Inside this issue
Important Upcoming Events/Meetings
February 4 EDB Cohort
February 6 AT Cohort
February 10 Special Education Leadership Team Meeting
February 11 ASD/DCD Cohort
February 13 CAREI Assembly Meeting
February 13 SLD Cohort
February 14 MAG
February 19 Coaches/ADSIS Teachers Cohort
February 20 Principals Meeting
February 26 Superintendent Council
February 27 SLD Cohort
February 28 School Psychologists
Click here to access GCED's Professional Development Calendar
The Progress, February 2020:
Volume 5, Issue 5
The Progress archive
Click here to view past issues from the current school year.
Comments? Suggestions for new articles?
Contact Jillynne Raymond, firstname.lastname@example.org
Learning is Hard
At midyear we ask our teachers to reflect on professional growth goals, an important step of being a reflective practitioner. This is also a good time of year to reflect on any learning from the year. Who remembers our keynote speaker from GCED Day? Dr. Jody Janati entertained us but also had some practical advice for our 'communication peace' that can help us balance conflict in our lives.
- Remember that only 7% of our communication comes from the actual words we say. All other messages - intentional or not - are sent through paralanguage, or the tone of voice we use, and nonverbal communication. The person receiving the message will always believe the paralanguage and nonverbal communication over the actual words. As a former communications teacher, it was also terrific how she stressed that we need to teach our students this.
- Men and women communicate differently; men have a hunter brain and women have a gatherer brain.
- So for example if a man asks his wife what she wants for her birthday, he is truly hunting for an idea. He is at a loss if she responds, "surprise me!" His brain needs and wants her to say "I'd prefer an evening out with good food and drinks?"
- The hunter and gatherer operate differently when it comes to eye contact too. Females will eyeball each other and gather to meet. They look at each other in the eye as they communicate, gathering as much information as possible. Men on the other hand get into trouble by appearing not to listen when they don't make eye contact. Ironically, if one is upset with someone, a man will use eye contact to 'punish' that person whereas a woman will withhold eye contact as a form of punishment.
- Could/Would are interpreted differently by women and men. When speaking to women use "could" and when speaking to men use "would" for maximum peace.
- Assertive Communication is a term that Dr. Janati would like us to use more often. It simply indicates an agreement that "I won't violate your rights and I won't allow you to violate my rights." When using assertive communication it is important to show up neutral or robotic; express little to no emotion during am interaction.
- When others' communication frustrates you it's important not to lose it; we need to balance our communication and behaviors. Dr. Janati shared her personal strategy of using a mental model. For her, she just thinks to herself, "Oh they're drunk again." Someone impaired with drinking can be irrational; it helps her to understand that they cannot help being irrational in their current state. She then can then remain calm and rational and explain whatever it is...again.
- If we want to change or resolve conflict, we must first be aware. She helps others become aware with "I noticed" statements. I noticed that you were late for the staff meeting again, I hope nothing is wrong. I noticed that you missed completing section D of the paperwork.
- On a neurological level, we cannot process these 3 words: Don't, Stop, Not. Our students are "dumb as dogs" when we use these words to no fault of their own.
- The words we choose matter and there are 4 words that contribute to peaceful communication. ]
- (1) May; You may take your seats. This allows you to be in charge without entering into resistance.
- (2) Feeling and (3) Need; Language of Collaboration is when we use feeling and need together. I'm feeling frustrated because you forgot my birthday and I need to know that you care about me. Or if you're trying to communicate with someone, stay calm and robotic and say "Ella, it sounds as if you're feeling frustrated with your assignment. Let me know if you need anything." Research says that this approach allows the adult to walk away without any drama; we validate the child and offer support.
- (4) Prefer: Instead of looking at what you don't want, what do you stand for that is positive? What does your classroom stand for? Your family? Shift your focus to what you do want. I prefer that you complete your math problem without swearing. I prefer that you call him by his given name.
Do you remember the Polite Pattern? Dr. Janati suggests that we politely communicate in this sequence; examples in italics.
Cliche = Oh when it rains, it pours!
Fact = Yeah, the weather forecast says that it's supposed to rain for five days.
Opinion = Oh gosh, I hope not. I was going to weed the garden.
Emotion = Oh, I'm so sick of this weather!
It is unsettling to people if we mess with this order and impacts communication. She used an example of communicating with her mother to explain:
A better outcome will be to follow the pattern even if Jody begins with the fact:
Adults Love to Read Too!
All schools promote the love of reading all year long, but February has a special focus as I Love to Read Month. As we promote reading among our students, what are the adults reading from a professional standpoint? Here are some of the responses I've gotten to the question:
Thanks to a Career Technical Education (CTE) grant, the SE Service Coop in Rochester has hired a Career Navigator to help develop career-connected learning opportunities for a consortium of small rural school districts including GCED.
Help us welcome Dylan Mackey to this new role as our Career Navigator! Dylan will be supporting our CTE work here at River Bluff Education Center as well as Cannon Falls, Pine Island, and Zumbrota-Mazeppa school districts. With a limited 18 month grant, Dylan will focus on the system level for each district, working on a systematic CTE plan including an appropriate scope and sequence. Dylan's education and experiences will serve him well in this role.
Dylan grew up in LeRoy, MN and graduated from LeRoy-Ostrander High School before attending Winona State, initially as a business major. At some point he took a sociology class to satisfy a general credit requirement, which shifted his professional trajectory. The class helped Dylan see that he wanted to work with people, helping them improve their lives. There was a case study of an American helping a small community in Africa build a community around a healthy water system. It sparked a love of macro social work, which investigates large scale social problems along with developing and implementing social interventions intended to positively effect a community. With the spark ignited, Dylan was uncertain if that meant finding a position in sociology or in social work when opportunity knocked in his home school district.
He went back to LeRoy-Ostrander as a K-12 school social worker. He loved the work, learned a lot, worked long days. He also experienced the challenges of working and living in a small community, especially when filing child protection reports. While the fit wasn't quite right, Dylan knew he was in the right profession as a social worker. He moved on to Minnesota Prairie County Alliance where he served as a case manager for clients on disability waivers. During his tenure there he served clients that ranged in ages from 2 to 90. Collaborating with school districts and vocational rehabilitation, he attended many IEP meetings.
These experiences along with Dylan's pragmatic viewpoint will serve us well in this role. Dylan fully understands that post-secondary plans may or may not include college for students, which is fine. Dylan saw that in his own family. His father supported a family as a local 49 heavy machine operator, with great benefits and pension. His mother does accounting and payroll in Rochester; she earned a 2 year degree for her career. Dylan graduated from college, whereas his brother is doing great as an auto technician and does not have student loan debt.
These are all stories and experiences that Dylan will use as he connects in the communities that he is serving. All building to his ultimate professional goal to direct a non-profit someday with the schools and the county working seamlessly together.
Until then, we're happy to have Dylan on our team.
Major Duties and Responsibilities of Career Navigator:
Remember that you have access to free resources through Infinitec.
A full listing of this semester's webinars can be found by clicking > Winter/Spring 2020 Webinars