April 27, 2017, Issue #17
Upcoming Workshops!
June 14
Location: Windward School
July 18-20
Location: Futures Without Violence
July 24-27
Location: Windward School
July 31-Aug 3
Location: JCHS
Aug 1-Aug 3
Location: Westridge School
Aug 7-Aug 9
Location: JCHS
Aug 10-11
Location: Westridge School
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
As I look back at the Collaborative's history in these past 17 years, I am struck by how the WHY has always guided our decisions about program design. Only when we have thoroughly discussed our intentions in addressing needs that have come to our attention have we worked on the what, where, when, and how of each event. Also at the very center has been WHO. Who might be best served by this program and who should lead it?  

Three of the many programs the CATDC has developed are illustrative. In the very first year of the Collaborative, board member Bodie Brizendine noted that there were an unusually large number of teachers who were becoming administrators. Could there be a way to support them? Yes! In the next few months we designed the New Administrators Program. It then morphed into the Experienced Administrators Program, and Leadership 101 was started a few years later. A second example: about five years into the existence of the organization, we decided to focus on how differentiated instruction could help accommodate a wider spectrum of student learning styles. We began a series of offerings that started with a year-long program called Teaching to the Range, led by Virginia Paik. Every year since then we have made this an essential strand in our offerings, either overtly or in any program that is focused on pedagogy. It's just good teaching. A third example is a new program this year, Support for Supporters, which grew directly from input from several members who felt there were almost no professional growth opportunities for those who support school administration. 

The list could be much longer: Department Chairs Program, Equity as Excellence, Women Rising, Teaching for Understanding, Teaching Foundations, Mastering Group Facilitation, and so forth. Each one, and so many others, came directly from looking at the needs we all have to be even better at our work. Intention and striving for clarity have guided every conversation. As the Collaborative continues to grow and respond, you can be sure that this will always be the case.

I hope you enjoy reading the articles that follow, which focus on mindfulness, growth, and collaboration, all of which are at the heart of the CATDC. And please be sure to check out our spectacular  summer workshops and institutes. I promise you will learn a lot, have fun, and develop new friendships with fellow California independent school educators.

Creating a Growth Mindset In and Out of the Classroom
By Holly Dunn, Live Oak School
We want our students to achieve growth, both in and out of the classroom. And we know that simple shifts and practice can have a profound impact on both their work and behavior. Building on Carol Dweck's work on Growth Mindset and Carol Thomlinson's Differentiated Instruction, we can design a roadmap for students to meet and even exceed expectations. First, we create the Best Work Rubric and next, we develop the Behavior Expectations Rubric to help create clear examples and explicit expectations. Through this process we foster a student's understanding of intrinsic motivation and the empowerment that comes from growing and reaching goals.

Setting up the System - The Best Work Rubric

It is essential that your students create this rubric: the ownership has to be theirs. Begin the conversation with a discussion about what great work might look like and the process necessary to create great work. Students may say the process includes: working efficiently, thinking about the goals of their work, reviewing their work after they complete a task, reading directions carefully, or adding thoughtful details to their work. These student-generated descriptors become the base of the rubric, the expectations of their best work.
Since we always want to model growth and motivate students to reach higher, it is important to have a space in the rubric that describes what it looks like when they go above and beyond their best work. They will add descriptors such as: prioritizing their own work, doing more than what is asked, or reading over their work at least two times. Students don't always strive to do their absolute best, so we want to offer language for when work does not quite show their potential. It is critical for young students to be able to reflect on their own work without making a judgment on their ability or self worth. By having a place on the rubric that clearly states what it looks like when they are not doing their own best work, it creates a window to these important conversations. We are teaching them that success is not pre-determined, but rather worked for through practice and with clear expectations.
Once the descriptors are placed on the rubric it is time to get creative and name each section with your students. The Best Work section can be named, Kaboom Work, Keep It Up, Bullseye, or Wow Work Having the students come up with names and then vote on their favorite is key to making this system not only work, but fun. Work that is above and beyond could be called, Over the Rainbow, Out of this World, or Over the Top Work. Work that does not show a student's best work could be called, Wah...Wah...Wah, Blah, or Shift the Ship.

