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40 minutes | Jul 15, 2021
Zaretta Hammond: What is Culturally Responsive Teaching?
This may seem obvious: Students learn best in environments where they feel a sense of safety and belonging – environments that the science of learning and development has shown open up the brain to learning. But what if children find themselves in spaces, that teacher educator and author Zaretta Hammond calls “inequitable by design?” What is the responsibility for teachers and schools if the obstacle to learning is our educational system itself? And further, what does it mean to be a culturally responsive teacher – and why is that necessary, not only to stimulate intellectual curiosity, but to move beyond “cognitive redlining” and transition students to “cognitive independence”? Zarretta Hammond is the author of “Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain” and founder of the “Ready 4 Rigor” blog. She is a former English teacher and, for nearly two decades, has worked at the crux of instructional design, professional development, and achieving equity. Hammond’s research explores and analyzes the brain functions that inform how we learn and think. And it delves deeply into how students of color would benefit from culturally responsive teaching, and what it means – and doesn’t mean – for how educators can help students get ready to tackle the rigorous content necessary to succeed. As you’ll hear, it’s such thought-provoking conversation that it called for two episodes of this podcast. For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast.
35 minutes | May 24, 2021
Dan Cogan-Drew of Newsela: Helping Students Become Agents of Their Own Learning
The science of learning and development reveals how academic growth is fueled not just by the acquisition of knowledge, but from dynamic relationships between students, teachers, peers and what they experience. So what experiences can education technology offer to support those relationships and spur engagement and motivation to learn? That’s what Newsela seeks to create - by tapping into every child's curiosity in accessible and relevant ways. Newsela offers educators and students access to current news stories no matter their reading level - on everything from the mission to Mars, to the Derek Chauvin trial, to the new pets in the White House. And it seems to be working. A randomized controlled trial study found that students using Newsela twice a week doubled their reading scores compared to students taught reading without the platform. Today, Newsela is in 90% of American schools, serving 37 million students and 2.5 million teachers. EdTech funders have certainly taken notice. Newsela recently announced a $100M Series D investment. So how does it work? For the answer we turned to Dan Cogan-Drew, Newsela’s Co-founder and Chief Academic Officer. Dan has worked in education for 25 years, as a public, independent and charter school teacher, and with a focus on integrating digital learning technologies to engage students and accelerate learning. For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast.
24 minutes | Apr 1, 2021
Christina Theokas, Ph.D.: The Well-Being Index
How do teachers know how their students are doing? Grades? Grades measure how much students have learned. Attendance? Attendance measures whether they show up. But as the Science of Learning and Development shows, how well children learn depends on how well and how safe they feel. So it’s important for educators to have a true picture of the whole child. And, of course, the urgency and challenge to understanding how children are doing has only increased during the pandemic. That’s why Turnaround for Children has developed its Well-Being Index. This series of questions helps children describe how they are feeling . By taking these measurements on a regular basis over a period of months, teachers can learn not only what their students might be facing on the inside, but also how to help. How does the Well-Being Index work? Dr. Christina Theokas is Turnaround for Children’s Chief Applied Science Officer. She oversees the teams that translate the science of learning and development into resources and tools for educators – including the Well-Being Index and the teams that partner with educators to design schools that are organized to support whole child development and learning. For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast.
42 minutes | Apr 1, 2021
P.S. 340: Getting to Know How Students are Feeling and Functioning
In our previous podcast, we heard from Turnaround for Children about how their Well-Being Index was designed and is meant to work. Today, we get hear the details – from the field – about how it works in action. P.S. 340 is a K-5 school in the Bronx, NY. Frankly, it’s one of those incredible schools that goes well beyond reading, writing and arithmetic to help students learn and grow. P.S. 340’s mission, stated clearly on its website, is to educate the whole child. To do that, the school offers an extraordinary range of programs not only to their students, but also to their families. This year, P.S. 340 is working with Turnaround for Children on a new way to learn about and help their students. They’re using the Well-Being Index. This series of questions helps children describe how they are feeling. By regularly taking these measurements over months, teachers can learn not only what their students might be facing on the inside, but also what they might do to help. So how is it going? To find out, we talked with the school’s principal, Alexei Nichols, and fifth grade teacher Diana DaCorta. As you’ll hear, P.S. 340 is creating something that all schools – and parents – may want to learn from. For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast.
