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Making Pandemic Changes Count: Part 3 - Shape the Path to Change

Monday, December 07, 2020 by Brian Scully

"Switched" by brendonhatcher is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0"Switched" by brendonhatcher is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Large-scale school change is possible and can come from the leadership of individual teachers. Higher-Powered Learning has contextualized the first two pieces of Chip and Dan Heath’s Switch framework for school change, directing the rational side and motivating the emotional side. In this final post, we will consider how to shape the situational context of change. We hope this series will promote school improvement as an expectation in your school, even beyond  the pandemic. This, of course, requires you to be the leader.

Making Pandemic Changes Count: Part 2 - Motivate the Emotional Side

Monday, November 30, 2020 by Brian Scully

"File:Macbook Pro Power Button - Macro (5477920228).jpg" by vincentq from Melbourne, Australia is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0"File:Macbook Pro Power Button - Macro (5477920228).jpg" by vincentq from Melbourne, Australia is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Every day we see schools changing in response to the pandemic: new procedures, hybrid classes, increased engagement with technology. You can ensure these changes are not made haphazardly. You can ensure these changes count. 

Think of this time of imposed change as an opportunity to lead your school toward positive student outcomes and lasting school improvements. In Part 1 of this series, inspired by Chip and Dan Heath’s Switch, we presented tactics to lead fellow teachers by engaging the rational side of change-making. This week we will discuss motivating the emotional side.

Making Pandemic Changes Count: Part 1 - Direct the Rational Side

Monday, November 23, 2020 by Brian Scully

"Old Light Switches" by Orange Steeler is licensed under CC BY 2.0"Old Light Switches" by Orange Steeler is licensed under CC BY 2.0

School change can be intimidating, arduous, and bumpy–like riding a mountain bike down a curvy path. With the added complication of pandemic accommodations, changing your school’s trajectory may seem ill-advised or impossible. We argue that now is precisely the moment to take a close look at your school’s path, particularly with regard to technology. We are already in a period of school change; you and your fellow teachers are already making decisions about the new identity of your classes. How will you ensure the changes you make are meaningful, positive, and lasting? How will you leverage this difficulty into an opportunity?

Adapting Lesson Plans for COVID-19 Guidelines

Monday, November 09, 2020 by Brian Scully

Higher-Powered Learning - ACE Blended Learning

Your class undoubtedly looks different than it did one year ago. Still, you must teach the same information with the same quality you did one year ago. How?

Whether you are distance learning, in-person, or hybrid, safety guidelines necessitate alterations to your lesson planning. Recreating lessons from top to bottom may be unfeasible right now, and understandably so. (Frankly, this may feel unfeasible during the best of times). Adapting past lesson plans using current guidelines helps maintain rigorous learning goals and precludes abandoning hard work from previous years. Below are some suggestions for adapting lessons to COVID-19 guidelines as you:

Where Two or Three Gather: Christocentric Distance Learning

Monday, October 26, 2020 by Brian Scully

Higher-Powered Learning - ACE Blended Learning

“[St. Francis called] for a love that transcends the barriers of geography and distance, and declares blessed all those who love their brother ‘as much when he is far away from him as when he is with him.’”

The opening paragraph to Pope Francis’s new encyclical Fratelli tutti reminds Catholic schools of their extraordinary task, fostering an environment of genuine care towards and among our students. Our schools look very different than they have in past years. The call remains: to acknowledge, include, and love each person.

How do we promote true fraternal love among distanced students? How do we deepen our schools’ Christocentric actions? We will look into three aspects of a Christocentric environment—community, tradition, and witness—and some approaches to promoting them through distance learning.

Music To My Ears: Technology in the Performing Arts Classroom

Monday, October 12, 2020 by Brian Scully

Music to My Ears - ACE Higher-Powered Learning

When conceptualizing blended learning, we often think of subjects like math, science, and reading comprehension. Performing arts may seem like it’s on the opposite side of the learning spectrum from technology — “calculation” vs. “inspiration.” Can computers ever enhance performing arts instruction? Brian Scully, the newest member of the HPL Team, writes about his experience teaching music through blended learning and the gift of personalization that technology brought to his classroom.

New Blog, Who Dis?

