Creating and Managing Powerful Professional Learning Teams

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Moderator. Elizabeth Rich, online editor at teachermagazine.org and editor of the Teacher Professional Development Sourcebook . www.teachermagazine.org. www.teachersourcebook.org. Guests. Anne Jolly is an educational consultant and President of PLTWorks, LLC. A former Alabama Teacher of the Year, she serves on several national commissions and panels, including the Governor's Commission on Quality Teaching and the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Education Coalition. She is the author 31298

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Creating and Managing Powerful Professional Learning Teams

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1. Creating and Managing Powerful Professional Learning Teams

2. Moderator Elizabeth Rich, online editor at teachermagazine.org and editor of the Teacher Professional Development Sourcebook

3. Guests Anne Jolly is an educational consultant and President of PLTWorks, LLC. A former Alabama Teacher of the Year, she serves on several national commissions and panels, including the Governor’s Commission on Quality Teaching and the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Education Coalition. She is the author of Team to Teach: A Facilitator’s Guide to Professional Learning Teams.

4. Guests Nancy Fichtman Dana is a professor of education and the director the Center for School Improvement at the University of Florida. She is the author of four books, including The Reflective Educator’s Guide to Professional Development: Coaching Inquiry-Oriented Learning Communities, which she co-authored with Diane Yendol-Hoppey.

5. Creating and Managing Powerful Learning Teams Webinar Nancy Fichtman Dana, Professor College of Education, University of Florida [email protected]

6. What’s in a name? “Learning Team” “Professional Learning Community” “Collaborative Action Research Group” “ Whole-Faculty Study Group” “Critical Friends Group (CFG)” “Inquiry-Oriented Learning Community” May 12, 2009 6 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

7. “Learning Team” Definition Learning teams serve to connect and network small groups of teachers to do just what their name entails – learn from practice. They meet on a regular basis and their time together is often structured by the use of protocols to ensure focused, deliberate conversation and dialogue by teachers about student work and student learning May 12, 2009 7 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

8. What are protocols? A script or series of timed steps for how a conversation among teachers on a chosen topic will develop Numerous protocols are available from the National School Reform Faculty http://www.nsrfharmony.org May 12, 2009 8 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

9. Professional Development Traditional PD Learning Teams May 12, 2009 9 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

10. Gears for Learning Commingling tools creates job-embedded professional development that is powerful enough to lead to school improvement. May 12, 2009 10 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

11. Components of the Action Research (Inquiry) Cycle Wondering (Question) Development Data Collection Data Analysis Synthesis/Sharing Action May 12, 2009 11 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

12. What might a learning team look like? May 12, 2009 12 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

13. Q: Who leads the learning team? A: A coach or leadership rotates among teachers The coach… Identifies time to meet Facilitates the group in establishing and maintaining norms Helps the group maintain their focus on teacher practice and student learning Builds a plan that ties to school goals Maintains communication with principal Facilitates the establishment of agendas that target the group’s focus and goals Engages the group in the documentation of the activities and strategies explored May 12, 2009 13 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

14. What might a learning team look like? May 12, 2009 14 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

15. Debbi’s Wondering What is the relationship between my fourth graders’ fluency development and the reading of fractured fairy tales? May 12, 2009 15 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

16. Why fluency and fractured fairy tales? Supported by research Fun for students and Debbi Took a small amount of time May 12, 2009 16 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

17. Debbi’s Instructional Plan Day One: Students chose parts, Debbi read the play to the group, then students practiced silently Day Two: Students practiced silently, then aloud with the group to Debbi; Debbi followed with short individual conferences Day Three: Students practiced silently, then aloud with the group to Debbi Day Four: Students practiced silently, then presented aloud with the group to the class May 12, 2009 17 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

18. Debbi’s Data DIBELS Observation of Students - Anecdotal Notes Student Artifacts – “Dear Mrs. Hubbell” letters May 12, 2009 18 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

19. Debbi’s Data Analysis Chart DIBELS data - Compare DIBELS scores over time Read Through Observations and Student Artifacts multiple times asking questions such as: What was happening? What have I learned about myself as a teacher? What have I learned about children? What are the implications of my findings for my teaching? Continually discussed data and analysis with her learning team May 12, 2009 19 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

