Upcoming Events

 

DATE EVENT
Friday, October 13, 2017 Study Session #1 – Entire Cohort with Allies in NYC

8:00am to 3:30pm

Sat & Sun, November 4-5, 2017 Fall Summit – Entire Cohort with Allies in NYC

      *originally scheduled to be in Tarrytown, now will be at TC

*Wednesday December 13, 2017

      *changed from original date of

     Thursday, December 14 due to

     availability of space at TC

Study Session #2 – Entire Cohort with Allies in NYC

8:00am to 3:30pm
*holiday celebration following study session – all alumni and guests of the program are invited – RSVP needed.

Friday, February 2, 2018
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Friday, February 9, 2018

Study Session #3 – NYC & CMS Fellows & Allies in NYC

8:00am to 3:30pm

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Study Session #3 – Chicago Fellows & Allies in Chicago

8:00am to 3:30pm

Friday, March 2, 2018
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Friday, March 9, 2018

Study Session #4 – NYC & CMS Fellows & Allies in NYC

8:00am to 3:30pm

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Study Session #4 – Chicago Fellows & Allies in Chicago

8:00am to 3:30pm

Friday, May 11, 2018 Study Session #5 – Entire Cohort with Allies in NYC

8:00am to 3:30pm

Friday, June 1, 2018 June Leadership Conference

  • Presentations of projects: 8:30am to 1:00pm
  • Lunch & Certificate Ceremony: 1:30pm – 3:30pm

* Conference portion of the day is open to the general education community – registration required.  
** Certificate Ceremony & lunch is by invitation.

 

Highlights from our 2017 Cahn Fellow Presentations

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Each year in June our Fellows present the results of their year-long inquiry project. The work involves identifying an area that, if addressed, will dramatically improve student learning. Fellows and Allies gather data, study it together, provide diverse perspectives on each project and then reflect on the actions taken during the process.  The action learning process draws on the strengths that already exist within the leaders and their schools.

It has been our mission since 2003 to invest in the outstanding school principals that currently serve in the public school system and to help them find and develop resources to help them do their jobs even more efficiently and effectively.

We now have over 300 Fellows who have implemented the work they completed during their Cahn Fellowship.

Here are highlights from our 2017 presentations:

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School Profile:

The Riverdale Avenue Community School

Brownsville, Brooklyn

374 Students

98.7% Minority Students

96.5% Students in Poverty

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PRESENTATION:

The Riverdale Avenue Community School opened in 2012 in Brownsville, Brooklyn. We started with preK through 2nd grade, and grew each subsequent year to 5th grade. We were at the time considered a turn around school. We were the 3rd school to open in five years, and there was a strong history of internalized failure in our building.

Riverdale Avenue

I created both a vision and a visual for the work.  Every single teacher is on a team that meets during their circular 6 prep period during the day.  During the spring, teachers were able to rank the teams that they wanted to be on, and I did my best to accommodate that based on people’s strengths, schedules, etc.

We also restructured our school organization model in terms of the upper and lower school divide. We instituted upper and lower school coordinators to function as coaches, but also have some other defined roles as well.

Many times, distributive leadership is presented as a top down model.  We really tried to get beyond this idea of using our distributive leadership model to just “do more work that the principal tells me to do,” and really focus on the mutual accountability that should exist here.

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School Profile:

The Gordon Parks School for Inquisitive Minds, P.S./I.S. 270

  • Pre-K TO 8 School Located in Rosedale, New York
  • Random Selection/Lottery School
  • Population – 700 students
  • 97% Black/African American,  2 % Hispanic, 1% Asian or Hawaiian, 1% American Indian
  • 48% Students qualify for free lunch

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PRESENTATION:

Where We Were in June: Problem of Practice

  • UPON ANALYSIS OF THE LAST YEAR’S LEARNING ENVIRONMENT SURVEY, WE NOTICED THAT ONLY 75% OF TEACHERS TRUSTED ONE ANOTHER, HOWEVER, 90% BELIEVED THEY ENGAGED IN PEER COLLABORATION.
  • WE FORMULATED VERTICAL TEAMS TO BUILD COHERENT STRUCTURES ACROSS ALL GRADE LEVELS AND CONTENT AREAS.  
  • OUR TWO-PRONGED GOAL IS TO FOSTER COLLABORATION WITH AN EMPHASIS ON STANDARDS BASED INSTRUCTION WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY BUILDING TRUST UTILIZING THE VERTICAL TEAM STRUCTURE

    Our Theory of Action

  • HOW CAN WE UTILIZE VERTICAL TEAMS TO INCORPORATE COHERENT STRUCTURES THAT WILL POSITIVELY IMPACT STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT?
  • RELATIONAL TRUST
  • FOCUS ON NON-NEGOTIABLES
  • TRACKING STUDENT PROGRESS BASED ON STANDARDSScreen Shot 2017-07-11 at 3.29.16 PM

Our vertical team’s impact will be determined by how our school moves on the DOE’s School Performance Dashboard. Ultimately, we want to be placed in the quadrant demonstrative of high impact, as well as, high performance.

 

How our Journey Began

  • We surveyed the staff to ascertain their understanding of the various teams in place this school year, i.e., grade level, teacher teams and vertical planning teams.
  • Teachers provided feedback on trust at the November 8th Professional Development session.
  • 80% of the staff is willing to work collaboratively with clearly established protocols to guide their learning.

We implemented our Action Plan between September and December 2016

Results: Our Data at a Glance – Our Trust Survey showed significant improvement in staff trust levels.

