November 2, 2016, Issue #13
Upcoming Workshops!
November 9
Location: Turning Point School
Facilitator: Carla Neufeldt-Abatie
Learn More
November 10
Location: Turning Point School
Facilitator: Carla Neufeldt-Abatie
Learn More
November 30
Location: Bay School of SF
Facilitators: Alex Lockett and Andrew Salverda
Learn More
December 6
Location: Harvard-Westlake Upper School
Facilitator: David Barkan
Learn More
December 8
Location: Bay School of SF
Facilitator: David Barkan
Learn More
What is the CATDC?


The California Teacher Development Collaborative (CATDC), is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing professional growth opportunities for teachers and administrators from independent schools. Its member schools represent the diverse range of small and large elementary, middle, and high schools from all over the greater San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles areas.

What is the mission of the organization?

The aim of the CATDC is to: 1) Promote enriching professional development opportunities.

2) Support collegiality and cooperation among teachers and schools.

3) Inspire teachers to become educational leaders.

I thought you were called the BATDC?

The BATDC started in the San Francisco Bay Area in the year 2000, and has since grown to include a network of over sixty independent schools in the region. In 2012, a group of LA area heads of school asked if the BATDC could replicate its proven model by launching a branch of its operations in Southern California. Now, following the completion of the two-year pilot program, and with a thriving group of over thirty member schools in Southern California, we have changed our name to the "California Teacher Development Collaborative."

How can I take part in the CATDC's offerings?

1) If your school isn't already a member, encourage them to join here

2) Register for our upcoming events, and keep an eye out for our spring schedule of workshops.

3) Get in touch and let us know what kind of professional development opportunities you're looking for.

4) Let us help you leverage the power of the network by connecting you with colleagues from other schools. 

5) Join our mailing list to stay up to date on all our future workshops and events.

A Message from the Executive Director,
Janet McGarvey
In keeping with our theme this year of "Yes..And" we offer three different perspectives on the power and consolation of a broad perspective. Regular contributor Lori Cohen writes about something that is fairly universal: that time in late October when the fresh start of a new year disappears, challenging our fortitude and courage as classroom teachers. I remember that for most of my many years of teaching at the high school level, I would dissolve into tears at some point around now, lamenting to my partner, "I just want to be good at what I do!" The term was only weeks old and yet I was way behind in my syllabus that had been so carefully crafted; parent-teacher conferences loomed just when I was exhausted from catching up on my grading and progress reports writing; I was vexed by a particular student or class that wasn't responding as I had hoped, and I was taking it hard. My self-confidence wavered, my resilience evaporated, and a good night's sleep seemed a thing of the distant past. When would all of this get easier? What was wrong with me? 
Somehow the moments of hilarity and connection with students and colleagues carried us all to the Thanksgiving break and afforded the chance to step back and recharge a bit. Maybe things weren't really so hard. I love these kids! Teaching is so rewarding, despite its challenges! What great colleagues I have! Then whoosh, on to the promise of a new term, the various holiday breaks, and the long view of the school year. I loved that no two days were ever the same, that my relationships in the classroom and beyond were so profound and enriching, that intellectual stimulation was constantly invigorating. I realized that I could and would get better at my craft, that my students would give me the benefit of the doubt most of the time, that anxious parents were easier to deal with than I feared. And I understood, to use the words of Parker Palmer, quoted at length in the third article, " by wrapping my life around [the paradoxes of teaching] and trying to live out their resolution, I open myself to new possibilities and keep the tensions from tearing me apart."  
In this issue's second article, Elizabeth Denevi explores the rewards of a diverse learning environment, and her reminder that difference in the classroom makes all students smarter applies to each of us as educators as well. Our goal is to create a safe and supportive learning environment so that our students can bring all of themselves to school. In working towards this goal, we grow as well. Yes, teaching is challenging and sometimes very difficult. AND it is the best profession of all. 
When the Honeymoon is Over: Essential Moves for Professional Success
By Lori Cohen, Bay School of San Francisco
As the seasons change from summer to fall, so do our temperaments. We're used to school again. We have routines built around course planning, paper grading, meeting times, teaching routines. Summer-and the freedom that comes with it-fades into memory.
This time of year is my favorite because as the air becomes crisper and the days become shorter, nature seems to be reminding us to hunker down and get to work. The holidays also serve as touchstones and milestones; each month offers us something to look forward to (even if it is simply time off from school) so that the weeks ahead feel manageable. There's always a bit of a break that allows us some time to recharge.
And yet, seeing out into the school year and knowing there are still 8+ months left also can be daunting. Whether one is a first-year teacher, new to a school, a veteran educator or administrator, there's something beautiful and trudgeworthy about the fall.
In our classrooms at this time of year, the honeymoon of those first weeks is giving way to knowing that we all (students, teachers, administrators and staff alike) are in it for the long haul-we're invested now, and it's time to test those early agreements and routines to ensure we and our students are learning at their best. At this point in the school year, it's time for some practical tools that allow our classes to run smoothly.
Early on in my career, I engaged in professional development and coursework that shaped the way I view the arc of a school year. I used to work for a comprehensive urban public school district, where thousands of teachers each year were sent to mandated professional development in hopes that they'd glean some bit of wisdom from an outside expert who parachuted in for a day, offloaded binders full of materials, and disappeared without ever knowing the participants' names, grades taught, or areas of expertise. Luckily, though, one presenter (may he rest in peace), Dr. Ernie Stachowski, stands out for me.
Ernie was as slick as overpaid consultants come, but he also was reputable as he cut through the theory and grounded his work in the heart of practical applications. He knew his audiences were droves of public school teachers hoping to manage rooms full of 35+ students, and he knew those who attended his workshops often weren't volunteers. He never wasted our time. In my second year of teaching, I learned tools from Ernie (I always imagined he and I would be on a first-name basis) that stay with me today-whether working with newcomer populations with limited English, independent school classes of fewer than 10, or rooms full of adults at the early stages of their career. And several best pieces of wisdom I received from Ernie are ones I still adhere to today:
  • Always assign your students something you also would do yourself-and model it
  • Always assign routines and habits you could see yourself upholding later in the year (in other words, don't take on more than you're able to)
  • Build in time every three to four weeks for "maintenance"
Read more...  
Understanding Diversity as Academic Excellence 
By Elizabeth Denevi, Mid West Educational Collaborative