20. DIBELS Test Results 10/18 12/1 2/10 2/21 4/6 J 48 53 55 60 73 B 81 98 114 105 164 C 90 98 95 100 130 Ja 64 70 92 85 119 T 93 96 88 97 121 S 94 91 86 78 113 M 84 101 99 107 127 May 12, 2009 20 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

21. Debbi’s Themes: Enjoyment/Enthusiasm Students perceive academic benefits Positive social interactions May 12, 2009 21 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

22. May 12, 2009 22 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

23. May 12, 2009 23 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

24. May 12, 2009 24 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

25. Learning Team’s Action Develop school/district wide fluency objectives Homework for 60 wpm kids vs. 180 wpm kids Make literacy centers more effective Connect to struggling readers in secondary school May 12, 2009 25 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

26. What might a learning team look like? May 12, 2009 26 Nancy Fichtman Dana, College of Education, University of Florida

27. To Discuss on Our Forum Have more questions about professional learning teams? Advice or input you want to share on launching PLTs or making them more effective? Join our new discussion forum on PLTs and keep the conversation going: www.edweek.org/go/plt

28. Teacher PD Sourcebook For more information on professional development resources, including our professional development directory, visit the Teacher Professional Development Sourcebook: http://www.teachersourcebook.org

29. Professional Learning Teams Teaming to improve the quality of instruction 29 Team to Teach: Anne Jolly I’m glad to be with you today. Nancy and I share a common passion for this work – that is, the work of improving the opportunities and effectiveness of teacher learning that leads to increased student learning. I’m glad to be with you today. Nancy and I share a common passion for this work – that is, the work of improving the opportunities and effectiveness of teacher learning that leads to increased student learning.

30. Effective learning teams focus on . . . Professional learning Building collective knowledge Working within a small, cohesive group Developing an ethic of interpersonal support and caring 30 Team to Teach: Anne Jolly To recap what Nancy’s already said, here’s what we know now about the kind of teaming that makes a difference – a difference for students and for teachers. These teams focus on teacher learning that goes beyond individual learning. Teachers typically focus on content knowledge and pedagogy. They build their collective capacity to deliver effective instruction in areas of student need by working together in a small, cohesive group on an ongoing basis. Their relationships are such that they support one another and begin to develop a collective sense of responsibility for helping one another be successful teachers. To recap what Nancy’s already said, here’s what we know now about the kind of teaming that makes a difference – a difference for students and for teachers. These teams focus on teacher learning that goes beyond individual learning. Teachers typically focus on content knowledge and pedagogy. They build their collective capacity to deliver effective instruction in areas of student need by working together in a small, cohesive group on an ongoing basis. Their relationships are such that they support one another and begin to develop a collective sense of responsibility for helping one another be successful teachers.

31. In all cases, the focus is on student achievement and success through the education and learning of adults. 31 Team to Teach: Anne Jolly These teams focus on teacher learning in areas where their students need them to be better teachers. Understanding this, agreeing with it, and knowing what needs to happen is one thing. But when you announce this initiative to teachers, this is what you may encounter . . . These teams focus on teacher learning in areas where their students need them to be better teachers. Understanding this, agreeing with it, and knowing what needs to happen is one thing. But when you announce this initiative to teachers, this is what you may encounter . . .

32. Team to Teach: Anne Jolly 32 So the question for the rest of this webinar is . . . So the question for the rest of this webinar is . . .

33. How do we make it happen? 33 Team to Teach: Anne Jolly I’ll be addressing you as if you are a person who might be facilitating this process. You’ve learned about the “What to” of productive teacher teaming. This part of the webinar focuses on the “how to” of engaging teachers in successful teamwork. A couple of things to note . . . The process I'll describe is not a linear process, but these are basic “chunks” of getting teams up and running that seem to work. So let’s pretend that these are linear and start with Step 1. I’ll be addressing you as if you are a person who might be facilitating this process. You’ve learned about the “What to” of productive teacher teaming. This part of the webinar focuses on the “how to” of engaging teachers in successful teamwork. A couple of things to note . . . The process I'll describe is not a linear process, but these are basic “chunks” of getting teams up and running that seem to work. So let’s pretend that these are linear and start with Step 1.

