Spring/Summer 2024 IMPACT

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1 impact On Instructional Improvement Spring/Summer 2024 Volume 49 No. 1 nysascd.org

nysascdMission Statement

NYSASCD aims to assist educators in the development and delivery of quality instructional programs and supervisory practices to maximize success for all learners.


Executive Board 2023-2024


Mark Secaur

Smithtown CSD


Matthew Younghans

Clarkstown CSD

Immediate Past-President

Mary Loesing

Connetquot CSD (retired)/Science Consultant

Vice President for Communications and Affiliate Relations

Amanda Zullo

Tuper Lake CSD


Deborah Hoeft

Young Women’s College Prep


Marcia Ranieri

Guilderland CSD

Ex-officio NYS Education Department

David Coffey

Associate in Instructional Services in the Office of Standards and Instruction

Executive Director

Mr. Eric Larison

Solvay UFSD (retired) nysascd.director@gmail.com nysascd.org

Board Members

Martha Group

Vernon Verona Sherrill CSD

Brian Kesel

West Genesee CSD

Timothy Eagen

Kings Park CSD

Marcia Ranieri

Guilderland CSD

Gregory Borman

NYC Department of Education

Lisa B. Brosnick

Buffalo State

Cindy Connors

Orchard Park CSD

Dominick A. Fantacone

SUNY Cortland

LaQuita Outlaw

Bay Shore UFSD

Debbie Baker

Genesee Valley ASCD

Ted Fulton

Hicksville CSD


impact On Instructional Improvement

Published by: NYSASCD PO Box 282 Camillus, NY 13031 nyascd.director@gmail.com

Editor - IMPACT LaQuita Outlaw, Ed.D. nyascd.director@gmail.com

Design & Digital Publication: CatStone Press (434) 960-0036 cindy@catstonepress.com

Publication Statement

Impact on Instructional Improvement is the official journal of NYSASCD. Membership in NYSASCD includes a subscription to Impact and the newsletter, NYSASCD Developments. The views expressed or implied in the articles in this publication are not necessarily official positions of NYSASCD or the editor.

Spring/Summer 2024 Volume 49 No. 1 Foreward .......................................................................... 5 Jonathan Klomp The Future of Writing in a World of AI .......................... 6 John Spencer Preparing Pre-Service Teachers .................................... 11 Whitney Rapp and Diana Fusco The DNA of Learning: Part III, Requisite 2 .................. 19 Robert K. Greenleaf, Elaine M. Millen, and LaVonna Roth Never Work Alone! ........................................................ 25 Jonathan Klomp



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Jonathan Klomp, Ed.D., is the Principal of North Babylon High School for over a decade, and is an Active Past-President of LIASCD.

In the best collaborations, each individual is stronger together than they are apart. Examples are easy to find such as Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (Technology- Apple Computers), John Lennon and Paul McCartney (Music- The Beatles), Watson and Crick (Science- DNA Structure), Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera (Art), and Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky (Behavioral Economics). These synergistic partnerships have changed the world by providing new products, innovative ways of thinking, or inspiring new techniques. In every field, great partnerships have invented, innovated, discovered, and created masterpieces. Less famous collaborations exist in our schools, and other organizations, where generative partnerships help spur innovation, continuous improvement, and creativity. Viewing artificial intelligence (AI) as a collaborative partner for both teaching and learning holds enormous promise as we move toward a future where both generative and predictive AI is commonplace in our classrooms and schools.

Generative Large Language Models (LLM), like ChatGPT, Claude, or Bard can generate everything from summaries to song lyrics, poetry, or lesson plans when prompted by their human collaborators. Through back and forth conversation, or prompt engineering, AI can be either brilliant or foolish, a positive friend or a complicit accomplice. Large Language Models are the first and most accessible AI for educators, but predictive AI might soon help educators proactively suggest the best methods to personalize learning, predict students’ behavior before it happens, or provide analysis of the effectiveness of interventions. AI may soon become every educator’s collaborative partner that is always present as a helpful friend.


The Future of Writing in a World of AI Part II: What About Accountability?

John Spencer is is a former middle school teacher and current college professor on a quest to transform schools into bastions of creativity and wonder. He is passionate about seeing schools embrace creativity and design thinking. In his podcast, The Creative Classroom, he explores the intersection of creative thinking and student learning. John explores research, interviews educators, deconstructs systems, and studies real-world examples of design thinking in action. He shares his learning in books, blog posts, journal articles, free resources, animated videos, and podcasts.

Students use AI-generated text but then they screenshot it (which then has the time stamp) and copy and paste it into a Google Document. They then modify the AI-generated text with a color-coded process that makes it easy to visualize how much of the text is human-generated. In using this process, I’ve found that students have re-arranged paragraphs, added entirely new paragraphs, and amplified their writing far beyond the initial AI-generated text.

I mention this because I’ve already had several people reach out to me asking if I would test their AI-detection software. These programs promise to detect cheating by analyzing a piece of writing and detecting whether or not it was human-generated. Within a minute, you receive a score describing how much of the work has been generated by AI. Think of it as a Turn It In on steroids. Oddly enough, these programs are a form of AI. The complex algorithms look at a series of factors to determine if something was AI-generated.

It starts by examining semantic coherence. Human thought tends to be more logical but also contains random digressions. In other words, we tend to take random rabbit trails. It also looks at tone and style. Human writers tend to have distinct styles and tones that are shaped by their experiences, personality, and background, whereas AI-


generated writing may be more generic and lacking in personality. We also use more colloquial language, like the aforementioned rabbit trails. We tend to change verb tenses

used some pieces that contain a hybrid of both. In each case, I found that these algorithms struggled to determine the AI-generated prompts when they were a human-AI hybrid.

We are essentially entrusting advanced algorithms to judge the academic integrity of our students.

more often as well. Finally, these detection programs look at text complexity. Human language tends to be more complex and varied than AI-generated language, which may be more formulaic or repetitive. An AI detector may analyze factors such as sentence length, vocabulary, and syntax to determine if the writing is consistent with human language.