42 minutes | Mar 2, 2021
Hal Smith: We Can’t Just Do the Same Things We've Always Done
When it comes to learning and thriving during the pandemic, many students have faced one obstacle after another - lack of access to high speed internet and devices, disconnection from teachers and friends, the cancellation of sports, clubs and church choirs. But where many people see obstacles, Hal Smith sees opportunity. Smith is Senior Vice President of Education, Youth Development & Health for the National Urban League and leads the organization’s programmatic, advocacy, policy and research work in those areas. Across his career, Smith has focused on issues of educational opportunity, access and excellence for historically underserved communities wherever teaching, learning and development take place. Which is why, as you’ll hear, Smith argues that the pandemic presents the chance to reimagine what school could look like – to seize the moment and try something better – grounded in the science of learning and development. For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast.
43 minutes | Feb 17, 2021
John King: Getting Back to School Safely and Better
Education is among the highest stated priorities right out of the gates for the Biden Administration. Besides the obvious – getting kids and teachers back to school safely and quickly – major challenges remain around what some call “unfinished learning” and others call “learning loss” that have been revealed and exacerbated by the pandemic – as well as enduring and systemic questions of how to address gaps in equity, race, funding, and opportunity… as well as the best ways to integrate lessons from the Science of Learning and Development in reimagining education in America.With each issue so urgent and so connected, how should the Department of Education prioritize them? Further, given our prized system of local school control, what exactly can a federal Department of Education do?To find out, we spoke with Dr. John King, our nation’s 10th Secretary of Education who served under President Obama. King has dedicated his career to education. His parents were New York City public school teachers. He taught high school social studies in Puerto Rico and Boston. He served as a middle school principal. Today King is president and CEO of The Education Trust, a nonprofit organization that seeks to identify and close opportunity and achievement gaps, from preschool through college.For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast.
30 minutes | Nov 9, 2020
When the Building is Closed but School is Open, with Ron Berger and Laina Cox
As schools try to determine how best to help students, the challenges, it seems, are everywhere: Health, safety, technology, food security, personal growth, and, of course, learning. Which is what makes learning about EL Education’s approach so useful.EL Education guides a network of over 150 public schools in more than 30 states – helping build schools in low-income communities that send all graduates to college through high student achievement, character and citizenship, while also building teacher capacity through professional coaching, resources and open-source curriculum.But how does it work? And in particular, how are the program’s fundamentals helping students, parents, teacher, and administrators maintain learning and growing.To learn more, we spoke with Ron Berger and Laina Cox. Ron is Chief Academic Officer for EL Education, and Laina is Principal at Capital City Public Charter Middle School in Washington D.C.As you’ll hear in this part one of our two-part conversation, a lynchpin to EL’s success is something called Crew robust advisories that form human connections, and the connections in EL schools form a community.For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast.
18 minutes | Nov 9, 2020
You Can't Separate Character from Student Success, with Ron Berger and Laina Cox
Today we continue our conversation with Ron Berger and Laina Cox.Ron is Chief Academic Officer for EL Education, and has been with the group since its founding.Ron is Chief Academic Officer for EL Education, which guides a network of over 150 public schools in more than 30 states – helping build schools in low-income communities that send all graduates to college through high student achievement, character and citizenship, while also building teacher capacity through professional coaching, resources and open-source curriculum. Laina is one of those educators and administrators who bring EL’s vision to life, as Principal at Capital City Public Charter Middle School in Washington D.C.In fact, today’s conversation focuses even more in depth on what exactly that means in Laina’s school – literally, how they do it. In this conversation, Ron and Laina also take on the question more broadly – looking at learning in America today – and address some of the broader social questions of how learning can and should work in the face of a pandemic, social unrest, and more.For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast.