34. Step 1: Build the Foundation Give teachers a rationale for why they should engage in professional learning teams. At this stage you should lead activities to help teachers answer this question . . . Why should we do this? 34 Team to Teach: Anne Jolly Teachers already have a lot of meetings. They will want to know how these meetings are different. What value will another meeting bring? Why would they work together on instruction? Teachers already have a lot of meetings. They will want to know how these meetings are different. What value will another meeting bring? Why would they work together on instruction?

35. Effective teaching matters Teacher professional learning matters Collaborative team learning works Learning teams are about improving the quality of instruction. Team to Teach: Anne Jolly 35 Research supports the idea that the teacher is the most important influence on student learning, and the difference between effective and ineffective teaching is profound. For students to be well prepared for their world, teachers must continually work on and improve their own knowledge and expertise in content, current teaching strategies, and assessment. Refer to Nancy’s slides and comments. Following a one-shot workshops, only 8% of teachers implement what they’ve learned to the extent that it becomes part of their regular practice. And that only counts the teachers that attend the workshop. An examination of research that shows that collaborative, ongoing, job-embedded professional development results in higher teacher and student learning. Also remember to introduce ideas to teachers in ways that . . . .read bullets. Research supports the idea that the teacher is the most important influence on student learning, and the difference between effective and ineffective teaching is profound. For students to be well prepared for their world, teachers must continually work on and improve their own knowledge and expertise in content, current teaching strategies, and assessment. Refer to Nancy’s slides and comments. Following a one-shot workshops, only 8% of teachers implement what they’ve learned to the extent that it becomes part of their regular practice. And that only counts the teachers that attend the workshop. An examination of research that shows that collaborative, ongoing, job-embedded professional development results in higher teacher and student learning. Also remember to introduce ideas to teachers in ways that . . . .read bullets.

36. Step 2: Preview the Process Give teachers information about the professional learning team process. This step helps teachers answer the question . . . What will we be doing? Team to Teach: Anne Jolly 36 What will this learning team stuff look like?What will this learning team stuff look like?

37. What will we be doing? Provide a clear picture of team behaviors and activities. Give teachers opportunities to compare and contrast with current team meetings. Help teachers identify appropriate and inappropriate activities for learning team meetings. Team to Teach: Anne Jolly 37 Use a number and variety of ways in doing this. You might use videos of team meetings, or . . . even better, I find . . . skits to help teachers identify components of learning team meetings – what happens in these meetings and, just as important, what doesn’t happen. Help teachers identify activities which may be appropriate for some team meetings but not at learning team meetings. Help teachers learn and use these four important words . . . “Not at this meeting!” THESE MEETINGS FOCUS ONLY ON TEACHER PROFESSIONAL LEARNING AND GROWTH – keeping in mind, always, that this learning and growth occurs in areas of identified student need. Use a number and variety of ways in doing this. You might use videos of team meetings, or . . . even better, I find . . . skits to help teachers identify components of learning team meetings – what happens in these meetings and, just as important, what doesn’t happen. Help teachers identify activities which may be appropriate for some team meetings but not at learning team meetings. Help teachers learn and use these four important words . . . “Not at this meeting!” THESE MEETINGS FOCUS ONLY ON TEACHER PROFESSIONAL LEARNING AND GROWTH – keeping in mind, always, that this learning and growth occurs in areas of identified student need.

38. Step 3: Prepare and Organize This step involves taking care of logistical considerations. It answers the question . . What do we need to do to get ready? Team to Teach: Anne Jolly 38 These are the logistics. How will we make this work? From the school side . . . What do teachers need to know and be able to do? What factors in the current school organization and culture will facilitate this, and which might be barriers? What is the current level of motivation of teachers? What incentives are in place to help this work? These are the logistics. How will we make this work? From the school side . . . What do teachers need to know and be able to do? What factors in the current school organization and culture will facilitate this, and which might be barriers? What is the current level of motivation of teachers? What incentives are in place to help this work?