I’ve tested out three of these programs with abysmal results. I used unpublished writing of my own, a series of student pieces, and a bunch of AI prompts generated by ChatGPT. I then

But more alarming, there were many false positives. The AI kept identifying unpublished human work as AI-generated.

This is a disturbing trend as we think about “catching cheaters” in an age of AI. We are essentially entrusting advanced algorithms to judge the academic integrity of our students. Imagine being a student who wrote something entirely from scratch only to find that you failed a class and faced academic probation because the algorithm sucks at determining what is human. This


approach relies on surveillance, detection, and punishment. Even as the algorithms improve in detecting AI-generated text, I’m not sure this is the direction schools should emphasize.

Fortunately, there’s a more human approach to accountability. It’s the trust and transparency approach that my professor friend brought up when she first heard about ChatGPT. Instead of panicking and moving into a lockdown approach, she asked, “How can we have students use the tools and make their thinking visible?”

Cautions for Students Using AI

If you log into ChatGPT, the home screen makes it clear what AI does well and what it does poorly. I love the fact that the technology makes it clear, from the start, what some of its limitations might be. However, there are a few more limitations about ChatGPT that students should consider.

• ChatGPT is often dated. Its neural network relies on information that stops at 2021. This means ChatGPT lacks understanding of emerging knowledge. For example, when I asked a prompt about Russia and Ukraine, the response lacked any current information about the current Russian invasion of Ukraine.

• ChatGPT can be inaccurate. It will make things up to fill in the gaps.

I was recently talking to someone who works at MIT and she described some of the inaccurate responses she’s gotten from ChatGPT. This could be due to misinformation in the vast data set it pulls from. But it might also be an unintended consequence of the inherent creativity in AI. When a tool has the potential to generate new content, there is always the potential that the new content might contain misinformation.

• ChatGPT may contain biased content. Like all machine learning models, ChatGPT may reflect the biases in its training data. This means that it may give responses that reflect societal biases, such as gender or racial biases, even if unintentionally. Back in 2016, Microsoft introduced an AI bot named Tay. Within hours, Tay began posting sexist and racist rants on Twitter. So, what happened? It turns out the machine learning began to learn what it means to be human based on interactions with people on Twitter. As trolls and bots spammed Tay with offensive content, the AI learned to be racist and sexist. While this is an extreme example, deeper learning machines will always contain biases. There’s no such thing as a “neutral” AI because it pulls its data from the


larger culture. Many of the AI systems used the Enron data files as an initial language training. The emails, which were in public domain, contained a more authentic form of speech. But it was also a form of speech that skewed conservative and male because Enron was a Texas-based energy company.

become really good at designing their command prompts.

• ChatGPT lacks empathy. ChatGPT may not be able to understand or recognize the emotional context of a conversation. This can lead to inappropriate or insensitive responses. So, it might give insensitive feedback when a student uses it for the revision process. It might lack awareness and empathy when students ask questions and engage in research.

Deep learning requires an immense amount of processing power.

• ChatGPT lacks contextual knowledge. While ChatGPT can analyze the words in a given sentence or paragraph, it may not always understand the context in which those words are used. This can lead to responses that are technically correct but don’t make sense in the larger conversation. If a student writes a personal narrative, they know the context better than any AI could possibly understand. When writing about local issues for a school newspaper or blog, the AI won’t have the local knowledge that a student journalism team demonstrates. This is why it’s critical that students learn how to contextualize knowledge.

• ChatGPT requires an understanding of command prompts. This sounds simple but it’s easy to miss. ChatGPT isn’t a mind reader, so if students use it to answer questions, they need to

• Chat GPT lacks common sense. I’m not sure how to describe this but some of the answers I’ve gotten on ChatGPT seem silly and nonsensical. ChatGPT’s responses are based solely on the patterns and associations it has learned from text data. It may not always have the common sense or practical knowledge to understand the context of a conversation or provide accurate responses.

• ChatGPT might not be eco-friendly. Deep learning requires an immense amount of processing power. As AI becomes more pervasive, there’s the potential it could accelerate climate change. Wired Magazine described it this way, “deep learning inherently


requires huge swathes of data, and though innovations in chips mean we can do that faster and more efficiently than ever, there’s no question that AI research churns through energy.” On the other hand, certain technologists have looked toward AI as a potential solution for making power grids more efficient and reducing the amount of energy we collectively consume.

We can’t predict what writing will look like in a world dominated by Artificial Intelligence. Deeper learning machines, such

as ChatGPT, are still in their earliest phases of development. Machine learning will grow more advanced and complex in the upcoming decades. For now, many AI tools can’t be used in a K-12 setting. ChatGPT, for example, requires users to be 18 or older to sign up. But we do know that AI is growing rapidly and many of the tools currently used outside of school will have an educational equivalent that is both CIPA and COPPA compliant.


New York ASCD’s e-newsletter has become a valued source of information on national education issues with a New York focus. Topics like observation, evaluation, student achievement, standardized testing, educating the whole child, special education, and communication, STEM, CTE, new graduation requirements, etc. are of interest to everyone and much is written about all of it nationally. Subscribing to our e-newsletter guarantees you monthly insight! Not only is it a place to gain information, we invite all subscribers to submit articles reflecting their thinking and experiences for consideration. The year ahead should be a dynamic one in our state with changes in evaluation again and a new commissioner, to name only two. Subscribe today to keep abreast of what is happening and what people are thinking about!


Preparing Pre-Service Teachers to Implement Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education: The Development of a Classroom Management Plan Based on the NYS CR-S Education Framework

H. Rapp and Diana Fusco

Whitney H. Rapp, Ph.D., is a Professor of Inclusive Education at St. John Fisher University and Associate Dean of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education. Dr. Rapp holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and psychology from the State University of New York at Potsdam and master’s and doctoral degrees in special education from Michigan State University. Dr. Rapp teaches courses on inclusive education pedagogy, assessment, and classroom management. She is the author of the textbook Universal Design for Learning: 100 Ways to Teach All Learners (Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., 2014) and coauthored textbooks with colleagues. Dr. Rapp presents at local, state, national, and international conferences on UDL and inclusive education pedagogy.


