Blog - UVEI - Upper Valley Educators Institute

  • Faculty 2018 Summer Reading List

    The summer months, with more daylight hours and the promise of rejuvenation for weary teachers, provide a perfect opportunity to read deeply. UVEI faculty members share their summer reading lists, pulling from the worlds of history, science, leadership, and national trends to inform their work with novice teachers, experienced educators, teacher leaders, and principals.

    Page Tompkins

    Our Undemocratic Constitutionby Sanford Levinson

    As I’ve been working with social studies teachers over the last several years, I’ve been influenced by the “historical thinking” framework from the Stanford History Education Group, and the Inquiry Design Model from the National Council on the Social Studies. While I’ve seen a move away from history as propaganda towards critical debate about history, I have not seen a similar critical orientation towards civics, which is still dominated by unquestioning reverence for the constitution and the US form of government. I’m interested in a continued exploration of the highest leverage and most provocative questions for argument and debate.

    What Schools Could Be by Ted Dintersmith

    Deep Learning by Fullan & Quinn

    Together, these two books build on my longtime interest in the “deep learning” project, which provides the central rationale for project based learning, proficiency based learning, personalized learning, transferable skills, etc. that are central to the improvement work happening in many of the schools where I work.

    Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (Inspired by my colleague, Kristen Downey, to add this to my list)

    Lab Girl by Hope Jahren (For fun)

    Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann (For fun)

    Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin (Because my daughter said I should).

    Nan Parsons

    Equity Audits to Create Equitable and Excellent Schools by Linda Skrla, Kathryn  Bell McKenzie, James Joseph Scheurich

    Equitable practice and access is a personal focus of mine. When I visit schools, many of the discussions that take place are through the lens of equity.  At UVEI, equity is at the forefront our students’ analysis and reflection. They are asked to complete, analyze, and reflect on an equity audit at their placements to increase equity awareness at the school and district levels.

    A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby K. Payne

    To assist the framing of the equity audit, I am choosing to reread Payne’s book. This time I will bring a new lens to look through when reading the book. My experiences as a teacher and a principal were in schools with poverty levels, as noted by federal free and reduced lunch guidelines, has been in schools with rates of 20% to 45%.  Many of our candidate’s placement schools have significant levels of poverty, some as much as 85%. This requires me as an educator to deepen my understanding in order to better support the clinical work of our candidates. Payne’s work provides a framework for understanding poverty, behaviors, and barriers within social class as demonstrated by what Payne refers to as the hidden rules.

    The Principal: Three keys to maximizing impact by Michael Fullan

    Your First Year as Principalby Teena Green

    Kristen Downey

    Listening to Teach: Beyond Didactic Pedagogy by Leonard JWaks (Editor)

    One of my passions is helping teachers figure out how to limit teacher talk, and design lessons so that students do the heavy lifting. Because this book aims to explore innovative teaching pedagogies designed to foster active listening skills in teachers and students, I’m hoping it will be a resource for teachers I work with who crave strategies to reduce teacher talk time.

    Educated: A Memoirby Tara Westover (for fun)

    Common Core Standards in Diverse Classrooms: Essential Practices for Developing Academic Language and Disciplinary Literacy by Jeff Zwiers, Susan O'Hara, Robert Pritchard (I’m re-reading this book)

    For Everyoneby Jason Reynolds (my teacher friend, Laura, said this is a must-read)

    Chris Ward

    Ambitious Science Teachingby Windschitl, Thompson, & Braaten.

    Mark, Jessica, and Melissa are former colleagues from the University of Washington who created the AST framework for educating novice science teachers. Now it’s a book! I’m considering using it with the science teaching candidates next year even before reading it.

    Intentional Talk: How to Structure and Lead Productive Mathematical Discussions by Kazemi and Hintz.

    Elham and Allison are also former colleagues whose work on elementary math instruction has been influential. Getting students’ mathematical thinking into discourse is hard!

    Kristin Hubert

    Design Thinking for School Leaders by Gallagher & Thordarson

    This book discusses the five roles and mindsets that ignite positive change in schools. This book appeals to me because it asks us to rethink the traditional paradigm of leadership, and consider modern education through the lens of a design-inspired leader. In my role working with principal interns next year, it is my hope that this book will help inform not only my practice but also my pedagogy, as UVEI continues to change the landscape of leadership in the Upper Valley and beyond.

    Unstuck: How Curiosity, Peer Coaching, and Teaming Can Change Your Schoolby Bryan Goodwin, Tonia Gibson, Dale Lewis, and Kris Rouleau

    Courageous Conversations About Race by Glenn Singleton

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  • Take the Leap Into Leadership


    I have spent my career at Fair Haven Union High School (FHUHS) in several roles. I worked for two years as our Section 504 Coordinator before taking a position as an English teacher. I loved teaching English, especially when I saw my students blossom into confident writers and speakers. However, I found myself continually looking for ways to stretch myself, learn new things, and take on leadership roles. When I had the opportunity to apply for a formal leadership role, I felt like it was the right place and time to push myself even further.

    As the Dean of Students and a Proficiency Based Learning (PBL) Coach at FHUHS, I get to have so many meaningful interactions with students and teachers every day. There is certainly added stress with this position, however I find myself energized each day by the notion that I can help move our building and our community in a positive direction. I have been given the opportunity to enrich instructional practices, forge stronger connections with our families, and provide a safe and welcoming environment for our students. All of this work can be demanding, but I come into work and leave every day knowing that I’m where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing.

    No matter what role you have in a school, make trust your number one priority. You cannot force others to go in the direction you think is best. Rather, they have to be excited about the path you set out in front of them, and choose to walk down it with you. Be transparent, be honest, and be humble. No one expects you to be perfect, but they do expect you to be a good person. Do what you say you will do, and admit when you’re wrong. These simple things will carry you far.

    I see myself as proof that everyone can grow if they are open to the possibilities presented to them. Don’t be afraid to take the leap, or even just the next step. Great things await those who work hard, believe they can achieve, and help others believe in themselves.

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