39. Four Readiness Considerations What do teachers need to know and be able to do? What is the current level of teacher motivation and commitment? What factors and policies in the school organization will facilitate this effort, and which might be barriers? What incentives are in place to help move this initiative forward? Team to Teach: Anne Jolly 39 You need to gather this kind of information up front before rolling out the learning team initiative, and you need to continue looking at these four drivers throughout the implementation process. With regard to teacher motivation . . . ask them this question . . . what value do you see in learning team participation? You need to gather this kind of information up front before rolling out the learning team initiative, and you need to continue looking at these four drivers throughout the implementation process. With regard to teacher motivation . . . ask them this question . . . what value do you see in learning team participation?

40. Other Logistical Considerations How many people per team? When will we meet? How often will we meet? Where will we meet? Who will be on each team? Team to Teach: Anne Jolly 40 How many per team? Teams should be small – about 3 to 6 teachers is optimal. When will we meet? During the school day is optimal. Once per week is optimal. Where will we meet? Comfortable surroundings away from interruptions is optimal Who will be on the teams? Logistics may dictate this. Need to have an area of common focus – may be an academic area like reading, or a topic such as differentiated instruction. Teams may work together around a set of common strategies to address this area and a sort of team action research approach. Or, team members may be from different subject areas or grade levels and work on a common focus, but each approach it from a slightly different angle. How many per team? Teams should be small – about 3 to 6 teachers is optimal. When will we meet? During the school day is optimal. Once per week is optimal. Where will we meet? Comfortable surroundings away from interruptions is optimal Who will be on the teams? Logistics may dictate this. Need to have an area of common focus – may be an academic area like reading, or a topic such as differentiated instruction. Teams may work together around a set of common strategies to address this area and a sort of team action research approach. Or, team members may be from different subject areas or grade levels and work on a common focus, but each approach it from a slightly different angle.

41. Step 4: Define Team Expectations This step involves the team in setting norms. This is the first thing the teachers will do when they get together, and plays a major role in helping teams be productive. It answers the question . . . What behaviors do we value in one another? Team to Teach: Anne Jolly 41 So far you’ve set the stage for this initiative. You’ve introduced teachers to the idea of learning teams, provided a rationale, you’ve organized and prepared. Now the teachers are face to face. What do they do now? You’re going to ask them to set some norms. This is not necessarily going to set well if teachers approach this as simply making a list of things they already know they should do. Rather than that approach, ask them to answer the question above . . . Once they talk about what they value in other team members and way, and reach a consensus on what some values they hold in common, these become the basis for their norms. So far you’ve set the stage for this initiative. You’ve introduced teachers to the idea of learning teams, provided a rationale, you’ve organized and prepared. Now the teachers are face to face. What do they do now? You’re going to ask them to set some norms. This is not necessarily going to set well if teachers approach this as simply making a list of things they already know they should do. Rather than that approach, ask them to answer the question above . . . Once they talk about what they value in other team members and way, and reach a consensus on what some values they hold in common, these become the basis for their norms.

42. Setting norms in this way can . . . Give teams a meaningful task to begin their first meetings. Provide an opportunity for conversations that can help team members get to know one another and begin building trust. Provide a way for a team leader to guide productive meetings. Team to Teach: Anne Jolly 42 Setting the norms in this way helps with productive meetings in several ways. Setting the norms in this way helps with productive meetings in several ways.

43. Step 5: Set Data-Based Goals Teachers will focus their study and learning on an area in which their students need them to be more effective teachers. This step answers the question . . . What is our purpose? Team to Teach: Anne Jolly 43 Team goals for learning teams may have a slightly different focus from traditional goals. Traditional goals generally focus on student learning. These goals focus on teacher learning. Team goals for learning teams may have a slightly different focus from traditional goals. Traditional goals generally focus on student learning. These goals focus on teacher learning.