31 minutes | Sep 22, 2020
Unstacking the Deck: A Call for Candid Self-Interrogation About Racism and Identity, with Dr. Margaret Beale Spencer
Today we continue our conversation with Margaret Beale Spencer, the Marshall Field IV Professor of Urban Education at the University of Chicago.In Part 1, Prof. Spencer explained – in powerful narrative – her own history and how her personal path led to the topics central to her life’s work: identity, resiliency and competency building within a racially, ethnically and economically diverse society. Today, we dive deeper into Dr. Spencer’s scientific research on human development and ask her for guidance to address the elephant in many rooms today: racism. As kids, faculty, and staff have come back together in their respective school communities they don’t necessarily share a sense of urgency about righting – or even addressing – historical wrongs against Black people. Where is the most important place to start?For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast.
32 minutes | Sep 21, 2020
Where Resilience Comes From, with Dr. Margaret Beale Spencer
As the new school year begins in the substantial shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, our students face challenges that go beyond making friends and making up for lost time in the classroom – beyond virtual Zoom teaching and hybrid learning.After a summer of protests against systemic racism and police brutality, amid calls for a racial reckoning, many students, parents, and educators are engaging in conversations about race, equality and opportunity, and they may even find themselves discussing what makes some people vulnerable – to Covid, to violence – and what makes others resilient?That’s just part of what makes today’s conversation with Margaret Beale Spencer so timely. Because human vulnerability, resilience and context are concepts that Prof. Spencer has spent her career studying and addressing.Prof. Spencer is the Marshall Field IV Professor of Urban Education in the department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago. Her career spans more than 30 years during which she has authored well over 100 published articles and chapters.In fact, we found our conversation with Dr. Spencer so meaningful, we are bringing it to you in two parts. This first covers her personal history and the kinds of resources and support that not only fueled her resiliency but informed her work and views. For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast.
55 minutes | Aug 19, 2020
Diane Tavenner: The Crucial Teacher, Parent and Child Relationship
In our last podcast, we spoke with Diane Tavenner about the path forward: How schools and families should prepare as we all head into the unknown – the launch of the first full school year during the Covid-19 pandemic.Today we talk with Diane again, this time about how she – and the approach to learning that she developed through Summit Public Schools – got here.Like anything else – perhaps even more so – education today requires a blend of the visionary and the practical: We need the extraordinary ideas and insights to reach the seemingly impossible goal of ensuring opportunity for every child… but also the practical paths – the daily steps required to make those opportunities possible.But what should that blend look like? How does it integrate not only a clear focus on academics, but also what's happening beyond the classroom. And how should the crucial teacher, parent and student relationships and responsibilities work together to bring that vision to reality? Diane answers these questions. And as you’ll hear, “opportunity” and “practical” are very important words in her vocabulary.Some background: Diane is the co-founder and CEO of Summit Public Schools, which operates 15 public middle and high schools in California and Washington State. She also serves on the board of T.L.P. Education, the organization helping schools across the U.S. to implement Summit Learning – Summit’s personalized approach to education. Before founding Summit, Diane spent ten years as a public school teacher, administrator, and leader in traditional urban and suburban public schools throughout California. Diane is also the author of “Prepared: What Kids Need for a Fulfilled Life,” which offers “a blueprint for how parents can stop worrying about their children’s future and start helping them prepare for it.”One note before we start: This second conversation with Diane was actually our first one together. We recorded this conversation about five months ago – in fact, I open the talk by asking her about a great honor: Bill Gates had recently listed “Prepared” as one of his five holiday recommendations. Unfortunately, just as that conversation was about to post, Covid-19 hit, schools were in turmoil, and we delayed. We’re thrilled to finally release it now.For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast
32 minutes | Aug 5, 2020
Diane Tavenner: How Summit Schools is Helping Students Stay on Course During the Pandemic
As schools and families prepare to head straight into the unknown – the launch of the first full school year during the Covid-19 pandemic – nearly everyone is looking for a roadmap. Not just whether to fully open or go with a hybrid or fully online, but rather how – regardless of where things go – to help kids stay connected, grow, and stay on course.The Summit Schools are a place to look, and Diane Tavenner is one to ask.Diane is the co-founder and CEO of Summit Public Schools, which operates 15 public middle and high schools in California and Washington State. She also serves on the board of T.L.P. Education, the organization helping schools across the U.S. to implement Summit Learning – Summit’s personalized approach to education. Before founding Summit, Diane spent 10 years as a public school teacher, administrator, and leader in traditional urban and suburban public schools throughout California. Diane is also the author of “Prepared: What Kids Need for a Fulfilled Life,” which offers “a blueprint for how parents can stop worrying about their children’s future and start helping them prepare for it,”As you’ll hear, that personalized approach – one that puts relationships at the center of learning, and leverages a continuous learning platform – was key to navigating the disruptions last spring and maintaining a productive environment. And now, Summit is prepared to do it again.For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast.
