March 16, 2017
Dear SRI Practitioners,
Each year, as SRI grows and our annual conference attracts educators spanning all levels of practice and understanding in our work, we continue to learn more about SRI’s mission and our fierce commitment to educational equity and excellence.
Feedback from Winter Meeting 2017 revealed that facilitators of collaborative learning groups wanted more time to be able to learn with and from each other prior to designing and implementing an agenda for participants. In response to this feedback, we will offer a virtual collaborative learning group experience for prospective Fall Meeting facilitators, beginning in the spring.
Participation in this collaborative learning group will not commit you and does not guarantee your selection as a Fall Meeting facilitator. Instead, we intend to prepare a group of ready facilitators to draw from once we know how many people we’ll need to support our participants. Also, since all collaborative learning groups will be co-facilitated this year, this additional time will provide facilitators the opportunity to work together virtually prior to meeting in Atlanta.
New This Year: Facilitators’ Collaborative Learning Group
We want to begin this learning now, to allow prospective facilitators more time together to think deeply about the work they might do at Fall Meeting. Please consider joining us to think about how we will build on the success of WM17, and specifically, how we will weave an explicit and transparent equity focus through our agendas and feedback sessions.
Our learning and preparation will be done in two phases:
Phase 1: April-August. We will offer a virtual collaborative learning group for prospective facilitators that involves a time commitment of approximately 2 hours per month. In this initial phase, we’ll focus our learning on the roles of facilitators and participants at Fall Meeting, dive into our understanding of SRI’s fierce commitment to educational equity and excellence, and explore ways to fully integrate our mission into our agendas.
In our virtual collaborative learning group, we’ll work together in the ways we know best — from exploring texts, looking at student work and dilemmas, and developing strategies for facilitation when implications for equity may not be readily apparent in the work or within the groups we facilitate. Tasks may include individual and group learning, research, and reflection.
Time Commitment: 2 hours/month April-August
SRI will issue a call for Fall Meeting Facilitators in late spring/early summer. If you choose to apply and are selected to facilitate a collaborative learning group at FM17, you’ll then enter the second phase of the work.
Phase 2: September-November (Fall Meeting). FM17 Facilitators will begin to design the agenda, individually, with co-facilitators, and in collaboration with the group of FM17 Facilitators. This phase involves a time commitment of approximately 4-5 hours in September and October, leading up to Fall Meeting. During this phase of our work, facilitators will co-create agenda(s) and share learning activities and on-line resources. Opportunities to “tune” agendas and resolve questions about facilitating for equity at FM17 will be made available through our monthly virtual meetings, between and among co-facilitation teams, and through individualized coaching (as requested), as well as at the on-site Facilitators’ Meeting on November 1 (attendance required).
Time Commitment: 4 hours/month September-October; Facilitators’ Meeting, Nov. 1
FAQ: I’m thinking about joining the facilitators’ collaborative learning group, but don’t know if I should. Do I qualify to participate in this group?
Absolutely! In fact, SRI is piloting the facilitators’ collaborative learning group and co-facilitation opportunities as ways to identify, grow, and support new FM Facilitators. The exploratory and generative nature of Phase One is designed to support facilitators as learners, as we co-create the FM collaborative learning group experience.
As above, participation does not commit you to becoming a FM facilitator or guarantee your selection as one. Think of Phase One as a professional development opportunity sponsored by SRI in response to the needs of its membership. In early summer, we’ll be inviting prospective facilitators to formally apply to facilitate at Fall Meeting. At that time, FM17 facilitators will continue with Phase Two of this work.
FAQ: What will SRI be looking for, in terms of their selection of FM17 facilitators?
SRI will seek facilitators who:
- are reflective in their facilitation practice
- currently integrate SRI’s mission in their agendas, are committed to facilitating for equity, and wish to learn more about how to be effective in their efforts to coach for equity
- actively seek opportunities to collaborate with others
- can model adult learning
- hold at least three (3) years’ experience participating in and facilitating SRI collaborative and reflective practices in and beyond their own professional setting
- have participated in a previous SRI Winter Meeting
- can be unconditionally endorsed by an SRI practitioner
We are seeking facilitators who are representative of the diversity of the schools we serve.
FAQ: I’d really like to facilitate at FM17, but this seems like a LOT of work, and a big time commitment. What’s in it for me?
We know it’s a big commitment, in terms of workload and time. We’ve always very much appreciated the many contributions and fine work of our WM facilitators; this year, in appreciation for all you do, SRI will cover 100% of your registration fees. In addition, every collaborative learning group will be co-facilitated this year.
We hope you will carefully consider this important professional development opportunity. Please email Beth Graham firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
The first meeting will be offered at two different times: Monday, April 3rd at 3pm Eastern and Thursday, April 6th at 6:30pm Eastern. If interested, please RSVP to Beth no later than Friday, March 24, 2017 and indicate which meeting date you are able to join.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Beth I. Graham
Professional Development Specialist
School Reform Initiative