|October 2015 PLO an "Amazing Experience"|
|Tuesday, 10 November 2015 09:36|
PIIC started the 2015-16 school year with high energy and great enthusiasm as they hosted the October 12-14, 2015 Professional Learning Opportunity (PLO) at The Penn Stater Conference Center in State College, PA. This year’s theme is “The BDA cycle in practice.” Over 150 coaches, administrators, IU PIIC Mentors, and Regional Mentor Coordinators (RMC) from 24 PIIC-participating Intermediate Units (IU) attended the three-day conference.
PIIC Executive Director, Ellen Eisenberg, welcomed the group on October 12 and gave participants a chance to engage in conversations with colleagues from across the state. Participants were randomly pre-assigned tables, creating networking opportunities for participants across IUs. They collaborated and collectively problem-solved on a variety of challenges that are often experienced by instructional coaches.
Following the table talk activity, participants attended pre-selected breakout sessions. Participants selected breakout sessions via an online registration form. Participants selected one of the following sessions:
After a short break, the day continued with the general session, Research on Writing: Why students need to write, facilitated by Penn Literacy Network (PLN) Director Joe Ginotti. The day concluded with time for reflection in IU groups
Day 2 began with time for self-reflection to process learnings from the previous day. After reflecting on the previous day’s activities, participants move to the first round of breakout sessions. Participants preselected to attend one the six sessions mentioned below:
Participants attending their first statewide PLO attended The Fundamentals of PLN, facilitated by PLN director Joe Ginotti;
After the breakout sessions and a short break, participants attended the concurrent session, “Staring at the Blank Page… How do I Start?” facilitated by IU PIIC Mentors Kathleen Eich, Terri Lewis, Amy Walker, Diane Hubona, Heather Moschetta, Cindy Shaffer, Loriann Hoffman, Missy Petrilak, Tish Hockensmith, and Teri Everett. The concurrent session required the IU PIIC Mentors to co-plan and co-facilitate the session which took place in five different rooms throughout the conference center. Participants were randomly assigned rooms, and mentor pairs facilitated the session in each room.
After the concurrent session and lunch break, participants attended the second round of breakout sessions for the day. Participants chose to attend one of the following sessions:
To finish the day, participants met in their IU groups for a mentor-led reflection in which participants and mentors discussed questions on a three column reflection sheet. Tablemates discussed their learning experience at the PLO, reflected on that learning, and generated questions about their experience or about using the BDA cycle with teachers.
On Day 3, participants attended the World Café session, planned by IU PIIC Mentors Heather Moschetta and Amy Walker. World Café is a session in which participants spend time at a table to answer a reflective question before moving on to the next table of their choosing. Due to the number of participants, the session occurred concurrently in five breakout rooms. Participants were randomly assigned a room and answered five questions/shared thoughts at five tables in their respective rooms. Each breakout room asked the same questions.
After a short break, participants attended the Birds of a Feather session, which is an activity where participants meet in groups to discuss topics of their choice to continue conversations that started during PLO sessions. Participants create the topics themselves, and anyone interested in the topic may join. The day finished with Chat and Chew: IU Team Time and Lunch. This session was designed for IU groups to come together and discuss how they will use what they learned over the course of the three days back at their districts.
Participant feedback was positive:
I really enjoyed the networking with like-minded individuals. It is invaluable to spend three days with people who, like me, want the best for our schools. It is an amazing experience!
The pacing was just right! In addition to sessions, we had opportunities to network with table words, IU groups and five distinctly different groups in the World Cafe. This deeply enriched the reflection and improved networking, in my opinion. The concurrent session gave us time to deepen the learning from the general session and it was excellent in terms of both content and format.
Administrators can help to support coaching with confidentiality, scheduling, vision, knowledge, excellent communication, and support. And each and every one of us can improve how we approach one or more areas.
The World Cafe really gave the participants a chance to network with others and to have conversations; more importantly it gave the coaches a chance to reflect on their learning from the PLO.
You can read more feedback from this PLO on the Testimonials page. The PLO agenda is available on our Past Professional Learning Opportunities page. You can also find photos from the event in the PIIC Photo Gallery. Our next PIIC Professional Learning Opportunity will be January 11-13, 2016 at the Penn Stater Conference Center in State College, PA. Details can be found on our Events page.
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