Episodes #169-176

Episode #169: Karine Veldhoen

Episode #169: Karine Veldhoen (podbean.com)

Karine Veldhoen the founder of Learn Forward™ and a creative force in education. As Chief Learning Officer at Willowstone Academy she created the first model Learn Forward™ school while simultaneously Founding and serving as Executive Director of Niteo Africa. She’s taught Teacher Candidates at both UBC-O and UNBC and served as an education consultant for Fresh Grade. In all of her roles, she considers herself a modern-day pilgrim who stands for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Learn Forward™ represents a lifetime of professional study, leadership practice, action research, and meaning-making within the context of education.

Learn Forward is a culmination of her work with dozens of EdLeaders, hundreds of teachers and teacher candidates, and thousands of children and their families in two states, two provinces, and around the globe.

Now, she dedicates her professional practice to championing EdLeaders to design thriving schools.

When Karine is not carving new paths for education, you’ll find her at the lake with a good book.

Her husband and three children are her heart-song. She lives in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia.

Trench story: is doing content, coaching right now. Still having things come occasionally. Misses working in a team, synergy, solving problem. Is a quick starter. Likes to be entrepreneurial. She is still figuring out how to effectively serve school leaders. Needs to cultivate good self-talk. Is slowly crawling out of the trench.  

Working w/ school leaders, how long you’ve been doing individual coaching: She wants to talk about Learn Forward, unpack. Talk about things you support school leaders with. In 2015 published her book. Memoir meets educational philosophy. What matters most. It would lower stress pressure and anxiety. 5 journeys of what matters most for children. She has been thinking about designing thriving communities. At Willowstone designed this in all sorts of ways. Core value- mobius strip- what’s inside is outside. How we manage our time, plan effectively all dimensions of leadership.  

Has her Time Management Goal Achievement masterclass series- will mention dates that’s happening. If you learn better being in a live environment, this is for you. It’s evolving. It’s based on Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner. She is a FF Certified Pro. Principals become super successful at double win. Show up w/ quality/integrity in personal & professional life. this is her 19th year w/ the FF planner.    

 All-female BLBS Mastermind group: we can talk about barriers/challenges women leaders face/gender inequities, supporting women to level-up. Disruption of career/family. She has 2 groups at present. 27% of superintendents are women. Need to wrestle w/ ambition fallacy. We can have rich, balanced lives at any level. Instead of “balance” say “intention”. 

Talk about your work with Niteo Africa-it means to bloom, blossom to shine. Serves as a literacy education org in E. Africa. Some of the work has been on hiatus since the onset of the pandemic. Niteo relaunched. Conceptualized work w/ multilingual families, piloted community-wide literacy project. There are 12 literacy centers, there are partner org’s over in Africa. Newcomers in English-community-based literacy program. Personalized programming. Talking about literacy/equity, etc in general. Literacy level of the mother, what role that plays. It empowers them to change literacy outcomes for families. 3-5 years literacy gap when a newcomer family enters country. How to have them use library. Continue down path of literacy. Creates resources for the community.   

Can mention PD courses on family/nest building. Sits under Learn Forward platform. Was picking up pieces of shattered life after divorce. Her & hubs have visioning retreat every June. 4 questions: What is our truth? (what’s working & what’s not), What is our dream? (fun, you can choose 5-10 years out), What is our ritual? (around big values, what are we really about in our family?, What is our practice? (who is doing morning routine?,yardwork, etc, operational tasks). Nest Building retreats may pick back up in 2023. 

Keu quotes? She wants leaders to remember you have extraordinary potential. Reach out to her! Excited about hopeful place pushing past pandemic.  

Find Karine online: For more information about booking her for coaching, speaking, or media interviews, please contact us at hello@learnforward.ca. www.learnforward.ca www.niteo.org all over social @Learn_forward Twitter, @Learnforwardvillage IG & FB. 

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/tmdQtPFQGPc

Episode #170: Carla Meyrink

Episode #160: Carla Meryink (podbean.com)

Carla Meyrink is the director and co-founder of The Community for Learning, an international school in the Dominican Republic.  For the past thirty-two years, she has worked as a secondary language arts teacher, an academic coach, and school director.  She presents workshops on new initiatives in education, including restorative practices, student-led learning, coaching, and leadership skills. Her work on inquiry-based professional development has been highlighted in Edutopia. She has presented at AMLE 2020, the Virginia ASCD 2020 annual conference, the Equity and Anti-Bias Conference 2021, and others. Carla shares teaching strategies and innovations on her blog, The Teaching Experiment

Trenches story: When she began teaching. Taught English. Thrown into secondary Lang. arts classroom. Took textbook and divided it by 180 days. Principal wanted to see where she was at in textbook. She wanted creative freedom, plowing through textbooks. Son went into 1st grade then she saw in 1989 to start a school. Started with 11 students. Like a homeschool with 20-30 kids. Moved quite quickly. Taught without texts. No grades in elementary school. Activities, reading, writing workshops. Took her out of the previous trench.