Our responsibility as educators is to ensure all students have what they need to be successful—academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. Devastatingly, that has not been the case for all of our students. Systemic injustices have imbalanced educational access and opportunity, further oppressing marginalized groups—students of color, students in the LGBTQIA+ community, students learning English, Muslim students, economically disadvantaged and unhoused students. It is beyond the scope of this article to survey the history and impact of such injustices. Three essential books for every educator are:

• Love, B. (2019). We want to do more than survive: Abolitionist teaching and the pursuit of educational freedom. Beacon Press.

• Murphy, J. (2022). Your children are very greatly in danger: School segregation in Rochester, New York. Cornell University Press.

• Paris, D., & Alim, H.S. (2017). Culturally sustaining pedagogies: Teaching and


Diana Fusco is a graduate of the St. John Fisher University Class of 2023. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Inclusive Childhood Education with a concentration in Psychology. Diana is currently a 5th grade teacher in Knoxville, Tennessee.

learning for justice in a changing world.

Teacher’s College Press.

All children must thrive in the classroom. In order for that to happen, we need to be inclusive, culturally responsivesustaining educators. But what does that mean and what does that look like in the classroom? In 2019, the New York State Education Department presented the Culturally ResponsiveSustaining (CR-S) Education Framework. The principles of the framework provide us with a guide toward dismantling inequitable practices and building inclusive, equitable, responsive and sustaining learning environments for all. The four principles of the framework are as follows:

• Welcoming and Affirming Environment: Collective responsibility to learn about student cultures and communities; close relationships with students and families; social-emotional learning programs; and materials that represent and affirm student identities.

• High Expectations and Rigorous Instruction: Student-led civic engagement; critical examination of power structures; project-based learning on social justice issues; student leadership opportunities.

• Inclusive Curriculum and Assessment: Current events incorporated into instruction; students as co-designers of curriculum; resources written and developed by racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse perspectives; instructional strategies that adapt to diverse learning styles.

• Ongoing Professional Learning and Support: Diversity, equity, and inclusion training; examining implicit bias and interrogation of beliefs and assumptions; support in aligning curriculum and instruction to the histories, languages, and experiences of traditionally marginalized voices.


As Kirkland (2019) states,

“Culturally responsive-sustaining (CRS) education is grounded in a cultural view of learning and human development in which multiple expressions of diversity (e.g., race, social class, gender, language, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, ability) are recognized and regarded as assets for teaching and learning. It is the belief that culture is not an addition but is a critical component of education. It says that culture matters in shaping how people learn” (p. 1).

All practicing teachers need to work toward this goal, and at the same time, we need to be preparing pre-service teachers

...culture matters in shaping how people learn.
-Kirkland (2019)

to think about this and know how to work toward it right from the start. This article provides one example of how pre-service teachers learn to put the CR-S Education framework principles into practice through the development of a classroom management plan in a senior level methods course.


The context is a senior-level course on classroom management. It is a required course in an inclusive teacher education program that leads to both general education

and students with disabilities certification at either the childhood level (grades 1-6) or the adolescent level (grades 7-12). Generally, the course is taken right before the culminating student teaching semester. The outcomes of the course include effective communication with students, families, and colleagues; demonstrating knowledge, understanding and appreciation of diversity; creating learning experiences that honor diversity; knowledge and demonstration of co-teaching models; creating a classroom environment that takes student academic, physical, and behavioral needs into consideration; knowledge of functional behavioral assessments; knowledge of positive behavior interventions and supports; and describes own management, communication and collaboration skills, styles, roles and how these characteristics affect the classroom, communication and collaboration with others. These outcomes are met through the completion of individual and group project-based assignments, including an individually prepared classroom management plan.

The purposes of the classroom management plan are to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of all aspects of managing a classroom; to demonstrate


the ability to analyze practices observed in classrooms or researched in literature for their value in supporting all learners; and to demonstrate synthesis of these practices into a cohesive, evidence-based plan. The preservice teachers in this course may structure and present the plan in any way they choose. The project featured here is a website that structures the classroom management plan around the four principles of the NYS CR-S Education Framework. Due to the use of

the framework and ways to enact it in the classroom to deeply value and support all students. The full project can be accessed at https://dianafusco.weebly.com/

Welcoming and Affirming Environment

Comfy/cozy corner. A comfy/cozy corner is a designated space for students to go to when they are feeling any overwhelming emotion. They are typically referred to as a ‘calm-down corner’ but from personal

...posters and materials that help identify and walk students through regulating feelings and emotions...

mastery grading practices, there are several opportunities for formative feedback, revision and resubmission of the project during the semester. After multiple communications and revisions, the final project developed into an exemplary model for translating the four principles of the CR-S Education Framework into many specific, effective, tangible practices in the classroom.

Examples for the Four Principles of the

NYS CR-S Education Framework

This section lists examples from Fusco’s (2022) Classroom Management Plan. These are just a few examples, and each is quoted directly from the project. They demonstrate a pre-service teacher’s understanding of

experience I don’t think that is the best name for it. I know that if someone told me that I needed to go spend time in the ‘calm-down corner,’ that would probably make me feel more emotional. So, in my classroom I would refer to it as the comfy or cozy corner. A typical comfy corner will have some comforting objects and soothing materials that students can use that promote mindfulness, posters and materials that help identify and walk students through regulating feelings and emotions, and offers students a place to work through and process some emotions that are sometimes overwhelming in the classroom.

I think a comfy/cozy corner is necessary in a classroom because our students are


people too! Right now, the students in my placement are only 9 or 10 years old. At that age, there are so many emotions! They are feeling all the same feelings and emotions that I do, in a smaller body than I have and with less experience. Of course there are going to be overwhelming feelings. My job isn’t to judge them for or invalidate their feelings. My job is to teach them healthy coping skills to get through those feelings, and a comfy/cozy corner is the best way to do that. I give them the tools to help themselves, and they take the reins from there.