44. What is our purpose? For these meetings, team goals focus on teacher learning. For example, What can we do differently in our classroom to improve student fluency in math computation? What research-based teaching strategies can we use to increase student reading comprehension? or We will study inquiry-based teaching methods to promote higher-order thinking and problem-solving. Team to Teach: Anne Jolly 44 These types of goals help to keep teachers on track with their purpose and task. It’s difficult to keep team meetings from drifting back into traditional meetings. The focus of these meetings is teacher learning, and the goal should reinforce this. These types of goals help to keep teachers on track with their purpose and task. It’s difficult to keep team meetings from drifting back into traditional meetings. The focus of these meetings is teacher learning, and the goal should reinforce this.

45. Step 6: Develop a Plan Focus on planning as a process, not as a form to fill out. It involves giving teachers guidance in how to think about what is, what should be, and how to fill in that gap. This step answers the question . . . How will we achieve our purpose? Team to Teach: Anne Jolly 45 Don’t begin by giving the teachers a form that’s a “to do” list. They’ll just fill it out and that’ll be it. Instead, give them questions to involve them thoughtful reflection Don’t begin by giving the teachers a form that’s a “to do” list. They’ll just fill it out and that’ll be it. Instead, give them questions to involve them thoughtful reflection

46. Provide questions such as . . . What do we believe high-quality teaching in this area looks like? What do our current instructional practices look like? What beliefs about our students do we want our teaching to reflect? What do we need to understand at a deeper level to be able to increase student learning in this area? Team to Teach: Anne Jolly 46 Ill give you a moment to look at these questions. This kind of reflection and conversation can help teachers begin to build the kind of plans and procedures they need. This also illustrates the kinds of refection in which teachers need to engage during learning team meetings. These meetings are truly about the “art” of teaching. Ill give you a moment to look at these questions. This kind of reflection and conversation can help teachers begin to build the kind of plans and procedures they need. This also illustrates the kinds of refection in which teachers need to engage during learning team meetings. These meetings are truly about the “art” of teaching.

47. Step 7: Conduct Successful Meetings Productive meetings occur with careful attention, planning, troubleshooting, and concrete suggestions for how team members can interact productively. This step answers the question . . . How will we get this done? Team to Teach: Anne Jolly 47 Maybe we should say, “How will we get this done without killing one another?” No one has time to spend in unproductive and unsuccessful meetings. Maybe we should say, “How will we get this done without killing one another?” No one has time to spend in unproductive and unsuccessful meetings.

48. Productive Conversations Share facts Share feelings and reactions Discuss applications and implications Make a decision 48 One way to help with productive meetings is to help teams with ways to keep conversations on task. This quick four-step method is based on “The Art of Focused Conversation” edited by Stanfield. This is a “light” protocol and need not be used at every meeting. It’s a great tool for keeping conversations on track when discussing an article or a particular issue. Teams should always make a decision before leaving a meeting. If they don’t make a decision, they won’t feel it’s been a productive meeting. One way to help with productive meetings is to help teams with ways to keep conversations on task. This quick four-step method is based on “The Art of Focused Conversation” edited by Stanfield. This is a “light” protocol and need not be used at every meeting. It’s a great tool for keeping conversations on track when discussing an article or a particular issue. Teams should always make a decision before leaving a meeting. If they don’t make a decision, they won’t feel it’s been a productive meeting.

49. Communicate, Communicate! Team logs should contain . . . Big ideas Decisions Plans for the next meeting 49 Avoid templates and things that lock teams in visually. Avoid trying to “direct and steer” teams by giving them templates that are really a list of all the things you think the team should do. It’ll be a fill-in-the-blank exercise. Regular logs provide . . . Opportunities for instructional feedback and interaction between the principal and team members A way to mentor and nurture teams as they grow. A way to help the principal have an instructional conversation with teachers A way to share information with other teams. A way to make the team’s work public. Documentation for professional learning credit, personal growth plans, mentoring activities, school accreditation status, funding proposals, etc. Avoid templates and things that lock teams in visually. Avoid trying to “direct and steer” teams by giving them templates that are really a list of all the things you think the team should do. It’ll be a fill-in-the-blank exercise. Regular logs provide . . . Opportunities for instructional feedback and interaction between the principal and team members A way to mentor and nurture teams as they grow. A way to help the principal have an instructional conversation with teachers A way to share information with other teams. A way to make the team’s work public. Documentation for professional learning credit, personal growth plans, mentoring activities, school accreditation status, funding proposals, etc.