Talk about Founding of your school in 1999:  Her friend & her started project. School background- she founded it with 2 friends. Dominican Republic system is very traditional, top-down. They started school 22 years ago. Strong philosophy. As interviewed parents, if they didn’t agree with the philosophy said they weren’t going to fight about it. Had no savings or $. They used after school programs, summer camps to pay for school. Had 20 kids for a while. Ppl were interested in coming. Didn’t take wages for 3-4 yrs. How to accredit your school. Learned as went along.  At the time, they were a little “out there”. Now less so. There was no twitter PLN so she moved forward on her own. What they were doing was illegal- they weren’t allowed to have a gradeless school but submitted grades to govt. Hid what they were doing. Got phone call from ministry of education. Son went to school. Kids have done well on national exams. Govt lady wanted them to help change the public school system. This was 12-13 years. Handed out report cards based on standards-based grading. Parents never say them, it was only for the Ministry of Ed. When got to 7th grade, needed to hand out transcripts to kids. Believed that kids wouldn’t care about grades. When they began getting #’s they weren’t excited about trying new things. St’s began to get labelled as “B” student, They lost their self-esteem. Pushing for student self-assessment. Got students by word of mouth. Some had severe learning disabilities. Children advanced. Teachers to be hired, word got around, if you want to try something different.

Student-led learning– area of passion. What they’ve learned from remote learning, was tough. They’ve learned about behaviors after returning from remote learning. They weren’t thrilled to get up early & come to school. Teachers try to get put back into the box they didn’t want to be in. They no longer saw it was relevant Focused on getting love of reading back. Teachers were frustrated because kids couldn’t focus on reading for more than a few min. They had kids read in class- 2-3 m first then added minutes. Ability to focus was transferring to other classes. She has talked with teachers about making education far more relevant. They’re making a student task force, 6 kids who will take leadership classes, look at how they can incorporate what other schools are doing in their school. She wants students to find out those things first. They will lead sessions with parents. Vision board. They need to think “out there” not just about lunch schedule. Need more time for integrated learning. Kids had learned a lot about time management. Some teachers started student-led learning. Kids doing content on their own. Flipped class style, 9th grade Lang. Arts teacher started. She got kids to work this way. Hum of motivation. She has a blog post “The Teaching Experiment”. Kids set goals for self- how they’re going to get there w/ Learning Targets. Fill out their own rubrics. Doing thru portfolios. Not being done with all teachers. 

Talk about Adedate Roy’s poem “The Portal”– she talks about the pandemic portal. We can leave it all behind and walk through lighter.  We can fight for a better world. Integrated into way they’re having kids lead their learning. When kids were remote a lot of damage was done. We have to empower kids. In January shared poem with teachers. What can we let go of and start doing as teachers. Started student-led think-tank. 7 students in 9-11th grade. Both genders, ability levels. Put together vision board for school’s future. Kids have interviewed all the classes. They will interview 16 parents, then interviewing teachers. Kids in think-tank will present to Teachers’ PD & community coffee. Kids are so motivated. Truly PBL in action. There will be info put out in her blog, school website.

We discuss her blog post Can Administrators go gradeless? How can admin do this confidently? When she was teaching, enormous amount of criteria behind t assessments. Teachers are hard on themselves. You give them 1-4, they only want the 4’s. We’re asking teachers to do so many changes. She didn’t like the way teacher evals were done or assessments. They have a reading/writing continuum, no matter what grade they’re in. They noticed when they opened 7th grade, kids needed to get used to what goes into grades. So used to learning for learning’s sake. They didn’t ignore the #’s- they asked if things counted for their grades. They’re not going totally gradeless, but it’s more self-assessment. She realized they need to do a top-down teacher approach. Worked more on coaching framework, focus on strengths and growth. They’ve grown with focus. So many teachers have it hard to look at their strengths. They always want to improve on 1000 things at once. Make it a self-assessment piece so teachers feel empowered. She didn’t like feeling of being judged. Doesn’t mean if terrible t, no assessment. She will continue to help teacher. They will still let t’s know changes they need to make to stay @ school. When she meets with teachers she asks, “What did you like about your class”, not “What do you need help with?” It’s hard for them to say what they think is good. They already have a long list of what they want to change. Set goal of what has the most impact on students. Her coaches like it. Convo remains private between them and the teacher. She’s not a SBG person. It takes away from learning. SB is better than grading and SB needs to come from students, not the teacher. Has a lot to write but has been busy at school. Was remote for 1.5 yrs. She has a lot of freedom to try new things. We need  grassroots movements to push things forward.

Key quotes-“If we empower our teachers, we can empower our kids. Self-assessment, student-led and teacher-led learning”. 

Find Carla online: www.theteachingexperiment.com

Twitter @carlameryd @The Teaching Experiment on FB. School website  www.tcfl.edu.do 

View this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/yTCtIfVSpWg