Daily SEL check-in. My favorite quote of all time is one from a TED Talk by Rita Pierson, “Every kid needs a champion.” I think that is such a powerful quote for only five words. However, I have always struggled to see how many teachers can be a champion for their students without knowing what kind of champion they need. My solution is daily check-ins. They allow for a more relaxed, informal conversation between the students and their teacher, so they can feel more comfortable in sharing just how they are feeling and communicating what they need. Check-ins can provide teachers with valuable information that can reveal patterns and explain behavior, as well as track changes in student attitudes that may need to be addressed. Teachers can also provide their students with a roadmap for evaluating, understanding and expressing any feelings

or emotions they may be feeling both in- and outside of school. Once students gain the knowledge of how they express their emotions, they can use that language to monitor and regulate their emotions on their own.

I wish my teacher knew…jar. Sometimes, a daily check-in isn’t the right time or place for a student to share something with the teacher. In order to make sure that all students have the space to tell their teacher something important, the ‘I Wish My Teacher Knew...’ jar is the perfect way to go. All it is is a jar with some sticky notes next to it, and whenever a student has something they need to share with the teacher that they maybe don’t want to say in front of the class or don’t necessarily want to say out loud, they can write it down and put it in the jar. This is a place where students know no one besides the teacher will read what they have to say.

When a student is so preoccupied by focusing on their basic needs or dealing with complicated issues outside of school, focusing on learning is next to impossible. This jar is to ensure that students have a way that they can communicate things that are going on in their life, without the added pressure of saying it out loud or one-on-one with their teacher. I recommend using different color sticky notes for different topics. Pink sticky notes for things that students don’t want to be talked to about but that they still want their teacher to know, yellow sticky notes for things they’ll


bring up to the teacher at a later date, and green sticky notes for things that the teacher can pull them aside to discuss. This way the teacher knows exactly how to respond to anything the students put in that jar.

High Expectations and Rigorous Instruction

New word wall. Fourth and fifth grade students are expected to learn about 1000 new words throughout the academic year in order for them to be successful. As educators, we are not only exposing our students to academic language, but also language that is used in their everyday life. Now, more than ever, students are being exposed to words pertaining to social-emotional learning and social justice. Words like equity and homeplace are more than likely not preexisting in our student’s vocabularies. Using a new word wall, students and educators can work collaboratively to share new words that are brought forth by everyone.

Often these are seen in lower elementary classrooms where they put high-frequency words as they learn them. There is no reason to limit a word wall to kindergarteners and first graders. As lifelong learners, we are always coming across new words. Making new words accessible by putting them where all students can see allows for a shared experience of new words. With students and teachers working together to create the word

wall, students will feel a sense of authority and responsibility to continue adding to the wall. The wall acts as an additional support, and almost as an ever changing anchor chart for students to reference and use to their benefit throughout the school year.

Small group work stations. Small group learning improves academic achievements and relationships within the classroom. Students can work collaboratively to solve problems, come to solutions and develop a deeper understanding of the content with very little intervention from the teacher. Usually implemented through the use of centers, small group instruction is often the best way to provide differentiated and specific instruction for students. Students often learn more and retain material longer when learned through small-group instruction and group work. When students are working in a small group without a teacher present, they learn and develop social and leadership skills. They learn how to communicate and include their whole group in conversation and discussion while also balancing those who tend to dominate the conversation.

Inclusive Curriculum and Assessment

Maps. Having visuals in your classroom is so important for students’ learning. Maps encourage students to be curious, explore and can inspire them to problem solve. Social studies allows students to


explain relationships with other people, to institutions, to the environment and provides them with the knowledge and understanding of the past. We find that social studies curriculums are being marginalized, which we see through repeated documentation. About 44% of districts have reduced social studies time. That number increased to about 51% when districts who were considered ‘failing’ were surveyed. The best way to incorporate social studies back into schools is by providing students with visuals that will pique their interest. By denying students these opportunities to build their vocabulary with social studies terms and increase their background knowledge, we are allowing student’s literacy levels to decrease and essentially increasing achievement gaps.

Various forms of assessment. Just as all students learn differently, all students should be assessed in a way that benefits them. We know that not all students effectively demonstrate their learning through tests, so offering alternate assignments like projects and presentations can encourage students to demonstrate their learning in a way that makes sense to them. Offering a range of assessment methods reflects the needs and prior experiences of students and also allows students to develop a wide range of personal and professional skills. These choices allow students to apply their learning in a way that they believe demonstrates it the best, and

encourages them to use various methods throughout the year.

Ongoing Professional Learning

Restorative practices. Examples of some restorative practices that can be used within the classroom include affective statements, community-building circles, small spontaneous conferences and collaborating to create classroom agreements or norms. Restorative practices work to promote self-regulation, teach social skills, and decrease interpersonal friction between everyone included. They can also minimize disruption and distractions. They also aim to hold wrong-doers accountable for the effects of their actions and increase the awareness of how one’s words impact others while providing a safe space for discussions around feelings and emotions. Restorative practices can be used in a proactive way with educators through professional development and with students through self-regulation activities and creating class norms as a class. They can also be used in a reactive way through conferences and circles after an event happens in the classroom or school.

Student-to-teacher reflections. Educators are always reflecting on their own experiences: Whether that lesson was engaging enough or if their students enjoyed the game they played. Many educators have found that encouraging their students to reflect on their teaching has greatly increased their effectiveness. Students


can share something that resonated with them, or something that they didn’t think worked for them. They also allow students to see that their teacher “walks the walk” when it comes to using a growth mindset. Educators are life-long learners, and there is no better teacher than the one being taught. We may not know when a lesson completely flops for a student where they just really can’t grasp the content. With a reflection from the student, a whole new world can be explored because the student was able to share their thoughts and their experience to further their educational journey.