50. Step 8: Maintain Team Momentum A number of barriers and issues will arise that might derail teams without awareness and attention. This step answers the question . . . How will we keep it going? Team to Teach: Anne Jolly 50 A lot of rich information on ways to help teams sustain their work throughout the year. These include Knowledgeable guidance about issues such as building trusting behaviors; dealing with resistance and bad attitudes; productive and frequent feedback Interventions Incentives Resources And establishing and maintaining good relationships with and among team members. A lot of rich information on ways to help teams sustain their work throughout the year. These include Knowledgeable guidance about issues such as building trusting behaviors; dealing with resistance and bad attitudes; productive and frequent feedback Interventions Incentives Resources And establishing and maintaining good relationships with and among team members.

51. Step 9: Assess Team Progress. Throughout the process, keep track of changes in teacher learning, teacher behaviors, and results. This step helps teams answer the question. . . How are we doing? 51 Teams need to self-assess frequently to determine their progress, what they are learning, how well they are working together, how they measure up in terms of what they are doing and accomplishing. These are formative, perceptual surveys that help teams get on track and stay there. Teacher learning: Focus on changes in teacher beliefs and attitudes about teaming and about teaching. Teacher behaviors: How have teachers interactions and teamwork changed? How has their classroom teaching changed? Results: What has this teamwork achieved for students? How has it affected school morale and culture?Teams need to self-assess frequently to determine their progress, what they are learning, how well they are working together, how they measure up in terms of what they are doing and accomplishing. These are formative, perceptual surveys that help teams get on track and stay there. Teacher learning: Focus on changes in teacher beliefs and attitudes about teaming and about teaching. Teacher behaviors: How have teachers interactions and teamwork changed? How has their classroom teaching changed? Results: What has this teamwork achieved for students? How has it affected school morale and culture?

52. Successfully guiding teams takes ongoing learning, awareness, and regular practice. This step answers the question . . . What does a facilitator need to know and do to make learning teams successful? 52 Step 10: Lead for Success A facilitator is the chief among learners – always alert to where the teams are in terms of their development, team needs and how to address them, levels of trust and morale, and how to skillfully manage the learning team process. Facilitators don't start out knowing those things . . . They just understand what they need to know and go about the process of learning it. Each situation and each team is unique, but I genuinely believe that you will find this the most rewarding and valuable initiative you can implement. And with that I’ll turn it back over to . . . A facilitator is the chief among learners – always alert to where the teams are in terms of their development, team needs and how to address them, levels of trust and morale, and how to skillfully manage the learning team process. Facilitators don't start out knowing those things . . . They just understand what they need to know and go about the process of learning it. Each situation and each team is unique, but I genuinely believe that you will find this the most rewarding and valuable initiative you can implement. And with that I’ll turn it back over to . . .

53. Professional Resources Team to Teach: Anne Jolly 53 Nancy and I just went through a ton of information in a very short period time.  More information can be found in these books.  These are two of many possible resources that an help you on your journey. Nancy and I just went through a ton of information in a very short period time.  More information can be found in these books.  These are two of many possible resources that an help you on your journey.

54. Question & Answer Session

55. How do public schools schedule PLTs into the school day?

56. Does the whole faculty have to buy in, or can a group of 4-5 teachers commit to get it rolling?

57. How do we get more staff to participate without making it mandatory?  

58. How can I get teachers to open up and share lessons without being protective of their work?

59. How do you balance the need for teacher directed topics of inquiry with district- or school-wide initiatives?

60. What kinds of tools (webinars? wikis?) can be used to facilitate collaboration?

61. Speaker

62. Speaker

63. An on-demand archive of this webinar is going to be available at www.edweek.org/go/webinar in less than 24hrs.

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