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School Profile:

Ebinger Elementary School – Chicago

80%- White  15%-Hispanic 1.3%-Black 2%-Asian

15.5% Low income

14% Diverse learners

5% English Language Learners

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PRESENTATION:

After review of current instructional units teachers were surveyed and the results were:

Eighteen percent (18%) of staff members “often” use culturally relevant instruction in their current teaching practices.  The goal of this cycle is for all teachers to use culturally relevant instruction in their teaching practices “often” 75% of the time.

Next Steps:

Unit/lesson deep dive using an ILT created template to adjust a current unit and add new culturally diverse literature

Peer observations were organized in order for teachers to observe and give feedback to each other on the previously revised lesson which revolved around a culturally aware or relevant read alouds.

Teachers were required to observe each other a minimum of two times during the school year.

During the first observation phase, teachers chose a peer within their grade bands to observe.

During the second observation phase, names were literally chosen out of a hat.

The peer observations worked. I think it was a great idea to get a partner that I wouldn’t normally see and see the value and success in that classroom. I find it so helpful to observe others to learn and also just see how other teachers do the thinking routines. It helps me get ideas and also validate my own instruction.”

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“I played a video of a Muslim teenager who was arrested for bringing in an invention (homemade clock). Teachers thought it was a bomb and the student was arrested. We had a powerful conversation of it being fair or unfair for the student to be arrested and also if a non-Muslim student would have the same consequence. The students didn’t even need me to discuss and I just watched and listened to their thinking. Students changed their thinking due to listening to their peers. It was pretty magical to witness.”

Phase III

Created a mission statement with all staff members to drive the implementation of culturally aware instruction

We aim to empower students to become socially responsible, globally aware, and caring individuals through critical thinking and targeted inquiry based teaching and learning by:

  • Immersing students with authentic resources and use them to teach social responsibility (newspapers, magazines, internet, etc.)
  • Providing opportunities to engage in purposeful real world connections in our local community and global societies
  • Promoting student centered discussion and debate
  • Incorporating diverse literature throughout all classes
  • Giving students the opportunity to work effectively and respectfully with diverse peers

Impact

  • Increased teacher to teacher trust
  • Created community involvement opportunities for students
  • Increased student centered discussions
  • Developed critical thinking skills in our students
  • 100% of teachers reported an increase in culturally aware and or socially responsible instruction – up from 18%!

Gettysburg: A Test of Leadership

Each year our Cahn Fellows begin the Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) with a trip to Gettysburg led by licensed battlefield guide John Zervas.

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Link to the Gettysburg National Military Park Website

Following is an outline of the curriculum.

It’s the summer of 1863 and following a series of stunning victories, Robert E. Lee marches his Confederate Army of 75,000 battle-tested soldiers north into Pennsylvania. His vision: win southern independence. His strategy: defeat the Union army once more, do it on Northern soil and capture or threaten a major Union city such as Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Baltimore or Washington, DC. His opponent, Union General George Meade, moves his veteran army of 90,000 north into Pennsylvania to confront Lee and protect these very cities. They meet at the small Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg. Who will prevail will be a test of leadership.

Day One – They meet at Gettysburg

Unplanned and unanticipated, the armies meet at Gettysburg. With the commanding generals far from here, critical decisions are made by subordinates to seize this town. Why is this town important? Who will prevail?  We will tour the Day One Battlefield and stand where these decisions were made and we will meet those officers who take the initiative to choose this battlefield. 

Day Two -“If he is there tomorrow, I shall attack him.”

Lee decides he will attack the Union’s defensive position. He will try to break the Union line by attacking the three hills that dominate Gettysburg. We will walk the ground and analyze the decisions made and the initiative taken by officers and men of the North and South. Communication and Empowerment will prove to be critical. For three days, the battle will turn on three principal factors:

  • Communication – Can the commanding generals clearly communicate their orders, goals and strategies to others? Can officers clearly delineate their vision to their subordinates? The battle will turn on communication and miscommunication through the chain of command.
  • Initiative – How much information is required before an officer will take a risk and commit his forces? Will officers take on more than their formal responsibility? The presence or absence of initiative will impact critical moments of the battle.
  • Empowerment – How will officers respond to crisis when their superiors are not present? Has there been proper delegation? Are their opinions important? Do they feel they understand their mission well enough to make decisions on their own? Crucial moments of the battle will be decided by empowered individuals.

 Reflection: Lee vs. Meade: After two days of battle, who managed their resources and used their data more effectively? Whose leadership style was more effective? How were decisions made that night?

Lincoln and Leadership

Dr. Matthew Pinsker is the author of two books:  Abraham Lincoln –a volume in the American Presidents Reference Series from Congressional Quarterly Press (2002) and Lincoln’s Sanctuary: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers’ Home (Oxford University Press, 2003).  Pinsker’s next book is forthcoming from W.W. Norton & Co., tentatively entitled, Boss Lincoln: Understanding Abraham Lincoln’s Partisan Leadership.  Matt has also published widely in the history of American politics, contributing to the Journal of American History and several other academic journals as well as to newspapers such as the Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and USA Today.  He appears regularly on TV channels such as C-SPAN and A&E’s History.  He leads numerous K-12 teacher-training workshops for organizations such as the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. He currently serves the Organization of American Historians (OAH) as a “Distinguished Lecturer.” Finally, Matt sits on the advisory boards of several historic organizations, such as Ford’s Theatre Society, Gettysburg Foundation, National Civil War Museum, and President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home.