First, it is important to note that the ideas gathered in this classroom management plan are not just dreams of what might be. They are practices seen and tried during field experiences, researched and cited as evidence-based practices, and tied to foundational theories. In addition, this pre-service teacher further questioned and critiqued ideas that she saw and read about to analyze their effectiveness in dismantling inequitable practices and building inclusive, equitable, responsive and sustaining learning environments for all. It is not enough for preservice teachers to learn about the framework or be tangentially familiar with the four principals. They need to fully understand what each principle embodies and purposefully plan for ways that they will translate them into practice in their future classrooms.


Fusco, D. (2022). Classroom management plan. Retrieved March 8, 2023 from https://dianafusco.weebly.com/

Kirkland, D. E. (2019). Journey forward: The New York State’s culturally responsivesustaining education framework. Retrieved March 8, 2023 from https://steinhardt. nyu.edu/metrocenter/perspectives/ journey-forward-new-york-statesculturally-responsive-sustainingeducation

Love, B. (2019). We want to do more than survive: Abolitionist teaching and the pursuit of educational freedom. Beacon Press.

Murphy, J. (2022). Your children are very greatly in danger: School segregation in Rochester, New York. Cornell University Press.

New York State Education Department. (2019). Culturally responsive-sustaining education framework. NYSED.

Paris, D., & Alim, H.S. (2017). Culturally sustaining pedagogies: Teaching and learning for justice in a changing world. Teacher’s College Press.

Pierson, R. (2013, May). Every kid needs a champion. TED Talk. Retrieved March 8, 2023 from https://www.ted.com/talks/rita_ pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion


The DNA of Learning

Part III, Requisite 2:

The Act of Relating

Robert K. Greenleaf, Ed.D., has 45 years of experience in education from superintendent to playground supervisor. He was a former professional development specialist at Brown University and an adjunct professor at Thomas College SNHU and USNII-GSC. As President of Greenleaf Learning Bob specializes in strategies for understanding behaviors, learning and cognition. He holds a doctorate in education from Vanderbilt University and is the author of eight instructional books. bob@greenleaflearning.com


Articles 1 & 2 conveyed that once relationships are mastered, three requisites for purposeful learning can be tackled. Optimal learning depends on competence in the requisites of 1) navigating uncertainties, 2) the art of relating and 3) human cognition.

When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.

Out of the COVID ashes...Relating is Key

Let’s start by exploring how learning takes place. Imagine you are in a class, course or workshop—having the experience that the professor or presenter is on autopilot and not really interested in taking questions or delving far from a seemingly rehearsed script. Ask yourself, what are you feeling at this time? What was your brain telling you about how important the information was? Even if you were intently interested in the beginning... what tends to gradually happen to your enthusiasm as time wears on? It’s been years since most adults have been in a daily, semester long class, so I will take you back


Elaine M. Millen, M.Ed., C.A.G.S., has over 50 years of experience in education as a teacher, principal, director of special education, curriculum director and assistant superintendent of schools. She has taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels in both public and private institutions. As an educational consultant and instructional coach, she has worked with hundreds of school leaders across the country and has written several articles on transforming professional learning opportunities for teachers, students and leaders. Elaine.millen90@gmail.com

there for a moment. Day after day, our students are expected to sit in a room, follow the direction and script of the primary adult in the room, and be totally engrossed and interested in the topic at hand. Take pause and imagine, what does that feel like under the best of circumstances?

Now imagine you are not interested in the content... or that the presentations are generic with no relevance; or that you feel like a burden to question, feel like a number, or that you are a relative unknown amidst the others seated about you. How’s it going for you? What would it take to restore the initial interest in learning you might have had at some point? It is the response to this last question that began our journey almost a year ago as we examined, what does it take to become engaged, to be motivated, and to persist in the learning process? We knew better than to move the chairs around on the deck of the

One more reorganization of deck chairs isn’t going to change the outcome.

Titanic. That ship has sunk over and over with past initiatives. One more reorganization of deck chairs isn’t going to change the outcome.

Before we pour more resources into CIA-based efforts (like the deck chairs), we need to focus on why the ship is sinking. It would be foolhardy to plant a garden with expectations of high yield, without first preparing the soil in which it must grow. The qualities within the soil, based on the plant’s needs will surely impact growth and production. As good as the curriculum, instruction and assessment design might be, if it bypasses the most important aspect of assessing readiness, growth will not happen. Without fully understanding the learners in front of us, who they are, what they need, and how


these things drive their thirst for learning—they will become distracted with the weeds that have grown up around them, and with the lack of nutrients particular to their survival, they will wither away. Attention to the student, prior to curriculum instruction and assessment expectations, will dramatically improve the production of learning. Bypassing what comes first, knowing the interests and the needs of the student, will only continue to perseverate the strong detachment this generation of learners has with this place called school. We have a century of evidence to support this.

The Act of Relating to Others, Process, and Ideas

Some students get good grades and test scores no matter what their schooling is. But what of their learning to learn beyond the allure of grades and scores? When they stop playing the game of school, what capacities remain? Whether a student is motivated by grades or not, our relationship with them will be the most important aspect of our time with them—and more importantly, for their learning disposition beyond the classroom experience. Our influence will be to support today’s assigned studies or more permanently, to impact their world beyond this day.

Just how important are relationships to learning? Think of a favorite educator and/or a memorable subject you engaged in. Unpack, beyond surface reasons, why this person came to mind. Underneath everything, such as interest in a subject, doing well in a subject, the teacher’s sense of humor, the teacher’s expertise... lies a relationship that s/he developed with you and your personal interests. S/he understood something beyond the content of the subject matter and shared the passion for it. Relationships, between people, their interests, and important learnings are the essential glue that promotes active engagement, perseverance to understanding and a work ethic that processes

LaVonna Roth, M.A.T., M.S.Ed. is an engaging and interactive keynote speaker, consultant, educator, and mom. LaVonna bridges her passion for how the brain learns with identifying how every individual S.H.I.N.E.s with their mindset and socialemotional well-being. She supports schools in harnessing the S.H.I.N.E. framework, increasing psychological safety, & building the foundation based on the brain sciences. LaVonna has 3 degrees, is the author of 8 books, and has worked with organizations in the U.S./Canada and internationally.


beyond grades, to sustained memory. What we remember most, in fact, is the importance that person played in our willingness to put forth effort, support our efforts in constructing capacities and celebrating our accomplishments. It is impossible to maximize growth without a purposeful, productive relationship (Millen, 2022).