Most schools express a commitment to diverse learners, and our learning resources personnel are some of our strongest advocates for learning diversity as an essential difference, not a presumed deficit. Just as children come to our schools from a variety of backgrounds, they also have many ways of learning. Our goal is to support and develop those differences so our students can bring all of themselves to the learning environment. And we need to consider a wide spectrum of differences: ability, age, gender identity/expression, race and ethnicity, religion, social class, and sexual orientation.
Yet, why does difference in the classroom make all students smarter? Professors at the University of Michigan have been leading the research on this important topic. Dr. Scott Page wrote  The Difference to illustrate how diverse teams enhance and improve collaboration as well as outcomes. And  Dr. Patricia Gurin has been able to quantify the value of racial diversity in classrooms and on campuses across the country. Her team of researchers looked at informal interactions among African American, Asian American, Latino/a, and White students as well as classroom environments. Their purpose was to measure the effects, if any, of racial diversity on academic and social growth.
In considering learning outcomes, researchers identified intellectual engagement, self-confidence, the drive to achieve, academic skills, writing and listening ability, general knowledge, analytic and problem-solving skills, and the ability to think and write critically as measures of learning. They also considered democracy outcomes such as the ability of students to participate in an increasingly heterogeneous democracy. To participate fully, students need to understand and consider multiple perspectives, to appreciate common values, and to understand and accept cultural differences that arise in a racially and ethnically diverse community.
They found that all four groups of students were positively impacted by both informal and classroom interaction with racially diverse peers.    

Holding the Tension of Opposites - an excerpt from The Courage to Teach 
By Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach
Excerpted from  The Courage to Teach  by Parker J. Palmer. Copyright © 1998, 2007 by John Wiley & Sons. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
Holding the tension of paradox so that our students can learn at deeper levels is among the most difficult demands of good teaching. How are we supposed to do it?
Imagine yourself in a classroom. You ask a well-framed question, and then you wait and wait as the great silence descends. You know you should wait some more, not jump, but your heart pounds, then sinks, and finally feels helpless and out of control. So you answer your own question with an emotional mix of anxiety, anger, and authoritarianism that only makes things worse. Then you watch as the opening to learning offered by the silence vanishes-and teaching becomes more and more like running headlong into walls.
That scenario-which could apply to holding any of the paradoxes, not just silence and speech-suggests a simple truth: the place where paradoxes are held together is in the teacher's heart, and our inability to hold them is less a failure of technique than a gap in our inner lives. If we want to teach and learn in the power of paradox, we must reeducate our hearts.
In particular, we must teach our hearts a new way to understand the tension we feel when we are torn between the poles.... We want our children and our students to become people who think and live freely, yet at the same time we know that helping them become free requires us to restrict their freedom in certain situations.
Of course, neither our children nor our students share this knowledge! When my thirteen-year-old announces that he will no longer attend religious services or a student submits a paper on a topic other than the one I assigned, I am immediately drawn into the tension-and there is no formula to tell me whether this is a moment for freedom or discipline or some alchemy of both.
But good teachers and good parents find their way through such minefields every day by allowing the tension itself to pull them open to a larger and larger love-a love that resolves these Solomonic dilemmas by looking past the tension within ourselves toward the best interests of the student or the child.
As always with profound truths, there is a paradox about this love.... If we are to hold paradoxes together, our own love is absolutely necessary and yet our own love is never enough. In a time of tension, we must endure with whatever love we can muster until that very tension draws a larger love into the scene.
There is a name for the endurance we must practice until a larger love arrives: it is called suffering. We will not be able to teach in the power of paradox until we are willing to suffer the tension of opposites, until we understand that such suffering is neither to be avoided nor merely to be survived but must be actively embraced for the way it expands our own hearts.