Make it Meaningful

In order for this system to work it needs to be continually reiterated, consistently incorporating the terminology is key. The rubric should be posted on the wall, sent home, and adopted in all areas and subjects in the room. If you embrace it, the students will too. Asking kids to talk about their work and become more reflective takes time and repetition. They need to know that they will be required to use the rubric throughout disciplines and lessons, and throughout the year. It can truly be transformative for students to talk about their areas of growth and where they are excelling. They will become less worried about if an answer is correct or about getting a teacher's approval, and became more thoughtful about the work they are turning in.

Connecting Best Work to Behavior Expectations

Once the Best Work Rubric is created and the students have become comfortable with the expectations and language, it is time to connect their great work to their behavior. Students often make good choices in the classroom but when they are in the halls, in special programs, and in the lunchroom they can become disrespectful, act out and have a hard time listening. The Behavior Expectations Rubric complements and connects directly to the Best Work Rubric. The same names should be used for each section, but new descriptors will need to be created by the students. Again, using the same terminology and reflecting regularly with the class will show the students that the rubric is meaningful and significant.
Leading with Love: Lessons Learned From My First Year in Administration
By Lori Cohen, The Bay School of San Francisco

First years at anything are hard. Kindergartners learn how to do school for the first time; middle and high schoolers learn how to navigate change not only in academics and moving from self-contained classrooms to several new courses/teachers, but also in social groups and the physical signs of adolescence; college freshmen are learning to live on their own-or as the common parlance is today, "to adult." First-year teachers are managing the overwhelm of planning, teaching, collaborating, assessing-all the while trying to remember what sleep and a social life are. And first-year administrators are moving from the ground-level to 10,000 feet, seeing their schools from wider vantage points while enduring a baptism-by-fire of new responsibilities, systems, protocols, and ways of being. It's exhausting.
Before becoming an administrator, I taught for 17 years in public and independent school classrooms. I thought I'd never leave. I thrived from curriculum development and from learning new pedagogies and approaches to classroom teaching. I was energized from the daily interactions with students and how no day was ever boring. I enjoyed watching students grow up during their time in high school, and I marveled at who students had become as they moved through the early years of adulthood. There was joy in my work every day.
At the end of each course I taught, I would offer these parting words to my students: "May you be blessed to do what you love." And each day I taught, I felt blessed to do what I loved.
And yet, there came a time when I realized that no matter how much I kept learning and enjoying my work, I thrived from working with teachers as much as working with students. I wanted to be in a role that served adults so they could best serve their students. As Dean of Faculty, I have found a way to still feel blessed to do what I love each day.
I'm coming into the final months of my first year as an administrator, and I imagined the work would be much different from teaching. In fact, it is, but so much of what I do has its foundations in classroom practice. While I certainly have a tremendous journey in store, I've learned some lessons that have made the vicissitudes of this work manageable, and the road ahead more exciting than daunting.
Whether one is finishing up the first year of classroom teaching, contemplating administration, or asking what's next, these lessons hopefully serve a purpose that transcends the boundaries of our current roles in our school sites.

Communicate with Intention

We are flooded with information throughout our work days, and often times, we are quick to pass people in the hall asking for a few minutes of their time or firing off an email that allows us to knock an item off the to-do list. I certainly have been quick to ask a teacher to check in at the end of the day, and I also have been the recipient of the "Can we talk about something?" email without knowing the context. Those seemingly benign words and moments can create all kinds of fear and anxiety, which is not helpful for anyone.
I do my best now to begin my communications with my intentions, naming up front what the need or core topic is, and then asking for a few minutes to talk or check in. Regardless of the recipient-whether a parent, colleague, student, or school leader-it's a courtesy to be up front about one's intentions, as it reduces fear, mitigates anxiety, and ideally, allows more trust to build among all stakeholders.