The Art of Relating to Others

Several years ago, I hired a veteran Reading/Writing Specialist for a Grade 3 teaching position. She came highly recommended and was a good fit for the school. She had never had her own classroom

but was eager to take it on. As the second week of school began, I visited her classroom to see how all was going. Much to my surprise, the classroom was quiet, except for the new teacher’s voice. There were no smiling faces, no questions, no comments… no energy. During a follow up meeting, the teacher admitted she couldn’t get her students to “open up.” They behaved OK and did their work, but no one seemed to be at ease or having a good time. What was missing was relationship. Though attention to curriculum was there, little thought was given to building community. After some discussion she decided to start each day with a morning

She asked herself what questions could be used as she planned daily lessons that would help her students better relate to content, and relate big ideas to their world.

meeting, where she and each student could share something of interest about themselves. The simple, short conversations quickly led to relationship building, fostering a sense of community. Learning became personal, more engaging, and fun. Relationships first, teaching and learning follow (Orvis, 2016).

The Art of Relating Ideas and Process

Soon, the teacher began to explore other aspects of how things “relate.” She discovered that knowing her students well was essential, but just the beginning. Next, she looked at the curriculum and units she had planned to identify major concepts and big ideas. Did students “relate” to this? She asked herself what questions could be used as she planned daily lessons that would help her students better relate to content, and relate big ideas to their world. She developed the following filter questions to ask as she prepared every lesson:

• “What context does this learning reside in that my kids can relate to?”

• “How can I draw their past knowledge and experience into the big ideas of the lessons?

• “When a student acts out, is it attention seeking or connection seeking behavior?”

• “How can I help them understand each other-empathize-relate so as to treat each other respectfully?

• “What process/options would give them choice and relevance in how they go about this work?

As a result of this shift in planning, she found students more eager to participate in class/groups. Discussions were more comprehensive with much more personalized input. Beneath every behavior is a feeling and a fundamental need. When she designed lessons that met student needs, the students became the drivers of their learning, moving forward, while the teacher played the role of the coach.

Moving to Tomorrow

Step 1: Plan each unit/lesson with opportunities for students to relate with one another. Accepting and respecting differences in our schools, has become a major challenge. Teachers have a tremendous


opportunity to provide classroom practices and strategies that foster relationships to highlight our similarities and collective strengths. Facilitating discussions around what connects us together, student interests and important issues in their lives rather than our differences, makes for cooperative community interaction. What is relevant that they will relate to? Which options will help them process to understanding and transfer?

Step 2: As relationships with others evolve, relating to concepts and ideas must also develop for deep learning to occur. This shift in the planning process provides opportunities for students to discuss their personal interests with each other and discuss, by identifying primary take-aways from the lesson, how transferable the learning is to their own future. When learners can relate through context, experience or prior knowledge, they become more interested, motivated and persevere.

Step 3: Relating also applies to learning process. Throughout the learning process, students are reinforced with background knowledge through discussions with peers. Many times, anchor charts are used as prompts to help students understand processes for new learning. As a result, the brain more readily develops a schema that relates parts within a concept or big idea. This enables familiarity for more purposeful processing. Similarly, when we can connect

parts of new learning to prior knowledge and experience, we free up the cognitive load on working memory and can actively process similarities and differences that shape our understanding (Greenleaf, 2006).

The requisite of relating cannot be bypassed or minimized. Without a connection to each other and our work, we’re back in the batter’s box taking random swings at pitches. Too much is at stake for YOUR class, YOUR organization, YOUR satisfaction at work... and most importantly THEIR learning. These required components have a huge return on investment. Theirs—and yours!

Coming soon: Stay tuned for the next part of this DNA series of articles!


Millen, Elaine (2022). Personalized Learning. Paper presented to SAU #9, Conway, NH.

Orvis, Sharyn (2016). Interview with a Principal on Moving a Low SES School to Blue Ribbon Status.

Greenleaf, Robert. (2006). “Brain Based Teaching.” Greenleaf-Papanek Publications.


Never Work Alone! Co-planning Conversations with Your AI Assistant

Jonathan Klomp, Ed.D., has served as the Principal of North Babylon High School for over a decade. Dr. Klomp has served as an Academic Supervisor, Social Studies Director, Assistant Principal, and Administrator for Personnel and Student Support Services. He is on the Board of LIASCD as an Active Past-President, and is Vice-President of the Suffolk County High School Principals Association.

As a high school principal, my impact on student outcomes and achievement is truly a team effort. I manage and lead a talented team that is composed of fellow administrators, secretaries, paraprofessionals, custodians, and, of course, my teachers. Credibility is key in guiding my team to serve our students, and communication is the heart of our teams’ relationships. Now as we enter an unprecedented relationship with artificial intelligence, something profound is occurring. This new partner is no longer just a mindless tool, but more of a team member that we must lead. Examining and relating the five aspects of credibility to working alongside technology where we practice communication through conversation using AI, might benefit both our productivity and help us work more seamlessly with one another.

Metaphors for leadership help us think about our relationships with both the people we lead and the new technology we engage with. For example, Nelson Mandela’s notion that a good leader is “like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock, ...not realizing that all along they are being directed from behind” (Mandela, 2009). With generative AI, we must always tend to the flock and guide it. A leadership framework, like Fisher and Frey’s components of leadership credibility, can also enhance how we work with artificial intelligence. Their components for leadership credibility (2024) include:


relational trust, competent communication, a dynamic passion for learning, truly being present, and being forward-thinking (Fisher, 2024). We must begin to think seriously about our working relationships with emerging artificially intelligent partners in order to create efficiencies in our classrooms and schools. Artificial intelligence options might provide our entire team, especially our teachers, with an efficient and ever-present personalized support staff to creatively plan, enhance communication with students and parents, analyze data and suggest interventions.