21 minutes | Jun 19, 2020
Raising, Affirming and Protecting Black Sons: A Conversation with Tami Hill-Washington (Part 1)
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, protests have erupted across the world and deep-seated anger has come to the fore. How can we stand together against discrimination and racism? How can we move forward? And how do we talk to our children about it all?Tami Hill-Washington is an educator with deep experience in the K-12 school system. Today she works at Turnaround for Children, whose work, among many other activities, explores the science and actions around learning, as well as social and emotional well-being. Tami partners with school leaders, helping them develop positive and inclusive learning environments.In this conversation, Tami shares her world views and what it takes to rethink and reimagine our society – and education in particular. She speaks about a world in which we listen, show empathy and embrace others. A world in which we rethink our 20th century education – and where diversity and inclusion are ingrained in our shared values.For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast
22 minutes | Jun 19, 2020
Blackness and Whiteness in Schools: A Conversation with Tami Hill-Washington (Part 2)
How can we move forward as a united community? And within that framework, how can teachers help our children? Are they prepared to create safe environments and foster an environment of diversity and inclusion?I now continue my conversation with Tami Hill-Washington, an educator with deep experience in the K-12 school system. Today she works at Turnaround for Children, which explores the science and actions around learning, as well as social and emotional well-being. Tami partners with school leaders, helping them develop positive and inclusive learning environments.In this conversation, Tami explains why she is hopeful – hopeful that we will come together as a nation and in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, whom she references: “That our children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast
33 minutes | Jun 19, 2020
Get Home Safe: Considering Race and Humanity in America with MenSa Ankh Maa
As the nationwide, indeed global, protests for police reform continue, the core questions remain: How do we end racial violence? How do we create an equitable playing field where all citizens can prosper and feel safe?I sat down with MenSa Ankh Maa to discuss these questions and more. MenSa is a former principal and consultant to schools on cultural proficiency. Today he is a partnership director at Turnaround for Children and his role is to deliver Turnaround’s professional learning series to principals and their leadership teams in DC Public Schools in our nation’s capital.As you’ll hear, MenSa’s perspective and experience – focusing every day on keeping himself and his family safe – just might point a way to some answers.For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast
25 minutes | Jun 9, 2020
Michael Horn: A Time for Disruptive Innovation in Education
What’s next? In this uncertain time, the question impacts nearly every aspect of our lives.But as learning has moved out of schools and into homes – off chalkboards and onto Zoom – the question of “what’s next” seems particularly central to our existing approach to education and how kids learn.Few raise these questions – or search more for answers – than Michael Horn. Among other roles, Michael is a senior strategist at Guild Education and is co-founder of and a distinguished fellow at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation. Michael also serves as an executive editor at Education Next and is the author of Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns, Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, and most recently, “Choosing College.”From technology to policy to distance learning, does this moment offer opportunities for transformational change or simply greater risks? Does this disruption offer a unique, generational opportunity to rewrite the existing rules?For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast/
28 minutes | Jun 1, 2020
Sheila Ohlsson Walker, Ph.D: A Recipe for Thriving in Stressful Times