Monday, September 14, 2020 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

Higher-Powered Learning Blog

The meme “new phone, who dis?” became popular when people began upgrading their smartphones and realized that they didn’t know all of their contacts’ information by heart. When an unsaved contact called or texted, the new phone owner could claim, “new phone, who dis?”

Being an Ally as a Blended Learning Teacher

Tuesday, June 16, 2020 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

Higher-Powered Learning - How to Be an Ally

The Higher-Powered Learning team strives to empower teachers with digital tools to personalize their instruction. While our personalized learning approach hinges on the use of technology, we understand that student data comes from other places, too.

i-Ready Data Suggest Higher-Powered Learning is Addressing Educational Inequalities

Monday, May 18, 2020 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

i-Ready Data Suggest HPL is Addressing Educational Inequalities

In the past few months, eLearning has become necessarily widespread because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Families have quickly implemented at-home structures to teach their children. Unfortunately, the extensive use of eLearning raises issues of equity. Two months after school closings, the New York Times wrote about the stark contrast between the eLearning experiences at a high-income school and a low-income school. This article highlights the differing experiences between two families who attend schools serving students from different income backgrounds. Similarly concerned with disparities during eLearning, EdSurge published an article discussing recent data from the software program, i-Ready. The latest data shows a set of troubling statistics that indicate usage data for the program is related to income levels – lower-income students are using the program at lower rates. Still, when they are using the program, they are using the program for longer periods than those in other income levels.

Accelerating the Transition to eLearning

Friday, May 15, 2020

Accelerating the Transition to eLearning

As the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to move to eLearning, many schools around the country and the world struggled to make this shift. In some cases, districts reduced instructional time, while in others it led to parent, student, and teacher frustration.

Fostering Classroom Communities with eLearning

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

Brigid Krause - Higher-Powered Learning Program

A month ago, schools across the country shut down and teachers prepared themselves and their students for eLearning. Many teachers and school leaders across the country scrambled to find resources to support their students. During this transition, Brigid Krause, a third-grade teacher at Community of Saints Regional Catholic School in West St. Paul, Minnesota, was concerned with acknowledging her students' needs while recreating her classroom community in an online setting. She followed a set of simple teaching practices to guide her transition to eLearning.

Be Not Afraid: Lessons through eLearning

Monday, April 13, 2020 by Francesca Varga

Be Not Afraid - Higher-Powered Learning

Did you know that the phrase “Be not afraid” is used in the Bible 365 times? Talk about a daily message from God! Fear is a great divider. It causes distance between people. It blocks grace from flowing freely and prevents ingenuity. Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”

It is unrealistic during these times to never feel afraid, but I urge you to allow your faith to be bigger than your fear and to look for the things that are more important than fear.

Here are three truths that God has affirmed for me during these past few weeks. These truths inspire me to work for “something more important than fear.”

Ideas for eLearning!

Monday, March 16, 2020 by Francesca Varga

Higher-Powered Learning - eLearning

Thanks to advancements in technology and all the online resources available, social distancing does not have to mean breaks in learning. Although learning may look different for a short period of time, eLearning provides wonderful opportunities for innovation outside the traditional classroom setting. Read on to learn more!

Roses are red, violets are blue, I love blended learning, and you should, too!

Monday, February 24, 2020 by Francesca Varga

hplloveblendedlearning720

Higher-Powered Learning - ACE Blended Learning

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I am taking some time to think about the reasons why I love blended learning. Of course, blended learning yields an extensive list of academic benefits, but what excites me even more is the social-emotional learning blended learning supports.

When properly executed, blended learning creates a classroom environment where personalized instruction happens for each student. I could write a book sharing stories and reasons why I love blended learning. But our teachers can do a much better job! Today I am honored to share the spotlight with two wonderful teachers in our Higher-Powered Learning Program (HPLP) who will help me share the love!

How Mountain Biking is Like School Change

Monday, February 10, 2020 by Kourtney Bradshaw-Clay

Blended Learning Change Management - Higher-Powered Learning at the Alliance for Catholic Education

Mountain bikers must consider many factors to maximize their workouts, but the most important factor is fun maximization.

Similarly, when instituting a change like blended learning in an entire school, plenty of factors should be considered to maximize teacher and student learning. But the most important factor is altering the learning culture at a school. I have found quite a few parallels between mountain biking and instituting school change.

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