Plan Difficult Conversations as Carefully as Your Lessons

The first lesson dovetails into this second one. Oftentimes, intentional communications are about difficult conversations, and while conflict is scary, no one benefits from topics that everyone is afraid to discuss.
Coming into this job role, I was most afraid of the hard conversations, because I feared I would do great damage in this arena: I would hurt others, and in turn, I wouldn't be liked or respected-thus damaging any relationship I had with my colleagues and those I served. However, I have learned the hard conversations are the most essential to the work we do in schools, and we should plan and attend to them accordingly.
In advance of any difficult conversation, I ask myself (and often write down) the following questions:
  • What is the core need here? Why are we having this conversation?
  • What are my intentions in having this conversation? What do I hope the outcome is?
  • What is my relationship to this person? How can I tend to this relationship and ensure I'm meeting the person where they are rather than where I am?
  • What information do I still need? What do I need to ask in order to hear the other person's experience?
  • What are the hard things that need to be said? Where might we meet in the middle?
While the conversations themselves are never easy, and while the outcomes are not always rosy, the planning allows me to be deliberate about my approach and make these conversations a collaboration rather than a conflagration.

Be Mindful and Slow It Down

Before my new role began, I made a wish list of all I hoped to accomplish my first year. When sharing some ideas with my colleague (thinking I was being proactive in my goals), my colleague responded, "I remember making that list." And then he laughed. That moment was humbling.
We live in a society that moves fast, where gratification is increasingly more instant. And yet there are movements that counteract that speed, movements that force us to slow down, pay attention, and be present to our work-and mindfulness is chief among those movements.
Whether responding to a tricky situation or planning a long-term project, nothing has to be accomplished in nanoseconds. If anything, stopping to take a breath (or ten) and slowing down a process with intention allows opportunities for feedback, revision, and ultimately, a better outcome. I still keep my running list of ideas, but now I do so as an exercise instead of as an expectation-allowing me to stay creative while also staying grounded.

Building an Emotionally Intelligent Team - an excerpt from The Art of Coaching Teams
By Elena Aguilar, The Art of Coaching Teams
Excerpted from  The Art of Coaching Teams  by Elena Aguilar. Copyright © 2016 by Elena Aguilar. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
Building an emotionally intelligent team takes skill and knowledge on the facilitator's part and lots of time. An advantage in launching a team is that you can do a lot of intentional Emotional Intelligence boosting up front. The time spent on establishing a foundation for a healthy team is worth it-think of it as an investment that will pay off when team members begin having hard conversations with each other about student learning and when these conversations result in changes in practices that positively affect children. Committing time and energy up front is much easier than trying to shift or reverse unproductive dynamics once they sprout up. A leader needs to know how to build emotionally intelligent ways of interacting and how to shift ineffective behaviors.

Building Behaviors

An emotionally intelligent team requires two things: norms and routines that support healthy behaviors, and a facilitator who encourages behaviors that increase the ability to respond constructively in emotionally uncomfortable situations. If a team doesn't have norms, then your first task is to facilitate their creation and ensure that they are upheld. Remember that some norms strengthen the ability to respond effectively to emotional challenges and some norms don't. For example, "Be on time" doesn't directly address the emotional challenge we face when someone is habitually late. A norm that might be more useful in that situation is, "Speak directly to people about issues." The best norms create resources for working with emotions, foster an affirmative environment, and encourage proactive problem solving.
Leaders also need to establish routines that foster an emotional climate that is accepting of risk taking, listening, and celebration. Routines create buckets for healthy emotional behaviors; they become a structural assurance that emotions will be attended to. For example, a routine like a check-in at the beginning of a meeting lets people know that there's a place where they'll be able to share an emotional state if they want. This routine can take just a few minutes and can be done in whole-group whip around, or pair share. Either way, it ensures that there's a place for teammates to connect with and listen to each other and allows people, to build empathy for each other. Closing meetings with a space for appreciations is another structure that promotes a positive emotional climate. A leader needs to form, guide, and massage a team's emotional experiences so that members are oriented toward healthy and resilient ways of interacting.
The great majority of groups go through a difficult stage as part of their team development. This storming phase is important as people open up and challenge each other and their ways of working together. The ability for a team to move through this stage has a great deal to do with the group's emotional intelligence and the facilitator's ability to support the process. When teams storm, facilitators can guide the group to reflect on how they function and strengthen their ways of communicating and relating to each other.