Artificial Intelligence: Present and Future

Educators can easily access generative AI that uses Large Language Models (LLMs) which are systems trained on vast amounts of text data to generate human-like responses to natural language inputs. Users can ‘talk’ naturally with LLMs like ChatGPT (Openai), Claude (Anthropic), or Bard-Gemini (Google) which can generate everything from summaries to song lyrics. PerplexityAI has applied artificial intelligence to narrowly redefine the search engine experience. MagicSchoolAI and BriskteachingAI are other examples of LLMs that are specific and can, in their words, “help lighten the load, so teachers can save their energy for where they shine best—in the classroom, in front of students” (Khan, 2024). Generative AI can create something new, even a picture, that is original, but it does so via conversation

with a human. Beware that Generative AI is also known to mix up facts, invent quotes, hallucinate, and therefore is dependent on the user to shape the conversation, give specificity, and ensure the accuracy of the conversation.

Predictive AI, which is currently less accessible to individuals, uses data, statistical models, and machine learning algorithms to forecast future trends and make predictions. Examples of real world uses of predictive AI include everything from predicting geographic areas prone to flooding, to targeting customers with specific ads, and suggesting investments or assessing risk. Predictive AI might soon be a partner for educators to predict, based on many data points, students who are at risk, or those that would benefit from enrichment, as well as families that might need more contacts or support from their schools. As comfortable as we’ve been in the past with using simple or bounded AI like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, or taking Netflix’s recommendations for shows we might watch, the newly available AI is not always being adopted with open arms. AI could soon reach or surpass human-level capabilities (Artificial General Intelligence or Superintelligence) and therefore the time is now to learn how to navigate and incorporate AI as an efficient partner. The next level of AI will include decision making, autonomy, and automation of tasks. The way we interact with AI will parallel how we interact with one another.


Communication and Trust

Everyday leadership in our schools often involves using generative prompts with our faculty and staff who can then create and deliver incredible lessons or remarkable services to our students. As a leader, I find that my communication must be nuanced, empowering, and patient; I am seeking to understand and be understood. Likewise, in our classrooms effective teacher and student communication follows a similar pattern. If the conversation is the relationship, then great educational leaders and teachers are at their heart great communicators and collaborators.

Generative AI offers educators something to bounce ideas off of and receive generative

plans to authentic assessments that are “AI proof” (Dueck, 2023). Teaching and leading make use of prompt engineering with students and adults alike. Thinking about how human communications operate is helpful in establishing two way communication, or dialogue, with AI. Users can revisit their conversations in ChatGPT, Claude or Bard/ Gemini and they can add specificity to improve the output. Like a conversation, when used well, it may seem as if the user is cajoling the AI, and in this way it mimics human interaction in that it can clarify its responses.

Just as relational trust is important between leaders and followers, or teachers and students, trust with AI is not something that should be given blanket permission. It is

It is crucial to verify AI’s accuracy and recognize that AI hallucinations occur due to



biases in

the training data, and result in fictional historical facts or inaccurate quotations.

output. The dialogue between the user and AI is in many ways like that of a Socratic dialogue with the natural back-and-forth exchange of questions, prompts, and responses. Great teachers “prompt” or elicit meaning making by their students (constructivism), and I believe great teachers can become great AI prompt engineers. Together with teachers, LLMs can generate everything from lesson

crucial to verify AI’s accuracy and recognize that AI hallucinations occur due to limitations and biases in the training data, and result in fictional historical facts or inaccurate quotations. As such, AI can be generative, but it can also be completely “off base” in its reasoning and may deliver misinformation. While some people feel autonomous AI will lead to the conflicts portrayed in science


fiction movies, the real mistake would be for users to become unthinking consumers of AI. In fact, the challenge is for educators to help our students learn how to discriminate between what AI can do well and where it falls short.

Forward Thinking and Dynamism

People remain the most important resource we have in our schools. Over the course of my career, I have witnessed the growing expectations and pressures put upon educators. In the post pandemic world it is clear that teachers are stretched and stressed. As a Principal, by sharing responsibilities and collaborating with my team, I reduce the cognitive load we carry. Adding AI to my team has made me more efficient and has reduced stress. Tasks I work on are cyclical, repetitive but unique, and my prompts can get AI to share new ideas or ways of expressing something commonplace. While it would be great to give all of our teachers human assistants and unlimited time for collaboration, I believe teachers might partner with AI and benefit from planning together. Using AI as a partner may reduce stress and make teachers’ jobs easier.

As high school principal I deliver a commencement speech about the past and my students’ future. Last year I shared the following with the Class of 2023:

“Today, I want to discuss intelligence and learning, both real and artificial. Can you think of a better time, than now …to think about your learning and future intelligence? Some people think that this AI technology harkens the end of civilization. Like me, they’ve watched the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, Terminator, too many times and think the existential threat posed by artificial intelligence is imminent. But like I said, a lot has changed, and it has done so at a speed that old people like me can’t believe….But for you, the Class of 2023, it is the ‘new normal’.

Nvidia, the world’s largest and most powerful computer chip maker’s CEO recently gave a speech about the future of work and said that Artificial Intelligence “won’t steal jobs but ‘someone who’s an expert with AI will’”. What he means is that right now using natural language you can prompt a computer to write a computer program for you. Likewise, it could write a graduation speech like this if you prompted it to. Keep in mind I didn’t do that today, but these machines using artificial intelligence can learn through trial and error, and …get better at performing tasks. Right now these machines can create original artwork. They can write musical compositions. When you get home try out DallE and


think of something crazy. DallE creates pictures. For example you could tell it to create a picture of a chocolate poodle, in a canoe, going down a river of candy. Turns out…I have a brown poodle, I had just seen a canoe and I wanted candy…So why not? DallE created eight versions in seconds of what I’d asked it to imagine… There will always be naysayers about technology, some people opposed factory machines for mass production, others opposed the automobile, and neo-Luddites fear technological unemployment as our machines become smarter and artificial intelligence grows, but let’s be honest….machines help us all the time, for example, I can’t imagine typing this speech without spell check….The real question for today’s graduates is how to harness the power of technology. Real intelligence is multifaceted, it’s complex.”

