Kicking off the IU13 CommunityIn education fall is an amazing time of year. Filled with crisp morning air, children’s laughter, increased workloads, and meetings. Here at Powerful Learning Practice it is no different and fall is when we get to visit schools and work with teachers. In some cases, such as our Australia community, fall means bringing things to a close. For our year long communities, such as El Paso, it means a time to get started back, but for most of our communities it is a beginning–a kickoff.


The first of those kickoffs happened in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with what we are calling the IU13 PA State Community. A lot of work goes into getting a community organized. The IU13 Community is in its second year of hosting. The affirming thing about this work is that most of PLP hosting organizations want to come back for a second year and sometimes a third or fourth.

IU13 decided two things this year: 1) to have another round of Year 1 participants in addition to returning Year 2 participants. 2) to go statewide with those who could participate. Cross Team DiscussionJanet Dubble, the organizer for IU13, did a wonderful job advertising the opportunity across the state and as a result the community will have a great deal of diversity in terms of schools participating. Robin Ellis will serve as the community leader for the IU13 PA community. Robin is an experienced leader within Powerful Learning Practice and has served in multiple roles within the company- including taking her own district’s team through the experience back in 2009. Her district, Quakertown Community, has decided to take another team through a Year 1 experience this year.

IU13, like our other year long communities, will go through a full year of team-based, job-embedded, blended professional development around managing 21st Century change as a connected educator. Collaboratively teams will create an action research project based on a school improvement goal. In addition to meeting face to face, the PLP teams will participate in a virtual learning community called the PLP Community Hub. They will learn with thousands of other educators (PLPeeps) who are going through or have been through the program. Each community will have access to their own private space in the Hub, as well as being able to co-construct knowledge with PLPeeps from around the world in common, shared spaces. In addition to learning in teams, in webinars, and in the online community Hub, this year’s teams will also have a menu of activities from which to choose such as: online book studies, virtual classroom visits, connected coaching sessions, and much more.


Powerful Learning Practice’s newest initiative, PLP e-COURSES will feature an e-course on connected coaching, a model created by Lani Ritter Hall, Dean Shareski and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. The model is influenced by face to face models such as Jim Knight’s instructional coaching, Art Costa’s cognitive coaching and the Tschannen-Moran’s evocative coaching but takes coaching to the next generation by applying it in online spaces with people the coach will never meet in person.

As part of the gearing up experience PLP communities are asked to participate in a Pregame activity, a self-paced Web 2.0 primer. Powerful Learning Practice decided to open it up to the public as well. If you are new to Web 2.0 and would like to participate in an easy, step by step e-Course you can register here.

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During a 25-year education career, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach has been a classroom teacher, technology coach, charter school principal, district administrator, university instructor and digital learning consultant. Sheryl is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Powerful Learning Practice, where she works with schools and districts from around the world to re-envision their learning cultures and communities through the Connected Learner Experience and other e-learning opportunities. She is the author (with Lani Ritter Hall) of The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age (Solution Tree, 2012) and serves on the ISTE Board of Directors.
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