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The Delaware Valley Region Pennsylvania Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development


President’s Letter

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Profile DVR-PASCD President

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Book Review

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Habit for Instructional Coaches

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Commentary by Dr. Robert Magliano

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Fall Event Flyer

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Pages 11-14


Delaware Valley Region PASCD Officers Meredith Denovan….……….President Dorie President’s Martin………......President-Elect Letter Colleen Lelli. ….……....Past President Rina Vassallo….……….Vice-President Helene Duckett …..…….…...Secretary Robert Magliano…………..…Treasurer


The Delaware Valley Region of the Pennsylvania Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

To submit articles, information, or feedback, please contact: Monica Conlin Monica_conlin@yahoo.com

President’s Letter September 2014 Dear DVR-PASCD Members, As we begin another school year, I hope that you will look to our organization as a valuable source for your professional development needs. Our spring event entitled, Teaching and Leading in the Digital Age was held Tuesday April 29th at Cabrini College in Radnor, PA. It was a collaborative effort with PAECT, the Pennsylvania Association for Educational Communications and Technology. Because of the positive feedback we received, we are planning a fall event following the same theme. Save the date of Thursday, October 23, 2014 and plan to join us at Neumann University. Detailed information can be found in the newsletter. The other exciting news for us is the new DVR-PASCD website. Go to dvrpascd.org to find out more about our organization. And if you missed our fabulous spring event, you will find an entire section devoted to that event, including session resources. Our partnership with PAECT has enabled us to digitally share resources and information with our members. We encourage you to check out our website. As a professional organization, we are always looking to add to our membership. Please share this newsletter with your colleagues. In the meantime, feel free to contact us for information, propose ideas for region events and/or to see how you can get involved in this fine organization. We look forward to hearing from you! Sincerely, Meredith Denovan Delaware Valley Region-PASCD President Mbd820@gmail.com


Profile DVR-PASCD President Meredith Denovan By Rina Vassallo This month I have the opportunity to profile the current and recently installed President of DVR-PASCD, Meredith Denovan. I have had the privilege of knowing and closely working with Meredith over the past decade of my own involvement with the board. Meredith joined DVR-PASCD 15 years ago. When asked why this organization she replied, “I first joined to take advantage of the many professional development activities that were offered. A pleasant surprise was the networking opportunities that arose as I became more active in the Association. The ability to contact and confer with others who held administrative positions in Montgomery County was invaluable when I started a new job in Upper Dublin after 20 years in Delaware County.” Meredith served as a classroom teacher, reading specialist and administrator in Delaware County for more than two decades. She then capped off her career at Upper Dublin School District in Montgomery County as the K-12 Language Arts Supervisor and Federal Programs Coordinator until her retirement from public education. Since then she has continued to utilize her prodigious talents, albeit in higher education, as Literacy Supervisor for the St. Joseph’s University and Philadelphia School District Partnership immediately after retirement and most recently as an adjunct professor at Drexel University teaching undergraduates and graduates online Meredith adds, “After retirement from public education, I was an adjunct professor at two universities. Being a member of DVR-PASCD enabled me to stay informed on current education issues.” Now retired from higher education, Meredith is even more focused on volunteering her considerable talents in our organization. Besides president, she has served in


numerous and vital roles in the organization including vice-president, secretary, membership co-chair, professional development committee and newsletter editor.

She very generously states, “It is a way of repaying the organization that helped me in my career.” Meredith currently has stepped up to complete Dr. Colleen Lelli’s term as president, which expires in 2015. She said, “ I volunteered to take over as president when Colleen Lelli had to resign because of professional obligations that had to take precedence over the volunteer position she held for three years. I enjoyed working with Colleen on the Executive Board and was more than happy to step in when there was a need”. Meredith most competently led our annual board retreat this summer where the board crafted the following goals for 2014-15: 1. Increase the visibility of our organization through events, newsletters and a web site. 2. Enhance services to our members and subsequently, increase our membership. 3. Continue to expand our partnership with PA Association for Educational Communications and Technology 4. Honor teachers with awards and grants

“It’s a way of repaying the organization that helped me in my career.” PASCD-DVR President Meredith Denovan sharing why she decided to take on the leadership role.


5. Continue our outreach to preservice teachers Several of our board members were quick to add their praise of our Madame President. Veteran Board Member and current Treasurer Bob Magliano said, "Meredith, who was a reading teacher, program supervisor, and principal, has a wealth of experience and expertise which is reflected in her outstanding

organizational skills as well as her ability to get people to contribute and work together. She is a tremendous asset to our DVR Executive Board.” Past President Colleen Lelli added, “In my experience, Meredith Denovan is a leader who never says no- whether the job is registering attendees at a conference or taking on the presidency when truly needed she is there and absolutely dependable. I feel fortunate to work closely with a person of her caliber”. And finally, Linda Bluebello, former Vice- President and Chair of Professional Development, was effusive in her comments quoting leadership guru Warren Bennis. “'Leaders challenge the process because they are risk takers who capitalize on opportunities. As idealists they inspire a shared vision. They... instinctively nurture the talents and energy of colleagues. Leaders enable others to act. ...by serving as coaches and cheerleaders they encourage the heart.' Ando, so we start a new school year with our very experienced, committed and dedicated president and we wish her well in her tenure as leader of the DVRPASCD Board.