As protests, police brutality and the ongoing threat of COVID-19 upend notions of safety and unleash deep-seated fury and grief, stress and worry abound, particular for communities of color. Adults are understandably having difficulty managing their own stress, and they are worried about the effects of all this on their children. A few days before George Floyd suffocated under the weight of a Minneapolis police officer's knee, we spoke with Dr. Sheila Ohlsson Walker about the steps we can take during this unsettling time to be well and even thrive. Sheila holds various science and teaching positions at Tufts University’s Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development; Johns Hopkins School of Education; George Washington University and the University of California, Irvine. Among other roles, she also sits on Turnaround for Children’s advisory board.Sheila has spent much of her career researching the intersection of biology and behavior. Most recently, she has written a series of articles for Turnaround called ”Back to Basics” that illuminates how and why a handful of synergistic, simple, and scientifically-grounded lifestyle choices offer protection and fortify mental and physical health for life. As she explains, our bodies and brains are integrated systems.For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast/
28 minutes | Jun 1, 2020
Sheila Ohlsson Walker, Ph.D: A Recipe for Thriving in Stressful Times
As protests, police brutality and the ongoing threat of COVID-19 upend notions of safety and unleash deep-seated fury and grief, stress and worry abound, particular for communities of color. Adults are understandably having difficulty managing their own stress, and they are worried about the effects of all this on their children. A few days before George Floyd suffocated under the weight of a Minneapolis police officer's knee, we spoke with Dr. Sheila Ohlsson Walker about the steps we can take during this unsettling time to be well and even thrive. Sheila holds various science and teaching positions at Tufts University’s Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development; Johns Hopkins School of Education; George Washington University and the University of California, Irvine. Among other roles, she also sits on Turnaround for Children’s advisory board.Sheila has spent much of her career researching the intersection of biology and behavior. Most recently, she has written a series of articles for Turnaround called ”Back to Basics” that illuminates how and why a handful of synergistic, simple, and scientifically-grounded lifestyle choices offer protection and fortify mental and physical health for life.As she explains, our bodies and brains are integrated systems, and making self-care part of our daily routine – even during the most challenging of times – can provide the stabilizing sense of control that builds resilience.For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast/
32 minutes | May 3, 2020
How to Parent in a Pandemic: A Conversation with Pamela Cantor, M.D.
Wasn’t raising a child tough enough already? Now, in the coronavirus age – with schools closed and children learning at home – we suddenly have added an additional challenging role to the mix: teacher. It’s a responsibility that comes with no how-to manual, and certainly no 1-800-number to call for help.So what should caregivers know about how to do it? How do they teach when they’re also a parent – balance between too much help and too little? And are there practical tips – lessons from science – that parents and caregivers can use to make the experience work for all parties involved?Well, Pamela Cantor, M.D. has some. She is Founder and Senior Science Advisor of Turnaround for Children. And as you’ll hear during this episode of Turnaround's podcast, The 180, by focusing on what she calls The Three Rs: Relationships, Routines and Resilience – science can show parents ways not only to help their children learn, but also how we all can come through this period stronger and bet.For more information, go to www.turnaroundusa.org/podcast/
5 minutes | Mar 19, 2020
Bonus #1 — Coronavirus: 6 Tips for Parents
The coronavirus is producing a lot of anxiety, stress and worry for everyone. What happens to our bodies when we are under stress? How can parents restore a sense of safety for their children in such trying times? Here are 6 tips from Pamela Cantor, M.D., Turnaround for Children's Founder and Senior Science Advisor, in conversation with host Chris Riback. To supplement the insights and advice offered by Dr. Cantor on this episode, Turnaround has created a coronavirus pandemic resource page: https://www.turnaroundusa.org/coronavirus/
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