Tod Witman, (Howard Emerson) — 3 classroom teachers currently on special assignment in the Schuylkill Valley School District, Leesport, PA. Discovery teacher, STEAM teacher, Tech Integration Coach

As 3 classroom teachers working in the Schuylkill Valley School DIstrict in Berks County, PA we each independently identified areas that needed development in our schools’ curriculum and program offerings. Often working in relative isolation, we advocated for the change we wanted to see in our specific schools. As a small school district with one building at each level (elementary, middle school, high school) we do not have a curriculum coordinator or even an assistant superintendent in charge of curriculum. In essence we had no one person to review all aspects of our K-12 program and make necessary (or even recommended) systemic changes. As a result, the change process in our district almost always begins with committed individuals who advocate for programs they feel are beneficial to kids and enhance learning. We are an example of this process and we want to share our journey so far, discuss the importance of finding those who are willing to lead these curricular shifts, get ideas from conversation participants regarding how they effect change in their schools, and focus on the importance of leadership in the process. We will share our successes, identify remaining hurdles, ask for suggestions and common experience as we move forward, and relate some of our fortuitous breaks, such as unforeseen and perhaps unlikely advocates, as we each pursue the educational initiatives we champion.

Conversational Practice

Our session will begin with a general conversation about curricular shifts that we see in education. We will then share our journey and ask participants to share in small and large group discussions. We will end with a Q/A session and a Skype session with at least one of our "unlikely advocates."

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