Book Review: Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success by G. Richard Shell By Rina Vassallo, Vice President DVR-PASCD I became intrigued with this book after hearing Wharton professor and author, Richard Schell at a program at University of Pennsylvania this past spring. The book is neatly divided into two parts- What is Success and How Do I Achieve it? In the style of Malcolm Gladwell and Daniel Pink, Schell illustrates his ideas via scientific insights, storytelling and personal narratives. He cites his own career path as a young adult in search of meaningful work despite societal and parental pressures. His aha moment was when he learned, “success is not a place”. Each chapter helpfully includes exercises to reflect on the learnings of the chapter and its application to your life. In the first part of the book, Schell explores common definitions of success- happiness, fame, fortune, professional status and meaningful work- and challenges each of us to explore, look at what motivates us and dig deeper into our identity and values. He quotes Proust, “The voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new horizons, but in seeing it with new eyes.” Schell emphasizes that success is a journey as opposed to a destination and can look different depending on where you are on the journey. He states that success can be measured via “outer achievements and inner satisfactions”. The second part of the book with Schell’s activities, guidance and testimonials allows the reader to customize his or her roadmap to success via a unique combination of interests, passions, aptitudes, skills, past experiences and personality strengths. This book would be helpful to anyone beginning a career, thinking of a career change, making a life transition- I guess just about anyone. As an educator and/or a parent this book would greatly inform you in guiding and working with young people. I appreciate it that it challenges common assumptions regarding happiness and success and that it gently leads the reader to fashion a unique path. I will be leading a discussion on this book at West Chester University on the afternoon of October 7th. Please contact me if you are interested in attending- rinav818@gmail.com


Seek to Understand is a Habit for Instructional Coaches By Dr. Dorie Martin, Vice--‐President DVR--‐PASCD As Steven Covey (2004) points out -communication is the most important skill in life. You spend years learning how to read and write and years learning how to speak. But what about listening? What training have you had that enables you to listen so you really, deeply understand another human being? Covey (2004) makes the point that due to our eagerness to have another person understand where we are coming from, we begin to automatically filter through the information we are receiving and in the process are not being fully present or seeking to understand through just listening. Covey (2004) asserts that we tend to filter everything we hear through life experience as a frame of reference. Since we are already formulating our response due to our tendency to listen autobiographically, we tend to respond in one of four ways: Evaluating: Probing: Advising: Interpreting:

You judge and then either agree or disagree. You ask questions from your own frame of reference. You give counsel, advice, and solutions to problems. You analyze others' motives and behaviors based on your own experiences.

When we take the time to listen empathetically to another person, we are honoring his or her “voice” we are providing that person the opportunity to be heard in a meaningful manner. Even more importantly, we are providing another an opportunity to be authentic, without judgment or evaluation. Authenticity is all about being in the moment, being “present”, being in the “now”. As we listen, we also provide space- space for reflection, for a pause, for indifference, or for just a breath. Instructional coaching isn’t a deficit model- it is a growth model. There isn’t a need to rush in and “fix” anyone. Seeking to understand allows an instructional coach to build a relationship and build trust. Seeking to understand influences our abilities to think of creative solutions and alternate possibilities because we are remaining “open”. It is an empowering approach that moves beyond “Oh, I know just how you feel. I felt the same way." "I had that same thing happen to me." "Let me tell you what I did in a similar situation." Non-verbal communication speaks volumes. Relax, sit back, smile and just listen. 


Covey, S. R. (2004). The 7 habits of highly effective people: Restoring the character ethic. New York: Free Press.

