Schools that demonstrate alignment go beyond random acts of improvement. They filter all decisions and actions through the lens of their agreed-upon and deeply held cultural beliefs and clearly understood desired results. Helping schools build their capacity for authentic alignment requires educators to develop and execute a plan to better align their efforts, work smarter and not harder, and be rewarded with powerful results. Ideally, our WHY should serve as the lens through which all actions are considered, decisions made, and practices agreed upon. Our students are not prepared for the advanced content, complex reasoning, or, often, the design of assessments to be successful on those assessments. There is a gap between our traditional approach and what is expected. Bridging that gap will require us to partner with students and colleagues to increase engagement and view assessment as something done for students not just to them.
Keynote Speaker Biography
Tom Hierck has been an educator since 1983 in a career that has spanned all grade levels and many roles in public education. His experiences as a teacher, administrator, district leader, department of education project leader, and executive director have provided a unique context for his education philosophy.
Tom is a compelling presenter, infusing his message of hope with strategies culled from the real world. He understands that educators face unprecedented challenges and knows which strategies will best serve learning communities. Tom has presented to schools and districts across North America with a message of celebration for educators seeking to make a difference in the lives of students. His dynamic presentations explore the importance of positive learning environments and the role of assessment to improve student learning. His belief that "every student is a success story waiting to be told" has led him to work with teachers and administrators to create positive school cultures and build effective relationships that facilitate learning for all students. His most recent book, and his first solo effort, looks at the importance of creating a positive classroom learning environment as a complex but necessary task for all educators. It is his fourteenth title with two more books scheduled.
Tom and his wife of 35 years, Ingrid, are the proud parents of three children and grandparents of six. In his spare time Tom likes to run and he has completed 48 marathons.
Once there is clarity around the WHY behind our work, learning organizations can begin to mobilize their collective efforts for HOW to get it all done. We know that if we want to change our results, we have to change how we operate. For many schools, this means unifying around a singular focus of learning. It means interrupting patterns of behavior, policies, or structures that hinder our ability to achieve our primary purpose: high levels of learning for ALL students. It also means getting crystal clear on what we expect students to be able to do with the things we are teaching them. Building a healthy system to gather evidence of student learning focuses on four critical areas: relationships, communication, responsiveness and sustainability. Employing these elements enables us to work together so we can rise together, and our make our collective impact for students truly tremendous.
Endnote Speaker Biography
Angie Freese has recently transitioned to the Director of Research, Assessment and Accountability for Osseo Area Public Schools in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Her previous position was as Director of Learning Analytics and Systems Improvement for Stillwater Area Public Schools in Stillwater, Minnesota. Her work there focused on using systems thinking to embed solid professional practices throughout the organization, including creating collaborative teams, designing a guaranteed and viable curriculum, and implementing grading and assessment practices that best communicate student learning. Angie is most passionate about bringing student voice and perspective in the organization, and actively seeks opportunities to connect and collaborate with student learners. She has previously been a middle school assistant principal in the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale School District and an elementary assistant principal and curriculum coordinator with Rochester Public Schools. Angie is a nationally recognized speaker on assessment, and has worked with school teams and districts across the country to design systems that champion student learning. Her work primarily focuses on building healthy school cultures, developing systems of grading and assessment, and aligning curriculum and instructional practices to elevate teacher practice and enhance student achievement.
Angie is the proud mother of a seven-year-old daughter. In her spare time, she enjoys time with family, hiking, playing or watching sports, and spontaneous road trips.