Right from the start, it was clear that AI can help create efficiencies and provide everyone on our team with support. All of us, including teachers, could use the help, but we also all need to learn how to lead our own AI assistants.

Being Present

Change is a constant and the speed at which usable Artificial Intelligence LLMs have been adopted and evolved is truly staggering.

ChatGPT gained one million users in the first five days! Educational leaders and teachers need to familiarize themselves with artificial intelligence, and experiment with how it can improve and simplify our professional lives. Leading and teaching in the Age of Artificial Intelligence should not be feared, and using it might hone all of our leadership skills.

A picture of a happy teacher with their AI Humanoid assistant.


Center for the Governance of AI. (2024, March 30). Statement on AI risk. https:// www.safe.ai/work/statement-on-ai-risk

Dueck, M. (2024). For educators, ChatGPT poses big questions—and big possibilities. ASCD Blog. https://www.ascd.org/ blogs/for-educators-chatgpt-poses-bigquestions-and-big-possibilities

Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2024). The role of credibility. NYASCD Impact on Instructional Journal, 48(1).


Khan, A. (2024). Magic School (Nov 23 version) [Large Language Model]. https:// www.magicschool.ai/mission

Mandela, N. (2009). Long walk to freedom. Flash Point/Roaring Brook Press.

Musto, Julia. Nvidia CEO says companies, people who take advantage of AI will benefit. (2024, April 2). Fox Business. https://www.foxbusiness.com/ technology/nvidia-ceo-grads-learn-ainot-left-behind

Here’s the evolution of my conversation with AI to generate a picture.

First Prompt: Is there a bias or hallucination? Math and a male teacher?


Second prompt: I added “with students”

Third try…..”Include AI is your friend”.

Third prompt is different….look closely at the results! Friend of Fiend?


Changing the style….more realistic.

I like this one….getting warmer….The prompt is better!

33 Final products…

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Lexia From acceleration, to intervention, to English Language Development, to assessment and professional learning, Lexia solutions can be used together or individually to meet all structured literacy needs for any student.

PLC Associates PLC Associates is completely committed to working with schools and organizations to achieve results, simply stated. We will stay with you and provide our “wraparound support” in order to get to the target outcomes each school and district designates. The result – we help you actually achieve your student achievement and performance goals. The company has developed numerous proprietary tools © and methodologies used successfully by schools.

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SAANYS - the School Administrators Association of New York State SAANYS has a long history of supporting New York’s public school leaders and their communities. Their mission is to provide direction, service, and support to their membership in their efforts to improve the quality of education and leadership in New York State schools.

ASCD Connect the dots to your child’s success with the ASCD Whole Child approach to education.




• Is a diverse organization with a strong, representative infrastructure and ties to other professional organizations

• Anticipates and responds to needs and issues in a timely manner

• Provides quality, personalized, accessible and affordable professional development services that support research-based programs and practices, particularly in high need areas

• Recognizes a responsibility to identify and communicate the views of members

• Promotes the renewal and recognition of educators

• Supports the development of teachers and leaders, with an emphasis of those new to the profession


• NYSASCD will provide research-based quality programs and resources that meet the needs of members

• NYSASCD will ensure that NY’s diverse community of learners is reflected in our programs, resources, membership and governance. Diversity will be reflected in the following ways: board members, association members and committees are diverse in terms of gender, age, ethnicity, region of the state, professional position, and years within the position, with the intention of building the capacity of the organizations

• NYSASCD will influence educational policies, practices and resources in order to increase success for all learners

• NYSASCD will create and utilize structures/tools which enable us to be flexible in our actions and responsive to the changing climate and environment within education


• To improve educational programs and supervisory practices at all levels and in all curricular fields throughout New York State

• To help schools achieve balanced programs so that equal and quality educational opportunities are assured for all students

• To identify and disseminate successful practices in instruction, curriculum development and supervision

• To have a strong voice in the educational affairs of the state by working closely with the State Education Department and other educational groups across the state and nation.


• IMPACT-New York State ASCD’s professional journal provides in depth background on state and local issues facing New York State Educators

• ASCDevelopments-the newsletter, furnishes timely announcements on state and local events related to curriculum and instruction

• Institutes-two or three day institutes that bring together national experts and state recognized presenters with practitioners to share ideas and promising educational practices

• Regional Workshops-bring together recognized presenters with practitioners to share ideas and promising educational practices

• Diverse Professional Network-enables members to share state-of-the-art resources, face challenges together and explore new ideas



Over 60 Years of Service to New York State Educators


NYSASCD has provided over 60 years of service under the capable leadership of the following Presidents:

Lance Hunnicut

Fred Ambellan

Ethel Huggard

Lillian Wilcox

Ernest Weinrich

Amy Christ

William Bristow

Bernard Kinsella

Grace Gates

Joseph Leese

Charles Shapp

Gerald Cleveland

Mark Atkinson

Ward Satterlee

Lilian Brooks

John Owens

Dorthy Foley

Anthony Deuilio

Tim Melchoir

Arlene Soifer

Mildred Whittaker

Lawrence Finkel

David Manly

George Jeffers

George McInerney

Thomas Schottman

Helen Rice

Albert Eichel

Conrad Toepher, Jr.

Peter Incalacaterra

Albert Eichel

Robert Brellis

James Beane

Thomas Curtis

Marcia Knoll

Don Harkness

Nick Vitalo

Florence Seldin

Donna Moss

Lynn Richbart

John Glynn

Robert Plaia

Robert Schneider

John Cooper

Diane Kilfoile

Diane Cornell

Marilyn Zaretsky

John Gangemi

Sandra Voigt

Mary Ellen Freeley

Jan Hammond

Linda Quinn

James Collins

Lynn Macan

Judy Morgan

John Bell

Judy Morgan

Brian Kesel

Timothy Eagen

Ted Fulton

Mary Loesing


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