Commentary Dr. Robert Magliano, Treasurer, DVR-PASCD Teaching is not a business…I certainly believe this, but there are many education reformers today that do not. A close friend recently sent me an article from the New York Times entitled, you guessed it, “Teaching is Not a Business”. It was written by David L. Kirp, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of “Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America’s Schools.” Kirp states that today’s education reformers believe that schools are broken and that business can supply the remedy. He states that some place their faith in the idea of competition. Others embrace disruptive innovation, mainly through online learning. Both camps share the belief that the solution resides in the impersonal, whether it’s the invisible hand of the market or the transformative power of technology. Neither strategy has lived up to its hype, according to Kirp. He states that it is impossible to improve education by doing an end run around inherently complicated and messy human relationships. All youngsters need to believe that they have a stake in the future, a goal worth striving for, if they’re going to make it in school. They need a champion, someone who believes in them, and that’s where teachers enter the picture. The most effective approaches foster bonds of caring between teachers and their students. Kirp notes that high-stakes reading and math tests are treated as the single metric of success, the counterpart to the business bottom line. Teachers whose students do poorly on those tests get pink slips, while those whose students excel receive merit pay, much as businesses pay bonuses to their star performers and fire the laggards. Just as companies shut stores that aren’t meeting their sales quotas, opening new ones in more promising territory, failing schools are closed and so-called turnaround model schools with new teachers and administrators take their place. Kirp points out that this approach might sound plausible in a think tank, but in practice it has been a flop. Firing teachers, rather than giving them the coaching they need, undermines morale. In some cases it may well discourage undergraduates from pursuing careers in teaching, and with a looming teacher shortage as baby boomers retire, that’s a recipe for disaster. Merit pay invites rivalries among teachers, when what’s needed is collaboration. Closing schools treats everyone there as guilty of causing low test scores, ignoring the difficult lives of the children in these schools—“no excuses,” say the reformers, as if poverty were an excuse. Charter schools have been promoted as improving education by creating competition. But Kirp believes that charter students do about the same, over all, as their public school counterparts, and the worst charters, like the online K-12 schools that have proliferated in several states, don’t deserve to be called schools. Vouchers are also supposed to increase competition by giving parents direct say over the schools their children attend, but the students haven’t benefited. For the past generation, Milwaukee has run a voucher experiment, with much-debated outcomes and questionable academic improvement.


While these reformers talk a lot about markets and competition, the essence of a good education, unfortunately, is not discussed. According to Kirp, it’s bringing together talented teachers, engaged students and a challenging curriculum. Every successful educational initiative in Kirp’s opinion aims at strengthening personal bonds by building strong systems of support in the schools. The best preschools create intimate worlds where students become explorers and attentive adults are close at hand. Kirps notes what he considers a number of successful programs: -




The Success for All model—a reading and math program that, for a quarter century, has been used to good effect in 48 states and in some of the nation’s toughest schools—students learn from a team of teachers, bringing more adults into their lives. An extensive study of Chicago’s public schools, Organizing Schools for Improvement, identified 100 elementary schools that had substantially improved and 100 that had not. The presence or absence of social trust among students, teachers, parents and school leaders was a key explanation. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the nationwide mentoring organization, has had a substantial impact on millions of adolescents. The explanation isn’t what adolescents and their “big sibling” mentors do together, whether it’s mountaineering or museum-going. What counts, the research shows, is the forging of a relationship based on mutual respect and caring. YouthBuild, over the past 15 years has given solid work experience and classroom tutoring to hundreds of thousands of high-school dropouts. Seventy-one percent of those youngsters, on whom the schools have given up, earn a G.E.D.—close to the national high school graduation rate. The YouthBuild students say they’re motivated to get an education because their teachers “have our backs.”

The same message—the personal touch is crucial! However, even as these programs, and many others with a similar philosophy, have proven their worth, Kirp points out that public schools have been spending billions of dollars on technology which they envision as the wave of the future. Despite the hyped claims, he believes the results have been disappointing stating that the data is pretty weak, quoting Tom Vander Ark, the former executive director for education at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and an investor in educational technology companies. In conclusion, Kirp believes that while technology can be put to good use by talented teachers, they, and not the futurists, must take the lead. The process of teaching and learning is an intimate act that neither computers nor markets can hope to replicate. Small wonder, then, that the business model hasn’t worked in reforming the schools. There is simply no substitute for the personal element. No…teaching is not a business! 9

Teaching & Leading in the Digital Age October 23, 2014 at Neumann University 3:30-6:45pm

We’re back! Our spring Leading and Learning event at Cabrini College was so popular that we decided to host it again! We have 3 organizations partnering in order to bring you a quality, afforadable learning opportunity. Please see the list of topics below and check out the agenda for detailed times

. Introduction to PA Learns on iTunesU Panel Discussion: Preparing Students to be Competitive in a Digital Society Innovative and Creative Educational Apps Modeling Digital Citizenship for our Students Teaching Digitally with Google Apps for Education Flipping the Classroom for Learning Support Students For Full Event Details and Registration, visit https://www.smore.com/98pnv Free for PASCD Members, ACT 48 Credits Available

Questions? Contact Us: Meredith Denovan – delawarevalleypascd@gmail.com Brooke Mulartrick – southeast@paect.org



Reastudent cohorts that empha opportunity to customize their studies byexploring areas of 12

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Profile for Delaware Valley Region PASCD

September 2014 Newsletter  

September 2014 Newsletter  

Profile for dvrpascd