OC for SS After Party // Keynote Danielle Allen in conversation with Angela Williams-Pitkonen // 08-04-2022

The work Danielle Allen has done with the Democratic Knowledge Project to help educators provide the skills necessary for students to succeed in operating their democracy is inspiring and an excellent topic to be considering as we prepare to return to the classroom. 

What was your biggest takeaway after listening to the conversation between Angela and Danielle?  

Leave a comment below on how you will use the information from her keynote address to prepare for this upcoming school year! 

Top Replies

Parents Reply Children
  • So good! And if I may, do you mind sharing ways that you frontload the newsletter, sharing of your philosophy, etc.? Maybe which site you use to conduct parent surveys?

  • During the first week of school, I send home a welcome letter that introduces families to me through who I am as a teacher, my educational journey and philosophy, connection to the school district through my own children, and a podcast between me and a former student answering questions that I often get asked about my educational background. I also include a fun true and false quiz with answers/feedback about me as a person as a way to humanize me.

    I have used Survey Monkey and Google Forms for surveys, but I now exclusively use Forms, so I can connect responses to families and contact them if necessary. I used Survey Monkey for anonymous responses, which is also effective in getting overall info about my families. When I survey famililes, I ask them about their concerns, what they would like to see as a part of the curriculum, students strenglths and hopes for improvement, tips on how to work with their students (especially students with 504's and IEPs), funny anecdotes about students or even challenges they are struggling with, and about their expertise. I encourage parents to be a part of the class, and I've had great success with parent involvement by coming to the school to participate in creative writing workshops with small groups, speaking via Zoom (journalists, authors, engineers, game development, etc.), helping to read essays anonymously for student writing contests, or answering interview questions via email. 

    Through my newsletters, I send home a weekly schedule and discussion about what we are learning about and why. When families feel appreciated, they appreciate me a lot more and give me the benefit of the doubt more often than not. ;)

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you! Since I'm in secondary I have always focused more on letters direct to students, but something clicked when you mentioned parent surveys. Since Google is blocked in China, I like surveymonkey, and our school also uses MS Teams. I have a few weeks before we head back and will definitely implement some of these ideas. Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to explain all of this!

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